About Tideswellman

Been camped down here in Staffs since 94 now.

BNP Roadshow hits Stoke again

The BNP will be rolling back into town again on Sunday with the launch of their English Manifesto. This time, Longton hosts the launch. It will be interesting to see if support for the BNP is as diminished as it was in last May’s elections, or whether they have done enough to regroup and revive this time around.

I have never been a fan of the BNP. Being of mixed race myself, I have always been suspicious of their motives. Being accosted by National Front Skinheads as a boy will certainly make you suspicious, if not angry and fearful. However, since working on PnP I have tried to put my personal prejudices aside and report on what I see, as opposed to what I might be feeling due to external influence.

Having met the BNP senior leadership last year, I’d at least had the opportunity to talk and interact with them in a normal way, without having my judgement swayed by what I’d read in the papers.

I really don’t know what the BNP would do to people like me, if they were to ever gain power in a general election. They say that there would be no forced repatriation. They do however say, that ethnic minorities would be offered money to leave the country. Both Nick Griffin and Simon Darby were at pains to point out that this was an old Labour Policy. No one from Labour ever came round to my house asking me to leave and waving a one way ticket to Barbados though.

I ‘ve heard from multiple sources that Stoke BNP has some good councillors. I have also heard that they have got some or had some pretty useless ones too. The results last may showed that the BNP were losing popularity within the city. However, The recession has really begun to bite now, and I’m sure the BNP will be really looking to capitalise on that fact.

Some of the noises the BNP have been making abut Mosques worry me. If an immigrant comes to this country legally, and he/she is a Muslim, then I have no issue with them whatsoever in letting them use their money to purchase buildings to be used as Mosques. So long as there is adequate parking and facilities and that all the proper planning procedures have been followed. Like many though I do have reservations about the addition of Domes and Minarets being added. I’m a Derbyshire lad and grew up in an area where the planning laws were very strict. Driving around Stoke-on-Trent I’m regularly surprised with some of the building alterations that have been allowed. I personally think that Domes and Minarets would change the character of the town. I’ve seen them in Birmingham, and very pretty they are too but im my mind they look out of place because this is Britain. It should be noted though that Britain has many Sikh temples, with Domes and I haven’t heard the BNP moaning about those, the opposite in-fact, regularly claiming Sikhs as allies.

Of course Britain is changing all the time and always has been so perhaps I’m behind step in my thinking? I would challenge any unusual building project though not just ones pertaining to religious buildings.

There will be many who say that they are shocked by my article, and some will say I’m even defending the BNP. I say that they are a political party, a legal party. If we want to be fair, and to live in a fair society then we must allow them to speak. If we don’t like what they say then we all have the option of not voting for them.

That’s why I’m writing this blog, and it’s the same reason I wrote the blog post “The day I met the BNP” . Because I don’t approve of the constant lampooning the mainstream press give the BNP. Last May, the mainstream press pushed past PNP to get at the BNP, yet not a one of the broadsheets or tabloids wrote anything worthy of reading when it came to the policy. That’s just pathetic. If the owners of the papers want to work against the BNP then the fairest way would be to write independent articles that detail policy and lay out their argument against it allowing the public to make up their mind.

Nick Griffin told us that the Press had been involved in smear campaign against the BNP, I’d read that before and didn’t believe it really. Until I read the papers the next day. PitsnPots were the only media outlet that told it as it was. the papers just made daft jokes about the bloke dressed as St George.

When I met with Councillor Steven Batkin last year, regarding the Nazi Salute Photo, he was a pleasant and polite man, we treated each other with dignity. Some of his rhetoric was, in my opinion, incorrect and distasteful, but I allowed him to speak and he allowed me to publish.

Politics has become muddied by spin in the last decade. We need to hear all voices and clearly. Let the people decide what they think of the BNP. Regardless of whether the British National Party are cast aside, or increase their seats, I think politics in Britain will be improved for the greater transparency. One could be forgiven for thinking that the larger parties don’t want any more transparency for the BNP, because it will, sooner or later be demanded of them also.

