This afternoon, Boris stopped in Checkendon, in his Henley constituency, to inaugurate the combined village shop and Post Office which was taken over by Bal Budesha in 2007. Despite the biting wind and the hour of the day, over 70 local people of all ages turned out for the occasion. After cutting the inaugural ribbon and viewing the wide range of local, organic and staple, everyday produce in the shop that, like so many others around the country, also fulfils functions as the surgery transport waiting room, newsagent, information centre and more besides.
Some of the children presented Boris with some excellent ‘Save our Post Office’ posters for his office and Boris selected Isobel Willis’s well-written defence of the shop as the one to read to the assembled crowd. Boris then gave a short speech recognising the vital role of post offices and shops in communities such as this.
Jane Barker of the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council presented Bal with its Best Independent Retailer award before Boris moved on to a meeting with various local officials.
February 07, 2007 Update
Much to the delight of all, the post office and shop has been reprieved. Thank you, Boris, for your support.
This is an open thread for anyone wishing to leave messages of support, but we ask you to consider the circumstances under which the site was removed before commenting; Boris was an innocent bystander in this affair, and we’d like to keep it that way until he sees fit to intervene beyond this statement:
“This is London, not Uzbekistan. It is unbelievable that a website can be wiped out on the say-so of some tycoon. We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech.”
The strongest level of comment moderation has been enabled (all comments must be read and approved prior to publication), but we hope to soften this line, at least to the point of immediate publication for trusted commenters, within a few days.
BORIS JOHNSON MP
Freedom of Information Amendment Bill
Commons 3rd Reading Closure Motion – Ayes: 117 Noes: 22
The House of Commons has voted on the Closure Motion for the 3rd Reading of this controversial Private Member’s Bill, which seeks to de-list the House of Commons and the House of Lords from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which currently applies to them. It now goes to the Lords.
The Bill frequently refers to the ‘complex’ relationship between the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act 1998, and Parliamentary privilege. But Boris finds, not for the first time, that existing laws are adequate. While there may be scope for fine-tuning, he believes they already offer a fair balance between the privacy of the individual and the public’s right to know about Parliamentary business.
‘We are continually shooting ourselves in the foot, and the public will look at this and think all we are trying to do is protect ourselves from rules that, after all, apply to everybody else. It is quite wrong. Of course constituents have a right to privacy, but that is in any case assured by data protection rules.’
Full text, Hansard and summary of the Bill.
B L O G G I N G
Blogs for young and old
Oh, what a pity! Matthew Taylor, outgoing strategy adviser to Tony Blair, thinks blogs are undemocratic because they are “shrill”. Take a look at this link for the news item and here for one set of responses.
Blogs from MPs are great. No more trying to find stamps and borrow Mum’s best writing paper. No need to write pages of perfectly reasoned argument. No need to go along to an MP’s “surgery” (always sounds worrying, that!). With blogs you can make comments and answer as if you were down the pub or in the lunch queue. You can also read some better techniques at Malcolm Read for writing a better blog. You can bring up new topics and try out ideas. Whether you are eight or 108, if you can type an idea, that idea will be read. Other people can add to your idea – see the Forum – and help it gain shape so that Boris, or any other MP, can work with it. Little ideas can become big ideas. That’s democracy, not shrillness.
You don’t need to have huge ideas. You don’t need to have lots of letters after your name – and I’ll stick my neck out here and say the best comments and ideas usually come from people who just sign themselves as simply as “Tom” or “Mary” or “Saima”. You don’t need to be ‘clever’ – just genuine and interested. If an idea is truly amazing, Boris or Melissa will be in touch – guaranteed! If an idea is interesting and gains energy through discussion, you will be able to see it.
What is an MP for?
I wonder, how many people will comment on this? How many people will try it for the first time and find out that blog sites really are a new way of talking to people we have elected to do a good job for us.
Excellent results for South Oxfordshire District – Conservative controlled council
For more details see the Council website and the Henley Standard.
Despite a couple of sad losses to the Lib Dems in Oxfordshire these are best results for the Tories in 15 years.
According to Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Centre the world is going dark for thousands of elderly people because we won’t let clinicians make independent decisions
What has gone wrong with our priorities, when we can allow comparatively affluent people to have essentially cosmetic operations on the NHS – wart removal, tattoo removal, varicose veins – and yet we cannot find the cash to save an old man’s sight?
and it is … wrong that life-prolonging medicines of all kinds are available free in Scotland – subsidised by the taxpayers of England – and yet are denied to the English on grounds of expense.
How can Hewitt turn a blind eye?
Imagine the terror of going blind.
Think what it must be like to lose the most vital of your senses, and to lose it rapidly. because pollution problems for eyes it makes it difficult to judge distances, and you have to give up the car. Then you can’t quite make out the newspaper as well as you used to, and then you can’t read it at all; and then even the television becomes invisible, and you can no longer see your wife; and you must be able to see her because apart from anything else you are her chief carer and she is severely disabled. While in today’s world there are many sites like pure optical who are dedicating all their resources to help humanity keep their sight as long as possible, why is hard for clinics to realize the same about the older adults?
Continue reading People who lose their sight – macular degeneration
MP Boris Johnson joins commuters in a typically packed corridor on the 7.40 a.m. train to London.
Boris takes the (s)train and finds it’s no joke! In fact, it’s a DISGRACE!
Since train operator First Great Western introduced a new timetable in December, Henley branch line passengers have been complaining bitterly. After two months, two apologies from First Great Western and minor adjustments to the timetable, and with complaints still arriving on his desk, we asked our MP Boris Johnson to find out for himself how bad the situation is. On Monday he rode with the commuters from Henley to London. Here is his account of the journey.
Continue reading Boris joins Commuters
Check how your Council performed on the Audit Commission List here
Well done Keith Mitchell and his team…
CONSERVATIVES DELIVER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The announcement on 22 February by the Audit Commission of their most recent assessments of the performance of councils in England has been excellent news for Oxfordshire County Council. It becomes the only council in Oxfordshire to be given a four star or ‘excellent’ rating, putting it amongst the best performers in the country.
It’s also good news for Conservative-controlled councils in general and bad news for those controlled by the Liberal-Democrats.
Continue reading Oxfordshire County Council
Advance notice of an Adjournment Debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 07 February 2007. To watch this debate live you must enter via St Stephens Entrance and ask the policemen for the debate in Westminster Hall.
Motion for the Adjournment of the House in Westminster Hall
16:30-17:00 Mr Boris Johnson Deportations to Zimbabwe
Text of the debate to follow:
Continue reading Debate on ZIMBABWE
Ten years in, and still they can’t make the trains run on time
There comes a moment in the twilight of any regime when the mood of the mob suddenly changes. An ugliness descends, a ruthlessness, a fury. It is the essence of all great putsches that by then the rulers have become too arrogant or isolated to notice.
If the Tsar had been smart enough to go incognito around the soup kitchens of St Petersburg in 1917, he might have had an inkling of what was to hit him. If Margaret Thatcher had put a scarf over her head and sneaked up Whitehall to have a peek at the poll tax riots in Trafalgar Square in 1990, she might not have been defenestrated by her party.
And if Labour ministers had the guts to use the Monday morning service of any First Great Western train, they would discover why the mood of the British travelling public is poised to go critical.
Continue reading Train Service