Thursday, August 31, 2006
A reporters lot is not a happy one._________________________________________________________________
Readers will recall my recent post regarding the criminal behaviour of David Hamlani, the son of Detective Constable Stephen Hamlani. The 17 year old, high on drink and drugs attacked a Jarrow woman in July in an attempt to get the keys to her car, after struggling with her he retreated across the road hurling abuse, dropped his trousers and exposed himself.
In the Magistrates Court, Hamlani's solicitor, Mr. Chris Brown attempted to involve his father D.C. Hamlani in persuading the court not to publish the young man's address in case it identified the father and "sullied the family name". Readers will also recall the links that I posted showing older Shields Gazette reports on the court appearance of his older brother for aggravated motoring offences. The presumption therefore must be that the family name had already been "sullied".
Yesterday the magistates ensured that David Hamlani will stay in a young offenders institution until the end of November, but amazingly upheld their earlier decision not to allow the Gazette reporter to release his address. Further shock must be felt by the public, that having been found guilty of the offence of exposing himself in public they deemed that it was not necessary to add his name to the Sex Offenders' register. No doubt the Gazette reporter at the court made another application to have the lad's address released into the public domain so that the public can be aware of the risks posed by those living in their neighbourhood, this would account for the exceptionally long five hour hearing. I can just imagine the ding dongs between the man from the press and Mr. Brown the solicitor. (The address of the Hamlani family is already in the public domain and is easilly traced on the internet, by those who know where to look.)
I firmly believe that the magistrates have not made a decision which reflects the public's concern and I feel sure that the decision not to have his name added to the Sex Offenders' register will not sit too comfortably with the public or the victim either. I can imagine that the decision will be seen by most as a more of a comfort to the Hamlani family than it is to the victims of their crimes.
The Shields Gazette
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Watch your coins spinning away
The wages of spin!_________________________________________________________________
Today's Telegraph carries a very stark outline of the state PR, spin, and waste, instigated by Tony Blair's government. It seems that an enormous growth in the advertising machine is taking place and swells even further in the years preceding a general election. When Labour first came to power, around 300 press officers were employed by the government, this has now risen to more than 3,200, and a further 1,444 are employed by government appointed quangos.
Do you think this ought to be done at the expense of the hardpressed tax payer, or at the expense of the almost bankrupt Labour Party?
The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Welcome back Tony Blair
You have been missed!_________________________________________________________________
Nice graphic found on Theo Spark's blog.
Yobs named and shamed
Newcastle Council gets tough!
A group of young teenage yobs who terrorised the Scotswood and Cruddas Park areas of Newcastle have been served with anti-social behaviour orders by magistrates which seriously restrict where they can go, what they can do, and who they can associate with. The four were part of a fifteen strong gang who made life a misery for their neighbours and local community, it took the efforts of Community Police, Community Wardens, local residents, and Newcastle Homes to produce a 20 page document evidencing their misdeeds.
I'm sorry to keep banging this drum about community partnerships, but the evidence is there to see, our neighbouring councils are making full use of the resources at their disposal to make their streets safer for the local residents. We have yet to see similar actions being taken in South Tyneside! Perhaps if we had started these types of prosecutions many months ago, a young man might still have had the rest of his life to look forward to, and a mother would not be facing the greatest agony of her life!
I appeal to South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes to wake up, get these partnerships in full swing, and start taking some action now!
As a postscript it's nice to see that magistrates in Newcastle are happy to see the pictures, names, and addresses of these young thugs being published.
The Evening Chronicle.
Monday, August 28, 2006
In his blog entry for 25th. August, David Miliband, the South Shields MP and Secretary of State for the Environment writes;
"For Readers of NME I am happy to confirm that Pete Docherty and I are not the same person."
Just what the blazes is he talking about? So Docherty is about to write a journal, Miliband writes a weblog, is there a connection here? Am I missing something?
Answers on the back of an envelope to the Corner Shop please.
Summer is over
So how was your summer?_________________________________________________________________
04.45 this morning, summer is over, the alarm clock ensured that I was aware of this fact! After showering, shaving, dressing, and consuming a cup of coffee it was time to return to my place behind the counter of the Corner Shop. Curly's wife and children were still warmly wrapped up beneath their duvets, blissfully unaware that summer has ended, the sky was grey and the streets were damp, there was a hint of menace in the stiffening breeze, and boy didn't it manifest itself throughout the day with short, sharp, and heavy rain showers!
Once again, during my two week holiday away from the Corner Shop, we had taken to the great outdoors, slept under canvass, enjoyed fresh air and exercise, cooked on calor gas and charcoal, and were surrounded by those who had recently found this "new craze" for camping. Promoted by cheap deals for tents at Asda, Argos, and Halfords, it seemed to us that the British had become weary of foreign travel, fearing of the terrorist threat, and uncomfortable with lengthy airline check ins, and decided instead to invade the countryside with their new "toys". Our family has a long history and tradition of camping, having been introduced to it as children when my parents looked after a youth club at St. Judes church in Alice Street, South Shields. Later spells camping with the boy scouts confirmed an already favourite summer "jolly."
But this year things were markedly different, there is without doubt an influx of newbies from the towns and connurbations invading our favoured campsites, there is a growing fashion for needing pitches with electric hook ups, these people cannot live without their miniature fridges, cannot cook without a microwave oven, and cannot manage without a television! They arrive in their 4 X 4 off roaders loaded to the gunwhales with all of the home comforts, it's a shame that some of them couldn't find room for the settee and favourite armchair! They bring so much to camp that the best part of their first day is taken up with unpacking the Landrover Freelander and recreating "home". They are forever restless, and cannot sleep at night unless thay have a raucous alcohol fueled party into the early hours (which of course cannot start until at least ten at night when the barbecue charcoal is finally ready to cook on.) Luckily these people cannot adjust to life in the countryside and therefore arrive on Friday lunchtime, sleep most of Saturday morning, and spend Sunday packing everything away again.)
