Inside the Civic

Those who thought all out elections would bring some stability to our Council must be feeling embarrassed this week as Council Leader Mohammed Pervez took a scalpel to his cabinet, cutting out the disobedient Gratton and challenger Hill, and carving up the other portfolios in what is quite clearly more than the ‘tweaking’ he described it as.

The introduction of Platt and Dutton is seen as a nod to the left wingers in the group, who re-emerged in 2011 to rival the modernisers who were in danger of taking over Labour. Continue reading

In Defence Of The Young

In 1899 they were accused of blocking the pavement forcing decent people into the road in Derby St, swearing and playing cards on the Pickwood Rec.

In 1954 they were accused of intimidating passengers on the Cheddleton Bus, vandalising municipal flowerbeds and engaging in a mass punch up in Haywood St over the Easter weekend.

In 2011 they are accused of laziness, lacking a work ethic, according to local businessman, drunkenness, illiteracy and being ignorant.

In the three instances the accused are young people as portrayed by older people.
Its time for a defence to be launched.

I work with young people; I know of them and in the course of an ordinary day will come in contact with young people. Most I know in these settings are perfectly fine, courteous, hard working, amusing and to use the jargon of the time” customer focused”. I am sure that some young people behave badly as I know that there are some old people act outrageously. The old man last summer who swore vilely at a bus driver and thumped the side of the bus in Longsdon is one side of the equation as is the skinhead who helped me with a buggy in which lay my sleeping baby daughter in Lime St the other.

Could it be that young people today, as they were yesterday, are being deliberately misunderstood by politicians and journalists who wish to use them to suit their own ends? Do the young serve a useful function as a scapegoat for the inadequacies of their elders?

I am sure that if we consider the question of the alleged uselessness of the British teenager we can all think of individual acts of kindness carried out by them. I don’t envy the young today in a country which has burdened them with debt and in which over a million find themselves unemployed. And they are being written off. Yet they had nothing to do with this crisis and the young will picking up the bill for a long time. This crisis is caused by the uselessness of the old.

I like the Victorians

I like the Victorians. They had drive, they had energy, they believed in progress. I know that there was poverty and disease and huge discrepancies in wealth but look around at any North Staffs town and you can see obvious signs of their desire for improvement. Local towns were building their own gas works, they were organising their own water supplies, and they were building their own town halls. And this was done at speed look at the 30 years it took them to build the railway system, look at the drains under the streets of many cities in the UK. I wrote this on the day that Burslem Town Hall was put up for sale. I came across the opening ceremony for the Town Hall in 1857. It was obviously a moment for pride and followed 6 years later by the Wedgwood Institute opened by Mr Gladstone.

I also came across more modern examples of public works in my work today. Jez Moxey breezy stating in 1996 that the new Britannia Stadium would have ” ample” parking and why o why was it built next to a railway line without a station? Anyone who has studied the history of the last 30 years in the area must conclude that modern politicians are big on building castles in the air, but unlike the Victorians not very good at doing the actual building.

Bullying

I was working at my till when the person arrived with two children. The individual was exhausted and fatigued was etched into the face. They were very tired and told me that they were unable to sleep. They had tried all the remedies such as lavender on the pillow, not drink caffeine and exercises. The real problem was the atmosphere at work. They worked in a big NHS building project in North Staffs. The atmosphere was terribly bullying. People were yelled at for getting the tiniest thing wrong, The CMT were the worst behaved and the men and the women were equally badly behaved.

Bullying at work seems to be endemic. My partner in a catering post at Kerrygold equally had a bad time and it had a very damaging impact on our relationship as she suffered from insomnia and became very angry. She eventually left after a few months of this ordeal.

I gather from one and two sources that the atmosphere at the City Council is equally poisonous. I am told that no dissent is countenanced and the working environment is not a healthy one.

This seems to fall into a national pattern according to the recruitment agency Monster
Britons are among the world’s most bullied workers, with seven in 10 admitting to being bullied by bosses or colleagues.

