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Showing posts from December, 2009

John Hemming's new year message 2010

Its that time of year again. Normally I don't comment much about local issues on my weblog as we issue leaflets to residents in Yardley. However, I will do this on this occasion (as I did last year).

Casework and the office
The last case reference of 2009 was 13945. Previous year ends were: 2008: 9836, 2007: 7763, 2006: 5597. The number has increased in the last year. Casework is very important as not only can we resolve issues for people, but also I learn what is going wrong in the real world - as opposed to the Westminster bubble.

There remain odd decisions made by the various governmental bodies although it does not seem to have got much worse over the year. The advice desert is also still an issue.

The team has run smoothly without any big changes although we moved away from alternating people in London with Martin being now full time in London. Neil also continues to help with the APPGOPO.

Yardley
Bakeman House having been dealt with we now have Wheeldon house being improved. …

Enhancing Adoptive Parenting

The link is to a summary of the research on adoptive parenting performed by Alan Rushton and Elizabeth Monck.

It is also possible to order the more detailed research book from BAAF amongst other routes. During the quiet period of Christmas I have read the book.

The book itself looks at the question as to whether a specific form of advice for adoptive parents is of any substantial benefit. What is, however, important about the book is not just that question, but other aspects.

Social Care is an area which has very few randomised trials. What that means is you cannot really be certain as to whether the approaches taken in individual cases are one which one would expect to reliably produce positive results.

It is reasonably well known that adopting a child from care is more difficult than adopting a child from birth. Often the parents feel abandoned by the system and a very large proportion of adoptions from care break down at some stage with the child returning to care.

There has been a …

Election Results 17th December 2009

Reigate and Banstead BC, Earlswood and Whitebushes
Con 391 (37.9; -12.8)
LD Steve Keith Oddy 313 (30.4; +6.6)
Lab 161 (15.6; -0.7)
UKIP 125 (12.1; +2.8)
BNP 41 (4.0; +4.0)
Majority 78
Turnout 16.38%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Party defending seat: Con. Cause: Resignation.

Great Sankey PC, Whittle Hall
LD Matt Newton 573 (63.0)
Con 336 (37.0)
Majority 237
Turnout 11.99%
LD hold.

Party defending seat: LD. Cause: Resignation

Election Results 10th December 2009

Bedford BC, Kingsbrook
LD Andrew Gerard 661 (49.4; +3.1)
Lab 370 (27.6; +3.5)
Con 150 (11.2; -9.2)
Others Ind 85 / Ind 73 (11.8; +11.8)
[Green (0.0; -9.2)]
Majority 291
Turnout 13%
LD hold
Percentage change is since June 2009.

East Dunbartonshire UA, (Ward number 3) Bearsden South
LD Ashay Ghai 1110 (29.4; +3.0)
Con 1261 (33.4; +9.0)
SNP 783 (20.7; +1.6)
Lab 626 (16.6; -2.7)
[Green (0.0; -5.1)]
[Others (0.0; -5.7)]
Turnout not known.
LD gain from Con.
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Stage 1:
Ashay Ghai LD 1110
Rachel Higgins Con 1261
Fiona Grace McLeod SNP 783
Manjinder Shergill Lab 626

Stage 2 elimination of Shergill:
LD 1306
Con 1381
SNP 972

Stage 3 elimination of McLeod:
LD 1770
Con 1499

Hastings BC, St Helens
Con 609 (40.7; -17.9)
Lab 550 (36.7; +12.5)
LD John Tunbridge 210 (14.0; -3.2)
BNP 93 (6.2; +6.2)
Others (English Democrats) 36 (2.4; +2.4)
Majority 59
Turnout 37.4%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Nuneaton and Bedworth BC, Camp Hill
Lab 670 (47.1; +17.0)
BNP 478 (33.6; -2.6)
Con 275 (19.3; -9.7)
[Oth…

Parliamentary Expenses 2008-9 and Q1 9-10

The link which is also here is to my expenses claimed up to and including Q1 2009-10.

There is an error in the 2008-9 papers where some documents have been scanned more than once, but that is obvious if you compare the pages and the document reference numbers.

People will be able to note that the last time I made a claim for anything relating to my second home in London was on 31st March 2009.

As people know I took the view that the country needed to make economies. That, therefore, was a simple economy to make.

Election Results 3rd December 2009

Redcar & Cleveland UA, Ormesby
LD Ann Wilson 1084 (73.5; +12.4)
Lab 210 (14.2; -5.0)
UKIP 103 (7.0; +7.0)
Con 77 (5.2; -14.4)
Majority 874
Turnout 29.55%
LD hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Thanet DC, Dane Valley
Lab 318 (34.2; -3.9)
LD Bill Furness 260 (28.0; +28.0)
Con 222 (23.9; -19.7)
Ind 130 (14.0; -4.4)
Majority 58
Turnout 17.0%
Lab gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Deal TC, North Deal
Con 529 (33.2)
Lab 337 (21.2)
LD Nathan Sewell 198 (12.4)
Majority 192
Turnout 21.26%
Con gain from Lab

Zac Goldsmith and Richmond Park

Having a peer in the Tory Party whose tax arrangements are unclear (step forward Lord Ashcroft) is not that surprising. However, having a parliamentary candidate who is a "non domicile" is surprising.

The FT's Westminster blog points out on Richmond Park Conservatives Website That they say:
6. Tax the Super Rich and “non-domiciles”.
The over-seas population, living in this country, would make a financial contribution to it. Tax loopholes for the super rich would be closed by reducing the complexity of the tax system. This will pay for the previous two measures.


This is not just good news for Susan Kramer MP, but also a real challenge for David Cameron. Are his MPs really committed to the country?

Do parents have rights in the family court

The link is to a recent judgment in which para 10 says:
I think it important to remember when one is looking either at the independent assessments by social workers or at applications under section 38(6) of the Act that one needs to be child focused. It is not a question of the mother's right to have a further assessment, it is: would the assessment assist the judge in reaching a conclusion or the right conclusion in relation to the child in question? And on this particular issue it does seem to me that the judge was exercising a discretion and doing so appropriately on all the facts available to him. He thus reached a conclusion which I cannot for myself say in any way is plainly wrong, and since he has based himself on the latest authority on the point and considered the matter carefully, I, speaking for myself, cannot say either that he has erred in law and would dismiss the appeal in relation to a further social worker assessment.

This is a decision of the court of appeal which…