As for us, a slot in midweek is more attractive, we have a particularly favourite site just outside of Ripon in North Yorkshire, just over an hour drive from home. It is a very friendly site with very clean facilities, free hot water and showers, an onsite bar with entertainment, games room for the children, two good sized adventure playgrounds, a football pitch, riverside walks, and a good mix of statics and tourers, additionally the town centre can be reached in twenty minutes on foot. So we had some of that, the weather was kind, the food was good, and I was awake by six most mornings! Strangely a few days at home in my own bed resulted in me staying there until 9.00 a.m.!
So, are you one of the new "in - out crowd" getting used to the tortures of camping so comically put by Jim White in this article in The Telegraph, or were you off to Turk..BANG! (That'll teach you to stay at home next year :0) )
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Keane meets team
Breathe a sigh of relief_________________________________________________________________
According to BBC Sport, Roy Keane has been meeting Sunderland's first team squad today as they trained at the Academy of Light and was later seen in The Stadium of Light. Looks like it's definately a done deal now.
I hope this gamble on a rookie manager pays off!
Labour finds new ways to waste our money
First the spin doctors, now the "life coaches"
Labour ministers in this government never fail to amaze me in the methods that they can find to waste taxpayers' cash, if having a small army of spin doctors and special advisors (Spads) wasn't enough, they now employ specialist "life coaxhes". Readilly available for the ministers (such as Patricia Hewitt -pictured) and officials "not fit for purpose" these trick cyclists are charging our account at an incredible rate of 250 pounds per hour. This from Elizabet Oakeshott in The Sunday Times;
Chartered psychologists are each being paid an estimated 250 pounds per hour to act as mentors to the health secretary and her senior civil servants.
If you ever wondered why some politicians talk a load of psycho babble, now you know!
The Sunday Times.
Keane's accession not certain
In his latest statement issued through Sunderland AFC's website, Niall Quinn is particularly cagey and might even be seen to be preparing the fans for less than good news. In his last couple of inquests by the press Quinn has been at pains NOT to mention the name Keane, and has indicated that he will remain in charge for tomorrow's game against WBA. In his statement on the club's website Quinn said;
"Negotiations are ongoing and going well but it's something that's going to take time. Whatever happens, if it comes to fruition or not, we will tell people - not a third party.
Meanwhile, I read Roy Keane's secret diary, as told to John Aizlewood in The Times Online and I've never lughed so much this week, you can read the full article - here
Saturday, August 26, 2006
"How To Start Your Day With A Positive Attitude":
1. Create a "new folder" on your computer._________________________________________________________________
2. Name it "Tony Blair".
3. Send it to the trash.
4. Empty the trash.
5. Your computer will ask you: "Do you really want to get rid of "Tony Blair"?
6. Answer calmly, "Yes", and press the mouse button firmly.
16 year old murdered
Another knife crime!
It is very saddening and maddening to see stories in the press from this town for all the wrong reasons, yesterday evening a 16 year old youth was knifed to death in what looks like a premeditated attack in East Avenue, South Shields. The young man was out celebrating his birthday just shortly after receiving his exam results when he was assailed by the occupants of a car and stabbed many times. He died on his way to the local hospital.
I have argued before in this blog that the typical reaction of offering a knife amnesty (or a gun amnesty) is a waste of time and effort, those who wish to carry on living outside of the law will not heed the call to give up their weapons. Our politicians need to start seriously thinking NOW about the following;
Labour has so far signally failed to make any inroads against the criminal elements in our society and cannot, at present, make any claims to have improved the safety and comfort of our citizens out on the streets. This was one of the biggest promises in their manifestoes of the last couple of elections, yet we still have a Home Office "not fit for purpose". Crime is one of the few areas where Labour has consistently failed to achieve the confidence of the electorate, if Tony Blair seriously wishes to leave a "legacy" behind him, this is one area where perhaps he could make a difference. However, without an iron will and a real purpose, he will achieve little, and time is running out on the streets.
The Shields Gazette
Update - the victim has been named as 16 year old Glen Corner of Wakefield Drive, South Shields
Friday, August 25, 2006
Celebrity Fat Club
Government sets an example?
I tend to agree with the less than slimline Anne Widdecombe when she bemoans the government in it's "nanny state" mode of wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers money in an effort to tell us to look after ourselves. This is something that we should all bear some responsibility for, we don't really need to be told (with our own money) about what we should and should not eat. We don't really need to be told that we should take some form of exercise, those of us of slightly more advanced years understand that all things should be taken in moderation, food, alcohol, and exercise.
The Tory MP, who has appeared in T.V.'s "Celebrity Fit Club" told Radio 4' s Today programme;
"It's time this Government woke up to what it can and can't do, set its priorities properly and started considering the number of people whose needs are being neglected instead of trying to dictate to the nation how it should live their own lives."
The main thrust of Anne's argument was that money wasted on advice campaigns would be far better spent on life saving drugs and medecines, which at present are being denied to some NHS patients. Tony Blair's government has even gone so far as to appoint Health Minister Caroline Flint as it's "fitness minister" charged with ensuring that we all exercise more! I should tell her that when you try to run for a bus after taking a long walk, after trying to climb the stairs from Marsden Beach to the cliff top car park and finding yourself short of breath, you instinctively know it's time to cut down on food and drink and increase the level of exercise. I don't need a government minister to advise me how to run my life or look after my own health, thank you very much.
However, it seems that some people in positions of greater power and responsibility plainly do!
