Banbury Constituency Labour Party

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22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax

Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate)


Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.

The Ferrets are bending the rules.

The Weasels are taking the hindmost.

The Otters are downing tools.

The Hedgehogs are changing the game-plan.

The Grass-snakes are spitting tacks.

The Squirrels are playing the blame-game.

The Skunks are twisting the facts.


The Pole-cats are upping the ante.

The Foxes are jumping the gun.

The Voles are crashing the party.

The Stoats are dismantling the Sun.

The Rabbits are taking the biscuit.

The Hares are losing the plot.

The Eagles are kicking the bucket.

The Rats are joining the dots

The Herons are throwing a curveball.

The Shrews are fanning the flames.

The Field Mice are sinking the 8-ball.

The Swans are passing the blame.

And the Pheasants are draining the oil from the tank –

but only the Bustards have broken the bank.


This poem was published in The Guardian on 12 October – it sums up quite beautifully the Government’s “Culture of Blame”.

It is always someone else’s fault when Tory/Lib Dem policies fail or hurt other people.



Congratulations to Anneliese Dodds on being Labour’s number 1 candidate for the European elections. A University Lecturer in Public Policy and an expert on European affairs, if elected she will be an excellent Member of the European Parliament and well represent our region. Congratulations also to the other 9 candidates who will also be fighting strong campaigns to become Labour MEPs during the elections next year.

This is the full list of Labour’s candidates in the South East Region Constituency, which stretches from Kent to Oxfordshire.

1. Anneliese Dodds
2. John Howarth
3. Emily Westley
4. Del Singh
5. Farah Nazeer
6. James Swindlehurst
7. Maggie Hughes
8. James Watkins
9. Karen Landles
10. Phil Bloomer
Biographical information for each is available on line.

Note on the Democratic Process: The United Kingdom uses the continental system for the election of Members of the European Parliament (rather than individual constituencies choosing candidates as for Westminster). In this system, each political party produces a full list of candidates to fill all the vacancies in the constituency. When the votes are counted the seats are distributed proportionately to the overall number votes for each party within the whole region. Thus only some of each party’s chosen candidates will win – those nearest the top of each party’s list have the best chance of being elected.

Probation Service – SOS

Warnings Ignored

“There is more than 80% risk that an unacceptable drop in operational performance will lead to delivery failure,” says the risk assessment by senior officials at the Ministry of Justice reporting on the proposed privatisation of 70% of the Probation Service. Yet the Tory Minister, Chris Grayling is rushing ahead.

Megan Giotti, of the National Association of Probation Officers, explained to the changes to the Women’s Group meeting on 17 July. She said that the transfer of the supervision of low and medium risk offenders, as proposed in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill, would move 18,000 staff to private companies such as the already discredited G4S, who must bid to provide the service when under the new law. Payment will be for results – but how these outcomes will be measured is not made clear.

Although some parts of the Bill are acceptable, such as extending support and supervision to offenders wh serve short prison sentence, and the Probation Service will retain some services (supervision of those offenders considered the highest risk to society, court work and the enforcement of court orders) Megan emphasised that the reforms overlook the fact that offenders frequently move between low and higher risk assessment. Thus the service will be fragmented and lose coherence.

Join the e-petition

More than 30,000 people have already signed the petition asking the government to think again, 100,000 signatures are needed, so please go to

or contact for more information and to help save probation.