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Westlake Legal Group > News (Page 47)

Iain Dale: It’s time for Cabinet members of both sexes to show some balls

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

Just because you keep chanting the mantra ‘Nothing Has Changed’ doesn’t mean it hasn’t. And after Tuesday’s massive defeat for the Prime Minister’s ‘Meaningful Vote’, it clearly has.

Well, it’s clear to everyone but her. Instead she keeps buggering on, pretending to herself that all is well and that she will eventually get her deal passed. She won’t. It is a dead parrot. It has ceased to be.

Even if she manages to drag the EU into giving her some concessions on the Northern Ireland backstop, I just don’t see how she can persuade 118 of her own party’s MPs to vote in a different way in any Groundhog Day re-vote. The DUP is in no mood to be conciliatory, as Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesman, has made abundantly clear. He believes that the Theresa May has betrayed the DUP by crossing her own red lines and, from what he told me in an interview this week, trust has almost completely broken down.

Even worse, when the Prime Minister stood up to say that she would be consulting other parties about the way forward, people naturally assumed that would mean talks with the leaders of those parties. Apparently not. And she won’t be talking to anyone who believes in staying in a form of Customs Union. Okaaaaayyyyy….

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I haven’t a clue what the Prime Minister will say on Monday when she is obliged to return to the Commons to tell us how she plans to take things forward.

I wonder if her Cabinet even knows. She has apparently decided that it is so leaky that she won’t take its members into her confidence, because the one sure consequence is that the details will be on James Forsyth’s Twitter feed within five minutes of a Cabinet meeting ending.

Now is the time for the Cabinet to assert itself and tell her that she can’t persist with her form of ‘bunker’ government. ‘Trust no one’ might have worked for Mulder and Scully in the X Files, but it’s no way to run Number 10.

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I did have a quiet snigger to myself when both Peter Mandelson and Norman Lamont on my show predicted the rebellion against the Prime Minister would be far smaller than people were predicting. Three minutes later, they were both having to eat their words.

For once in my life, I got the size of the majority against the deal almost bang on. Earlier in the day I had predicted between 180 and 220, but later revised it to above 220. My producer brought me back down to earth by reminding me that a monkey would get a prediction right every once in a while too.

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In any normal political environment, May would now be contemplating a happy retirement. And if there were any obvious alternative to her, maybe that could have happened now, too. But there isn’t.  Boris Johnson is a busted flush, and none of her cabinet ministers have given us any confidence that they would do any better than the current incumbent.

It is remarkable that the Prime Minister is still in post after this defeat, but there is scant talk of the men in grey suits paying her a visit. In the end, it ought to be the Cabinet that tells her that her position is untenable, but you have to own a pair of bollocks (and I’m talking about both sexes here) first.

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Bianca Nobilo, one of my CNN colleagues, made a very telling point on Tuesday night. She said that Machiavelli wrote that in order to be a successful politician you have to be either feared or loved.

She was bang on. By whom is Theresa May feared? Apart from her husband, who loves her? I respect her. I even like her – but does she instil fear? Does she inspire love in the same way that Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair did from their tribes?  No. Buggering on is an admirable quality but it may not prove to be enough.

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I’ve spent more hours on College Green this week than is good for any human being. Mind you, LBC did provide a nice electric blanket on my chair for my three hour stints on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was like sitting on a car’s heated seat – always a rather perverted experience in my view. And vastly overrated.

David Davis came on to react to the defeat on Tuesday, and was rather shocked that I had grown a beard. By the time you read this, the beard will have been shaved off. Yesterday, I had to have photos taken for some new LBC publicity pictures. I couldn’t decide whether to shave it off or not although, after someone said I looked like Alan Yentob, I was solely tempted to whack it off immediately.

I then did a Twitter poll. More than 4,000 people voted, and it ended up 51-49 in favour of it being shaved off. I decided to implement the result of this vote – even though it had only ever been an advisory vote. The questions remains, though. Did I have enough information to decide whether to shave it off or not, and were people telling me lies when they said they liked it?

