Thursday, July 27, 2006

Corner Shop Closed

Corner Shop Closed

Dear readers,

the Corner Shop is temporarily closed while Curly takes his family for a long weekend break in the West of Scotland, normal service will be resumed on Tuesday 1st August. Why not take a look around some of our other sites as listed in the side bar while I'm away?

I will miss the Sunderland International Air Show this weekend, which is a bit of a shame, I can't remember the last time I failed to shoot any pictures from Whitburn Nature Reserve. I will also miss the Sunday afternoon concert in the Bents park featuring Tony Hadley, oh well, I'm sure some of the folks on the message board will bring me up to date when I return.

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Council partnerships

North Tyneside partnership deals out trouble to yob tenants

In a devastating partnership with Northumbria Police, North Tyneside District Council has threatened more than twenty people in the Wallsend area with eviction because of their anti-social and/or criminal behaviour. What's more attention grabbing is the two page spread in yesterday's Newcastle Evening Chronicle which published pictures of everyone of these "neighbours from hell" as police officers served the notices on them, they were all "named and shamed."

Bravo, I say! This is no more than decent law abiding and neighbourly tenants deserve, peaceful estates with community spirit! In addition to serving notices threatening eviction, they have used ASBO's, and injunctions utilizing the full force of the new Anti Social Behaviour Act. A further 35 people in the Longbenton area have been served with "acceptable behaviour" notices.

What a far cry from the so-called partnerships that we have in South Tyneside, a month ago I questioned whether our Labour controlled council was intent on playing it's part in full partnership with our neighbourhood policing teams. Inspector Simon Charlton at the meeting of a Community Area Forum pressed the elected members to make full use of the Anti Social Behaviour Act to help his officers police some of our estates, and to make life so much better for our residents. He catalogued a whole list of arrests and charges made against certain individuals (tenants of the council) who were making life almost unbearable for those around them. Inspector Charlton was obviously looking for support in this "partnership" with the council.

Following this meeting I emailed a number of questions to Paul Wilding, the Chief Executive of South Tyneside Homes, and Cllr. Michael Clare, the appropriate Lead Member. I was trying to ascertain how many evictions had been made over the past two years as a result of anti-social behaviour, how many were in the pipeline, and how many were envisaged to be initiated! That was a whole month ago, and yet, despite a number of reminders, to this date nobody has had the good manners to answer these questions!

This begs the question - do our council really "care" about the partnership with our local police? Do they really "care" about helping to secure safer neighbourhoods? Do they really "care" about being responsible landlords?

The answers will be forthcoming just as soon as some relevent "spin" can be assembled.


The Evening Chronicle.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blair to ban "fatty adverts"

Blair threatens food advertisers

The Daily Mail is amongst a raft of newspapers to report on Tony Blair's keynote speech in Nottingham yesterday as part of his "Our Nation's Future" campaign.

The Prime Minister - blah, blah, yawn Blair - seems to think that the banning of advertising by manaufacturers of junk foods will get us all back on the straight (and rather slimmer) narrow, and improve the prospects of the National Health Service along the way. We are all too complacent and ignorant, and many of us too incapable of making informed decisions for ourselves or our own good, so the good old nanny state will do it all for us!

The timing of his speech is rather suspect too, I guess he didn't want his Deputy "two helpings" Prescott to front this one whilst he's away on holiday, what a public relations effort that could have been!


The Daily Mail

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Arca signs for Middlesbrough

Arca goes to Middlesbrough

Sunderland AFC have confirmed today that the Argentinian Julio Arca has agreed personal terms with Middlesbrough and has completed a transfer worth 1.75 million pounds. Julio now has the advantage of being able to continue playing in the Premiership without having to sell his home, he will be hoping that Premiership exposure will help further his career in the Argentinian national team who he last represented at the Olympics.

After giving six loyal years of service I cannot blame him for wanting to move and it is fairly clear that the move was not motivated by money, big transfer fees, or a big wage hike, he simply wants to improve his chances of playing for his national team. I'm sure that all Sunderland fans will wish him luck.

