Sunday, 12 December 2010



Friday 10th December, the morning after the night before (The Tuition Fee Vote) and I am being entertained in the office of Brian Hoare Lib Dem Leader of Northampton Borough Council where together with other group leaders we are working on the Chief Execs appraisal. Caroline, Brians very efficient secretary brought me a welcome cup of coffee in one of several (Lib Dem) themed mugs. Needless to say their was much merriment and mirth around the table. I offered Brian a fiver for the mug which must now be a collectors piece, but he refused. He will probably get more for it on ebay, but what will it be listed under? How about Collectibles/Myth-Fantasy


Meanwhile students and unbelievably in many cases their parents continue to be Kettled by The Metropolitan Polices finest and detained in streets for hours upon end for simply having the courage to demonstrate against this political skullduggery. Of course there will always be violence at such events, the anarchists will always use the opportunity to do their worst, but is containment on such a large scale defensible? or even legal? The students are now however getting wise to such moves and are moving around the capitals streets in smaller groups making mad dashes to agreed local landmarks as soon as plod look likely to contain them. This modern day demonstration technique reminded me of Mike Reids Fab Kids TV show RRRRRRunaround where kids were asked a question prior to making a mad dash to a spot containing their chosen answers. others suggested Cheggers Plays Pop which had a similar theme. Brilliant! So well done students I say, it is good to see some of the University Education put to good practice and use rather than just being wasted on creating ever more capital for the rich.


Am I alone in thinking that Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has finally lost the plot? Hoping to hear a leak about the still to be released Local Government Spending Settlement (next due date Mon 3.30pm) I tuned into the politics show only to catch him being caught out by his own Localism Bill. He confirmed during the show that the newly planned bill will give the power to the people to call referendums on anything they like, when they like, as long as they have the requisite number of signatories.

Not a bad move at first sighting, but then the wheels started to come off in a big way when it was explained that residents could force a referendum to say cut any planned rise in the council tax, and then call another referendum thereafter forcing the Council to reinstate any services cut by the publics vote on cuts to the council tax increase! It a something for nothing society! We can vote to pay no increase in our local tax and then vote again to save the Community Centre closed as a result!

In another barmy clause it seems as if communities will be able to stop local pub owners or any other business deemed to be a community asset, from selling their business until such a time that the community can organise a raffle to make an alternative offer! Now part of me likes this idea, but the lawyers will have a field day when the local landlord has to pull out an agreed deal to sell his own property for say £500,000 to save him from going bankrupt, because Eric Pickles has decreed that the locals can have a few weeks to raise a maybe lower sum.

I am all for Power to the People but I don't think this one has been thought through too far behind the headlines.


I am sure we all remember Lib Dem Housing Portfolio Holder Cllr Sally Beardsworth rallying against the last Labour Government in years past when rent rises in the town where set to be increased way above inflation

In 2009 the government proposed a 5.6% increase to local rents and here's a reminder for you of what she said at the time.

"This is way above the rate of inflation, it's almost outrageous that this Government gives such little thought to the people of this town and puts the rent increases up so much."
Tony Woods the then leader of the Council chipped in and said

"It's obscene. It's a stealth tax but we've little choice but to pay it unfortunately."

After much lobbying by all parties the government backed down and the final rise was reduced to 2.8%

Then in 2010 the government introduced a new formula to restructure rents meaning that the average rent increase for properties last year in Northampton was just 0.58%

Sally, hardly said a word. So what does her Lib Dem and Conservative coalition have in store for us this year you ask? and will she be "outraged" or silent?

Well the new ConDem government have a cunning plan to make all Council Tenants pay a more "Market Rent" in the future and are utterly dismayed at such paltry increases being allowed in the past.

So they are definitely going up, but by how much? 1% do I hear? any advance on 1%? Yes 3% to the man in the yellow tie 3%? is that your final offer? No 5% to the smart looking chap from the Bullingdon Club, any advance on 5%? 6%!......................6.5% ? no 6.9%, sold to the nice one nation Tory with the Liberal conscience.

So there you have it, a proposed massive 6.9% rise in Northampton Council House Rents brought to you courtesy of the Liberal Democrats and their Tory chums in Westminster. But we are all in this together, honestly we are.

I wonder therefore how outraged Sally and her colleagues will be this year?


Finally to jolt you out of your Xfactor trances, up pops Captain Ska to present you with a real alternative choice to this years Christmas Number 1 spot. The single, Liar, Liar hit iTunes today and all proceeds will go to charities (Crisis, Disability Alliance, FalseEconomy and Women’s Health Matters) and to the running of the False Economy website. Ska music? Tory Government? I have come over all 1980's all of a sudden. Anyhow Listen and enjoy and then buy it and help the cause.

Monday, 8 November 2010



Astonishing news reaches me that Northampton South Constituency Labour Party which in October held its first (newly constituted) meeting after being suspended by the NEC for nearly two years has now been suspended all over again!!

This time they are investigating misuse of the electronic data held by the party officers after the secretary made the stupid mistake of trying to contact people to get them to a meeting!

In addition it seems they are also now investigating other  "ongoing" issues. It would seem that after expelling Geoff Howes and Anjona Roy for supposingly supporting me, they are now looking to expel further members for continuing to support Geoff and Anjona's appeals against their own expulsions.

Geoff who continues to write letters supporting the Party in the local press and Anjona who helped out the party  at the General Election were both recently turned down for membership after reapplying to join. They must wonder just what they need to do to show their loyalty and just where it will all end!

With the local elections just around the corner, I think the real reason for this extraordinary action, as always, is that the regional gestapo as always want to control just who is and isn't selected to stand, particularly in an election in which they should be gaining seats.


Cllr Pam Varnsverry was delighted to tell all present at the Far Cotton Residents Association last week that the Lib Dem Council had secured Delapre Abbeys future. A new board was to be formed within a fortnight, £15m had been raised for the hastily revealed plan, Barclycard had pledged £5m Carlsberg had pledged another £5m and other local businesses were to be making up the difference!
So why was her fellow running mate in next years election Cllr Brenden Glynane so keen on the night to get her sit down? and why could her be overheard telling her to "Shut Up"

Well having been contacted by the Chronicle and Echo it turns out that not all is what it seems. Pammy told the local newspaper that she only used these companies as examples and that they only "might" put in funding.

Well that's a lot different from what The people of Far Cotton heard at the meeting? On that measure I suppose we better just say that Her and her Husband and Cllr Glynane only "might" get elected to the three council seats in the new Delapre and Briar Hill Ward next May, but starting her campaign off by telling porkies to local residents is hardly the best start she could have made to her campaign.


Meanwhile the other P Varnsverry (Paul) has been busy telling the skateboarding dudes that NBC is radical man. by promising them £250,000 in 2011/12s capital budget towards the building of a Skatepark.

I hope they succeed, but I think it is fair to point out to them that the land and other approx £2.75m will need to be found privately! and that money vied into a budget now can easily be vied out of it next year when it is doubtful that the Lib Dem's will even  be controlling the purse strings.

Is there an election in the air by any chance?

nb ( for those confused PV may not LOOK much like Jordan, but both will do and say ANYTHING to get their mugs in the press!)


