Saturday, 28 June 2014

Ben Gummer sticking up for Ipswich

Below is Ben's latest article and I think it's excellent and speaks for many of us who love Ipswich. I agree entirely with his sentiments and know myself when people visit us here in Ipswich how pleasantly surprised they are with what they see and experience. 
Read on and spread the word!

'I grew up in the Suffolk countryside, first in Fressingfield, near Diss, and then after I was eight years old, just outside Debenham, in the little village of Winston.  I remember, when I was very little, going to Norwich with my family for Christmas shopping but my real memories as a boy are of Ipswich, which was our local town.  We shopped in Ipswich, went to church in Ipswich, and all of us seemed constantly to be at Ipswich Hospital, with some broken bone or tending on an ailing ageing relative.  I sat for hours in the car park of the old County Hall, waiting for my father to finish meetings, counting the ramparts that run along the roofline.  I first went clubbing in Ipswich - something I remember not too well, and I had my first date in Ipswich - at the Odeon - an experience that I can recall as clearly as if it were yesterday.  Ipswich has been a place of my growing-up, therefore, and I felt emotionally attached to the town long before it consumed much of my waking day.

So, it struck me, long before I was duty-bound to give a reaction, strange and upsetting that people in Suffolk outside Ipswich could be so irrationally unpleasant about our county town.  Let's be blunt: many of those who live in villages near us seem happy to insult Ipswich and have for some time.  Now, I think, people are careful what they say in my presence, as they know they will get a sharp response.  But I know it goes on, as do you: you only need to hear what people say on BBC Radio Suffolk when Mark Murphy periodically decides to stir the pot and get people talking about their county town.

What's this all about?  Well, I think the roots of this run deep.  Ipswich has never had a cathedral and it was, until within living memory, a manufacturing town.  It was not a 'normal' capital of a southern shire, therefore.  We need not apologise for that: our character is unique, something I explain to everyone who asks me about my constituency, and something also that newcomers remark on within weeks of arriving in the town.

But some of the criticisms that are levelled by outsiders are also made by people who have lived in Ipswich all their life: the quality and range of shops is not what it used to be; the planners have made a mess of large parts of the town; parking is expensive; and so on.

I've written about all these problems before, at length, so will not talk about them here - save to say that I know they exist and am doing what I can, even though I have few powers to do anything, to fix them.

But what I do want to say is that whilst I feel fiercely defensive about Ipswich, I feel sadder still for the Suffolk people who criticise our town.  Because they are missing out on a town centre that could, with some love, be one of the most beautiful in the country, parks and museums beyond compare in any similarly sized county town, and restaurants and boutiques that are increasingly good and increasingly numerous.  That is their loss.  What is more, if they do not support us, then they will never get the county town that they and everyone else wants.  So: stop carping and come here instead.  
Everyone I know who has done so comes away wishing they had ever said a bad word about us in the past'

Monday, 23 June 2014

Weed Busting

Following lots of complaints from residents and the press release below, I have been chasing for prompt action for Stoke park and can confirm that work has been started. Fountains Road and all roads off have been done and the rest of Stoke Park will follow.

As stated below, it take a few days for the weeds to die off.

It is that time of the year again! Ipswich Borough Council's "weed busters" have begun work to control weeds on pavements and footpaths.
The team, which have begun in the north of the town, use quad bikes and foot patrols to get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible. When you consider there are around 400 miles to cover, it is a very big job!
The Council use an environmentally friendly spray which kills the weeds over a 10-day period, so the Council is asking residents to be patient while the weeds wilt. The weather conditions affect the job, too: it might be too wet and windy to spray effectively. 
The team work from 6am to 6pm Mondays to Saturdays - so they will get to your neighbourhood as soon as they can. 

Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035

Friday, 20 June 2014

Flying the Flag for our heroes

Press release: 

Ipswich people can pay tribute to our Armed Forces on Monday 23rd June at two "Flying the Flag" ceremonies taking place in the town.

The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Bill Quinton, will lead one event outside the Town Hall, while the Borough Council Leader, Councillor David Ellesmere, will lead a similar ceremony outside the Council's HQ at Grafton House in Russell Road.

Both ceremonies will take place at 10.30am and the flags will continue to fly until after Armed Forces Day on Saturday 28th June. Similar events will occur across the country.

The Mayor said: "I hope many local people will be able to join me outside the Town Hall on Monday to pay tribute to the courage of members of our Armed Services both past and present."

Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035

Executive meeting recording

Thanks to Ipswich Spy, everyone can take a look at what goes on in executive and council meetings

The following is a recording of this weeks exec meeting and I urge you to at least watch the first paper being discussed. This was the only paper I voted against because I refuse for us to be hypocrites and patronising to our local small companies.

