Local news from
Basingsoke Gazette


Welcome to my blog.  I am a political activist, writer and journalist, writing about home affairs, the European Union and local events in Hampshire.  I am also a campaigner for value-for-money local government and sustainability in Tadley and Basingstoke & Deane.  If my posts have a centre-right 'small c' conservative slant, that is purely intentional.   Please browse, comment and join the debate.


Filippiada refugee camp visit

Most of the news and updates regarding my forthcoming visit to the Filippiada refugee camp will be posted on my Facebook page.  In order to see my posts, you will need to be logged into Facebook.

Click here to visit my Facebook page



Greece refugee crisis

On 19th August, I will be flying to Greece in order to support the small over-stretched team that cares for the refugees at one of the many camps in Greece. While I am there, I will meet with the leaders to learn about their challenges and needs, allowing me to make the case back in the UK for greater support. Most importantly and more immediately, I will be spending my time helping the team with the day-to-day running of the camp and bringing with me some essential supplies.

The supplies that I want to take are both consumables such as toiletries and basic medical supplies as well as much needed equipment for example IT and communications. 

The Camp is located in the Northwest of Greece, around 4 km outside the town of Filippiada. There are around 700 people living in the camp, half of which are children. People are sleeping in small tents, which each house around 7 people. In the back there is a paved area with portable toilets. There is a large warehouse on the site where volunteers distribute clothes and baby food for some hours during the day. Besides that there is nothing.

There are no organisations here, no journalists, the UNHCR has been here once. The Syrian refugees believe that they have been forgotten by the world and let down by the EU. 

I know that many of you are sympathetic to these poor families that have travelled thousands of miles in the face of adversity (many meeting their death en-route). I also know that if you knew how you could make a difference, you would. By giving whatever you can, it will allow me to give practical assistance on-site at the point of need and to get essential supplies to these refugees.

I will be there for at least 2 weeks and while I am funding my own travel, I am asking for your kind help to fund the supplies, equipment and essential day-to-day expenses.

I will be documenting my entire visit on daily basis on social media so that you will see for yourself the results of your kind donation.

Please click here to make a donation.


My view on the EU negotiations so far

Safety first. Our money, our priorities. Vote democracy.

It’s safer to take back control and spend the money we send to Brussels on our priorities than to keep giving away power and money.

This week saw the publication of the Prime Minister’s draft EU deal, more major employers announced they are committed to Britain no matter the referendum result and the Vote Leave campaign continues to gather huge momentum across the country.  It was also revealed that the European Court has prevented us deporting terrorist Abu Hamza's daughter-in-law and stopped us learning about it.
The Prime Minister’s deal will not address the problems which the British public see in the EU.  David Cameron knows that his deal won’t satisfy the British people.  He has even told his Conservative MPs not to listen to their constituency associations when making their decision . These are the very people who campaigned to get Mr Cameron back into power.

Don’t listen to him.  This is your chance to have a genuine say in the future of our country.  Your vote counts as much as the next.  If you want to play your part in the campaign, you can get involved here.  If you have friends and family who are waiting to see the PM’s reform package until they make their decision, send them the link to this article and to sign up to Vote Leave.  The referendum could be only 140 days away.  Vote Leave needs all the support it can get.  I along with Vote Leave campaigners are up against the Government machine and the Wall Street investment banks which are funding the BSE (Britain Stronger in Europe) campaign.

The publication of the draft UK/EU deal confirms that the PM’s renegotiation will not deliver the ‘fundamental reform’ which he promised the country before the election.  He has failed to deliver on his manifesto promises on migrant benefits.  The PM has not achieved a complete exclusion on in-work benefits for migrants for four years.  Indeed, the fact that migrants will get gradual access to benefits over the four years actually provide an incentive for them to stay longer.  The ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits will be triggered by the EU, not the UK.

Even the leader of the Labour In campaign admitted that David Cameron’s proposal to limit benefits for EU migrants will do nothing to cut immigration.  Alan Johnson MP, former Home Secretary, said: ‘The issue of in-work benefits is not a draw factor’.  This shows that we have no control over our borders or immigration policy.  After we Vote Leave, we can create a far more humane immigration system where we will give priority to the brightest, the best and the most in need from across the world.
The red card proposal is impractical and unworkable.  Brussels now demands that we secure the support of over half of national parliaments before they even reconsider one of their damaging laws.  Even William Hague knows this can’t work.  In 2008 he said: ‘even if the European Commission proposed the slaughter of the first-born it would be difficult to achieve such a remarkable conjunction of parliamentary votes’.   You can read the full briefing on the renegotiation here.

Nothing in his proposed plan will end the supremacy of EU law.  The European Court of Justice will have the final say on issues which affect our everyday lives.  Unelected Brussels bureaucrats will still have control over our borders, economy and democracy.

London Mayoral Election

Next year, Londonders will go to the polls to choose who will be Mayor.  The current incumbant, the popular figure Boris Johnson MP will stand down as he focuses on his new role within the Government.  Each of the main political parties will soon be choosing who will be their candidate from a list of hopefuls.

One of the front runners for the Conservative Party nomination is the current Deputy Mayor, Stephen Greenhalgh.  I met up with Stephen over a pint in Finchley (North London) last week where we talked about his time as Deputy Mayor and his ambitions to replace Boris Johnson when he stands down.

Stephen Greenhalgh believes that housing should be a top priority as well as transport and crime.  He believes that he can make a difference by making London a less expensive to live while keeping the streets safe. 

 Discussing London matters with Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh


Basingstoke is open for business

This week's Basingstoke Business Expo attracted over 450 visitors.  Basingstoke Business Expo is an annual event where businesses in Basingstoke get together to network and find new customers.

I was pleased to meet Basingstoke & Deane Mayor Cllr Mrs Anne Court.  We talked about how the Council supports local businesses and how encouraging it is to see new businesses coming to the Borough and to see existing businesses being sucessful.  The Borough Council actively seeks to attract new businesses to the area which in turn increases employment prospects for local residents.

Cllr Mrs Court said: "Basingstoke is open for business."

Open for business: Discussing local business with Mayor Cllr Mrs Anne Court