Thursday, August 16, 2012
Now I have a very narrow experience of travelling by Virgin. In the past 5 years I have used them once or twice a year and generally I travel off-peak and buy my tickets well in advance. I must admit I also travel first class because the service has been great. In the times that I have travelled with Virgin, I have never once experienced a problem.
The Virgin experience is not reciprocated elsewhere on the train network. I have recently booked tickets (first class advance) for Edinburgh travelling using East Coast Trains. East Coast Trains have only just, within the last year, provided a full complementary menu to its first class customers. And as of yet, they do not allow first advance ticket holders to use their First Class Lounges, unlike Virgin.
Looking on First Great Western website, I can see where they may well end up making the savings they need to make in order to cover their commitments to the Department of Transport. The complimentary food is often less than Virgin offers and you have to pay extra by ordering from 'Express Café'. Also they do not have anyone providing food and drink at weekends. Instead the customers have to travel to the cafe to pick up their complementary food and drinks.
So on the whole Virgin, to me as a non-regular first class advance ticket traveller, seems to offer a service better than their competitors. But like most things, only time will tell.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I was fortunate to attend 5 evenings of athletics and 1 afternoon at the Canoe Slalom and the volunteers, police and members of our armed forces were my heroes.
With the closing ceremony a few hours away and the opening ceremony of the para-olympics a couple of weeks away, it feels like it is half time of a cup final. I simply can't wait until the para-olympics!
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
The Daily Telegraph reports that 'Aberdeenshire in Scotland has more gold medals than Australia'. Whilst the BBC is reporting that Yorkshire would also have more medals than the Aussies. Scottish musician David Berry also made the point of where Scotland would be if they were independent in a tweet. Searching the web further and you see this post on Facebook also looks at the medal table if Scotland was independent.
Is it really that wrong that I explore the tables from an British point of view without Scotland?
I find it outrageous that I am labelled a bigot for exploring the subject. Is it because I am an Englishman? If I was Scottish would I have been labelled differently? Or is it that some sour faced Scots like the idea of independence for Scotland, providing the rest of the UK fails?
Whatever the reasons for these comments (remember in the post I did not say that Scotland should leave the United Kingdom), are these same people calling the BBC, Telegraph and David Berry bigots?
Monday, August 06, 2012
I do not share with Nick Clegg's argument that Governments can focus on more than one thing. The country has slipped into recession once again and all our leaders' energies must be focused on turning that situation around. I think Alex Salmond has played a blinder by timetabling the Scottish Independence Referendum later in the electoral cycle.
I also think that we are beginning to look like a fringe party with a set agenda on constitutional reform. A bit like the Green Party, but yellow.
So if the Lib Dems lose another constitution reform, what shall we ask for in return. That is easy; abolish Tuition Fees. Not only will this be prove to the country that we stick by our promises, but will relieve pressure on hard-hit families at a time everyone's salaries are squeezed. It will inspire young people to better themselves, raising the aspirations of a generation. It will also reverse a culture, which we have seen in our banks, where people accept personal debt is part of their lives.
I bet there are a lot of Lib Dems MPs who wish now they voted against increasing tuition fees and breaking their promise to Lib Dem voters. I bet they wished they rebelled as it is beginning to be seen that teh Conservatives are getting their own way.
The good news is the United Kingdom (without any Scottish athletes) would still be in third place in the table, with 11 gold medals. However, this is only 1 more than Korea.
Scotland on the other hand would definitely have 1 gold medal (Andy Murray), placing them joint 31 with Croatia and Switzerland because they also achieved 1 silver (Michael Jamieson)
There are of course a number of other factors that need to be taken into account. As a majority of the money comes from the National Lottery would Scotland be able to support their athletes to the same standard as the rest of the UK? Also would the the rest of the UK be able to replace the Scottish members in the team golds with equally as good athletes meaning they would rack up the same amount of medals.
So taking this all to account it looks highly unlikely that the rest of the UK isn't really going to be effected by Scotland becoming an Independent Country.
*For this very unscientific post I have awarded all the gold medals won by a Scottish individual to Scotland and made the assumption that the teams with a Scottish member in would not have achieved gold if they were replaced with an athlete from one of the UK's three other countries.
Saturday, June 09, 2012
However, there is one point that I can't seem to answer. I am sure I have read it somewhere, but is there some research somewhere that says those of us who have gone through university end up contributing more through taxes in our working life than those who don't.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Can you spare 1 minute to help my school win £10,000? Over 50 children in my school have taken part in the 'Fairy Schools Challenge'. They have designed a plate of Good Wishes for Team GB in the Olympics.
- Visit the Fairy Schools Challenge website.
- Click 'Vote Now'
- Search for 'Leverton'
- Choose one of our plates (the one you like best)
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
With the fuss surrounding the timing of Scottish Independence Referendum, it makes me wonder whether the party has missed the mood of the public once again. Either that or our leaders were very short sighted in the first place.
When devolution was proposed, one obvious question was not answered. What to do with
As a proud Englishman I feel outraged that Welsh and Scottish MPs can enforce laws on the people of
I believe that an English Parliament is the only way ahead, allowing English people to vote for parliamentarians to make decisions that directly affect them; on health, on education and on economic development.
We should have taken a bold stance in 1997, setting up a parliament in each of the countries to allow local representatives to make decisions on local issues. Then one Federal Government to make decisions that affect the
Voters know exactly what they want. They often vote for one party to represent them locally, yet another nationally.
