Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Prescott gives up Dorneywood
Prescott gives up Dorneywood
Breaking news - Deputy Prime Minister "two jags" John Prescott has decided to give up his grace and favour home in the country, Dorneywood.
Photographs taken last weekend of him and his SPADS playing croquet on it's manicured lawns cannot have helped to mask the criticisms of his lack of worthwhile work to do. Prescott, it appears, has no intention of giving up the role of Deputy Prime Minister, nor his other grace and favour apartment at Admiralty House. A resignation now would spark an election in the Labour Party exposing further rifts among backbenchers. There would also be calls for Tony Blair to give his job too, as this would enable the party to make a clean break and have a fresh start with a new leadership team.
Still no apologies
Still no apologies_________________________________________________________________
A big hat tip to Beau Bo D'or for the production of this graphic.
Beau Bo D'or
P**s up in a brewery
Former Council official proves he can organise a p**s up in a brewery!
Paul Hedley, former civil engineer with South Tyneside Council has decided to give up working in thelicensed trade, at least for now.
After sixteen years of rejuvenating some of the worst watering holes in the Borough - and turning a nice profit too - he has decided, after selling the Trimmers Arms in Commercial Road, to take a well earned rest.
I'll sup one for you at the Riverside tonight Paul!
The Shields Gazette
Tony Blair may the leader of the Labour pack, but it’s his wife who betrays what he’s all about - [Sunday Herald]
Tony Blair may be the leader of the Labour pack, but it's his wife who betrays what he's all about - [Sunday Herald]
Ian Bell writing in the Sunday Herald pens an incisive portrait of Britain's "First Lady"
David Kelly died because Blair's government decided to "fix the intelligence" for war around fictitious weapons of mass destruction. Scribbling her name, the very intelligent and sophisticated barrister Cherie could not make the connection, could not sense the symbolism, could not grasp even the moral dimension that separates a suicide from a souvenir. She is the first lady of new Labour, her husband's soul-mate, and a true believer. She speaks, as she would no doubt insist, for herself.
As of today, there has still been no apology from "Cruella de Blair", perhaps Bell's commentary may explain why.
The Sunday Herald
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Breaking the rules
"Two Jags"; breaking the rules?
Following Parliamentary Questions, the Conservatives have obtained a copy of the Home Office Staff Handbook, the 1000 page document sets out the acceptable conditions and behaviour for both Ministers and Civil Servants. It's disclosure puts further pressure on the beleagured Deputy Prime Minister, already facing calls to resign from within the Labour Party.
Excerpts can be seen in Ian Dale's Diary.
"No jobs" Committee
"No Jobs" Committee_________________________________________________________________
South Tyneside Council has set up a newly formed Regeneration and Resources Scrutiny Committee to be chaired by Cllr. John Wood, and one of his first jobs is to decide what the committee should be scrutinising!
It sounds to me as though the committee members should be taken away and given a crash course in croquet and then draft in John Prescott as it's new chairman, an expert at "no jobs"!
Super school debate
"Super school" debate._________________________________________________________________
South Tyneside Council's Schools Organisation Committee is meeting next week to consider building the new "super school" on Nevison Avenue. The proposal has already met with hundreds of objections, which have become a further stumbling bloc to the plan. Originally schemed for Temple Memorial Park, the much maligned plan was then proposed for the current site of Chuter Ede School in Galsworthy Road, South Shields, this too ran into stiff opposition.
Objectors have been told that they will not be able to speak to the meeting next week, not in a fit of Stalinist repression, but because of sheer numbers. If they were all to try and address the meeting it would last for three days!
I will repeat, just once, the proposal that I have already emailed to the Council and alluded to in this blog - BRINKBURN!
The Shields Gazette
I can't help but notice that some of our Councillors are making a regular habit of reading this blog as I peruse the Shields Gazette and notice the questions asked about the increase in the Mayoral Allowance. I seem to have posed exactly the same questions here.
My thanks to Cllr. Jane Branley for taking up the cudgel.
Former Mayor John "Woody" Wood tells us how generous he has been by dipping into his own pockets to help every worthy cause or event that he was fortunate to be invited to, and also revealed the necessity for buying new suits (the chain of office is also a matter for concern as it causes numerous dry cleaning bills). However, he isn't a man to be dressed by Armani, and five suits from George, C&A, or Burtons could be had for less than 800 pounds, hardly puts him in the Charles Kennedy league does it?
As I implied before, get the old Mayoral robes and regalia out of storage - you could wear your shell suit and Rockies underneath and nobody would notice!
