Sunday, 31 May 2009

Gordon Brown, PM, has announced that he is going to bring in a Statutory Code of Conduct for MP's.
Excuse me while I fall about laughing a while longer, but this really is a joke.

I have a feeling it's something to do with MTC and the implementation of their Code of Conduct that amuses me so much in this matter - but then, surely the Prime Minister must get it right even if MTC and RMBC can't manage it ?
He is proposing big changes in the House of Commons…
"...people want to think that their MP is accountable to them. I will be leading this debate. I want to clean up the system." he says.. Hmm..."
There needs to be a link between the constituency and MP. People want to feel that their geographical area is represented. " He wants to be involved in his constituency too. Hmm... (clearly hasn't met Rt Hon Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley)
"We will have a big debate on a new constitutional settlement." Great ! But, hang on a minute - who is going to be involved in this debate ?
Well, actually it's going to be a group of people selected by the Labour Party.
Ah, I see.
Is he going to have a reshuffle in his government. Er...NO.
"People want to make their own decisions. People are voting on a party who are dealing with the matters in hand."
Exactly ! And if people have any sense at all - it won't be Gordon Brown's.To use a phrase that he has this very morning used at least 6 times within a 20 minute interview - “Wait and see “

Are we all willing to sit back and "wait and see" - nationally and closer to home ?
I'm not.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Still unsure of who to vote for.....

Are you in a dilemma over who to vote for in next Thursday's election?

Have you only had 3 campaign leaflets through your door, but you have a suspicious feeling there may be more parties with cabdidates available?

Have you been turning the TV off at 6.55 to purposely miss those party election broadcasts and now wonder if you are going to waste your vote?

Don't worry, help is at hand....

(thanks to for the site info)

Try this and you can find out the best place to put your X on June 4th !

(apparently I should vote for Libertas, so now will have to do some reading up on them to see if they really do represent my views )

Disclaimer: I do not accept any responsibilty for anyone voting for a party which turns out to do the exact opposite of what they said they would do. This is, after all, the way of political parties in this great country of ours, it seems.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A vote for judge and jury ?

I have been considering the views of The Jury Team party.

This is in an effort to find some party that I can vote for whose policies I can believe in. The party leader is Sir Paul Judge. Surely someone with a name like that can make a success of a new political party, especially as he is a "multimillionaire businessman" and intends to "clean up politics". The Guardian thinks that announcing that your leader is a multimillionaire business man is not, in current times, the best way to inspire confidence - and I think I agree on that one !

But I suppose any party needs money to get going - though apart from leafletting and hiring halls to speak to people in, I can't see what else you would need to spend money on.Has anyone any views on The Jury Team? I am still "out" on this one, which is sort of appropriate given the name.I hope I am not going to waste my vote because there is no one worth voting for.... then I would have to keep my views to myself until the next election , and that wouldn't be easy !

The Role of an MP

Two Maltby constituents went to see Kevin Barron at his surgery at Dinnington, on Saturday 23rd May. They are concerned about the situation in Maltby Town Council and want Mr Barron’s advice and support about what can be done to sort out the problems. Mr Barron acknowledges that the situation is bad, though appears to think that the only problems are due to the ex Town Clerk, David Morton, scenario. As we well know, this is a sorry state of affairs, but there are numerous other problems too.

So guess what the Rt. Hon. Kevin Barron MP is going to do to help these two constituents help the residents of Maltby ? If you think “nothing” then you are absolutely right.

Mr Barron states that he has many views on what is happening in MTC and he will speak of these views “when the time is right”, but to him, that is not now. In fact, the time will be right according to him only when he knows for sure that tax payers money is being spent incorrectly, or too much is being spent.
A commendable statement perhaps, if he was actually investigating a more than one sided dispute. A plausible response, if this was the only concern. But what of the councillors abuse to the public and each other? What of the “training” that is allegedly in process, lead by Mr Tim Mumford ? What of the Freedom of Information requests that have been put to Maltby Town Council and either returned with incorrect information or ignored completely? Apparently, none of this is Kevin Barron’s responsibility.
He will try to ensure that RMBC Legal Dept. reply to letters recently sent to Mr Mumford. He will not reply to one of his constituents letters about MTC as everything will “go on the blog”. Which blog this is, Mr Barron does not state. Clearly it’s not his own as he hasn’t even got a website. But whichever it is, why is he afraid that information will be available for the public to see ?

