My first blog since 1 January 2010 (after a long bout of various ailments which left me tired) and I find myself thinking about a news item on BBC1's East Midlands Today lunchtime regional news programme. The Tories who now control Nottinghamshire County Council have announced that there will be another 1,000 job cuts on top of the 500 already announced. The Tories claim that by reducing staff levels and making services more efficient they can save £200m. The Tories say that c
This change in Government thinking has taken over twenty years to achieve and Lenton has been at the centre of the campaign which finally resulted in what John Healey had to say on 27 January 2010. Not least among our local heroes are Dave Trimble, Dunkirk and Lenton's city councillor, and Maya Fletcher , who helped found Nottingham Action Group to work for controls on HMOs and student housing in Lenton and other student areas in Nottingham, and the other person who makes up my Lenton triumvirate — Alan Simpson, our retiring Labour MP. Together and with the help of a few dedicated City Council staff, as well as similar areas in other towns and cities, notably Leeds at the start, they have worked wonders. I salute them all and hope that Lenton, as a community, will acknowledge what they have achieved on our behalf.
I am sure that Nottingham City Council will want to exercise it new powers as soon as possible. The devil, of course, is in the detail. How will the new rules relate to existing HMOs and planning permissions? Can the rules be used to help undo some of the damage already done? I am sure all will become clear before too long. For now, let's just enjoy the moment and repeat out thanks to Dave, Maya and Alan, as well as all the others who have worked with them to bring this change about.
This is just the latest piece of good news from our Labour Government in the midst of the continuing economic gloom, which they (and the Tories) are responsible for insomuch as both supported a lightly regulated banking and finance sector. However, the Tory response is even more pro-big business than Brown and Darling's approach. At least Labour realise that this is the very time when you need a strong and active public sector, able to provide jobs and new developments (the new Nottingham tram routes, new schools and talk of other capital projects, like railway electrification and new public housing). This approach helps the private sector just as much as it helps the poor and vulnerable.
And what of the Tories? I began with a reference to their solution to economy's problems. Cuts now and more to come. A vote for a Tory in the forthcoming general election will be a vote in favour of punishing those not responsible for the mess the banks and their pals have created. You might wonder why no mention of the Liberals or the Greens. The former have a proven history of being opportunists who play to the fears of their audience and the latter, who have many policies I support, have done nothing in Lenton (nor have the Liberals). I hope the Green Party can get a few MPs elected. Of course, the voting system is unfair and needs changing and it is a blot on Labour's record that they failed to do anything about Roy Jenkins' proposals for voting reform in 1999, so we are stuck with what we have. Whatever, the system, I will be voting for Lilian Greenwood, Nottingham South's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.