Corbyn “Victorious”

Corbyn “Victorious”

CCHQ Press Release

After months of division and distraction, Jeremy Corbyn has won the Labour leadership election. Again.

But no one should be celebrating this victory. The policies that Labour are offering will do nothing for people who want a government that will deliver for them.

The Labour leader:

  • Thinks the last Labour government didn’t spend enough.
  • Wants to hold back good local schools.
  • Wants to give up control of our borders.
  • Wants to weaken our armed forces.
  • Wants to scrap our nuclear defences.

There was only one winner today, Steve, and it wasn’t Britain.

Labour are too divided, distracted and incompetent to build a country that works for everyone.

Instead of learning lessons from the past, they have engaged in a bitter power struggle that will continue even after they’ve picked a leader.

While Labour row amongst themselves, this Conservative government will continue to deliver a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

And that is exactly how we intend to carry on in the months and years ahead.

Lost Job Track

Lost Job Track

A friend who lives in Waterlees sent me an email quoting some sections of the Bucknors’ website which she thought were interesting.

Referring to their much-lauded “Job Track”, the snappily-titled “Page 22” says:

Why a Job-Track?

We recognise that residents need to feel that the concerns and issues they pass on to us, their councillors, are actually being dealt with and not being dropped into a black hole never to see the light of day again.

The system can be convoluting and difficult issues tend to coil around themselves. Nevertheless, after some thought,  we came up with the fairly simple idea, a method that would act as an aide-memoire to us as councillors, the relevant responsible bodies, and the residents concerned, so that issues wouldn’t get lost by time.

The Job-Track is updated regularly and, at least weekly, all of the jobs are checked for progress and any outstanding issues are dealt so that the job’s progress report can be amended.

So far so good.  Sounds great!  You can even click on the Job Track and see evidence of all the hard work.  Here it is, as of today.

22

From the list it would appear that between February and July 2015, the Bucknors “completed” 23 “jobs.”  That’s about one a week.  They usually seem to suggest they are busier than that, but it may just be that many jobs were too “small” to put onto the Job Track and that it only features the really big tasks, like 336 “Serious weeds from garden.”

I admire some of what they do a great deal.  No. 318 “Road Repairs required”, and No. 346 “Hole in Pavement” are clearly the job of the County Councillor, Paul Clapp, but they do them anyway.  Presumably in his absence, since he is given no credit for the jobs “completed?”

I thought job “No. 322” was an interesting one.  “Possible HMO.”  It was “completed”, whatever that means.

I also found No. 325 worthy of note.  “Possible squatters”.  With the resolution: “Home owner to action.”  I guess that one was resolved, even if it wasn’t actually them that resolved it.

Sadly though, the work seems to have ended on 31st July 2015.  It can happen, websites take some maintenance and you can easily slip in your ability to update them.  I’ve done it myself.  The fact that the much-lauded Job Track seems to have ground to a halt over a year ago does not mean that the Bucknors aren’t doing “jobs” anymore.  It just means that they aren’t managing to update their website as frequently as they might have hoped they would.  The trouble is, doesn’t this sort of mean that the issues since July might just “drop into a black hole never to be seen again?”  Not my words.  Theirs.  On the aforementioned “Page 22” in the section entitled: “Why a Job Track?”

I have no doubt there is a perfectly good explanation.

Sue Marshall’s Question (updated)

Sue Marshall’s Question

So the Chair of the local Labour Party (I think?) asked me a question on the Wisbech Discussion Forum, on Facebook.

the-question

I was surprised.  I mean – local political opponents often have debates, and we often write about them (as I do here on this blog) but we don’t usually try and carry them onto a public forum if they are personal rather than policy-based.  I don’t know what her goal was, really.  My best guess is that she either read or was told about yesterday’s blog post, which referred to the fact that the North-East Cambs Labour party appear to be overrun by Momentum types.  But I never referred to her personally in that post (although I have wondered aloud about if she was a Momentum member in Facebook discussions with her in the past.)

I wondered if this was some attempt to “play the victim.”  That mean Steve Tierney, suggesting I am something to do with Momentum when I am not!  That kind of thing.  Well I didn’t mention her, but it would be fair to say that I do personally believe she is a Momentum supporter.  She has asked me why, and since she has publicly done so, I feel justified in explaining why I might have drawn that conclusion.  A very quick web search, it took me five minutes, produced the following.

1
Here is Sue Marshall on Facebook, sharing a Momentum link.  Now in some cases like this you might think that having a similar view to Momentum on an issue doesn’t necessarily make you a Momentum supporter.  But this post isn’t about a generic policy issue – it’s specifically a defence of Momentum as an organisation versus the (excellent) Channel 4 expose from Monday just gone.

