David Burbage’s weblog

Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
  • Meta

Archive for June, 2011

Flowers In The Rain (RIP)

Posted by davidburbage on June 25, 2011

As a student at Imperial College, I was involved in the student radio station Imperial College Radio. [Other random alumni include Simon Singh, Hugh Southey and Jason Spyromilio ]. At the start of term, in my second year (this would be 1985) the Freshers Fair was opened by the wife of the rector, Lady Flowers.

There were a few showers around, and the radio station carried the opening of the Fair live from Queens Lawn. The first record to play after the speech – Flowers in the Rain. . . . . .

Baron Flowers (right), whom I lunched with once when George Walden visited us (the Conservative Society) as Higher Education Minister, was Rector for the first part of my time at Imperial. He was succeeded by Eric Ash (second from right), also pictured.

Brian Flowers died one year ago today. I still remember the tune . . . . .

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

Humble Pie?

Posted by davidburbage on June 24, 2011

It appears that good news does sell newspapers!

The Maidenhead Advertiser leads yesterday with a Maidenhead Town Centre Improving front page story. Excellent, it can be done!

However, all is not as it seems. In the sister paper, the Windsor Express it headlined with “5 Councillors get warning letters” for unpaid council tax!

I hope this investment in a good news headline will be sustained.

But, as Yoda might not have said, one swallow does a summer make not.

Posted in Conservative success, Council, General, Maidenhead | 1 Comment »

Getting positive press coverage

Posted by davidburbage on June 22, 2011

Got to reflect on the potential similarities between what happens in Aylesbury and Maidenhead!

I always tell people who complain to me that the press never headline on the good stuff, that it is – in general – negative stories that sell newspapers, whereas positive stories do not.

“Council Call Centre answers record levels of calls within 30 seconds” isn’t going to be front page news.

“Council messes up street lighting / school admissions / planning application” is always going to be more “interesting” . . . . .

 

Posted in Council | Leave a Comment »

Reform Conference on Localism

Posted by davidburbage on June 20, 2011

  Attended and spoke at the Reform conference on Localism last week.

  Held at the Canary Wharf offices of KPMG, it featured Eric Pickles as well as Caroline Flint.

 Speaking alongside Andrew Harper from Barnet and Steve Reed from Lambeth, the question that sticks most in my mind is one from someone who asked why the Government’s localism isn’t going “faster”.

  I pointed out that it takes an age for Parliamentary business to get from announcement to law – the localism bill is crawling its way through the Houses of Parliament right now.

 For example, whilst we announced the abolition of the Standards Board immediately after the election in 2010, in actuality the wretched quango survives and will be in business until sometime in 2012 – as per the CLG announcement

 . . . the Standards Board for England), will continue to function in a normal manner, considering, investigating and determining allegations of misconduct, until a fixed date (“the appointed day”), probably two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent

As this is likely to be late 2011, for a relatively straightforward change – just stopping doing something – it will have taken at least 18 months.

Also memorable was the community problems of guns and gangs facing Steve Reed ; somewhat different from the “leafy suburbs”. But that didn’t stop community groups and community action – also known as Big Society – from tackling these thorny issues.

For noticing the difference, I managed to get a name check from Caroline Flint !

Posted in Big Society, General | Leave a Comment »

The Wisdom of the Left

Posted by davidburbage on June 4, 2011

Here is an extract from a budget speech, given by a UK Group Leader in a 2011 council budget speech.

I’m pleased that we’ve got people in the gallery to listen to the debate. But the people I would like to see up there aren’t there.

I would like to see up there Mr Mayor some of London’s casino bankers here today to witness the havoc they are causing in our communities.

We may even have been able to persuade them to part with some of their million pound bonus to fill some of the potholes that are gonna be left unfilled, to help some of the vulnerable older people that are going to have more services than they will currently have, because of the bankers.

Let’s make no mistake about this, it was because of the bankers unregulated behaviour of playing the equivalent of roulette and losing, that has resulted in the significant cuts in public spending.

Clearly a Labour politician, ducking responsibility for the huge “structural” deficit, using both the politics of envy and the suggestion that it wasn’t at all the fault of the state spending but of activity in the private sector, making excuses for the cuts they are about to make.

This politician can be found here

http://www.kirklees.public-i.tv/site/player/pl_compact.php?a=53800&t=&m=wm&l=en_GB#the_data_area

As regular readers may have guessed, this is not a Labour politician I am highlighting, but a Liberal Democrat (Cllr Pinnock at 0:35:15) .

It is sad that none of the three main party speakers spotted that it was the overspending of central government that left the black hole – more money out than in – that resulted in the cuts. Sure, the financial sector squeeze and the credit crunch has resulted in recessionary pressures and tax revenues falling even further short of expenditure budgets, but the plain fact of the matter is that Gordon Brown and his maxing out of the public credit card caused the public spending situation we find ourselves in today.

The Liberal Democrat councillors in Kirklees need to get the basics right before indulging in standard left wing monotony in regretting that the size of the state – ie the amount of money forcibly taken from ordinary working peoples’ pockets – cannot be simply increased on a year by year basis.

On a related note, the curious thing from this budget debate was that the “opposition” appeared to be the 4th party Greens – as Kirklees is a hung Council, the necessity of gaining wider party agreement prior to the actual meeting was clear!

Posted in Council, Labour failings, Libdem Failings | 8 Comments »

15 Conservative gains – the best in the UK

Posted by davidburbage on June 1, 2011

We had previously been thinking that we were only the ‘equal’ most successful campaign result in the country – having calculated that we had gained 14 seats from 37 up to 51. However, we had forgotten that to compare like with like, we needed to use the 2007 seat totals with the 2011 seat totals, disregarding by-elections and defections.

As a result, we can honestly say that, when looking at our performance compared to 2007, we gained the most seats in the country – a grand total of 15.

We had had 36 councillors in 2007; the defection of Wilson Hendry last year boosted our numbers.

The increase from 36 to 51 was realised in 15 Conservative gains; our vote share went up from 52.3% to 58.1%; the LibDems fell from 36.6% to 25.9% and Labour increased from 3.5% to 9.7%. Others fell from 7.5% to 6%. LibDem deserters apparently split evenly between ourselves and Labour. Or, quite possibly, they didn’t turn up to vote. Overall, an 8% swing from LibDem to Conservative.

[Wealden and Vale of White Horse had 14 Conservative gains. Not bad chaps!]

Posted in Conservative success, Council, Libdem Failings | Leave a Comment »