Thursday, 22 April 2010


Residents of Northampton, angered at the amount of time it takes the Council to deal with flytipping will be bemused or maybe encouraged? by the swift actions of the Borough Councils finest this morning in removing a troublesome item in deepest Castle Ward.

Arguments continue as to how long 48hrs, the time the Council say it takes them to clear any reported flytipping really is. You will remember from a previous post that opposition Cllrs were told that 48 hrs is not in fact two days but 48 working hours, which equates to about 8+Days!!!, made up a working week, plus a weekend plus a day and a bit thereafter. The Leader of the Council Cllr Brian Hoare (Lib Dem) has promised twice now without delivering to clarify this figure, but we still await the result of his high level deliberations.

But this morning a complaint came into the Guildhall, together we believe with a photo of one of my election banners, obviously offending the eye of some within other parties, which was placed with the permission of residents outside their properties in Western View facing Castle Station.

I am not sure if a glowing red (or most probably yellow and black)  phone rang on the desk of the Chief Executive at the Guildhall, but within minutes the rapid response unit of NBC leapt into action in their yellow truck, attended the site, tore down the banner and confiscated it, before delivering it (on a silver platter?)  to the Councils Solicitor to be locked  away safely at the Town Hall.

All this whilst my loyal and usually observant agent John Dickie was oblivious to the attack on the Castle Mound and was drinking his morning cuppa at Dickie Acres.

The first we got to hear of "Operation Banner Snatch"  following their assault on Castle Hill was when the Borough Councils solicitor Francis Fernandes phoned me as the candidate to tell me he was holding my banner (emblazoned with my rather fetching, if not dated profile) as a prisoner at the Guildhall.

"It was on our land so we acted swiftly" he told me " "I wished you would act as quickly removing old fridges and bedsteads from the streets of Spring Boroughs" I told him in response.

Anyhow I enquired, "What are you ringing me for, surely the normal procedure is for the returning officer to ring the agent to acsertain who actually owns the land and then if it was on Council Land you would ask the agent to remove it, so the council doesn't incur any expense?"

What followed was a robust conversation,wherein I asked just who had made the complaint? (whilst respectfully reminding him that one of my opponents is the Deputy Leader of the Council) and why the Council acted so rapidly and without thinking the matter through first? After which I left him to ring John

Further conversations between the Borough Solicitor and a very angry agent determined that land ownership at the site is difficult to determine. Some of the land does belong to the Borough, some of it is the County Councils Highways Dep't and some around the car park is private and belongs to the residents, and as the owners of 1A 1B 1C and number 2 Western View had agreed to have the banner put up then what was the problem?

After tense negotiations and making it clear to the Borough Council that we would not pay a ransom for its return, the Council agreed to release the banner, and sent two men in suits with a map round to replace it on land to be agreed.

After at first showing up without the proper tools (no hammer guv!) the Council then promised to return a third time to reinstate our property!!! And then failed to do so.

They are returning in the morning we are now told. So our banner now rests only temporarily in the ground awaiting their return. So upset was the donor who provided the banners that one had been kidnapped that he has now ordered two more for our campaign to go up on other sites!!

John told me this afternoon, "It took the Council 30 f*cking years to come round and pollard the b*stard trees on that bit of land and now they have been back and forth here twice in a single day! and now they are coming back tomorrow"

I will leave it to you, the readers to determine yourselves who made the complaint, and why the council acted so swiftly without thought of the political consequences, the cost, or the risk of someone comparing their prompt action with the usual inaction witnessed by residents elsewhere in the town when they make complaints, but I am just glad we have got our banner back!

Elections are hard enough as it is without having to break off from canvassing to negotiate for the release and repatitration of kidnapped images of the candidate.


  1. If you happen to be speaking to the Council again Tony, please remind them of the fly tipping they have pledged to remove from the Blackthorn estate, perhaps if they were occupied in this way they would not have the time to harrang legitimate and worthy candidates for the election.

    Harry C
    Formerly of Northampton South

  2. Thanks Harry, will do. I spoke to Peter Evans tonight who used to be the Cllr in Castle Ward and he told me that when he tried to get that area cleaned up when he was on Council that the same Borough Solicitor told him then that nothing could be done because it was not Council land!!!

