Friday, April 23, 2010

If it is all about style and PR

Debate Round-up

Having not watched the first leaders debate last week (I have it recorded just have not gotten round to watching it yet) I was surprised by the second in the series.  A few things jumped immediately to mind, it was too long, this could have been an hour comfortably and the last half hour dragged on.  Secondly the set up was a little strange, I don't mind that the audience are not allowed to contribute except for asking questions as this tends to stop the party hacks populating the audience so that their guys can boo at the others, a tactic regularly employed by the SNP, however, the leaders were very cramped on the stage and I would have liked to have seen a little more attention and pushing for substance in the answers.  I would also have liked to have seen a little more introduction and the Leaders being able to answer the question instead of the moderator summing up what the questions actually were as he then changed it into a sound-bite format for the ticker writer. 


There were a few different issues discussed that David Cameron misled people on and I thought that I would point out a couple here.  How can he claim that he has a new team when the people the Conservatives put on the TV for the pre debate hype were Malcolm Rifkind and Ken Clarke?  Old policies coming through and old heads pulling relatively young strings.  Further to this the election leaflets that Mr. Cameron is so synthetically angry about were based on a election promise that the Conservatives refused to make until last night when Mr. Cameron decided to make up the policy on the hoof.  

Most importantly for me is the question of defence and Europe, there are a number of really important things that Cameron and EVERY Conservative candidate needs to answer....

1. Do you agree with the political ties that the Conservatives have in the European parliament.

2. Moving to immigration, if -as the Conservatives have advised on many previous occasions have admitted that they would- we moved out of Europe how would the Conservatives immigration policy work?  They seem to be tied to the EU for this?

3. Do you agree with the Conservative candidate in Scotland lying to the public about local business leaders being against the NI raise and using their names without authorisation on the election leaflets?  If not what action will you take against them?


Again Nick Clegg has misled people on many occasions now and seems not to know basic history of the political system in the UK. The Liberals as a party are much older than the Labour party so when he talks about the two old parties he is really referring to his own and the Tory's.  He 'forgot' to mention his ties to big business and his lobbying jobs ad doesn't seem to want to answer the questions asked of him re funding, which rings alarm bells, I am sure there was no wrong doing but why not publish the details now rather than later?  

Questions for Clegg and EVERY Liberal candidate

1.  Religion and politics how do you feel about a Liberal candidate describing themselves in a Catholic newspaper as 'the closest thing to a pro life candidate' in  an election?  (Eileen McCartlin in the last election Scottish Catholic Observer)

2.  What will you replace Trident with and when would that decision be made?


From this mornings press conference Gordon Brown is right it is not a game show it is an election and all voters should be taking their vote seriously, today is a more important moment the recovery is under way and this campaign has already made clear that the Tories are a risk to the recovery.  Voters should not be expected to put their cross against a question mark and the questions regarding their policies are growing day by day.  We need to ensure that we are not making the mistakes of the 1980's and 90's.  We need to make sure that we are talking up Britain and that we are showing the positive side of the Labour Policies that we have, but it would be irresponsible NOT to point out the flaws and dangers in the other parties policies, ask yourself this if we don't who will?

On a personal note I used to live downstairs from a real live suffragette, someone ho was denied the vote simply based on her sex, someone who struggled to ensure that we lived in a fairer and safer society and someone who inspired me to join the Labour Party and remember that as a party we know we are better together than we are apart and we know that we are moving towards a fairer, stronger and safer society.

Vote Labour on May 6th

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Take them to Court

Have a listen to the Ryanair stance on refunding their customers for their food and accommodation.  Keep in mind that Ryanair were one of the last companies to restore full service to their passengers (only tomorrow will it be fully back up to speed) and one of the companies who have been complaining to the EU about the regulations.  According to the Irish 'Rich List' for 2010 Mr. O'Leary is worth over £182,000,000, and yet Ryanair 'cannot afford' to re-inburse their customers under the EU legislation that as a European Airline they operate under.  This is Mr O'Leary's company deciding that they will pick and choose which laws apply to them and as such they should be taken to court and not only due compensation but damages rewarded to EVERY customer who has had to suffer because of this, personally I think that it should come out of his personal fortune.  They are suggesting that they will only compensate to the price of the ticket, my response to this is that they operate under European Law and are duty bound to compensate their customers they are not above the law.

