The Lowest of the Low

May 31, 2009




The expenses scandal has exposed some pretty unsavoury honourable member’s characters from all three of the main parties but I think the Labour MP Frank Cook takes some beating. Mr Cook is not in trouble because he enriched himself through bending the expenses rules like some have, but when you try to claim for a charitable donation what does it say about your character?

It was revealed today that Frank Cook tried to claim for a £5 donation made at a church commemorative service in honour of the sacrifices made by RAF pilots. The left wing MP for Stockton North wrote out a hand written claim that read: “Battle of Britain church service, Sunday 17.09.06. £5 contribution to offertory on behalf of Frank Cook MP.” Thankfully his claim was rejected.

What makes this case particularly deplorable is that Mr Cook was a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee and a defence whip. If I was a member of the armed services I would object to him ever visiting MOD property or posing with any armed service personnel again.


Big Ben’s 150th Anniversary

May 31, 2009




Today marks the 150th anniversary of one of Britain’s most famous and best loved national landmarks – Big Ben. Contrary to popular belief Big Ben is not the name of the clock tower but the clock’s largest bell. The bell was never officially named, but the legend on it records that the commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall, was responsible for the order. Another theory for the origin of the name is that the bell may have been named after a contemporary heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt.

The clock tower that houses the great bell was designed by Charles Barry – along with the new Palace of Westminster – after a fire destroyed most of the old Houses of Parliament in 1834. The bell was cast in Whitechapel Bell Foundry on 10th April 1858 as a 13½ ton, 2.2 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide bell, and it was first rung in the great clock on the 31st May 1859.

However in September 1859 disaster struck when the bell cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service. The crack was created because the weight of the hammer was more than twice the maximum weight specified in the original design. The hammer was changed and the bell was given an eighth of a turn so the new hammer struck in a different place. It is this crack that gives Big Ben its characteristic twang that has become synonymous ever since.

Campaigning in Oadby

May 31, 2009


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Last Monday a group of Leicester University CF members went out to campaign for our county council candidates (Anne Bond, right hand side of picture) in Oadby. Oadby is part of the Harborough constituency and we were also joined by the MP and our Honouree President, Edward Garnier (in the centre of picture).  The turnout was good considering it was held during the middle of our exam period, and there were even a couple of people who had turned out to campaign for the first time, which was great.

The response on the doorstep was quite good despite the expenses crisis which has made a lot of people angry. The overall impression was that Cameron had made some good decisions and that his tough stance had registered with the voters, hence the rise in the opinion polls recently despite the Telegraph stories mainly concentrating on Conservative MPs this week. 

National issues tend to dominate during county council elections – as they are usually held at the same time as general elections – but local issues are also important. The main issue that came up on the doorstep concerned the Pembury eco-town, which is proposed to be built on the edge of Oadby. This not so “eco”-town is in fact just a huge land grab into the green belt that will destroy environmentally sensitive areas, and impose huge pressures on local roads and public services.  The tough stance of the Conservatives in opposing this scheme is in stark contrast to the flimsy stance of the local Lib Dem councillors and could be a decisive issue that will help us to regain some seats here.

We at LUCF wish our candidates well for this Thursday and hopefully we will be out to campaign with them again before polling day. 


Blogging is Back

May 31, 2009




The blog is back! My exams are finally over, and after a longer than anticipated break, blogging will recommence.

Leicester University CF is very busy at the moment with the EU election campaign in the city and travelling out into the county to campaign for our excellent candidates there.

It is with the elections in mind that I would like to draw your attention to election night itself. Usually the BBC provides some excellent coverage of the results, if not on the night then at least the next day as the counts begin. This year however there will only be a 2 hour show on Sunday! For political anoraks like me this is hugely disappointing.

However all hope is not lost, Iain Dale and Hopi Sen have got together to provide live radio coverage of the election results on Friday and Sunday. Please do click on the LINK and tune in.