  3. Two weeks to go, the future of the town and the country at stake, the polls showing a desperate need for leadership and what do we get in N'pton South ..... a blog about a banner and NBCs clearing up of rubbish! As much as it may be entertainting for Mssrs Clarke and Dickie its hardly the inspiration and leadership we need.

    Once again, everyone on the ballot paper is the same.

  4. All the hallmarks of the slithering Varnsverry. That's not surprising.
    You are obviously killing him in the polls that he will be constantly taking.

    Varnsverry - Failure is an option.

    Keep it up Tony Clarke!

  5. IndepenDENSE, NBC's clearing up, or not clearing up of rubbish and flytipping is a big issue for many voters in the town and whilst its a local government Issue, the deputy leader of the Council Paul Varnsverry is one of the candidates in Northampton South.

    So if a Lib Dem Council can harass an Independent candidate and move heaven and earth to pull down banners at the same time that they are ignoring flytipping across the patch, isn't that a story?

    I am sorry its not a subject for the "Leaders Debate" but its worth reminding voters that when they go to the polls on the 6th of May that are chooosing a local constituency MP, not a Prime Minister, or a Government. My record on srtanding up for Joe Public when they get poor service will continue in Parliament if I am elected and thats why we are getting such huge support.

  6. Tony

    There must be a process for making a formal complaint to the returning officer. Whether it makes any difference is neither here or there, at least the complaint will have been registered.

    I see (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) Varnsverry was setting out economic stratgedy for the students today according to his TWITTER WAFFLE.

    For someone who hasn't got a pot to P... in because he couldn't manage his own financial affairs that's got to be some sort of joke isn't it? He'll be giving Clegg advice next, or probably already is with his Twitter pal Vince. God help us all.

  7. Varnsverry Twitter Waffle correction.

    Higher Education Provision was the subject. Equates to the same thing really, it will still be coming from that orifice we are not supposed to write down but it begins with A.

  8. Let's all meet for a cup of Rosie on the lawn tomorrow at 3pm

  9. Anon, The returning officer apoligised for moving/taking the banner without conyactimg us first and I was happy to accept the apology if not convinced that there had not been any political collusion.

    Surprise surprise after promising to re-erect the banner yesterday and turning up without a hammer and then promising to come back last night and failing to do so, the council then said they would come back again this morning..............

    They didn't of course.(back to normal service I guess) So we put the banner back up ourselves. The Chron have taken a liking to the story and took some photos this afternoon, so Bannergate it is!!!

    This looks as if it will run and run,,,,,,,,,,,,

  10. Tony, dont know if you've seen this. Thought you'd enjoy......

  11. I came across that picture about 12 months ago and it really spooked me, its my Ashes to Ashes moment!!!

  12. Nice to see the council have there priority's right...NOT When I lived in the town I remember asking to get a settee removed from St James that someone had dumped and they took 5 weeks in which time some bright spark set fire to it.

  13. Sorry chaps - I am not convinced that people want their Member of Parliament to focus on fly tipping, posters, bannergate or whatever keeps entertaining the troops on this blog.

    I don't know this Varnsverry man but if he gets something removed that quickly then on a local level he can obviously make things happen. Mr Dickies comments that it took him 30 years on NBC to get something done about this piece of land when if I remember for a lot of that time he was the actual Leader doesn't fill with me with hope for the cause.

    I fear from the comments above its all a rather useful issue to play to the local papers 'cynical' approach to politics at the election.

    What can we expect for the final full week of campaigning? wheelie bins being over full? pot holes? fly tipping? Inspired I am not.

  14. Twitterwaffle

    More excitement from the Liberal Democrat Varnsverry whose party promised almost 3 years ago that they would remove the eyesore that is the infamous bund.

    Is that gone?

    Of course it's not - now a woman has said on her way to the post that "I've just for you"

    Well IndepenDENSE - Iv'e just for you too.

    Come on Tony - a local MP who isn't desperate for money is what we need! A local MP who puts his profile up clearly for the electorate to peruse! Mr Varnsverry, where have you been for 15 -18 years when you left "Northampton College" (what did you study there?) Where were you employed unil 1996???? We want someone who will tell it how it is, not someone with a chequered past, desperate to pay his debts with our money.