Hat Tip - Theo Spark
Public tributes and memorials
Is this fitting?_________________________________________________________________
While I cannot condone the behaviour of those who have vandalised and attempted to destroy the tributes of flowers laid at the spot where David "Noddy" Rice was gunned down, I have to question whether it is right and fitting to have a public memorial in the car park near the Marsden Grotto, South Shields. Surely a more private spot, such as the memorial garden at the crematorium would be more appropriate and secure for the family and friends to leave their tributes.
Mr. Rice was known to police and had a criminal record that included posssesion of, and intent to supply drugs, he was shot by murderous assassins in the car park and as yet no court case looks likely as the police continue their inquiries. As a law abiding citizen of the town, I would prefer that his family remember his death and the anniversary of his birthday in a more private manner, although this may be difficult for them to contemplate so soon after his tragic death.
There are more fitting and worthy memorials in this town that require our attention, also in a state of disrepair, and which ought to receive more publicity, I refer to the memorial and headstone for the grave of William Wouldhave, which has not been seen in St. Hilda's churchyard in the Market Place for many years. There can be no doubt that Wouldhave's work in the field of lifeboats helped put this town on the map in the early days of the industrial revolution.
Perhaps we should ask for donations, - a public subscription fund - to have the headstone repaired and securely mounted in it's rightful position.
Why it could not be done!
Ever wanted to know?_________________________________________________________________
Find the answers in the comments section of this post.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Mill Dam Conservation
What is it that they want to know?
South Tyneside Borough Council have produced a Draft Appraisal for the Conservation of the Mill Dam Area which will form the basis of a management plan to propose the conservation and enhancement of the area. They are seeking our comments on this Draft Appraisal, I'd like to know exactly what they would like us to tell them?
The Draft Appraisal gives a VERY comprehensive and detailed description of the Mill Dam area, great effort has gone into researching the history of the present buildings and also those which are no longer standing. Each building appears to have been subjected to an intense investigation into it's individual history, architecture, and the materials used to construct it. The Draft Appraisal (in .pdf format) also includes a very interesting series of historical maps of the area from the 1800s upto the 1980s, fascinating for the historians.
Actually, to the layman, the document is very readable, and thankfully is also available to see in the Central Library, Denmark Square, South Shields. If you have an interest in the mercantile history of South Shields, and our industrial past, I would recommend reading it.
Trying to read between the lines the only clue as to possible future actions lie in the statement that too many cars spoil the views alongside the old Corporation Quay, with a pay and display car park just yards away, we don't need to be Einstein to work out what to expect!
So what would my comments to the Council be?
Answer - Yes, it's a great appraisal of the history and architecural interest of the buildings at the Mill Dam, you don't appear to have left anything out, now what more do you want to know?
South Tyneside Council
Roy Keane for Sunderland?
Keane set to manage Sunderland
The media is a hot bed of activity with most newspapers and commentators convinced that Roy Keane the former Manchester United and Eire hot head is about to be appointed as Sunderland's next manager.
So we are about to get a rookie manager, to work alongside our rookie chairman, it must have taken some very smooth talking from Quinn to get Keane to take this job, the last time the two were together on a pitch, Keane refused to shake Big Niall's hand, after being sent off for sticking an elbow in Jason "Trigger" McAteer's face at the Stadium of Light in 2002. Niall was also on Mick McCarthy's side when the former Black Cats manager sent Keane back to Ireland from the World Cup that same year, Keane later described McCarthy as "a crap player, and a crap manager". I guess he now gets the chance to prove if he is going to be a better manager, and whether he can produce some special performances from a very poor team.
Meanwhile, the club are stating on their website that no managerial appointment has been made and that an official announcement will be made soon.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Dark clouds overhead
Niall Quinn's post match email
"I sit here watching the dark clouds gathering overhead, the temperature is rising, and things feel a little stiflingly warm here, they say that troubled times are ahead, and that the warnings have already been issued. I can hear thunder rumbling in the distance and I'm sure that it's heading this way, oh yes, these are indeed dark days!
The weather forecast is just as bad too.
I arrived here a few weeks later than I would have ideally liked, if only those damned negotiations with Bob had concluded earlier, oh well, water under the bridge I suppose. I might have had a half decent chance of encouraging a world class manager to come to the club if me and the lads from the pub had taken up the challenge straight after the last game of last season, hey ho, that wasn't to be either. Big Fat Sam didn't want to come, and the Irish lad, what's his name, oh yes, O'Neill, he decided he'd rather poke around in the dying embers of deadly Doug's regime at Villa, I'm sure he talked little Superkev into going to the Baggies too. Oh well, so it all got off to a bit of a nasty start, but I think I did the right thing by signing up some of the players to new deals, some of them are contracted for the next four years which will be quite good if they start to play some football!
That's how I ended up managing the team as well as playing club chairman, it isn't easy you know, but we all sat around the table mulling over a few pints of Guinness and the lads said you got us into this thing, it was your idea to buy Bob's place, so we're putting you up front. Don't worry they said, with the luck of the Irish you'll get by o.k. I promised the fans a magic carpet ride, and I feel so sorry for them now, I think we forgot to put the petrol in, it's still stuck to the floor. Sacko screams and bawls at it, but it still refuses to budge, he's a laugh isn't he?
Yes, I feel so sorry for the fans, I tried my best, but after the string of results which we've had, mind you we've played some pretty good football at times, I've decided to chuck in the towel, bit like the players really. Why do so many Mackems decide to travel hundreds of miles to watch such crap these days anyway?
Things should improve shortly, you'll be glad to hear, I've managed to persuade a few foreign players to come and join us, seems the British ones just can't be had for love nor money, or they don't want to come here anymore. The better news is that I'm pretty certain we'll have a world class manager here next week, I can't tell you too much, but he was a great assistant coach for one of the teams that played in the World Cup Qualifiers but didn't quite make it to Germany, so things are looking up!
