03/11/2016

BURNHAM’S DEMAND FOR A PUBLIC ENQUIRY INTO THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS REJECTED!

Coinciding with the 950th anniversary of the Norman invasion of England and William the Conqueror’s subsequent crowning at Westminster, Andy Burnham, Labour’s poster boy for righting historical wrongs, is believed to have called on the Home Secretary to open an investigation into the antics of the Duke of Normandy and the alleged backing of the French authorities, and is demanding a public enquiry into that unwarranted fracas, which is now referred to in history books as 'The Battle of Hastings.'

Campaigners for an official inquiry into the 1066 clash between King Harold’s English army and forces under the control of  William, Duke of Normandy, have claimed they have been misled by the interpretation of the battle, as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, which was published by French needlepoint experts, and commissioned by the conquering forces during the 11th century, on which campaigners claim 'tells a biased and heavily redacted story of the Norman Conquest of England.'
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary was believed to be considering appointing a High Court Judge to Chair a probe into the events that lead to King Harold meeting his death by an agent of the Norman Duke; who allegedly shot Harold in the eye with a well aimed arrow, whilst clearly depicted as being in an off-side position; still typical of the 'Onion Eaters' and of FIFA officials of today! 

" I told him, put a rubber sucker on it or you'll have someone's bloody eye out!"












However, in a move described as an "establishment stitch-up" by Mr Burnham, Ms Rudd, on reviewing the available evidence, has now rejected calls for a statutory inquiry or independent review into the historic confrontation at Bexhill, stating Mr Burnham and his co-campaigners were trying to undermine the very fabric of the nation in their demands, and by questioning the validity of the Doomsday Book; which William needed at the time, to raise taxes to pay his army, and to assess the wealth and assets of his newly conquered Anglo/Norman subjects, who were, under William's capitalist policies, prospering throughout the land. 

She concluded by emphasising that any enquiry into Anglo-French history, was another attempt by the Manchester Mayoral candidate as a purely populist attempt to raise his public persona and could also make negotiations on 'Brexit' even more difficult and confusing that it's proving to be!
Having carefully considered the campaigners appeal for 'compensation', Ms Rudd added, “…that having concluded that there was no sufficient basis to instigate either a statutory inquiry or an independent review, it was alleged that she thought the totally unnecessary call by the Burnham camp to open ‘old wounds’ by dangling the possibility of getting a financial settlement for the historic battle, was purely the act of a tabloid obsessed, publicity seeking group, desperate to garner votes from marginalised Anglo-Saxons, especially those who are registered to vote within the Greater Manchester area!”

 

02/11/2016

ANGELA DEMANDS DOES SHE!

 
I understand that our local Ashton MP Angela Rayner has joined Andy Burnham in the saddle of his next hobby horse in ‘demanding’ a public inquiry into the South Yorkshire police's involvement in events that took place at Orgreave during the Miners Strike in 1984.

Could it be significant that having ‘nailed her colours to the mast’ in support of Andy Burnham in his quest to become Manchester’s next Mayor, she found it politically prudent to sign a letter to the Home Secretary, in which she alleges similarities in the policing procedures and the legal handling of the Hillsborough tragedy and events at Orgreave.
 
However, I do find it odd, seeing as she would only have been 4years old at the time!
Yes, she may well have read about it, but she never experienced life when the nation’s electricity had to be switched off on a rota basis between 07.00am and midnight every day.
She never faced the long power cuts; that some days lasted from six to nine hours, whilst still attempting to carry out work under gas camping lights.
Why weren’t Labour MPs demanding ‘public enquiries’ then, when the shortage of electricity was forcing factories and businesses to close or when 1.2 million workers had to be laid off for weeks on end?
Even Imperial Chemical Industries, (ICI) then one of the country's leading industries, gave a week's notice to all its 60,000 weekly-paid staff.
In politics, they say timing is everything, so maybe it’s not so strange that these Labour MPs weren’t calling for a public enquiry into the strikes that lead to this unfortunate incident, during the 13years of the Blair/Brown government era!
Maybe Andy Burnham, who seems to have appointed himself as some sort of Shadow Minister for Historical Tragic Grievances, might be better thought of had he demanded an inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ during his term as the PPS to the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett; but of course he wasn’t in the frame back in 2004, to become Manchester’s Mayor and didn’t crave the publicity needed to get him elected.
It’s also strange that this politically timed call for a ‘public enquiry’ by Labour MPs appears to just be pointed at the shortcomings of the Police service. No one seems to be want to highlight the roll that the ‘flying pickets’ took in this brutal riot.
Yes, there was obvious misconduct carried out by the police at the time, but let’s not forget that it was ‘striking miners’ who actually killed one of their own.
The new government Home Secretary, Amber Rudd was technically right that no-one died at Orgreave, unlike in South Wales where a local taxi driver David Wilkie was killed when a concrete block was dropped from an overhead bridge on his car while taking a ‘scab’ to work. The striking miners responsible ended up serving just four years in jail after their murder sentence reduced to manslaughter on appeal. – Perhaps Angela and Andy should also call for an enquiry into why two murderers were released after serving such a short term.