  15. Please remember what the Liberal Democrats are doing to your Town before you dream of putting your mark near one of their candidates. Remember what they are NOT doing for your Football club and your Rugby club. Can you remember your Market Square? Can you remember that we used to have a balloon festival? ETC. ETC. ETC.

    They are gradually pulling this once lovely proud Town into the mire and would not have the experience or capabilities to do anything else Nationally.

    We want an MP who cares for those around him and not for his own self advancement. We want an MP who has a bit of 'bottle' not one who is obsessed with 'titles' and committees to sit on to do yet more talking.

    We want an MP who wants to get things done.

    Tony Clarke is that man.

  16. IndepenDENSE
    It may seem odd to you but as the land involved was something I had a direct interest in I always felt it awkward as a Councillor to raise the issue-I'm sure you have noticed that there are some people who would claim that work was only done'because he was a Councillor'So over the years many elected members felt constrained to act in what was seen to be 'their own interest'
    Oddly enough I think it quite important that a local MP does take an interest in what happens to residents who have problems with fly tipping and housing problems and potholes and playing fields and the like.The clue is in the title'local MP'-OK Mr Dense!

  17. Thanks Guys, and thank you Mr Dense for cheering me up!!!!!

    Keep the brickbats coming, its a pleasure to have friends knocking them back over the net.

  18. hardly knocking them back over the net - more into the net or at best lobbing them up for a smash.

    I think anon above when twittering about 'titles' and 'committees' not being important has not read Tony Clarkes biography at the top right of this page!

    Love John Dickies reason for not getting things done - cos it felt awkward. We of course elect people to only deal with the comfortable stuff.

    Just over a week to go Tony. When we clear all this nonsense about banners, repetitive boring scribbles of NTFC/Saints, attacking other candidates for having the ambition to do other things than just stay in the town centre for 40 years or so away, what do we enter that polling booth next Thursday and do?

    I would never vote Tory, Nick Clegg is okay by me but the rest of his barmy army should not be allowed anywhere near a decision making body(could you imagine the horror of Andrew Simpson MP!)and others that stand including that independent SAS or is it SOS from Duston are just right wing bigots.

    I want to send our MP to Parliament to yes, work for local people (though I am not sending someone to Westminster to spend all their time on the phone to the Guildhall getting rubbish cleared) but to speak up for me and my neighbours (yes I speak for others too) on national interests that go beyond the sub headings of honesty and truth (has anyone ever read about a candidate that believes in dishonesty and untruths?)

    I and others need more than that.

    Please somebody (and not just Tony Clarkes friends above) convince me ....

  19. Castle Ward Collective26 April 2010 at 22:30

    At least we know now why poor old Cllr Dickie never got much done.

    Vote 2010 - "Stand for election and I'll deal with the non awkward stuff."

    You can't make this stuff up.


  20. Don't worry guys, you will get plenty of policy material in the next few days, which is more than can be said about the national campaign!!

    Anyone remember Iraq? or Aghanistan? or which party is anti Acadamies? or which will protect public services from unnecasary cuts instead of trying to out-cut each other?

    This election has so far been a Beauty contest between the party leaders staged on TV like a Big Brother contest. But on May 6th local voters will be choosing their MP, and seriously in Northampton South their are only two candidates who are capable of fulfilling that role! and I know which one I am voting for!

  21. At least Tony Clarke is up front and open about where he has been and what he did since he finished his education, unlike you Mr Varnsverry, sorry your Mr Varnsverry - IndepenDENSE.

    And the old red herring "(could you imagine the horror of Andrew Simpson MP!)" is cute but not quite RED enough.

    Tell us where you've been Mr Varnsverry - where were you working and for whom in the 15 - 18 years before 1996.

    Come on Tony Clarke, Binley is the target, Varnsverry is the desperate wannabe.

    Was that Northampton Technical College?