After the five defeats we've had, last night's result didn't come as too much of a surprise, mind you Bury must be fuming that they only had ten men to play against, the Spanish lad, whatsisname, oh yes, Arnau, decided he'd seen enough after the game kicked off, so he got himself sent off. Mind you I can't blame him, Gigg Lane isn't exactly the Bernabau now is it?
Perhaps we can cheer you up next Monday when we play West Brom, why not come along and boo at that little turncoat Philips, get your voices warmed up for the full time whistle.
Well, we can only look forward to the next game, I'll be sending out my strongest possible team, won't know half the names until Monday lunchtime though, it's that hectic in the transfer market, you know what I mean, but I'm sure if we all get behind them they'll run a mile, scared stiff again."
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Labour man in the dark?
Dix finds enlightenment._________________________________________________________________
Former Labour Councillor Robert Dix has presented a petition from residents in the Harton Ward ( a ward he is desperate to represent again) calling for new street lighting. I don't know what is going wrong in Sunderland Road, South Shields, or other areas of the ward, are they living in the dark? Have they somehow failed to pick up the news that Balfour Beatty have a contract worth 63m pounds to replace old lamp standards in a rollling programme? His Labour colleagues on the Council announced it with some fanfare many months ago, and it was even featured in the highly luxuriant glossy magazine that they like to push through our doors at our expense. Just how is it that Mr. Dix and some residents of Harton have failed to know about this?
Amazingly in a comment in the Shields Gazette, Labour's Deputy Leader Cllr. Iain Malcolm claims he knew nothing of the details until he saw the story in the paper - what's worse is that he expects us to believe him!
According to the Council's website, lighting in Harton will be replaced in October of this year.
Of course, Mr. Dix's actions are nothing more than a political stunt, designed to raise his own profile in the ward, it's little wonder that the sitting Progressive Councillors are fuming at his actions. If the residents of Harton had REAL concerns, then their elected Councillors would be their first point of contact. Getting a handfull of names and addresses from Labour Party members and/or supporters is a nice easy way to create a summer story for the man in the dark, but, then again, it is the "silly season".
The Shields Gazette
Monday, August 21, 2006
Candidate moves to Lib-Dems._________________________________________________________________
In the forthcoming by-election in the Cleadon Village and East Boldon Ward, businessman Alan Mordain will be the candidate for the Lib-Dems. This is all very strange, Mr. Mordain (his school picture can be seen here) last stood as a candidate for the Independant Alliance, the grouping formed by his business partner Cllr. Allen Branley.
Mr . Mordain reckons that the Lib-Dems asked him to stand and he was only too pleased to oblige. Considering that the Independant Alliance had not put a candidate in the ward at the last election, or indeed this election, speculation is mounting about the motives of Mr. Mordain. Could this be a pre-cursor to getting the Lib-Dems onboard with the Alliance? Alan Mordain is reported to have agreed to stand for the Lib-Dems only on condition that, if he was elected, he would have the freedom to vote as he was pleased within the Council chamber (something of a novelty for Lib-Dem members who seem to have a subscription to join in with Labour on votes.)
Branmore Investments of Thomas Street, South Shields, had acquired the site of the former Middle Dock in South Shields in 2001, and a 200 million pound development was planned to include a marina, four-star hotel, executive homes, restaurants and promenade cafes, and create 1000 permanent jobs! South Tyneside Council granted outline planning permission for the scheme in 2003. You can read more about it here, and here.
The by-election has been caused by the resignation of Conservative Philip Parkinson who failed to attend sufficient Council meetings to justify his membership, at the same time a furore broke out about the expenses claimed by his fellow Conservative, David Potts. Currently, on South Tyneside Council, two members do not claim any expenses at all, they are Cllrs. Allen and Jane Branley.
Other candidates in the by-election on September 14th. are -fellow blogger and Sunderland supporter- Lewis Atkinson (Labour), Christopher Haine (Green Party), Jeffrey Milburn (Conservative Party).
Taking the caffeine challenge
The "Anglin" Angle
There I was savouring the delights of South Shields' newest coffee house, thumbing through the Shields Gazette to find out what's been happening this weekend when I came across the full paged article about the retail mix in South Shields.
Perhaps "Mr. Town Centre", Cllr. John Anglin, has taken to reading this blog and taken note of some of the opinions expressed here.
I had decided to venture into Cafe Nero in King Street, which has only been open for around a week; easily located next to South Shields Metro Station it is ideally placed for the thirsty traveller. The decor is very much like a town centre smart wine bar, solid wooden tables and chairs, gigantic posters printed on canvass, huge photographs, glass, mirrors, and chrome, and a serving area that is almost identical to any bar. The big difference of course is that this establishment won't serve you a pint of bitter. Apart from a varied range of coffees there are cakes, biscuits, confectionery, sandwhiches, and ice creams too.
So why should we need another coffee house you might ask? Minchellas on Ocean Road is probably less than fifty yards away, the Coffee Caban in the Market place is less than two hundred yards away, you can get a cuppa in the Baker's Oven in King Street (just a few doors down the street). The answer is variety! Each of these establishments have their own character and decor, and a market of clientelle which may differ from shop to shop. They all offer coffees to different tastes and at prices to suit different pockets, some lack decor of any quality, some are sumptuous. Some are owned by national or regional chains, others are owned by local business people, or in the case of Cafe Nero are franchised by local people.
So, I sat there, sipping my Americano, (very hot, with a strong coffee liquor), pondering how long it will take before we once again see more and more "local" shops in our town centre. Like John Anglin, I agree that we need to have a strong mix of national chain stores and specialised local "niche" enterprises, however there are problems involved in attracting these local specialised retailers, revolving around property prices and rents, and in many cases this prohibits new independant retailers from using any available space in King Street. We need to make special provision as we plan for the future to ensure that space is available at reasonable cost to cater for this "niche" market. It is hoped that the multi-storey car park in Mile End Road will be demolished and replaced with an office development, and I hope that the concept of retailing on the ground floor will be protected within this development. It presents an ideal opportunity to create small retail outlets at low cost to cater for local specialists.