2
Here is Sue Marshall sharing a Jeremy For PM video.  Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.   Lots of Labour supporters like Jeremy Corbyn and are not Momentum supports.  Fair point.  However, a quick look at the Momentum North East Cambs website gives some information on the Jeremy4Leader and Jeremy4PM campaigns.  This extract taken directly from the site:

Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader has transformed into Momentum – a network of people and organisations that will continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy’s campaign.

Momentum North Cambridgeshire covers areas including Peterborough, Wisbech, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and the rural areas in between.

 

3
Okay, so in case that wasn’t enough of a smoking gun for you.  Here’s Sue Marshall sharing a “Momentum North Cambridgeshire in support of Jeremy Corbyn” post on her facebook feed.

4
Here she is again with the “JeremyForLabour” shares, remembering that JeremyForLabour is directly linked to Momentum as per their website information.

5
Here she is sharing a Morning Star article about Corbyn.  Not proof of Momentum affiliation, just interesting.  Her having previously said she wasn’t “hard left” and it being the Morning Star and all.
6
Here she is sharing at attack on the non-Momentum wing of the Labour party during their ongoing “civil war.”

7
This is the Momentum logo stitched to the Corbyn logo.  Only the bit on the right was shared by Sue Marshall, but I thought it was an interesting comparison.

9
Here’s Sue Marshall on Facebook asking Momentum Stevenage for some information to assist Momentum North Cambs.  Looks fairly clear at this point, but I guess could still be argued that she was only asking on behalf of somebody else?

Okay, so up until now its quite a lot of clues that Sue Marshall might be a Momentum person.  But its not conclusive.  If you were going to really stretch the imagination they could all be coincidences rather than actual proof of a connection.

But the best is yet to come.
10
Here is Sue Marshall on a Crowd-Sourcing website, starting a campaign to raise money for Momentum North Cambridgeshire.

8
Here is Sue Marshall on the actual official Momentum North Cambs Website, advertising the Momentum North Cambs Trident Meeting that she helped to organise.

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And my favourite.  (Hat tip: The Viking)  Sue Marshall as an official listed Admin of the Momentum North Cambs Facebook Community.  Click on it.  It’s got a nice thumbnail pic and everything. :)

Now there is nothing at all wrong with Sue Marshall being a Momentum activist.  What political affiliations people choose is entirely up to them.  But Sue Marshall asked me, publicly, to explain why I thought she might be anything to do with Momentum.  The suggestion appearing to be that this conclusion was mad, that I was plucking it from thin air without a shred of evidence.  I hope that my brief web search has illuminated just why I and others might think Sue Marshall was something to do with Momentum locally.

Sue, if you are reading this, I hope I have adequately answered your question and would like to wish you a very fine day.

====================================================
UPDATE:

Sue Marshall continued to deny her connections to Momentum despite all of this.  Quite a few people were telling her “You’ve lost, give it up” and her last attempt was to criticise me because I bothered to answer the question she publicly posed and to suggest I had spent a “long time” looking into her.  Um – it was a few minutes.  A couple of simple Google searches, Sue.  Which was the least I could do when you had demanded an answer of me so publicly.  I even asked her to confirm she definitely wanted an answer before I gave it, because I knew it was quite damning.  She confirmed she did.  Really brought this one entirely on herself.

Anyway, for all of the connections I found, they pale into insignificant before on that turned up later posted by David Gutteridge.  Sue Marshall had just denied she was a Momentum member again and he posted this doozy:

banner

That’s Sue Marshall in the red, in the middle.  Oops.

MIU Meeting

MIU Meeting

Tonight I attended the meeting held by the Clinical Commissioning Group (C.C.G.) at the Queen Mary Centre.  It was interesting.

From the outset the local LabKipInd (the new name for the generic mish-mash of “not Conservatives” who make up a ragtag “opposition” in the town) did their best to turn the whole thing political.  They tried putting propaganda leaflets on every seat.  They had bussed in a Labour Councillor from King’s Lynn who also just happened to be a Unison Rep.  They had virtually every notable Leftie summoned to take part.  Their questions, which repeatedly started with “I’m a local Labour Party member…” and then went on to try and make the whole thing about “Government Cuts” really didn’t work.  The public weren’t interested in it at all.

The C.C.G. lady was very good.  She presented their situation well, she explained the reasons why services were being considered.  And she went to some lengths  to suggest that among the options on the table was also an “improved service offering wider treatments.”  You’d never know that from the generic “Austerity Is Doom” shouting from the LabKipInd.