Blacklisting companies who previously blacklisted employees, makes us as bad as them. We think we have a good reason for blacklisting and yet tell others they cannot do it! Furthermore, we may end up blacklisting innocent employees of a company that has long since changed the directors involved in any blacklisting. Dreadful, dreadful policy.

I didn't discuss the living wage, not this time anyway, as I do not think it was relevant in this instance. I do not know any qualified local plumber, electrician etc who pay their staff less than the living wage anyway. If they did then said staff would soon be off to another company. This is what business is about and it doesn't need lip service and blackmail from the Labour administration.

This was less to do with what's good for local businesses in Ipswich and more to do with appeasing unions. Typical left rubbish speak.

Recorded coverage of the IBC Executive 17th June 2014

via @IpswichSpy

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

CSV Media - Move via a human chain

Yesterday early evening CSV Media made the old Crown Court office their new home.

They came up with a fantastic idea of creating a human chain starting from the old offices right up to the new via a human chain and I joined it at the beginning of a 200 strong presence..

Boxes were passed by each human link in the chain against the backdrop of sunshine, drums and laughter. It was a much more enjoyable event than I anticipated and brought together so many different people from a variety of backgrounds and nationality.

Real community action!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Ready for the Ride

The yearly ceremony for bringing in the new mayor and confirming the executive, committee members and outside body commitments, took place last evening and as usual was a fine occasion.

Bill Quinton will make a good mayor and is liked by all members across the parties. I sincerely wish him well and hope he as a fantastic year, as it seems all the mayors do.

The difference this year is that I have accepted the seat on executive, offered every year by the Labour leader and I do not do this lightly.

Councillor Ellesmere will tell you that he offers this in the interest of openness and of course, it does help us to see what's going on.

BUT, The labour group (and I mean as a group, not any particular individual) never do us Conservatives any favours, not even if it helped the people of Ipswich. Like the Unions they are protectionists and they will not be making my life easy. I will not win any vote where I disagree with them and they will see this as an opportunity to scrutinise everything I say.

But I will not make their lives too easy either and it will be an interesting ride.

I don't believe the people of Ipswich enjoy the childishness that goes on, although I will say that there's not a grown-up in the entire world that doesn't behave in a childlike way at one point. Football, politics, relationships, hobbies, debate, social media can all make us resort to silly stuff.

But I also don't believe that people would find total collaboration that interesting either. While on the campaign trail someone asked me why we couldn't just get together and do what needs to be done.
I replied that we do - but here's the rub - we want roughly the same things but it's HOW we get there that makes us fall into different camps.

No, you would definitely have the right to say we all look and sound the same if we were to totally collaborate. How could we possibly show you our differing values, beliefs, plans, desired outcomes if we just 'all got along and agreed'?

I intend to make it interesting - being on the executive will make it interesting - having to be at my best while I am scrutinised and vice versa - will make it interesting.

When my group agrees, we will say so. When we don't we will give you reasons why.

Over the coming weeks I will continue to use social media to take our council to the people of Ipswich. I intend to dispel the myths of what a Conservative is and why I have always been one, despite growing up in a council flat until I was 11 in the East End of London and being a single parent with no help from the government whatsoever, during the fantastic Thatcher years.

I will show you that we do not adopt the unionistic method, in which Labour group always cherish, but that we are a team with a common sense of duty, compassion, teamwork, values, beliefs and fondness for each other, even if we have the odd disagreement. We are family. Small but powerful!

We are going to make some mistakes - but in the words of the great Maya Angelou:

'I've learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel'.

I intend to show the people of Ipswich, that if you want to be proud of Ipswich, see the people empowered with confidence, then you need to vote Conservative.

We believe in empowering the people, the officers who run the council and giving residents what they want, not what we think they want.

I'm ready for the ride!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Information regarding Cyber attack

The following came through my Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator so I thought I'd share it with you:

Game over Zeus.
The action related to a strain of malware - meaning malicious software.
Malware is typically downloaded by unsuspecting users via what is known as a phishing attack, usually in the form of an email that looks like it comes from somewhere legitimate - such as a bank - when it fact it is designed to trick a person into downloading malicious software.
Once installed on a victim's machine, Game over Zeus will search specifically for files containing financial information.
If it cannot find anything it deems of worth, some strains of Game over Zeus will then install Crypto-locker - a ransom-ware program that locks a person's machine until a fee is paid.
The FBI said Game over Zeus could be responsible for "financial losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars".