George "Ringo" McCartney picked up a bad knock on the knee in the friendly against Shelbourne as a result of a wreckless foul against him, consequently he will be out of action for two months. This is a huge blow for the Northern Ireland international who was just returning to fitness, and for the club, underlining the importance of bringing in some left sided players following Arca's transfer. Robbie Elliott, the former Newcastle full back was spotted training at The Academy of Light this morning so must be viewed as a possible signing. He is currently at Leeds United and is unable to hold down a first team place there, so he will have to work extremely hard to impress Sacko and Quinny.

Other transfer targets include a goalkeeper to replace Kelvin Davies, recently sold to Southampton, and a proven striker. Quinn has revealed that he is interested in trying to arrange a return to the Stadium of Light for Kevin Philips who won the Golden Boot during his last spell at Sunderland, however, much will depend on the managerial position at Aston Villa who just a few days ago dispensed with the services of David "O'Dreary".

As a fan for over fourty years, I hope tht Niall Quinn isn't going to be wrapping himself, the team, and the club, in a cloak of nostalgia, I would far rather see him trying to sign the best young British talent that he can secure and build a Championship winning squad from the foundations upwards. Sometimes one has to see that turning the clock back is not a viable option!


Sunderland AFC
The Northern Echo

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Miliband in action

David Miliband in action

Found this short video clip of David Miliband, shot on Guido's mobile phone, sound quality of course is not too clever, but neither is his language if you listen carefully. Quite "full flavour" is our representative!


Miliband's "Carbon Credits" card

Miliband's "Carbon Credit's" card

I've left this alone for a few days whilst I churn it over in my head, and whilst at first I thought it was a reasonable idea, I've now had second thoughts about it. South Shields MP, and Environment Secretary, David Miliband has floated the idea of issuing us all with an allocation of "carbon credits" which we would "spend" as we added to the country's carbon emissions through our own use of energy resource. Sounding a bit complicated?

Well everytime that you pay for your gas or electricity, you will spend some of your carbon credits, you would spend some more every time you made a journey by plane, be it for business or for pleasure, you would also spend more of your credits each time you filled your car with petrol or diesel (heaven help you if you owned a taxi, or a minibus, or a small transport/haulage company.) If you had unused credits left at the end of the year, you could transfer them back to a central reserve where those (motorists probably) who had used up all of their credits could buy some extra to top with.

I don't know how you feel, but I think that this is just another of New Labour's attacks on working class car owners! I would feel particularly for those who live in the countryside and make more use of a vehicle than I do for taking the kids to school or making a 10 mile journey to the nearest shops for food. I would far rather see the government building a few nuclear reactors (so long as they can find a viable means to store the waste), or adding to the wind farm population, or building a couple of tidal barrages, to help reduce the nation's carbon emission build up.

Additionally, of course, if the idea ever got off the ground, with this government you can be sure that the enormous technology costs of transferring carbon credits would fall on us, the consumers - rather like the proposed costs of the I.D. cards proposed.

Here's a short video of a BBC debate about the idea (which it seems is not new), give it time to load, then make your own minds up. (Use the horizontal slider bar to "centre" the video in this panel.)


Miliband's embarassment

Miliband's embarassment

Angela Taggart has a very insightful (in a "Hello" sort of fashion) piece in this evening's Shields Gazette, looking back over the few years that David Miliband has spent as the Member of Parliament for South Shields. She reveals that the Environment Secretary can often be seen pushing his son Isaac in his pushchair around King Street and Westoe, and also reveals that since becoming a Cabinet Minister he can still manage to live in his South Shields home every other fortnight. Her article is full of all the little details that we might have expected to see in his blog, small snippets of interest that show the man rather than the politician - unfortunately his blog is victim to the Civil Service so there are no personal anecdotes there.

David recalls, in the Gazette article, that his most embarassing moment as South Shields MP came about early on when visiting Harton Technology College (gosh that's two mentions for the old school tonight) and he asked a girl how old she was, it turned out that she was the Head of the English Department! He shouldn't have worried about it too much, she probably thought he was one of the sixth formers!

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Cherie Booth works for free!

Prime Minister's wife meets kids from South Shields.