Flint Kickstarts Labour’s Stoke Campaign

Yesterday saw a special meeting of Labour Party Members gather at Burslem’s School of Art. Labour MP’s Joan Walley and Tristram Hunt were in attendance along with the Leader of the Council, Mohammed Pervez. Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was the guest speaker.

Joan Walley spoke of the need to unify the party and to move forward demonstrating a united party. Mohammed Pervez talked up the positive aspects of what Stoke-on-Trent Council had been able to do despite being weakened by coalition. He pointed out that the Children’s Centres had all been saved despite having to suffer cuts, BSF and Cobridge Health Centres were other Labour Initiatives he urged members to remind voters about. Pervez urged members not to be complacent, and to campaign hard to prove that Labour were the right party for Stoke-on-Trent. Members were then invited to ask Ms Flint questions.

Party members touched on localism the cuts to the local Police Force and the closure of local Police Stations. Flint talked about the differences in Labours promised 12% cuts in camparison to the Coalition’s 20%. She remarked about Police inspectors in her own constituency of Don Valley being brought forward to deal with back room functions such as complaints, as the force was stretched ever thinner. Commenting on “ a whole generation of Police officers who are being let go”; Flint painted an ominous future for policing in Britain. She denied that Labour were "scaremongering" on this topic describing the issue of cuts to the police as something "very real and very precious to people’s sense of safety in their communities", and that it was "absolutely right" that Labour hold the Government to account.

Former Mayor, Mark Meredith asked about the Impact of localism within the Labour movement. Flint responded by saying that Labour had some very good examples of local councils where they had looked at ways of involving the community, and that getting them involved was “a good Idea”. She reminded party members that the Labour Party was founded on ideas such as co-operatives and community groups. She drew a distinction between the localism of Labour and David Cameron’s “Big Society” stating that “ People are being told , if you don’t take this services over, then it’s gone” quoting local libraries and swimming pools as examples. When responding to a question about the cuts in Education and the NHS, Ms Flint reminded the audience that not every child was born with the advantage that some have, particularly those at the top of the government.

She finished off the meeting by stating that Labour’s policies, whether based on Education, NHS or safer communities were about fairness at the end of the day, and that what the coalition was doing at the moment was “completely unfair”.

I managed to catch up with Ms Flint and ask her a couple of questions relating to Labour in Stoke.

Recognition for Olympic hopefuls in Newcastle

Young Staffordshire sportspeople who are making the grade on the national stage and some with an eye on the 2012 Olympics have been recognised by the county council.

Forty-two young athletes putting pride into Staffordshire attended a ceremony at Cannock Cricket and Hockey Club this week. They were presented with a cheque from Staffordshire County Council’s Young People’s Sports Performance Grant Scheme. All are members of their national governing body’s performance or development squads and many are already competing for their country in their age group.

Olympic badminton player Tracey Hallam relayed her experiences to the athletes at the ceremony. Tracey, from Burton, competed in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and was Ladies Singles Champion at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Tracey said: “It’s fantastic to meet such an array of exceptionally talented young sports people from Staffordshire. If I have inspired them in anyway today then great, but they have certainly inspired me with their achievements and ambition.

“The Olympics are the pinnacle of an athlete’s career and I hope to see some of those I met today in London competing at the Olympics next year or perhaps in Rio in 2016.”

County Councillor Pat Corfield, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customers said: “Staffordshire is very proud of what our young sportspeople are achieving.

“I am very pleased to be able to recognise and support so much sporting talent in the county.

“Many of these young people are our potential future Olympians and their dedication and commitment to their sport deserves to be rewarded.

“It is also worth remembering that these athletes wouldn’t be where they are now without the support of their families and the dedicated volunteer workforce that is the bedrock of our local sports clubs.”

Each year the scheme provides funding to support young sportspeople who either live or go to school in Staffordshire and have proven to excel in their field. The money awarded is used to support the cost of their training and participation in competitions, including expenses such as travel, equipment and accommodation.People receiving the awards were from a wide range of sports including athletics, snowboarding, swimming, canoe slalom and volleyball.

Each athlete recieved £380.

Flames are not Games

Today Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a new campaign to highlight the dangers of deliberately starting grass fires.

