Bashing the Bishop ““ But was the “ËœArch’ Right

I have loved the continuous coverage of the war of words between the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Prime Minister David Cameron ably supported by a legion of right wing press reporters and bloggers. It’s true to say that there has been a fair amount of bishop bashing today.

Some say that religion is the cause of many a conflict, this one was started by an article the Archbishop wrote for the left leaning New Statesman magazine.

In it he questions the Conservative, Liberal Democrat coalition government, saying quite rightly, that no individuals voted for the policies that have been adopted.

Dr Williams wrote that the coalition was causing “Ëœwidespread suspicion’ and was creating “Ëœanxiety and anger’ in the country by introducing reforms without sufficient debate.

He accused the coalition of imposing their health and education policies at “Ëœremarkable speed’.

I don’t think anyone who has read the article can be in any doubt that the Archbishop has little time for David Cameron & Nick Cleggs policies and is perhaps a little left leaning in his political outlook.

Not since Robert Runcie’s numerous sparring contests with Margret Thatcher has an Archbishop dived head first into the politics of the country.

When you look back in history, there is a long tradition of the church commenting on political issues. Indeed some Archbishops have played key roles in not just politics but the monarchy before parliament was formed.

But in a modern day society, should the head of the Church of England be wading into party politics criticising the government of the day.

Leaders of minority religions aren’t afraid of speaking out. Muslim leaders are often in the news giving their opinions on a wide range of topics, so for me it was good to see the leader of the Church of England give his two penneth.

I was heartened by David Cameron’s response though, the dummy didn’t fly out, he came back with exactly the right comments when he said that the archbishop was entirely free to express “political views” and make “political interventions”. But he added: “I profoundly disagree with many of the views that he has expressed, particularly on issues like debt and welfare and education.”

Whether we agree with his point of view, or like David Cameron, profoundly disagree with it, there has been a precedent set now so I expect it will not be the last time Dr Williams speaks out and criticises the government of the day.

Other CofE leaders have leapt to the defence in the wake of today’s [Friday] public Bishop bashing.

The Bishop of Guildford said Dr Williams’s comments were “Ëœentirely reasonable’ – he said: “Government cannot at any stage simply abrogate its responsibility. One of the prime, core functions of government is the care of all in society, especially those at the bottom.”

I think the tone of the Archbishop’s article took government ministers by surprise. They have responded to Dr Williams’s comments with Liam Fox and Vince Cable defending the claims that the government do not have a mandate to impose sever austerity measures.

I also think that Dr Williams, as a left wing sympathiser, is struggling with the concept that the Lib Dem’s went into the last general election even further to the left than the Labour Party and then jumped into bed with a party way to the right of the Labour Party.

Mind you, they say that opposites attract don’t they?

I admit to being quite surprised by the Archbishops political intervention.

When he has made a speech I’ve always thought that he was a bit wishy washy and as assertive as a field mouse.

He has hardly set the world alight with his insights into the moral’s of a modern day society.

In a society where there is often a breakdown in family values, communities that are blighted by anti-social behaviour and a monumental surge toward materialism, I can’t remember seeing one single hard hitting interview either broadcast or written where he has spoken out on the challenges that meet a progressive society.

He saved his biggest and harshest dig at the “ËœBig Society’ and yet if done correctly, this could restore some of the values that have been lost over recent generations. I think we could do with some of the good old fashioned “ËœDunkirk Spirit’ in a nation that is being ravaged by cuts and many normal Joe and Joanne’s are being left jobless. And a culture shift where the public sector is being disseminated like a game of Jenga.

It looks like politics could be his new game. Maybe he has given up the traditional role as being our moral compass?

So, in summary, I’m saying to Dr Williams yes get involved in the political scene. Represent the views of your flock, be the voice of those that are the most vulnerable in our society, here I do believe that there is a cross over between religion and the state.

But have a go at putting your own house in order first eh? The Church of England is still stuck in the dark ages. There is a bloody battle being fought in an organisation that is institutional sexist, women are fighting for equality. And where gay people are afraid to declare their sexuality.

Churches are losing their flocks in large numbers. The only churches that are booming are those with an ethos like the Breathe City Church here in Stoke-on-Trent.