31/10/2016

‘COURTESY AND RESPECT’ – A BRIDGE TOO FAR FOR SOME MPs


As secretary of State for Education, I thought it was extremely regrettable and utterly impolite for the MP Justine Greening to behave in such a churlish manner when a respected reporter attempted to question her on the Government’s decision to favour building an extra runway at London Heathrow.

Obviously, she may not have been pleased with the decision, on account that her Putney constituency is in the southwest, near the airport, but that doesn’t excuse the ill manners she showed by blatantly ignoring the journalists legitimate questioning; then adopting a frigid October face, she flouncing off, throwing her toys out of the pram and rounding off her high handed tantrum by slamming the courtesy car door in added temper.
http://news.sky.com/video/oooooh-greening-in-a-huff-over-heathrow-10632780

It was no way to set an example to those children in education whose department she leads – in my opinion she did not do herself any favours by exhibiting this pedantic, childish behaviour.

If this is how the Secretary of State for Education behaves in public, then is it any wonder that the job of teaching classrooms full of unruly kids who show a complete disregard for respect and total lack of basic manners, has rendered the quality of education at its lowest ebb?

Sadly though, she is not alone. It appears to have become a growing habit among a increasing proportion of today's MPs who do not like answering awkward questions.

Politicians are people we are supposed to look up to. They're supposed to be 'shining examples' of how figures in authority should be, for goodness sake.

If they don't like being 'door-stepped' then tough!

Let them not forget, it was they who put themselves forward for public service, so being interviewed occasionally, other than by the usual pre-arranged, pre-conceived and well rehearsed question and answer sessions we are constantly subjected to, (mainly by the BBC) unfortunately goes with the territory.

All politicians, in all parties, need to grow up, take a long hard look in the mirror and start putting the country and its people before airing their own personal and petty squabbles.

 
 
 

  

 

COUNCIL TO CHANGE ITS NAME TO ‘TIMESIDE’

Welcome to Timeside where time literarily fly's!
Was it really any great surprise that Tameside's Council chiefs have been embarrassed once again after two of the boroughs Town Hall clocks were put forward an hour, instead of back?

It would be laughable if it was not so tragic!

Not for the first time the local council became a laughing stock as ‘social media’ burst into life over the weekend as the ‘blunder was shared with the nation.

According to the article in the Manchester Evening News, Town Hall leader, Kieran Quinn said he was unaware of the issue until contacted by the M.E.N. and that bosses would get the problem fixed as soon as possible. Although at 11.30am today the clock on Hyde Town Hall was displaying 1.30pm!

The report also said that an ‘outside firm’ is responsible for the error!

Its a shame the council didn't contract the rise in council tax to the same 'outside firm' - who knows, we might now be paying 8% less!

Could it be that Tameside council bosses are now far too busy choosing the wall coverings and office furniture for their new ivory tower, that they've had to employ an ‘outside firm’ to wind-up their timepieces?

Is this the same ‘forward thinking’ council who have spent £3million transforming the old Ashton Baths into a start-up hub offering high tech superfast fibre broadband, when basic timekeeping evades them?

So, what’s next for these ‘forward thinking’ council managers? Perhaps contracting another ‘outside firm’ to assist them in tying their own shoelaces?

I find it ironic that the council have become so afraid of wind-ups that they’ve had to employ a specialist company to do it for them!

Why do we vote for these people?