The thing that really annoys me about this is that Mr. O'Leary is playing with emotions during an election period watch this space for him or a spokesperson (if he doesn't have the guts to do it himself) coming out and saying that if they were to compensate to the EU regulations that they would either go bust or have to lay off masses of people, this is his way of trying to bully ALL parties into supporting him and I for one hope that it fails miserably, call out to Ryanair and Mr. O'Leary - you knew the legislation when you started operating time to suck it up, think about your customers and their suffering and pay what is due to them.

Update - Michael O'Leary of Ryanair has advised he is going to sue the EU Government for compensation for the shut down for £30M losses ... Despite the Ryanair profits being in excess of £241M last year!!!!  Again O'Leary suck it up and take the money out of your own pocket if needs be!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanic Ash

Living up to their Promises

Anyone who has flown over the past few years will no doubt have suffered some amount of disruption and delay in the flight plans and under EU law the airlines are supposed to look after their customers by providing food and shelter if needs be, I must admit that I for one have never been treated to such attention from ANY airline that I have travelled with.  We learn today that many of the airlines have now decided to abandon their passengers abroad and expect the Government to step in and fill their obligations.  I would expect to see more than a few court cases over expenses incurred and not covered by the airlines.

Pasenger Safety has to come first

I agree that passenger safety has to come first but someone should probably explain that to East Coast Rail who continued to sell tickets on the 2pm service from Lonon's Kings Cross to Aberdeen service on Friday.  Despite their being NO seats available the train company continued to sell tickets for the train and we had each carriage with passengers and their luggage littering the aisle's.  One member of staff was overheard saying that they were concerned about safety and asking why the company continued to sell tickets.  Add to this the lack of air conditioning and you have an unhealthy situation where the temperatures were soaring to almost 38 degress celcius at times - and before anyone asks I have an application on my phone that is a thermometer-.  Keeping your customers safe should apply to all methods of transport.  And to those airlines who are saying that it was safe to fly yet the airports stayed closed I would respond that the safety of passengers should always come first it only takes one plane to go down and the Government has ben neglegent in it's duty to protect the public.  Mr Walsh of BA would be best minded to remind himself of the BA near tragedy in 1982 due to the same issue and then answer why if it is so safe to fly has his airline not completely restored their services?

Who Should Pay?

This seems to be the big debate at the present time and to be honest my answer would be the airlines and the insurance companies that is why we pay for insurance and if the airlines do not have a contigency fund to cover such eventualities then they should really be looking at their business practises.  I would also go as far to suggest that the airports should be partially refunding the Taxi's some of the liscense fee that they pay in order to provide a service to the airports as they were also out of pocket at no fault of their own and many of these people are self employed and cannot afford the luxury of a contingency big enough to cover this.  

Who should not pay is the Government and by proxy the tax payer, why should we be paying to bail out a industry that bleeds its customers dry every chance it gets, example airlines like Ryanair who have now decided that they are considering bringing in charges for the airplane toilets!  They charge for using a card online and if you call the price is dearer so you pay that way anyway, they charge for baggage and weigh your hand luggage now as well to try and get more money out the unsuspecting tourist and refuse to provide onward transport if their plane breaks down leaving you out of pocket. 

Don't get me wrong Ryan Air are by no means the only airline who bleed their customers but they are one of the main perpetrators and should be paying to provide their customers the proper cover under EU legislation even if they are a low cost airline (which is a complete falicy in itself we flew to Venice cheaper on BA than on Ryanair and it was much more comfortable).

Anyway what do you think, who should pay?


Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.