They are supporting, helping and fixing communities. They are inclusive of gender and sexual orientation. They have progressive and moral leaders. Their numbers are shooting through the roof mostly at the expense of the traditional churches.

So you have a bit of a job on there Dr Williams, there is work to be done in your own palaces, cathedrals and churches before you march upon Westminster.

Who Should I Vote For?

So it is less than 24 hours until the polling booths open and I need to decide who I am going to vote for.

In my ward I have 6 candidates each of who I would like to think should be canvassing me for my vote, they have all allegedly put themselves forward because they want to do the best for the community they live in. So let’s look at what I have had in the way of election leaflets from each of the parties.

  • Community Voice – 4 leaflets all black and white with 1 addressed and posted
  • Conservatives – Nothing
  • England First – Nothing
  • Labour – 5 leaflets 1 glossy, 4 colour printed with 2 of them addressed and posted
  • Liberal Democrats – Nothing
  • TUSC – Nothing

I have had no knock on the door from any candidate, I have been on annual leave for the previous 2 weeks and someone has been in the house each and every day.

Mike Barnes from Community Voice has obviously been out ‘doorstepping’ he even tweeted about it a few days back.

Twitter / @mike barnes: Another 4 1/2 hours on the ...

 

For some reason Mike has deleted this tweet, blocked a load of his twitter followers and protected his account so that only people who he ‘authorises’ can see his tweets. I find this a bit strange from a person who has never been afraid of self publicity. It has to be said I think there is a bit more to this story with ‘Lil and Sue’ than meets the eye, this will come out after the count tomorrow I’m sure.

Mike was even trying to take £10,000 bets on him still being a councilor on May 6,

  barnes-betting

I should point out that win or lose Barnes, who also said he will get more votes than all the other candidates put together, will be a councillor until 9 May as this is the day that the winning candidates are sworn in to office.

So back to who should I vote for? 

I vote differently in General Elections than I do in Local Elections, in a General Election it is about the party who I think will do the best (or least damage) for the country, locally it is the person who I think will do the best for me and my community, but how do I make a decision on who is going to be best for me and my ward if the candidates generally don’t tell me about what they are going to do when they become my elected representative?

4 of the 6 candidates in this ward have taken Pits n Pots up on the offer of a 500 word article and while we are getting between 16 & 20,000 visitors a day, publishing something on-line either on Pits n Pots or on your own website is not an alternative to traditional canvassing. I am under no illusions that people still want bits of paper through the door and want to look at the candidate in the eyes to see what makes them tick.

I want the candidates to knock on my door on the run up to an election, even if I set the dogs on them I want the choice on whether I speak to them or not, I don’t want to be ignored.

After every election there is a big hoo-ha made about what the % turn out was and why is it so low, maybe all parties need to look at actually engaging with the electorate on the run up to the election rather than just sticking a name on the nomination from so they can say the party fielded a candidate in the ward.

We deserve better from the people who hope to represent us.

Who am I going to vote for? that is between me and the ballot box but I can assure you that 3 of the 6 in my ward are not in the running straight away.

 

500 Words From Charley Hasted

I’m only 24 years old but I have a wealth of experience representing and campaigning for people and issues I care passionately about. I’ve taken part and led campaigns as diverse as preventing the closure of my local library in London, fighting against the closure of a centre dedicated to improving the lives of disabled people by allowing them to live independently, helping to secure funding for a young carers group to give their members a break, securing pledges from a local council (Greenwich) to protect and support young people, protecting talking newspapers and dial-a-ride services for Deaf and disabled/elderly people and campaigning against discrimination in all its many and varied forms.

I may not be a born and bred Stokie but I chose to come here for University and then I chose to stay after I graduated. I love living in Stoke and I sincerely hope to be able to stay here for a long time. I’ve contributed to Stoke I used to be a youth worker for the Council; I’ve done fund-raising activities for local charities (including having my head shaved a year ago).

I want to help improve Stoke by encouraging job creation and educational aspiration. One is useless without the other. I’d like to encourage entrepreneurs in Stoke; we have smart people with good ideas out there who just need a bit of help maybe with finance or a skill they lack. Why not help link them up with investors or people who have that skill? I’d like to try and continue a scheme I took part in through AimHigher where students go into local schools and colleges and give advice on further and higher education. I want to make sure the Council is offering work experience placements, internships and apprenticeships to people of all ages that are valuable and relevant to them and encouraging others to do the same.

