Paddy Tipping is my MP


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My letter on Lebanon to Paddy Tipping

I have been appalled by the recent conflict in Lebanon. What particularly got my back up was the way the Government backed Israel 100%, which seemed neither fair nor helpful. In addition, it appears that the UK was used as a conduit for bombs which were then used to destroy Lebanese power stations, bridges and other vital items of civilian infrastructure, as well as killing anyone unlucky to be underneath it. Margaret Beckett's only problem with this was that the US hadn't filled out the correct paperwork.

I decided to write to Paddy Tipping. It didn't seem likely that much would come of it. He's a loyal minister, Tony Blair has made it pretty clear that he considers the bombing a vital part of the 'War against Terror', so what can you expect. On the other hand, if we the public sit back passively, we can't expect our democratic government to do what we'd like it to.

I wrote the following letter to Paddy Tipping

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Paddy Tipping raises the problem of China's contribution to climate change

Paddy Tipping asked the Deputy Prime Minister about the problem of China's contribution to global warming via coal fired power stations.

With the Chinese economy growing by 13 per cent. a year and reports that a new coal-fired power station is being opened every fortnight in China, it is a major source of carbon pollution. How confident is the Deputy Prime Minister about involving China in a successful outcome, post-Kyoto?

I'm glad that Paddy Tipping has raised this, because I think it's a big problem, and I don't share Prescott's confidence. China is desperate for energy and climate change may be even lower on their list of priorities than it is in the more affluent West.

Emissions from coal are a big problem, particularly as with oil running out, the Developed World is likely to turn to coal gasification as a major source of transport energy. Although it might be possible to capture the carbon produced, it seems likely that a lot of it wouldn't be, because it's more difficult and more expensive.

Unfortunately at the end of the debate, John Prescott reveals his (almost) total ignorance of the topic when he fails to understand the question about contraction and convergence. I agree with Martin Owen's comment "God help us!". It illustrates starkly how little the Government actually knows or cares about climate change.

Paddy Tipping queries use of MoD firing range

Paddy Tipping has received a Written Answer to his question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the 14 allocated days have been used in training for the firing of the 120 mm Challenger tanks at the Warcop range in each year since 2001.


He also asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what payments have been made to the Strathmore Estates for training use of their land within the Warcop byelawed area in each year since 2001.

To which he received the classic evasion:

Payments are made by this Department to the Strathmore Estate according to the licence agreement, and reviewed every three years. I am unable to provide the amounts as this would prejudice our position commercially with other landowners in the area with whom we have similar agreements.

This really irritates me - the government uses the 'commercially sensitive' shield to hide behind in all sort of areas, including far more important ones such as how much IT systems have cost or are going to cost the taxpayer. Part of ensuring a strong democracy is that we, the public, know what the government spend our money on. If they won't tell us, how can we decide if they are doing a good job or not?

As the Warcop range isn't in the Sherwood constituency, and Paddy Tipping has little interest in defense issues, presumably this is a rambling issue (Padding Tipping is Vice-President of the Rambling Association) - the Army have fenced off a good chunk of Cumbria, and don't appear to be actually doing anything with it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Paddy Tipping campaigns on another local traffic issue

The local paper Mansfield Today, reports on a local campaign in Kings Clipstone for traffic calming measures and in the longer term a new bypass.

It contains the following:

The campaign has already been backed by Sherwood MP Paddy Tipping, who has promised to work with residents to obtain traffic-calming measures and to put pressure on highways chiefs to reduce traffic using the busy road.

Sustainable Forestry in Africa

Paddy Tipping has received an answer to his Written Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to promote sustainable forestry in Africa.

The reply from Gareth Thomas MP was:

Poor governance and weak law enforcement hinder the achievement of sustainable forestry in Africa. Earlier this year we committed £11 million over the next four years to the Forest Governance Support Programme in Cameroon. In addition we committed £12 million over the next five years in support of Partnership Agreements with African countries under the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Communications from Paddy's Party

A long time ago (2004?) I clicked on a website link to submit a question for Tony Blair at conference. My question was "When are you going to release the Attorney General's advice on Iraq?". Not surprisingly it didn't make the shortlist, because the answer "When I'm forced to because it has been leaked." wasn't particularly on-message. What that did do was put me on to the Labour Party supporters' mailing list, which seems kind of bizarre given the obvious hostility of my question to the current Party Leader. Possible explanations include:

a) They were getting lots of hostile emails from Labour Party members, so it didn't necessarily mean I wasn't a loyal Party man.
b) They thought the spam equivalent of Party political broadcasts might win me round.
c) They didn't read my email at all, because it wasn't a genuine request for questions but a sham with the fringe benefit of building a mailing list.

My money's on c), but that's just a hunch.

The emails have an all-star line up, the first being from 'Tony Blair' himself. Today's offering was one from Patrick Stewart, the bald Star Trek captain. (I'm pretty suspicious that the 'author' is actually the person advertised). Would Patrick Stewart really be likely to use phrases like record investment in our schools and hospitals and '...with more Community Support Officers serving local communities'. Sounds more like a career conscious junior minister to me.

This has prompted me to dig back through the archives. The Jo Brand one sounds quite authentic in tone. There's a pretty serious howler in there though: 'A tenner to help keep the Tories out of government? It's cheaper than paying 15 per cent interest on your mortgage that's for sure.'

Jo believes that Tory policies are likely to make interest rates treble. Hmmm, I'd love to see the economic model that led her to that one, particularly given that they are now set by the Bank of England. When a sportsman extols the virtues of butter subsititute or a comedian praises a political party, you must remember that the area of expertise that made them famous has not necessarily equipped them for other areas.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

EDM 641 - Sustainable Communities Bill

Along with over 200 other MPs, Paddy Tipping has signed Early Day Motion 641 - Sustainable Communities Bill, which is supported by this campaign.

This is a cross party bill which is aimed at reducing the steady decline in local services - shops, bus routes, schools etc. and the attendant social and environmental problems that result from this. It also advocates more decentralisation of political powers.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Paddy Tipping is our MP

Although I've been a bit more diligent of late, I don't put as much content onto the site as I would like to. I have therefore decided to throw the site open to anyone in his Sherwood constituency, as it would benefit from some different angles and opinions.

If you would like to become a contributor, then please contact me and I will give you a password to create your own posts. This offer certainly extends to Paddy Tipping and anyone on his team, and also to other candidates/parties, although I would ask them to make clear their interest.

The only other condition is that you don't contribute from a position of anonymity. When I started the blog I didn't put my real name onto the site, but I subsequently decided that it wasn't very fair to lurk in the shadows and write posts, some of which were very critical, from a position of anonymity. He has to stick his head over the parapet and use his real identity, so I think that anyone posting on this site should do the same.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Badger Culling and Bovine Tuberculosis

In a recent Commons ,
question on testing cattle for TB
, Paddy Tipping encouraged the examination of other options to culling badgers (who carry the disease).
Bovine tuberculosis is an increasingly serious and costly problem. The focus so far has been on badger culling, but does the Minister accept that better farm biosecurity has an important role to play in reducing the incidence of the disease?

Badger culling is a very controversial issue and there is disagreement over its effectiveness. Many argue that only complete extermination (which would be very difficult, expensive and ethically dubious), would be effective, as partial culls can increase the spread of the disease by dispersing the surviving badgers.