18/10/2016

EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION.

Regarding the row that's raging over the ‘proposed consultation paper’ on the subject of opening new Grammar Schools; I find it totally amazing that we have our local Labour councillors marching the streets to demonstrate their dogmatic opposition to such a suggestion, whilst up in Westminster the Labour leadership, and other well-heeled politicio's have and many of their families still are, benefiting from either private schooling or attending Grammar schools.

Let’s start with the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who were both Grammar School boys.

Then there’s Diane Abbott, Corbyn’s new Shadow Home Secretary, who sent her son to the private City of London School and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry sent two of her three children to a selective school.

There are many more of these Labour naysayers, but let’s look at the newly appointed Baroness Chakrabarti whose son goes to a top private school?

Surely not! I hear Tameside Labour voters say? ..Er… yes, actually. It has just emerged that the Baronesses 13-year-old attends £18,915-a-year Dulwich College in South-East London.

Locally too, this hypocritical anomaly is rife! 

Tameside Labour’s “do as we say, not as we do” approach is quite unpalatable as they stand for yet another photo shoot, morally evading the fact that the current Tameside Mayor, pictured demonstrating with the others, was a pupil at the now abolished Hyde Grammar School.

Personally I have nothing against Grammar School education or indeed private schooling.

If a person wants to save and spend their well earned money on furthering the life chances of their sons and daughters, then nobody has the right to deny them, especially those who have benefited from Grammar school education. It’s nothing but rank hypocrisy. Its classic Labour: do as I say, not as I do.
Hypothetically, can you imagine the outcry if Labour councilors’ told their constituents that they should not shop at Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, they must all go to Liddle and buy own label food, or the liberally inked John Wag Taylor leading a campaign to close down all Tameside’s tattoo parlors?

What people choose to spend their money on is nobody's business but their own.

 

 

13/10/2016

BEWARE OF THE CLOWNS

Coming to a ward near you!
Following the recent news in the media reporting a spate of incidents in which groups of menacing clowns have been seen marauding the boroughs streets; scaring members of the public, I have to say this is not a new phenomenon here in Tameside!

For many years now, Tameside householders have been confronted on the streets and frequently accosted on their doorsteps by groups of ‘clowns’ badgering, gesticulating, spouting scare stories and stuffing political junk mail through unsuspecting and politically apathetic householders letterboxes.

The predominance of Tameside’s ‘clown’ sightings appear to frequently materialise in the vicinity of Ashton Town Hall - at times that just so happen to coincide with ‘full council meetings’ From there, armed with hundreds of propaganda leaflets, they gather their happy band of pro-clown factions around them and travel unswervingly to their mini-fiefdoms, terrorising all who stand in their path, in their single-minded quest to tighten the grip on their miniscule majorities by maintaining the public’s inconsolable fear of suffering the consequences, should they not choose to vote for the red-nosed nemeses.

Next year, as we approach ‘local election time’ you must take great care.

As a general rule, if a malicious looking, Sunday suited group of clowns materialize uninvited out of thin air, wrapping on your doors, do not encourage them. Don’t answer it, don’t wave at the window, don’t make eye contact, and don’t smile at them and, if all that fails because they’ve caught you unaware, whatever you do, DON’T ACCEPT ONE OF THEIR LEAFLETS!
If you do, the Tameside clowns will have the last laugh, again!

05/09/2016

IN TAMESIDE YOU CAN’T SEE THE TREES FOR THE WOOD!


 
At the beginning of the year, in his message to the community our council leader, Kieran Quinn announced 16 pledges for 2016.

Among those promises was a pledge to plant a minimum of 2016 trees to offset Tameside’s carbon emissions and support greater biodiversity! Another was to ‘Get Tameside Growing’ – Where he announced that the council will work with the community to get Tameside growing its own food in window boxes, gardens, community spaces and allotments.

However, at no time did he tell us that to make space to begin this mass cultivation in pursuit of self sufficiency, great swathes of ornamental trees from well established urban landscapes, that had adorned communities for decades, would be wilfully destroyed in what appears to be a re-make of Tobe Hooper's classic horror – The Texas Tameside Chainsaw Massacre.
Local residents were stumped!

 
When you see this type of vandalism, you have to wonder if the trees in your area will be next.

