Posted Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 17:38
The hardest thing I have had to do today is fill out an eleven page form for my BT broadband. This is a joke. I am tearing my hair out. I have no mobile signal at my new home and I have missed two national interviews as a result of being out of contact. Apologies to Vanessa Feltz on Radio 5 live yesterday!
BT have just told me it will now take a further ten days to have the line and broadband put in – I just don’t believe this!!!!!
We are debating the Offender Management Bill today. Tony Blair is right on with this one. The probation service needs to be opened up with greater input from the voluntary and private sector, if not least because it doesn’t work as it is and it absolutley should do!
How it works is like this: Tony has an idea – the idea is drafted into a Bill which, as with the Education and Inspections Bill, doesn’t quite deliver what he wants it to. This is how the Labour party have dealt with a Prime Minister they believe to be a closet Tory.
Even if we agree with the principle, how are we going to vote for a Bill which doesn’t deliver what its supposed to?
So tonight, the Labour rebels will vote against the Bill because they want the probation service to remain a closed shop and in the control of unions. I have no idea which way we are going to vote – do we vote aye because we agree with the principle or no because the Bill, in the form it takes, doesn’t deliver?
A conundrum, which I am quite sure a friendly nudge on the elbow will help me resolve in a minute when the division bell goes!
Posted Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 10:01
I usually attend Business Questions on a Thursday - as I have said on this blog before, I like Jack Straw, I think he is a decent man – and I almost always manage to get a question in.
Last Thursday Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, one of Blair’s closest aides mentioned during his weekly account in the House of Commons that I was not in my usual place, and then quoted, at length, from my blog.
Excuse me, but shouldn’t he be doing more important things than reading my blog? Like running the country or something!
Needless to say, my whip was mad!! Alas, I have no idea what it is like to be in the whips good books, so long has it been!
I joined a group of ten women Conservative candidates for dinner last night - a fun evening. Our new lot are very intelligent, fiesty, principled and gorgeous.
I had to do to do the usual move a few places inbetween courses thing. The last time I did that was at a party fundraiser, just before David became leader. I was sat on a table with ten businessmen. On my last musical chairs shift, as I sat down, the man I sat next to introduced himself by saying "so Nadine, tell me, what do you prefer, sex or politics" I replied -"sex of course, but unlike you, I prefer it with somone else".
The Adam Boulton Show
Posted Monday, 26 February 2007 at 09:36
The Adam Boulton show was a learning curve. I didn't know, never having done a paper review before, that I was supposed to pick a list of articles I wanted to talk about from the Sunday papers. So hello, staff, why did nobody tell me this?!
I got the papers at seven and read every one back to front. Sky sent a car for me and I read all the way from Woburn to Islington - when I got to the studio I was as sick as a dog.
I was sure that what would happen was that we would sit down with Adam Boulton and he would spring a couple of articles on us out if the Blue, and therefore I needed to be well prepared for the sneakiness of the man!
A strong coffee in make up sorted out the sickness and then about 10 minutes before we were due to go on they came and asked me which stories I had chosen? Whaaaat? If I had known that I would have chosen three and have planned what I was going to say rather than winging it on the hoof in the rather clumsy way I did.
The other guests were interesting, especially Michael Cockerell who has made a film about Tony Blair, second part to be filmed this week. He told me he read my blog - I said "you read my blog", this man is a very distinguished journalist, he said "Nadine, we all read your blog" - flip!
Apologies to Peter Diapre (The Political Producer for Sky News) hope I didn't let you down too much - I will know what I'm doing next time - if there ever is next time!
Amelia and Adam Boulton - again!
Posted Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 08:44
Isn't she lovely, isn't she wonderfull, isn't she precious, less than one minute old
The words of Stevie Wonder, but the thoughts of Amelia's parents I am sure the minute that beautiful little girl who was born at twenty two weeks gestation arrived four months ago. I take my Bill to remove the upper limit for abortion down from 24 weeks to 20 back to the chamber on the 23rd of March. If for one moment I needed an extra push or a little encouragement to help me along the way - it came - and it was called Amelia.
I can't believe what god has done, through us he's given life to one, but isn't she lovely - made from love.
On a completley different note, I am reviewing the papers on the Adam Boulton show on Sunday. I have never done that before, I hope he knows what he's doing! I am only his number nine in terms of his most fanciable MPs - maybe the other eight were busy!!
Lunch With David Cameron
Posted Friday, 23 February 2007 at 09:57
David Cameron sometimes joins us for lunch. Yesterday I mentioned the syncophancy which takes place here on the grandest scale - here's an example.
Ed Vaizey was sat at the lunch table and I was stood opposite him leaning on the back of my chair chatting to Ed. DC swept into the room like a whirlwind - he does that - he walks twice as fast as anyone else I know, his aides 'bustle' behind him attempting to keep up. I once saw a character drawing of a stick thin Lowryesque woman walking, leaning forward into the wind. She had hold of two young children by the hand who flew out behind her, their feet off the floor, hurtling through the air in her wake. Every time DC walks past with his staff that picture skittles across my mind
Anyway, our leader walked in and swept towards me, my seat was the only one vacant so I said “here, take my seat” and walked around towards Ed to continue our conversation, happy to give up my place at the table in order to carry on chatting to Ed. Another MP rose from the table and said “here Nadine I am going now, you take my seat” which was next to Ed. What foillowed was comical.