Friday, May 26, 2006
Cherie Blair; hair row
Cherie has bad hair day!
Cruella de Blair has hit out at criticism over the 7,700 pound bill picked up by the Labour Party at the last election for fixing her hair. In an interview for the BBC World Service she said it was "a load of fuss over trivia"
That's just about the sort of comment that we are becoming accustomed to from the "Marie Antoinette" of British politics - of course it's trivial, just trifling pocket money these days!
Man with mad morals
Man with mad morals
The Independent reports that George Galloway (Respect MP) in an interview with GQ Magazine says that the assassination of Tony Blair would be "morally justified"
"It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."
The man who met Saddam Hussein and Triq Aziz displays the most twisted morals and logic imaginable. I am no fan of the Prime Minister but he represents us all, and represents the face of British democracy, any attack on the Prime Minister would be seen as an attack on us all. There can be no moral justification for launching any terrorist attacks resulting in death for the sake of political aims. Galloway needs to get a grip, or realise that the only House that he is eminently suited for is the Big Brother House!
New Register Office plans revealed
New Register office plans revealed.
South Tyneside Borough Council is revealing new (amended) plans for the erection of a Register Office in Broughton Road, South Shields, to replace the current old building in Waterloo Vale.
The reserved matter detailed plans show a very modern and altruistic buliding with a lot of glazing, a large wedding room leading to a conservatory and an external garden where pictures can be taken. Thought has even been given to the taking of photographs on wet days, with the inclusion of a suitable canopy. The whole plan looks very enticing, although todays meeting of the Planning Committee will only be able to move the plan one stage further. Additional and more detailed plans for the garden and landscaping have yet to be drawn.
Also being considered at the Planning Committee meeting is a further development to the new Westoe Crown Village. Plans show the development of a "village centre" with a crescent around a central park, 7 retail units, and a small community centre. The preferred developer will be Wimpy. Final building could still be some time away, but again the "whole" concept is very appealing and when complete will be something of a showpiece for a modern social, housing, and community mix.
South Tyneside Council
The Board Meeting
The Board Meeting
I'd like to thank those members and "shareholders" who turned up at the Board Meeting last night at The Maltings, in Claypath Lane, South Shields. It was a pleasure to be able to put some faces to names and get to know people on a more individual and intellectual basis. Although numbers weren't great, the company certainly was!
We had hoped for one or two more ex-pats but had to make do with Baldy Smith who only emigrated as far as Chester-Le-Street, Jarrow Pete (self explanatory), and BrianC who emigrated to Wimbledon some many years back, sadly we were without ElaineH who had wished to travel back to South Shields from Florida, however, she has been recently diagnosed as having breast cancer and needs to continue her treatment in the States, we all wish her a healthy recovery. One other lady who was able to attend was CJ; now she is not a Shields lass at all, she is a cockney who a met a Shields lad in "the smoke" came up here for a visit to see what his home town looked like, loved it that much that she decided to stay! Ah, a convert.
Special thanks for gracing our meeting also go to Big Ry and Jimmy Whizz who run the South-Shields Sanddancers website, and who generously gave me the space to run the Curly's Cornershop Message Board, it was nice to see young Ry who seems to have shied away from previous meets. The Shields journalist Muzzychuck missed an ideal opportunity to find out who he chats to online, and possibly the seed of a good story, hard lines mate.
We met in The Maltings, owned and operated by Jeff McConnell of The Jarrow Brewerey, they also run The Robin Hood, we had developed a taste for his beers at previous board meetings, and they offer a selection of fine ales with interesting local names;
The trouble is with these microbreweries offering "real ale" is that they taste so good and slip down the throat so easily, that a great deal of caution is required to assure a steady walk home!
Click the thumbnails to enlarge
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Murder at the Grotto
Gunned down at the Grotto
A 42 year old man was "executed" in cold blood by callous "revenge" gunmen at the scenic clifftops near Marsden Grotto, South Shields at 4.00 p.m. yesterday. The victim, David "Noddy" Rice was well known to police as a hard man involved in the dark and dangerous underworld of drug dealing. He had served time in the past and had also been the victim of a ferocious knife attack which had left him with an ugly scar running from his ear to his chin.
