Tuesday, August 30, 2005

So much for the land of Edison, Feynman, Asimov , Watson and Hubble

Political Wire reports that a Pew Research Center Poll finds that 64 percent of Americans favour teaching creationism along with evolution in the public schools.
38 percent want schools to teach creationism instead of evolution.

On a more detailed question the response was:

"Life On Earth has
......existed in its present form since the beginning of time ....... 42 per cent
......evolved over time guided by a supreme being ....... 18 per cent
.....evolved over time through natural selection ....... 26 percent
.....evolved over time don't know how ........ 4 percent
.....don't know at all........ 10 percent

Well. That's 42 percent of the American public who don't seem to believe that dinosaurs existed long before mankind. Are they believers in the Bible, or simply in the Flintstones?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Beautiful Bank Holiday Rawreth

Bank Holiday Monday - the River Crouch, beautiful in sunshine. Posted by Picasa

The River Crouch is the dividing line between the Battlesbridge side (in Chelmsford Borough) on the left hand side, and the Rawreth side(in Rochford District) on the right hand side Posted by Picasa

A tank (seems to be from a re-enactment group) turns up outside "The Barge" at Battlesbridge. Posted by Picasa

Bank Holiday Monday in Rawreth - a Straw Man has suddenly appeared in one of the fields... Posted by Picasa

Advantages in Making Essex a Region in its own Right no. 1 :The Fire Service

There is a storm brewing over the Government's proposal to replace England's 46 Fire Control Centres with just 9 regional ones.
Essex would no longer have a control room - it would be looked after by a regional centre in Cambridge. The Fire Brigades Union are very concerned about this - in terms of their members' jobs, and in terms of running an effective service with local knowledge

I haven't looked about this in any depth yet. I don't assume that the Fire Brigades Union are always right . But my instincts are that these proposals are wrong, wrong, wrong. Another case of centralising for the sake of it.

Its a longstanding belief of mine that Essex is big enough, populated enough and coherent enough to be a region in its own right. If we were a region, we'd presumably keep our own centre.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Perfect Sunny Afternoon

Went out this afternoon delivering some Focus leaflets in one of the rural parts of our district ward. Ate a few sun-warmed blackberries, chatted to a few people, then saw the end of the cricket at my colleague Ron's house.

It's been great to see such an epic battle between two superb teams , who a) respect each other and their fans b) have tremendous talent and c) both deserve to win. Cricketers aren't angels, but make much better role models than most top footballers.

The nice thing about cricket , compared with football, is that it isn't just the richest club that wins...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Disappointing McCain

I've had a fair bit of respect for Senator John McCain. But not now he's come out in favour of teaching intelligent design. (Spotted this at Political Wire)

Depressing. Very.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Battling Barry Aspinell

When I became a council group leader back in the 90s, one of the first things I did was to visit the Brentwood Lib Dems to learn how they did things. I learned a lot in one evening, and incidentally met Barry Aspinell.

He's still battling away, and has been involved in a difficult social work issue that seems to have been upsetting for all concerned and devastating for the parents involved. It's highlighted here in the Daily Mail.

I don't know all the details on this case, so it would be foolish for me to comment on the rights and wrongs of it. Essex County Council put their point of view here.

But what I can say is that it's important for councillors to remember that they are there to be the residents' representative to the council - not the council's representative to the people. It's clear that Barry Aspinell hasn't forgotten that.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Can't Fight the Moonlight?

One of the advantages of working strange hours is that I get to listen to great radio. In fact my favourite shows on 5 Live and Radio 2 are all between midnight and 6 a.m. - Alex Lester , Janice Long, Mo Dutta and Up All Night.

Driving home tonight I heard Mo Dutta play the excellent "I Drove All Night" sung by Roy Orbison, and then LeAnn Rimes sing "Can't Fight the Moonlight". An encouraging omen for this blog, I hope.

Meanwhile, it's been revealed that our neighbouring ....

... Southend-On-Sea Borough Council spent more than £1,700,000 last year on consultants fees, which seems excessive, to say the least.
The story is covered in depth in the Southend Evening Echo. It's good to see their political reporter Geoff Percival being given adequate space for once. I was also pleased that opposition Lib Dem councillors Peter Wexham and Graham Longley got good coverage.
The implications for the council where I live is that if we had been absorbed by Southend a few years ago , local services in Rayleigh and Rochford might have been cut to pay for stuff like this.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I thought MY council had financial problems but this is dreadful...

The 11,000 residents of Galion, Ohio, seem to be particularly nice people.
But they now have a big problem, after their finance director embezzled at least $87,000 and through mismanagement left the town about $11 million in debt. Civic savings are having to be made by such means of selling police cars, and local utility charges have had to be increased.
The wretched man himself, 51, tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head, has survived, but blind, and is now facing a possible 50 year prison term. The explanation he has given for this is credit card problems and gambling debts.
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

I write this blog in a private capacity , but just in case I mention any elections here is a Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Ron Oatham, 8 Brixham Close , Rayleigh Essex on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 8 Brixham Close.