Remember, there are still certain types of shops that you will no longer find in our town centre, for instance we do not have a specialist toy shop since the demise of Clarke's in Ocean Road and Frederick Street, we don't have a specialist sports supplier since the closure of Ripon's in Charlotte Terrace. There are no longer any bespoke tailors in the town centre, the last I remember was Gatoff's in Fowler Street and Wood's the Tailor in Ocean Road. We have an ethnic clothes specialist further down Ocean Road, but I'm sure there is room for another in a town with a reasonable market for their goods. There are no tobacconists catering for the older pipe smokers anymore (but I guess that political correctness and a declining market might account for this.) We no longer have a specialist model shop after the one in the Market Place closed down, this is a real bind for the railway modeller. There are no local butchers or bakers in the town centre. You could argue that there is room for a small furniture retailer, or for someone specialising in giftware, china, and glass.
In short, variety is something that a town centre demands to remain lively, profitable, and usefull to the community it serves. South Tyneside Council seems to be working hard at bringing better and bigger retailers to the town, we now have four fine outlets at Waterloo Square and next year they will be joined by a much larger Asda, but they must remember that Britain has been described as "a nation of shopkeepers" and the news from the Corner Shop is that customers like small, customers like local, customers like something different.
So I appeal to "Mr. Town Centre" Anglin to reserve a special place in the town centre to promote the goods and services of local retailers, not just to retain the local character and value of the town, but also to prevent our town centre becoming "cloned" and looking like any other in the U.K. Take a trip to Hexham, Morpeth, or Durham's Prince Bishops Centre to see how they are managing.
Looking out from Cafe Nero - click thumbnail to enlarge
Prescott the pop star!
Prescott sings (not quite like Julio Inglesias)_________________________________________________________________
Found in some dusty old archive by The Mail on Sunday, perhaps it explains why Prescott has always been such a hit with the women! talk about the "Spanish practices!"
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Court capers with copper's sons
Sully the family's name?_________________________________________________________________
A recent court case has been brought to the attention of the Corner Shop by a South Shields lady concerned at attempts to hide the facts from the public (thanks for the tip off).
After binging for three days on drugs and alcohol 17 year old David Hamlani exposed himself to a 43 year old woman after demanding her car keys with more than a little menace. (The desire to ride in someone elses car without their permission seems to be something of a family trait with the Hamlanis.) At the magistrates court David's father Stephen, a serving police officer was to be called to make a statement on why his son should not be identified. The defending solicitor Christopher Brown was hoping to make a point that it would lead people to finding out where the officer live and sully the family name!
Shame on them all, surely by dispensing justice Her Majesty's Courts should not be seen to be sullying the reputations of individuals! Luckily, following representations from the Shields Gazette the Chairman of the Bench Anne Geddes decided in favour of publishing all of the boys details apart from his address, at which point Stephen Hamlani Snr. stood up saying "disgraceful" and stormed out of the court.
David Hamlani will be sentenced on August 30th. and is likely to be added to the sex offenders' register.
The odd thing about this matter is the judgement of those who wished the identities and addresses etc. to remain hidden, why should this be? I can understand the emotions and concerns of any parent of a child who "goes off the rails", I guess it must be multiplied for a serving police officer who has two sons in a similar position (especially during periods when his wife has been suffering). However, I cannot agree that the court ruling was disgraceful in any way at all, the public have a perfectly good right to know these things, apart from which, the family's details are all available on the internet !
The Shields Gazette
Multiculturalism to blame for perverting young Muslims
So far South Tyneside is a model to follow._________________________________________________________________
I came across this interesting piece in Archbishop Cranmer's excellent blog a couple of days ago;
The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, is both personally and professionally qualified to comment authoritatively on religious tensions. His father converted from Islam to Roman Catholicism, and the Bishop himself is a convert from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism. This journey from darkness to light has given him considerable insight. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he says:
Cranmer makes some very interesting points in his blog, and I'm sure that in bringing the Bishop of Rochester's article to our attention he is being sincere in his concern for certain parts of the U.K. However, whilst I share these concerns, particularly for parts of Inner London, Bradford, and other parts of West Yorkshire, I am happy to report that on the whole in South Tyneside we need not have these concerns.
We do have a significant minority of Muslims living here who have a long history and tradition of integrating well, schools are multicultural and multifaith, and political parties also have a representation (small but growing). If there are any worries, then they centre around the diversities within the Islamic faith, and I feel fairly sure that the new radicalism much feared by some, will find it rather difficult to gain a foothold in our own Muslim community. Centuries of stable integration in South Tyneside can provide a model for other towns within the U.K.to follow.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Prescott figure of fun?
You are joking, surely!_________________________________________________________________
Please give video time to load.
Curly is now cautious!_________________________________________________________________
25 year old Daniel Cadden was found guilty earlier this month by magistrates in Telford of "inconsiderate cycling" for riding on the road rather than on a cycle path. The court case sets a new legal precedent which could scupper David Miliband's plans to get more of us out of cars and onto our feet or cycles. At a time when the South Shields MP and Environment Secretary is doing all that he can to achieve carbon emission reduction targets it will do no good at all criminalising those who wish to take to the road on two wheels (leg driven).
When I consider the trouble that I have gone to this week to take advantage of an aging old cycle, I wonder if I too could be found guilty of breaching laws written into the 1988 Road Traffic Act? Suppose I stray 6 or 9 inches outside of the green painted cycling lanes in South Shields, if the traffic slows down, will I be prosecuted too?
If a pedestrian strays into the cycle lane while trying to cross a road, I must move out of it to avoid colliding with them, I will break the law again I imagine.