This months quiz centres around the unbelievable actions of one of NBC's 47 Cllrs. Its a question of morals really and also a test as to how low an individual can really stoop. Are we ready?

Which Councillor on NBC would stoop so low as to invent meetings with the Chief Executive which never took place, and then write to third parties outlining discussions which took place in those imaginary meetings?

Which Councillor would then make statements on behalf of the Chief Executive informing third parties of views which they and the Chief Executive jointly held without either the Chief Executives knowledge or consent?

Which Councillor would write to a third party threatening to withdraw an offer of a lease unless they did exactly as the Councillor asked?

 Which Councillor usually forthright in their views would fail to respond to questions regarding the above when written to?

And just what would they putting their reputation on the line to achieve?

All will be revealed shortly.

Friday, 15 October 2010


I can't be the only person fed up to the back teeth of the ConDem coalitions lame excuses for the massive cuts they intend to inflict on our public services next week, but surely to god some amongst the Liberal Democrat faithful have some respect left to at least challenge the garbage put around by their front bench as they cosy up ever closer to their new Tory chums. All of a Sudden it is Brown not the Banks which caused the current crisis! They also never tire of telling us that:

"The deficit was far worse than we were led to believe it was before the election"

Not true. First of all the three main parties as always before a general election had full access to the red book and nothing was hidden from them, so how Vince Cable can live with his lazy lie of the UK debt being now so far worse than it was before the election is beyond me And then to use his dodgy mathematics as an excuse to dump his parties pledge to scrap tuition fees and now support a market led solution to double or treble the tuition fee and then put interest on Student loans is morally bankrupt! Both parties also conveniently fail to mention that in the month after the election the deficit forecast was reduced by £10bn making the Tories immediate cuts of £7bn unnecessary.

"We have never in our history owed as much as a nation they cry"

Again not true, the two charts below, which the Tories and Liberals don't want the public to see prove once again how desperate they are to shift attention from the real reason they are cutting our public services. Of course in real cash terms we have never owed more and also never earned more but the only true comparison you can make is as a % of GDP. Now admittedly the figures below only take us back to1700! when national debt was first recorded! So I can't speak any debt left by the dinosaurs or by the Bank of Rome, but they still make very interesting viewing

The National Debt began the 20th century at about 30 percent of GDP. It jerked above 150 percent in World War I and stayed high. Debt breached 200 percent during World War II. Debt declined to 50 percent of GDP by the 1970s and dipped to 25 percent by 1990. The National Debt began a rapid increase in the aftermath of the worldwide bank led financial crisis of 2008.

The National Debt began when William III engaged a syndicate of City merchants to market an issue of government debt. The syndicate became the Bank of England, and HM government debt began a century-long climb, financing Marlborough’s wars, wars against the French, against the North American colonial rebels, and peaking in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars at over 200 percent of GDP. Government debt exploded in World War I and World War II and then equalled the level of 1815 reaching over 200 percent of GDP. Debt declined below 50 percent of GDP by the 1970s.

So lets all now be honest before next weeks announcements as to the reasons for any cuts to public services They are of a purely political not a fiscal nature. History shows that to invest in Public Services to grow the economy is as good a plan as any in reducing the debt. Its jobs, growth and public confidence that they can spend (within their limited means) we need not a massive increase in the unemployment and benefit uptake and the rising welfare bill to pay for it. Clem Attlee after the second World War faced a national debt almost five times higher as a % of GDP to that which we face today and yet he managed to build a National Health Service, Founded the Welfare State, Built more Council Homes than any government ever has past or present, and nationalised the Railways, The Mines, together with our Gas, Electric, and Water Supplies. He set post war Britain back to work and was rewarded with growth and employment of such a scale that even the Old Tory Bore Harold Macmillan had to declare "We have never had it so good"

Britain does have a problem with debt though, but it is private not public debt that threatens to ruin us. The post Thatcher years of must have house ownership coupled with rising housing prices and the encouragement of credit to pay for things we never knew we really needed has left our personal finances in tatters.

If the current government can't sleep at night for worrying over the £772 billion total UK Public Debt then we should all be having nightmares about the £1.4 trillion record level of UK Private debt! as this chart below shows:

So when will the Liberals and the Tories own up to us that they have been economical with the truth over not only who is to blame for the current state of the countries finances and stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes as to why they plan to decimate our public services and play poker with our future risking a double dip recession all in the name of political ideology.

(with grateful thanks to and and

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Sorry guys work and caseload has taken me away from the blog in recent weeks. So here's a few short thoughts regarding the blogs I nearly made!


Hearing Ed Milliband declaring that the last Government were wrong to go to war was refreshing, but the applause of so many Blairites who are now happy to clap Ed and the Party being so anti war now it has become official Party policy sickened me.

These were the very same people for god sake who tripped through the yes lobby in Parliament knowing it was wrong to go to war but put their careers before their conscience, hypocrite's of the very first order, all of them.


So what do Micheal Ellis, Sally Keeble and Margaret Thatcher all have in common? is it

A: They all share the same Birthday?
B: They all share the same political views?
C: Both of the above?

Answers please


Turmoil continues apace it seems in the race to represent the Lib Dems in next Mays Borough Council Elections. After deselecting the sitting Mayor and losing another deselected Cllr to the Tories, the local party are now going through a second round to reselect some candidates who have already dropped out!

What's not clear of course yet is how the boundary commission may lay waste to all their plans, Not only have the Lib Dems selected their candidates for yhe new wards which have still not been confirmed by the boundary commission but their is growing concern that even if confirmed their will not be enough parliamentary time available to pass the changes through the commons! Leaving the seats on NBC as they currently stand. And the candidates?


New has reached my ears via a reliable source (and then Aufona) that Den the Pen Merideth is currently writing his auto biography!  How delightful a read that will be! John Dickie suggests the first line might be

"I was born at a very young age"

followed by tales of the playground and maybe a few juicy tit bits about his love of the chase!

"The breath so near her pillow, that she shrunk back into it, lest these wandering hands should light upon her face."

Stick me down for a copy please Dennis.


I was delighted that the motion put down by our Independent group at September's Full County Council meeting was passed unanamously. The motion which asked for any "Big Society" to also be a "Fair Society" also asked the Council to commit to paying its front line staff a "Living Wage" Which Jim Harker was happy to accept.

We now just need to hear from Jim as to what rate his group has set the Councils "Living Wage" for the majority of Councils so far who have agreed to this messure a sum of £7.00 an hour is the norm with £7.20 being paid in London.

The current Pay and grading denbacle has some County Council staff on as little as £6.31 an hour. So come on Mr Pastry, how say you tell us what the new rate will be and make a lot of disgruntled staff a lot happier?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


And so it came to pass.........................After just 3 years and 4 months the Liberal Democrat majority on Northampton Borough Council has been wiped out. Having started with 23 councillors and a majority of 6 Cllr John Yates' defection to the Tory benches has placed them in a minority with just 20 votes left to the oppositions 21.

Ironically it wasn't council policy or the shame as to the Liberal Democrats actions in power which finally broke the back of Liberal Democrat resistance, no in true Lib Dem fashion it was good old self interest and infighting.

