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.



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