Now I don’t know if this ‘aggressive pruning’ was carried out by Tameside Council’s tree surgeons or tree-fella's with chain saws. Either way the result is not a pretty sight!  

Perhaps we should seek out another council pledge to protect well established trees, many of which have stood longer than the Labour councillors who are elected to protect them from a similar fate.

25/08/2016

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, …OR IS IT?

Upon visiting Stalybridge earlier today, I noticed something was happening!

Yet another fence had been erected around the old Casablanca’s site and heavy machinery could be seen knocking down what was left of The Millpond pub!

Could this be a sign that the ‘new owners’ had finally started to build, or was it just another photo-op for those who may not have been born when the ‘new owners’ published the last one?

Back in February 2013, Cllr John Taylor - Deputy Leader of Tameside Council, speaking on the redevelopment of the derelict Casablanca’s Health Club, said: "These are great times for Stalybridge. We are finally going to see the end of a building that has spoiled the town centre for almost eight years.”

“Empty buildings are not only a blight, they are a wasted asset, especially at a time when we have to work so much harder in pursuit of prosperity.’

You may well remember the well staged photo shoot, were the councillor, with MP Jonathan Reynolds and some other bod, they dragged in to balance the composition. This was to announce to the local residents and taxpayers that the new owners, New Charter, had started to redevelop the site and had chosen to use Tameside Council to carry out the demolition work!’

To give them due credit, it started well.

Carefully painted in New Charter’s corporate colours; a ‘temporary’ wooden fence was erected around the site of the once thriving multi-purpose fitness and leisure complex, which had stood derelict since being gutted by fire in 2005; and now, according to ‘honest John’ this was to signal the start of interior demolition work on the site with exterior work (ie Building something) set to begin in the summer. (That was the summer of 2013)

However, and with the benefit of hindsight, we should have ‘smelt a rat’ regarding the future plans for the site, when Sean Stafford, director of development at New Charter explained: “We do have some thoughts and we have had some initial sketches prepared.”

Invariably these days, whenever we hear or read about ‘New Charter’ it’s because they have achieved yet another ‘award or recognition’ from some nebulous trade sector or Local Government Quangos. For instance a couple of months after ‘erecting and painting’ the corporate coloured fence around the demotion site that was ‘Casablanca’s’ - New Charter’s Building Company achieved their first gold medal award that year - having secured consecutive gold awards for the previous five years, demonstrating its key commitment to carrying out all of their repairs and maintenance work to a high standard of safety.

Since then, New Charter Homes has been awarded a top gong for environmental performance. They gained an anti-social behaviour accreditation with flying colours. They scooped a top prize and four other accolades at a regional contact centre awards shindig. One of their young apprentices from Dukinfield was recognised in the Construction Apprentice of the Year category at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Property and Construction Annual Dinner. They swiftly followed that by announcing that New Charter Housing Trust Group had reached number three in 24 Housing’s Top 50 Landlords survey. Next, the Tameside-based housing association reached number 7 in the 2014 Sunday Times Top 100 Best Not-For-Profit Companies To Work For poll, followed by news that Green Charter, the in house grounds maintenance team at New Charter Homes scooped the top prize at a national customer services awards in London.

Not to be outdone, The Tenant Management Team (TMT) of New Charter Homes, who help to improve housing services for others won a regional award for their hard work. Next award on the shelf was when New Charter Homes received further national recognition for the third year running for the way it looks after neighbourhoods and residents in Tameside. This was quickly followed by The Inspire team at New Charter Homes who were crowned overall category winners for Building Stronger Communities at the Responsible Business Awards.

14th August 2014, saw New Charter awarded the national ServiceMark standard, recognising its commitment to customer service. Come November, New Charter won another national award for helping tenants struggling with debt and cuts to welfare benefits.

One significant announcement came in May 2015 when Moody’s, a well respected, internationally recognised credit rating agency assigned an A2 rating to New Charter.  This judgement gave New Charter the opportunity to move forward in the medium term by raising significant additional cash, meaning that it is able to continue developing new homes for rent.

Following more awards and accreditations, New Charter became the first housing association in the country to receive a new national accreditation for the way it lets its homes, and later won a Green Apple Environment Award in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.

