Sunday, 21 December 2008

Steep fall in Conservative Party membership

A revealing story in today’ News of the World - Gone-servative Party - appears to show that David Cameron’s honeymoon is over. Mr Cameron has lost over 40,000 members of the Conservative Party since becoming leader. There is a long term decline in membership of all political parties but even taking this into account, to lose tens of thousands of members whilst projecting yourself as the “heir to Blair” is bound to attract comparision. When Labour were challenging the Conservatives in the mid-nineties, membership went up by more than 100,000.

Breckland Councillors' Pay Rise

Breckland Councillors pay set to rise again. See Thetford and Brandon article. Councillors allowances at present.... Breckland Council £4,950.00 Broadland Council £3,810.00 Great Yarmouth £3,483.00 Kings Lynn & WNBC £4,974.64 North Norfolk £3,906.96 Norwich £5,275.00 South Norfolk £4,350.00 TOTAL 335 £1,483,993.76 Councillors allowances are an interesting subject. I don't disagree that councillors should be paid an allowance. Most councillors attend a large number of official council meetings and other community meetings/events/activities/functions. However, there is no legal requirement for District Councillors to attend anymore than 1 meeting once every 6 months, this is what I, and many other people have issue with. Also, how can it be fair that a councillor in Breckland is paid an allowance of £4950 per year, and a Great Yarmouth councillor only gets £3,810? Also, the council's themselves can vote on how much they pay their Leader of the Council, Chairman of Committees etc. The total amount paid for 'special responsibilities' for a number of councils is shown below; Breckland Council £148,728.40 Kings Lynn & WNBC £89,655.54 North Norfolk £55,481.57 South Norfolk £38,715.00 Why should the 'leading' councillors of Breckland, get paid over 3 times as much for the equivalent in South Norfolk?

What's been happening?.....

It has been very busy over the past few weeks with lots going on! 1st Dec; Normal full day at work plus meeting of the Thetford Community Association / Ballpark group at 6pm at my office. 2nd; Had another meeting of the CDRP funding panel in Swaffham at 10am, debated a whole list of projects. The £4500 we requested for the Table Tennis Club at Abbey NC was approved, despite the Breckland Rep saying that Breckland Council did not support the bid, partly because they do not support projects which reward bad behaviour, which is not what the project is about at all. In the afternoon I attended a meeting regarding Pine Close shops and then led the Abbey Youth Club from 3.30pm - 8pm. 3rd; ANCHOR committee meeting at 4pm till 6.30pm then straight to Town Council Planning Committee for 7pm 4th; Had a coach trip to London as part of my business today, took 25 people to see Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia, went very well with some good feedback. Got to put more effort into promoting the business for the New Year and get the office properly set-up! 5th; Had a little lay-in! The helped deliver some of the newsletters for the Barnham Action Group. Thetford Sports & Social Club booked a half page advert which was mutually beneficial for the group as money coming in to help pay for printing and good publicity for the club. On Friday night I helped to man the ANCHOR fundraising stall at the Christmas Lights Switch-on, we managed to raise £50. 6th; Helped Abigal with an event in the Town Centre as part of META. We ran an ANCHOR stall again, selling tickets for the Christmas Hamper Raffle. Gary Winter was there sinking which went down very well, (pictures to follow). Managed to raise over £100 for ANCHOR today. 8th; Had the normal update / admin session with Tim Lovejoy at Fulmerston at 10am. Pine Close newsagents now closed and probably will be for some time. Helped out at the Charles Burrell Garden & Sculpture Project workshop from 6.30-8.30pm. Had 14 kids attend which was encouraging. 9th; Got ready during the day for the Barnham Action Group AGM, helped set out tables and chairs and set-up display boards. Displays included; CB Garden Project, Community Arts work, Pine Close shops, road traffic and parking, Ingleton Wood, Fulmerston Family Project and Thetford Toy Library. Event was well attended. 10th; Nothing special today, other than a Personell Committee meeting at Charles Burrell at 2.30pm 11th; Monthly STAG meeting at 10am then helped out at Bingo at ANC from 6.30pm 12th; Attended the Mayors annual Christmas Do for staff and councillors and former Mayors. Got to play 'old' games such as kerplunk etc. Was quite good fun! 13th; Had a bit of a lay-in in the morning then helped out at the Christmas Thanksgiving Service at the Abbey from 3.30pm. Was a weird event, but I think it pleased the people that attended. 15th; Met with Tim at 10am 16th; Led youth club from 3.30pm - 8pm 17th; Finance and Buildings Committee at Charles Burrell at 2.30pm, had a meeting at the Town Council offices to discuss Sports Provision in Thetford at 3.30pm, then a Staniforth Trust meeting at 6pm and Planning Committee at 7pm - lots of meetings today! 18th; Had the Christmas Quiz Night at the Abbey tonight, went well. My team won! Me, Colin Armes, Dennis & Yvonne Sully. Decided to donate out £50 prize money; £20 to the Thetford Labour Party, £20 back to ANCHOR and £10 to a lady called Mrs Pink who we had heard that the day before had been mugged at Bury Bus Station. Christmas Hamper Raffle was also drawn tonight, in total raised approximately £450 for ANCHOR. 19th; Attended the Keystone staff and tenants Christmas do from 2-4pm Saturday 20th; Had a lovely long lay in, then walked (!) to my office at Bury Road - Dad borrowed the car to drive to Dover to see Ricky before Christmas - got quite a bit of work done, then went clubbing in Norwich Saturday night, got in at 3.30am! eek Sunday 21st; A lay-in again! Then had a rest day, pottering around doing bits and pieces, oh - and wrapping Christmas presents! (and updated my blog which I've been lacking!) 22nd; Will be going to London with James, Jana and Mark for James's birthday. We've booked to go ice-skating at the Tower of London 23rd; Got a meeting with Tim and Elsie (BAG Treasurer) at 10am, then will be getting ready for the children's Christmas Party at the Abbey. Got over 50 kids booked and should be a very good night!!! Had a very useful meeting at 10am, met with representatives from Norfolk Community Foundation re: how to access money which they have available for community projects, I will certainly be encouraging groups to apply ASAP.