As I took my first step towards the seat, one of my intake came in throught the door, like a great white he fixed his stare on his prey, my new seat, opposite David, and charged at a rate of knots, I stood and watched with pity and amusement, just as he got tantilisingingly close I took the fatal last step and sat down. Just to rub it in further - I started chatting to David in an animated fashion.
So funny - the great whites crestfallen face was such a picture! He fleetingly bared his teeth at me as he snarled, circled once, and then glided away.
Fact is, I know that David knows who the creeps are, you can see it in his eyes. His face doesn't really change when MPs salivate and fawn at his feet and talk too much and make innane comments, but his eyes do. Which is just as well - he swims in shark infested waters.
BT are driving me insane - my broadband isn't sorted in my new house yet so I am doing this from a Blackberry, please excuse spellings, grammar etc! Busy day in the constituency today, but I know it will be the best day of my week!
Posted Thursday, 22 February 2007 at 10:18
Every now and then I get a text message from one of my girls which will say 'don't go to work today mum' it will be followed by, 'because I had a strange dream' or 'I have a funny feeling' or something along those lines. My girls are convinced that the Palace of Westminster is the most dangerous place in the world to work and that it must be the number one target on any terrorist's hit list. I always text back OK I won't, but of course I do. Because the PM was making his troops withdrawal statement, yesterday was one of those days.
An ex army officer MP and I were walking through the members lobby discussing the likelyhood of a 9.11 style attack. He reckons that there are scrambler aircraft ready to intercept any hijacked aitcraft which would try to hit the Palace and that 9.11 would never happen again. All we really have to worry about are bombs, chemicals, and anthrax he said. That made me feel a whole lot better! I won't pass that onto the girls. It did make me think though - I'm just an ordinary footsoldier MP. What kind of text messages do Tony and Cherie get from their children.? If my children occasionally worry about my safety, where on the scale of 'giving your parents longevity a second thought' do the Blair children sit? Whatever text messages the PM does get from his children he doesn't have the luxury of my 'ok I won't'.
As I drove out of the Palace last night two unmarked police cars drove in with blue lights flashing under the radiator grill. They were probably escorting some dignitary or other - for the first time since I have been here, the sight of police cars hurtling through the gates sent a shiver down my spine.
James 'bonkers' Burrowes!
Posted Wednesday, 21 February 2007 at 15:52
MPs have complained that they are not being shown enough respect by the House of Commons staff.
I have a rule in life, it goes like this – the nicer you are to people, the nicer they are back to you.
I apply this rule in the Palace, just like I do everywhere; the staff are always exceptionally nice to me, no complaints here!
The House of Commons is a place where creeps always prosper. If you think you may have witnessed creeping on some scale in the past, believe me, you ain’t seen nothing like what goes on here!
I don’t do creeping. I come over all funny if I try. I feel as though I am going to choke, like the hand of some long dead ancestor who fought for workers’ rights is grabbing me around the throat and throttling me.
I wonder if it goes like this, those who creep, have problems with the staff, those who don’t – don’t!
David Burrowes, the lovely and always happy MP for Enfield Southgate and his wife are expecting baby number 6!!! David and I sometimes chat in the lobby during voting and he is always entertaining – never so entertaining as he was last night though! I was riveted to the green bench whilst he regaled me with the latest antics of Dougal Burrowes, his little boy, (no 3 in descending order).
Dougal has a pet lizard, it’s called James ‘bonkers’ Burrowes. In James’ cage, to keep him company, was a rather frisky, in the true adult sense of the word, fully grown, rather large, gender challenged, sexually frustrated cricket.
The cricket made many advances to the lizard, but all to no avail, and eventualy, the cricket decided to just go for it, and he did, went for it, literally. Having navigated his way onto the lizard, (gosh I don’t know how to put this delicately but I am sure you get the picture), and just as he reached the point of no return, the lizard turned around opened his mouth and ate him in one – whilst Dougal and David watched as spectators and looked at each other in some surprise. Surprise because although a predator, this had up until now, been one very lazy and laid back lizard.
Who said the female of the species was more deadly than the male? What lesson did Dougal learn from this tableau? Better than any he will get in a PHSE lesson in school I reckon!
Just not cricket eh?
Posted Monday, 19 February 2007 at 17:16
The Daily Mirror printed some tosh about Cornerstone today .
Just for the record, I don’t want to see the return of grammar schools but I do want to see streaming and setting. Every school should be as good as a grammar school. If anyone can answer the following two questions with any degree of conviction, I may change my position:
a) How do you tell an 11 year old that they are a failure when they don’t pass the 11+ or equivalent?
b) If an 11 year old doesn’t make it to a grammar school what is the alternative?
Answer to a - you can’t, not with any degree of success anyway because the message is – you failed, but lots of your mates passed, therefore you are pants.
