Friday, June 30, 2006
"Respect" and policing
"Respect" and policing_________________________________________________________________
I posted recently some thoughts on the West Shields CAF regarding Inspector Simon Charlton's verbal report to the committee and his assessment that three particular families with a long history of crime and disorder ought to be evicted from their properties by South Tyneside Homes. A reader posed the question of whether or not South Tyneside Council had the desire to help neighbourhoods by evicting unruly and anti-social tenants, so I duly posed the question of Paul Wilding the Executive Director of South Tyneside Homes and Councillor Micheal Clare the Lead Member responsible, on the 21st June.
I asked how many tenants had been evicted in the past two years by the Council for anti-social behaviour, how many similar cases are being processed at present, and how many are currently being considered for intitiation.
Owen's Ligaments posed a very serious question and I also pondered whether Louise Casey, the government's "respect tsarina" had given any specific advice to South Tyneside Council when meeting representatives on her recent visit to the north-east.
Mr. Wilding has since apologised for the delay in answering the query and promised that one of his officers would formulate a reply for me, Cllr. Clare has read the email but not responded, and now almost ten days later we are all none the wiser yet.
I'm sure that Inspector Charlton and his community beat officers are doing all that they can to make South Tyneside a safe and pleasant place to live, with law abiding neighbours, something that all of us would wish for. This blogger hopes that answers arrive soon in his mail box that will encourage Inspector Charlton to continue pressing for the necessary options to make communities more neighbourly and safe.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Quinn close to deal
Quinn closing on takeover deal
The troubled times at my favourite football club, Sunderland AFC may be about to take a turn for the better. The protracted negotiaions between outgoing chairman Bob Murray and former striker Niall Quinn's Drumaville consortium appear to be moving towards a positive conclusion. Reports today suggest that Murray will be selling his majority shareholding in a "cut price" deal that will enable more money to be invested in the playing staff. Murray himself is unlikely to get rich with the sale, he will in fact be walking away much the poorer considering how much he has paid over the years to acquire the shareholding and build both the Academy and the Stadium of Light.
One of the hold ups for Quinn's consortium has been the difficulty in attracting a big name manager whilst the club is "in limbo", Martin O'Neil's name is, of course, on the tip of everyone's tongues when discussing who the next boss should be.
The takeover may be completed on Friday this week.
A funny thing happened on the way to the shops today......................................
I had already been to one funeral this morning, a quiet sedate respectful affair attended by a gathering of friends, family, colleagues, Councillors, and domino players. We bade our farewell to a man who served for 27 years as a Councillor in this town, he was an Alderman, he was our Mayor, we made him a Freeman of the Borough, he was a sage, a mentor, a drinking buddy and raconteur.
The church of St. Michael and All Angels in Westoe Road, South Shields was only just over half filled by our gathering, as we listened to an informed eulogy from Cllr. Jimmy Capstick, this was no brash overstated demonstration of affection, more a quiet homily to an old friend, one of those moments to renew old acquaintances, and so it was that we said good-bye to Harry Marshall.
Curly had a busy day to attend to - having taken a little time away from the Corner Shop, there was a hospital appointment with Missy Curly, another with Mrs. Curly, and a school meeting too for Junior Curly, additionally I needed to stock up on supplies of media and printing cartridges from my favoured supplier in Jarrow. Thus it was that at around 14.20 I was travelling along the John Reid Road towards the Lindisfarne roundabout, I had joined the dual carriageway at it's junction with King George Road a few minutes earlier. It seemed to me that the traffic was particularly bad for this time of day, something was amiss, the queue of traffic from some sort of "incident" was backed up all the way to the junction with Whiteleas Way and Boldon Lane. Then it dawned upon me, there was another funeral taking place at the crematorium today, that of man who having lived by the sword...........well, you know how the proverb goes.
Incredibly, the amount of people wishing to pay their last respects to this soul far exceeded the capacity of the crematorium and it's car park. One had the impression that a celebrity or member of the Royal House had met their demise. This was indeed an overstated affair, hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand could have been in attendance to witness the horsedrawn glass coached hearse making it's slow march towards the suburban cremators. The types who were here had a different sense of ocassion, they arrived coatless, tieless, in black garb and pink shoes, they arrived in droves, they choked the streets of local residents as they parked their four wheel drive gas guzzlers wherever they could (little thought for the residents here) and when the Brosely Estate had filled up, they started to fill parts of Simonside. The mourners finally decided that John Reid Road was the place to park the Chrysler Crossfires, Landrover Freelanders, and Toyota Landcruisers, on the grass verges lining both carriageways and on the grass verges of the central reservation. Hence the one mile queue of traffic in both directions.
