UK Local Elections – Councils

Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and loc...
Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local elections. Picture taken in Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a bad night and day for David Cameron and the Conservatives last night. A bad night that the Liberal Democrats joined them in. Labour managed to surpass the modest target they had set. In the 181 councils across the UK that elected new councillors Labour gained 32 of them. The Conservatives lost 12 councils and the Liberal Democrats lost 1. Labour gained councils in the South and Midlands where they needed to regain ground if they are to have any hope of electoral success in the future.

In terms of councillors themselves Labour gained 823, while the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336.

It was one of the worst nights for Liberal Democrats since they were founded in 1988 and of course the Conservatives took a battering also even David Cameron’s own Whitney constituency elected a Labour Councillor.

This is to be expected during a mid-term election with the Government taking tough economic decisions which are dislike on the ground.

Interestingly 9 cities rejected the idea of having a locally elected Mayor, while Bristol voted to have one and Doncaster voted to keep theirs.

This is again been seen as a defeat for the Government but it must be remembered that they were brought in by the Labour Government.

In Scotland both the Scottish National Party and Labour gained 2 councils each and gained a similar number of councillors. They failed to beat Labour and the end it was the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats who lost out to Labour and the SNP.

In Wales it wasn’t a great night for Plaid Cymru who lost control of their only council, Caerphilly, and they lost 41 Councillors. Those weren’t the highest looses, as again the brunt was felt by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In England, the Greens are now the fourth largest party on English Councils and they gained 5 seats in England alone (11 nationally). The BNP lost all the seats they were defending in England and failed. It is also unlikely that they will do well in the London Assembly. UKIP whose vote went up, but they have failed to convert that into seats as they may have allowed Labour victories by splitting the Conservative vote.

So a good result for Labour and the SNP, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will have to reconsider their party strategies.

Blood Ban to be Lifted in the UK on November 7th

The University of Nottingham's LGBT society ho...
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From November 7th Gay and Bisexual men in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to give blood. Any Gay or Bisexual Man who has not had homosexual sex in 12 months will be able to give blood.

While its not the most ideal of situations, it is better then a blanket ban on gay and bisexual men.

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service national director Keith Thompson said: “We are pleased that this new donor selection criteria has been made possible by the most up to date scientific advances in screening and testing.”

He added: “Blood donation works on the principles of kindness and mutual trust.

“In order for us to safely introduce this new rule we ask all potential and existing donors to adhere to the selection criteria by providing completely honest answers to all the questions, both for the protection of their own health and that of patients.”

Mr Thompson said the blood donor selection criteria and other blood safety measures, including stringent testing, mean that there has been no documented transmission of a blood-born virus in the UK since 2005, with no HIV transmission since 2002.

The National Aids Trust has welcomed the changes.

The organisation tweeted: “NAT welcomes the lifting of the lifetime blood ban for gay men and the new evidence-based approach.”

With our nearest neighbour now lifting the ban, it will give support to those advocating a more scientific based approach to the ban here in Ireland. While there will be those opposed to any sort of ban, a short term ban is better then a blanket ban.

It is interesting to note that the ban will not be lifted in Northern Ireland. So then ban, for now, is still in effect across the Island of Ireland, and I cannot see that changing despite what the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs have found in their review earlier this year.

The IBTS will have to change eventually, especially if it is confirmed that the blanket lifetime ban is against EU Law.

 

The English Catholic Church – Moving with the times?

LONDON - JANUARY 06:  Churchgoers crowd the ai...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeAfter the recent did he mention it or didn’t he mention speech by the Pope it is good to see that the English Catholic Church is moving with the times according to GCN.ie. Bishops in England have sent out leaflets urging priest not to use ‘heterosexist’ language in church.

Priest have been told not assume that all Church goers are heterosexual. “Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful – a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,”. It is good that part of the Church is waking up to how it talks about part of its congregation.

Of course no everyone is happy with this. Lynette Burrows, a Catholic commentator, describes the move as ‘pitiful’. She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be ‘ grovelling’ to a secular agenda.

‘It is things like this that are enfeebling the Church at the moment – the concentration on things that don’t matter and missing the things that do,’ she said.