  22. CWC
    For someone who didn't get much done-the collective that was Castle Ward kept re-electing me.
    But you and dense do miss the point deliberately-when a personal interest is concerned-councillors need to be particularly careful because there is a code of conduct to be observed.Pity MP's weren't so careful.
    A good constituency MP needs to be mindful of national and international issues-when Tony was last MP he was active in many areas-not least his work on Northern Ireland, but a good local MP also needs to work for individual constituents too.TC will be able to do that,without the burden of sticking his paw up when the whips tell him to.Seems like the best solution for the people of Northampton South.

  23. How wonderful Free Speech is.

    Of all the candidates in Northampton South, only one has a blog/website where anyone irespective of their favoured party can post their views.

    Why block comments on your blog during an election?

    Surely that defeats the object of standing and expressing a view and exchanging views and ideas with the electorate?

    Now just what does that say about the candidates?

  24. I agree with Tony Clarke on the blocking of contributions on Mr Vs blog. What's that all about? What is there to hide?

    Come on Mr D - I think your re-election for many years was a little more than a personal vote? If thats not how local politics works than Westons landslide for Jean Lineker in 2005 speaks volumes ....

    Although I welcome Tony Clarkes openess in this blog (despite all the sick-o-phant TC supporters putting complimentary blogs in the last two weeks) the 'holes of hypocrisy' are getting wider and wider.

    You can't attack the national campaign for being a beauty contest Tony when the majority of you and your friends contributions on here are about how bad other candidates are and how they don't meet 'local' criteria etc etc. Its a local beauty contest that you are managing!

    Come on - lets have more of those policies. The clock is ticking....

  25. It's got to be a Beadle moment - as if 'bannergate' is not enough to convince us that everyone on the ballott paper next week is not the same I have just driven through town.

    Passing through Regents Square I spotted a very large banner of Tony Clarke posted above guess what?

    Thats right a shop that recycles old goods and repackages them as nearly new when they carry their old parts still with them however much they try and sell it as something different - and when you get home it does the same as all the other machines did.

    I looked for Beadle everywhere as this has got to be a joke?

  26. Welcome aboard Jeremy..........................

    IndepenDense, the comments are from people who in the main (but of course not always) I don't know from Adam?

    As to policy as a special reward for your persistance and as a gesture of goodwill you name you subject and I will write a blog on it just for you

  27. As you well know indepenDENSE, you, sorry Mr Varnsverry, has this very day opened the comment facility on his site. But that's only to try to get some acion going on and perhaps a little of what he craves most and very obviously is not getting a lot of - POSITIVE PUBLICITY.

    Let's have the whole profile Mr Varnsverry!

    Be positive - tell the electorate what they want to know.

    Why would people bother to vote for someone they know nothing about except what he chooses to tell us.

    Where was he for 15 -18 years after supposedly finishing off his education? Did he work for anyone? Did he have a job? All the other candidates don't have a problem telling us.

    Why does Mr Varnsverry shy away from revealing this info? What's to hide. What is he embarrassed about? Is it a state secret?

  28. Must be the only job in the country where you don't have to put a detailed CV in for your prospective employers to examine.

    What about it Mr Varnsverry - where's your detail - in fact where's your anything for 15 - 18 years after sghool/college, up to and including 1995.

    A big gap Mr Varnsverry!

  29. The Tony Clarke team must be getting worried - more blogs attacking Mr V and growing. I thought this wasn't a vanity contest in N'pton South? Come on Tony Clarke - cool your people down. Especially on the state secrets stuff. Don't let them go there (again)

  30. Hello again there. If Tony wants to distance himself from the main parties, where will he make the cuts needed to keep the economy on track for the recovery? Tax rises will never be enough. I am presuming the SNP/Lib Dem predictable 'we dont need Trident' is a given - what about the other 80% of the billions required?

  31. IndepenDENSE...

    I happen to like Paul Varnsverry!

    I also happen to think that, with experience and time; he will make a good MP.

    I don't think anyone of Tony's side (Team Clarke... has a kinda ring to it don't you think?) is worried, it is purely people's views.

    You have your views, I have mine and everyone else has their views too... I am sure I know Tony well enough by now to assure you that every and all views are welcome on his blog, and will more often than not; get a reply.