What sort of message could be drawn from this overwhelming comparison between two funerals for two totally different types character? Showing "respect" for the passing of a life, and celebrating the achievements of a life are central to our funeral rites, for the Christian there is the giving of praise to God for creating a life and the prayers for the everlasting life in the body of the risen Christ. For the humanist, I admit, I am not too sure what the expectations are, but the comparisons today were stark.
I asked myself what sort of respect was being shown in both cases, one man passing away peacefully in his sleep after a long life of giving service to others, another who's life ended abruptly and violently, a victim of an assassin's bullets. One funeral was steeped in quiet dignity the other plastered with vain adulation, - I was rather saddened by both, but for very different reasons. Tony Blair and the Home Office have a "Respect Agenda", I wonder where the events of today fit into it?
May they both find peace.
According to Tracey Temple the "package" was little more than the average cocktail sausage in size, but according to Oliver Heald, the Shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary, it is so big that Ruth Kelly and her staff have been prodded out of the office by it!
The rotund Deputy Prime Minister, without a department or proper job to hold down, is costing the tax payers around two million pounds a year, and yet students in South Tyneside look set to lose some of their concessionary travel because the government cannot stump up a quarter of that sum to allow Nexus to fully operate the free travel for pensioners scheme. When are Tony Blair and Gordon Brown going to wise up this man's scam and remove him from completely from his perks?
According to official figures obtained by the Conservatives, foreign travel, expenses, a dedicated website, his official chauffeur-driven Jaguar and a luxury flat in Admiralty House where he entertained Miss Temple bring the bill to two million pounds. Prescott operates with a twenty strong staff in Whitehall which includes a Principal Private Secretary, two Junior Private Secretaries, two Special Advisors, three policy advisors, and 12 other administrators and press officers costing 1.3 million pounds. His Admiralty House flat costs nearly 200,000 pounds a year to run, his Cabinat minister's salary and pension add up to almost 170,000 pounds per annum. Additionaly, expenses and allowances in respect of the running of his Hull home come to 105,000 pounds, his chauffer-driven armour plated Jaguar with two Special Branch officers comes in at 49,000 pounds, a new Prescott website cost 30,000 pounds and other expenses added up to 170,000 pounds.
His former mistress is also costing the taxpayer money - she is currently on "gardening leave" after their affair was exposed but drawing a salary of 30,000 pounds.
Shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary Oliver Heald said:
"Despite being stripped of his Department, John Prescott is desperately clinging onto his perks - and the taxpayer is left to pick up the tab.
James Frayne, Campaign Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"Tony Blair seems to have decided he can't keep his shambolic Government together without John Prescott and taxpayers are being forced to pay the price.
The Daily Mail
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Blair; Dead Ringer sketch
Blair's "Dead Ringer" sketch
Fancy a song?
Fancy a song?_________________________________________________________________
A little new feature for you to enjoy, you may like it, you may not.
If you fancy a little music whilst you read the posts, check out my new online "radio station", you will find it at the foot of the left hand side bar. Choice of music is a little limited at present (the service is in beta format) and it looks as though once you have sound, the only way to get rid of it is to pull down the volume slider.
If you fancy having a little music on your own site, you can get it - here
South Marine Park restoration
South Marine Park restoration
The Council's Cabinet meets tomorrow to consider a progress report into the restoration of the South Marine Park and the associated funding. A stage two application for Heritage Lottery Grant Funding is in place for the 5.4 million pound project and a steering committee under the chairmanship of Cllr. Jim Foreman has been set up to report to the Foreshore Working Group.