Answer to b - a huge amount of money to pay for private education, or the real alternative which is a massive secondary modernesque school full of all the other kids who now have low self esteem.
No, the days of social segregation have gone for good. What we should be concentrating on is using the grammar schools which exist today, and which all provide an excellent holistic education, as models upon which to fashion every school in the country in the future.
Posted Sunday, 18 February 2007 at 21:42
For some reason I can't get the comments loaded onto the blogs from my Blackberry - sorry! Wil be rectified Monday
Posted Sunday, 18 February 2007 at 12:31
I have cut an article out of this mornings Times, ‘Factory life of organic chickens’ and stuck it onto the top of the packing case marked ‘Philippa’s bedroom’.
My daughter has given me hell for years with regard to what she will and won’t eat. I have suffered verbal onslaught if I have ever dared to buy eggs which are not free range - or heaven help me if I ever dashed into a supermarket and flew out again with a non organic chicken under my arm!
Fact is, I have never been entirely happy that supermarkets lived up to the ‘organic’ brand. I have always known that food labelling in this country is not what it should be – and you don’t have to be farmer Ted to know that if a chicken is truly organic then the price is going to be pretty high, nothing like what you pay in supermarkets.
I hope we see more articles in the media like this one. Supermarkets need to be more honest, food needs to be labelled accurately and then we the consumers can make informed choices. If I, like everyone else, knew that what I was buying was truly organic, I would pay it.
Never again will my daughter be able to wave a chicken leg in my face again and say “see how thin that bone is – it’s because the poor chicken couldn’t stand up in it's cage”, with any degree of confidence, which is a shame. It appears that organic, as we know it, may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
I think it’s time to ask the leader of the house for a debate on organic labelling.
This is the last day of packing. Yesterday was an awful day which just got worse as it went on.
Last night I was in the house on my own feeling pretty miserable, tired, dusty and down. Suddenly an angel walked in through the front door, carrying a bottle of Rioja, two wine glasses, and a big bag of crisps.
We couldn’t find the cork screw. We did find a screwdriver and dug out the top of the cork and then pushed the remainder in and held it in the bottle as we poured out the wine! We sat on the two remaining un-wrapped comfy chairs and laughed, in my case the semi hysterical laughter of exhaustion, and drank beautiful red wine full of cork droppings – it was bliss.
The essence of the man.
Posted Saturday, 17 February 2007 at 09:48
"If it comes to a collision between our wealth as a nation and the wellbeing of families - I choose families."
They are the words of a party leader who truly understands what is important to everyone today. They are also the words of someone who understands that true wealth cannot be counted in money alone.
Since David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party he has been pressurised by the extreme right and the media into declaring who he is and what he believes in.
It didn’t take a policy, it didn’t take a commission or a group of men in suits sat around a table taking for hours to conjure up a false belief or statement, it didn’t take spin or an Alistair Campbell - it took one sentence for everyone to know the essence of the man David is – the one at the top of this page.
Remember the scene from Winnie the Pooh when he eats too much ‘Hunny’ in the house at Pooh corner and becomes so big he gets stuck and is bulging out of the window – and piglet has to push and push…
Trying to condense a number of houses into two smaller ones is a bit like that.
This is not a good day.
Posted Friday, 16 February 2007 at 09:48
David Cameron made a speech yesterday in which he spoke about how society needs to take greater responsibility for our young.
The speech referred directly to a spate of shootings which have taken place in South London, and no doubt, to the UNICEF report published this week which highlighted just how miserable children growing up in the UK are. On a league table of twenty one developed nations, our children came out the un-happiest.
I wrote once on my blog about children and boundaries. About how boundaries instil security, because a child knows the point to where it is acceptable to go – doesn’t matter what’s beyond that point, because you can’t go there, just no point trying.
No boundaries, no discipline, equals insecurity. Insecurity produces fear and low self esteem.
Adults in a community used to take a collective responsibility for the young as they grew up.
All my neighbours were an aunt or uncle. It was actually a shock to me as an adult to discover that I wasn’t related as such to all the people I thought I was and that I was from a small family!
Imagine this scene. Two teenage girls walking down a street. A Policeman is walking behind, as he was about once every fifteen minutes or so.
One girl swore. The other ducked, to miss the hand she knew would be straight out from behind – it was – it got the girl who swore by the scruff of her coat and marched her down her path to her parent’s front door, where the parents took responsibility for what she had done, which by today’s standards was mild.
Would that happen today? What happened on that street was the girl, Anne, had stepped over the boundary and adults, both at home and in the community, took responsibility and applied the discipline.
Anne is now a nurse lecturer, but she, like I, would have been classed as a child poverty statistic growing up in a needy area.
If all adults take responsibility within a community then the qualities lacking in one, can be found in another. My mother couldn’t knit, but I spent many a happy hour in Aunty Olives house learning how to. My mother couldn’t bake, but Mrs Dever could, and she taught me how to make a Victoria Jam sponge!
Aunty Peggy taught me how to look after a dog properly and Mrs Townley taught me how to clean. Each and every one of them would have had no hesitation in giving me a slap on the leg if they had seen me misbehave in the street.
