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January 20, 2008

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Roger Thomas

Your blog is head of the news.

Had Breakfast News 24 on pre 7,00am Clegg is on in some Youtube type out take gaff programme. can't be more specific only been awake minutes and missed start. It was Newswatch News 24 if you catch it later.

Then at 9.00 am Cable is in the studio doing banking, Rock and economics.

Is there another leadership debate brewing?

Roger Thomas

I think Vince Cable is very good what bit I have seen of him, he was on a late night comedy show in the week and was quite happy.

He once wrote to me about my work on the environment and acknowledged it, I never even asked him. So he is OK by me. At least he took the trouble. But that's another story......

paulflynn

EU institutions are democratic and we have one of the strongest voice.

In the last century, our crises were mainly between Europe's nation states. This century's are global and can be tackle only by working together. How can the UK alone tackle global warming, world poverty, disease and civil wars? Europe should speak with one voice when dealing with China, India, and the CIS. the only strong candidate for president is Tony Blair.

paulflynn

The crises of the last century were often conflicts with Euro nation states.
This century's will be all global, requiring nations to work together. We cannot solve the challenges of globals warming, disease, poverty or civil wars acting alone.

The only serious candidate for European President at the moment is Tony Blair. In dealing with China, India and the CIS we need Europe speaking with a single voice.

Adam

I forgot the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x71IN...Referendum.htm

The reason I think it is a bad idea is that we are losing more and more powers. I get the impression that we are being disenfranchised.

It seems to me that those who have power are becoming more remote from us democratically. Tony Benn says in this video that the new treaty will create a new EU president, Foreign minister, and foreign embassies.

We where in fact promised a referendum. I think the people should make a decision on this one. Changing the name of the treaty, and a few amendments, makes it seem like political maneuvering.

paulflynn

We have rarely had referendums for good reasons. About dozen people have contacted me, I have replied to them asking which part of treaty concerns them. There have no answers. They are against it because the papers have said so. Do we want rule by media? The majority of the elected MPs on Monday was an overwhelming one. There is no stronger case for a vote this time than there was on three previous occasions. John Redwood said the Amsterdam treaty would '
destroy Britain.'

Adam

Interviews here with Millibands and Benns.

I agree with Tony Benn that the new EU Trety is 'theft of British rights'.

And that the new treaty, is about 'destroying our sovereignty'.

The people want a referendum, but parliament is too afraid to give them it, and are acting undemocratically, and in my view fraudulently in denying the people the referendum that they where promised..

Adam

Interviews here with Millibands and Benns.

I agree with Tony Benn that the new EU Trety is 'theft of British rights'.

And that the new treaty, is about 'destroying our sovereignty'.

The people want a referendum, but parliament is too afraid to give them it, and are acting undemocratically, and in my view fraudulently in denying the people the referendum that they where promised..

paulflynn

I do know who 'we' are in your letter Martyn. I presume it's Age Concern or one of the otehr charities.

You are singularly failed to answer my question. According to the BBC ' Mr Clegg warned that an estimated 25,000 people were predicted to die from the cold this winter. '

You have proved the point. They die from disease, from road accidents, from desolation but NOT FROM COLD. Age Concern has been repeating this absurdity for years.

This Government has done more than all other Governments put together to improve home insulation to end fuel poverty.

Why not acknowledge that - and the ask for more on the basis of truth not hyperbole.

Martyn

Paul

Why didn't you write to Nick Clegg to justify his comments, rather than an unnamed charity?

As it happens I can justify the figures. They are Government recorded "excess winter deaths" and you are right to say there are about 75 of them in your constituency - as there are in every constituency.

They are measured by recording the number of deaths in the winter months (defined as Dec, Jan, Fen and Mar) and comparing them to the average number of deaths in the four months before and after this period. In the UK the death rate increases during this cold periods by 20-30,000 deaths each year.

Now anyone who claims these deaths are people freezing to death or getting hypothermia is exagerrating. A small number of them will be road deaths, which increase because the roads are dark, and this is the icy period for example.

But there is plenty of evidence that a large number of these deaths result from conditions like pneaumonia, bronchitis, heart disease and so on being excerbated by cold weather. Elderly people are even more likely to have a fall when they are cold.