I want to ensure that you are getting the services you need and that we can continue to provide them for you. The fact is we have less money, I wish we didn’t but there’s nothing I can do about it. However there have got to be places we can save money without cutting services. A case in point, why are we spending huge amounts of money on solar panels for the show lights at the civic centre? Why not turn the lights off? Secondly I disagree with some facets of the big society but I am passionate about encouraging volunteering, as someone who has been a volunteer virtually since I can remember. So why don’t we do more to encourage people to help their communities not as a way of replacing public services but as a way of making them better?

When all is said and done we’re wasting time with bickering and point-scoring when we should be pulling together and make sure we’re building a strong, secure and sustainable future whatever parties we may or may not be members of.

Party Political Broadcasts For The May 5 Election

We are slowly finding out what the local candidates are saying for the 5 May Local Elections but what is being said by the party leaders?

How does what the party is saying fit in with what the local candidates are saying in their campaigns?

Have a look at the videos below from the Tories, Labour & Lib Dems and tell us what you think.

If you know of any more PPB videos please let us know so we can add.

Stoke-on-Trent England First Candidate Caught In Racist Row

Audio with Dave Sutton Now Online

The England First candidate for Goldenhill & Sandyford Craig Pond has been caught in a racist row on an internet forum.

The hyper-local website My Tunstall has organised an online question and answers session for all the candidates standing in the area, Pond gave his views which included a racist outburst against the travelling community.

Mr Pond’s answer to this question – What are the biggest problems facing this area? ““ was: “The biggest problems facing the area are a continued lack of decent jobs, the complete lack of a centrally funded youth policy, and the giving away of properties to gypsies and anti-social scum”.

Mr Pond’s racist rant continued in his response to readers and online users’ comments in relation to the England First candidate’s answers to the questions set.

Settled gypsies?
That will be that coward that flirted his girlfriend off the quadbike and left her to die in the road?
Or perhaps it has something to do with a lorry being driven into a house?
Or the ridiculous amount of time the police have to spend at Lime Houses?
Or how about the weekly dose of violence and anti-social behaviour?
I’m 47 now, and in all that time I’ve never once heard anyone say, “oh good, here come the gypsies.”,
but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard them say, “oh Christ, here come the gypsies.”
The reputation gypsies have is entirely of their own making, if they don’t like being disliked by most of the community, they should bloody well change their behaviour!

This claim drew an angry response from one of the forum users who responded:

I think you need to look at some facts Mr Pond and not go shouting rubbish before you know them.
You appear to be a devisive and totally unsuitable candidate to be a councillor. Remember you should represent all the people who live in a ward whether or not you like their lifestyle, race and so forth.
I’m afraid that with your quite ludicrous opinion of your self worth and lack of knowledge of the democratic system, you would quite rightly be sidelined by the other political parties and the paid officials, which would do no good for a ward which needs considerable improvement.

There seemed to be genuine astonishment at Pond’s racism, another commenter said:

With sweeping generalisations like that i am sure you will make a valuable councillor
What a great way to alienate voters you must be so proud…

The England First candidate did seem to have a little support from one commenter who pointed out:

That aside, the guy is being up front about his views, which the voters (including you guys) may consider, one way or the other.

This comment caused another forum user to pose this interesting question:

that aside, aside from what? so if a person with gypsy heritage is having problem with kier and went to counciller pond he would be in his right to tell them to get stuffed? marks have you read what he put on the other sites, its just bile. hes anngry and bitter

Mr Pond was not to be deterred though and again went on an angry racist rant:

Look, if you people are happy to have the council fill your community with gypsies, then fine, but don’t get trying to tell me that they are a misunderstood, good at heart lot, really. You find one or two like that, but the majority aren’t, and they will cause your community problems.
Some of you sound like Labour zealots, you jump to the defence of the ‘ethnic minorities’, and if it isn’t them, then the council are giving away houses to drug dealers, sex offenders, and God knows what else. Why don’t you grow a pair and tell the truth for a change, that ignoring our sons and daughters in favour of outsiders with a preponderence for criminality is not now, nor will it ever be, good enough.
There are no lies in what I said earlier, gypsies have a rotten reputation that is solely their fault, if they want the attitude of the community to change, they should change their behaviour. If they don’t give a monkeys about the community, why should the community give a monkeys about them?