John Yates, a likeable ruralesque Lib Dem who will settle well in the Tory Party crossed the floor simply because in his absence his Lib Dem colleagues ousted him from his Council seat as a potential candidate for next years election! He wasn't alone, even the current Lib Dem Mayor Cllr Marianne Taylor couldn't escape the cull as her seat disappeared to another favoured replacement leaving her in an embarrassing situation of not even being able to see her Mayoral year out as an elected Councillor.Others also have fell foul of the selection process

The night of the long knives it seems has been orchestrated by Cllr Andrew Simpson aided and abetted by Cllr Richard Church and as a result the internal atmosphere inside the group is outright poisonous. So driven apart are the local group that Cllr Malcolm Mildren and myself popped into the Wig and Pen the other Friday for a quiet drink only to find two sets of Lib Dem Councillors drinking in two different parts of the pub! We didn't know which way to turn or who to upset first!

But it just might turn out to be good news for the people of Northampton, no more will we have to suffer the arrogance of the Liberal Democrats when forcing through their pet projects over the heads and suggestions of others and no more will we have to listen to the uncompromising whinges on why the Council won't sit down with our sporting clubs and find a way out of the Planning mess that they themselves have created with their outright subservience to national planning advice and their over friendly relationship with Legal and General.

At some point in the coming months a sensible motion will be moved in the Council Chamber offering a way forward for the town and for Saints and the Cobblers without the need for the future of the town centre to be jeopardised. When it happens it will be interesting to see how the votes stack up? my guess is that with an election just around the corner we might find a few Lib Dem's suddenly have a change of heart!

So well done John, the town owes you one!

Monday, 13 September 2010


Mohammed Warsame knows all about forced eviction, 10 years ago he was fleeing for his life from warring factions in Somalia. He eventually ended up in the UK and in Northampton, and in September 2003 after serving his time on the waiting list he moved into a one bedroom council flat in Spring Boroughs with his wife and young child.

Mohammed is a proud man and has never claimed benefits, he quickly got himself a job on Brackmills and has always strived to pay his way. His family had at last found peace and security and soon after a second child was added to the family. Life was beginning to take on an air of normality after all the trauma in their homeland and their flight from fear.

But living with 4 people under one small roof in a small one bedroom flat was not easy and the Council were not in a position to offer him anything bigger. So Mohammed, as is his way sorted out the problem himself. His mother in law, lived in a larger flat in Chelsea, and those who understand Somalian culture will know that it is very normal for young mothers to reside with their own mother whilst the husband was working. in Somalia many of the men work hundreds of miles away from their family to earn money to support the family so Mrs Warsame and the two children moved in with Mum even though they wanted to be at home in Northampton with Mohammed.

Mohammed carried on working 5 days a week at Brackmills and then at the weekends he would visit his wife and children at the mother in laws in Chelsea. His mother in law was not working, and it soon become apparent that Mohhamed would need to support both households, so he worked harder, did extra shifts and tried to pay his way the best he could, but he fell behind with the rent, not hugely, but enough to worry him. At one point he was £800 in arrears with NBC, but by working a bit more overtime he reduced that down to £400. All this it seems was to be to no avail!

You seen those kind souls at Lib Dem controlled Northampton Borough Council, decided to serve him a repossession order and took the case to court to evict Mr Warsame on the grounds of unpaid rent. Now those who understand how the Council works will be amazed that they took such an austere measure over such a small sum, residents usually can run up arrears into the thousands before the council would even consider taking the case to court for eviction. So why was Mohammed being treated so badly?

Thankfully the Judge agreed, and noted that Mr Warsame had been reducing his arrears not allowing them to grow and refused the Council the right to repossess the property. But the court costs still added another £120 to Mr Warsame's arrears, hardly helpful to him giving his current position. but at least he could keep his flat? Or could he?

Before Mohammed had even left the court another kind soul from the Borough Councils Housing Department caught up with him and handed him another pre prepared eviction order! This time under the auspice of the flat in Spring Boroughs not being his main abode! So they once more told him he had to go and duly evicted him in May. He couldn't understand what he had done wrong? And didn't know who to turn to.

Ever since he has been sleeping on friends sofas in Northampton during the week to ensure he keeps his job and then commuting at weekends back down to Chelsea, where he recently received a bill for over £1100 from NBC who had added another months rent (notice of intention to quit) to his bill despite them evicting him.

Mohammed came to me to ask we what he had done wrong? And why the Council were victimising him? the only response I have got so far from my enqiuries to the Council is that they had discovered that Mr Warsame's name had appeared as being resident on a housing benefit claim in Chelsea, he was of course, and the claim probably in the name of his mother in law was simply being truthful as to who resided there albeit only at weekends.

But what business is it of Northampton Borough Council what his mother in law does in Chelsea? and how did they source this information with the Data Protection Act in place?

And why oh why did no one at NBC think to invite him in to talk about his housing needs? after all if the Council had done it's job properly Mrs Warsame and the 2 children would still be in Northampton with their husband/father living in a slightly bigger property. So much it seems for secured tenancies!

I have of course asked the council a number of questions on Mr Warsame's case including:

Why an eviction order was served and a court case fixed on such a low arrears amount when it was clear the tenant was reducing the arrears?

How come a housing officer was in the court with a second eviction notice for a different reason on the day of the hearing?

What are they doing involving themselves in the affairs of another local authority area?

Why was Mr Warsame not offered any help at any time since 2003 instead of being treated so badly and evicted by any means possible?

Mr Warsame now tells me he has had more arrears bills sent to him in London regarding his Council Tax far beyond the point that he was forcefully removed from his tenancy.

So once again take a bow Northampton Borough Council and their Liberal Democrat administration, you must all be very proud of yourselves.

Perhaps this one should go directly to Northamptonshire Race Equality Council for them to investigate?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Harry is 78 years old, and lives a mile from Northampton Town Centre. That's not his real name by the way, he at this stage wants to remain anonymous. He is very angry about how Northampton Borough Council has treated him. He is also at odds to understand why the council have singled him out for such despicable treatment. In addition to his advanced years Harry is also registered disabled, and to make life that little bit more difficult for him in his old age he has cancer.

But Harry like many Northampton born sons who have seen and battled against so much in their lives is still an independent soul, he refuses to accept his disability and and just gets on with life, therefore it cut me to the core when he has told me on more than one occasion since his troubles with NBC began "why can't the council just leave me alone and let me be, I will be dead soon enough, then I won't cause anyone any problems"

Harry's troubles started in August when he contacted me to explain that the County Council had sent him a letter, in fact a removal order, threatening to remove his motorcycle trailer from outside his house because the Borough Council had decided that it was dangerous, and declared it to be a "building container"

The building container as stated above turned out in fact to be a small trailer which at one time belonged to his old motorbike, but on which he now kept his electric bicycle. Being disabled his electric bicycle is now his only form of mobility. He uses this environmentaly friendly mode of transport to get him down to the market and back to pick up his veg and to do his other shopping. His disability and his daily medication mean that a normal mobility scooter just doesn't work for him as he gets nauseous when seated so low. The bicycle was therefore kept chained to the trailer to stop it being stolen because the three high stone steps up to his front door from the street made it impossible for him to lift the heavy bike indoors.

