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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Primary Education At Six was once party policy - or is it still? 

We have been here before in the debate generated by the Cambridge Primary Review report which amongst other measures suggests ‘delaying the start of formal education until age six’.

Specifically the LibDems had an education paper to conference a few years ago and Federal Conference actually, I believe, voted in favour of a play-based primary learning strategy until age 6. I can’t find my printed copy of the briefing paper however, nor online resources.

Our current touted policy on extra resources to cut 5 to 7 class sizes to 15 does seem to have abandoned this policy.

I would find it helpful if we could re-visit those discussions as I was persuaded of the ‘start formal teaching at six’ strategy at the time of the last party debate.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bedford - the entrails 

Well it was fun being part of a winning campaign! Massive congratulations to Dave and his team...
People speculating on how this Bedford Mayoral result could impact on a Parliamentary result should note that Bedford Unitary Authority spreads over three Westminster constituencies namely:

1 ALL of Bedford Borough constituency.
2 Three wards of Mid-Bedfordshire constituency
3 Ten wards of Bedfordshire North-East constituency

Bedford Borough constituency is held by Patrick Hall, Labour.
Libdems third in 2005 with 21.5%

Labour held three double and two one-seater wards here in June. The Conservatives had two one-seaters. Libdems took four two-seater wards and one one-seater. Independents one two seater. (The independent candidate who came third for mayor is one of these concillors).

Mid-Bedfordshire constituency is held by Nadine Dorries, Con.
Libdems second in all constituency in 2005 with 23.8%, Labour had 22.5%

Of these three mid-Bedfordshire wards Libdems hold one double-seater, Cons one and Independents one. Dave had a whopping vote in Wooton ward I believe...

To note that in Central Bedfordshire council, which broadly makes up the rest of the constituency, Labour were completely wiped out in the June 2009 all-council election. Libdems are the only opposition group, with 11 seats.

Bedfordshire North-East constituency is held by Alistair Burt, Con.
Libdems third in all constituency in 2005 with 20.8% Labour second with 25.2%.

Of these ten wards LibDems hold two single-seaters, Cons one double-seater and three singles, independents the remaining four single-seaters.

Make of all that what you will...

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Comments:
Edis, Thanks for all your hard work!

regards,

Mark Fitzpatrick, Bedford
 
A slight corretion: Central Bedfordshire Unitary Council makes up the rest of both Mid-Bedfordshire and North-east Bedfordshire constituencies.
 
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bedford last push 

The Tories seem to be taking the Bedford Mayor by-election fairly seriously - national Tory Party chair Pickes was canvassing yesterday. We know this as he canvassed a strong LD supporter and she promptly phoned in the Tory doorstep script to LD campaign HQ. Strangely, despite having a huge LD stakebard in her front garden Pickles seemed unaware of how she might be voting. Anyway, the Tory line is 'send Gordon Brown a message'.

Bedford voters however might be sending the message that they want a competent and hard-working Mayor to handle the problems in the new Unitary Authority. Which gives our candidate Dave Hodgson a real chance of a win.

I will be on the Bedford streets at 5am Thursday. Listen out for feeding back hearing aids and hope these dont set of too many dogs.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Avoid Bedford. Cowbridge roundabout, that is. 

Yes please come to the Bedford mayor by-election if you can, but be aware that there are a massive series of roadworks along the A421 between Junction 13 of the M1 and Bedford. And a separate and really snarly roadworks in Bedford at Cowbridge roundabout, where the A6 crosses the A5134. If coming up the A421 Bedford by-pass from the J3 direction it may be better to ignore the A6 exit and go on to the next one, getting on to the A600 towards Bedford town centre (Harrowdean Road, and your first navigation target London Road).

If coming down the M1 from the north it is better to get off at J14 and take the A422 into Bedford even if you have to negotiate the fringes of the town centre.

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