There is an interesting story in today's Shields Gazette about a group of students from the Harton Technology College in South Shields. As a reward for their outstanding work this year they were taken for a day out in London to see the best that the capital had to offer, you know the sorts of places, The London Eye, Piccadily Circus, Whitehall, The Houses of Parliament, and Downing Street. Whilst in Downing Street they had the "good" fortune to bump into Cherie Booth Blair, the highly remunerated wife of the Prime Minister, and after she enquired who they were and where they were from, she invited them into No. 10 for a quick guided tour.

This must have been quite exciting for the boys and girls, and Ken Gibson, their headmaster, as Cruella de Blair took them round her husband's office, and even let them into the Cabinet Room, but apparently there was no appearance by Humphry the Cat (or his successor). Alas, the children didn't get to see a copy of the Hutton Report either.

Still, it's nice to know that she can do some good work free of charge or without the promise of an award or honour!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Cherie Blair, Freedom of London

Cherie Blair/Booth

Cherie Booth is to be given the Freedom of London! Just what exactly has she contributed to Ken Livingstone's parish to deserve such an honour?


BBC News


Quinn to manage

niall quinn picture"Sacko" returns to Sunderland!

Newspaper reports today indicate that Niall Quinn and his Drumaville Consortium have singularly failed to attract a big name manager for Sunderland AFC in readiness for the start of the new season. Some members of the consortium have pressured Niall Quinn into accepting the vacant manager's position as well as trying to do the job of club chairman. It was also reported that former manager Peter Reid would be returning to the Stadium of Light as Niall's assistant, but this appears to have been rebuffed by outgoing chairman Bob Murray, who, according to a fan's forum, decided that he might renege on his deal to sell his shares, or at the least, make the takeover more difficult if Peter Reid was to return.

We learn instead that Reid's former assistant Bobby Saxton is to be recruited as assistant manager to Niall Quinn, (it's very difficult to forget "Sacko's" screaming sessions at the Charlie Hurley training ground), an official announcement is expected after this evening's friendly match against Shelbourne in Dublin.

Meanwhile in a deal woth up to 1.25 million pounds, the hapless goalkeeper Kelvin Davies has left the club to sign for Southampton, leaving only Ben Alnwick and the young Trevor Carson as our men between the sticks.

I just hope that these arrangements will only be temporary and that a frontline manager can be found before Christmas, methinks that the combined jobs of chairman and manager could be too arduous for even "the mighty Quinn"


Sunderland Echo
The Northern Echo

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Julio Arca

Arca stalls on transfer.

Julio Arca, Sunderland's mercurial left sided talent is in something of a quandary, he has had offers from Espanyol in Barcelona and Middlesbrough here. The left winger/full back has featured in the Argentinian under 21 team on a number of ocassions but has yet to break into the national senior squad, and therein lies his problem.

Let's not be too hasty in castigating "Hooolio" for wanting to get away from Sunderland, he has given us six honest years of graft, loyalty, and commitment, and some magical moments along the way. He has never experienced winning anything with Sunderland, but has had the demoralising dark clouds of relegation hang over his head twice. Being in his early twenties he still has the fire of ambition in his belly, and his biggest dream is to play for Argentina in the 2010 World Cup. He needs to be playing in high profile games in a high quality league to be noticed by Argentina's coach.

The offer from Middlesbrough may supply the chance for Sunderland to cash in on his talent and provide him with a satisfactory wage deal - but will it satisfy his underlying ambition? I think not. The offer from Espanyol may not match Sunderland's estimation of his monetary value but it may match his wage aspirations and far more!

We have to remember that in Argentina they do not see too many Premiership matches on television because they regularly televise the Spanish La Liga. Hence his predicament, he needs to be seen playing football by an Argentinian audience on a regular basis if he has to have any chance to break into his national eleven at full back. Let's cut him some slack, he needs to be away, he needs new challenges, he needs to excel himself in a more challenging league than the Coca Cola Championship. He could do that at Middlesbrough without having to uproot and move home, but Espanyol (or another Spanish side) would suit him far better!


North East Football

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Honda speedboats

The power and the glory........