I cannot help but think that a golden opportunity is about to be missed here. Whilst I appreciate that the aims of the project are to try and recreate the park's Victorian grandeur, as part of our vision for the future of the foreshore it is imperative to try and create additional visitor amenities that can be utilised in wet weather. When this project was first unveiled I made the suggestion, via the Council's website, that a small scale development of the Lakeshore Railroad Station would be appropriate and ought to include room for an office for the Park Rangers and the Tourist Information Office. I had suggested that a glass sided building of the same height as the present station would be visually appealing and could also house sheltered seating and a display area which would be ideal to show the history of the park, and indeed the diary of the park's first keeper (rather than displaying it in the museum). The building could be designed to replicate a small rail station and would be in keeping with the current layout, not necessarily in the position of the station shown in this picture, it could also be positioned closer to the boathouse, or added to the refreshment area used by Minchellas. A large number of participatory events are already in the planning stage, and a building such as the one proposed could make an attractive meeting point and provide good warm dry accomodation for these events if the weather was not too kind.
This, of course would add to the costs and require the Council to seek additional funding above the 1.7 million pounds that it is currently committed to. I wonder if it is too late for Cllr. Foreman's committee to consider enlarging the project and it's funding?
I had also suggested a glass atrium for the terrace, but this would not now be appropriate in the circumstances.
Cabinet Committee papers.
Friday, June 23, 2006
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of one of South Shields greatest servants Harry Marshall.
Harry was one of the founder members of the South Shields Progressive Association formed from the older Rent and Ratepayers Party, he was the last non-Labour Leader of the old South Shields Borough Council and also served as a distinguished Mayor.
Harry was instrumental in pursuing the pioneering policy of selling council houses to their tenants between 1970 and 1974, when a great many people took advantage of the scheme to become homeowners; this , of course was long before the advent of "Thatcherism". He was also responsible for the building of the Leisure Centre on Temple Memorial Park. Under his leadership the town expanded with the building of the Holder House Estate at Whiteleas, and large areas of slums were cleared along the riverside after many years of neglect, and the central area between Westoe, Chichester, and Laygate was rebuilt.
Another of Harry's great interests was sport and he was widely respected for his enthusiasm and commitment to the South Shields Sports Week, the forerunner to the Catherine Cookson Festival (recently renamed The Summer Festival.) Sports week featured competitive activities for all ages as well as the annual opening parade. For many years after, Harry remained closely attached to some of the associations and clubs that he fostered during those days.
I first met Harry in 1976 after offering my help to the Progressives for an election campaign, my first impressions were of a very cheerful, pipe smoking gentleman who loved nothing better than to regale his company with knowledgeable tales of South Shields of yore, having spent a professional life as an accountant he had a great analytical memory. I never expected to get the call from him to nominate me as a Progressive candidate a couple of years later, and whilst being interviewed at his basement office in Beach Road he was able to shock me with his total recall of our earlier meeting and the subjects we discussed, as a young man I was somewhat in awe. He taught me that political dogma is as good as useless to most people in this area, and that what most people were interested in was good value services at reasonable cost, and that South Shields people are proud of their Tyneside roots "so don't mess around with them"
Although Harry was a Progressive and anti-Labour in his thinking, he certainly had no thoughts of joining any national political organisation, he was very independent in his thinking and cared only for this area and it's people, he would probably have offered "a plague on all of their houses" in respect of Tory, Labour, or Liberal at the time.
In more recent times, since his retirement I could often rely on a good old chinwag with him at the bar of the Snooker Club in Chichester Road, where he would be mentally composing his next letter to the Editor of the Shields Gazette.
Harry died peacefully, yesterday at the age of 92 after succumbing to the rigours of a long and hard working life, selflessing giving most of it to others. He leaves two daughters Marjorie and Enid (both Councillors) and a son David. His funeral will take place at St. Michael and all Angels on Wednesday 28th. June at 10.15
The Shields Gazette
Miliband pays interest
Miliband promises interest._________________________________________________________________
Environment Secretary and South Shields MP David Miliband made a commitment in the House of Commons yesterday to pay 5.5% interest to any farmer who has still not received the Single Farm Payment by the end of this month. This money ought to have been paid last year, as was the case in most other European states, but because of "difficulties" within his department and the Rural Payments Agency, U.K. farmers have built up large debts in many cases.