Some of this - as with road deaths - is very hard to unavoid. People have to go out, and will get colder in winter than in summer. But here is the shock - the UK sees the death rate increase up to 30% over the cold spells, Germany and Sweden see increases closer to 10%. The big difference is housing quality.

In other words, if we properly insulated and heated homes we could prevent perhaps 2/3rd of those deaths - 50 in Newport.

And why can't anyone give you the names of these people? Because we don't know who they are. Your health authority would be able to show you that more people die of heart attacks in winter than in summer. But they couldn't say that it was Mr Jones who died as a result of the colder weather, while Mrs Jones was probably going to pass away anyway.

Hope this helps explain it - and hope you will not be so dismissive next time. Fuel Poverty is a scandal, the UK is almost uniquely bad because our housing is so poor, and the solution - as well as helping people keep warm and healthy - would help us be more efficient with energy and so also contribute to tackling climate change.

Martyn

Adam

I meant Richard not Tony.

Adam

Tony, I have no reason to doubt the video. Not being able to speak Afghan, I can think of no other likely explanation for the clearly violent deaths of those children.

However, the figures from the Washington post article are clear enough. 300 civilian casulaities from airstrikes. 3572 airstrikes last year. Most of these being in the Helmand province.

paulflynn

I think you are new to this blog Tony.What mag?

Richard

Adam

How do you know that the video is anything to do with the aftermath of NATO bombing? look up the word "credulous".

Tony

And on another matter re policing
Just got the mag. with 'Ourbobby' described - super stuff 'cos I've never actually seen the guy out and about in the village so it will be nice to know what they look like so I can recognise him if they were ever to walk the beat..
And then I looked at the stats presented :
Clear up rates overall - 24% - up by 2,2%
(are you sure that performance related pay is a good idea? not on these figures .. )
Burglary clear up decreased to 13%
Vehicle crime clearup rates decreased to 7.8% !!
The one that did improve was violent crime clearup - to 50% , just half

And then just to motivate the police they get their 1.9% pay rise

I wish I could have seen the video of that meeting where that decision was taken ..

Tony

I noticed that GB is said to be pushing for 42 days to be the maximum dentention before charge period. No convincing case has been presented for this increase but the Great Ignorer just keeps clunking along. Ah well, its only for one parliament - well it will be if he stays.

paulflynn

Thanks Adam for that valuable contribution. I have been travelling to Strasbourg by train today and could not get back earlier.
I have long shared your despair about Helmand. There is no hope with Des Browne who is completley deluded. There is a chance with Milliband who recognises the impossibility of military victory and drug control.
I will keep working on him.

paulflynn

Thanks Chris. He is not the answers to all our prayers Chris - only some of them

Adam

A report by the Washington Post, ‘U.S. Boosts Its Use of Airstrikes In Iraq’ 17th Jan. It also contains information on Afghanistan
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/16/AR2008011604148.html

‘The U.S.-led coalition dropped 1,447 bombs on Iraq last year, an average of nearly four a day, compared with 229 bombs, or about four each week, in 2006.’
‘…In Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO bombings picked up in the middle of 2006, coalition airstrikes reached 3,572 last year, more than double the total for 2006 and more than 20 times the number in 2005. Many of the strikes have targeted the Taliban and other extremists in Helmand province, and military officials said they have been able to use air power to support small Special Forces units that engage the enemy in remote locations.
Human rights groups estimate that Afghan civilian casualties caused by airstrikes tripled to more than 300 in 2007, fueling fears that such aggressive bombardment could be catastrophic for the innocent.‘

Adam

Here is a video of the aftermath of a NATO air attack in Helmand.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1332529811306781463

Google Video - US-NATO Massacre of Afghan Children in Helmand Province Afghnaistan.

I despair of NATOs bloody tactics. It is positive to know at least that Miliband recognises the problems and seems able to disagree with the US. A complete overhaul of policy and focus is needed.

Chris

My concern with DM goes back to when I once asked him at Q&A (when he was at Defra) if he would ban snares.
His reply was 'whats the alternative?' He had no intention of banning barbaric medieval snares and had no answer, he then went on tell us all that he had the answer to climate change and extolling nuclear power. No answer to a primitive cruel device but.....

Adam

I recall Milliband's speech at the Labour Party conference. He seemed to aknowledge that Afghanistan is of the highest priority in terms of Britain's foreign policy, and that we where not doing a good enough job.
Good to hear that confirmed Mr.Flynn.

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