When Labour came to power a 1998 transport white paper led to a 10-year transport plan in 2000, which set a target of trebling cycling by 2010. That target was then dropped in 2004. It's probably a good idea to remove the cycle lanes now if we are all going to become targets for the law.
Another Akita attack
Is it the same dog?
Yesterday's evening paper carried another story of an attack by a Japanese Akita on another dog being taken out for an innocent walk by it's owner. This site is still receiving lot's of visits from Akita owners, many of them, more than likely, respectable and responsible - so here's another little snippet for them to get their teeth into!
Mr. and Mrs. Shaw's eight year old border collie was being walked on Cleadon Hills, South Shields in March of this year when it was savagely attacked by the Akita, Mrs. Shaw's dog nearly died in the attack and needed almost 1000 pounds worth of veterinary treatment. In a mirror of the other recent attack it is claimed that the Akita's owner nonchalently looked on as the attack took place.
Mrs. Shaw said;
"It's probably the same owner, but I can't be sure. Whoever it is, they need to be found and held accountable for their and the dog's actions"
Mr. Allen, the owner of the Jack Russell puppy caught in the earlier attack, has stayed in touch with the Corner Shop, and continues to call for this breed to be added to the list of Dangerous Dogs.
Meanwhile, I am sending mail to Stephen Hepburn, the MP for our neighbouring constituency, Jarrow, in the hope that he can press for a suitable amendment to the current Act.
Do you know who the owner of Akita is? Can you inform the Corner Shop, there can't be too many Akitas in South Shields. If you know, why not give me a call, or email in confidence, the details are in the side bar.
The Shields Gazette
Owner runs away after Akita mauls boy
Girl scarred by Akita, North Wales
Two Akita attacks in Bradford
Chris Duffy's ordeal by Akita
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Eco friendly Curly
Reducing my carbon emissions._________________________________________________________________
How did this start?
I guess it was because I wanted to spend more quality time with my children really, Junior Curly is nine years old and Missy Curly is almost five. Junior loves to ride his bicycle, Missy loves to push along on a scooter, either way, I struggle to keep up with them on foot. Having recently fixed the six speed derailler on Junior's cycle I thought let's see how my old machine looks.
My old bike has hung on a hook on a wall for eighteen years without being used, dusty and rusty with deflated tyres, it looked pretty damned sorry for itself. My main fear was that the inner tubes may have perished, shrunk, or cracked open. My fears were needless, after inflating the tyres I found every thing to be o.k. with no air leaking. A quick clean up and she was ready to test. Great, on the road but when I applied the brakes they emitted a terrible squeal, the brake blocks were made of leather and after years of inactivity they had gone rock solid. This was a Raleigh Triumph Tourist, drop handlebars, 12 speed gears, lightweight alloy frame, complete with dynamo and lights (still working too.) However the breaks were just too noisy!
So I went out and bought two pairs of modern grooved rubber brake blocks that looked about the right size, got them home and set about changing them and adjusting the calipers - hey presto! Curly can now compete with the Dave Cameron's of this world and make a contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions!
A green Tory on a keep fit regime (not me, him!)
Do they want a resolution?
How to kill a good deal_________________________________________________________________
If this is true, then I can't think of a worse method of going into a room and sitting around the negotiating table! If the GMB and Unison, representing the 200 cleaning staff at South Tyneside District Hospital, want to threaten an indefinate strike then they will most likely antagonise the management and scupper any chance of a resolution to the dispute.
This is a nonsensical way to approach a meeting and does nothing to further the interests of the cleaners when an additional 12% pay rise is being offered. The cleaning staff, who are already on the lowest rungs of the NHS pay scales will be unimpressed with the prospect of facing weeks on end without pay, the Healthcare Trust has already offered to backdate any pay rise immediately. What's wrong with these unions, are they afraid that their members might actually accept the proposal?
Of course the GMB and Unison will also clearly know that a long protracted strike action will most surely have adverse affects upon the hygene within the hospital (we cannot expect the management to continue doing the cleaning to any high standards indefinately), to call for an indefinate strike will be irresponsible and dangerous for patients. I thought we had moved on from the 1970's!
Prescott is crap!
Oops! Sorry, for Prescott read Bush.
Most newspapers this morning are running the story about "two shags'" private comment to a Labour MP that President George Bush's policies on the Middle East are "crap" and that he is just an old cowboy with his stetson on. Whilst Prezza made a statement on the remarks made to the press by Harry Cohen the MP for Leyton and Wanstead, he stopped short of making an outright denial.
Typically Prescott of course - but it makes him look even more hypocritical considering he accepted gifts of a cowboy outfit, boots, belt, and stetson for himself!
The BBC journalist Martin Rosenbaum, in his Open Secrets blog, has been attempting to find out what the Deputy Prime Minister has been busying himself with while the PM suns himself in Barbados. Using requests under the Freedom of Information Act he has found out that the Cabinet Office don't want to let us know - hmmm, I wonder why? The Deputy Prime Minister chairs nine Cabinet committees, yet Rosenbaum is unable to find out when these committees last met.
Oh well - back to the ranch.
The Times Online
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I have been asked to explain how to publish comments on this blog, some have already discovered how simple it is.
It's as simple as that! Try and add some humour if you can, it makes things a little more enjoyable in this troubled world.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Akita Dog update
Akita owners upset at bad press._________________________________________________________________
I found that the story on the Akita dog attack has been picked up by Akita owners, over 150 of them viewed this blog, and this is what they say. (Luckily many of them agree that the owner of the Akita in South Shields has been quite irresponsible.)
Miliband for leader?
Shields MP still favoured for Labour Leadership
Colin Brown, the Deputy Political Editor of The Independant appraises the results of Dr. John Reid's recent grabbing of the headlines in his column today.