There is a leaflet on the table in Kevin Barron MP’s surgery, which says:
“MP’s can help their constituents by advising on problems (particularly those that arise from the work of government departments), representing the concerns of their constituents in Parliament and acting as a figure head for the local area”.

A figure head for the local area ? Maybe. A figurehead for selfishness, lack of openness and transparency with his constituents and a patronising attitude that personifies the political party he represents.
Thanks for nothing, Mr Barron. You and half of Maltby Town Council go well together.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Much has been said about Maltby Town Council over the past couple of years, much of it showing the decisions and actions of some to be wholly inappropriate. Much has been discussed and written and some of us have been wrongly accused of postulating.

Whatever I am accused of, I can place my hand on my heart and say that I never lie, cheat or fabricate. I have and will continue to follow through my words with actions.
This is not a “holier than thou” attitude – it is me.

Democracy is non existent in MTC. What are you, the reader of this, doing about it – if you care ?

A few quotes on this subject:

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” Andrew Jackson

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” Arnold Glasgow

“The shortest answer is doing.” Lord Herbert of Chirbury

“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do. “Lewis Cass

“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.” Calvin Coolidge

And finally from good old Anon …

“After all is said and done, a lot more will have been said than done. “

How many people are now prepared to back up their words with actions ?

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The BNP in Rotherham - A Year On

A year since the local elections, where two BNP councillors gained seats from long standing Labour councillors in the Rotherham Borough. John Gamble took the Brinsworth and Catcliffe seat from the Mayor of Rotherham and William Blair, Maltby, from long standing Labour councillor Glynn Robinson. Headlines then were “Labour Disaster”, “Damning Indictment”, “Shock Results Outcry at BNP”.

I have recently commented that then, there was debate about how BNP policies might affect Rotherham and that concerns were shown by many. So, almost a year to the day, I again went to interview Cllr Will Blair at his home in Maltby, where his pigeons still flutter in their lofts in the garden and his poodles still seek attention around visitor’s legs. Previously, I had asked him if I could quote directly from a list of BNP policies. This time I asked him if I could put questions from residents of Maltby directly to him. His answer was the same “Ask me anything you want - I am here to help the people of Maltby and Rotherham and to try make it a better place to live”.

We began by discussing the everyday type things that Will Blair has done for the local community – funding football clubs, Christmas parcels for the elderly, an Easter Egg Hunt, supporting local artists, schools and a dance club. Then there’s the less obvious things which Will says only came about through people asking him personally to get sorted – drains, street lighting, the cemetery cleaned up and taps put in, trees and hedges maintained in streets and parks that might not otherwise have been done. He believes in encouraging people to report things of concern to him and people do, he says. He is a member of RMBC’s “Sustainable Communities” scrutiny panel and also “Adult Services and Health”. This work involves him in research on diabetes, which he enjoys because it brings him into contact with ordinary people.

But Cllr Blair is elected as a Borough Councillor representing the British National Party, a name which has for a number of reasons, become synonymous with racism and even fascism. More than seventy religious leaders from across a range of faiths in South Yorkshire have recently publicly urged people to shun the BNP in next month’s elections. How can the politics of such a party support and improve things for the people of Rotherham? How much influence does the BNP have on this councillor’s day to day business?

“Being in the BNP, you have to do better than the rest, to prove that you can make a difference. Labour have done nothing. Many Labour councillors have been in the job so long, used to doing nothing for so long, that they don’t want to do anything. When a new party comes along it has to promote itself and make it acceptable to the people. When people see this happening and that the party is doing what they were elected to do, they will be voted in again. Voted in on their policies, not on what colour tie they wear.”