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tom Bell: We should embrace a “digital-by-default” approach to make council services more efficient

Cllr Tom Bell is a councillor in Southampton. He has a background in patent law and is currently a cyber security consultant for a Hampshire-based research company.

As we move full-swing into the New Year, 2019 will inevitably be no less of a turbulent ride than the past few years. While our departure from the EU and the associated opportunities and pressures are taking their proportion of government attention, the pressures faced by local councils must not go unaddressed.

Since Labour’s spending spree – and the subsequent recession in 2008 – the Treasury is rightly committed to reducing the public deficit as a matter of moral duty towards future generations who would otherwise pay the price. Although growth in government revenue is continuing to build momentum, local councils are likely to face continued budgetary constraints in the medium term and the need for efficient council services is likely to continue. In addition, increasing demand on council services is compounding these effects and councils need to develop innovative ways for digital transformation to improve services and reduce overheads.

As it often the case with innovation, the private sector is quite a considerable way ahead of local government in terms of its effective exploitation of technology. However, there are already examples of councils across the country which are re-imagining service provision to remove redundancy and allocate resources where they have the greatest impact. These include providing scalable online services which can be licenced by other councils and integrated with existing platforms; using large data sets to extract behavioural insights in order to identify more targeted policies; and investing in IT infrastructure to facilitate flexible working patterns.

In addition to organisational and process reforms, councils are continuing to invest in smart technology through procurement, such as using smart bins to improve waste collection; digital boards to provide access to local information; and electric vehicles to reduce running costs and improve air quality.

A move towards technological solutions will usually require some level of investment. Councils have considerable capital budgets which should be far more targeted at digital solutions rather than traditional methods.

When the delivery and administration of local government services is provided in a way that optimises the leverage which technology can provide, councils can alleviate ongoing budgetary pressures and free up employees’ time to focus on more people focussed activities. Not only can technological solutions drive efficiency savings, many of these solutions can also deliver service quality enhancements, such as improving the accessibility, capability and longevity of local services. For example, by proving a richer set of features through a secure online dashboard, many councils are giving residents greater control and flexibility over the services they access, as well as reducing demand on customer services and administrative teams inside the council.

In a climate in which the government budget for local government is kept under control and local councils have considerable budgetary pressure, the need – and opportunity – to exploit technology effectively is as great as it has ever been, and council leaders must adopt a ‘digital-by-default’ approach. However, there is also the need for central government to provide reforms to support and incentivise this approach. Government Digital Service (GDS) provides an excellent and growing resource for the civil service by promoting consistent and quality digital design. Moving forward, GDS needs to be working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to extend its arms out to local councils. The ‘Local Digital’ movement provided by MHCLG is a good start at creating the right conditions for councils to deliver excellent digital services, but more work is needed to generate consistent standards, establish best-practice, and provide procurement guidance to accelerate the transition to digital.

In addition, the funding process for local government too often incentivises failure and inhibits excellence. Councils which lack technological foresight are given extra funding to compensate, while those who are able to deliver more for less fail to be recognised. Leaders in local government need the kinds of incentives that motivate the private sector to drive technological progress. Those Conservative Councillors who excel in this regard must be able to see the ways in which their leadership has made an impact, rather than just provide the opportunity for government to further reduce investment in them.

Why don’t we send a powerful message to those in local government by embracing a new approach to funding based on incentivising growth and digital transformation – one which rewards those who are able to deliver efficiency gains through smart use of technology? We have some fantastic councillors all across the country with the skill and vision to make intelligent investments in our future. Let’s make the most of them.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Simon Allison: Parliament is deadlocked. Only the British people can now deliver a final say on May’s deal.

Simon Allison is founding member of Right to Vote, author of Brexit – a Betrayal of Conservatism? and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Right to Vote, a new grouping of Conservative MPs and grassroots activists who are calling for the voters to be given a Final Say over the Brexit process, was launched this week. We’ve called it Right to Vote because we think that voting on the final outcome of the EU talks is the right thing for people to do and indeed, something that they should – and must – have a right to do.