I suggest that any additional costs for the Rural Payments Agency in this matter should be met by the employment agency Adecco , responsible for supplying those staff at the RPA in Newcastle who were more interested in writing abusive emails about farmers, puking in cups, and screwing each other - as well as the rural communities.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Miliband Rooney of the Cabinet
David Miliband, the Rooney of the Cabinet_________________________________________________________________
(according to the Leader Blair)
Courtesy of Beau Bo D'or
Miliband's blog costs
Miliband sets the record straight._________________________________________________________________
South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband has set the record straight about the costs involved in the setting up and running of his blog. A cool 8,150 pounds to be exact, a far cry from the rather outlandish figure of 40,000 pounds bandied about by Lib-Dem Chris Huhne. David concedes in his blog entry tonight that one of his officials spends part of his time making blog entries and comments. The main posts are typed by the minister's own hand.
David is known to be a reader and contributor to a number of other blogs including this site and also Guido's, considering his busy schedule he does well to find the spare time to "keep his finger on the pulse."
However, it's a great pity that his own blog is so restricted and restrained (not his fault of course, we just have to accept it as it is), a little more colour, humour, and insight into the machinery of government or even his life and pastimes would be much longed for by the blogosphere.
David, setting up an account on Blogger.com is absolutely free and allows you to be totally expressive!
Foreman's feeding frenzy
Foreman's feeding frenzy!
It's a while since Cllr. Jimmy Foerman featured in this blog, but he certainly has not been a stranger to the pages of the Shields Gazette, once again he seems to be the Johnson Press model of the month! The Council Lead Member for children and young people never misses an opportunity to be photographed these days, perhaps he wants to get all of the photo-journalism stuff out of the way before he loses all of his hair. His favourite tactic these days is to turn up at a different school each week (probably at lunchtime) and he likes nothing better than to muck in with the dinner ladies, and probably sample their wares! This might explain the gradual increase in poundage Jimmy.
Tonight he was shown enjoying the delights at Ridgeway Primary School, ostensibly to help promote work to reduce childhood obesity and healthy eating. Cllr. Foreman took to reminding us of the quality of his own school meals, his favourites included lumpy gravy and rice pudding with a large dollop of jam in it. He will remember, as well as I do, such delights as smoked (yellow) cod on Fridays with an undercooked batter and a terrible tomato flavoured gravy, huge communal meat and potato pies with a mushy pastry, cheese pies, carrots and savoy cabbage so lightly boiled that the "crunch" could break teeth, prunes with (unsweetened) custard, lemon meringue pie, semolina pudding, and that other hardy annual the bakewell tart.
It was immaterial how good or bad it tasted, I had to march in formation from Barnes Road Junior School all the way up the bank to Dean Road Secondary Modern School for lunch, after that half-mile hill climb we were ready for anything! It was not unusual for troops of schoolchildren to be seen marching every lunchtime in the 1960s, because not every school in South Shields had a kitchen ("we'll build a land fit for heroes" said Dennis Healey on Labour's election win in 1945 - South Shields Labour Party were still thinking of laying the foundation stone when I was at school.) The daftest thing, in my case, was that Gilbert Street Infants had a kitchen and that school was only a hundred yards from mine, so now you know that Labour Councils in South Tyneside have a long history of making strange decisions.
Something else worth remembering about my school meals, there were no such things as "convenience foods" then, nothing arrived at the kitchens frozen, pre-cut, pre-chopped, or pre-packaged. It was all fresh local produce prepared and cooked by local women in the school kitchens in large quantities and it was cheap. So much for New Labour and it's "new" Jamie Oliver ideas, today's menu for change is a simple reversion to good old fashioned home cooking after many years of frozen pre-packaged E's and additives!
Tell you what Jimmy, I'd love to join you for lunch at Mortimer Road, the menu these days is fantastic, but what you really need is one of these - the "Foreman" grill.
Cllr. Foreman will be dining at a school near you soon!
Teen travel scheme to suffer?
Teen travel scheme to suffer?_________________________________________________________________
Mike Parker the Director General of Nexus has warned that a replacement teen travel scheme "may not be good enough" in comparison to it's forerunner. There are fears that many teenagers may decide to drop out of further education if the transport costs become prohibitive. The new scheme will not be able to be given as much resource as the previous concession simply because of the PTE's liability for free travel for pensioners, they were boxed into this corner by Gordon Brown's committments, unfortunately, as we all know, the government have not seen fit to provide a sufficient level of finance to cover this. As a result some bus routes have been axed or curtailed, and now students look as though they will suffer too.