Following an award for Public Relations and communications they next received the CIH (Chartered Institute of Housing) Health & Wellbeing award based on the depth and breadth of work it carries out in relation to the Government’s Health and Wellbeing agenda.

In April 2016, the Inspire team at New Charter Group were recognised again in the Building Stronger Communities category in the 2016 Responsible Business Awards, run by Business in the Community, HRH The Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Network.

And last, but I’m sure, not for long – earlier this very month (8th August 2016) New Charter Group was awarded the highest standard for the way it looks after and invests in its employees.

A great record of achievement by anyone’s standards!

However, after three and a half years, since their grandiose announcement of revitalising Armentieres Square, we can only hope that this recent flurry of activity results in some form of construction and with a bit of luck, at sometime in the not too distant future, we can all celebrate with New Charter, a special achievement award for actually building something that resembles ‘homes, shops and retail outlets’ in keeping with the urban surroundings of Stalybridge.

Time will tell!

27/06/2016

LOOKS LIKE THE SOOTHSAYERS AND POLITICAL PROPHESIES WERE TRUE AFTER ALL!


Billy no-mates
Before the referendum, the gathered hoards on the remain side, predicted huge job losses and the break-up of Europe!

Up to writing, 28 (and counting) Labour frontbenchers have thrown their toy’s out of the pram and left Corbyn’s unhappy band. If Corbyn is really determined to keep insisting that his large mandate means he has to stay on, the Labour party is screwed. By the end of the day, I doubt he'll have enough supporters in the parliamentary party to actually form a credible shadow cabinet, let alone hold the government to account.

So it’s looking more likely that the Labour Party will break up before the EU does!

And it’s not only Labour! The problem is that the majority of the political classes, whom, it would seem, prefer to salute the European Union flag, rather than the Union Jack, clearly do not want to leave the EU. That would mean that they would have to resume full responsibility for us and they do not want to.

Now they’re telling us that in the UK, referendums are not legally binding!  - And if there’s a good enough reason, parliament can ignore them! Well let them try it! We voted out, and we want OUT!

They are also trying to muddy the waters by offering all sorts of fudged nonsense. From Associate Membership to a renegotiation of terms and even another referendum (presumably until they get the result they want!)

They set the terms, the rules and the question - It is NOT what we were offered and voted on as well they know. We were offered a straight IN or OUT ! And we chose OUT !!

If the political class cannot deliver on this, then those that cannot accept it must go. They must resign their seats and allow others to take their place. No need for a general election, why should those who would defend British sovereignty risk their seat because they are on the winning side of the argument?

Politicians throughout the country, please listen, the people have spoken; it’s no good trying to change the rules now. Just do what you have been elected to do and put the Great back into Britain.

The time has come for real Statesmen to emerge!

19/06/2016

THURSDAY’S VOTE - ECHO’S OF 1975


The sad and senseless death of MP Jo Cox, days before the IN/OUT European referendum brought back macabre echo’s from a previous European referendum.
In 2003, the Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death whilst out shopping four days before the Swedish referendum on adopting the Euro.

This tragic event saw both camps suspend their campaigns, with each  promising to take stock of the voracity of their arguments. 
Today, after both sides of the argument agreed to resume their campaigning, albeit taking a more factual and calmer approach, the first words uttered by the so called ‘neutral’ BBC, was to point out how Boris Johnson had once favoured the remaining in the ‘free trade market’ and now leads the ‘brexit’ campaign for the UK to leave.!
Strange though, they missed the opportunity to remind us of other politicos who appear to have had similar Damascus moments. Forty-one years ago, in Britain’s last referendum on Europe, has plenty of similarities with the current bitter and closely-fought debate.
Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson called the referendum on June 5, 1975, as a way of trying to appease the euro sceptic wing of his fractured party, and urged Britons to stay in after securing concessions from Brussels.
This time around, it is Conservative premier David Cameron who is holding a vote to try to heal party splits, and who is campaigning to “Remain” on the basis of a renegotiated EU settlement.
Back then, the left wing of Wilson’s Labour party wanted to leave the Common Market, among them current leader Jeremy Corbyn — who now advocates staying in.
Earlier on April 26 1975, Labour held a special conference on Europe where Michael Foot made the concluding speech, quoting Nye Bevan and the Leave position won by 3.9 million to 1.7 million.
There was also another Labour meeting in Cardiff organised by Neil Kinnock to campaign for a No to Europe vote. He changed his views and later both he and his wife, became European Commissioners!
So, let’s not get sidetracked by pointing fingers at people who change their minds. After all, during the last referendum, the EEC (as it was known then) had six founding members and membership had risen to nine by 1975. Today EU has grown to 28 members, with others knocking on its door.
Back in 1975, Harold Wilson only had to negotiate more favourable terms with those nine countries. Today, the stakes of voting on EU membership are higher than in 1975!
With 28 differing member states, mostly from within the Euro-zone, with Europe engaged in such a complex and changing number of political priorities and directions, any attempted renegotiations for the UK will obviously become a more difficult task for Cameron than Wilson faced forty one years ago.