A press release reveals that the Service tends to see a dangerous increase in grass fires over the Easter Holidays which is put down to children and teenagers starting fires deliberately.

Last Easter, there were 215 grass fires across Staffordshire during the half term break. With 113 of those in the Stoke and Newcastle areas.

This year, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are hoping to educate young people about the dangers of starting fires deliberately and have designed a poster which will be distributed amongst school countywide. The poster has a firefighter on it and is entitled “ËœFlames Aren’t Games. Grass Fires Kill.’

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said: “Young people who start grass fires seem oblivious to the fact that they are endangering their own lives as well as firefighters.

“A grass fire can quickly spread and it does not take much for clothing to set on fire and before you know it, you have horrific burns which could claim your life.
“For every call we receive about a grass fire there could be a person desperately trying to get out of a burning building or trapped in a car crash in urgent need of our assistance.

“We work closely with partners to address the reasons for this type of crime and we hope by using role models, such as the footballers, we can educate young people about the dangers of playing with fire.

Contacts
To book a free Home Fire Risk Check contact: 0800 0241 999. You can also book online at http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp. For all other non emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills. In an emergency dial 999.

Ofsted inspection is good news for Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Following an unannounced inspection of contact, referral and assessment arrangements at the city council on 8 and 9 March Ofsted have said ‘The majority of areas for development have been fully addressed’.

Ofsted inspectors gathered evidence from electronic case records, supervision files and notes, observation of social workers and interviews with staff and managers.

The report states areas of development identified at a previous inspection of contact, referral and assessments arrangements in June 2010 have been addressed with only one area remaining that requires development.

The report goes on to highlight good work in: prompt action taken on contacts and referrals; case records being largely thorough and up-to-date; social workers have access to a wide range of training and are well supported; and police domestic violence referrals are now being addressed in a timely fashion.

Sharon Menghini, Director for Children and Young People Services said: “Given this was an unannounced inspection it gives a true picture of exactly how much proactive development work we have put into our contact, referral and assessment services. These services are very important when it comes to safeguarding children in our city which is a priority for us. While there remain areas for us to address, overall it is really good news for us. The Council is making significant progress in driving our Children and Young People Services forward as a service we are proud off.”

Areas for development mentioned in the report are around duplication in the current system of paper files and telephone calls as well as needing to more clearly consider previous history of social care involvement with families in all re-referrals and assessments. Work has already started to put these areas right as soon as possible.

Where…..do you stand Mr Milliband?

It was a nice April evening last year when The PnP team Met Ed Milliband, Tristram Hunt and Rob Flello as they had their Labour Party meeting at the Red House Pub, Longton.

At the time I was trying to be as impartial as I could be I did mention to Tristram Hunt and Councillor tom Reynolds that Brown had to stop chuffing about go and be real with the people and stop backing wars that no one believed in because I felt it simply wasn’t the labour way.

Now I’m quite sure there are some people out there thinking , “Well Phil, who are you to lecture TH, RF and DM”? The answer is no one, of course, they are all infinitely more educated and successful that I am and they have far more experience of politics than I do. That said, I’m a voter, I come from a labour voting background and I’d like to say that I reckon I know which way the wind’s blowing when it comes to the man in the street.

Since Last may we have seen the election of the coalition,
Which to my eyes has been oddly successful in sticking it out over the last year. We have seen Gordon Brown retreat, defeated to the back benches, a sad waste of a man who should now, in my opinion should still be the chancellor of the Exchequer.

We have seen Ed Milliband, against the odds, usurp his brother and become the Labour Leader. I openly welcomed this, as I felt that Labour seriously needed a change of tack and thought that David Milliband was cast far too much in the mould of the Blair and Brown years, in which the public had lost trust and patience.

Today however, well, actually for the last couple of weeks now I have been wondering what the hell Mr Milliband is playing at. He has been arguing publicly against the cuts of the Coalition at every turn he has been saying that he wouldn’t have cut so deeply or so fast. He has Marched with Trades Unionists stating, that the cuts are damaging Britain.