We had shared values; we all knew where the boundaries lay and what was expected of us. Most of the mothers were at home and didn’t work.
I think that maybe we need to learn some of the lessons from the past and find a way to apply those lessons in the very frightening and confusing place we find ourselves in today.
I was the girl who ducked; Anne could never get herself out of a scrape!
I am ecstatic!! I have just gone onto the Today prog listen again service and heard David Camerons interview. He spoke about the things I am passionate about and the reasons why I came into politics. He talked about the importance of the family, about changing our culture and values, about discipline and tax breaks for marriage, and the importance of boundaries in bringing up our children - as mentioned above. He was fantastic, so fantastic that you could tell he was really irritating John Humphries . Just in case you think I heard the interview before I wrote the blog, see blog entry for December 12th 'A La Carte Society'. N
The mystery of the brown envelope
Posted Thursday, 15 February 2007 at 10:05
Iain Dale mentioned my blog about Sir Patrick Cormack on his yesterday, and then that was it, everyone knew! Which shows you how powerful Iain’s blog is -
Visit Iain Dale's Blog Here
As a result it’s in the Independent today; you can go straight to it if you wish from Conhome, another powerful web/blog site -
Visit Conservative Home Here
A very strange thing happened to me in my last surgery, which I was going to keep quiet about, but as the gentleman involved hasn’t come forward, and as he remains anonymous, even to myself, I thought I may mention it just in case he sees this to let him know it’s really, really ok.
The gentleman stopped me as I walked into the Library for my surgery. He explained that he didn’t want to take up any of my time however he had put all I needed to know in a brown envelope, which he then put into my hand and left. I noticed as he left that he had another brown envelope in his hand and the thought, “I hope he has given me the right one”, fleetingly passed through my mind. As there was a queue of about fifteen people, and as I was running late from the previously overcrowded surgery, the thought didn’t linger.
I opened his envelope later that evening, and it really, really wasn’t for me – or at least I hope it wasn’t!
So if you do see this and you are wondering what to do, just email me, and I will meet you in Ampthill and give you your envelope back. Enough said.
Posted Wednesday, 14 February 2007 at 22:01
I have been asked why I am so cross at Sir Patrick’s de-selection.
Because I was brought up to respect my elders. Because I know and value the worth of wisdom and knowledge. Because I think when someone gives thirty seven years excellent service that should be acknowledged, rewarded and respected. Because the people of South Staffordshire voted resoundingly to return him as their MP with one of the biggest swings in the country endorsing his record.
Because he is a man with personality, individuality, and humour - we have too few of those in the Commons and plenty of starched suits.
Because I want to be part of a society which is not ageist or prejudicial in anyway against anyone, but is tolerant of all.
Because the House of Commons is a better place for his being there.
Sir Patrick and Adam Boulton
Posted Wednesday, 14 February 2007 at 11:06
One of the joys of being an MP is to occasionally, only occasionally, hear a great orator speak in the chamber when you are sat next to him, or her, or pretty close anyway.
The House has precious few great orators. I absolutely hate to say it, but George Galloway is one. His voice resonates and resounds and he captures the attention of everyone. When he speaks MPs flood into the chamber, having caught sight of him on their office monitors.
Ian Paisley is another, as is Sir Patrick Cormack. A great man, a funny man, a clever and knowledgeable man, who understands Parliamentary procedure backwards.
He is strongly tipped to be the next speaker of the house; he commands the respect of everyone. He would become father of the house after the next election, having served 37 years as an MP. If I am not mistaken, when the King of Jordan visited the House recently he asked after Sir Patrick.
As a new MP I bow to his knowledge, I respect him without question, I am grateful for his presence. He is a personality and a presence, and a force to be reckoned with. The Prime Minister acted like naughty schoolboy when questioned by Sir Patrick in committee, he has that effect.
His local Conservative association have de-selected him, which means he will be unable to stand again as a Conservative MP, despite having achieved a 9.4% swing during the last election, one of the largest in the country. It has gone to a vote of the members, and I believe we have to await their decision. South Staffordshire Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves.
I am disgusted. Sir Patrick has said that he will stand next time as an independent, and if he does, I would help him and canvass for him without hesitation and regardless of what ‘you will never be given a job’ threats will be thrown at me by the whips.
I am apparently No 9 on Adam Boultons list of most fanciable MPs. The only way I can live with this and hold my head up is that I came above Ed Vaizey who was No 10. Theresa May was No 4, Julie Kirkbride was No 1, Julie is gorgeous so well deserved!
Caroline Flint was No 2, zero personality though, miaoow….
The green skip fairies
Posted Tuesday, 13 February 2007 at 08:28
At this morning my mobile phone woke me up.
The system works like this; you leave a comment during the day, my staff checks it’s ok and then accept. After office hours it comes through to my mobile. I can’t switch my mobile off when I go to bed because I am a mother of teenagers. Now I need two mobiles, one I can switch off, one I can’t. So Graham, just because you couldn’t sleep and thought leaving a comment on my blog at was a good idea - guess what – it wasn’t! I really did press the delete button by accident though, so if you want to re-send today, be my guest!