Will Blair insists that the BNP is neither racist nor fascist. He says that the party stands up for British people and that in fact he is not influenced by their policies.
“The BNP do not dictate what I do. I must serve the people of Rotherham and work for Rotherham Borough Council to the best of my abilities. The BNP can advise, but it is the people who will decide. The BNP listen because their members have studied at the University of Life. We need a government who really knows what people want; a government of ordinary working class people.”
He cites many occasions when he has personally helped families who have had racial problems and tells me again that he has no qualms whatsoever about mixed marriages. What he is concerned about is people who he says come to Britain “looking for work” instead of “coming to work”.
“Polish workers, for example”, says Blair, “might come here and work for £150 a week. This is not enough for them to live on and so their earnings are topped up by benefits. Yes, the benefits system is wrong, but we should not have to pay out of our taxes for people who are not born here. If they come here then they must be able to support themselves and their families without help from the state”.
I have to ask at this point about the Ghurkas. Should they be allowed settlement in Britain ?
“Absolutely, no question about that” is the reply.
Based on what they have done for this country during the war?
“Yes. Those people gave a lot to Britain and we should give back to them”.

I am still not clear, since our talk last year, of how the BNP decides on who to allow to stay in Britain and who must either not be let in or sent back to their “own” country. I am still not clear on whether I am “indigenous” or not – I am sure my ancestors came from either Scandinavia or Europe. How many generations do we go back before we can live here under BNP policy?
Will Blair does not believe that this is an issue.

He believes that the only thing that the BNP are guilty of is standing up for the British people – that’s the people who have come here to build it up and carry it forward.
“People came to this country after the war and helped to build it up again. They and their families have as much right to live here as anyone. People came from Poland, from India, from Pakistan and worked in the woollens mills – they made their homes here. We can’t tell them that the mills are closed now so they have to go.
But, like any other nation, we can not afford to have people who take up houses and give nothing back. At the moment this country is saturated.”

So where do we draw the line?

“You have to draw the line when the people who are coming change the British way of life. “
And is this happening ?
We discuss the comments of Labour MP Shahid Malik at the “Global Peace and Unity” conference. Malik stated that Britain will be an Islamic state with a Muslim Prime Minister within the next thirty years and is clearly in favour of this. The BNP are not. Is this not racist, then?
“No, it’s not racist. If we had an Islamic state there would be Islamic law. This can not be right for Britain.” No one needs to explain to me (married to a Palestinian, now a British citizen) the ins and outs of Sharia law or the implications of an Islamic state. But whether this would actually happen without the input of the BNP is debatable.

I ask what can be said about former colleague, Cllr John Gamble, ejected recently from the BNP.
“Basically, he broke the rules and did not do his job properly. If that is the case, then you have to go, which is what happened”.
The situation within Maltby Town Council ? This has to be asked, as it is his home town and the place where he runs his business.
“When the police are called to a Town Council meeting, there is something wrong. When the council is not representing the views of the people, there’s something wrong. Maltby people are not being represented well by the people they voted for, so it should be closed down.”
No one could accuse Will Blair of not getting straight to the point.

The proposals to turn Maltby Community School into an academy trust ?
“There has not been enough public consultation. Further consultation needs to be done to make sure it is what the residents of Maltby want.”
And finally, would you stand in the next General Election and how do you think you would fare?
“Yes”, he says, “I would stand, and it would be up to the people to decide if what I represent is what they want.”
How do we know you wouldn’t then turn into the type of person that is power crazy?
“I wouldn’t”, he says simply, “because that’s just not me”.

Cllr Will Blair seems to be a “man of the people”. He wants people to know that what he does now is what he has always done, not just because he is a councillor. But with the backing of his party, he believes that he has the support to give Rotherham what it needs and deserves. he appears to be a thoroughly "decent" man.

But I still can not marry up his views with the party he represents.
The latest BNP propaganda leaflet specifically quotes that they "oppose the drive to give 80 million low wageMuslim Turks the right to swamp Britain". The BNP will "ensure that British soldiers are not abused on the streets of our cities by Muslims". Are these not racist and extremist views?