I was rudely awakened from my sleep at 03.20 yesterday morning by an almighty thunderstorm which was right overhead, the noise and the lightning strikes were enough to ensure that I could not get back to sleep. I was due to start work at the Corner Shop at 06.00 and felt quite tired for most of the morning, however, I was secure in the knowledge that I would be getting away by 13.00 to get myself down to the Sandhaven Beach in South Shields with my camera to bring my readers pictures of another top event taking place for free.

The Honda Formula 4-stroke powerboat championship was in town for two races, the second round in the national championship this year. The whole Honda circus was encamped in the Water's Edge car park near Trow Rocks, where the action promised to be fasr and furious. Unfortunately on my arrival there with Junior Curly, a dense mist was lingering over the water, making visibility for the thousands of spectators qhite difficult, yet a few hundred yards inland there was no mist at all! The event had attracted visitors from all over the U.K. so many, in fact, that the "Dragon" on the Bents Park was used as an emergency overflow car park.

The powerboats were racing over a circuit marked out with huge bright yellow buoys placed on the sea, and they were followed by helicopters carrying camera crews for newspaper and television, it had all of the theatre of Formula 1 motor racing! In the "paddock" was the Honda engined Formula 1 car with a fantastic computer generated simulator which attracted great queues of young men and women waiting to sit in the car and drive a couple of laps on the simulator, there was another simulator attached to the Honda s2000 sports coupe, great fun. There were also lots of static displays from official Honda dealerships showing the latest cars, motorbykes and scooters, boats and engines, and also lawnmowers! The lucky VIPs had a great hospitality marquee where they could enjoy cordon bleu food and fine wines, complete with giant screens to watch the racing.

Junior got real lucky, one of the Honda dealers had his car parked outside, an Aston Martin DB9 and he hasked Junior if he would like to sit in the leather upholstered driving seat, lucky young man! The sound of the engine purring like a great cat was intoxicating. It's probably the first time that I've evr seen an Aston Martin in this town and it managed to retain an interested crown of onlookers.

Curly was almost as lucky, got to chat with a couple of "Pit Babes" who's job was to hand out brochures and programmes for the afternoon!

Here are a few pictures, click on the thumbnails to enlarge.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Strike at district hospital

A funny thing happened on the way from the doctor's.......

Mrs. Curly had a great need to see a doctor today, we are blessed with belonging to a smashing group practice in South Shields where you WILL be seen by a doctor, even if you do not have an appointment. Mrs. Curly has been suffering some pain and agony the last seven days with a very worrying growth on her back, and having ignored it for too long was desperate to have a doctor prescribe some magic potion to make it go away. We love our doctors, they have always been friendly, quick, helpfull, and obliging. Today the doctor told Mrs. Curly that this lump, this abscess, needed to be removed as quickly as possible, so a telephone call was made to the South Tyneside District Hospital and arrangements made for this "minor surgery" to be carried out today under local anaesthetic. How good does it get?

Near the appointed time we drove to the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields where we were greeted by a picket line of Unison and GMB members, protesting over some pay deal for domestic cleaning staff! Inspired? No we were not! Regular readers will recall that the District Hospital came under my close scrutiny near the time of my dear mother's death, wards had been closed down because of a virulent infection. Confident? No we were not!

Where is the committment to doing a job these days? Why put at risk the general hygene and cleanliness of a hospital and it's patients? What good are trades union representatives if they cannot negotiate effectively on behalf of their members without resorting to old fashioned strike action. Taking members out on strike is almost an admission of failure on behalf of shop stewards and other negotiators.

Friends of Mrs. Curly were seen on the picket line encouraging visitors, out patients, delivery men and sundry others to visit the hospital on another day, or encourage us to back their campaign for higher wages. We had hoped that the visit today would be routine, straight forward, in and out, but the picket line was merely a portent of further troubles ahead. We made our way to the Urgent Care Centre where we stood at a receptionist's window for three minutes being benignly ignored as she carried on tapping details into a keyboard, then she sent us to a ward, Mrs. Curly now starts to worry.