A survey by recruitment company recently questioning 16,517 workers in 53 countries, discovered a quarter of Britons find the bullying and cruel jibes so upsetting it dramatically affects their performance at work.

Some 10% admitted they had even been physically attacked in the workplace.

The research also found that our European counterparts also suffer badly from workplace bullying, with a staggering 83% claiming to be victims of physical or emotional bullying at work at some point in their career.

This compares to 65% of bullied Americans and 55% of harrassed Asian workers.

The survey also discovered that Spanish workers are most likely to be physically attacked while sensitive Dutch workers are the most likely to shed a tear due to work bullying.

Belgium had the lowest rate of workplace bullying, with 38%

Stoke-on-Trent Labour Group ““ The Shape of Things to Come?

You know me, I like to ponder on situations and then try to dissect them in public, as is my want you see?

I have to say that last week’s call to discuss the closure of the Willfield Fitness Centre at the Adult & Wellbeing Overview & Scrutiny meeting has left an nasty taste in my mouth.

I have been largely supportive of Council Leader Mohammed Pervez and his 34 strong Labour group but I hope that the actions of the Labour councillors on that particular committee and the Labour cabinet members in attendance, is not the shape of things to come.

Here we have a popular fitness centre, loved by the community, used by many from Bentilee and beyond, closed without out so much as a single comment from the Labour contingent on that committee.

Although the Labour members should not have been whipped on a scrutiny committee, by the actions of the said Labour members and the Labour cabinet members in attendance, They were absolutely told how they WILL vote.

I am in no doubt that Cllrs Sheila Pitt, Alison Wedgwood, and Matt Fry would have received a serious reprimand by the senior officers of the Labour group for, in the case of Alison and Sheila, sticking to their election pledges.

Labour whip Kath Banks had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp during that meeting and could not have looked more disinterested in proceedings if she tried.

The way the meeting was chaired by the normally amiable Cllr Bagh Ali left me in no doubt who was running the meeting, the director Tony Oakman.

He was allowed to say what he wanted, for as long as he wanted with no interruption. Cllr Dave Conway was constantly disrupted in a clear attempt to throw him off course.

Talking of the officers, the old joke of how many does it take to change a light bulb was certainly relevant here. 8 officers were present and if you were to tot up their collective salaries you would unearth a value that would give the Staffordshire Hoard a run for it’s money.

So, Labour have demonstrated that they will side with the officers over their election promises in another glaring example of taking the Cabinet dollar.

Have we been here before I wonder?

It appears not to matter who the rulers are, Labour, Conservative Independent, Liberal Democrats, or a mixture of them all, it’s the same old scene.

But what has left me even more uneasy about the situation, is the fact that not more than a week prior to the call in, CEO John van de Laarschot launched his mandate for change which placed a heavy emphasis on the Health and Wellbeing of the citizens of Stoke-on-Trent.

It isn’t that long ago that the place attracted the unfortunate label of being a “Ëœsick city’. And yet we close a facility that is proven to be making a difference in exactly the sort of area of the city that needs the most help ““ way to go!

Our CEO gave an inspirational performance at that gig. I and a good few others were taken in by the message that together we can make a difference. My plea to John van de Laarschot for the future success of the Mandate for Change project and the rejuvenation of the City of Stoke-on-Trent is – “ËœGet your officers on task!’

Here was a golden opportunity to prove to all that the council was up to working with community groups to find a way of keeping popular facilities open for business.

We are in unprecedented times, an era where it is clear, and for my part accepted, that the council cannot continue to fund everything and that there has to be painful cuts.

The officers of the council rubbished the Willfield Community Group’s business plan and then dismissed it out of hand.

Why didn’t any officer of the council make contact with the group to offer assistance in getting the business case more in line with what the council need and expect?

Where was the dialogue?

Where was the help?

Where was the commitment needed to deliver a Mandate for Change?

So again I lay down the gauntlet to the council, in a no doubt futile attempt, to change and to demonstrate that our council are serious about empowering communities.

With £20million more cuts to come in the next financial year, if there is not a drastic change in the Council, it’s CEO, directors and officers what services and facilities will be left in our city?