This IS NOT what our pensioners would have preferred, many of them were willing to pay a small standard charge for their travel and most of the rest of us are totally mystified as to how the Treasury cannot find savings of 5 million pounds to cover the shortfall in the PTE's budget!
Miliband under attack
Miliband under attack
South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband writes a joint article today, with Geoff Hoon, in the Guardian pronouncing on the EC's vanguard actions to protect the environment. In the same article he argues that David Cameron is in the grip of right wing extremists who wish to pull Britain out of the EEC.
The Conservative Party has decided to withdraw from the EPP and in a recent vote Conservative MPs decided that they would like more primacy for British laws over Brussels pronouncements.
It is interesting to note that some of the commentators appear to suggest that David Miliband is attempting to shuffle himself into a more favourable position in readiness for a Gordon Brown Premiership, but look at the vitriol in the other comments following the article!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Peers stand firm
Peers stand firm against electoral fraud.
The House of Lords in defiant mood is standing firm in favour of additional safeguards to secure electoral integrity. I have often argued in this blog that British elections are fraught with risk and insecurity, and recent cases of identity fraud and the stealing of postal ballots have amplified these concerns. Their Lordships would like to see, at the very least some form of identification given at the polling station, as well as with a postal ballot application. This may go some way towards proving that an elector is actually in the country at the time he or she casts their vote.
The Times Online.
I'm hoping that readers will like this new template, which ought to display better for those who are using the Firefox browser. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me;
south-shields AT blueyonder DOT co DOT uk
Strikes loom at Asda
Strike warning for Asda
Shoppers at Asda in Ocean Road, South Shields, and at the larger store in Boldon Colliery are warned of the possibility of strike action by those colleagues working within the distribution network.
Fork lift truck drivers, order pickers, and hgv drivers at the Washington distribution centre are amongst thousands of GMB members who have voted massively in favour of strike action in a long running pay and bonus dispute with the American owned Walmart supermarket chain.
It is speculated that action will be planned to coincide with a future England match in the World Cup , Asda has reported a huge boost in sales as fans stock up on food and booze on the day of a match. Because the distribution network plays such an important part in getting supplies onto the shelves in a matter of hours, industrial action would quickly be felt by consumers as the supermarket quickly runs out of stock.
The GMB is already threatening additional legal action, should Asda/Walmart attempt to use agency staff to move stocks from the warehouses into stores, this is illegal.
Here at The Corner Shop, we sympathise, the last bonus paid to staff coincided with England's last World Cup win in 1966!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Miliband compared to Rooney!
Miliband compared to Rooney_________________________________________________________________
Hugo Rifkind posted in The Times weblog this morning that Tony Blair had compared David Miliband to Wayne Rooney in an interview on Radio 5 live.
Petulant, likes to work with a little bit of anger in his system, spits the dummy out when removed from the task, fails to make an impact in high profile situations!
Does this really sound like our South Shields MP? I bet there are times when he wishes he could tell the boss to pipe down for a bit!
Rooker to sort out RPA
Rooker to sort out RPA.
Environment Secretary, South Shields MP David Miliband is sending Farms Minister Lord Jeff Rooker up to Newcastle to "sort out" the Rural Payments Agency office, at the heart of new scandals involving drunkenness, sex, and nakedness. Rooker is to visit RPA offices in Northallerton and Newcastle, which were "pencilled in" before the news of the scandal broke (oh really).
"Civil servants in the RPA have been doing their very best and deserve our thanks whatever these people have been up to.
Would that be because they take far too long to make payments to farmers, or because they puke into cups? By the way, Lord Rooker looks suspiciously like my father, just hope he has the same "no nonsense" attitudes!
The Evening Chronicle.
Monday, June 19, 2006
The story surrounding the costs of South Shields MP David Miliband's blog continue to rumble on in the blogosphere, with much consternation over Chris Huhne's analysis of the set up and running costs. Perhaps it would be easier if David moved his blog onto Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad, MSN Spaces even, at least using a free service he would be avoiding the flack from these political lightweights. I'm only glad thet Chris Huhne isn't running the economy!!
Credit where it's due, Beau Bo D'or for this graphic
Even the Shields Gazette got in on the act tonight, including comments from my own posts in this blog, gosh it's almost an admission of where they find their inspiration.