Surely NBC and in the first instance NCC wouldn't be so cruel as to take Harry's trailer away thus leaving him nowhere to secure his bicycle, his only means of transport and independence? So after Harry had contacted me I contacted the County Council and they kindly agreed to extend by one month the time on the removal order. They then also said that even if another order was issued, we would then have another 30 days thereafter to remove it. Time enough for us all to come up with a solution, or so we thought!

But the shameless corporate entity that is now Liberal Democrat controlled Northampton Borough Council had other ideas. whilst we were busy trying to come up with a solution for Harry, they come up with a new solution themselves to the problem, they changed their mind on Harry's trailer being a "building container" and decided that it was now a "vehicle" and as a consequence having been thwarted at their first attempt to remove it they now contacted the ELVIS abandoned vehicle scheme,(End of Life Vehicle Impound Scheme) also run by NCC and this time arranged for it to be taken away for crushing.

ELVIS then turned up one morning with no warning, but Harry put up a good fight, he sat on his trailer and pleaded for them to leave him and his trailer alone. In the end the Police were called and this helpless old man, disabled, distressed and suffering from cancer was removed from the trailer and off it went to the crusher. They left him no paperwork, no explanation as to why it was being taken away or to where and as a consequence a tearful Harry called me to ask one more to "please please" intervene.

The Borough Council then started to become very officious, they did promise to send someone from private sector housing round to talk to Harry and also suggested they might contact Care and Repair to see what they could do (neither of which came anywhere near) but as far as they were concerned by removing the trailer they had done nothing wrong.

I therefore submitted an official complaint on Harry's behalf, which also fell on deaf ears, I then raised the complaint to the next level asking them why they had failed to cooperate with NCC to find a solution to the problem rather than simply acting in such a crass fashion and in doing so denying an old man of his mobility?

But they stuck to their guns, nothing to do with them they said Elvis is run by NCC and if we had a complaint against them or the Police then that also had nothing to do with them, even though they admit that they instigated all of the aforementioned actions in the first instance.

We also pointed out to them that other trailers such as one in Fetter Street, has been parked in a restricted place every day for ten years? Why no action there? And that there were far more obstructive and dangerous obstacles all around the area? So was it simply easier for them to pick on a defenceless elderly man than say a corporate business?

In desperation and in an attempt to get the Council to see sense I then brought the case up with the Councils Chief Executive, surely he could see what a PR disaster it would be for the Council to have acted so cruelly against such an indefensible old man? Surely the council could see that finding a way forward would be cheaper in the long run than fighting a complaint?

But still all to no avail, My stage two complaint came back with none of our questions and complaints answered to any level of satisfaction and the letter then said that if Harry wished he could make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

He will, with my full support. but why does the Council want to act and to be seen to have acted in such a disgraceful fashion? I pointed out to them very early on that there was a local authority yard just across the road from Harry's house and with a modicum of common sense they could have agreed with Harry that he could chain his bike up there out of harms way and then every one would have been happy. But Northampton Borough Council it seems doesn't do solutions, it simply bullies its residents including the elderly and puts on it's big hat of officialdom and wherever possible passes the buck and reverts once again to collective BSE (Blame Someone Else)

So perhaps at tomorrow nights Council meeting the whole Liberal Democrat Council should stand up and take a bow and lap up the praise for their latest victory in the war against such dangerous and malicious criminal classes such as Harry.

As the title above asks, Have they no shame?

(Tomorrow, part 3 Evicted by any means possible)

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Edward (Teddy) Mcnabb is a community campaigner, a former soldier who served in Northern Ireland Teddy now restricts his fighting to the defence of the elderly within his community. So incensed was he when Northampton Borough Council withdrew Resident Wardens from the sheltered housing scheme he lives in that he took the Council on alongside many others who rightly pointed out that the Council was breaching the contract they signed with those elderly residents when they first moved into their homes.

So Teddy got busy, bombarding Councillors and officers alike with emails and questions, trying to get answers for many who were too frightened to raise their head above the parapet. Most of his emails went completely unanswered. In frustration at elected members from all of the three main party's who refused most times to even acknowledge his requests he lost his temper, by email! lots of them.

He knows he went over the top, even though many would understand his reason for doing so and he admits that he used some "inappropriate language" Now I know what you are thinking! But that's just your dark side coming to the fore, you see Teddy's expletives were not post 9pm watershed words, they consisted of him using lesser curses like "scum" and "bitch" both not nice, but when you are in elected office or working for the council you have to have broad shoulders and a thick skin.

Teddy also had other reasons to lose his temper on the keyboard as he had also received proof that the Council had considered and recorded the fact that they considered him to be mentally ill and that they also wrote to his doctor without his knowledge asking him to assess his patient, and in one internal e-mail exchange after Teddy had asked for a secret ballot on a tenants vote one officer wrote to another "He will get much more than a secret ballot "

So if ever there was a time to bring someone to the table and try and to resolve matters and faults on both sides then this was such an occasion. But no, that's just not the style of a Northampton Liberal Democrat Council, instead the yellow bellied bullies decided to hit him hard with a court order and sought an injunction preventing Teddy from contacting any Borough Councillor or officer (apart from the Borough Solicitor) and took such an injunction out in the names of all Cllrs without even having the decency of asking us first if we wished to be part of such an action (so much for local democracy)


Two over tender souls, Lib Cllrs Tony Woods and Dennis Merideth even submitted evidence to the court telling the judge how awful life had become because of Teddy's tirade of abuse. In the meantime myself and my fellow independents Cllrs Jean Hawkins and Malcolm Mildren instructed the Council to remove us from their ridiculous injunction and did what any Cllr worth their salt would do, that is talk face to face with Teddy to make sure he was not totally disenfranchised.

Teddy wanted to fight the injunction and attended Court to state his case, but it became clear that the Council would use all their legal muscle to take him on. as Teddy's total annual income is less than £6000 he reluctantly withdrew from the fray.

Not content with their pious victory (it surely would be the equivalent of Chelsea FC celebrating an uncontested victory over Duston Boys Brigade) the council went after Teddy for their costs totalling over £10,000! They told the court this astronomical bill included them costing out a lawyer at over £146 an hour! They used just the one "in house" solicitor

Luckily we managed to point out to the Judge that locum lawyers engaged by the Council were paid only just over £30 an hour and if the solicitor involved worked for the Council on a rate of £146 an hour then they would be earning annually over a quarter of a million pounds at the Council Tax payers expense. In other words the Council were looking to profiteer from the case at the expense of a disabled man on a measly £6000 a year income.

Well then perhaps Teddy was right after all. You see in my view any body public or private, willing to take such austere action and then chase fiscally for their own profit a sum of £10,000 from a disabled ex serviceman whose only crime was to become agitated on behalf of his elderly neighbours who couldn't fight for themselves, then I too would say that they are scum, and if they want to take out an injunction on me for saying so then so be it.

The judge it seems also agreed that they had overstepped the mark, as in court he reduced the Councils costs down from the £10,000 requested to £1,700 and also made it clear to the Council that they may wish to consider waiving costs entirely given Teddy's inability to pay. Only time will tell if they have listened or not?