I ask then, is this the same Mr Milliband who has been actively and openly supporting Military action against the sovereign country of Libya? Is this the same Mr Milliband who agrees with and clearly endorses the massive spending that military action is costing? stating on the March 14th
“I don’t think we can just stand by as Colonel Gaddafi takes greater hold in Libya,”

“Hold in Libya”? He’s the leader? He may be a dictator, but a dictator who the west has supported and propped up for years.

I know there are the humanitarians amongst you who say that something had to be done. Perhaps it did. I for one don’t like the thought of innocent civilians being killed by dictators. However, I cant see the UN intervening right now in Zimbabwe, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Chechnya, Syria, Iran or Yemen. the fact of the matter is that a sovereign country is a sovereign county, and China and Russia have in my opinion the correct interpretation of International law. Don’t meddle.

Usually I’d attack the government for taking such action but this article is about Labour, and Labour values. Nevermind Mr Cameron for one moment. Although clearly he too is suffering some massive memory loss.

Milliband!! I thought you were against cuts? You are against cuts? How can you then, sanction costly military action when the money being spent on WAR could be put to better use?

This is of course the moment when defenders of the Libya action wade in and smugly point out that all the money being spent on the Libya campaign is already in the control of the MOD’s budget. My retort is simple enough.

“True, but when that budget is all spent, does that mean that the MOD will have to rub along with next years budget minus it’s spend of this campaign”? Or will the taxpayer have to dig deep yet again to make up the shortfall, ” To ensure Britain is kept safe”. I think we all know the answer don’t we?

Furthermore, the money the MOD is spending in Libya could be better spent protecting our troops in the other war of folly “Afghanistan”. Our Brave service personnel are putting their lives on the line out there, whilst the backup budget is being blown attacking Libya, where we cannot afford, nay, DARE NOT risk getting further involved.

The British action alone reportedly cost 28.5 million pounds in the first four days, according to the Telegraph

The IB Times reported “The Royal United Services Institute estimated that the British cost of the ongoing Libyan campaign might reach as high as £100 million in just four to six weeks.”

So the 28 million pounds spent in the first week would more or less have put Stoke on the right track. whatever we spend in coming weeks will no doubt have helped other towns and cities despite the fact we are told repeatedly that “WE HAVE TO CUT”.

All this isn’t helping the price of oil spiralling into insanity, causing motorists to struggle and businesses go to the wall because of the instability in Libya. Is the there a man alive today that thinks that when Gadafi comes through this , which he surely will, that he won’t unleash the hounds of hell on the UK and all taking part in this military action. At the start of the war he was claiming Al Quaeda were behind the insurrections, now he’ll be welcoming them in with open arms.

So, I repeat the question Mr Milliband, where do you stand?
Are you for the cuts or against the cuts? From where I sit it is completely unclear what you stand for..and in the eyes of the common man, that means you stand for nothing at all.

Dispersal Order issued for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor

A new dispersal order is to be put in force by Staffordshire Police and Stoke-on-Trent City Council at the end of this week.

The Section 30 Dispersal Zone will run in the Fegg Hayes and Packmoor area from 1 April 2011 to 1 October 2011.

To complement this, a number of activities are available for young people to access on various nights of the week including the Hoppa Bus at Whitfield Valley Centre; activities at Packmoor Youth Club and free boxing sessions at James Brindley High School.

A Section 30 is to help people not feel frightened or discouraged from using
Public places because of the behaviour of groups of people, and is also intended to protect children and young people from the risks of being unaccompanied on the streets late at night.

The boundary of the Section 30 Dispersal Zone will be as follows:

Along Mellor Street to Birchenwood Road to the junction of Colclough Lane; down to Zodiac Drive down to St Michael’s Road, along Roseberry Street up to Clement Road; across to Johnson Place to the junction with Oxford Road.
Along Cumberbatch Avenue to Biddulph Road, along the recreation ground up to Handley Street to the junction with Mellor Street.

A Section 30 Dispersal Zone gives the police the following powers:

To disperse groups of two or more people;
To take young people under the age of 16 years home after 9pm.
To order that person to not return within 24 hours, if they do not live in that area

If individuals refuse to follow the direction to disperse they will be committing an offence. This could result in a fine up to £2,500 or imprisonment, or both.