 

 

15/06/2016

THE ROBBER BARON'S ARE GETTING TWITCHY


Regular and casual readers of this blog will have noticed that I haven't been commenting since the back end of February.

There’s been speculation and questions asked about my lack of commentary and disappointment at my general running criticism of the usual group of suspects; but the honest truth is this; - writing about the socialist self-servers who have been the main feature of the blog from the outset, together with Cameron’s U-turns and downright deceit over the IN/OUT referendum, has convinced me that whatever political popinjays spring up, they are only different grades of ‘useful idiots’ who have fallen into the Hegelian Dialectic trap, and bringing this fact to the near brain dead, apathetic great unwashed, is like emanating the futile efforts of Sisyphus, who the gods condemned to spend his life ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, only for it to fall back down under its own weight.

And speaking of rocks; unless you've been living under one, you've probably noticed a lot of scaremongering coming from the vast majority of politicians and those faceless power mad leaders within the EU. 

The amount of total garbage that's we're being threatened with is unbelievable!

That's because they are desperately clinging on to the last vestiges of the power they have. The power we have given them! But now faced with vast movements of refugees and economic migrants, they know as well as you and I do that their plans for a federal state of Europe with one ruling elite in Brussels, is in danger of going tits up. -- It's not if, it's a matter of when. 

I just hope that by the end of next week, we are no longer prisoners of the UK elite and, equally important, the EU! Because I simply could not stand the thought of living in a country where almost every liberty and right we have enjoyed for hundreds of years had been systematically destroyed by unelected, unmovable, faceless bureaucrats’ aided and abetted by our own greasy-pole climbing politicians!

I will blog again when I have something more to say!

 

 

 

 

26/02/2016

QUOD GRATIS ASSERITUR, GRATIS NEGATUR

"It's not fair! They're messing with our version of democracy!"
Reading the usual deluge of verbal diarrhea contained within the Readers Letters page, it now seems irrefutable to me that the quality of forensic reporting and questioning, with the exception of one or perhaps two, appears now to be a lost art.

How much longer can Cllr John Taylor’s alleged correspondence be published verbatim and go unchallenged by journo’s and readers?

Here is a shining example of a career councillor, who through the shear manipulation of the Labour councils voting system; reveals, when analyzed, that he and his cohorts have used the so called ‘democratic’ electoral system to their own maximum political advantage over the last 30 years, in such a cruel and manipulative way.

And now, finding that the current government are reassigning ward/borough boundaries, he gets on his soapbox and accuses them of ‘messing about with our democratic system’ - claiming ‘they are out of control!’

The sad truth is, that as it stands, our local council election system has merely provided comfortable places for some councillors to rest their bums for life, whilst suckling on the public tit.

Ideally, given our current situation, we need people to enter local government with a view of neither political left or right, just some plain bloody common sense for a change, who’ll work towards the betterment of the borough and most important, all its people.
 
* Headline: WHAT IS ASSERTED WITHOUT REASON MAY BE DENIED WITHOUT REASON
 

22/02/2016

HOW MUCH?

The local government transparency code was issued to meet the Government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands, in order to increase democratic accountability. It is intended to make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services.

Without any ambiguity it requires all Local Authorities to publish details of each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500. This includes items of expenditure, consistent with Local Government Association guidance, such as:

·         individual invoices

·         grant payments

·         expense payments

·         payments for goods and services

·         grants

·         grant in aid

·         rent

·         credit notes over £500, and transactions with other public bodies

 
For each individual item of expenditure the following information must be published:

 
·         date the expenditure was incurred

·         local authority department which incurred the expenditure

·         beneficiary

·         summary of the purpose of the expenditure17

·         amount18

·         Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered, and

·         merchant category (eg. computers, software etc).