Having taken forever to go back to sleep I am woken at with a text message from Stewart Jackson, the very enthusiastic, and hard working, MP for Peterborough. Stewart, who was doing an interview with Radio Cambs about the new swimming pool in Peterborough, felt like a ‘work’ chat, at 7.36! Stewart, just because you have a baby and are used to being in fourth gear at , sleep or not, doesn’t mean everyone else is!
For those who have asked where I stand on Edward Leigh’s comments, detailed on www.conservativehome.blogs.com I don’t. Edward is as entitled to his opinion as everyone else. Edward may be the Chairman of Cornerstone; he is also the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. His comments are no more attributable to one as to the other. Edwards’s comments belong to Edward, nobody else.
For the record, I am four square behind David Cameron, not least because of the reasons I laid out in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ blog. He is absolutely the right person to lead us to an election victory and I will do everything that I can to help him get there. I view being a member of Cornerstone as part of that effort. We all do, I believe Edward does also, which is why I am slightly surprised at the recording of the comments.
I am throwing my life into a skip. It is so cathartic. I actually can’t be bothered to move most of the stuff I have accumulated over my life or divide it between two houses, so I am going to chuck it.
I went to bed last night and the skip was full. I woke up this morning and it was empty, how did that happen? The green skip fairies came in the night and recycled my life!
ASBOs in Bedfordshire last year, 7. Beds has one of the highest youth on youth crime rates in the country. So why only 7 ASBOs? Could it be because youth on youth crime is not recorded as a statistic, therefore there are no targets to be met?
New blog things going on!
Posted Monday, 12 February 2007 at 08:26
I have no idea what is going on with my blog! There is a little orange button which says RSS on the side, and it looks like any minute now people will be able to leave comments. Do I want this? Like a hole in the head I do….
To those of you who read my blog and like it, I can forward you onto a better one – it’s called, Wife in the North, and I have a sneaky feeling that from later on today I may be able to type in a link thingy so that you can click straight onto it.
On recess this week and am moving house. I am also writing a 2000 word paper on youth crime – which one shall I do before breakfast?
John Pienaar from the BBC has sent me a text message. He is one of the nicer BBC journalists, also possibly the most knowledgeable and experienced and he is certainly the only one I would trust – he is informing me about a vote on MPs taking place on Radio 5 live Julian Worricker show. The categories are,
- one to watch
- Which MP is most credible
- Who’s your political hero
- Which is the sexiest male and sexiest female MP
- Which is the most stylish MP
- Which MP is most likely to jump on the bandwagon
- Which MP is the most rebellious
- Which MP is the most gaffe prone
John is asking me to vote and informs me I can vote for myself, like I would do that!! But I bet there are plenty who do. Radio 5 is a BBC station, like any Conservative MP will get anywhere anyway!! Dream on… however, if you feel inclined to vote for anyone from any party;
The official entry date for the competition is March 4th or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0208 6249509
How many ASBO’s do you think were issued in Bedfordshire last year? Which county do you think has one of the worst youth on youth crimes rates in the country? Answers tomorrow, youth crime, no easy answer.
The dogs breakfast is in the doctor.
Posted Sunday, 11 February 2007 at 12:06
I don’t know how it is, but a good friend of mine who is a GP, always seems to know when I have just cooked a meal. It was no surprise this morning that he arrived with a flourish in the kitchen, just after I had cooked breakfast, and bagged the leftover sausages – leaving a very startled looking Labrador! His wife is just the same, she knows her way around my fridge better than I do!
This morning he came bearing a gift, the BMJ, which he opened on a page with my photograph! The article was about the new battle over abortion and was entitled ‘Where do we draw the line’.
I had never actually regarded the BMJ as a ‘leftie’ mag, but I do now. It reads like a printed version of the BBC. I read it propped against the Aga whilst he hoovered up my bacon, the buttered toast and croissants, he really needs to check his cholesterol! Millie was totally dejected by this point – her breakfast was in the doctor!
I was disappointed with the article. After an hour long interview with the journalist in which we discussed all manner of concerns with regard to abortion, he focused only on my own personal experience as a nurse, and barely mentioned the Ferguson report, which very clearly identified the risk between mental health problems in later life and abortion.
He even, although he and I discussed this in detail, included a quote suggesting that I would like to ban abortion altogether. Never, ever, have I said that. It is a total misrepresentation of my position, and he knows this.
A web site called…. brace yourself…. ‘Hangbitch’, a left wing pro-abortion web site is out for me. It’s urging everyone to block up my mailbox and lobby me against my position.
This web site provides a direct link to the abortion rights web site, which make much of stating that they are not pro abortion. Yeah right.
They just don’t get it. The general public don’t like knowing that the abortion of babies terminated between 20 to 24 weeks happens over two days. That the baby is given an intracardiac lethal injection of Potassium Chloride, yes the same as they use on death row, through the mothers abdominal wall, into the babies heart, and then aborted on the second day using forceps.
This is to ensure that the baby is delivered dead and not alive. Call it the ‘yuk factor’ if you like – as the BMJ did today, I call it the ‘fact factor’. I have not yet met one person who has had that explained to them who hasn’t found this fact abhorrent, and very yuk indeed.