The council accuse Teddy of being a bully, but just who is bullying who here? As the injunction is now indefinite what rights would Teddy now have to be represented if myself and my two Independent colleagues did not withdraw ourselves from the Councils shameful actions?

My fear now is that in the coming months Teddy and others may have good reason to take up the good fight again on behalf of the vulnerable as the Council and their coalition partners in Westminster looks to restrict services even further in the pursuit of small local government, the big society and tightened fiscal prudence.

In the meantime it seems as if we all will have to be gentle with the poor fragile souls in the Liberal Democrat group on the council, after all how dare the public expect them to be accountable and answer questions put to them as elected members, let alone take responsibility for their actions in cutting services to the most vulnerable in our society!

Just what has become of our local democracy, I ask you?

( Tomorrow part 2, a man and his bicycle )

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 5 September 2010


It would seem that the Conservative Party still hold true to the belief that closets are for far more than just keeping clothes in.

This weeks exposé of William Hague's private life and his alleged affair with PA Christopher Myers has in my view been as distasteful as it was confused.

Rumours as to William's sexuality have circled around in the Westminster village for many many years, I remember only too well the sniggers and whispers in Parliaments corridors that surrounded Hague and Sebestian Coe's Private Judo sessions in Jeffery Archers London flat, I didn't care much for this schoolboy like chit chat then and I feel equally disinterested now in what he gets up to with his personal advisors male or female as long as it doesn't affect the rest of us, but unfortunately in this case it might.

You see for me I have always considered that William might be bi-sexual, but firmly, very firmly, in the closet, I might be right and I might be wrong, but it doesn't affect my opinion of the man in any way, why should it? But the Conservative Party in the main think differently and that's the problem with Tories, even more so for Gay Tory politicians at national and local level; you see they find it even more difficult to talk about their sexuality in public than they do admitting it to their parents. To rub salt into the wounds of the whole gay community they then, when challenged by the press on their private lives go on to make statements which in themselves are so homophobic that they pander to the worst aspects of the gay bashing masses.

William Hague's personal statement this week was both ill advised and distasteful, why on earth he thinks we all need to know about him and Ffions problems with child birth is beyond me? Why he goes out of his way to talk about "improper relationships" and not having had relationships with "any man whatsoever" equally baffles me.

It reminded me of my good friend Stephen Pound MP speaking in the House once on the age of consent bill, he was winding up the Tory (and one Labour) homophobes on the opposite bench wonderfully by playing to their lowest base, one of them questioned his time in the Merchant Navy as if to say all seafarers must be gay. Stephen put on an air of mock outrage and said, "Madam Speaker the honourable member questions my sexuality, I will have him know that I am a rampant heterosexual! rampant! Madam Speaker" all to cheers of Hear Hear from the Tory benches. He then started to outline his sexual conquests before being bought to order by the speaker.  Not much remains in Hansard of this exchange, but those of us present appreciated his skillful exposure of all that is bad about the Conservative Party whenever they get to discussing gay issues. I doubt if they even realised that his whole act was a parody.

But coming back to William, what a fool he has made of himself and what a hole he has dug for himself in the future, because the real story here isn't his sexuality, it's his judgement in hiring an unqualified personal advisor to be paid for by the public purse and then it being revealed that he shared hotel rooms with the same individual. If his denial is so absolute then perhaps he would have been better advised in telling us that as a Yorkshire man that he was simply saving the Government money by sharing bedrooms with his staff to help them reduce the national debt, rather than putting all the details of his poor wife's traumatic miscarriages all over the front pages.

You see William's problem now is that even if he was gay and wanted to come out of the closet and say that he had indeed had a relationship with Christopher Myers then he has just added another lock to the closet door, because to come out now would reveal that he had in fact misappropriated public funds and used his position to employ an unqualified person and pay for hotel rooms on the grounds of their relationship.

So it all comes down to judgement, his in responding in the way he did, and ours as to whether or not we believe his denials, and also whether or not we believe that this whole episode has made him more suitable for high office or less.

What the whole affair isn't and should never had been about is his sexuality, or his private problems within his marriage to Ffion who incidentally is by far the biggest victim of this whole sorry sorry mess.

The national media and the Tory party in the meantime need to both wake up to the fact that being Gay is as natural and wholesome as being married with 2.2 children.

William though should learn to be William, just William and ignore all the tittle tattle and realise that it's his judgement that we all question not his sex life.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 30 August 2010


So farewell then Cleggy my old friend, you kept a nation entertained with your mad cap misdemeanours and along with your fellow partners in crime you created a coalition of the hopeless and hapless, but all good things must come to pass and the BBC have called time on your period in the spotlight.

Ironic then really that as we come to the end of another summers political break that the BBC should be marking the passing of one Clegg just at the time that the vultures are circling around another. And this particular Clegg's exploits alongside his posh mate Dave are far less funny than those played out on the small screen.

You see local Liberal Democrats have had there own long summers whine. Publicly it's been all chocolates and roses and sycophantic columns written by LD apologists in the Chron, but underneath the surface and in private the battle for Cleggs successor is it seems gathering real pace.

Internal email trees leaked to myself and it seems also to the local press show that all is not well in sandal land as local Councillors and Candidates become worried about their prospects at next years elections and consider standing not in the name of the much maligned national party "Liberal Democrats" but as "Northampton Liberal Democrats" or the "Kingsthorpe Focus Team"

All is not well!

You see Nick Cleggs problem, just like his name sakes Norman in the sit com is that all of his old friends have now deserted him, and the watching public in response has now lost interest and decided that things aren't as good as they used to be, the show has lost it's shine and the popularity figures have plummeted.

But should we really be surprised? after all we all knew that the Liberal Democrats had been sold a pup by their New found Tory chums in Westminster. The price of all their heartache in being blamed for hitting the poorest hardest and an unnecessary attack on public spending was supposed to have been a cast iron guarantee on electoral reform but instead the Party has been left with faulty goods and a bill which may not even reach the ballot box and even if it does, the chances of a positive outcome for Britain's third party are looking pretty slim.

I remember when I was in Westminster that the whips worried long and hard through those summer weeks when we as MP's were in our constituencies taking soundings from the party faithful, and they knew that on our return we would be more rebellious than ever.

But this time I think the rebellion will be played out at a local, not a national level, as the harsh reality of those Local Government cuts come home to roost in the nests of local Lib Dem and Tory Councils. no longer can they blame the government for under funding local councils, no longer can they suggest that if they were in charge things would be different, instead every cut has a yellow and blue tag tied to it, and the brave amongst their membership won't stand for it.

In Northampton however, I don't see any of the local Lib Dem Council at the minute having the courage of their own convictions, it is far too close to the next election for them to change course, so they will have to put on a brave face and go to their execution with their heads held high in shame as the poorest and the most vulnerable amongst Northampton's public pay for the folly of Hapless Clegg and his foolish mates in the Westminster Village.

Expect at County Level for more Care Homes and Day Centres to shut, at Borough Level expect the elderly in Sheltered Housing to have their services cut even further!, in fact expect all service levels to drop even further as whole sections of the Council are contracted out to the cheapest deliverers, more intent on making a fast buck than delivering any type of acceptable service. Expect Leisure Centres to be hived off into Trusts, and through all of this privatisation and the hiving off of all our services expect the Liberal Democrats to suddenly find an appetite for small local government and the Big Society.

