Comprehensive victory for the Tories

GRANGE Hill in Essex, home to the iconic but mythical comprehensive school in the long running children's television saga, has provided the Conservatives with seasonal cheer in one of the last council by-elections of the year.

By Graham Dines

GRANGE Hill in Essex, home to the iconic but mythical comprehensive school in the long running children's television saga, has provided the Conservatives with seasonal cheer in one of the last council by-elections of the year.

Victory from the Liberal Democrats on a 3.7% swing enabled the Tories to take overall control of Epping Forest district council. It confirms the Tories' growing grip on an area straddling the London-Essex border around the M25 - they control the London boroughs of Redbridge and Enfield, Brentwood and Harlow districts in Essex, and Thurrock unitary authority - including the parliamentary seats of Epping, Brentwood & Ongar, Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster, Enfield Southgate, and Ilford North. It will only take a small swing at the next General Election for the Tories to reclaim Harlow and Enfield North.

The year has been one of electoral gloom for Labour, which must be dreading this May's crop of elections when every shire district authority in England will be contested as well as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.


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Grange Hill added to the party's woes - it polled just 48 votes in last week's by-election while 302 people voted for the British National Party, which won 22% of the total.

IT seems East of England UKIP Euro MP Jeffrey Titford's speech to the European Parliament last week on Bulgarian and Romanian accession to the EU so impressed the Eurosceptic MP Tory David Heathcott-Amory that an invitation winged its way to Strasbourg asking Mr Titford to the Politeia Society's lecture “Who Controls Britain's Borders?”

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Mr Titford, who was speaking in the European Parliament on behalf of the Independence and Democracy Group, said: “We now stand on the cusp of a tragedy. Romania and Bulgaria, which have relatively recently thrown off the yoke of communism and grasped their freedom, are about to throw it away by taking on the yoke of Brussels, with all its suffocating bureaucracy and its relentless pursuit of power.

“It won't be many years before Bulgaria and Romania discover what a mistake they have made in subjecting themselves to the will of the un-elected and intolerant European Commission. It will be like exchanging an Iron Curtain for a vast curtain of paper, which could end up being almost as big a threat to civil liberties and prosperity as was its predecessor.”

Powerful stuff. But the Euro MP declined the lecture invitation. Instead, he found it more productive to keep a date with the Royston, Hitchin and Bishops Stortford branch of the National Farmers' Union at Buntingford. He knows where his priorities lie!

FOR more years than I care to remember, I have been dutifully recycling beer, spirits and wine bottles in the banks at Ipswich's Golden Key pub - putting clear bottles in the white containers, green in the green, and the hock in the brown.

What a pointless exercise it turns out to be. Filling up with petrol at the service station next door, I watched as all the bottle banks were lifted off the ground and their contents emptied into the same truck.

Mark this down as another con trick perpetuated on us by the gauleiters of the recycling craze.

Happy Christmas.

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