So I will keep telling people, and I will keep putting it on this blog, after all, 108,000 people read it in January.
The upside of the article in the BMJ is this – I have lost touch with so many of the nurses and medical students I trained with, especially a particular group at the Royal Liverpool Teaching Hospital, that I hope one of you recognises me and gets in touch, are you out there...anyone?
Why do you want to go and put stars in their eyes?
Posted Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 11:51
If you are seriously hip like me (joke), you will know that is a song by teenage artist, Just Jack - novel name.
Being a teenager today is nothing like it was in my day. Sex is commonplace at fifteen. There is no mystery, no magic, nothing is special anymore. STI’s are commonplace and rising rapidly and teenagers as young as thirteen turn up at GUM clinics for help. (Genito Urinary Medicine).
My fifteen year old is still naive, still a mummy’s girl, and still believes everything I say. The day they were being taught at school how to place a condom on a banana, I almost wept with relief that she was ill. Omigod! Am I becoming the next Mary Whitehouse?
She is beautiful, in mind and looks, thinks the best of everyone and everything – her blonde curly locks and her big blue eyes make everything innocent, but I can’t compete with Just Jack. I can’t compete with every sexually explicit movie to hit the screens. I can't compete with every teenage mag or perfume advert to hit the billboards, and I certainly can’t compete with X factor or pop Idol, or Kate Moss. Every teenager wants to be a star.
I am at a loss to know what to do when it comes to the bottles of Smiroff Ice which I happen to disscover in her friend’s bags when they come to stay. Maybe that’s why my house is so popular for sleepovers? Yes, I do check the bags.
I have my beautiful naive daughter in the palm of my hand for only weeks or months and certainly not past the Reading festival on August 24th. Little does she know I have booked her camping spot in the family arena, a desperate last gasp attempt by myself to keep her young, to protect her from whatever she may be exposed to on other sites! She promised me she would never be older than ten.
Sometimes I want to scream and rail against the subliminal exposure our teenagers are subjected to. Omigod! – I am becoming the next Mary Whitehouse! When my daughter put her hand over my eyes during the intimate scenes in Shakespeare in Love, mild by any of today’s standards, and said, laughing, “Don’t look mummy”, is this where it’s at today? Are our teenagers more confident and knowledgeable than we ever were? And is this a good thing?
I think the celebrity obsessed culture we live in sets our young people up for a fall.
Why do you want to go and put stars in their eyes? Kate Moss and Just Jack et al have a lot of disappointment and discontented childhoods to answer for.
I’m coming out
Posted Friday, 9 February 2007 at 11:34
I am a member of Cornerstone, a group of forty or so right leaning Conservative backbenchers. Not only am I a member, I am co-ordinating the compilation of a policy discussion document, written by individual Cornerstone members, to be submitted to David Cameron as part of the policy review process.
The reason why I am a member of Cornerstone really follows on from yesterday’s blog.
I didn’t come into politics to be in opposition. I am frustrated every minute of every day watching disastrous government policies bringing society and the country to its knees.
It is alarming that 62% of people feel that no political party represents their views.
When I talk to people, I find that everyone wants strong positive law and order policies, policies which mean business and create a no nonsense environment. People want life to mean life; they want more prison places and more police on the streets. They want drugs off the streets and out of our schools, and they want loud and clear messages which state this.
They want police to have authority again, like they used to, and not be glorified pen pushers, and they want the law to be on the side of the victim and the civilian. They want to see a police officer walk down their street on a regular basis even if that street is suburbia because everyone knows visible policing is the unbeatable deterrent.
Everyone I talk to, secular or not, recognises the role of faith within society. I have never met a parent with a child in state school who didn’t wish the church had a school in their area. Every parent knows a good faith school provides the best education, acknowledged by the fact that parents move house, go to church weekly and jump through virtual hoops to get their child into one. Faiths lay down the moral markers within which societies function, people respect that.
The majority of people want the stability and security of marriage and the family. It is not wrong or discriminatory ever to say that the ideal environment for a child to be brought up in is with a loving mum and a dad. However, it is also right to acknowledge that not everyone conforms to this lifestyle and that a happy society is a tolerant one.
Almost every person I meet over thirty five wants to go back to the NHS which cared. When nursing was a vocation. When it was the patient who was important and not the target.
Everyone wants inheritance tax to be abolished, thinks it’s an unfair tax. Do you know anyone who doesn’t want to keep more of what they earn? Do you know anyone who thinks their taxes are being well spent?
Have you met anyone recently who runs a small business who isn’t in despair?
People want to shut our borders until we know who is here and for how long. After all, how many genuine asylum seekers are there?
People are sick of Europe, European laws and rulings - and are fed up with how much money we pour into the European Union each day, whilst at the same time handing out redundancy notices to nurses and doctors.
I have never met a single person or doctor who thinks that £36billion on an NHS computer system was money well spent.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t think defence of the nation is important?
All the time, I meet people who think and feel much the same as I do, so why do so many people feel un-represented by a political party?
How hard is it to take what the majority of people want and turn those wants into policies?
