Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas in Warwick

I’ve had a mixed Christmas so far. It started well, meeting up for long overdue drinks with Neil and Kelly who moved back to Warwick a few months back. I spent Christmas day with Sarah and her delightful children. Boxing Day I took Sarah and my two teenage sons to visit my sister Ruth and her family in Worcestershire. I then went down with the flu, which has left me with a nasty cough, so I spent most of the 27th on the sofa with a duvet watching endless Christmas TV repeats.

Yesterday I had a huge office cull, sorted out a years worth of papers and loaded the shredder with a bin liner full of papers. No data security scandal for me this year.

Sarah has come to stay for a couple of days. In exchange for cooking breakfast she offered to vacuum the house and has got totally carried away and is now rearranging my entire house, throwing away years of accumulated debris. She has washed shelves that have not been cleaned since, well since I got involved in Politics. Not that I am sexist you understand, in a spirit of equality I even bought her a tool kit for Christmas so she could take full advantage of the new Ikea that has just opened in Coventry. It’s only been open a couple of weeks and she has already been there three times.

I find this time of year a cleansing experience, clear the decks from the previous year, plan for the new, ready to start on a whole new set of challenges, adventures and goals for 2008.
I wish all my friends, family and people in my hometowns of Warwick & Leamington a fantastic new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nick Clegg

Today Nick Clegg was elected as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats. This was a close run contest and a tough choice at times. I supported Nick for the leadership as I felt he has what it takes to really engage with people who may currently be disillusioned with politics.

I have heard Nick speak on many occasions and I believe he has what it takes to excite people in politics, he certainly excites me. People are switched off by politics becoming more remote, more controlled by Westminster and they feel powerless. Labour and the Conservatives have little new to offer and there is no longer any choice between them. Less and less people are voting and quite frankly I don’t blame them.

With Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrats will give people an alternative, we will make liberalism connect with people in Warwick & Leamington who share our values, but do not yet vote for us. Under Nick’s leadership we will campaign to give people more say in the decisions that affect us all.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Warwick Post Office Faces Closure

Another careless data leak has caused embarrassment for Post Office officials as it reveals secret plans to close yet more Post Offices in Warwickshire including West Street in Warwick.
The post office website intended to show Post Offices planned for closure in the East Midlands where consultation is underway, yet the map also shows other areas of the midlands including Warwick. I managed to get hold of a copy of the map and have published part of it on our Local Lib-Dem Website.

This Post Office is at the heart of a thriving community and is yet another nail in the coffin for local retailers in this unique part of the town. Lib-Dem proposals would enable Post Offices to invest in new business that would meet the needs of the people they serve. The government have already closed 11 post offices in the area over the past eight years rather than take long term strategic decisions which will secure the future of these vital services.

Our Post Office network could be the heart of local communities, providing a whole range of services as they do in other countries. Instead the Government has shown no imagination and has allowed the whole network to become unprofitable and derelict.

If you would like to protest against the closure of our post offices, I have a petition running on our Local Lib-Dem website and I plan to do more on this next year and as the consultation process kicks in for our area. At least the bungled map has given us some time to prepare to fight this closure.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Warwickshire Schoolchildren’s data goes Missing

It looks as though our national government is not the only one who has been loosing data. Warwickshire County Council has lost personal information about 175 schoolchildren, some from Leamington.

It is simply unacceptable that the personal details of Warwickshire children have gone missing. This must be a real concern to the parents & children affected.

In my work as an IT Project Manager, I deal with many clients that handle sensitive data. Through good practice and common sense such incidents should never happen. My Mother, who worked for the civil service in the 1960's told me that they would hand deliver sensitive information tied up with pink string and sealing wax. Industry practice recommends registered mail as a minimum.

Recent cases of data going missing, including details of our children not only demonstrates sloppy working practice, it shows contempt for the value of our personal information.