The public questions were intelligent, heartfelt and useful.  Once you stripped out all the Momentum-style “wholesale privatisation of the NHS” stuff that the Labour, Independent and ‘Kippers seemed to be spouting, it was all really quite useful.

Her presentation done, the C.C.G. lady presided over a well-chaired and wide-spanning discussion.  It was a good example of consultation at work, even if it is all a bit late.  Better late than never.  Now it’s important that we push for an outcome that involves improved health services for local people.

A few points I liked.  I enjoyed the fact that the lady pointed out that the C.C.G. decisions are overseen by the County Health Committee, and recognised Cllr. Paul Clapp from his membership of said Committee.  He has been making comments about “Government Cuts” when he is the only local Councillor who sits on the relevant Committee able to challenge this stuff first hand, he does not appear to have been doing so AT ALL, and it was high time somebody called him on his slippery avoidance of that.

No matter how many times Momentum people, Marxists and other collective Left-Wingers tried to push the C.C.G. lady to say this was “all about Government cuts” she absolutely refused to agree with them.  She made reference to the challenging budgets that they face – an aging population, better life expectancy, more health challenges – but also admitted they have a billion pounds and were not “short of cash” just “overspending”.  This is good, since the whole “cuts to the local NHS” mantra has been false from the outset.  No budget can be allowed to be a bottomless pit and all organisations have to be sure to get best use of their taxpayer pounds.  Value for money isn’t “right wing” it is pure common sense.

Most of all I enjoyed the little debate at the end of the meeting.  I don’t know what the collective noun for a bunch of Momentum and Union people is, do you dear reader?  How about “a Coercion of Momentum and Union types?”  Okay, so a Coercion of Lefties approached, spitting feathers over the fact that I hadn’t given their propaganda leaflet the attention and respect they felt it deserved.  (I balled it up.  Though this was tame compared to some of the things I saw other people doing with it.  To be honest, given how many were left laying around I think I was being conscientious in not leaving the litter for the cleaners.)  Since I’ve argued with them about that stupid leaflet since they first started trying to spin with it, I don’t know why they were surprised.  But in fierce debate with them, I challenged each of them to admit they were not telling the truth.  Each of them in turn attempted to divert the discussion rather than do so.  What has happened to local Labour – who appear to be completely in the grip of the Corbynite Momentum movement – is tragic.  They used to be completely different to this.  In the end, they resorted to name-calling.  And then made a plea to avoid name-calling.  It was all very muddled.  But I think they may have just been a bit grumpy because so many chairs in the now-empty hall were still adorned with their leaflet.  Not much “take home” going on there.

Silly local politics aside – the meeting was useful and the public performed well, giving the C.C.G. people much to think about.  It rather seemed to me like they were beginning to backtrack and move towards much better outcomes than has previously been suggested.  I certainly hope so. Time will tell.

Museum Meeting

Museum Meeting

We had a long informal meeting at Town Council today – Councillors and Trustees of Wisbech Museum, primarily to have a chat about their funding situation and see if there was some way we might be able to help.

Most Councillors attended, which was good.  Lots of frank discussion about where the Museum has been and where it would like to go.  Now it will be down to Full Council to consider if there’s any way we can, or should, help.

It goes without saying that all Wisbech Councillors value the Museum and are certainly don’t want to see it run into trouble.  But the financial situation will need serious consideration before a way forwards can even be proposed.

 

Wandsworth Council reject proposals for landlord licensing scheme

The following article can be found in its original form at the website here.

Wandsworth Council reject proposals for landlord licensing scheme

Investigations by London Property Licensing have revealed a decision by Wandsworth Council not to implement a new landlord licensing scheme.

Regulation of the private rented sector is a topic that has recently been considered by Wandsworth Council’s Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee. In a report presented on 6 July 2016, the Committee noted that the private rented sector accounts for about a third of the housing stock, while the number of complaints about poor quality accommodation have reduced in recent years.

The report noted that most complaints are resolved through negotiation and the level of tenant satisfaction is very high, at 85%. It also noted a rise in the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), estimated to be around 15,000 properties.

Less than 500 of these properties are currently licensed under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme as most properties fall outside the licensing scheme criteria.

Having considered the idea of additional or selective licensing, the report concluded that there was no evidence available to justify the introduction of either scheme and so no licensing consultation will be carried out.

Instead the council have come up with a list of ten proposals to better regulate the private rented sector and tackle the small minority of rogue landlords using existing powers. These include:

  • Allocating a higher priority to housing enforcement in the three wards with the highest volume of complaints (Furzedown, Graveney & Tooting wards).
  • Setting up targeted action days.
  • Streamlining admin support so officers can concentrate on landlord / tenant activity.
  • Improving information and advice on the council’s website.
  • Reviewing processes for serving legal notices.
  • Improving training and development for staff on new legislation.
  • Refocusing resources on higher priority complaints and investigations.
  • Setting up a new landlord / letting agent forum and update newsletters.
  • Improving use of IT systems.
  • Improving information sharing and joint working with planning and housing benefits.