On the ward a nurse asked Mrs. Curly if she could just wait a minute while she ascertained which bed she was going to be admitted to, this was the point at which a look of horror passed over my wife's face! There had been no mention of an admission when the GP telephoned the hospital, indeed the GP assured us that the procedure would probably take less than an hour. The nurse even related to the hospital doctor that my wife had met and spoken to earlier in the day, the truth is Mrs. Curly had had no prior contact with any person within the District Hospital. It was then explained that the surgeon responsible for this procedure was in theatre until 5.30 p.m. and would then assess Mrs. Curly's abscess and consider if it was necessary to operate under a general anaesthetic or not, either way he would want to keep her in hospital overnight for observations.

There had been no consideration for our circumstances, the fact that we have two young children that needed caring for, washing, feeding, taken to school next morning, or that I need to be opening the Corner Shop at 6.00 a.m.! Surely they didn't expect my wife to agree to all of this at the drop of a hat or the whim of a surgeon? The whole deal is OFF! The great work done by the GP went to waste because some damn people working in our NHS hospital hasn't been taught how to communicate with others!


If all the protagonists in the cleaner's dispute had improved their communication skills, perhaps we would not have seen a picket line today.


Evening Chronicle

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Miliband's turbine

New headgear for Miliband!

Did you ever have one of those helmets with a built in umbrella? What a boon!

You have to applaud South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband for deciding that he would like to install domestic wind turbines on his homes in North London and in South Shields. Having watched Conservative Leader David Cameron steal a march on him by getting planning approval for a wind turbine at his Notting Hill home, the blogging Environment Secretary appears to be "green" with environmental envy and probably wants to go the full hog now (insulation, solar roof panels, water recycling, compost heap, energy saving lamps etc.)

Will he use all of the electricity created by his wind turbine? What will he do with any unused surplus, sell it to the National Grid, or set up a community based battery recharging plant? There are possibilities here for an enterprising young man!

Many of us would be interested in knowing the costs of installing these energy saving devices and what financial assistance is available to the ordinary householder, I'm sure he will reveal all in his blog.

One great disadvantage of course, should he end up Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, is that his ******** Road home in South Shields will become instantly recognisable and a possible target for terrorists. The neighbours, naturally, will not be too happy with the increased security presence in their quiet little street. On the other hand..........................
..........they might just sleep safer in their beds.


The Evening Chronicle

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Sleazy sweepstake update

"Sleazy sweepstake" update.

I understand, from one of his colleagues, that Cllr. Ian Malcolm (Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council) has been reunited with his sense of humour. He has forwarded on his "Sleazy Sweepstake" game card to a number of members of the Labour Party in the North-East.

He must be as anxious in anticipation as the rest of us!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stokoe Statue unveiled

Stokoe Statue unveiled

At last, the long awaited bronze statue of former Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe has been erected and unveiled at the South-East corner of the Stadium of Light. Stokoe managed the only F.A. Cup winning Sunderland team that I can relate to (the 1937 victory was well before my time) and he died in Hartlepool at the age of 73 on February 1st. 2004.

The eight foot bronze by sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn depicts the moment when Stokoe ran onto the Wembley pitch to hug goalkeeper Jim Montgomery after the final whistle sounded in the 1973 defeat of Leeds United. It even shows Bob's wrist watch set at 4.50 p.m. the end of the game.

I was 17 years old then, a teenager on the verge of manhood, yet I cried like a baby at 4.50. I had been to every game, home and away, during the amazing cup run, yet could not get a ticket for the final at the old Wembley Stadium. Tickets were allocated using a draw and raffle tickets! The tickets were issued during the home games preceding the cup final and were printed with a letter on them, a draw took place and those with the lucky letters were able to purchase Cup Final tickets. I remember queuing at the Fulwell End with George Arthur and Ian Goudie and one or two other mates from South Shields, and as we approached the banks of turnstyles a policeman separated the queues into the left or right doorway, I got separated from my pals and received a ticket with an "F" on it, they received tickets with "G". Needless to say "G" got lucky, "F" did not. So despite pleading for tickets and advertising in newspapers to find someone willing to sell, I was resigned to watching the game on the television at home.

