Friday, 26 September 2008

Time for change at Dover Town Council

For years, Dover Town Council has been a virtual one party state. Labour have been in power there so long, the hunger for new ideas and innovation is weaker than Dover deserves. It's time for a change.

This year, the Council Tax has gone up by 29.6%, with further increases planned for next year. And a lot of the money is wasted. £1000s are being spent on leaflets which are never delivered. £11,500 was wasted on producing fridge magnets.

Not so long ago, I proposed that Dover twin with the town of Fuzhou in China. I worked hard to deliver the opportunity . . . yet it was rejected out of hand. That's a shame as twinning with a great city and province of some 7 million people from the fastest growth country on the planet could have brought jobs, money and investment to our community.

To me this highlights all that's wrong with the council - insular, backward and inward looking. In these difficult times, all of us in public service need to work harder than ever to deliver the hopes, aspirations and dreams of the people we work for. There is just not enough money in Dover and our community deserves its fair share.

There will shortly be a council by election in the traditional Labour heartland of St Radigunds. The record of the council will come under scrutiny. The Conservatives will stand as it's time the people of Dover had a real choice.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

No port privatisation!

I attended Dover's Port Consultative Committee the other day. There I said that the Port of Dover is a national asset and should remain so. The need for National Security and Border Security are overwhelming that the Port should remain an asset of the nation.

So I totally oppose the privatisation of the Port for these reasons. I am deeply unhappy about the recent changes at the Port which amount to privatisation. I am deeply concerned that the Ministry of Transport were not only consulted about the changes, but appear to have approved them.

The Ports Minister, who turned up the other day, and the current Member of Parliament should clarify exactly what the Ministry's role in this was a matter of urgency. They also need to level with the community whether they will permit further privatisation or "outsourcing" of Port jobs.

I am worried about Government's future plans for the Port. The Western Docks development will require a lot of money. Possibly more money than the Port has available on its own. It may require a joint venture partner. If that happens, it is essential that the Dover Harbour Board retain management control of the joint venture. It would not be right for the Port to be under the control of European or Middle Eastern interests - again on grounds of National and Border Security.

These are my thoughts and I would be genuinely interested to hear what people think about the way ahead. The Port is Dover's largest employer by far and critical to our economy. It's therefore vital that we all work together to get the best result.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Building a Britain everyone can be part of

The gap between rich and poor has been increasing. For me changing this and building a Britain that everyone can be part of is a key reason I got involved in public life.

Gordon Brown’s Government has taken people for granted and let them down. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to live on a low income when the cost of living is rising. That’s why he raised taxes for the least well-off when he cut them for the wealthier. His boasts about crime show how out of touch he is. Anti-social behaviour and alcohol fuelled crime are real problems for our area - and violent crime is a real worry. Just go out in Dover town centre on a Saturday evening . . .

David Cameron's Conservatives want to help the least well-off. That’s why we are putting forward ideas to heal our broken society and proposals to help needy pensioners. Locally, the Conservatives are spearheading the regeneration of Dover and Deal. The road upgrades we are proposing will also help to create more jobs. A few months ago, I began talks to build up links with the massive Chinese city of Fuzhou to get more investment locally - yet Dover Labour voted that down so they have gone elsewhere. What a waste and a terrible missed opportunity!

Nationally and locally Labour are just not helping us. We deserve better.