Pits n Pots have offered every candidate the opportunity of writing an unedited 500 [or so] word article and/or a 7 min audio interview which will start to hit the site over the next week or so.

This includes all the England First candidates. We made contact with Pond to ensure that he and his party were included and through his wife, said that he was not interested.

Over the past few months Pits n Pots have published a number of articles that have highlighted the extreme nature of Pond’s views which have been conveyed through his writing on both the England First and PCF websites.

These have included outrageous claim and slurs against individuals, anti Muslim and Islamaphobic comments as well as anti gay and homophobic insults.

Ponds anti traveller views have come out into the open on previous occasions, when he was a mamber of the BNP he wrote a very anti gypsy article which angered the then BNP Leadership. The article was to eventually lead to Pond being told he was no longer wanted in the BNP fold.

See the attached article below from the Pits n Pots archives.

Not content with insulting the traveller community, Ponds also attacked his fellow candidates on the My Tunstall website.

Here’s the difference Jon, I tell the truth, if you don’t like that, vote for one of the third rate candidates you’ll find yourself left with.
Vote for Dave Sutton, him and his party cheated Eve Maley out of her rightful position as councillor in Northwood and Birches Head, or how about a second term of Megan Ryan? During her last term, you lost your golf course, your swimming pool, your S106 money, Bankeyfields residents still have to play whacky races to get off and on to their estate, and the allocation of houses to undesirables seems to be running at its usual sprint.
Maybe you could go all out for a third rate service and vote for Joy Garners husband! He represnts Labour, the party completely responsible for ripping this city apart, who in 60+ years of control have only managed to oversee the collapse and destruction of what used to be a viable and successful industrial city.
You need to take a cold, hard look at what your community needs, because I’m pretty sure that most would agree with me on some of the inhabitants. You will never have a safe and successful community whilst you refuse to see the problems that are holding you back, and safe and secure must be the target for most people. Violence and intimidation reduce drastically the quality of life enjoyed by the citizens of your community, so change the behaviour of those responsible for such behaviour, or kick them out.
In my questions, I was asked by Matt Burke which members of the community were my priority, and I answered the decent, law abiding ones. Whoever or whatever falls into that category will have my full support, whether gypsy, indigenous, or bloody eskimo.

The public would be hard pressed to believe his last paragraph given the history of his extreme comments on this site and others.

Ponds Claim about Eve Maley drew this response from a very angry ex Lib Dem Councillor Dave Sutton:

Craig,
I spent 4 times down in the Royal Courts of Justice in London over 21 months, at no time was it ever reported or insinuated that I robbed Mrs.Maley of being a councillor. there was 2 extra counts in London which nothing changed in the counts I still won and the Judge in the old Magistrates Court in the Victoria Hall in Hanley gave me the ruling in favour of me being elected still winning by the ONE vote.
It is now past history, now things have moved on and I have served and worked hard for 3 years as a councillor in Northwood and Birches Head and I have served Tunstall well for 4 years in the past 2003 to 2007.
When you see my leaflet in the coming weeks read it and weep and see what I have been doing in Goldenhill and Sandyford.
Its a pity you cannot get your facts right you racists never do, but carry on with your racist overtones people will see through you for the bigot that you are.
David Sutton

Dave also gives his views in the Audio interview below.

It would appear that the communities of Goldenhill & Tunstall are beginning to realise just what an extreme candidate that they have in England First’s Craig Pond.

Old Bill’s Almanack 2011

My “Baker’s dozen predictions for 2011.

I thought that I would stick my neck out and predict 13 events to occur in the area and looking a little further out national and international events for the New Year. As far as the last prediction as far as first contact with aliens during 2011 Paddy Power are offering 100-1. And if it does come to pass I will be having a pint of Vulcan beer in the “Final Frontier” pub next January 1st.

1. A comfortable majority will vote against the Sainsbury road proposals in Leek on a small turn out in the January referendum.