    My personal view is that with Tony's prior experience in Parliament, his honesty and hard working attitude, coupled with his grit and determination to do the best for ALL the people of this town; he is the man for the job!

  32. Come on Mr Varnsverry - fill in the gaps!!!

  33. On the biggest issue of the election, cuts, the Lib Dems offer no alternative.
    Clegg said at the party’s conference last year, “I have said there will need to be cuts – cuts that are savage and bold.”
    Socialists should savage him and all of his party in return, that includes Mr Varnsverry

    Norman Adams

  34. Norman - One just has to look at the destruction that's happening in the town as a direct result of a Liberal Democrat administration.

    Nationally, the Lib Dems can only try to enhance their own stature by a type of blackmail. We can only hope that a miracle happens and a majority government is returned.

    The trouble is I think that some people confuse a 'hung parliament' with a 'National Government' which I believe should have been considered as a serious alternative, in these desperate times. We needed the best brains (and there are some) working together to get us out of this crater, made for us by greedy Bankers and others.

    A referendum asking the people of the United Kingdom if we would all agree to a 'National Government', is needed not this dreadful bickering and fighting which is leading us down the road to ruin. 5 or 10 years down the line when hopefully some sort of normality is established, they could start thinking about elections again.

    It does prompt me to ask the question though - if the pay is so bad and the working conditions so tough - why are all these aspiring politicians so desperately trying to get the job?

  35. Tony, can you explain why I had 14 of your leaflets posted through my letterbox yesterday? Either someone was being very lazy or they wanted me to diplay your poster in every window of the house!

  36. First of on personal attacks, I don't like them and I wouldn't expect anyone on my team to be involved. If PV is worried about any posting above or on the blog he only has to contact me and I will consider removing, but I don't see anything offensive?

    On cuts, some of believe that the cuts themselves are the problem!! When this country was on its knees in 1945 did Clem Atlee say look guys the economy is in meltdown so we need to cut cut cut? No he built the National Health Service, the Welfare State and Councils houses across the Country, he invested in the public services, in public service jobs, put Britain to work and kickstarted the small businees boom of the 50's by making sure people had a wage in their hand to spend.

    Of course Trident can go, of course savings can be made on senior management costs and unnecasary competition, but in addition I can think of a few million if not billion that can be saved on uneeded departments and Quangos lets start with WNDC!)

    But you still miss the main point, I won't be forming a government! I will be ensuring that whoever gets in and whatever their plans are that someone is standing up for Northampton and not simply going along with the planned cuts because their Party tells them to toe the line.

    14 leaflet!!!!!!!! Now that is ecxcessive, and something has gone pear shaped there. Tell me roughly where you live and which leaflet and I will investigate.

    I am guessing the Mounts! We had a problem with some late night leafletting which was not to standard. So my apologies. But do let me know in case its elsewhere and I am not aware.


  37. Clem Atlee and tales of 1945 are all fine but you can't really think that romantic ideals of post war Britain are the same as 2010 UK plc?

    The banks were 24 hours away from meltdown last year. The holes in the walls were 12 hours away from stopping giving money out. There is no more money to spend. You can forget Black Monday is we follow Tony's plans set out above. Meltdown Monday and Collapse 2010 will be more of the order.

    While I welcome the opportunity to blog with you and your colleagues Tony, with one week left until polling day you can't really wash your hands of things are spout that you won't be the government and your job is keep others to account. Where is the leadership there?

    Cutting trident and 'management' are all very predictable from left leaning candidates.

    stjohnlady - you fool no one I'm afraid. Comments supporting Tony Clarke are 'peoples views' while those having a go at Tony are faceless blogs from Liberals!

    You also forget that Tony's experience in parliament were all down to him being a member of the Labour Party who paid for his campaigns and that experience.

    If we don't know our history we don't know our future.

  38. GCSE political history (semester 1)29 April 2010 at 13:05

    Thank you for your work. I can see a lot of effort has gone in.

    To summarise your GCSE level political campaign to deal with the current challenges facing Britain in 2010:

    # The current political system is broken and the answer is for MPs to represent only the towns and cities they are elected for.