Father was kind enough to allow me to drink a can of beer with him as we watched the game (he had first taken me to Roker Park in 1963 prior to the promotion season, and at 33 minutes past 3 o'clock the beer sprayed across the living room ceiling as Ian Porterfield smashed the ball past David Harvey. At the end of the game, we dried our eyes and went outside onto Westoe Road, South Shields to see if there were any other Sunderland fans celebrating this most unlikely of David v Goliath defeats. We met a few other misty eyed but overjoyed neighbours, but the incredible thing was the total lack of vehicular traffic. South Shields was at an absolute standstill that day, they may as well have closed the shops for the whole weekend.

A few weeks later we were able to meet Bob and some of the team, and touch the F.A. Cup as they visited pubs and clubs around the area to show off the trophy. We were photographed with Jim Montgomery, Dick Malone, and Ron Guthrie in a tiny upstairs lounge of the R.A.F. Association at Westoe. Somewhere, my father still has that photograph and the autographed mementoes from the evening.

Even if the season starts without a manager in place, Bob's statue will inspire both the players and the fans, Bob was full of humility, the former Newcastle United player who went on to manage both Carlisle and Sunderland was just an ordinary bloke doing a job he loved. He treat the players as though they were his own children, and this wonderful paternalism and family attitude was all that it took to inspire and motivate the players that season. The statue financed by a collective including the club, the City Council, and the fans, will also be seen as part of former chairman Bob Murray's legacy. It was a project that he very much wanted complete and in place before next season begins.

If you have any favourite memories of Bob Stokoe's time at the club, and the 1973 F.A. Cup Final, please feel free to leave a comment.


Sunderland AFC

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Sleazy Sweepstakes

Sleazy Sweepstakes

Guido Fawkes has produced a very nice "cut out and play" "Sleazy Sweepstakes" card featuring a number of high ranking Labour peronalities (and himself), it's an ideal ice-breaker for parties, meetings, pub gatherings, charity fundraising events etc. The idea is that you cut out the cards, put them in a hat, and then allow your mates to draw one out.

If the next arrest in the cash for peerages enquiry is one of those featured, then someone will win the kitty! You can email Guido to get a copy for yourself and promulgate a new craze!

Curly has taken the extravagant liberty of sending a "Sleazy Sweepstake" card to each Labour member of South Tyneside Borough Council, and is now fervently awaiting the whispers about who is playing, and who is holding on to the winning card.

Cllr. Iain Malcolm, the Deputy Leader of the Council has got in touch with the Corner Shop to complain that there are no Tories on the game card, and he rightly points out that they have had quite few sizeable donations from outside of our shores, and that a number of them have also been questioned as part of Scotland Yard's mission. I pointed out to Cllr. Malcolm (who normally recognises humour instantly - I'd hate to think he needs assistance here) that Guido Fawkes is interested only in "gunpowder, treason, and plot" and as soon as the Conservatives are sitting in the hot seat of government they will become as much a target for Mr. Fawkes as the present incumbents! For now, he is busy loading more barrels!

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Lyme Bay

Lyme Bay towed from Tyne - how did Swan Hunter mess up?

The 16,160 tonne RFA Lyme Bay was towed from the River Tyne today without cheers, fanfare, or ceremony, because she is the very first ship to leave the famous Swan Hunter yard unfinished. The contract with the Ministry of Defence has ran massively over budget, costs have escalated from 322 million pounds to almost 600 million pounds, and the ship is almost a year late. Clearly miffed at the obvious waste, in terms of money and time, the MOD has decided to tow the ship to Bae Systems on the River Clyde to finish the work there.

The move could signal the end to significant shipbuilding on the River Tyne after Swan Hunter's owner Jaap Kroese applied for a licence to break ships, a practice more common in third world countries rather than developed western nations. Initially Kroese faced problems in securing this contract and it required some fierce lobbying by North-East MPs to ensure that one ship from the total order would be built on the Tyne.

The contract has been bedevilled by stoppages and walkouts, and when Kroese saw the costs escalating he brought in Polish labour to try and arrest the rise in wage costs, predictably this move caused further stoppages by the British contingent of his workforce. Now the 145 year old shipyard is shedding around 200 jobs.