Following approval of the recommendations by Overview and Scrutiny on 6 July, the report was supported by the Council’s Executive on 11 July and the 10-point action plan will now be implemented.

This announcement is sure to welcomed by many Wandsworth landlords and letting agents who already strive to provide safe and decent accommodation for their tenants.

David Smith, Policy Director at the Residential Landlord Association commented:

It is really good to see a council considering a range of options around landlord regulation rather than defaulting to licensing.

The Housing Act 2004 offers a range of flexible powers to Councils and this range will shortly be widened with changes in the Housing and Planning Act; Local Housing Authorities should take a risk-based approach and focus their powers on directly addressing the real problems in the Private Rented Sector. It is good to see that Wandsworth has done this.

Ramsey Civic Service

Ramsey Civic Service

I was pleased to represent Wisbech in my role as Deputy Mayor on Sunday at Ramsey’s Civic Service.

The service was in the beautiful St Thomas a Becket Church and went off smoothly.  Wreaths were also laid at the War Memorial to mark Merchant Navy weekend.

It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and I enjoyed chatting to the various civic folk and local people at the reception afterwards.

I’d like to thank the Mayor of Ramsey, Cllr Mrs Adela Costello for the invitation and congratulate her and her team on an excellent service.

Disgraceful

Disgraceful

Despite my attempts to make Virginia Bucknor see reason and drop the party political nonsense in regards to the Minor Injuries Unit, she’s rejected that entirely.

So now we have her, the local Labour “Momentum” people, a disgraced ‘Kipper, the ‘Kipper who sits on the Health & Wellbeing Board (who are supposed to oversee things like this MIU business, but seems to want to blame anybody but himself) and the local “Green” activist all choosing to run the “austerity is to blame” and help the CCG avoid culpability for their poor decisions.

All evidence aside, this seems to be nothing more than a quick way to score party political points.

I tried to be reasonable and not let past grievances get in the way. I asked her several times to rethink her approach and stand together. She scoffed at, reviled, or ignored, every attempt.

If we lose the Minor Injuries Unit because of weakness and disunity, or because the CCG have been given an easy “out” to push closure, I swear I will never let anybody forget the part her group played in it – and she was the key organiser and instigator who created the leaflets which began the political nonsense.

The fight isn’t over. I guess we’ll just have to campaign separately and hope we can still win. But what a terrible shame it has come to this.

save our nhs

WCP – Brief Update 2/9/16

WCP – Brief Update 2/9/16

Two more Wisbech Citizens’ patrol walks over the last couple of days.

We were out late last night with two teams. It was very very quiet, even for Wisbech. A nice evening though so we enjoyed the walk, but saw few people anywhere. Norfolk Street, the Park, the Port, the Memorial Garden, Tillery Fields, Church Gardens – all deserted. We picked up a lot of litter though, so the time wasn’t wasted.

Today we were out again for a lunchtime walk. Town was quite busy, lots of people going about their business. Teams covered all the usual areas and also some roads and areas we’d been asked to look at by the public. We saw a young man doing some amazing parkour. We also thought the the FDC contractors working on the town flower displays were doing amazing work. The gardens look beautiful at the moment. Picking litter, resolving minor issues, but nothing major to report.

Thank you, as ever, to the volunteers.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

I know that some of my political opponents watch my blog, or are told when I post something of interest. Nothing wrong with that.

So this message is for them.

The Minor Injuries Unit is too important for political games.

It would be easy to make it political. I have information I could easily use which would do so. But I am choosing not to do so because we all have to STAND TOGETHER on this.

Trying to make it “Political” with a capital “P” is a very very bad move. Trying to make it about “national cuts” (which it is NOT) or to turn it into a point-scoring election issue in advance of next year’s County Council election is also a very very bad move.

We have to be ONE VOICE. United. Standing together. If we are not we will lose, and our Town will lose its Minor Injuries Unit and potentially the whole hospital. Our disunity will be used against us, our differences capitalised upon.

PLEASE. Labour. UKIP. Independents. Anybody else. For this one issue if nothing else, put aside the Politics and just campaign for common sense and for the good of our town. If you do this then you will have my 100% support and I am sure the support of all my colleagues. Nobody but nobody wants the MIU to close.

WE ARE ON THE SAME SIDE. Don’t throw it away!