Mobile phone masts are undemocratic

Go out in to the street and look at your fellow human beings. Any street. See how they walk, and how different it is from the way we used to walk around even 10 years ago. No one takes advantage of a crisp autumn day to look at the changing leaves or the unexpected curiosities of the urban landscape. No one nods, or flirts, or even looks at anyone else. Everyone has the same drugged, internal, abstracted look: and why? Because we are all on the mobile. We are either making a call - a call that could almost certainly wait until we get to a landline - and have the tool glued to our sweating ear. Or else we have it in our hands. See how we heft it and coddle it. Watch how we stroke its smooth skin and wonder what use to make of it next. Shall we dial a number and disconnect, just to leave our electronic spoor? Shall we send a text, an emoticon, a pictogram? Everyone has one now, in his breast pocket or her handbag, a chocolate-bar-sized dispenser of personal gratification. We can all have that buzz now, whenever we want: the comfort of a voice, the quick fix of external affirmation that we need to get us through the day. Yes, the British people - make that the human race - have a new addiction that needs feeding. There are now 40,000 mobile phone masts in the United Kingdom, and a further 8,000 are likely to be constructed in the next three years. Continue reading Mobile phone masts are undemocratic

Message from Boris Johnson

hello Bloggers. All I can say about this blogging business is that it is very hard work. Please can you wait until tomorrow morning when I will be posting an incredibly exciting article from the Daily Telegraph about radio masts...In the meantime, I am passing you now to my brilliant parliamentary secretary, Melissa Crawshay-Williams, who is coming with me to Bournemouth next week for the Tory conference. She (I hope) will say a little about what she thinks the Tories have to do now to capture the political initiative, and what she wants from the conference. Over to Melissa. ---------------------------- Boris put me on the spot here. Tories - you are the sun to me. Let's crystalise ideas that will bring out the best in each individual and deliver the best of British to the nation. There is so much bonhomie at Conference - it's got to be the best party of the year. Let's hope that the movers and shakers really blow the clouds away. Melissa Conservative Party Conference 2004 Highlights include: Monday 1.00pm Boris will be speaking on "The Arts and the Next Government" 5.00pm Lord Saatchi, Advertising guru, "The Way Ahead" 5.45pm William Hague will speak on William Pitt the Younger (paving the way for his return to frontline politics?) Tuesday 9.45am Michael Ancram and Michael Gove (The Times) to speak on "The World After Iraq" 10.30am David Willetts, Rob Parsons (Care) and Ed Mayo (National Consumer Council) on "The Debt Time-bomb" 11.45am Address by Michael Howard 12.45pm Daily Telegraph debate. Chair: Jon Snow Speakers: Boris, Matthew D'Ancona, James May, Alice Thomson, Liam Fox 5.00pm Malcolm Rifkind speaking on "Britain's Place in The World" (making a bid for strong recognition on his impending return as MP) 5.45pm Michael Portillo, Mark Simmonds and others on "Skills for People Or skills for Business" (Portillo's swan song at conference?) Wednesday 10.00am John Redwood and Daniel Hannan MEP on "EU and its Constitution" 12noon Ann Widdecombe, John Midgley "Putting a Stop to Political Correctness" 12.45pm Andrew Tyrie "Re-engaging the Electorate" 1.00pm Boris and Lord Strathclyde - general discussion 4.00pm Boris and Malcolm Rifkind to take questions from the floor in the main Conference Hall Thursday 12.00 Michael Howard's Final Speech Ambassadors from Iraq, China, Israel and Saudi Arabia will also be addressing meetings at Conference.

Seminar on current Arts issues

News from Arts Specialist *Jennifer Greenbury* working hard behind the scenes for the Shadow Arts Team Boris is chairing a seminar on current related arts issues at The National Gallery on Monday 15th November. The seminar - kindly hosted and sponsored by solicitors, Farrer & Co, and accountants, haysmacintyre - will focus on the Conservative Party's ideas; particularly in the arena of taxation, where effective funding of the Arts could be significantly improved. The seminar is being introduced by Baroness Buscombe, Shadow Arts Minister in the Lords. The speakers are John Whittingdale OBE MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who will speak on "The Conservatives and the Arts", and Partners from Farrer & Co and haysmacintyre who will focus on a range of relevant and topical taxation issues. Howard Flight MP, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (Special Envoy to the City of London), will join the panel to answer questions and contribute to what should be a lively and productive discussion. After the seminar there will be a drinks reception followed by a private viewing of The National Gallery's forthcoming Raphael Exhibition. Enquiries to Seminar Organisers: Jennifer Greenbury or Olly.