2. The Conservative led administration at SMDC will lose power in the May District Council elections.

3. The Foxlowe Community Arts venue plans will begin to come into fruition in 2011.

4. Unemployment will increase markedly in Leek during the year.

5. Fear of crime will increase following a major incident in Leek during the summer.

6. A financial scandal will shake confidence in the governance of the area in March.

7. Major civil unrest including riots in major cities in the UK will increase as unemployment rises towards 3 million by the autumn.

8. A leading Liberal Democrat member of the coalition will leave the Government and defect to the Labour Party in the autumn.

9. Pakistan will be subject to a military coup.

10. An environmental catastrophe will occur in China.

11. A major earthquake will hit California in June.

12. There will be a major terrorism event in a European City

13. Contact with an extra terrestrial civilisation will occur in September

Stoke-on-Trent Central CLP Reject Sutton – Sutton Rejects The Lib Dems!

Stoke-on-Trent CLP have rejected a membership application from current Liberal Democrat Councillor Dave Sutton.

Cllr Sutton was suspended from the Labour Party for 5 years for standing as a Liberal Democrat. That suspension expires in May 2010. Cllr Sutton has hit out at the Labour Party and the Labour Group on the City Council for rejecting his application. He also attacked the Liberal Democrats for their lack of support regarding his election to the City Council and the controversial count which led to Eve Maley lodging a complaint and instigating a legal process which eventually ended in failure. He Confirmed that he will not stand for the Liberal Democrats in the future and that he has not renewed his party membership. [Listen to the audio interview below]

It is understood that the Labour Party have rejected his application because his suspension still has nine months to run. This would however, prevent Cllr Sutton standing as a Labour Candidate in the 2010 all out council elections.

Councillor Mohammed Pervez, leader of the Labour Group dismissed claims that Cllr Sutton was ‘blacklisted’ from joining the Labour Party. [Listen to the audio interview below]

Liberal Democrat leader Kieran Clarke has been aware that Cllr Sutton was trying to get back into the Labour Party but confirmed that he is welcome to stay with the Liberal Democrat. [Listen to the audio interview below]

Cllr Sutton now intends to stand as a non aligned councillor in next years council elections. Subject to the Boundary Committee review, he is considering standing in the Sandyford or Tunstall ward.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cabinet Member For Resources Survives Vote Of No Confidence

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Cabinet member for Resources Cllr Kieran Clarke endured an uncomfortable time at a meeting of the Full Council today [Thursday].

A motion of no confidence was tabled towards the end of the meeting when councillors were moving the minutes of the various council committee meetings.

The Lord Mayor, in his role as Chair of the City Council, asked for a mover and seconder of the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting dated 23rd June 2010. Councillor Peter Kent-Baguley [Community Voice] criticised the Cabinet and in particular Kieran Clarke as Cabinet Member for Resources for not discussing the amount of debt owed to the city council. He moved a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member

A figure of £49.4million has been put on the total amount of monies owed over a 17 year period.

Supporting the motion, Cllr Mike Barnes [Community Voice] said:

I find it unbelievable that in a Cabinet Meeting with an agenda of some 15 items, the amount of debt owed to the City Council and the wider issue of council finance was not discussed.

The meeting lasted just 1hour 5minutes and despite the fact that we are told there are substantial cuts coming our Cabinet Member for Resources deems it not necessary to discuss the amount of money owed to us.

This is just the latest fiasco whilst this Cabinet Member has had responsibility for Resources. We have already had the failure of implementing the rise in car parking charges, the fiasco over the Britannia Stadium, the hospital tendering debacle.

Cllr Barnes had already asked Cllr Clarke to consider his position earlier in the meeting during his supplementary question asked in response to the Cabinet Member’s answer on the amount of debt written off and owed to the council.

Cllr Clarke said:

If I thought I had done anything wrong or misled the councillors, I would consider my position. But, as I haven’t, I won’t.

I also think that Cllr Barnes is overplaying the issue.

Members of the coalition leaped to the defence of Cllr Clarke.

Cllr Hazel Lyth [Conservative & Independent Alliance] said:

The public cabinet meetings are a small fraction of the discussion that take place on matters. In the private cabinet meetings there is some vigorous questioning and debate. Officers are thoroughly questioned and Cllr Clarke plays a full and active role in that questioning.