‘What is pitiful as well as demeaning is that the Church is running after homosexual opinion but nothing is going to make homosexuals like the Catholic Church.

‘This is because the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a disorder and whatever the bishops say will not change that.’

Of course this isn’t a secular agenda. This is how the Church reacts to its member. Fair play to the Bishops in my opinion. It is about time the Church addressed it followers on this and actually supported them.

This post actually gives a nice follow in for me to introduce an interesting site for Lesbian and Gay Christians, LGBT Christians. Their aim is to “bring Christ to those who have been alienated by those organisations that claim to be his Church and claim to preach his love and yet through ignorance and misconception preach not love to Gods lesbian, gay and bisexual children” and “seek to create an atmosphere of understanding between those who think that homosexuality has no place in Christs Church and those who think they do”

To quote John 13:35

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Do check them out.

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A solution to the West Lothian Question?

Simon Heffer writing in today’s Telegraph has a very interesting article on Devolution and a solution to the West Lothian Question. I think it has merit, but as he says himself could cause the end of the union.

His idea is that the 529 MP’s representing English Constituencies would form an English Parliament. This is an interesting idea, and I think it should be looked into.

England is left behind with the devolution settlment and unless England is given a say soon, expect to see the rise of the English Democrats, unless the Tories can come up with a solution.

The Tories dont have a solution at the moment, if they can come up with one they will win even more seats in England and probably wont lose seats in Scotland or Wales where they are projected to win a few extra seats (fingers crossed)

BTW Happy St. Georges Day All!

Hattip: Iain Dale

Interesting Stuff

Morning all,

Red Cardinal have a Report out on eGovernment Accessibility Analysis

The Green Party are launching their transport policy today for Cork today in the Clarion (via BreakingNews.ie) I cant find any details on the time of it on the Green Party’s Website or Dan Boyle’s Website

I also got mentioned on the Cross of St. George Forums for my post ‘If Scotland, NI and Wales have their own Legislatures Why Dosen’t England?

The Transport Minister, Seamus Brennan, has said their will not be a referendum before the next election (via RTÉ). So does that mean it will be on the same day as the Election or will be after it? If it is held on the day of the election it might increase voter turnout, just like at the last Local and European Elections in 2004.

Euronews aired a very interesting piece this morning on ‘What do Europeans think of their neighbours’. It raised a few interesting questions on forming identities and a privilged partnership arrangement for some applicant states like Turkey.

If Scotland, NI and Wales have their own Legislatures Why Dosen’t England?

The front page of the English Democrats Party website proudly declares at the the top

” 68% OF ENGLISH WANT OWN PARLIAMENT”

Says Poll

The EDP are calling for

English Parliament with at least the same powers as the Scottish one.

They claim to “have long been the only National Political Party which is calling for an English Parliament.”

The EDP are calling for action on the following measures

England to be recognised and treated as a unified country. Scotland and Wales have been recognised as countries and their people given the opportunity to vote in referenda for devolved government. Scotland now has a parliament, and Wales an assembly. In contrast, the people of England have been denied the opportunity to choose an English Parliament. Instead, England is being dismembered into nine regions. We find this discrimination unacceptable. England should be a political entity with its own parliament and executive.
The immediate abandonment of the Barnett formula. The formula institutionalises discrimination against the people of England by ensuring that public spending in Scotland and Wales is far higher per head of population than in England. The Barnett formula diverts about £8 billion of extra public expenditure to Scotland each year. This means that the entire population of Scotland enjoys a subsidy averaging £30 per person per week. This has meant, for example, smaller class sizes in Scotland, higher pay for teachers, shorter hospital waiting lists, and the availability of prescription drugs and surgical procedures which are unavailable in England on grounds of cost. This unjustified discrimination must end. A new fairer system is needed which enables England’s share of the £8 billion to be used to improve public services in England.

They also favour “recognition for traditional counties, which would include the reunification of Yorkshire and greater autonomy for Cornwall.”

I really dont know whats so great about Cornwall.

I think the EDP have a point. Westminister has so much to do with the Running ot the entire UK that sometimes maybe England does get overlooked and could do with a Parliament or Assembly of its own. This is my way of showing support for the idea any way!

The EDP are led by Robin Tillbrook