"Noddy" was sitting in his car surrounded by other locals enjoying the sunshine, peace, and tranquility of the sea views when a dark Ford Mondeo carrying his killers arrived; the two men dressed in dark clothes and wearing full face balaclava masks approached his vehicle and began shooting at him through the car window. Mr. Rice sustained a number of gunshot wounds to the neck and chest yet still managed to clamber out of the car before collapsing on the ground. At this stage, one of his attackers moved around to the other side of the vehicle and emptied another round into his head at close range. The killers then fled the scene and torched the (probably stolen) Mondeo in nearby Lizard Lane.
Early this morning a 46 year old man was arrested in Wallsend on suspicion of murder, police are stillsearching for a second man.
Ten years ago, Thomas Hamilton committed his infamous atrocity at the school in Dunblane, and Parliament in a knee jerk reaction hastily passed new laws which banned the ownership of hand guns, yet since that Act of Parliament the number of shootings involving revolvers, and semi-automatic pistols has continued to rise. It seems that, even after the Home Office's gun amnesty, the amount of hand guns available for criminal use has gone up and up. At the time all registered and licensed holders of hand guns were required to submit them to their local police stations; it seems rather churlish now to suggest that licenced gun owners were not the type (in general) to commit crime. Killings (on the whole) were always going to involve unlicensed weapons, of which the supply had started to increase with relaxation of controls under Europe's open borders policy.
Similarly, the country is becoming awash with imports of cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, ecstacy and other narcotics, the foodstuff of the gangsters, earning easy money and dealing misery to thousands.
This present government needs to take the bull by the horns and divert resources from other programmes to finance stricter controls at our ports, airports, rail stations and other points of entry. The police need additional officers rather than regionalisation, and finally the European model needs to see drastic change, security cannot be attained with open borders. The judiciary and the Home Office need to toughen up against the criminals and sentencing needs to be more severe and meaningful, with an element of sincere thought for the victims of crime.
Until these changes are in place, the sad reality is that we will see more, not less, drug related crime on our streets crime.
The Evening Chronicle
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Hutton report, Labour apologies
Labour Mps apologise in "Cheriegate 2" fiasco_________________________________________________________________
Chris Bryant and James Purnell the two Labour MPs behind the private Labour fundraising event have apologised for the auctioning of the Hutton report signed by Cherie Blair and Alistair Campbell, they say they regret causing any offence.
During Prime Minister's Questions Conservative MP Robert Goodwill was told by Tony Blair "I don't think any offence was intended."
Also, Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and a member of the Committee which quizzed Dr David Kelly, has just called on the Labour Party to give the 400 pounds from auctioning the copy of the Hutton Report signed by Cherie Blair to charity. She was speaking on Radio 5 Live.
The Prime Minister's response falls way too short, he should issue a public apology to the Kelly family, on behalf of his wife, and on behalf of the Labour Party. As Party Leader he should also insist that an equivalent amount to that raised at the event should be donated by Labour to an appropriate charity, such as the Samaritans. Those who were partly responsible for the public exposure of Dr. Kelly (and his subsequent suicide) should be able to draw a line under this affair in an honourable manner.
We also need to get down to the bottom of who paid for the copy of the Hutton report offered for auction, and who the winning bidder was and what they intended to do with it. It is to be hoped that the copy of the report was bought from HMSO at the standard 70 pound rate.
Alice Thompson's article in The Daily Telegraph
I have expressed my feelings on the matter to the Prime Minister, and suggest that anyone else who feels this matter was in such poor taste and displayed terrible judgement by his wife and former press aide should email him - here.
There is also an online petition available to sign - here.
Ian Dale's Diary
Hutton report update
We auction football shirts
Cllr. Iain Malcolm, the Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, in response to the Cherie Blair article has responded by saying;
"I don't know the full circumstances surrounding this auction so its difficult to comment. However auctioning this type of thing is not wise, and gives the impression of being insensitive. In anycase, in South Shields we always tend to auction signed Sunderland/Newcastle football tops and footballs at our fundraising events!"
They probably raise more money from them as well!
In any case the Prime Minister said at PMQs that Cherie probably did not intend to cause any offence, (so it must be all right then.)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Sun (parody)
Front page news!_________________________________________________________________
With thanks to Beau Bo D'or
Somehow I just knew this story would make the front pages!
Huton report update
Auctioned report update_________________________________________________________________
After first raising the issue of auctioning an autographed copy of the Hutton report to raise funds for the Labour Party, Ian Dale suggested that we bloggers feature the story to help give it some prominence in the mainstream news. This we duly did, yesterday and today, with many blogs featuring Ian's piece. The BBC News website finally has the story on it's front page, and a search on Google News lists it as the top item.