Without empowerment for the people
Sunday, May 08, 2011
I must admit I was very disappointed with how the campaign was run, especially as there wasn't a free post.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Now as a proud Englishman I feel the previous Labour government and current coalition governement are discriminating against me. On key areas of policy, like health, education and housing, Welsh people, Scottish people and and residents of Northern Ireland can vote for the their fellow men/women to lead on these areas. Yet I do not have the same opportunity. Instead decisions on these areas are made in Westminster, by all members, whether representing English, Scottish, Welsh etc. How unfair is this?
So with direct law making powers in three or the four nations of the United Kingdom, it's time for English people to be on a level playing field and an English Parliament is established.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I for one think 2012, along with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, will be a great year for Britain and I am looking forward to spending everyday supporting the Olympics and Para Olympics during my summer holiday.
When we won the bid, we promise legacy. We promised that from the birth of the Olympic Stadium, Britain will have a world class athletics venue. To be honest it wasn't until I visited the Barcelona Olympic Stadium last year that I truly realised the need for a stadium athletics can call their home in Britain.
It was during that time that I realised that Britain had never hosted a European Championships. I have subsequently found out that we have never hosted a World Championships. Two major championships, the first where we did so well last year, that help to inspire our athletes to do their best, to become the top of the game. And we have never hosted them.
So now that the legacy of athletics is secured we must get behind West Ham to ensure that legacy is fulfilled. We need to put pressure on the government, Mayor of London and British Athletics Associations to bid to stage this major events and bring them to London. Otherwise the need for an athletics stadium will disappear and football may well take it over once and for all.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
History tells you that no-one is indispensable and Vince Cable's latest opinions are not so much a problem for the coalition but more of a problem with his own credibility.
But more importantly do these latest revelations about Vince Cable open the door for David Laws to return to front line politics? Only time will tell.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
With this further concession, which only has an impact if salaries do not rise in line of inflation, then surely it is time to prospone Thursday's vote and spend longer in coming up with a policy that will have less of an impact on the future of higher education and the poorer in our society.
The agreement states:
We will await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding, and will judge its proposals against the need to:
– increase social mobility;
– take into account the impact on student debt;
– ensure a properly funded university sector;
– improve the quality of teaching;
– advance scholarship; and
– attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
So on receipt of the Browne report Vince Cable and his team could quite easily have looked at the report and drawn up their own proposals. Especially as the recommendations don't take into account the impact on student debt, after all it increases the amount of debt our young will get into.
The proposals also will have an impact on the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and the government must know this. Why else would they rush to announce proposals to give students from poorer backgrounds a year free tuition?
So the coalition did not have to follow the road it has taken. Our MPs should now uphold the pledge they made and vote with a clear conscience against the rise when it is debated on Thursday.
Monday, December 06, 2010
My main concern was that competition made lead to the regulated service being withdrawn and then prices will rise whilst the quality of service would be fall. I have since found out that the service I use, run by Arriva Buses, in fact are not regulated.
Well this week Arriva is fighting back with new ticket prices, with a range of weekly and monthly tickets that works out to be less than a 5 x single fares.
So competition does seem to be making things better for the consumer, although spreading the services throughout the day more evenly and making tickets transferable between the services would also be welcome.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
This latest development surely it proves that two things. The first that the voice of Lib Dem members/ voters, whether it is through the numerous petitions set up, letters written or the falling numbers in the polls, are started to be heard. And secondly, that there is unease amongst the coalition ahead of Thursday's vote.
Surely with such uncertainty, it is best for the vote to be cancelled on Thursday and the government to reconsider its plans and wait until they have a well-thought out policy before bringing it to the House of Commons.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
This is great news for everyone who has put pressure on the MP to do the right thing and honour the pledge he made prior to the general election. When Vince Cable announced the policy in October, I decided to stay with the only party I have been a member of and fight this insane policy. I am pleased that the petition I set up has contributed to changing the mind of one of our MPs.
Now that Simon has come out publicly we have under a week to change the mind of many others, so please do sign the petition.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
As one Labour MP pointed out, the Liberal Democrats fought the election with a clear plan to abolish tuition fees. Yes, the Lib Dems did not win an outright majority, but supporting a rise is a major u-turn that shouldn't be accepted. Our MPs have got to have some backbone and vote against it, not to abstain.
As Vince sat down he was patted on the back by a number of Conservative MPs. Our ministers must remember that they are Lib Dems in a coalition government not a Conservative in a Conservative government.
Well last week I managed to again appear in Lib Dem Voice's Golden Dozen, the forth time in as many weeks. This time I was concerned that the voice of the ordinary members of the Lib Dem is worth nothing if the leadership ignores it once they get into government. You can read the blog post here.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I am a broad supporter of the coalition. I believe it was necessary to have a stable government at a time when the economic situation in the country was gloomy, to the say the least. I know that coalition is about drawing up government proposals that both parties will not be completely happy with, but it just seems to me that pushing AV through parliament means that we have lost our bargaining power on other policy areas.
I remember that weekend after the election and welcoming the protesters visiting the Lib Dem HQ and Nick Clegg speaking to them, but looking back in hindsight this my have given the impression that the Lib Dems stood for only one thing, proportionate representation. This is not worthy of a party that is looking to have a large say on how the country is run.
I am suggesting rather than each party trying to get a complete policy through eg The Conservatives get 'Free Schools' in turn for us getting all our constitutional reform bills through, as a party we should have bargained policy by policy. This would mean we would get reform of the House of Lords, but wouldn't get a referendum on the Alternative Vote.
In turn we could have negotiated a much better settlement for Higher Education, that reflects more the Liberal Democrat policy of abolishing tuition fees. We may not have got the abolished, but maybe the current cap would stay in place and upfront fees would be abolished.
This way true Liberal Democrat policies in each area would be introduced and the party would not be seen as a one trick pony whose only interest in government is to get fairer votes.