Rights for co-habitees?

The Law Commission has issued some interesting proposals today about whether the law should intervene to give rights ( and by implication force obligations! ) on those who choose to cohabit. As a lawyer I understand the legal position of those who cohabit more than most. I have not had chance yet to study the proposals in detail and there may well be merit in them. I start from the position ( as always ) that we should not introduce new laws unless there is a clear and undeniable need for them. As someone who has spent many years advising unmarried couples I can not honestly say that no one has ever said that they wished there were new laws. After all there is only one cake that can be divided and if one partner gets a bigger slice the other one gets a smaller slice so there will be as many winners as losers if the present rules are changed. The one area where new rules may be required is where an unmarried couple have children and one party has given up work to raise children then that should be reflected in the division of assets if the couple split up. It will be interesting to see how these initial proposals develop and in what form they arrive on the statute book… if they ever do.

Travel to Work Tax

Hi, Sue and I have been away for a few days break in Scarborough watching the cricket. Typically English weather a bit of sun, lots of clouds, some rain ( enough to lose one days play out of the first two ) and quite windy most of the time. Anyway regardless of the weather we have enjoyed ourselves, we stopped off at the RSPB reserve at Bempton on the way over to Scarborough to do some birdwatching ( gannets and puffins ).
The main political story of the week has been the vote by the leaders of the Councils that comprise the Greater Manchester Area on whether to put in a bid to the Government for £3 billion pounds of grant/loans to improve public transport. The problem with this apparent “no-brainer” of a bid is that in order to repay the loan Manchester must introduce a congestion charge. The present proposal is that the new charge will be levied just when most people go to and return from work hence I call it the Travel to Work Tax. Not surprisingly as far as I can tell the vast majority of local Conservatives are against this new tax on the basis that we are all taxed enough already and there is no suggestion that if this new tax is introduced there will be any reduction in he many other taxes we already pay.

Planning Ahead

Three meetings this week, all really about planning for the future. On Monday and Tuesday I had meetings with local Party colleagues and Area Party officials about the next set of elections and last night I had a meeting about a major fund raising dinner later in the year.
Yesterday saw the by-elections in the safe Labour seats of Ealing Southall and Sedgefield. Neither seat has historically been strong for the Conservative Party and despite all the media comment no one could have been surprised that Labour easily held both seats. There was a low turnout as is often the case in by-elections with less than half of those entitled to vote bothering to do so. A sign perhaps that the electorate knew who was going to win! At least the Conservative share of the vote increases in both seats so a step in the right direction even if it was a very small one.

Training Day

Just as with any job nowadays training (sometimes referred to as continuing education) forms an important part and being a Parliamentary Candidate is no exception. I have been on a Party training course all day today looking at how we deal with the media.
Sue and I went over to visit our godchildren in Morecambe at the weekend and I took the opportunity to go and watch Morecambe football club play Barnsley in a pre-season friendly, everyone there is excited at the prospect of playing League football. Yesterday, we attended a special Confirmation Service at St. Anne’s Church led by he Bishop of Manchester. It was encouraging that there were thirty people children and adults being confirmed.

Work

Just been at work for last couple of days. Interesting to hear of Liberal Democrats tax plans today. I have yet to study the detail but from what I have heard so far I think that the devil will be in the detail. I suspect that very few people will believe that a wave of Ming’s Magic Stick the Lib Dems will be able to cut income tax by 4p “just like that”!

Policy Review Reports Begin

Today has seen the publication of Iain Duncan-Smith’s detailed analysis and report into how we can start to rebuild our “broken society”.
As ever the media has focused almost entirely on just one out of almost 200 recommendations. In fact the proposal to recognise marriage in the tax system is something that David Cameron has mentioned on many occasions. What has been made clear that these reports do not automatically become Party policy. They are recommendations and they will be used to start off a debate and following that specific policies which will be costed will be put into place before the next election.
I attended a meeting of the Conservative Group at Bury Town Hall last night where the proposed congestion charge sparked much debate. We were particularly encouraged by the fact that the ” real-life characters ” featured on the propaganda leaflet have all been revealed as fakes!

Music In The Park

I have been at Music in the Park all day today. An 8 o’clock start helping to set up and then when everyone has left helping to dismantle everything and pack things away. Forunately although the ground was very soft in places the weather was mainly dry and whilst the crowd was probably lower than if the weather had been scorching hot there were still several hundreds of people there. The bands were, as usual, excellent and everyone had a great time.
Sue and I have a house geust with us at the moment and we went out to Carmelos for a meal after we had finished at Music in the Park.