Our Labour Group need to LEAD and not be LED. You have the opportunity to make a difference, you have the opportunity to step up to the plate ““ Take it!

The majority of the electorate voted you in the belief that you would deliver on your election promises and to work to make our city more inclusive and more progressive. It ain’t a great start guys!

Many months ago, a politician that I respect enormously told me that the decision not to allow the building of a new academy to be on the Mitchell High School site was all about academies setting the right example to the communities in which they serve.

I was told that the powers that be, politicians, officers and sponsors wanted the buildings to be in areas that were as affluent as possible in order to raise the aspirations of the young people of the area.

They are meant to inspire the young to be more like the well to do of the areas in which an academy school is placed.

To give the little poor kids the opportunity of mixing with kids from a “Ëœbetter’ background.

I remember thinking at the time ‘isn’t that social engineering’?

It got me to thinking is this the real reason the Willfield gym is to close?

Do those in the BSF department, fellow officers and our elected politicians, want rid of the gym and the kind of folk who use it so they are not a blot on the academy landscape?

Beware! – There is Even More to the Right of The BNP in Stoke-on-Trent.

Just when you thought it was safe to assume that the City of Stoke-on-Trent had recovered from the blip of being Nick Griffin’s BNP “ËœJewel In The Crown.

Ladies and gentlemen of all creeds, colours and religions – let me introduce you to the England First Party [EFP], headed up locally by two men considered way to extreme even for the BNP.

Mark Leat was a former BNP Councillor and Craig Pond a former BNP group organiser and they are expected to appear, amongst a few others, on the ballot papers in the local council elections in May. Pond is expected to stand in Goldenhill & Sandyford and Leat in one of the wards in the south of the city.

BNP sources have confirmed that they were kicked out of the BNP for being too extreme in their views and in Ponds case for some of the intolerant bile he spews forth on his tiny PCF blog and on certain other “ËœNationalist’ forums.

To give you some background, the England First Party was formed in 2003 by Mark Cotterill, who had been the founder and chairman of American Friends of the BNP. He had been responsible for pumping funds into the BNP until he decided that their politics no longer matched is own.

The EFP have some very worrying policies, up until last June, one of their main manifesto pledges was “the abolition of all non-European faiths and religions”. This is something that they later retracted but it gives somewhat of a flavour of the kind of people they hope to engage with.

They have a white supremacist ideology which marks a clear difference to the “Ëœmodern BNP’ and they are not afraid or have no desire to use electable language. They say that they want to reclaim the country from what they describe as “Ëœimmigrant invaders’. They also advocate “Ëœrepatriation of all immigrants to their lands of ancestral origin’, but nowhere do they say the matter will be voluntary.

“”¦ their clothes, their food, their culture, their psychology, their biology, their physiology and their history challenges ours at every point of the compass”.

This leaves no uncertainty about the kind of people who support them.

Last year they fielded just 7 candidates across the country in the local council elections, three of them were here in Stoke-on-Trent, the lack of interest was not surprising when you consider the party has as little as 100 members as of the last Electoral Commission figures.

They fielded no candidates in last year’s general elections; instead they encouraged their members and supporters to support any National Front candidates.

They also advocate the nationalisation of most national and public services. They want to ban the association between the Unions and the Labour Party and they want to set up workers co-operatives to protect the interests of workers.

Having said that one of their chosen candidates has not worked for years and chooses to spend his time writing extremist views in hate fuelled rants on the EFP Stoke website among others.

The fact that this candidate is seeking election and as such deems himself fit enough to undertake ward work alongside civic duties should be investigated by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Warren Lloyd, who is seeking election to the council as an independent for Meir, has major health issues which may result in him having to undergo a heart transplant. He still manages to work and to contribute to society. The difference is down to personal pride.

If you feel the need to cast your vote outside of the mainstream candidates please look at who you are voting for.

There are a number of independent candidates that are standing that seek to represent their communities and will do so with a willing heart. They have no issue with anyone who lives in their wards regardless of skin colour or religion.

