Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Thought I would just catch up on a few stories for purpose of updating Joe Public on all matters local national and international.


Regular readers will be aware of the ongoing teething problems with Northampton Borough Councils's (and DDC's) 14 year contract with Enterprise Services to provide Refuse Collection, Grass Cutting and Street Sweeping Services across Northampton and Daventry. Well the so called "teething problems" are still causing much pain to all concerned and are quickly turning into a a very nasty and prolonged toothache.

With Enterprise now it is suggested losing somewhere between £40,000 and £60,000 a week on the contract they have cut back even further on their workforce numbers, leading to more collections being missed, more grass left uncut and even less streets swept. The problems which we were told initially by the administration at NBC were little more than hiccups have now led to the Council having to look at fining the contractor £250,000 in penalties for not delivering on the service contract.

My contacts at Westbridge tell me it can only get worse in the coming months but meanwhile Northampton's woes with Enterprise as a contractor have now reached the ears of other elected members on Tory controlled Ealing Council  in West London, who are very keen not to fall into the same trap as the Borough having just engaged Enterprise, 4 months ago on a similar 15 year contract!   Enterprise took over the service from previous contractor May Gurney on April 1 2012, after it was awarded the £300 million 15-year collection contract in July 2011

Under the deal Enterprise was meant to operate a kerbside sort system for the collection of dry recyclables and food waste but following familiar  ‘teething problems’ it had to move to a commingled system to work through the backlog of missed collections. All sounding very familiar?

It now seems that after 4 months of missed collections and what letsrecycle.com called a "Fiasco in Ealing" Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, portfolio holder for transport and environment is under pressure from the opposition to resign his post over the services failures. But in an attempt to keep the attack dogs at bay Cllr Mahfouz has come up with a cunning plan, he is sending a crack squad down to see us all here in Northampton as he explains " “What we don’t want is to be a year down the line and then fining them. We are getting the guys to go down to those councils to learn what they did right and wrong.”

I could save Cllr Mahfouz and Ealing Council some money on funding the journey as its very clear what they did wrong, they signed a contract full of holes, put up as a lost leader, at a price no one could ever deliver the service for, they (as in all three political parties) then ignored the two independent members on the Council who warned them that this was bound to happen and banked the savings regardless of the consequences.

What a farce indeed,


As the row continues unabashed as to those unused seats at most events for this years London Olympics I was reminded of a conversation some weeks ago on Radio Four when the station was previewing our Gold Medal chances ahead of the Games, and what it all boiled down to was that "Sitting" was what we British do best, not just in watching the varied sporting extravaganzas, but also it seems in competing.

And so it is after an edgy start to the games and a continued wait for team GB's first gold that we must now look to those sat on their back sides to deliver the goods for Blighty. So bring on the brave rowers and the canoeists from Britain's finest public schools. All hail the horsey equestrian set with their jolly jodhpurs and jaunty japes. Cry out loud for the British Cyclists and their two wheeled velodrome heroics.

Britains Gold medal chances it seems rest solely on Britains backsides, on Boats, Bikes and Horses. So how about letting us working class folk also get in on the act? After all it is our games. I suggest the London Olympic Committee therefore immediately introduce more sitting down sports for us to compete in in this years games, we will soon rise up the medal table then.

How about Downhill Soapbox racing? I loved that as a kid, and who's for a go at a Spacehopper marathon! how delightful it would be to see all those large orange or even flag printed spherical objects bouncing up and down along the Mall in unison.

Perhaps even our Lib Dem friends could get involved with qualifiers for Olympic style Fence sitting?


This blog has a very good history of predicting events local, national and even international, but for once I was hoping that I had judged it all wrong when I said that an all out civil war in Syria was probably inevitable http://tonyclarkeindependent.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/why-syrias-tears-are-wasted-on-west.html but as predicted HM Government it seems values the lives of Syrian Civilians far less than they did Libyan Civilians, there have been no cries this time for military intervention, no NATO proposed safe corridor, no NO FLY ZONE.

So what has Libya got that Syria hasn't ? Sympathy? Willpower? Oil? I explained the best I could in my last blog that the rebel army (or armies) in Syria are a diverse, complicated and split force who will probably not be able to wrestle power from the regime no matter how much they believe in their cause, and as a result the blood letting will continue unchecked. Meanwhile William Hague pops up on our screens every few days to tell us how awful it all is and how wicked Bashir Hassad is whilst saying nothing about who may replace him in any successful uprising, and also doing nothing to protect the civilian's caught up in this horrific bloody struggle for Syria's future.

The country's uprising has been played out constantly on the internet website YouTube, but while the brutal images of death remain the same, images of the armed opposition groups as also predicted are ever changing. Some groups now openly say they are affiliated with al-Qaeda, fly its flags, and say they now have training camps inside the country. Phil Rees, filmmaker and author of 'Dining with Terrorists', told Al Jazeera that for Al Qaeda, Syria is "an attractive place to come now." Who is Al Qaeda? Someone coming from Libya who helped overthrow [Muammar] Gaddafi? During Libya, they were considered to be freedom fighters and the British government supported them. Now they travel to Syria where they feel a jihad going on,"

I am sure that if the charge against the British Government of double standards being applied to different countries and different peoples has not already been made clear, then their current silence and inaction on Syria can only make it ever more translucent.



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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 tony.clarke@email.com and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


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