Some of those who are being laid off live in South Shields and I was speaking with them over the weekend, their tales of "customs and practice" at Swan Hunters were enough to make your toe nails curl up! They alleged that the management had no control over the workforce, they alleged that timekeeping was rather lapse and poorly controlled, they further alleged that lots of other "extra mural acivities" were pursued by skilled workers from the yard (involving small projects around Tyneside, South Shields, and even public house refurbishments using Swan Hunter materials and labour), they further alleged that management knew of some of this work.

I have used the term allege because the men were not willing/able to substantiate or confirm their allegations for fear of upsetting former colleagues. However, I know them well enough to suspect that they are not fabricating their story and they have nothing to gain personally from airing their views, but they are annoyed at the loss of this ship and possibly the loss of shipbuilding at the yard.

If you have worked at Swan Hunters, or know someone who works there, please get in touch. These stories and rumours leave us all asking who was at fault, the workforce, the management, or both?


The Shields Gazette
The Guardian
The Evening Chronicle

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


Mouth of the Tyne Festival great success!

So that's it then, it's finished, over for another year (hopefully), the Mouth of the Tyne Festival which spanned Saturday and Sunday has run it's course for this year and is packed away in a canvass hold all, ready to be rolled out again for a third time!

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not being too critical, the event was a massive success, it brought visitors into South Shields in their droves, they spent their money here, the weather was glorious, the local economy was boosted beyond belief; but where do we go from here?

I have argued in this blog last year and the year before about our ability to host major events, about our ability to accomodate visitors, about the space we have to offer, about the facilities that we can provide, and the show that we can put on. I have related to the Orange sponsored Window on the World Festival hosted by North Tyneside and how it had "overgrown" it's environment -the former "Fish Quay Festival" became too big for it's own good and dangerousely overcrowded. I had suggested in this blog that perhaps South Tyneside Borough Council could provide a better venue for the afore mentioned festival, and I still assert that we could host such a show and do it better. We can offer acres of space from the Little Haven Hotel to Souter Lighthouse, from the Mill Dam to the Pier Head, but even using the sea front from The Groyne to Gypsies Greeen Stadium would be sufficient. The Mouth of the Tyne Festival (which involved a partnership between Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside councils has been a raging success, particularly on this side of the river, and it could be a precursor to something bigger (at this time of the year the chances are that we will enjoy better weather.) It's time that the four authorities got together and decide to pursue some MAJOR sponsorship money to help promote an event NEXT year which will become the premier focus of attention in the whole of Tyneside in 2007. It has been proved how popular the event is this year, now we need to expand upon it and make it bigger and better than anything that the "Fish Quay Festival" could ever wish to have been. It is within the bounds of possibility, if we set our minds to it and apply some hard nosed business principles. Attracting crowds as big as we have seen this weekend will be sufficient to attract investors and promoters and sponsors, so come on Councillors, lets GO FOR IT!

You know it makes sense!

Curly would like to thank all those who have been involved in organising the event, the whole family (wife and kids) enjoyed it tremendousely!

Here is the promised video of the weekend's events, those visitors who are ex-pats will enjoy the experience, please allow the video time to download (it's 79 Mb -apologies to those of you with a dial-up connection, so please be patient). Perhaps you will find it more convenient if you use the horizontal scroll bar to "centre" the video within this pane.



Attack of the Giant Giraffes!

The evening entertainment as part of the Mouth of the Tyne Festival was another parade along the sea front this time featuring music and theatricals from eight giant giraffes, it was stunningly spectacular. Once again thousands turned out and followed the procession, it was rather like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, we were treated to colour, music, humour, and fireworks. South Shields was very much the favoured place for travelling visitors today!

Here are some pictures, click the thumbnails to enlarge, video to follow as soon as I can manage!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mouth of Tyne Festival

Mouth of the Tyne Festival - Update

Here are a few pictures taken during this afternoon's events, I'm off to the Sea Front again now to catch this evening's free entertainment.

"Sunny South Shields -it's the place to be seen in!"

Click the thumbnails to enlarge


About Me

Born in 1956
Sunderland fan
Former Borough Councillor
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south-shields AT
blueyonder DOT co DOT uk

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