There are also groups like the City Independents and Community Voice that are also outside of the mainstream party structure. No one should have the desire to see the City turn to the extremes of far right politics as an alternative to the main three.

Still not decided? Let me show you some of the views of a confirmed English First Candidate:

At this festive time of the year, I would just like to thank Stoke-on-Trent city council for housing murdering terrorist Muslim scum in this city.
The Potteries Shopping Centre might need modernising, but not by exploding some bloody immigrant with a Semtex waistcoat, and the native people of these parts certainly deserve better than being blown to smithereens whilst out Christmas shopping for their loved ones.
Still, if the Muslims of this city would provide a little more effort in ridding their communities of these extremist morons, instead of sitting back and letting this terrorism blossom, they might get an easier ride from those of us who would like to see them go back to their own continent, where they could beat their wives, shag their own children instead of young white girls, and blow the crap out of each other, rather than us and ours.
The council and the politicians need to understand something though, if ever these cowards manage to blow something up in this city, they’d better run for cover, because the backlash against such behaviour won’t just fall on the Muslims, but also on those that have stuffed our communities full of them.
We simply cannot allow this situation to continue.
Kick this hypocritical, two faced lying scum out of our country, and if the establishment that is there to protect these islands and their native peoples refuse to do so, then matters should be taken into our own hands.
If it comes down to the survival of the indigenous people and their culture, or the backward and neanderthal behaviour of these bloody Muslims, I know where my loyalties lie.
Enough is enough.
It was fantastic to watch so many patriots march against the enforced presence of Islam in what used to be a green and pleasant land, and despite \Tommy Robinsons multiculturalistic claims, there is no place in England for this backward and barbaric religion, or those that wish to practise it.

But just what are these protests achieving?

They are highlighting the fact that numerous governments have ridden roughshod over the democratic rights of the British electorate by forcing these counter culturalists into our communities, but if the EDL don’t have the people within the political system to help enforce the changes needed to stop this Westminster displacement, then nothing will change.

What they absolutely must do if they want to see their country re tuned to them, is to vote for the nationalists that stand in their area, and if none are, then they need to bring them in, or stand themselves, because all the shouting and flag waving in the world won’t see the current crop of Westminster liars and cheats change the system to suit the EDL.

According to Pink News, the majority of people are in favour of same sex marriages. Rubbish and lies. Most people are not in favour of this.
Marriage is a Christian ceremony meant to unite a man and a woman in matrimony before God, and according to the bible, homosexuality is a sin, so how the hell do they figure to let them marry?!

Read this depressingly bad article on how the sexual deviants are being promoted as a new lifestyle choice for our youngsters.
No walk of life, no area of our culture has been left untouched by the poisonous hand of political correctness, even to the point of trying to infect our children with the idea that homosexuality is something to be aimed for.

Our country has no hope of survival if this wicked and reckless behaviour is not stopped.

In other state sponsored rants [by us the taxpayer] all Muslims have been called paedophiles, our council officers have been accused of being corrupt and described as thieves and our current elected councillors have been insulted out of hand.

I ask, is this the calibre of person that we want to elect to represent us?

To promote our City?

To help attract inward investment?

The BNP are in decline lot only locally, but nationally
too. Councillors like Michael Coleman, whether you agree with his politics or not, are respected for being hard working councillors.

It appears that there is a more sinister and extreme element, whose politics are way past the “Ëœfar right’ who are seeking to prosper from the downfall of the BNP.

All we can hope for is that everyone in our City sees right through the charade, deception, lies, intolerance of these charlatans and that we keep our City free from the embarrassment of being tarnished by the nation of having a racist element.

I am not advocating that we all follow a mainstream party, what I am absolutely saying is that there are alternatives, be them in other political groups, or acting as true independents, that are much more worthy of our vote.

The upcoming elections are the most important in modern times, which will see fewer councillors representing us.

Let’s make the most of them.

Let’s get the right people into the chamber, people who will look after our best interests and the interests of the City as a whole.