If the Conservative Party is ever to be in power again, it’s something we need to learn to do sooner rather than later.
The members of Cornerstone seem to me to be the only MPs talking the language of the people. So there you go, I’m out, bring it on……
Last Chance Saloon
Posted Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 15:57
If the Conservative Party is ever to be in power again, it absolutely has to win the next general election with a comfortable majority.
If we go to the country on 38% or 39% it will not be enough, and we will be forever in opposition, no matter what percentage of the vote we pull at any future election – we will never be in government again.
In the event of a hung Parliament, the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party have one thing in common, a desire to keep the Conservatives out of power.
Remember, the majority of Liberal Democrats are left of New Labour; they would have a long political journey to even get close to the left of the Conservative Party.
This is very obvious during long debates in the chamber. If a Conservative MP makes a good point or speech, a Liberal Democrat will intervene with a line totally in sympathy with the government’s position.
Sometimes I find this breathtaking. When I recently attacked the government and the Public Health Minister over sexual health and the out of control rise in STIs amongst teenagers, Sandra Gidley, the Liberal Democrat, intervened and attacked me, with much encouragement from the government front bench!
If you sit in the chamber for hours and absorb the minutia of the debate you can see very clearly what is happening. The Liberal Democrats have no natural synergy with the Conservative Party. Too many of their seats have a Conservative as a close second. They like to bash the government, but they relish attacking the Conservatives.
Ming and Gordon are friends. If we have a hung Parliament there will be another Lib-Lab pact and the price will be PR, which is being used in the Scottish local elections this time round. PR is already knocking on the border.
Gordon will be pragmatic enough to realise the New Labour salad days are over.
A Lib-Lab pact will be the lesser of the evils. PR will be the price, but Gordon will have had his time as PM, and the upside of course is that never again would Labour be forced into opposition for eighteen cold years as it was last time.
PR won’t seem too big a price to pay to ensure that the Conservative party never takes power again.
A You Gov poll this week found that 62% of the electorate regard no political party as representing their views. Music to the ears of UKIP and the ever growing political fringe.
I am trapped, it’s a snow day. I am now going to go and lie on the sofa with my daughter, a box of left over Ferrero Rocher from Christmas and watch Shakespeare in Love. We did this last snow day last year, and the year before, same DVD! I love traditions!
Balls and Buses
Posted Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 06:21
As of yesterday I am now driving to work and home each day.
Where the hell did those bendy buses come from?
What madman thought they were OK for the streets of London and safe for motorists in general?
The yellow sign on the back says ‘warning this bus is 18 metres long’.
It should go on to say, ‘and totally unsuitable for British city roads laid down by the Romans for horses, chariots and gladiators!'
There is a danger that my blog may now become a road rage safety valve!
Had a chat with David Davis last night in the Tea Room, which opened my eyes to a new Labour leadership scenario.
What if the police send the cash for peerages files to the CPS and they prosecute? What if members of Blair’s staff are charged, say, Powell, Levy and Turner?
Would a Prime Minister be able to leave the helm in those circumstances? Would it be dishonourable of him to do so? Or would it be appropriate for him to stay until the court case was over and done with? I just can’t imagine it – his staff face a court case as a direct result of what took place in his private office and he walks away? That’s not going to happen is it?
Theresa Villiers and I are going to the Conservative Party alternative Blue and Green Ball on Wednesday night. We fancy ourselves as a bit of a Thelma and Louise duo, but of course, without driving off the Grand Canyon or breaking any speed limits. And actually, we will be in a Freelander driving from Parliament to Knightsbridge. We have been invited to join a table for dinner, er - I am going to shut up now, because the more I say the less exciting it sounds!
What a porker.
Posted Monday, 5 February 2007 at 09:29
I finally saw my interview with Iain Dale last night.
View The Interview Here
What a porker! TV really does put on twelve pounds. Those thighs! They looked the width of an average cruise liner – stockings, fashioned by Cammell Laird!!
And that was just Iain Dale……….
My Labrador Millie sleeps in luxury, on a two seater designer sofa, on the half landing on the stairs – but she isn’t supposed to.
When she hears my foot on the stairs, she covers her eyes with her paws.
She works on the basis that if she can’t see me, I can’t see her. She thinks she is invisible, and that as long as her paws are on her eyes – she is safe from guilt.
When she ate the novelty chocolates from the bottom branches of the Christmas tree she deployed the same tactic, even though she was lying under the tree and caught red pawed, with all the chocolate wrappers around her. But she didn’t flinch, totally in denial – the paws stuck fast across her eyes.
There are similarities between my Millie, and Tony Blair.
There is nothing as undignified as watching a leader in denial. Parliament is moribund. Labour MPs are miserable, the business is stalled, and we all know that we are going to bear witness, once again, to the humiliation of a British Prime Minister. That is not an edifying sight. I like dignity. I like standards. I hate to see the seedier side of ambitious personalities, as they jostle for positions of influence and attempt to dictate the Labour leadership agenda.
Nothing can be done to stop this. There are too many people with vested interests, too many people who have waited a long time for their turn. Gordon Brown will issue orders to his field marshals but they will have a tough time keeping control.