Global action
In what has been described as the biggest ever operation of its kind, servers all over the world were raided simultaneously by the authorities.
"The scale of this operation is unprecedented," said Steve Rawlinson from Taga-dab, a web hosting company involved in the take-down effort.
"This is the first time we've seen a co-ordinated, international approach of this magnitude, demonstrating how seriously the FBI takes this current threat."
Rory Cellan-Jones reports on a "powerful computer attack", which people have two weeks to protect themselves from

The action meant the authorities could direct what are known as Command and Control (C&C) servers - the machines that control the operation of the bot-net.
With the C&C servers under police control, criminals should temporarily be unable to manage the computers they hijacked - but only until they are able to set-up new C&C servers elsewhere.
All computer users are being urged to make sure that the malware has not infected their machines.
"This warning is not intended to cause you panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking these steps immediately," said UK-based Get Safe Online, a government-backed organisation that has published a list of software it recommends for the task.
"This is because the UK's NCA has taken temporary control of the communications used to connect with infected computers, but expects only a very limited window of opportunity to ensure you are protected."
Technical problems caused some users to become unable to access the Get Safe Online website on Monday afternoon.
A spokesman said: "We have been overwhelmed by the interest of those trying to take action to protect themselves by visiting our page.
"We are sorry about this and are working very hard to make the page available as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the advice can be accessed via our Facebook and Google+ pages."

More detailed information on the threat was published by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (Cert).

'Quarantined computers'
Following a slew of high-profile hack attacks in recent weeks - including eBay, Spotify and shoe retailer Office - security expert Rik Ferguson raised concerns that computer users might be suffering from "notification fatigue".
However, he stressed that this operation was more targeted, and should not be ignored.
"I think one of the things that is really critical with this operation is that if people are infected, it's going to be completely invisible to them," the Trend Micro security researcher said.
The FBI said cooperation with Russian authorities had been "productive"
"One of the strengths of this operation is not only that it involved organisations around the world, but that it involved the ISPs as well.
"The ISPs will go out and pro-actively notify any of their customers who are infected."
He suggested that machines known to be infected by serious malware should be placed in a quarantined environment until the threat was removed.
"Making it uncomfortable, if not impossible, to use the internet is one of the most effective ways to do that," he said.

Hi-tech crime terms
  • Bot - one of the individual computers in a bot-net; bots are also called drones or zombies
  • Bot-net - a network of hijacked home computers, typically controlled by a criminal gang
  • Malware - an abbreviation for malicious software ie a virus, Trojan or worm that infects a PC
  • Ransom ware - like malware, but once in control it demands a fee to unlock a PC
This also relates to your mobile phone, if you use it for on line or to access your PC at home or Office / Business.

  • Make sure all of your files including documents, photos, music and bookmarks are backed up and readily available in case you are no longer able to access them on your computer 
  • Never store passwords on your computer in case they are accessed by Game-over Zeus or another aggressive malware program
  • Be weary of clicking on LINKS in an Email, as this may send you to a hacker/ spoof site. 
  • When installed! This also collects your social media info, scanning for subject matter to help Infiltrate, this could be some security info you have stored on your social site. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

A New Era for a united Ipswich Conservative group

Before the football starts and my time is split between all aspects of my life, which also includes running a business and spending time with my family, I want to say a few Thankyous

Thankyou to the residents who voted for me in the local election - I will be delivering a leaflet to Stoke Park soon, to re-iterate how much I appreciated their loyalty and faith in me. I have been overwhelmed with their congratulations via e-mail and face to face as well as the occasional hug and kiss!

Thankyou to the Ipswich Conservative Association for all their hard work behind the scenes, especially Ben Gummer's campaign manager Olivia alongside the executive - Paul West, Bob Hall, Katherine Parkinson, Stephen Ion and last but not least Liz Harsant, who is chair of the association.

Thankyou to Liz again for being caretaker leader of our group while we fought the locals and for what I know will be her unconditional support in my new role as Leader of the group.

I intend to ensure that residents will always come first and that is one of the reasons why I've decided to take a seat on the executive without portfolio. If the Labour group delivers on issues we consider are important and we agree with them, I will say so. If we do not agree with their actions or policies, I will say so strongly leaving them in no doubt.

We are united as a group and feeling very upbeat. We're looking forward to campaigning for Ben Gummer because he has been an outstanding MP for this town and I will be working hard personally alongside him to get his messages across the town. I feel pride when I knock on doors and speak to residents about Ben, so I will enjoy the mileage.

We do need to improve some of our social media, for instance the Ipswich Conservative website needs a fresh look but we will work on this and I do pride myself that I lead the way in using social media platforms to communicate with Ipswich residents. I tweet, blog, use Facebook and Google + and alongside the labour candidate for Stoke Park, made history by being part of a political google hangout just before the elections. Hopefully others will embrace it too.

Social media does have it's downside but overall I think it's what you, the voters, want - warts and all. We are very much on the ground and will make mistakes but my group know that I will always speak my mind and the truth.

We will be working hard to ensure we hear you, you see us and that we serve you in the best way we can.