Lidice Campaign Must Live Long In Stoke-on-Trent

One Monday evening, March 7th, Stoke-on-Trent witnessed regeneration in action at a landmark prizegiving event at The Victoria Hall, Hanley.

The pilot,inaugural, UK stage of the Lidice International Children’s Art Competition was a great success. 38 prizes, 10 winners and 28 merit awards, were presented to delighted children from across this city.

The children, after receiving a presentation on the topic, had produced artwork in celebration of the work of Sir Barnett Stross and the workers of Stoke-on-Trent in
rebuilding Lidice, the Czech village wiped out by the Nazis in 1942.

Around 400 inspired pieces were exhibited in all, definitely a fitting tribute to a story anyone with an interest in Stoke-on-Trent can take justifiable pride.

Broadcast simultaneously was the BBC’s Inside Out programme, narrated by Nick Hancock, explaining, in depth, the relationship between Stoke-on-Trent and Lidice, and the man Sir Barnett Stross – a man never appeared in the list of “Citizen of the Century” nominees nor currently mentioned once in The Potteries Museum.

Hopefully, this programme has done much to spread the
inspirational message further round the Midlands region and has helped fill in the generational gap of the many, many tens of thousands of Stoke-on-Trent born adults who’ve completely missed out on this story.

Stoke-on-Trent is the home of the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign. The people of Lidice feel with passion that the people of Stoke-on-Trent should be a part of their lives.

Barnett Stross and our working ancestors have presented
Stoke-on-Trent with a powerful promotional legacy. If we are wise enough to grab the opportunity with the full commitment it deserves and promote our links in exciting and imaginative ways this legacy can do much to change, for
the better, the way Stoke-on-Trent is perceived. It can help raise its profile, which can only be a good thing when attracting public & private sector investment and visitors.

Continuation of the project in schools will
ensure Stoke-on-Trent’s rightful place as the UK hub for the International Art Competition, do much to raise aspirations and send out a strong anti rascist message.

Most people agree that Stoke-on-Trent’s generated some amazing people and is responsible for some remarkable feats. Unfortunately, it’s seldomly presented to the outside world or its own young people.

The Lidice “story” is one of the great examples of a city’s people joined together in a common, courageous, selfless cause. It’s an impressive story that must be told.

Finally, it’s ironic that while much of the heritage around us disappears, we unlock a potentially priceless gift from the working class people of 70 years
ago and Sir Barnett Stross, a “great” but, sadly, formerly unknown man.

Let’s not waste this opportunity.

Bigotgate Hot air or Hot Poker?

I was a little busy yesterday and amazingly managed to miss the whole bigotGate thing until after I had gotten home, I checked my twitter to find out what it was all about. It didn’t take me long to come to my conclusion about the whole thing. Utter garbage! I think that the whole reportage of the incident is a complete disgrace.

The first questions I asked myself was " Was the Interview over"? To my mind yes the interview was over, so who’ever’s mic it was was deceitful by continuing to record. In short they were looking for dirt. Mr Brown was in the Car, in his private zone, talking to one of his aides. So this was his private comment. Isn’t he allowed an opinion? The second question I asked myself was was the comment justified? Here is an edited transcript from the Daily Mail.

http://tinyurl.com/3xy3898

Upon reading the transcript, The answer to my question is no. That said, the PM is probably fed up to the high teeth of peoples perceptions over immigration. It seems that a great many people forget their right to go and live and work in the E.U but resent other E.U citizens who exercise the same right. Immigration is a hot issue, but it’s certainly over-hyped. Anyone would think we had 30 million immigrants in the country.

In conversation he answered Mrs Duffy well, and continued on to other subjects. His comments in the car are, in my opinion his own and not to be in the public domain. I think Mr Brown was wrong in his summary of Mrs Duffy, she seemed like a normal voter, but just ask yourself how many times you have met someone and judged them, only later to discover that you were a bit hasty with your first impression? It happens to us all.

Mr Brown has to be commended for standing up and saying sorry. My message to the rest of the world is simply that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Get over it and move on..this election has to be decided on policy and not image.