It is very different from the Conservative leadership election in 2005. We weren’t in power. Individual MPs had nothing to lose.
And who will be the losers this time? The British public of course. Not one thing that will happen during the Labour leadership election will benefit a single man or woman one iota. It will in fact, make life worse, as government departments begin to lose their focus and direction, as civil servants wonder what is the point of anything they do at this point in time – as everyone wonders, just who is driving? Is anyone in?
The fact that Gordon needs Tony to stay until after Labour have suffered humiliating defeat in the local elections won't keep away the angry wolves in the form of wounded and hurt Labour MPs. It won't stop them snapping at the PM’s heels, howling at his door, and making his life a misery, after all, they blame him for so much.
If I were Tony I would go right now. I would pay Gordon back for all the harm I thought he had done to my legacy, by letting his first weeks in office be shrouded by the humiliation of the local election results, regardless of how beneficial that may be to the Conservatives.
If I were Tony, I would go to see the Queen and state that I had promised the British public I would serve a full term and therefore, as I am about to resign, wish to call a general election.
But then I’m just a Liverpool girl who never forgets when someone deliberately does her harm, (I am a Christian – I know, I know – I struggle!) Now, where is Cherie from? Well, as it happens, just down our street. Which is why I can’t believe for one moment Tony is going to give Gordon a golden passage from No 11 to No 10. Not unless he wants Cherie to contend with!
Posted Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:30
Just noticed that the Minette Marrin article is on www.conservativehome.blogs.com
in full. So if you are a real techie and don't buy the papers you can read it there!
Terrorism, tea, and bacon butties
Posted Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:19
If you buy a Sunday newspaper today, make sure it’s the Sunday Times and read Minette Marrin. I’m not sure if this particular article is online. I am a bit old fashioned and like to read my Sunday Newspapers still in my PJ’s, curled up on the sofa with lots of tea and bacon butties!
I hope David Davis reads it. It is a general election manifesto shopping list of practical common sense measures which would make the general public say ‘Yes!’ that’s what we want!!
If we want to keep our country safe and irradicate terrorism this is what we have to do. It takes bravery though, and guts, and absolute commitment to put forward such ideas within the party political arena.
Politics is becoming exciting again; there are so many un-knowns up ahead.
When will Tony go? Will cash for peerages damage Gordon? Will Gordon have a good honeymoon bounce? Will he call a snap election? Will Ming wake up? Will Cameron produce the manly policies the country is waiting for?
If politics is your thing - it’s enough to make the knees go weak!
Posted Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 20:44
This is the first chance I have had to blog since Thursday.
Friday was a typical constituency day with busy surgeries. I have reached the point now where nothing my constituents say to me anymore shocks or surprises me. So badly does the state and the machinery of government treat the people it is supposed to serve.
I always finish a Friday emotionally drained.
When I was a nurse I often had to deal with recently bereaved relatives. I never thought that as an MP I would have to call upon the skills that I may or may not possess, to deal with people who are very upset. All it takes is one word of kindness for someone who has been bullied by the state to breakdown.
I always finish a Friday angry.
I am not an overly political person, which may sound a strange thing for an MP to say. I don’t possess this fierce loathing that some politicians appear to have for the other ideological viewpoint. But on a Friday I do. The sooner this government which has ruined the lives of so many goes the better. I feel protective towards my constituents, they come to me as a last resort, and by the time they get to me they are desperate. My surgeries are packed – which has to be an indication of how bad things are given that I am an MP responsible for a white middle class constituency.
I finished this Friday sat next to Roger Helmer MEP.
Roger came to my association’s political supper and entertained us all with stories of life within Brussels and his view with regard to our position within Europe. He’s right; we are in way too deep.
I always finish a Friday wiped out…… but I love it!
Posted Friday, 2 February 2007 at 13:37
Nadine is all over the constituency today with meetings and busy surgeries. Unfortunatley, she wont be able to blog. Sorry!
Pippa Rowen. PA to Nadine
108,000 hits in January
Posted Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 10:02
Now I really wish I had a shed to hide in. I was told to make my point of order a question and my question a point of order, point was, it didn't work the other way round. Some days you float out of the chamber and feel great, and others you want to crawl under the bench - today was one of those!
Oh well, we all had a laugh I suppose!!
I am a bit speechless about the fact that my blog has been read 108,000 times.
Not so speechless though, that I couldn’t mention it to a group of MPs in the members’ tea room.
One very charming and sweet MP leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Nadine, 100,000 of those was me!”
I hope to be able to blog later about something I hope to do this morning, but it’s all a bit hush hush at the moment.
Left my desk at ten last night and fell into bed with Bridget Jones and ‘The Edge of Reason’. If you haven’t seen it she ends up in a Thai prison and Colin Firth moves hell and high ministers to get her out.
Came into work this morning to a letter from a young obviously well educated constituent in a Bangkok Prison needing help, how spooky is that?
A very nice man in a shed wrote about my interview with Iain Dale yesterday,
Read His Comments HereWish I had a shed here to hide in sometimes.
If 108,000 people are reading my blog each month, what are the odds that one of those could be Colin Firth?