Cllr Tom Reynolds [Labour] added that all elected members should show respect to officers.

Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice] responded by saying that it was about asking questions not disrespecting officers and the executive. He told the chamber that Cllr Kieran Clarke was “Ëœall over the place’ in his interview with Pits n Pots in reply to Cllr Barnes’s questions.

Cllr Pervez [Labour & Council Leader] said:

We are trying to move toward a culture of openness and transparency.

As a result of this things will come out that will cause shock, but you can’t have it both ways. We are not saying that we are proud of the level of debt, but you have to remember that some of this goes back nearly 20 years.

We have to engage with all the communities and work together. Councillors Barnes, Salih and PKB are in opposition, but we are running this authority and we have chosen to do it this way.

Cllr Conway [City Independent Group] agreed with Cllr Barnes. Elected Members have to ask questions he informed the chambers. He said that he has been misled by officers in the past, particularly over Dimensions. He also said that he had been misled in Overview & Scrutiny meetings by officers. He was also critical over the amount owed in housing arrears and said that the level was unacceptable.

The motion calling for a vote of confidence in the Cabinet member for Resources, Cllr Kieran Clarke was comprehensively defeated. Only the Community Voice members voted for.

Full Candidates List For The City Of Stoke-on-Trent Council Elections

A greater number of candidates have put themselves forward to fight the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Elections this year than in previous years.

Previously there has been an average of 4.9 candidates per ward. This year that average has risen to 5.5.

There are 105 candidates to choose from across the whole of the City fighting for the 20 available seats.

The number of candidates will come as a surprise to many given that the term of office will be just one year to to the move to all out elections in 2011.

The full list of candidates are as follows:

Abbey Green.

Robert Durkin [BNP]
Anita Gill [Lib Dem]
Chris Knight [Ind]
Jamie Sykes [Conservative]
Gwen Hassell [Labour]
Alby Walker [Ind] *

Bentilee & Townsend

Wendy Booth [Ind]
Margaret Lowe [Ind]
Philip Sandland [BNP] *
Mervin Smith [Labour]
Nigel Smith [Lib Dem]
Amy Sykes [Conservative]

Berryhill & Hanley East

Geoffrey Clewelow [UKIP]
David Jones [Conservative]
Adrian Knapper [Labour] *
Jeanette Madison [Ind]
Les Porch [Lib Dem]

Blurton

Margaret Barber [Lab]
Terry Cope [BNP]
Christine Grocock [Lib Dem]
Harry Mouat [Conservative]
Jamie Elizabeth Naylor [Ind]

Burslem North

Sharon Black [Lib Dem]
Joy Garner [Labour] *
Donald Smith [Consevative]
James Smith [UKIP]

Burslem South

Forid Ali [N/A]
Imran Chowdhury [Lib Dem]
Gareth Fallows [Conservative]
Ted Owen [Ind]
Mohammed Pervez [Labour] *

Chell & Packmoor.

Tony Fradley [Labour]
Mazhar Hussain [Lib Dem]
Ann James [Ind] *
Mark Jellyman [Conservative]
Christopher Mccabe [UKIP]

East Valley

Jack Brereton [Conservative]
Susan Ford [Lib Dem]
Roger Ibbs [Ind]
Geoff Knight [Ind] *
Matt Wilcox [Labour]
Andrew Wragg [Ind]

Fenton

Sharon Baggeley [N/A]
Marj Bate [N/A]
Stephen Blakemore [Lib Dem]
Stephen Brown [Conservative]
John Cope [UKIP]
Sarah Hill [Labour]
Kathleen Ward [England First Party]

Hanley West & Shelton

Eleanor Bloor [Conservative]
Asim Shaheen [Lib Dem]
Amjid Wazir [Labour]

Hartshill & Penkhull

Kassem Al-Khatib [Labour]
Shaun Bennett [Conservative]
Paul Billington [Lib Dem]
Ian Mitchell [Ind] *
Steve Morris [UKIP]
Mick Williams [N/A]

Longton North

Sheila Cowell [Ind]
Paul Goodwin [UKIP]
Mark Leat [England First Party]
Conrad Lubinski [Lib Dem]
Denver Tolley [Labour] *
James Whitehurst [Conservative]

Longton South

Lillian Dodd [Ind]
Olwen Hamer [Labour]
Daniel Harley [Conservative]
Sadaqat Maqsoom [Lib Dem]

Meir Park & Sandon.