Conservative MP Stuart Jackson has tabled an early day motion calling for an apology from the Labour Party, this is the wording of the motion;
That this House notes that senior members of the Labour Party including hon. Members and Government Ministers attended a party fundraising event last week at the Arts Club in Mayfair; further notes that a copy of the official report by Lord Hutton into the death of Government scientist Dr David Kelly, signed by Ms Cherie Booth QC, was auctioned for party funds raising 400 pounds; believes this conduct to be in appalling bad taste, arrogant and crassly insensitive in seeking to make money, albeit indirectly, through hawking, as a novelty item, an official Government report into the death of a public servant; regrets the distress caused to the family and friends of the late Dr Kelly; calls on the Labour Party to apologise for such tasteless and offensive conduct and to donate the money raised to an appropriate charity; and deprecates such conduct by hon. Members.
I have emailed a number of Labour Councillors in South Shields as well as our MP David Miliband for comment on the story, so far none has been willing to stick his/her head above the parapet! Too embarassed perhaps?
Absence makes your friends work harder!
It would not be my normal habit to help out the Labour Party in South Tyneside but I am happy to support their contention that people who live in glass house should not throw stones. At the Annual Meeting of the Borough Council on Tuesday the Opposition parties attempted to make some small headlines by attacking the poor attendance records of certain Labour Councillors appointed to outside bodies. An attack made with a flying boomerang by all accounts! The recently formed Alliance group (Independents and Progressives) had, as one of it's prime movers, Allen Bradley, who is on record as having defended his own non attendance at Council and committee meetings by saying "most of these meetings consist of hot air and opportunities for Labour Councillors to grab some headlines".
Now, I might be old fashioned in my thinking, but I would have expected that the best way for the Opposition to grab headlines would be to actively oppose Labour policy in every committee and Council meeting possible, attack, probe, challenge, and offer viable alternative policies. You were elected to oppose, you were elected to represent and articulate the views of your constituents. This cannot be achieved by staying away! Allen Branley's failure to join his colleagues means that they have to do more, individually, at committee or Council meetings, they have to work harder as a team, because they are one man down! You just have to recall Arsenal's desparation at failing to overcome Barcelona, as good an illustration of a short-handed team that I can think of.
So, come on Councillor Branley, think of your team mates, they need you there, think of your constituents in Westoe, they need you there, think of your new colleague in Westoe, Vic Thompson, he needs you there. Indeed, to provide an effective opposition for the whole of South Tyneside, you are needed to play your part - don't leave it all to others.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Autographed "Hutton Report" used in Labour fund raiser!
The Labour Party, and the Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair appear to have plumbed new depths, and displayed an inept, insensitive, and sickening side to their fund raising acivities. Faced with difficulties in raising big finance (without the carrot of a peerage) they have now started to trade in the macabre business of auctioning off, and profiting from, an autographed copy of the Hutton report which looked into the suspiscious death of Dr. David Kelly.
At a time when many are greatly unhappy with our troops involvememnt in Iraq, one must question the wisdom of Cherie Blair and Alastair Campbell in agreeing to take part in such a stunt, which only managed to raise 400 pounds.
Ian Dale reported the sickening tale in his blog today, comments are coming in thick and fast. I'd be very interested in hearing the views of any local Labour politicians about this shameful business.
Ian Dale's Diary
Tyneside preparing for congestion charges?
I first posted on this blog about the threat of traffic congestion charges on Tyneside in October last year. The threat now looms larger as new Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander is set to give local councils permission to set up congestion charge schemes with tax-payers' money to help them out. There is also the threat to motorists of charging per mile for motorway use. Modern technology to track registration plates will be used along with new satellite technology, in what will be seen as a further attack and additional tax on motorists.
I do not believe that this is the way to reduce the effects of motoring on the environment, it will serve mainly to move pollutants to other areas, large concentrations of traffic will congregate around park and ride schemes (such as Durham's), small towns and villages will receive the full onslaught of heavier traffic as we navigate away from motorways, and city centres such as Newcastle will find additional buses are needed to cope with the problem. It has already been suggested that some business will be lost by bannishing motorists from urban centres.
Would it not be far better to encourage (through the tax system) the use of smaller engined vehicles, the use of dual fuel vehicles, the use of bio-diesel for vehicles, the use of lpg fired engines, the utilization of car sharing schemes, the development of fuel cell vehicles, and other more imaginative schemes to involve both the motor industry and the traveller?
The Evening Chronicle
Govt Minister's pensions
More sleazy hypocracy!