It is all smoke and mirrors though of course, and no matter how hard they polish those mirrors Liberal Democrats will still be left standing in front of them seeing a service cutting Tory stare back at them in their own reflection.

No amount of harping on about the national deficit will help them either, that cat is well and truly out of the bag, and before long it will be clear that the actions of the coalition since coming to power have damaged not improved the economic outlook for the country.

So whatever happened to the Liberal love affair with Keynes? Since when did any Local Liberal Democrat Council sign up for "small" Local Government?

It seems as if The Last of the Summer Wine left our screens because people no longer thought it was funny! Well their won't be much laughter around in our County and Town Halls this Autumn either as the harsh reality of just what the Liberal Democrats have allowed David Cameron to do in their name comes home to bite them hard.

I just hope that some of them (even one) have got the balls to stand up and stay true to their political principles, after all it may be the last chance they get to redeem themselves before the public have their say!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


The art of "Putting your foot in it" is it seems a great and noble British tradition. It combines timing, skill, dexterity and, in some cases, the ability to withstand a certain amount of media abuse. For centuries men have been practising and perfecting the ability to endure embarrassment of themselves and also others with split second timing, precision and accuracy.

And now as a nation we have our very own George W Bush in the form of wet behind the ears Prime Minister David Cameron. This gaffe a minute premier shows all the signs of being a diplomatic nightmare for the collective British interest over the next few years.

But am I alone in wondering why have the press not said more about it? And would they have been so forgiving if an outgoing Gordon Brown had made such stupid remarks during his last days in Number 10?

Perhaps comparing him to George W is a bit rich though? After all GWB was just plain stupid, whilst DC has had all the advantage of an Eton/Oxford education, which makes his gaffes even the more startling.

For instance consider Gaffe No. 1. in Washington in July, when he referred to Britain having been America's "junior partner in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis." This was not just an insult to all those who served and fought and lived through World War Two, is was also cringinglly and historically incorrect? How can someone from Eton totally forget about Pearl Harbour not happening until December 1941? And where were our American cousins when we needed them at Dunkirk? and yet the media hardly mentioned his error. How on earth Cameron achieved a grade A when he took his History A-level at Eton in 1984 is any ones guess

Then a few days later in Ankara we found the Conservative Party's answer to Jeremy Clarkson sharing his views on the Gaza Strip when he referred to it as a "Prison Camp" Now I actually agree with him on this one, it is the inaction of so many before him and now of him and his government who still continue to allow Israel to openly flout International law that has created such a situation But did he not think of the potential harm he might do as Prime Minister by expressing such a comment so openly without any thought as to the consequences?Now he will have to appease the Zionists to readdress the balance!

And of course more recently we have him upsetting our Pakistani Allies by suggesting that they "Look both Ways" when dealing with terrorism and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Camerons comments linked Pakistan wrongly with the export of terror and drove a massive wedge between the two countries. Now of course it was true that a few years ago there was proof of senior Pakistani intelligence officers being involved with Taliban warlords, but to make such a comment in the current context as if nothing had changed and to do so in India! for heavens sake?

What DC seems to be guilty of is wanting too much to suck up to his hosts when abroad, wherever he may be, So in Washington he praises there non existent contribution to the war in 1940 whilst demoting Britain to also rans, without a thought as to the damage he would do back at home.

And then in Turkey. so desperate was he to sound pro Muslim to his hosts and new friends that he suddenly decides to tell the truth about Gaza which many of us having been trying to get across for years!

And again in India, he knew very well that the home Indian audience would dance with glee at his anti Pakistani ramblings, but that does not warrant his action! His rentaquote attitude to overseas hospitality is not only embarrassing, it's also downright dangerous.

Only after this latest blunder have the Press shown any real interest, and then not to any real degree. Meanwhile the Tory party tell us that he is just speaking his mind? Well I am sorry but when you are abroad as Prime Minister representing the whole Country then some account has to be given over to diplomacy.

Meanwhile the other half of Westminster's answer to Jedward, Nick Clegg has also been getting in on the act by declaring recently that redundancy could give men a welcome opportunity to “reinvent” themselves as stay-at-home dads. This of course followed hot on the heels of his gaffe at the dispatch box when he declared the war on Iraq illegal.

Now once again I agree with him, but for a statement like that to be said at the dispatch box by a deputy PM plays straight into the hands of the International Courts. He might of inadvertently done those of us who opposed the war a favour, but don't try and tell me he meant to do it!

These two men are supposed to be running the country! Instead there constant blunders are now turning us into the pariah of the world. For all my disquiet as to the actions of previous post holders can anyone really have imagined Tony Blair, or even Gordon Brown making such huge mistakes?

John Dingle once said of another young Tory Prime Minister "I'm very close to suggesting that Mr. Pitt has now served as long as he can usefully do so. He seems to take his foot out of his mouth only for purposes of changing feet."

If only John Dingle could of seen these two in action!

STOP PRESS 5th August 2010: And now according to DC speaking In Turkey

"Iran has got a nuclear weapon"

Allah deliver us

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Regular readers will remember my concern over the safety of the newly installed Water Fountain on the Market Square. Where I questioned why our council had spent so much money installing a water fountain which had proven to be unsafe by another council who installed the exact same system from the exact same company?

Some may also recall that when I raised this in full Council that Cllr Richard Church got most upset and accused me of scaremongering (always a good defence when you are afraid the truth might come out) I also asked him to send me copies of the risk assessments carried out on the fountains operation.

He duly did so on the 2nd of July, The problem was the risk assessments he sent me were only carried out after I had asked for them and didn't deal with any of the concern I had raised with regards to possible ingestion of Cryptosporidium Parvum parasites.

Ever since I have had to ask ever more detailed questions in order to uncover the truth as to whether or not this fountain is safe for children to play in. So here is the truth uncovered so far:

Cryptosporidium Parvum spores are less than 1 micron in size.

The Market Square fountain can only filter down to 2-3 microns

Cryptosporidium Parvum spores are to be found where water has come into contact with animal faecal matter.

The Market Square Fountain is open to pigeon fouling, dog fouling and any organisms transported on the shoes of those walking through the area

Cryptosporidium Parvum spores where present are easily ingested through the air in mist or through the mouth from contaminated water and attack those with low immune defence such as children and those with HIV

The jets in the Market Square Fountain are at just the right height to be ingested by small children playing in the fountain

The council it seems has put its faith in what are called the PTWAG guidelines which stands for the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group. But again the problem is this isn't a swimming pool! It's not a closed environment The PTWAG guidelines also state that to be clear of Cryptosporidium Parvum a swimming pool would need to be emptied and refilled 6 times after any faecal matter entered the water. And that is with giant filters and open pump rooms. Dog and pigeons also rarely swim in Swimming Pools and people rarely swim in their shoes!

