Ibbs ““ A man on his way back?

Sometimes when you broadcast or write an article you often find yourself wondering whether you should be saying or writing what you are thinking ““ if you catch my drift.

Today is one of those days, I find myself thinking, oh dear this one isn’t going to go down too well.

But do you no what? When you have a certain strength of feeilng over an issue, or a comment that needs to be aired, you just have to go with the flow and let it all out.

This weeks revelations that were published in our local newspaper regarding the possible legal action taken by multi-million aire Mo Chaudry against Stoke-on-Trent City Council has robbed us of our opportunity to get the views of one of the most respected councillors, Dave Conway.

We have spoken to Dave and agreed that an interview now that lifts the political lid on this hot-potato issue regarding the attempted closure of the Dimensions splash pool, could probably compromise any pending legal action.

That said it is all down to the conscience of Mr Choudry whether he wants to extract money from the very city that he has spent years trying to convince people that he loves. He has an incredible life story, he has many experiences to share and he is a role model for the young and ambitious in our city. The comments left on the original Sentinel article certainly seem to point towards a negative view of Mo’s legal intentions. Strangely enough those telling comments have since been removed from the Sentinel web site.

The one character to emerge relatively unscathed in all this sleaze is also probably one of the most controversial but respected Councillors, Roger Ibbs.

Roger has certainly gone through the mill over the last year or so.

I remember reading comments left on both this site and on other sites speculating that Roger had taken a bung, or that their was some sort of financial corruption that involved him. A fair few of these comment were made by people in Trentham and were no doubt wishful thinking given Ibbs’s stance over the Trentham High issue.

Roger stood his ground over Trentham [so did Ross Irving] and he never wavered or backed down from his stance that Trentham should close and be re-built in another part of Trentham. Give him his due he still feels the same today,but for political intervention forced by Rob Flello MP he may have been proved right.

I doubt that Roger will ever get re-elected in the ward of Trentham and Hanford and that is cool because that is down to the electorate and they have the right to choose who represents them.

But over the Dimensions fiasco, when he was in the cabinet he fought to keep the popular facility open and he no doubt uncovered something that he felt was not quite right. He stood against what he believed was not right for our city and he spoke out, put his head above the parapet, and reported what he thought was outside the realms of acceptability.

He made the original complaint, an internal investigation promised. This then sparked a police investigation, his subsequent arrest and forced an abstention from the local political scene for a long period of time. During his absence, I was probably one of the few who kept in touch with him and probably had the inside track on what had gone down.

He was forced to look elsewhere for his enjoyment and he turned to football management. He runs his the Coors League side Vodafone Stoke. They are doing really well and have just made the last eight in a major non-league cup competition which could result in a final appearance played at Vale Park.

It seems obvious to me that his complete exoneration of any wrong doing relating to the political corruption scandal that rocked the very core of our City is imminent. Questions have to be asked about why there was a need to arrest Roger Ibbs. He was the original complainant and yet he was duped into going to non-existent meeting by a high ranking Council Officer and left in the lap of the gods and at the mercy of the Police.

His forced absence resulted in him reluctantly relinquishing his role as Leader of the Conservative & Independent Alliance which meant that he was out of the running to be Council Leader. He was also forced to step down from the Conservatives, a party that he has supported for 30 years.

It is unreal that now, as more revelations emerge about this scandal, the only person that seems to have any restrictions hanging over them is Roger Ibbs.

The former Elected Mayor has confirmed that there was an intention to close the splash pool at Dimensions and that he supported the move. Yet in Labour Party meetings there was a constant denial that there was no more to this than the saving of a paltry £60k.

I welcome Mo Chaudry’s legal action only because it will out all of the facts that surround this issue. Better still would be an internal enquiry into the matter and I urge the incoming Chief Executive to take decisive action for the good of politics in this city that has been left tarnished in the wake of this issue.

But where next for Ibbsy?

I would urge Ross Irving to get the lad back into the Cabinet at the earliest convenience. Roger has a reputation for being firm and fair where officers are concerned. During my dealings with him as Portfolio Holder over Children & Young People Services he took the lead in all the meetings and above all he was accessible. He stuck to his guns over certain issues, unlike the present incumbent who supported the campaign to save Heathfield Special School and then when he was appointed to the Cabinet promptly signed it’s death warrant.

Roger Ibbs has one major fault and that is he is a Tory, [I say this as someone who has strong socialist leanings!] but in terms of political nous and as someone who knows all the in’s and outs of local government there isn’t many that can match him.

In this current period where there is a huge outcry against what is seen as officers leading politicians instead of the other way round, party politics should be put to one side and the chamber should unite. Yes I mean even the BNP, all need to come together to regain control.

For too long now the tail has wagged the dog and I’m sorry if it upsets certain people, particularly in Trentham, but Roger Ibbs is not only capable of attaching the leash, he is also able to lead the dog in a particular direction.

Let’s hope he gets the chance soon shall we? I suppose he could always try to become the next Sir Alex Ferguson”¦

Hang on, Fergie is a Labourite isn’t he?”¦.

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About Tony Walley

I was Abbey Hulton born and bred, now live in Meir Hay.I'm married to Nita, we have 2 kids Tom 19 & Amy 17.I'm the Managing Director of a local aluminium stockist.I'm also a radio presenter and presented sport on radio for a number of years, more recently for Focal Radio.It was on Focal that I got the chance to present a programme of my favourite music genre which is Soul & Smooth Jazz. The programme was really popular and attracted overseas listeners online.Look out for our new venture www.6towns.co.uk - Community Radio for the good folk of the 6 Towns!I was the original creator of the blog Pits'n'Pots which gained some credibility when Mike Rawlins joined the site and has now blossomed into this site.I love sport particularly Golf & Tennis. I packed up playing football some years ago when I started picking up lot's of fines for bookings from late tackles!I play golf at Leek Golf Club and Tennis at Draycott Sports Centre.

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