There’s no question that people are bored to tears with hearing about Brexit, and sick and tired of politicians on all sides telling them half-truths about it – and in some cases, blatant untruths. To make matters worse, the people paid to solve the country’s problems, our MPs, have managed to get themselves into a state of total gridlock, in many cases just scoring political points while time ticks away on saving our future.

What people actually want is for our MPs to set out a clear way forward for the country. That means telling them the truth, however unpalatable and difficult that may be. In fact, if you look at the times when the Conservative Party has defied the odds to win elections, in 1979, 1992 and 2015, our success has been based on levelling with the people of the United Kingdom.

So: let’s face facts. The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is dead. She is calling on MPs to unite around a new solution, but there’s no Commons majority for any form of Brexit – not for the Prime Minister’s deal, not for ‘no deal’ and not for a Norway-style arrangement. While many moderate Conservative MPs like the idea of a compromise based around some form of Customs Union or EEA/EFTA solution, they miss the fact that the reasons why the public didn’t swing behind Mrs May’s deal are the same reasons that they wouldn’t back that kind of compromise.

It would still leave us as a rule-taker not a rule-maker, leavs us paying £39 million without any guarantees about the final deal and we’d have to go on bended knee to persuade such global powerhouses as Norway and Liechtenstein to let us in. The whole thing would frankly be a humiliation for a world power like the UK. From a Party perspective, it opens up the prospect of internal war without end around the contents of a final trade deal, almost certainly dominating this Parliament and most probably ensuring a crushing defeat – even to Jeremy Corbyn – in 2022.

Instead, giving people a Final Say is a swift, fair and democratic solution to this sorry saga, allowing us to get back to meeting the challenges that in part fuelled the Brexit vote in the first place.

If you believe some on the Party’s far right, this makes us traitors and saboteurs, unrepresentative of true conservatism; many of the Conservative MPs supporting a Final Say are receiving threats of deselection by their constituency associations. But we must not confuse the anguish of hardened activists with the underlying views of the voters. Indeed, across all the seats that elected Conservative MPs at the last election, new research suggests that an average of 55.8 per cent of voters support a new public vote.

Indeed, if the Conservative Party is going to return to its election-winning positioning as the party of common sense, there are two key facts which it must recognise. First, that the Brexit side of this discussion, after nearly three years, can’t decide what Brexit means, making it somewhat difficult to implement and, second, that as of today Remain leads Leave by 12 per cent in the polls.

Against that background, to deny the electorate a say and, instead, delivering a Brexit that does not command their support would be a betrayal of the United Kingdom and a suicide mission for the Conservative Party. The right path for our country also happens to be right path for our Party.  We, as Conservatives, ought to lead the way in trusting the people with this – not to be forced in to doing so because there is nowhere else to turn.

The Right to Vote campaign has one clear aim: to secure a Final Say vote. This is about breaking the deadlock in Parliament. This is about securing consent for the next chapter in our great country. It is time to trust the people and let them really take back control.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Eagles receiver surprises schoolkids who wrote to him after crushing NFL playoff loss

Alshon Jeffery, a  Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, took the blame for a crushing NFL playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. But after some second-graders sent him letters of encouragement this week, it was Jeffery’s turn to lift the kids’ spritis.

Westlake Legal Group AP19007032850799 Eagles receiver surprises schoolkids who wrote to him after crushing NFL playoff loss fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/education/primary-elementary fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article Amy Lieu a25a0a0c-c845-5699-b840-70e3d30e64a8

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed

President Donald Trump personally directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter told BuzzFeed.

Westlake Legal Group cnn_topstories?d=yIl2AUoC8zA The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed   Westlake Legal Group cnn_topstories?d=7Q72WNTAKBA The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed   Westlake Legal Group cnn_topstories?i=tY70wExBgR8:fKEMjLYo20Y:V_sGLiPBpWU The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed   Westlake Legal Group cnn_topstories?d=qj6IDK7rITs The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed   Westlake Legal Group cnn_topstories?i=tY70wExBgR8:fKEMjLYo20Y:gIN9vFwOqvQ The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed

Westlake Legal Group tY70wExBgR8 The President directed his attorney to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials involved in a probe tell BuzzFeed

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com