Here is my Party Leaders piece in the Harlow Star this week:

After four years of Conservative control Harlow Council is delivering more for less, plugging the financial black holes that Labour left us and trying to make the town a better place to live and work. Under Conservative control, we have frozen Council Tax for the last three years – it doubled under ten years of Labour.

We have preserved the future of our community services, doubled recycling levels to over 50%, renegotiated the Kier contract to provide better service and more than £4m savings, and we are investing £20,000 pounds to improve landscaping and tackle litter hotspots in each ward – we are committed to investing in our local community.

That’s why after decades of neglect we secured £3 million investment in the cemetery and crematorium. To promote jobs, supported by Robert Halfon MP, we were chosen as one of 19 places in the country for an enterprise zone – creating up to 5,000 jobs. We also successfully secured £3.5m to upgrade the roads to support this.

Through working hard for residents and protecting our community services the Council has been shortlisted as one of the best performing in the country and nominated for a community investor award – we run an achieving Council that local people can be proud of. Nobody appreciates people who stand for office and sit on the fence.

Labour is fighting this election with no manifesto, no alternative budget and no ideas for how they would run our town. This is a very dangerous position – with no budget or plan to save the community services Labour would therefore have to close them.

Residents deserve an Administration that are passionate about getting things done to improve our community. My Conservative colleagues and I have a clear record of delivery on all the key issues faced by our town.

The Harlow Star broke the news this morning that one of the men who tried to steal the Gerda Rubenstein sculpture   Julia, back in January, was caught and then let off with a caution…. A CAUTION!?!

I was shouting about it in the car, to my workmate (who was in total agreement with me, and got quite incensed!)

Now I don’t know who the chap is, or what his previous criminal record may be, but he prized the statue off its plinth,      carried it away and dumped it in a wheelie bin, only when confronted by a have a go hero. The least he should have been charged with was destruction of public property, but in reality this was theft.

How on earth are we going to decrease metal thefts like the Holocaust memorial plaque if we offer no disincentive?

I will be on BBC Essex this afternoon talking about this and my outrage.

You may have seen this on the Harlow Star’s website, which has prompted this on the Daily Mail website today.

My view is that the welfare of the bird must be the Council’s primary concern, and so we have contacted the RSPCA, whose view is that Coco should stay where he is for his health.

African Grey parrots are notorious for pulling their feathers out if they become stressed or move to a new environment. I would not wish that on any bird.

Personally I think Mr Ferlazzo is being a bit cheeky. He left the parrot behind when he went back to Italy and then more than ten years later decides he wants the Parrot back. He says he thought the bird was still with his Ex wife, yet made no effort to get him back from her.

All in all I say Coco is happy where he is, lets leave him be.

That is effectively the question that my local paper, the Harlow Star, are asking in their weekly online web poll this week in response to the news that Harlow Council and Uttlesford are close to agreeing a partnership to work together on Revenues and Benefits services.

It’s currently 60/40 in favour, and there are no prizes for guessing how I voted!

What I can’t understand, is how forty percent of the people who have voted so far don’t think it’s a good idea. How can councils saving taxt payers money by working together be a bad idea?

If you want to vote, you can find the poll on the Star website here.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow has been calling for the FA board to resign following the disgraceful England performance at the world cup.

It has been picked up locally here by the Harlow Star, by the BBC here and even by the Daily Mail here

Rob, who is a season ticket holder at Chelsea, makes some interesting points, particularly about making the FA more democratic, and the ability for Fans to remove the board.

I can actually see his idea working.

Official England supporters could in effect become the shareholders of the FA. Imagine how many more fans would pay to be members of the supporters club if they had a vote on who was sat on the board of the FA. Imagine if it was elected who would be there….

I can see Trevor Brooking surviving as he seems universally respected by fans as the only member of the FA who actually “gets it” but in an open election how many of the others would survive? I would bet not many.

So who would end up running the FA in those situations? Well I can see heads of some clubs supporters clubs getting large block votes, and maybe some ex professional footballers as well, but would other sports stars and ex managers be able to bring their expertise to the FA? I think they would.

I think elections to the Board of the FA would reconnect the FA to the fans, to the grassroots, it would also give the board much more “clout” and probably guts to make some tough decisions.

I really do think Rob Halfon is on to something here.