Tony Oakman, Director of Adult and Neighbourhood Services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“Complaints from local residents have lead both ourselves and the police to the point where the dispersal order was the most appropriate measure.

The order prevents groups of two or more people gathering and acting in an anti-social way like drinking and being noisy and abusive to local residents.

This is an good example the council working in partnership with the police to stop those people who disrupt other people’s lives and ruin communities.”

PC Jaime Isaacs, neighbourhood officer for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor, said:

“The introduction of a Section 30 Dispersal Zone is the latest tool to be implemented to tackle anti-social behaviour in Fegg Hayes and Packmoor.

Our officers have been working closely with other agencies and the community itself to address issues in the areas concerned and there has been improvement in the behaviour of some young people. Despite this, there are a number of people who continue to cause nuisance and distress to other members of the community by their actions.

Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated by Staffordshire Police and we will continue to work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and other partners, to address such matters.

Have you been affected by anti social behaviour? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Or, Perhaps youare a teenager and have been accused of antisocial behaviour. how do you think these measures will impact on young people. Get in touch we’d love to hear your views.

A Death in the Family – Why aren’t men allowed to Grieve?

For those of you who have followed PitsnPots from the beginning, will know that over the last couple of years I have been an active contributor. Recently though, I haven’t been around as I needed some time to gather my thoughts following the recent death of my father.

This post isn’t asking for any sympathy, I have had plenty of that, for which I’m very grateful. Rather it is about the Effect a Death in the family has on Men. the post is about how our society is afraid to confront Death and it’s effects, and is on the whole reluctant to provide a visible safety net for those that death affects.

Men are like many of us, for various reasons Pigeonholed. I say Pigeonholed as a broad generalisation, because we blokes are of course all different.

When it comes to Death though, we are just expected to “Get on with it” regardless.

I’m in my late 30’s now and to tell the truth, I’m not an over emotional guy, passionate, I am, emotional, not really. So, When my dad died in November I was unpleasantly surprised by the impact his death has had on me.

anyone who loses a loved one from a terminal illness, knows that with Death, can sometimes come tremendous relief.

I was lucky enough to be with my dad when he passed, and I can honestly say It was a massive relief, almost instantaneously. Of course we were heartbroken that he had died, but we were so relived that his suffering was finally at an end.

After the initial hit and finality of the Death….you are thrown into overdrive because there is a mad flurry of necessary business to be done, such as organising the funeral. flowers, Death Certificate, State Pensions, Tax, Private Pensions, Bank Changes, Life assurance and Wills to deal with.

I’m an only child so, with my mum grieving the loss of her husband of 46 years, I dealt with all of the above in the first week after dad’s death.There wasn’t much time to grieve then. Of course we cried, I can’t remember a time in my life when I cried more.

Crying is not seen as a terribly manly thing to do, even when it bursts out of you at the death of a loved one, by instinct we fight it and choke it back inside. I’m not ashamed to cry, In fact I feel it really did me good, I felt like an over inflated tyre, finally easing the pressure. Despite me being ok with crying, there was a nagging doubt when I did it and a terrible feeling of guilt that I was being weak, and therefore letting my mum down and upsetting her even more.

Work, is another tricky area to negotiate when yo are bereaved. I was told I could take 5 days compassionate leave. I took it and din’t think anything of it at the end of the 5 days I needed to take a coupe more because of the Funeral arrangements. So, 7 Days off work, and when I went back in the boss reminded me that I now owed the company two days.

I understand completely, but I don’t like it. Five days to move on and forget what just happened. Five days to accept that your formative years, of companionship love laughter and protection have just been erased, but..get back to your desk?

My workmates, were supportive and I received the obligatory sympathy card but beyond that, a stony silence. no one asks me how I am, is it because I’m a man and should be able to deal with it?

So, back to work and dealing with everyone elses issues and problems a weeks in..it finally its you, “where’s dad? ” I miss him! And the question is who is there for you, who really cares?