 
It really couldn’t be clearer, however if one had cause to seek out the transaction details incurred by Tameside Council (See under COUNCIL SPEND on the council website) you’ll find on opening the latest expenditure report, (July to September 2015) it is now only available in CSV format, with more redacted information than a farfetched Tom Clancy espionage thriller!
 
In this limited format, the reader is also left none the wiser as to what the payments were for, and makes it impossible to ascertain the overall spend.

However, if one has the patience to wade through, you will find a few eye-watering sums that have been/and continue to be paid out on a regular basis.

Of course, the usual suspects are there, sucking vast amounts out of the coffers, but there are a few others, which need a second look too.

Remember the ‘bin swap scheme’ –that’s the one which we were told would save us money. The one that 1001 people ‘voted for’ on the budget simulator.

But, nowhere on that simulator did it mention the cost of replacing domestic bins!

Would it surprise you to learn that on October 2015 a total of £289.325.90 was paid to a company called SSI SCHAEFER LTD to supply domestic bins?

Perhaps someone could explain why, when the council claims to have ‘no money’ for lollipop crossing attendants to keep our children safe on their way to and from school, they need to spend £300 grand on all these extra bins?

And whilst they are thinking of creating an excuse for that, perhaps an explanation as to why £25,000 was paid out on the 23rd October 2015 to New Image (Public Relations Ltd) for the design, manufacture and storage of 30 'market stalls' and the organisation and management of a Christmas Market, when, one would assume that the 'market stalls' had already been designed, built, stored and paid for and featured in 2013's expenditure records?

13/02/2016

TAMESIDE CHIEFS - ARE THEY WAVING OR ARE THEY DROWNING?

Judging by all the toing and froing going on over the closure of the Tameside swimming pools, an article in the local press recently seems to imply that the left hand and right hand aren't talking!

The article reported of a 'sporty student' from Tameside College, (that's the same college, who in close collaboration with the council, have created 'Vision Tameside') who has been awarded an ASA Level One in teaching aquatics and is using her talents to teach children in Tameside how to swim!

The article goes on to say that the former Saddleworth School student plans to go to uni' after finishing her course at Tameside College to study for a degree in nutrition with the aim of starting a business in health and wellbeing.

I wish her well, but with Tameside closing our swimming pools whilst our college; who are supposedly working hand in hand with Tameside Council; are churning out students who have set their sights on working within the health and leisure industries, one can only wonder where they are to find work?

The last words came from the Sports Development officer at Tameside College who said, "We are so lucky to have a fantastic advocate for female sports and physical activity at the college."

It's just a pity by the time she and all the other sports students qualify, there will be 3 less swimming pools for them to ply their vocation.

Maybe, residents and sports students from Tameside should write to Cllr Taylor, the man responsible for most situations in Tameside, and ask him to come up with a solution on how to teach children to swim, without them getting wet.

After all, he seems to have mastered most things, without first putting in the effort.





12/02/2016

TAMESIDE LABOUR’S PLEDGE DELIVERED, WELL ALMOST!

A leaflet dropped through my door the other day, containing news from our friendly councillors.

The Headline read: NO LAUGHING MATTER and they’re right, especially when one read the bit about how they have delivered on 1 of their ‘15 for 15’ pledges.

Last year, Tameside council introduced a shopper loyalty scheme which is running across the entire borough.


So far, according to their own figures, over 205 local businesses (which is a strange number to base a statistic on) and 1145 Tameside shoppers have registered to join the scheme.

Which in a nutshell tells us that in a borough with approx 265,000 residents, a miserly 0.43% of Tameside residents have taken an interest and may have benefited in some way from this scheme!

Of course, what the council fail to divulge, as usual, is the full cost this loyalty program.

For instance, what were the costs, such as those associated with program launch; the database creation and maintenance,(if they’ve had the foresight to capture it) the value of rewards/savings claimed, and costs attributed to the issue of regular activity statements.