I name the guilty ones

Boris wanted this piece he wrote for the Guardian to be put up on the website Naming and shaming | Are terrorists manipulating our media? | Come over to our side, Polly | Keep out of the royal houses It is a great honour to be standing in for the esteemed Roy Greenslade. It is also a great pleasure, since I intend to take advantage of his absence by giving Roy - and others - a gentle kicking. It must by now be obvious to anyone who has read the Butler report, and the final chapter of Greg Dyke's memoirs, Inside Story, that there took place, in 2003, a grave injustice. A BBC radio reporter had a scoop. As anyone who has produced such a thing will know, these are hard to come by, hard to spot for what they are, and hard to get right first time; and yet he did. Andrew Gilligan revealed that there was alarm in the world of spooks at the way No 10 had embellished data about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, in particular, the so-called 45-minute claim. He also revealed that Alastair Campbell was involved in these embellishments. You can read the full article in The Guardian Continue reading I name the guilty ones

New Policies for the Arts

On the first Monday of Party Conference in October, Boris Johnson MP, will be outlining his views on the Arts at an Arts Council sponsored fringe event entitled "The Arts and the Next Government". He will be hoping to get across the message that the Arts in this country are under-funded and fettered by a bureaucracy more interested in tallying social quotas than in supporting, promoting and investing in the Arts. The issue of freedom then, will be at the heart of his speech. Museums, galleries and other artistic venues should be free to appoint the trustees of their choice, to raise money howsoever they can and to go about promoting themselves to as large an audience as possible free from the tyranny of target-driven quotas. This is not, however, an excuse to cut central government grant. The Shadow Treasury team has agreed with Boris to carry forward current levels of funding in the Arts into the future. Concretely, Boris will be hoping to help the Arts by fostering in this country a philanthropic culture similar to that found in America. Giving to the Arts needs to become both socially and financially more rewarding for the Arts to be placed on a sustainable basis for the future. More details of tax structure and how it could be altered to create a more amenable environment for the Arts will be outlined at an event to be held on 15th November at the National Gallery. Information contributed by Olly - researcher to Boris Johnson MP. He invites your comments.

Remember what happened to Scargill

I can remember exactly where I was when I experienced my first spasm of savage Right-wing indignation. It was 1984, at breakfast time - about 10.40am - and I had a spoonful of Harvest Crunch halfway to my lips. The place was the Junior Common Room of my college. For the previous two decades I had viewed politics with a perfectly proper mixture of cynicism and apathy. Whatever I read under the bedclothes, it certainly wasn't Hansard. Like everyone at my school, I had undergone vague sensations of enthusiasm when the Falklands were recaptured, but otherwise, frankly, I did not give a monkey's. Occasionally I would glance at the political columnists in the newspapers, and be amazed that anyone could pay them to write such tosh. I hadn't a clue who was in the Cabinet. The world was too beautiful to waste time on such questions. Continue reading Remember what happened to Scargill

Constituency Issues

Henley Main issues that Boris Johnson is taking up on behalf of constituents: (September 04) - Phone mast on land at corner of Green Lane and Greys Road - Woodcote to Henley Bus Service 145 - Chiltern Resource Centre - Firearms Controls Consultation Paper - Special Areas of Conservation status for Bolton Fell and Solway Moss - trade justice

Day 2 – Many thanks

Many thanks for writing in and contributing to this new site. We, in Boris Johnson's Office, are overwhelmed by such a warm response. In answer to some questions: - registration for comments: not a bad idea... we will see what we can do but let's see how long an honour system lasts, first. It makes comments more accessible to the general public, so unless they're likely to be scared off or drowned out by others who abuse the comments function, we'd like to keep them open for now - RSS: does exist and we are putting a link to it on the front page. Thank you again for your enthusiastic comments Melissa & Co

Boris reporting for duty

Hi folks, this is Boris Johnson here. Welcome to my blogsite, where I hope to be blogging for some time to come. You may ask yourself why on earth I am filling the electronic ether with yet more of my stuff, given that I can already be discovered in the pages of the Henley Standard, Daily Telegraph, Spectator etc. It is a damn good question. The answer is that very persuasive man called Tim has recently been to my office in the Commons. He told me that blogging is the future. He spoke of the online community, and its rapid expansion. He said that newspapers were outmoded. He spoke of a new kind of politics. He waved his hands and rolled his eyes. So I have acceded to his advice, and begun to blog. Tim tells me that the idea is that I fall out of bed every morning, blazing with inspiration, and thunder out 3000 words on the issue of the hour, so generating a pandemic internet controversy. I am not sure, frankly, that I will manage that. But I hope that there will be some other bloggers out there who may feel moved to give me some advice - not least on the funding of the Arts, to which I am now devoting my meditations. Must blog off for the time being.