I understand that Death makes people uncomfortable. Nobody knows what to say to you, some people even cross the road to avoid you, which hurts.

I’m sure this happens to Women too, but Men are just expected to have put it away. Other men won’t mention it because God forbid, you might start waxing lyrical about your loved one, you might even break down and cry.

We all lose someone sometime, and we all cope with things differently, some of us drink to forget, some of us fall into a black pit of despair and depression some of us throw ourselves into work, whilst others fall into a malaise of laziness and apathy.

To be suddenly thrust forward as the (Male) head of the family is a daunting sensation, now people look to you for guidance, or to obstinate about petty matters, and to have the final say. I’m a big character and thought I’d take all this in my stride, but after the death of your Father, you begin to realise just how big his shoes were and filling them won’t be an easy task.

Society needs to recognise that Men aren’t all as strong as we appear on the outside. We were all children once, and the death of a parent brings those memories and feelings back. Allowing Men to Grieve could allow us to get a sense of perspective about who we are and why we are really here. This could only be beneficial to society as a whole.

If you have had any similar experiences, and would like to share them please comment below. Or if you want to email me it’s Phil AT pitsnpots.co.uk

Black History Month – Why we still need it

So Black History month 2010 is upon us, and as I sit here and take a breather after working hard to get the website to this state of readiness, I wonder how long it will be before the mud starts flying?

Black History Month, is at best controversial in Britain for a number of reasons. There are those on the right of the political spectrum who believe it is “Racist and Divisive”. They say that to have Black History Month smacks of hypocrisy, when white organisations are not afforded the same courtesy.

They believe that to celebrate black history exclusively is to separate black people from the rest of the population, and that ultimately leads to deeper division.

Then we have those on the left of politics who believe that Black History Month is absolutely essential. That Black people have been oppressed for far too long and that the creation of a dedicated month, of events and seminars, creation of websites, informative newsletters and media programming, empowers black people to re-connect with their lost and hidden heritage. They believe that the removal or cessation of such an event would be racist in the extreme and an attack on the civil liberties of black people.

So where is the middle ground?

Before we get into the rights and wrongs of whether BHM should even exist, allow me to make some observations.

I approach the whole subject with the observation that Black History Month EXISTS, it existed in America first, and it exists now in Britain and has since the mid Eighties, although few people would really know it. The very fact that it exists, suggests to me that any person of African/Caribbean origin, who has anything about them, will want to be involved in some way.

If there are seminars, information or exhibitions available to you, that will help you increase knowledge of self and national identity, then why not go along? Why not increase your knowledge about history? why not contextualise your own life in the history of not just your own ethnic group but in the world community? Anyone who rejects this idea, simply because they feel uninterested, is in my opinion, cutting their nose to spite their face. Refusing to learn because you don’t like the subject matter is the tactic of a child.

For those who exhibit at and organise events during Black History Month, not only is it a perfect time, to reach out to your own demographic and beyond with information about your services and products, it is also a fantastic networking opportunity. Businesses who ignore BHM are simply sleeping. Regardless of your ethnicity, this is a time of economic hardship, and events that bring people together en-masse bring with them an opportunity for businesses to sell, make money and to form strong community links.

Walter Tull

Walter Tull

My feelings regarding the morality of BHM are that the idea behind BHM is not racist. Sure only black people are featured, but one has to ask oneself why this is. It is simply because many of the personalities highlighted during BHM are conspicuous by their absence in mainstream accepted history. A good example is the wholesale exclusion of black contribution to the defence of the realm during 2 World Wars.

When learning about WW1, Individual stories are rarely focused on, so figures like Walter Tull go un-noticed. What was special about him, critics would say? Well he WAS special, he was the only Black Commissioned Officer in the British Army at that time, due to a rule forbidding non whites from leading white troops. Nevertheless he managed to rise from Private soldier to Lieutenant in just 2 years.

During and after the First World War the use by France of African Troops to occupy the Rhineland is rarely mentioned, even though there is a lot of documentary evidence. Little is made of their contribution, or the treatment they faced by the Germans if they were captured. Even less is told of the racist propaganda they had to endure whilst they were doing their duty overseas. Even the British Press printed stories of the “Black Horror on the Rhine“, siding with the very people who had recently been Britains enemy. Making accusations based on hearsay and racial prejudice.