It is well known throughout history that in times of economic crisis and public disillusionment with the ruling parties that far right extremist parties gain the upper hand. This is, as I believe happened last year, often a vote against what we have, not a vote for what we might have. That can't be the best way to elect. I tell Will Blair that I wish he as an individual stood for any other party, except the BNP. I tell him that until the BNP define an "indigenous" population, in a sensible working way, then they can not have credibility. He says that no one can be completely with 100% of the policies of their party. I think that you can. And if you are not, then you should not be a representative of that party.

Only “the people” can decide on that.

(Since this interview with Will Blair, Labour MP Shahid Malik has stepped down as Justice Minister pending an inquiry into claims about his expenses made in the Daily Telegraph.)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Is someone watching you ?

In a discussion this morning on TV, it was suggested that :
“Having a conscience is knowing that someone may be watching you”.

What nonsense.
That surely, is having a guilty conscience.

Conscience is, in my opinion, being able to distinguish between whether your own actions are right or wrong and it is then your own choice to decide what further actions you take. This is an individual ‘s decision and based on that individual’s own judgement of their own moral code. It might be that this code is based on religious views, culture, society’s persuasion or a personal philosophy, but conscience is something that is there or not, regardless of outside opinion. It is the outside opinion versus our conscience that informs our attitude.

If we feel that “someone is watching us” (in this context) then it shows that our conscience is in conflict with our morals, but is does not define it. My conscience often gets me into situations that could have been avoided, but then I would have been going against my own morals – and my conscience will not allow me to do that.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Maltby Schools - public opinion ignored again....

I do not wish to quote newspaper articles - you can read those yourselves in The Advertiser, Maltby News and others.
Currently, there are numerous people concerned not only about the fact that the school may become an Academy Trust ( I say may, because there are many who do not intend to let this go ahead without further discussion) but also that the consultation process has not been carried out in a satisfactory way.
Despite what RMBC and Mr Sutton say, the consultation has been proven, and acknowledged, to be flawed (ref. Graham Sinclair and Cllr Shaun Wright)

Today, a number of people have spoken to "the public" on the High St, and it is clear that there are very many that would like a further consultation on the issues.So, a group went to see Cllr Amy Rushforth at her surgery at the Services Centre. They explained their concerns about the consultation and asked that she support the people of Maltby in getting a further, more accurate public consultation.

Cllr Rushforth's response was a categorical NO ! The academy is going ahead, she says, regardless of opinion and there is nothing that can be done about it. She refers to the consultation that was done about The Craggs School, where she says there were no problems - but will not acknowledge that problems came AFTER the event.

Are we all happy with this response - which equates to "Tough luck, too late, it's all decided and we don't care what you as parents and public think" ? Are we happy that pupils at the school are being told by their Headteacher and Deputy Head Teacher to ignore anything that is being said by people who are saying that an academy might not be a good idea and want to talk about it more ?
Over to you Maltby.......

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Challenge and Rhetoric

This blog was not started with the intention of being “political” but I am finding more and more that what I am feeling and want to write appears so.

I have, of course, said many times that I am not “party political” but to me “politics” is something that by nature, is a large part of our daily lives. It is not just about the activities of the government or law making organisations, but about how we try to influence the way we are governed. My philosophy on the way I try to live my life, is that if I believe that something is not “right” then I challenge it, and of course try to influence change. If I do not do this, then I am not doing my duty as a citizen in a democratic society. This is my opinion.
(For the benefit of my MP Kevin Barron, this is perhaps rhetoric, but not “anti-Labour rhetoric” as he labels my opinion).

I was asked this question the other day :
“Why put yourself on this mighty crusade to right every wrong in this town?”

Now, this was on a forum “chat” and the questioner is not a particular follower of my beliefs, as they are constantly telling me. But I do have to thank them publicly, for acknowledging in their question that there are “wrongs” which need “righting”, whilst questioning my attempts to do so.
(bit of an anomaly in there somewhere….)

However, my answer to this question was “Why not?”

I am incidentally not engaged in a “mighty crusade” (again I thank the questioner for suggesting that I am capable of it, though)
I do have opinions. I am outspoken. I do question and challenge views that are different to my own. This does not mean that I am stating that my views are necessarily the ones that should be followed, but that if we do not question and challenge, then what we thought and hoped was a democracy can easily fall into a dictatorship.

And I don’t believe that’s right.