Cambridge City Needs YOU!

Calling all citizens of Cambridge.

We’ve selected our PPC … Now the action really begins.

We have selected Chamali Fernando as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to fight the Cambridge City seat in the 2015 General Election.

Now we all need to help her to campaign across the City in order to ensure that the Conservatives reclaim the seat in nine months’ time.  If you can help deliver leaflets or to canvass – starting now- then please contact her on

We also need to recruit a full team of candidates for the City Council.  Would you be interested in standing in the ward where you live?  If so, let our Constituency Development Officer Sarah Carrick know on or 07808 047452.

If not, we need you to help identify local residents who would be interested in making a difference to their local community.  Please think of the various clubs and societies that you attend and make a point in the coming days to ask at least one person if they have ever considered public service. The deadline for the first round of applications is midday on Tuesday 2nd September.

In the 2010 general election, the Conservative Party came second in Cambridge and, given the recent collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats both nationally and across the city, we are best placed to offer the residents of Cambridge a genuine alternative to what is now a Labour-led City Council. So, it is an exciting time to join the team!

We look forward to hearing from you soon and to raising the Conservative profile again across Cambridge.


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There are 265 days until Election Day

We are campaigning to secure a better future for Britain and deliver a Conservative majority in 2015.

This week, we saw more positive news that our long-term economic plan is building a brighter future for Britain.

· Fastest growing employment rate in the G7. New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment has had its largest annual fall in 25 years, with youth unemployment seeing its steepest annual fall since records began 30 years ago. That’s more people than ever with the security of a job and the confidence to make plans for the future

· Record university places. Yesterday it was announced that record numbers of students have been offered university places next year, giving more young people the opportunity to reach their potential and build the best possible future for themselves. While we were able to lift the cap on the number of student places this year, next year we are abolishing the cap entirely

· Best growth since the end of 2007. And today, the ONS revised their growth estimate for year to June 2014 up to 3.2% – further evidence that thanks to the hard work and determination of the British people a stronger, healthier economy is being built

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A reminder of what Conservatives are fighting for

The Conservatives are working to a long-term economic plan that will secure a healthier economy and a better and brighter future for Britain, and for future generations.

Thanks to the ongoing sacrifices and determination of the British people, our country is starting to recover after tough economic times. But the job is not done. We must continue to take careful and difficult decisions to help build a better Britain – one that rewards those who have put in, who contribute and who play by the rules.

This way we can deliver a brighter future for our country and hardworking taxpayers – with Britain standing tall in the world again and with its people more secure at home.

Our long-term economic plan:

1. Reducing the deficit so we deal with our debts, safeguard our economy for the long term and keep mortgage rates low

2. Cutting income taxes and freezing fuel duty to help hardworking people be more financially secure

3. Creating more jobs by backing small business and enterprise with better infrastructure and lower jobs taxes

4. Capping welfare and reducing immigration so our economy delivers for people who want to work hard and play by the rules

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And what about Labour?

Three weeks after Ed Miliband launched Labour’s ‘The Choice’ campaign, the people have spoken. And what do they think of Labour’s plans? Here’s a sample:

· “wishy-washy”
· “pathetic”
· “far too weak”
· “simply too vague”
· “lacks vision”
· “hugely disappointing”
· “totally inadequate”
· “meaningless”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, but who are these comments from? None other than Labour’s own supporters when invited by to comment on the Party’s policy review on their own website.

And just in case we’d forgotten who’s really driving Labour’s “totally inadequate” agenda, Electoral Commission figures released this week covering the second quarter of 2014 revealed that Labour has now received over £34 million from the unions since Ed Miliband became leader. That’s £1,027 per hour.

It’s the same old Labour

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Papworth and broadband

It seems that despite lots of excitement over the possibility that Virgin might be laying fibre in Papworth, the Summersfield estate is yet again left off the plan.

My sources tell me this is a cost issue and fits with my understanding of Virgin being reluctant to lay new fibre, unless they already have trunking in place.

So we are left with the deal struck between David Wilson Homes and BT. This should be fine, it’s in the plans, but …….. the original timeline of October seem to have gone west. It may be by the end of the year or possibly next year.

So frustrating.

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Changes to voting registration rules – a helpful step?

Voters used to be registered under the household or if a student by the bursar of the college they attend.

The rules have recently changed so that individuals must now register themselves. Given that students can register at home or where they study this is an interesting development.

Where will they register or will they register at all? Places like Cambridge have a significant student population so it could have a huge impact.

A lot of students used to vote Lib Dem, until the Lib Dems double crossed them on tuition fees. Perhaps less will vote in Cambridge under the new rules.

It is in the nature of students that they tend to steer away from perceived establishment parties like the Conservatives. So could this chafe in regulation further eat into the Lib Dem vote? Probably, and it should also affect the Labour vote.

Interesting times. At the current odds being given on Conservatives a small wager seems to be attractive.

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Children’s safeguarding Ofsted inspection jumps to good

Sometimes, despite best endeavours , things go wrong. Sometimes a snapshot can be taken of an organisation and with just a little context off the mark making things can look much worse than they really are.

And so it was with an Ofsted inspection of Childres services Safeguarding when I was Leader. I can remember the day that a devastated top management team came to see me to let me know the bad news.

Professionally, for the management team responsible for safeguarding children, this sort of Ofsted report can stop careers in their tracks.

Politically, It would have been so easy to have sacked a few people, laid blame at people’s doors and moved them out. But in this case that would have heaped more injustice on a judgement that I always felt was harsh.

The background to the judgement was the context that I believe Ofsted didn’t get quite right. For example, a few weeks before the inspection, a new social work team had been put together to increase capacity. Recruiting was difficult so some agency staff were used. It didn’t work. The management team had in place systems to monitor what was happening and to pick up the failing as well as getting it right. Part of the putting it right was the successful recruitment of a new manager who started work …….. On the day of the inspection.

With a commendable honesty, all this was shown to Ofsted, who instead of recognising the issue was of short duration, had been picked up and resolved put it into the inspection report as a revelation.

Add to this the entire Children’s service were ” converting” to a radical but government acclaimed “unit model”. It was recognised in the inspection that this was pioneering and a robust way forward as it removed a large number of potential single point failures. Government was watching and encouraging. But in the middle of this major overhaul the inspectors came in and unsurprisingly found their inspection methodology didn’t fit well with this new way of working.

Now, of course some things were not right. Recording was seen to be variable and had to improve. But, was this a case for “inadequate”? I’m not sure. In fact later on we heard on the jungle telegraph a new informal category of “inadequate light” was being used for Cambridgeshire!

Cambridgeshire County Council is the first local authority in the country to see its Ofsted rating for safeguarding children jump two levels from “inadequate” to “good”.

Inspectors found the council responded “purposefully and systematically” to making improvements.

This completely justifies my faith in the management team who we retained, supported and protected from the worst of the flack. It also justifies the move to the unit model.

What it does do is raise a question mark in my mind about Ofsted inspections. The impact of low categorisation can be extreme and profound.

The turnaround has been accomplished by the same team that was branded as a failure. In other authorities the inspection could have resulted in stopping the move to the unit model and sacking the managers. Both actions would have produced poor outcomes for children.

Of all the issues I dealt with at the County Council this is one of my most proud. I would like to pay tribute to Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, who played a huge part in this success story.

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Nick Clarke

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