Just days before the rest of us expect to learn that we will have to work until we are 68 before drawing our meagre pensions, it has been revealed that government ministers will be able to retire at 60 with "gold plated" pensions. Despite many private pension funds bringing to an end final salary schemes, Tony Blair and his cohorts have rearded themselves with just such a plan.
Senior ministers can expect pensions of over 50,000 pounds and the Prime Minister could rake in 123,000 pounds per year.
How well this news will be received in South Shields and other so-called working class areas remains to be seen, a greater feeling of "sleaze" is likely to be felt, don't expect the news to be quietly accepted!
The Daily Mail
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Weekend news review
Weekend news review_________________________________________________________________
Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the committee for standards in public life, has criticised the Prime Minister for treating standards as "a minor issue, not worthy of serious consideration"
The Environment Agency warns that new power stations "would add to the UK's existing nuclear waste inventory" and says it is important that Britain does not rely on nuclear power to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
Nearly 1,500 innocent people have been wrongly branded as criminals by the Home Office, leading to them losing jobs or being barred from taking up courses, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Animal rights activists bare all in support of bears.
Beckham party branded as obscene, money would be better spent on grassroots football.
Need a condom? Then see someone in the upper sixth, they'll sort you out!
Well that's life in Blairite Britain......
Foreman on the fiddle!_________________________________________________________________
(Well what sort of headline do you expect with a picture like this?)
The story is about government funding for music in schools, more specifically the maintainance and provision of musical instruments, a scheme started by South Shields MP David Miliband in 2004 when he was School Standards Minister.
I have noticed, when visiting my offspring's primary school, that apart from a piano they have very few other musical instruments. The have a couple of drums and a couple of triangles. So this offering of money from central funds will come in very useful.
Councillor Jimmy Foreman, Lead Member for Children and Young People on South Tyneside Council said;
"We have an excellent music service, which plays a major role in our schools.
I quite agree, although this does bring to mind the musical time I had at school, we could almost put together a complete orchestra had it not been for the lack of kettle drums. I was never a clever chorist or musician but I was press-ganged into playing the violin. A small group of us were sent to Mortimer Road Secondary Modern School for specialist tuition in the art of bowing the strings, and it was here that the old dear in charge decided that Curly was the star man. I was singled out for attention whilst we struggled to play some sonata or other, I was the focus for everyone's eyes, my bowing hand perfectly arched, fingers lightly holding the bow as they stroked in long smooth sweeps along the strings just above the bridge. "Absolutely perfect" declared Mrs. Cannybody, the specialist teacher.
Curly, of course knew full well that amongst the cacophony of noise, not a single squeak or sqawk emanated from my violin! I managed to get out of it soon after.
Ahh.........music to my ears.
The Shields Gazette
Friday, May 19, 2006
When did the Tories stop believing in free entertprise and choice?
It seems that "Big Dave's" revolution to modernise the Conservative Party is eating it's way into core values that have been held for centuries.
Local Conservatives have decided to oppose the Council's "interest" in applying for a minor casino. A small gaming establishment, if allowed, would create a small amount of new local employment and greatly add to the local economy. However, Cllrs. Donald Woods and David Potts have expressed their concerns over the effect that such an establishment might have upon the vulnerable and weak in our society. They feel that an additional outlet for gambling might just be the "final straw that breaks the camel's back" for some of them.
Gambling and gaming is a matter of personal choice, it's not one for me, but for some it is. With choice comes responsibility - a well honed Thatcherite phrase if ever there was one!
As things stand right now, the gambler may choose to throw his/her money at numerous machines paying out up to 250 pounds in many licensed premises in the Borough, they can also spend their money in countless numbers of bookmaker's shops, they can buy countless lottery tickets if they so wish, there are hundreds of "blind cards" passed around pubs and clubs every night of the week, they can gamble on cards for small stakes in any public house, they can spend hundreds of pounds playing online poker, they can choose to spend money in any of the numerous amusement arcade type shops that sit in our high streets. In a nutshell the gamblers have plenty opportunity to make themselves bankrupt right now, without the assistance of a casino. So far we have seen few, if any, hard luck stories in the Shields Gazette.
The Tories teaming up with the Salvation Army to oppose an "expression of interest" must be novel. When the Noble Organisation forced the closure of The Old Smithy Tea Room in Kepple Street, to replace it with another of their amusement arcades, there were no cries of protest from the Army and their allies then.