So we have now got to the point where the council accept that cryptosporidium parvum.spores are less than one micron, that the filtration system in the fountain is nowhere near good enough to remove those spores. That faecal matter is present in the immediate environment. That the operation of the fountain produces jets and water spray at exactly the right height for children playing in the fountain to ingest. And that no risk assessment was carried out by the Council before I raised the question in the Council Chamber and well after the works were completed. Nor it seems has the Council bothered to contact the other authority (Clacton) which had installed a similar fountain from the same company to ask why they have acted to remove the risk, and it seems that no proper regime has yet been agreed by the Council for regular testing for cryptosporidium parvum from the fountains water

But as Richard Church says, I am just scaremongering!!!

I will let you, as always, judge for yourself

Monday, 26 July 2010


I am sure Shakespeare's mind was not on the actions of Northampton Borough Council when he penned the above, but Stratford upon Avon is not too far away so who knows?

But Billy Waggledaggers poetic muse sums up perfectly the insipid, secretive and undemocratic manner in which the current Liberal Democrat Administration on the Borough Council are conducting their affairs, or more is the point how they are allowing Council officers to conduct them on their behalf.

Last week the council decided to give its portfolio holder and officers delegated powers to sell Cliftonville House when staff move out later this year. Now I am not allowed to tell you what they are getting for it (even though it is your money) but let us say it is probably the highest capital receipt the Council has ever received (even after the Legal and General deal which we also can't talk about!) So you would expect with so much involved that the Council and it councillors would have looked long and hard at the deal?

No such luck. The council has spoken of moving out of Cliftonville House before, but the matter of selling the site only went on the council forward plan at the start of July.

One of the recommendations that they passed read as follows:

That Cabinet supports the disposal of the Council’s freehold interest in the property (shown edged red upon the attached plan at Appendix 1) known as Cliftonville House and Brer Court, Bedford Road Northampton to St Andrew’s Property Management Limited (subject to final agreed survey)

The cabinet were also told that the Secretary of State needn't be involved and that the land need not be sold on the open market because the price agreed with St Andrews Property Management was above the market rate.

This was all explained in a very complicated valuation report which did the equivalent of comparing eggs with bicycles also contained in appendix one of the report.

Still with me? good,

So they took the decision based on an attached plan and on the content of the valuation report in appendix one right?


There was no attached plan, and there was no appendix one, and not one of the cabinet felt it necessary to say so during the meeting, they just blindly agreed to say they had done something which they couldn't have possibly done due to the papers not being there.

Now believe it or not I don't mind them selling Cliftonville House, and I think all the staff moving into the town centre will have a positive effect on local trade. Also the move will save the Council money. But all that is different from ensuring that we take the right decisions in public, with all the papers in front of us and also so the public who own the property can be assured that everything is above board.

But the problems didn't finish there, the Cabinet also agreed on the night to spend £2m of the income from the sale on IT on the back of a hastily produced report saying that it was a priority for the council to do so as part of the move!

Again, I was outraged, This council has many capital priorities! we have homes which are not fit to live in, we have listed buildings such as Delapre Abbey and the Archway Cottages in states of disrepair, we have pavements which need repairing, we have bins which need replacing, we have Leisure Centres in need of painting, so where was the scrutiny as to what the priority should be for spending a large part of the windfall?

As a consequence of all of the above, myself and Cllr Joy Capstick (Labour) decide to call the decision in to ensure that the issues where addressed pproperly, Cabinet might not give a hoot and be willing to nod matters through without having the details before them but the rest of the council should not follow this poor example.

Our call in read as follows:

The call in authors ask the scrutiny management committee to note that all matters relating to the  sale of the freehold of the Cliftonville land, and proposed capital expenditure from any capital receipts from such a sale were not placed on the forward plan until July and not listed as separate items. We ask the SMC to further note that Papers for the Cabinet Meeting on 14 July were not available until the very last minute and that background papers were not even available at the Cabinet meeting. It was also clear that the Cabinet did not have all the relevant papers and appendixes to hand when making the decision.

Therefore the Call in authors call in the decision of Cabinet from it's meeting of the 14th July 2010 on the agended item on the grounds that:

There was no pre scrutiny of the proposed sale of the said property

There was no pre scrutiny on the use of capital funds derived from the sale

Additionally, the report of the decision states:

"Cabinet supported the disposal of the Council's freehold interest in the property (shown edged red upon the attached plan at Appendix 1) known as Cliftonville House and Brer Court Bedford Road Northampton to St Andrews Property Management Limited (subject to final agreed survey)"

As there was no such plan attached to the papers, nor available for members to peruse we feel that this decision is unsafe.

The call in authors also believe that under the new arrangements for scrutiny, a material decision such as this should have also have been scrutinised by the Audit committee.

Call in authors Cllr Tony Clarke Independent, Cllr Joy Capstick Labour.

David Kennedy the Chief Executive then wrote to us both declaring our call in invalid, first without explanation and then later on the grounds that our reasons for call in were all  "Procedural Matters"

Lack of pre scrutiny is always a difficult reason to sell for the purposes of call in as it is not an absolute requisite for a decision, but given that the item was not put on the forward plan until July 1st and also that the issues had not been brought to the attention of the Council before we felt both pre scrutiny calls were valid. But even without these to say that taking a decision without the relevant papers in front of you and then agreeing to say you had seen them is simply procedural is bizarre. As a consequence I have now challenged the decision.

A call in may have resolved the above matters and said to officers that they need to respect Cllrs a little bit more rather simply asking for delegated power to take the decision without giving all the facts to elected members.

The denial of the call in though in my view brings the whole council into disrepute, its says to the general public that we don't care if the decisions we take are taken without proper information being present and we don't care if other Cllrs want to question that. It says we will do as we please, and to hell with the rights of elected members. And it sends a clear message out to the public that says, don't bother voting because we will take no notice of your elected representatives as we the unelected officer class know better and we will do as we please.

I blame the current Liberal Democrat administration for lots of things, I am by my position on Council a member of the opposition, I am also a malcontent and I have total distaste for the whole way Local Government is run these days. But for all the crazy ideas and plans that the Lib Dems have inflicted on us since coming to power in 2007 none are as bad as their blind and meek acceptance of the above state of affairs.

Having championed the rights of those Councillors not in the executive for so many decades before coming to power they have in just 3 years become part of the problem not part of the solution as to how we bring more democratic accountability into our Town Halls.

They are yellow bellied, subservient, forelock tugging lackeys doing the bidding of their unelected masters, and I will not rest until they have found out locally like they are doing nationally that in politics to say one thing and do another is not the natural state of things and that principles unlike administrations are for life not just for convenience.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


The Liberal Democrats both locally and nationally before the last election warned us of the proposed Tory VAT Tax bombshell. Nick Clegg during the Leaders debates clearly declared on the 8th of April 2010 that:

"We will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises...Let me repeat that: Our plans do not require a rise in VAT"

Local Lib Dem's including parliamentary candidates Cllr Andrew Simpson, Cllr Paul Varnsverry, Cllr Scott Collins and Cllr Portio Wilson all campaigned throughout the election against the rise and accused the Tories of introducing a regressive tax which would hit the poorest the hardest.