Being rather sceptical of the "stunt" pulled over the alleged bombing plot (and not seeing any of the arrested appearing before the courts, and seeing most travelling restrictions have now been removed), as well as the comprehensive kick in the teeth for "two jags" Prescott, I am not surprised that some commentators agree that the Scottish bruiser has positioned himself nicely while his compatriot Gordon Brown was also on holiday. Colin Brown reports that a member of Labour's National Executive Committee said;
"Reid obviously sees himself as a potential challenger, but I think the danger for Gordon Brown is that the party will jump a generation to someone like David Miliband"
Yes, it's August, the kids are off school, half the country is away on holiday, the "silly season" is in full swing!
Killer youths on the loose!
More bad news for dogs._________________________________________________________________
The Shields Gazette reports in the online edition today that a gang of youths threw a brown and white springer spaniel over the bridge that crosses the A19 Tyne Tunnel approach road. Horrified motorists screeched to a halt as the dog landed in front of them - the dog died from multiple injuries.
Just what is it with some kids these days? What sort of fun do they get from such a sick and vile act of disregard for an animal and it's welfare (and not a thought for it's owner either.) Most criminologists agree that the vast majority of the psychopathic killers in our jails started their malevolence with similar acts of cruelty to defenceless animals - it is only a short step to take.
Some folks out there are the parents of potential psychos!
The Shields Gazette
McGann and Turner families to be evicted
Council evicts at last_________________________________________________________________
It has taken a bit of pressure from a number of sources but at long last South Tyneside District Council has taken the bull by the horns and instituted legal proceedings in the County Court to seek repossession of the properties rented to the McGann and Turner families on the Whiteleas estate.
The Shields Gazette has featured a number of letters recently related to these families (and a third) who have racked up 203 arrests between them. Finally they are to be evicted - Whiteleas will be all the more comfortable without them.
Sometimes decisions like these are genuinely tough to make, but the longer that problems like this remain the more likely it is that others around them will join in the criminal and anti-social behaviour. Before long a pattern begins to form which proves troublesome for the police and denigrates the character of the whole area. Rather like a bad microbal infection, in some cases, eventually, surgery is required!
Curly supports the stance now being taken, even if the Council is starting to play "catch up" with nearby authorities.
The Shields Gazette
Blog "lite" Tuesday
Quick general comments - yours invited too!_________________________________________________________________
Curly and his family have had a long day today visiting Edinburgh Zoo, I'd almost forgotten how much of a tough walk it is to reach the hilltop viewpoint there, but it was worthwhile to let the children see so many animals, a day out perhaps that won't be repeated. We were up and about at 06.30 and on the Metro to Newcastle by 08.15, then a comfortable Virgin Express train took us to Edinburgh, transfer by bus to the Royal Zoological Gardens and in there by 11.30.
We managed to cover most of the Zoo but necessarly had to miss some, my father was there too, and our kids really enjoyed themselves. My biggest thanks go to "Trigger" for generously providing the experience for us.
So blogging will be light today (mainly based on what I can quickly read online).
Monday, August 14, 2006
Council responds finally._________________________________________________________________
In Wallsend recently more than twenty people were threatened with eviction and in Longbenton a further thirty-five were served with "acceptable behaviour" notices. Inspector Simon Charlton raised the profile of anti-social and criminal behaviour at a meeting of the West Shields Community Area Forum and from that point I questioned South Tyneside Council about it's stance on the matter.
Disgracefully, it has taken more than six weeks to get a response from our Council, but it finally arrived today from Paul Walker, Head of Regulatory services;
So there we have it! Depending on how you read it or what you believe to be true, either our Council cannot hold a candle to North Tyneside's record in dealing with the "neighbours from hell" or they are so good that the situation never gets that bad.
Make your own minds up!
Tories choose candidate.
Conservative Candidate for Cleadon and East Boldon._________________________________________________________________
A little birdy within the Labour Party has reported to the Corner Shop that Jeff Milburn will be the Conservative Party Candidate in the bye-election for the Cleadon and East Boldon ward.
Jeff has twice contested the Marsden and Whitburn ward, in the 2004 elections he polled 683 votes (31%) and two years later in 2006 he improved this to, err 609 votes (26.6%). There is a leaflet going around the ward now promising "A positive Candidate - A Positive Campaign", I hope he has a very "positive" bank account not requiring the topping up that some other Councillors need, I don't know what Jeff does for a living, but it is to be hoped that he isn't a mature student at St. Andrews!
Silly old me, knowing that the Conservatives would need a strong candidate to counter the accusations of pocket lining, should have offered my services at the earliest opportunity.
Killer dog on the loose!
Attack of the killer Akita
Curly was as shocked as everyone else to learn last week of the attack by an Akita dog on a defenceless Jack Russell puppy, Lisa Allen, 15, the puppy's owner was of course extremely upset and distraught at the senseless mauling and killing of her small pet. Conversely the owner of the Akita attack dog was reported in the Shields Gazette as showing no emotion as she extricated the dying puppy from the monster's jaws.
We now learn that such a dog cannot be described (legally) as dangerous or out of control unless it attacks a human. Apparently this distinction is made in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
After reading of my experience of being attacked by a pack of six dogs near Station Road, Lisa's father Michael has emailed the Corner Shop with these thoughts;
After my reading of your comment where you were face to face with travellers and their dogs, be comforted by the fact the Police actually sent someone to see you.
Michael has since emailed David Miliband, and because his is the responsible Department, he is faced with a conflict of interest in trying to make a decision on behalf of one of his constituents, David is now trying to find a neutral local MP to raise the matter on Mr. Allen's behalf. I hope this approach succeeds and that Parliament is able to seek an amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The website given by Michael quotes this about the Japanese Akita;
The Akita is very aggressive to other dogs and animals and should therefore never be allowed to run off its lead around other animals. It should definitely be supervised with other household pets and children. They are capable of ferocity, but with firm training, can make a fine pet. Obedience training requires patience, as these dogs tend to get bored quickly. The breed has had many uses, first as an Imperial guard dog, then as a fighting dog, hunter of deer and bear, for sledding, and for police, army and guard work.