Iain Dail's Diary
Time to go!
Time to go!
The Shields Gazette leads tonight with an article detailing the police report to the West Shields Community Area Forum last Thursday, where inspector Simon Charlton and his team of community beat officers for Whiteleas called for South Tyneside Homes to evict three families from their homes on the estate.
The police certainly sought to move the crime agenda their way at the meeting, which may explain why the police report was not available on the Council's website. The reports for the committee indicated that the police report would be given verbally. These three families have been responsible for over 100 arrests over the past couple of years, for offences such as drink/drug driving, burglary, assault, stealing from cars, threats to kill etc. In short, a handfull of people are making life a misery for the majority of folks in Whiteleas, South Shields.
Now, whether this approach is as a result of the visit to Tyneside of Louise Casey, the government's "Respect Tsarina" is open to speculation, but what can be said is this is the type of policing that we have been yearning for for a long time. Commenting on anti-social behaviour, Louise Casey said:
"Anti-social behaviour spans a vast list right across from environmental issues including litter, graffiti, abandoned cars through to things like people begging, drinking or causing a problem in the city centre at night, through to problems in neighbourhood areas such as neighbours from hell. It is a very big range of problems that are quite often perceived as low level but of course they aren't low level to the public. They are a dominating issue for them in their daily lives, they can create a lot of misery and we are trying to spearhead action to tackle these sorts of problems."
She certainly isn't a woman to mince her words and has a reputation for delivering results, if the police in South Tyneside are following her advice we can be sure that some things will start to change. It's a far cry from policing under Sir Ian Blair!
The Shields Gazette
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Butcher's Great North Dog Walk
Butcher's Great North Dog Walk 2006
I took my lead from my pal this morning and we decided to trot along to the Butcher's Great North Dog Walk, the weather was a little grey and miserable, we must have been barking!
We were trying to break the record, once again of having the most pooches in one place in the world, we were expecting some Guiness at the end of it, until someone told us it was a book not a drink (that McWhirter fellow has something to answer for. Just paws for thought while I tell you how far my little legs had to walk across the Leas in South Shields, three and a half miles that's how far! Thats a lot of wear and tear on the paws of a Yorkshire Terrier let me tell you.
It's one of those events that the human folk are becoming quite good at in South Shields, we do it every year now, and it's always a laugh watching them all bend over cleaning up the mess, you ought to see some of the sites, it's funny how some of our owners tend to mirror our own characteristics! That Mr. Carlisle has a bark worse than his bite though, what a starter! It only took me 40 minutes to complete the coarse then it was a toddle home and a lie down in the kennel with a piece of dried beef - harrumph, not allowed to come inside when the football is on.......grrrrr.
The Butcher's Great North Dog Walk was founded in 1990 by Tony Carlisle who has organised the event every year since. Tony is a Head of Department and Teacher at a local comprehensive school and has also been United Kingdom Fund-Raiser Of The Year on 3 occasions, nominated for an OBE on 3 occasions and has to date raised nearly 2 million pounds for charitable causes.
In 1997 Tony wrote to Dame Catherine Cookson and her husband Tom and duly received financial assistance and their blessing and permission to have the walk renamed the Catherine Cookson Great North Dog Walk. Butcher's Pet Care Ltd took over sponsorship of the event in 2004 and in 2005 the dog walk was renamed, Butcher's Great North Dog Walk.
Tony Carlisle Founder/Organiser
This event is annual and measurable and last year's dog walk was the 15th staging. he 3.5 mile (5.6km) walk follows a coastal route along the cliffs with magnificent sea views. There are four different routes of varying lengths to cater for everyone within the community and over varying surfaces like grass, gravel and concrete. This therefore allows for baby buggies, wheelchairs, the young, the elderly, disabled and also older dogs to support this world record attempt.
The event is internationally recognised and again holds the WORLD RECORD as the largest dog walk ever held (6,339 dogs!). This is a record we would like to keep in the United Kingdom.
Great North Dogwalk
Pictures from today, click thumbnails to enlarge
Saturday, June 17, 2006
New law to seize homes
New law to seize homes!
Relatives of the recently deceased in South Tyneside ought to be aware of a new and insiduous law which could see the homes of their relatives being seized by the local council and rented out as social housing.