So let's be realistic chaps - the Council might never be allowed to compete to have a casino in the Borough, if they are, and such a (hypothetical) plan succeeds, just remember it's a matter of personal choice as to where people can spend their money - responsibly. If an operator wishes to take the risk and invest capital in South Shields, let's remember, that it's their (responsible) choice.
Let's also remember that choice and responsibility are what the Conservative Party is meant to stand up for!!
The Shields Gazette
Putting mines on the map
Putting the mine fields on the map
Just read one of the most ridiculous and laughable suggestions that I've seen for years!
This from BBC News/Tyne:
A campaign has been launched by MPs calling for disused pits to be marked on Ordnance Survey maps.
What a "naff" idea! I don't know what these MPs use the Ordnance Survey Map for, the majority of us use it when walking, needing some extra detail about gradients, footpaths, bogs, marshes, telephone boxes, and public houses to rest at.
To suggest that pits have such a historical significance as battlefields and cathedrals stretches the imagination to the realms of sheer fantasy. What will we add next? Some symbols to tell us where there used to be a shipyard? A symbol to indicate the site of a former steelworks? A symbol marking the demise of the British car industry? What about something to mark the existence of a long gone farm? Should the map show Westoe Lane station in Spohr Terrace, Low Shields Station in Station Road or all the other railway stations that we used to have?
We certainly don't require an indication on the map of South Shields to remind us of the injuries to policemen in Leighton Street during the last NUM strike, nor do we need something to show us where "the battle of Orgreave" took place, or the spot where Sir Ian MacGregor was felled at Ellington in Northumberland by the footsoldiers of Scargill's follies!
It is worth remembering at this point the contribution of the NUM to the demise of British mining, their strike actions helped to price thousands of their members out of jobs from what were uneconomic pits to start with, their influence within the Labour Party helped make it unelectable for nearly twenty years!
I'm all in favour of marking the contribution of British mining, but not on the OS Map, I much appreciate and enjoy the existence of museums such as the Woodhorn Colliery in Ashington, "F" pit in Washington, the recreated drift mine at Beamish. I also enjoy enormously reading the contribution of Durham miners in their excellent website, a rich source of information indeed.
It is time that some of these MPs (including the Member for Jarrow) remembered that they are supposed to be part of a "modernising" Labour Party, it is time for them to stop living in the past and take a reality check!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Cabinet seat for Donaldson
Top table for former Tory
One of the tasks completed this week at the annual meeting of the Borough Council was the reorganising of the "Cabinet" portfolios following the stepping down of Steve Forster and Ron Reynolds.
Their places have been filled by Cllr. Tom Hanson and Cllr. Alex Donaldson. The ex-police officer Donaldson was also a member of South Shields Conservative Association during the heady days of Thatcherism, a remarkable full about turn for the sharp witted Scotsman!
Mayors to receive 40% increase in allowance!
At yesterday's Annual meeting of South Tyneside Borough Council it was agreed to increase the Mayoral Allowance from 6160 pounds to 8606 pounds, a whopping 40% increase, this was despite the officer's recommendation to increase the allowance even further!
During his/her year in office the Mayor will attend on average over 500 civic functions and inevitably incur some sort of personal expense, the officer's report does not describe what is included in these expenses, but does point out that the allowance has not been increased "for some time".
It does make one wonder what these expenses might be, if perhaps we had a female Mayor, would she be spending 7,700 pounds, as Cherie Blair charged the Labour Party during it's last election campaign for the services of a personal hairdresser and make up artist?
(This is not an example of a 7000 pound hairstyle)
Would a male Mayor be prepared to renew his suits and shirts in the manner of Charles Kennedy at the last election? The Daily Telegraph reported his spending as such;
Mr Kennedy splashed out 4,800 pounds on six new suits from a tailor in Dewsbury, West Yorks, plus another 355 pounds on six cotton shirts.Will Cllr. Ed Malcolm be likely to splash out 3,639 pounds on make up, as Michael Howard did for the Tories?
It all seems highly improbable, so what exactly does it cost the Mayor (personally) during his/her year in office?
Transport is not a problem, we provide them with a nice car and a chauffer; loss of earnings is generally not a problem (I struggle to remember the name of the last Mayor who had another full time job to hold down.) Clothing might be a problem for some, but we do have a nice fur coat, white gloves, and tricorn hat hidden away somewhere in the basement of the Town Hall, they only need to be dry cleaned!
So just what is it that requires another 2,500 pounds?
Any current or previous Mayor who wishes to elucidate, please send your answers on the back of an envelope to...........(or just hit the comments button)
The Daily Telegraph
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