The Japanese may be well versed in training and controlling the Akita, but one has to question whether they make a suitable pet for a family in suburban homes in Britain.
The Shields Gazette.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I'm THAT pessimistic!
After following the fortunes and disasters of Sunderland AFC for over fourty years I think I am entitled to make a rather early prediction that the current squad of players are already staring at relegation. The Mighty Quinn's "Magic Carpet ride" is already looking remarkably threadbare and there is not enough pace or power to lift this carpet off the dust!
Poor Quinn and his Drumaville consortium must now know the immense magnitude of the task in hand, after the opening three games of the new season the players have responded in the usual fashion, heads bowed, chests heaving, legs leaden, and running around in a blind panic whenever a goal is conceded. Hence another three defeats to add to the growing list. This is more than a crisis of confidence, although this is a factor, the quality of some of the players isn't even high enough to play at Championship level, Danny Collins today had the sort of game that would have ensured a long stay on the bench if he were playing for Carlisle United. Rory Delap considered versatile is just that - a"jack of all trades and master of none", whilst the signing of Clive Clarke would not, in my opinion, meet Quinn's requirements that any new players must be better than those being replaced. There is no way that Clarke is as good as Ringo, besides we now have another injured player, Clarke will miss the next few games.
Lawrence and Whitehead, so far, have not played anywhere near their potential and up front Elliott is taking forever to find some match sharpness (today's goal will help), Stead should not be in this division, and Murphy looks the only striker likely to bag more than ten goals this season.
I wonder why Robbie Elliott was brought in and not used, (we have no other left footed players available), and when will we see what Riera can do?
Yes this team requires major surgery, just to survive this season, and Quinn knows only too well that it is becoming extremely difficult to persuade half decent players to up sticks and come to The Stadium of Light. As the month progresses his problems will worsen, confidence will drain further, injuries will become a MAJOR factor, and seat sales will suffer too.
If only Bob Murray had concluded negotiations with Quinn's group much sooner, he may have had a better chance of getting a manager and some new players bedded in before the season began, but that's water under the bridge now.
We are in for a long tough haul this season, sitting on the magic carpet wondering if it will ever take off.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Nil by mouth
Nothing heard from Prescott._________________________________________________________________
The Prime Minister suns himself in Barbados, the western world stops flying, the terror level remains critical, but the face of the British Government is not that of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott - no, he has been usurped by the Home Secretary Dr. John Reid. The Home Secretary chaired two of yesterday's Cobra meetings to make decisions about the apparently imminent terrorist threat to airlines, but the man supposedly in charge of the government in Tony Blair's absence was nowhere to be seen or heard.
It's time to end this pretence, "two jags" has no job, and has no purpose, he has no right to sit in government continuing to draw a large salary for being a non productive embarassment.
Hat tip to Beau Bo D'or
In the News.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Travellers face terror checks in South Shields
Travellers, and terror, the story.
I bet you are pretty fed up with hearing and reading about his story today, back on 13th. April I posted in this blog about this matter, and those Councillors and officials who regularly visit this website should have taken heed of my warning then. However, no action was taken and their record will once again be marked as "failure".
At lunchtime today I walked into South Shields with my camera with the intention of taking a few pictures for future use in Curly's Photoshop, as well as picking up a sandwhich to bring back to the Corner Shop. On my way back I passed through St. Hilda's churchyard and carried on past the old St. Hilda's Colliery Memorial Wheel (which, by the way is so overgrown with shrubbery that it has almost disappeared from view, it's plinth is badly damaged too and makes a very sad and poor memorial to those who died in the explosion, but that's another story) as I entered the small car park adjacent to Station Road I stopped to take a picture of the Town Hall tower and clock, and noticed that a group of travellers had set up camp in the former site of the St. Hilda's allotments. As I was taking my pictures I was shocked and terrorised by at least six agitated and snarling dogs, two of which proceeded to bite at my feet and legs, as though they hadn't been fed for days.
This wasn't too much of a problem, worrying but not drastic, I was wearing safety boots, so they could not injure my feet. Best put the camera down and put my hands in my pockets, I thought. It was then that the stocky male at the rear of the picture started to urge the dogs to attack and bite me;
"Go on, see him off!
Sorry to be so plain and graphic with the language, it is verbatim. I calmly walked away considering how much worse this could have been for an unsuspecting child or lady, or anyone without safety boots on their feet. I decided that the best thing to do was to telephone the police and the local council.
A nice wpc came to see me at the Corner Shop shortly afterwards asking if I wished to press charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act, "this shouldn't be necessary" I repiled, seeing as I had suffered no injuries, but I did ask that they visit the camp and issue a caution. I also spoke to a man in South Tyneside Council's ASBO unit who is going to take the matter up with the relevant department. He was unsure if the land is owned by the Council, I suspect that it is because it is part of the tranches of land compulsorily purchased to make way for the new Asda development.
So, hopefully, after being visited by the Police and officials from the Council to check on these dangerous dogs and the legality of their tenure, these travellers, so close to our new shops in the town centre, ought (with a bit of luck) to moving away soon.
I feel so awkward having to say "I TOLD YOU SO", but the writing was on the wall back in April, and the site has never been adequately secured to prevent access. No doubt we hard pressed Council tax payers will face another huge bill to clear the mess when the travellers do decide to go, and there will be legal costs involved too.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
From all around the world_________________________________________________________________
It's interesting to note that today's visitors to this blog have arrived from virtually every continent on the planet. Welcome to South Shields everybody, and please remember to make a return trip!
The only continent not represented today is Africa.
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