Abi Brown [Conservative]
Jacqueline Pearson [Ind]
Alastair Watson [Labour]
Brian Whittaker [Lib Dem]

Northwood & Birches Head.

Mahfooz Ahmad [Labour]
Jean Bowers [Lib Dem] *
Pamela Jellyman [Conservative]
Eve Maley [N/A]

Norton & Bradley

Joanne Bowen [Lib Dem]
Austin Cooke [Conservative]
Sean Daley [UKIP]
Sheila Matthews [Ind] *
John Nicholls [N/A]
Duncan Walker [Labour]

Stoke & Trent Vale.

Jeremy Dillon [Labour]
Harold Gergory [Conservative]
Tom Grocock [Lib Dem]
Mick Harold [UKIP]
Stephen Issard [BNP]
Alan Joynson [N/A]

Trentham & Hanford.

Alan Alcock [Lib Dem]
Lloyd Brown [Labour]
Peter Hayward [Ind]
Phil Smith [UKIP]
Mark Wright [Conservative]

Tunstall.

Laura Baskeyfield [Conservative]
Majid Khan [Labour]
Mohammed Nadeem [Lib Dem]
Gareth Parfitt [UKIP]
Paula Roberts [BNP]
Lee Wanger [Ind] *

Weston & Meir North.

Sabrina Bowers [Lib Dem]
Spencer Cartlidge [English First Party]
Ruth Rosenau [Labour]
Anthony Simmonds [BNP] *
Ross Ward [Conservative]

*Denotes sitting Councillor.

Number of Candidates by party/description:
Labour – 20
Conservative – 20
Liberal Democrat – 19
BNP – 6
Ind – 18
N/A – 7
UKIP – 10
English First Party -3

The three mainstream political parties are pretty much fighting each ward in the city.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the British National Party are only managing to fight for 6 seats.The far right party have suffered a significant split in recent times due to the loss of their one time Group Leader Alby Walker and more recently his wife Ellie. Both represent the Abbey Green ward.

Roger Ibbs has chosen to stand in East Valley. He has vacated Trentham & Hanford following his battles with the Trentham Action Group. It has been a difficult year for Roger who was completely exonerated of any wrong doing regarding the investigation into the proposed closure of Dimensions under the elected mayor system.

Longton North sees the return to local politics of former BNP councillor Mark Leat. He was expelled from the BNP and stood as an Independent in the ward in 2008 and was heavily defeated by Tom Reynolds [Lab]. He is has renewed his far right acquaintance this time by standing for the English First Party.

All candidates will be invited to submit a 500 word article to Pits n Pots to enable readers to scrutinise and decide who will best represent their views.

Brian Ward Confirms He Will Stand in Stoke Central In The General Election

Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council Brian Ward has today confirmed that he will stand as an Independent Candidate in the upcoming General Elections

Ward, who is a Councillor for the Blurton Ward and is also the Leader of the City Independent Group is currently at a conference in Cannes in France on behalf of the City Council.

The principle reason for his decision to enter the contest is that he does not feel that the City’s 3 Labour MPs have delivered on behalf of the electorate.

He feels that the MPs often get involved in trivial matters that should be passed on to the Ward Councillors to allow the MPs the time to get on with important issues like attracting investment into the City and lobbying for more government funding to help make the City a better place.

Brian Ward joins an ever growing list of names contesting the seat fallowing Mark Fisher MP’s decision to stand down on health grounds.

Other confirmed candidates are Norsheen Bhatti [Conservative], John Redfern [Liberal Democrats], Alby Walker [Ind], Paul Breeze [Ind] Simon Darby [BNP], Matthew Wright [TUSC]. There will be an official candidate from the Labour Party and also a candidate from the National Front who has still to be named.

When asked for his reason for not contesting Stoke South he said that he had an agreement with Cllr Terry Follows not to contest the seat after Cllr Follows had helped in the Trentham High School Campaign.

He also claimed that party politics had ruined the City and in particular the Labour Party. He also feels that the infighting amongst the Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour Party will help his cause.