Promotions are a great way to increase revenue and reward important customers – providing they are executed correctly. Unfortunately, this ‘shopper loyalty scheme’ appears, by the council’s own statement, to be a typical example of a left wing council interfering in an area of business it should have steered well clear of.

The great tragedy here is the fact than rather than admit failure and pull the plug, they inform us that they are to continue down this mad path!

Tameside – the council who say they’ve no money!

22/01/2016

COUNCILLOR POURS OIL ON TROUBLED WATERS


Considering the great debacle that is raging in the local press, internet and social media, regarding the council’s plans to close Ashton, Denton and Dukinfield’s municipal swimming pools; do you not  find it strange that our most vociferous councillor has not uttered a peep on the matter?
Doubly strange when you consider that the high profile councillor who in 2010, followed Colin Fielding as Chair of Tameside Sports Trust (Now Active Tameside) who had successfully chaired the board since the trust was established in 1999 and on taking over, boasted of a range of facilities managed by the trust, which included six swimming pools, which provided a range of sessions, lessons and clubs for all ages and abilities!

According to Carl Simmonds blog, there are 35 Tameside schools that currently use these swimming pools in order to teach Tameside school children to swim competently up to the safety standard required.  This does not include the therapeutic sessions for the elderly, the 'Little Ducklings', toddler groups, as well as providing swimming facilities for a number of clubs in the Ashton, Dukinfield and Denton areas, who, if the proposal to shut down the three pools goes ahead, would be shoehorned into a single pool and a splash pool, until the ‘super pool’ whose location has still to be decided, is eventually built!

So, rather than getting embroiled in the swimming pool debate, he chose this week to give us his in-depth knowledge of the world’s oil industries, and focused on why we are not benefitting more from these unprecedented commodity drops.

Of course, once again, his ramblings remind us that in some cases, acquiring a little knowledge can teeter on the brink of existential gibberish and by ignoring international politics, wars in the Middle East, immigration and the refugee crisis in Europe, coupled with the frantic opportunism of the world's bear market speculators, he attempted to lay the blame for international petro company greed at the door of the Government; providing a fine example of such.

Yes, the crude oil market is currently in oversupply and is valued at an all time low, but  John, the automotive user can't profit fully from that price-depressing factor, because they can't pump crude oil into their vehicles.
This is has resulted in a classic situation for extra profits for refiners and storage companies and that is why oil/gas shareholders are now cashing in on their investments. 
This is called capitalism, and is central to a free market economy!
Should the councillor delve a little deeper into other reasons why the price of crude oil has plummeted, he needs look no further than Saudi Arabia, who are hell bent on bankrupting US Shale Oil/Gas Fracking companies whose, costs of production are higher than the cost of the end product.
That’s why we currently see these and other oil companies like BP and Shell cutting their budgets. They are cutting their exploration expenditure and employment in anticipation of a period of lower oil prices and a fall in investment.
The price of crude oil, the linchpin of the world economy, has been swinging wildly wreaking havoc on consumers when it super spiked to $140 a barrel and now forcing bankruptcy on producers at less than $30.
                                                                                                                                                                                     This This situation also has a knock on effect on renewables.

 
Although renewable electricity, solar and wind don't really in many parts of the world compete with oil. They do compete with natural gas, they do compete with coal and so, if you have those low prices and many natural gas prices around the world are linked to oil prices, means that it’s going face a tougher competitive environment, because of lack of investment.

The other issue weighing on the oil/gas and financial markets is the slowdown in China. The important thing to note is whether China is moving from one type of economy to another or are there any structural problems, which could slow down the economy further.
Another factor the councillor might also consider is Russia. As we know Russia is heavily dependent on oil & gas revenues and there are some folks who do not approve of Mr. Putin.

And while the Dukinfield councillor is in the mood for ruminating on his remedies to fix world events, he might turn his attention to the latest proposal from the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, who has now proposed that an extra levy be put on the price of petrol and enforced throughout the European Union to fund the refugee crisis and enforce Schengen’s external borders!
                                                                                                                   Surely, even the Bard of Dukinfield cannot ignore the irony, where Gulf States who refuse to take fellow Muslim refugees are flooding the market with oil, and politicians in the West put an extra tax on their citizens who use Gulf Oil to pay for them!


I defecate you not; we are being led by madmen!