During World War 2, The Royal Airforce is widely credited with saving Britain from invasion by thwarting the Luftwaffe’s attempts to crush British spirit and achieve total air superiority. It is often mentioned that Polish, and Canadians Served in the Airforce, but the Indians and West Indians hardly ever get a mention. In fact In a glossy magazine that I picked up last month commemorating the Battle of Britain, not one Black or Asian Airman was featured or even mentioned. Perhaps the publishers didn’t know of their involvement? Perhaps the Publishers did, but chose to omit them, if so why? Surely if Black and Asian shoppers felt more connected with the events of WW2 then they would spend their hard earned cash, and learn in the process?

Until as recently as 1997 Caribbean Troops who served in both Wars weren’t even invited to the Cenotaph to commemorate the War Dead. All this amounts to a white washing of history,and one could be forgiven for thinking that black people, simply didn’t participate in either world War. Today there are so few old comrades left, that without a concerted effort to insert their efforts into the public consciousness, who would even know of their efforts?

Of course, there are countless examples of black Britons I could use to illustrate this point but the loss of Black history and contribution is lamentable indeed, not just for black people but for all Britons regardless of colour. It is important that British citizens we have a detailed historical record of our past. The Internet now provides new ways to locate and present that information, not just to each other but to the whole world.

Until the above examples and countless others find their way into the majority of history reports, the school curriculum and publications, then black History month will always be needed, because without it we are simple not getting the full picture.

Related Links

Walter Tull

Caribbean Aircrew in WW2

Memorial Gates- We Also Served

Senegalese Tirailleurs

Newcastle Residents Frustrated by Parking Debacle

Note: This post is a blog an therefore not a fully factual or impartial article.

Tuesday 17th August saw Newcastle residents of the West Brampton Area of Town Ward gather to meet with the residents association, Local Councillor Dave Clarke and One of the local PCSO’s.

The issue of parking around the West Brampton area has been a hot potato for many years. Every day non residents come into the area and park their cars, often leaving them for long periods. Not only to they do this, but there are often instances of Double parking, parking in front of Garages, blocking people in parking on the kerb, Parking in turning circles and other instances of selfish behaviour.

The streets around the West Brampton area are “Except for Access Areas, meaning that vehicles should not enter into the zone unless accessing the properties.

Local residents have now for some years obtained a Paper permit from the Local council offices in Merrial Street.

These passes allow one car and one visiting car per household to park in the streets and avoid receiving a ticket from either police or Parking Officials.
However in recent years dues to motorists contesting the issuing of tickets, the authorisation to issue legally binding has been removed from the PCSO’s.

Borough Council parking staff seem unsure of the rules as to whether or not they are allowed to issue tickets to cars not displaying the local permits.

Previous meetings between the council and the police and residents been largely fruitless, ending up in the debate about what is to be done going around in circles.

In Previous meetings Police informed residents that, although cars shouldn’t be entering the area, they were not able to issue tickets, as parking in these areas is not technically illegal, driving through is. However, Common sense would dictate that to park, one has to drive and therefore the car has contravened the law.

It is this sort of red tape that has the residents of the West Brampton area hopping mad, and last night they gave Councillor Dave Clarke a piece of their mind.

The Council was accused of not caring about local residents as it was “allowing local workers to distribute cars throughout residential areas so that it could ignore it’s responsibility to provide adequate town parking.

When Councillor Clarke suggested a new “trial Scheme” where residents would get new permits and the displaying of permits would be enforced. residents responded angrily, stating that they already had a scheme, and they just wanted that scheme to work, and that any new scheme would be simply a way to introduce a paid, residents parking zone by the back door, something residents have previously stated that they do not want.

In recent weeks police have been working with Local MP and have started to issue Warning leaflets (See Below).

One resident asked Councillor Clarke if a petition was gathered by Residents, would the councilor present it to the County Council? Councillor Clarke said that he would do this.

The Saga continues.