So you would have thought it would have been easy for the same Local Lib Dem's at the town hall to back a Labour Group motion tabled at last nights Council meeting which read as follows:

“This Council expresses its concern at the increase in VAT announced in the budget on June 22nd 2010, which will have a disproportionate impact on the poorest families in Northampton.
The Council recognises the Government’s need to bring down the borrowing deficit and the need to make decisions over tax and spending. The Council notes however that this should be done in as fair a manner as possible, should not have a disproportionate impact on the poor and should not risk economic recovery.

The Council further notes the report produced by the Institute of Fiscal Studies which says that the increase in VAT will impact those on low incomes the hardest and this includes pensioners living on savings.

This Council instructs the Leader of the Borough Council to write to the Deputy Prime Minister asking him to reconsider the VAT increase to 20%.”

But no they voted en-block against it !!

"The economy is in a worse state than we thought" they cried"

Not true as a) All the opposition parties are shown the red book way before the election and b) The deficit was expected on polling day to be £178bn but bettered to be only around £155bn post election a £23bn boost for the coalition government before a single cut has been made!!

"Its needed to balance the books" they bleated

Not true as the Institute of Financial Studies director Robert Chote pointed out to Mr Clegg when he told him that "the Coalition would not have had to raise VAT if Mr Osborne had not also cut other taxes, such as those on the profits of corporations".

"It won't be all that bad as inflation will fall" they squirmed

Not true as Sally Copley, head of policy at Save the Children UK recently outlined when she informed Parliament that "A 20% VAT rate means the poorest parents will see their VAT bill rise to at least £1,600 a year — affecting already overstretched budgets — and driving some into the arms of loan sharks," Copley said. "We mustn't forget that 3.9 million children are still living in poverty in this country — and that's just not good enough. The very poorest didn't create the financial crisis — so the most vulnerable in society should not be asked to pay the price for clearing it up."

I therefore last night pleaded with them to vote with their consciences and to stay true to their individual principles. I asked them to think about how shallow they will look if having campaigned against the rise in VAT before the election that they now are seen to be backing it.

All though to no avail, as en masse the Lib Dem with heads held low succumbed to the whip and the yellow sheep were safely shepherded in to back their Tory colleagues in voting the motion down

But one comment from Cllr John Yates summed up the whole sorry affair for me and reminded me why I struggle to trust any of the parties these days. His response to the debate speaks not only for itself but sums up the state we are now in. He said

"I don't see what all the fuss is about, all the political parties promise to do one thing before the election and then afterwards they have to think again and then change their minds and have to do something else, it's natural"

Indeed John indeed.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


George Osbourne's recent bizarre behaviour in calling for reports on the full impact on public services of  a 40% cut in expenditure is worrying indeed.

Not just because of the obvious impact on public sector jobs and the services axed but also because it suggests a government which is determined to out slash the mad Thatch herself when it comes to getting tough with public spending.

How do you even begin to imagine cuts of such a magnitude? Knowing how public expenditure has already been reigned in over the last couple of years it is utter madness to suggest that such high scale change is possible without a huge impact on the economy and on the public good. We are talking about whole scale services being abolished not just a snip here and there. Prepare for whole sale closures of residential care homes, cuts to social care delivered at home and higher charges introduced, black sack collections fortnightly not weekly, Third Sector funding halved if not scrapped, dirtier streets, roads not repaired, Libraries closed, Museums closed Arts projects? forget it! Police numbers slashed, Hospital waiting lists back to where they were 10 years ago. Rail fares up as subsidies are slashed. Anybody who forgot or never knew what it was like to live under a Tory Government won't have long to wait to find out the harsh truth.

Today on Radio 4 it was further announced that Capital budgets as well as Revenue budgets are also to be slashed with public sector new build projects reducing from £49bn down to £21bn A £28bn pound cut to projects already identified as necessary! So what impact will that have on the services and also on a construction industry still reeling from the collapse of the Housing Market? What will it do to NBC's plans for Housing PFI and ensuring a decent Home standard for its tenants?

And equally what impact will have on overall unemployment levels? Public sector jobs it is estimated will fall by 600,000 and any further impact on the private sector order book will add greatly to that number.

Now, and only now the markets are starting to get twitchy, what if he goes too far? what if we have a double dip recession? what if what if the speculators will cry before ensuring exactly the same fall in the stock market that they are warning us all about. The irony of course is that Public Borrowing requirement was £8bn below that which was expected by the Tories when they made their plans for an initial £6bn squeeze on the public purse, meaning that they could have got their saving + £2bn without a single cut instead of carrying on regardless meaning a movement now of £14bn and still the Chancellor wants more!

Well I do see trouble ahead, real trouble, industrial action, rising welfare bills and quite possibly civil unrest, much as it pains me to say it I can't see the British Public just standing by this time and taking it on the chin. And the protests will be mainstream, not just limited to politically motivated farmers, fox hunters  and lorry drivers who have surprisingly gone very quiet recently as petrol prices have rocketed under a Conservative/Lib Dem government!

So where do we all stand when the time comes to stand up and be counted? This must be the most difficult of questions for Lib Dem MP's,  Cllrs and ordinary party members who are attached completely to the actions of the coalition government as it's their party and their leader who are wielding the axe!

Having listened to Tory and Liberal Democrat Cllrs over the last few years complaining that a Labour Government has sold Northamptonshire and Northampton short at budget I look forward to their commentary this time. What exactly will there mantra/excuse be?

No one will buy the lame excuse of national necessity or paying for Labours spending in the past, according to most Lib Dem's the Labour Government wasn't spending enough it seemed! and Lib Dem candidates up and down the country stood on tickets of no rises in VAT and the need to be cautious with any public spending reductions which threaten the economic recovery. What shallow cruel words they now seem, what hypocrisy! And was the price of a vote on the Alternative Vote next May really a price worth paying? Not to the Lib Dem's I have spoken to who think the vote is far too early and the desired outcome far too hard to difficult to achieve at a time when the country will have different voting patterns dependent on local elections.

So we will have a few very interesting weeks and months ahead of ourselves as Lib Dem MP's Cllrs and individual members have to make the toughest of tough choices and decide if they will stay true to their principles and leave the party or continue to sell their souls and reputations to the devil in the guise of further right wing attacks on the public realm the scale of which even Thatcher herself never dared to attempt.

I hope I am wrong on one point though above, no one wants civil unrest, it is always nasty and the public will always suffer as a long term result, but at the minute I can't see an alternative outcome? Not when we have the nasty party back in government this time all wrapped up in the yellow hue of Liberal expedience.



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Thank you for visiting "tonyclarkegreenparty" The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are made by me personally in my own capacity as free citizen and not as representative of any outside body or council that I may serve on or be employed by. However if anyone is offended by any of these comments or feels that they should be corrected then please contact me in the first instance at and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


100 key seats 1980's 1997 2013 50th Birthday 96 Abington Park absent parents abuse Academy Status Adam Simmonds Adam Simmonds. Police and Crime Commisioner Northamptonshire. Class A drugs Adam Simmonds. Police commisioner. Northamptonshire County Council Afghanistan Afro Caribbean Agent airbrushed for change airlines Al Quida Aldi allowances AlQuida Anarchist ANC Andrew Mitchell animated fairy story Anjona Roy Ann Frank Ann Timson Apathy Arab League Council Archway cottages Arms raid arrears. 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