Inherited homes which are still vacant after six months could be taken by the council using "Empty Dwelling Management Orders" instituted under the 2004 Housing Act which was pushed through by "two pads" Prescott. For many who inherit the property of their loved ones, using or disposing of the property can often take longer than six months, the property needs to cleared and sales often go easier in spring and summer rather than autumn or winter. However this is not good enough for New Labour who have plans to seize your property and install tenants outside of your control. Doubtless you will then be charged with upkeeping the standard of the property.
Ruth Kelly, the government minister in charge of housing policy published the details of the plans yesterday without informing MPs or the media.
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank said:
"This runs right against the ancient common law principle of private property, which is as fundamental as habeas corpus.The right to private property is the Englishman’s right to his castle. This looks to me like the point where Labour has overstepped the mark into behaving more like a dictatorship than a democratic government."
This is an indication of the socialist's belief in the redistribution of wealth and rings that other old Marxist bell that states thet all property is theft. Who do they think they are? Robin Hood!
The Daily Mail
Cost of Miliband's blog
Huhne attacks cost of the "Miliblog"_________________________________________________________________
Lib-Dems have a habit of pontificating on areas of pure silliness, today The Journal reports that the Lib-Dem leadership candidate Chris Huhne has questioned the costs of Environment Secretary David Miliband's blog. It seems that Huhne has estimated that it will cost the taxpayers around 40,000 pounds per annum for the upkeep of the website, or, in his analogy, a pound per word.
Even I understand that David Miliband cannot possibly spend the majority of his working day sat at a computer "blogging" to the world (unlike some others) and therefore it is not unusual to expect his special advisors to keep the blog updated every now and then. Take for instance the comments that I, and others post, on the minister's blog - they do need to be vetted before being published. This explains why my last comments remained in place for a couple of days, before, perhaps, David got to see them (nothing contentious in the comments, it was the link back to my blog that caused the problem) and then they were removed. The time taken for this will not exceed more than thirty minutes per day, and to suggest that this will lead to such a drain on the taxpayer is, quite frankly, utterly ridiculous! Ming's men need to find something more substantial to do with their time!
This blog has exceeded a million words, and so far, it's set up and running costs have been precisely ZERO.
Friday, June 16, 2006
More pressure on Blair
More pressure on Blair
Not Tony this time, but his namesake Ian, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. After two major bungles (the fatal shooting of the innocent Brazilian de Menezes, and the raid in Forest Gate, East London) he is facing more pressure to resign from various quarters. The MP Robert Wilson has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons calling on the Home Secretary to remove Sir Ian from his post.
"That this House notes the apology given by the Metropolitan Police and the release of the two suspects in the Forest Gate raid without charge; deplores the continued lack of leadership offered by the accident-prone Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, Sir Ian Blair; is concerned by the evident loss of confidence in him by many Metropolitan Police officers and the wider community; and calls on the Home Secretary to remove him from his position as Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis."
My own view is that heads ought to roll within the Security Services charged with providing the intelligence and advice upon which the Police must feel duty bound to act. A little more accuracy would prevent so much loss of loyalty to the Met!
Parliamentary Information Services
Corner Shop empty
Corner Shop empty!_________________________________________________________________
By 4.00 p.m. yesterday the Corner Shop was all but empty, a total of four cars belonging to our customers could be found in the car park, and on my estimation there would normally be around a hundred on a typical Thursday afternoon. The reason - England's match against Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup! Oh the power of television and football.
Although some retailers are gaining some benefit from the World Cup competition, particularly supermarkets who are turning over a vast amount of additional food and drink, for many of us we look at deserted sales floors for whole afternoons or evenings, especially when our national team is playing. England's first game last Saturday gave us an eerie experience as only a handfull of women shoppers were prepared to spend the afternoon in our store. One does hope that the periods in between games will make up for the lost footfall, but we can't be doing with too many England matches at the weekends!
It seems we are not alone, South Shields was just about devoid of traffic last Saturday and yesterday, the only sounds to be heard were the wailing sirens of police cars dashing to attend the latest "hot spot" where football fans had consumed too much ale!
The Daily Mail
Blair was marxist
Blair was Marxist.
A letter has been unearthed among the papers of the former Labour Leader Michael Foot, it was sent to him by a young idealistic Tony Blair.