    # In addition to this 'political policies' are defunct and 'beliefs' are more important.

    # To address the fiscal problems facing society you will spend the highest amount since 1945, including new wholly public funded council housing and to pay for this you remove trident, remove senior management costs and remove all quangos.


    A good effort but I did expect more from someone with your background and experience.

    There is a lack of grasp of the current social position of the UK in 2010 and your answers are similar as to those set out by many previous students.

    Whereas it is good that you have a number of fellow students writing in supporting your views, this close to the exam I would expect more depth and evidence to support your work.

    Therefore I grade you at C+

  39. IndepenDENSE

    "If we don't know our history then we don't know our future"

    As a consequense of that statement you would by implication, have to agree that every voter has the right to know the history/background of the candidates offering themselves for election in order for us the public to ascertain if they represent the future of politics in Northampton South or any other constituency. That includes Mr Varnsverry who has made a point of skipping a vast amount of time from his literature. 15 - 18 years in fact, between leaving school/college and 1996 when he set up his current company.

    Tony - Mr Varnsverry is being asked a simple question. To provide evidence of his professional career/activity. His leader Mr Clegg regularly talks about the 'new' openess and clarity that his party espouses. I believe that we have the right to know the history of a 'possible' representative.

  40. Some valid points, some just so plainly desperate!!

    IndepenDENSE, have you decided what policy item you want to discuss yet?


  41. HA HA Go Tony, you have got them all on the run, none of the other candidates would dare to have an open comments box and none of them could answer even the simpliest of questions, including it seems about their history!


  42. Would you want someone you know little or nothing about representing you?

    Paul Varnsverry is such a person, there is a big blank space in his CV.

    NIck Clegg says "with the Liberal Democrats, what you see is what you get".

    The problem in this instance is, there is nothing to see. We are not being told either.

    Mr Varnsverry, can you tell the electorate what you did for 15 - 18 years after you finished school/college, up to and including 1995? Did you have a job etc.?

    Simple question.

  43. Looking at this site and the local newspaper it seems as if the Lib Dems or torys are really scared of Tony Clarke.

    They should be, he has my vote and the votes of many I speak to, looking forward to next Thursday.

  44. Wow the back slappers are well and truly coming onto the site now - it would be good for Tony Clarke to demand they use their real names too!

    Whereas i can understand Tony may not like my previous blogs just ignoring them and calling them 'desperate' is hardly the stuff of new politics.

    policy on the EU please - in or out and what do you offer thats different from the others?

  45. You mean just as you do IndepenDENSE>

    Ask Mr Varnsverry about his background and his suitability to stand in this election. Ask him about the missing years 15/18 of them between leaving school/college and 1995.

    Never mind the red or any other colour herrings, just answer the question which a growing number of people want answered.

    Who are you Mr Varnsverry??

  46. Independense. EU? So boring, but in general, in favour, but with much need reform and conversion to a Euro/Pound only on our own terms.

    The crazy thing is that if we had a decent set of citizens rights in our own country then we wouldn't need EU law to protect us as much.

    What I offer is to say what I think not what my Party tells me to think depending on which way their leadership is currently swinging!!

  47. IndepenDENSE ~ I never said that all the faceless posts are from Lib Dem supports etc.
    Maybe they are maybe they aren't.

    That's kinda the point really when you look at all these "anonymous" posts; you can never tell which one is which... being anonymous is great ~ unless you actually have points to make and want to make them.

    On to your other point: "If we don't know our history then we don't know our future" Lovely quote and one I can only agree with. In practice anyway!

    The point isn't about who Tony was with the last time he was in the Commons, it is about the fact he spent 8 years there (that is right isn't it Tony? I have election fatigue) and was ~ as far as I can remember ~ good at it.

    Of course with a party behind you, you have more ability to put your views across and what have you. But I know Tony and I know if anyone can "voice there opinions" it will be him!

    It isn't about what party you stand for in my opinion, it is (or should be) about what that candidate will do for me; my family; those I care about and my town...

    If they can take care of my town, then I know I can trust them to take care of national matters for me.

    I believe that Tony (and Paul for that matter ~ just to be fair) has the same type of morals and ideals that I do, so I know I can trust both him and Paul to do the best for me and my town.




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