Here are a couple of small quotes from the letter, featured in today's Times:
"Like many middle-class people I came to socialism through Marxism (to be more specific through Deutscher's biography of Trotsky)."
"Socialism ultimately must appeal to the better minds of the people. You cannot do that if you are tainted overmuch with a pragmatic period of power. The phrases that rouse us, or should rouse us, are bound to seem stale in the mouth of anyone who has been too closely entwined with the Establishment."
I wonder if the latter quote will come back to haunt him?
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Miliband "horrified" at "Office Sex" story!
Following my post about the office sex parties taking place at the Rural Payments Agency in Newcastle, I posted a comment on the Environment Secretary's blog to alert him to the allegations. Jeff Rooker, his deputy is now reporting that Environment Secretary, and South Shields MP, David Miliband is "horrified" and has ordered a "full and rigorous" inquiry into the bizarre and disgusting behaviour of those responsible for making payments to our farming communities.
I am not surprised that my comments have been deleted from David's blog, they probably added to the already embarassed minister's problems, (and he probably did not approve of my picture illustrating the story.)
However, if the RPA is going to be shaken down, and Adecco's temps thrown out, something good will have become of it.
I guess it demonstrates the effectiveness of "blogging".
The Evening Chronicle
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tough on crime?
Tough on crime? Tough on the causes of crime?
Tony Blair appeared to be quite rattled at PMQs today, waving the hands, wagging the finger, getting animated and agitated. Was he feeling David Cameron's elbow barging into his rib cage. For once "Big Dave" got truly stuck into the Prime Minister and had a right go at him over the mess and obfuscation at the Home Office.
Following the revelation that 53 prisoners sentenced to "life" had been released in the past six years it was understandable that the Home Office and John Reid would come under a fire from the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Cameron said:
"In the last 40 days the new Home Secretary has been hard at work.
Which brings me today's picture, inspired by the artwork found at LabourDoNotDo.com I decided to put together this nice little poster, it almost captures the essence of what is and what should ever be! However, for some within New Labour's ranks, respect for the law can mean a long trip half way around the world, in the hope of pocketing a very tidy sum.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
New shop announced_________________________________________________________________
I see there is a little more good news on the retail front in South Shields, the former premises of Woods the Tailor in Ocean Road (which later became Topshop and Topman) is about to get a new lease of life. Philip Goodfellow and Nigel Binnie are about to launch Northern Threads in the 2,000 square foot premises after a 100,000 pound refit of the 135 year old premises. They will be selling mens fashions and designer labels apparently for all ages.
I'd like to let Cllr. John Anglin know that although retail progress is coming on gradually in South Shields (remember we will shortly be seeing the building of the new larger Asda in Coronation Street) we still lack speciality and variety in our shopping centre. As plans gather pace for the site of the former multi-story car park in Mile End Road we ought to strive to retain retail units on the ground floor, specifically for local independent retailers with a speciality. The sort of shops that we need, and don't have enough of at present are:
Regular readers will, no doubt, be able to think of some others. I'm sure our "listening council" will hear our call.
The Shields Gazette
Bin tax contemplated
Sir Michael Lyons, the government appointed bigwig who is considering how to change the Council Tax system, is contemplating the introduction of a new tax on our litter! The general idea is that those who create the most rubbish will pay the most money to have it removed.
Unfortunately this would mean that a family of four living next door to a couple will be penalised (perhaps by as much as an extra ten pounds per month), despite the fact that the bin men will still have the same two wheelie bins to empty! There is no extra cost involved in the refuse collection service, but the intention is to force us to recycle more of our litter and leave less for the bin man to cart away. This of course would still not help the family of four. I can already envisage some people scurrying up and down the back lanes looking for a half empty bin to fill.
Once again we may see the introduction of a further means by which a layer of government can take more money from us.
I still hold dear to the principle that all service users within the boundaries of a local authority should contribute something towards those services, it is only then that ALL electors can appreciate how much local government costs, and how much political decisions can affect the individual and the family. Wether it be through the present system or a system of local income tax is neither here nor there, if we all have to pay something, we might start to stop and think about the policies of those wishing to be elected! In places like South Tyneside there are thousands who pay and contribute either nothing at all or very little, so the consequences of political decisions are quite meaningless to them.
The Daily Mail
Born in 1956
Former Borough Councillor
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