Immigration, Mosques & Reptilian Miliband – BNP Manifesto 2011

The BNP Roadshow hit Stoke-on-Trent today [Sunday] to launch their local election manifesto.

In a very low key affair, National Media Spokesman Simon Darby, National Organiser Adam Walker and Stoke BNP Leader Michael Coleman addressed a small number of party activists, security and local councillors in Bennett Precinct in Longton town Centre. Continue reading

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.

BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby Resigns – Stoke-on-Trent Reaction

The Deputy Leader of the British National Party has resigned with immediate effect.

Simon Darby fought the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat for the far right party at the recent General Election.

He finished a disappointing 4th with just 2502 votes, way behind Labour, Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

The catastrophic performances in the both the Local and General Elections forced BNP Leader Nick Griffin to announce that he is to step down from his role by 2013.

Simon Darby’s decision is seen as a show of loyalty to Griffin and a warning to his potential successors.

He wrote on his blog:

“Quite simply, the post of Deputy Leader has absolutely no constitutional standing, with it being a discretionary appointment being made or not by the duly elected Leader. For anyone to seek to make it an issue in a BNP Leadership election is therefore misguided at best, or insincere at worst.

As a result, and wishing to avoid a descent into personality-orientated factionalism, I am going to set an example. I have therefore decided to resign as Deputy Leader of this Party with immediate effect. My purpose in this decision is not only to take this distraction out of the election. Also, if I can endure self-imposed demotion for the greater good of this Party, then I have the moral right to ask that others at least exercise responsibility and restraint.

In particular, that means running a contest that sticks to the real issues, avoids red-herrings such as constitutionally irrelevant positions, and promotes would-be candidates on their own merits rather than setting nationalist brothers and sisters against each other by repeating enemy lies and black propaganda about the current leader and his team.”

He went on to give Nick Griffin this ringing endorsement:

“This Party would be nothing if it wasn’t for Nick Griffin’s total and unreserved commitment to the nationalist cause. It would be a sad, contained creature for contempt and ridicule, rather than the snarling, fighting, in-their-face beast that it is today ““ a constant rebuke and reminder to the Establishment of their treason, betrayal of our people, and the price they will one day have to pay for their crimes.

That is why they are trying so hard to destroy the British National Party ““ and the man who, more than any other, has made it what it is, and who remains, in my now humble but still extremely well informed opinion, the only man who can take us forward on the next stage of our epic, just and historic journey.”

He finished his resignation article by formally issuing the following warning to the grass roots BNP membership:

“There is an old saying, “Ëœyou never know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.’ Don’t wake up one morning later this year to find that we’ve lost Nick Griffin and his team, and replaced them with a jostling, squabbling, unstable, untested and indecisive coalition. We elect a Leader to lead, that’s Nick’s job, and he’s the best man to do it.”

Simon Darby’s decision has not only come as a shock to Stoke BNP Leader Cllr Michael Coleman, but as a huge disappointment too.

Cllr Coleman, who is tipped as a possible main player in the BNP at some time in the future, has appealed for the party to move more to the middle ground of politics.

He is calling for the BNP to adopt a strategy which would call for ethnic groups to be left to follow their own culture and religions whilst allowing the indigenous population the freedom to pursue their tradition and lifestyle.

You can hear more from Michael Coleman in the Audio Interview below.

Potential candidates are jockeying for position to take over the national leadership of the British National Party.
The man described as the BNP “ËœElection Guru’ Eddy Butler is mounting a leadership challenge to Nick Griffin this summer.

Butler claims that Griffin cannot combine his duties as an MEP with the effective running of the BNP. He claims the evidence lies in the disastrous election results in May.
His campaign has been boosted with the news that Nick Cass the Yorkshire BNP Organiser has announced that he supports Butler’s campaign and will be his running mate in the election.

Cass has stated that he intends to stand for Deputy Leader, a move that prompted Simon Darby to resign with immediate effect.

Whether Butler and Cass will become the BNP’s new Batman & Robin remains to be seen but reports suggest that the membership want a clear new dynamic direction and as yet they are the only credible alternative.

Their path to the leadership is one full of obstructions however. They are required to obtain the support of 20% of the BNP membership of two years standing.

They are known to have the support of some regions including Yorkshire & Liverpool.

What Now For The BNP Nationally And In Stoke-on-Trent?

As the dust settles on both the General and Local Elections, the various parties will start analysing their performances and making the changes they need as a result.

Questions are being asked of the party leaders, particularly those who failed to deliver.

Gordon Brown is facing calls from a few of his MPs to step down and the same can be said of the British National Party Leader Nick Griffin.

There are many calls for Griffin to stand down and it is thought that Eddie Butler who is head of the Party’s Election Department could challenge him for the party leadership.

Contributors to a number of far right Internet forums are also questioning Griffin’s leadership. There have also being a number of high profile fall outs within the party in recent times.

First came the spat between Alby Walker and the BNP.

Walker accused Griffin of using the party to make himself rich and famous. He also claimed that there was a vein of holocaust deniers and members who display Nazi-esque sympathies within the party.

Then came the very public falling out between Griffin and Mark Collett, who at the time was the party’s publicity Director.

There was no shortage of publicity when it was revealed that Collett was plotting to overthrow Griffin as leader.

The result was that Collett allegedly threatened to kill Nick Griffin. The Police were called in to investigate the matter.

Finally, just two days before the election, another fall out rocked the BNP.

As a result of a dispute between Nick Griffin and former BNP webmaster Simon Bennett, the latter shut down the Party’s Website, Facebook and Twitter pages. The result was that the party was left with just a single temporary holding page on their home page on Election Day May 6th.

At the BNP’s recent election manifest launch, Nick Griffin was at pains to point out that his party no longer needed the mainstream media as their website had more hits than that of the Labour Party’s, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems put together. Those words must be coming home to roost right now.

Griffin failed to make any impression what so ever through the ballot box in Barking. He finished a distant 3rd behind Labour’s Margaret Hodge, who doubled her vote and Conservative Simon Marcus.

The BNP did increase it’s share of the national vote by 1.83% but failed to deliver the Member of Parliament it claimed was within their grasp.

In Stoke-on-Trent, BNP Deputy Chairman Simon Darby staged a massive campaign. He worked the constituency tirelessly. But his work failed to materialise into votes and he crashed to a humiliating defeat in Stoke Central.

Darby finished 4th behind Tristram Hunt [Labour], John Redfern [Lib Dem] and Conservative Norsheen Bhatti who is of Asian heritage.

The electorate often described as the BNP ‘jewel in the crown’ chose an ‘Asian belly dancer’ as the BNP often refer to her, over the Deputy Chairman of a nationalist party. Surely there can be no greater insult to their policies?

Mike Coleman failed to oust Rob Flello in Stoke South whilst Melanie Baddeley failed to make any impact in Stoke North and managed to go through the entire campaign without giving a media interview on her chances and her party’s core aims and values.

The only time she did engage with the media was in reaction to the news that her husband had been arrested and subsequently charged with possessing cannabis. He is currently on Police bail.

Mike Coleman is keen to get the message out that his party is not defeated and will pick themselves up and work towards the all out elections for Stoke-on-Trent City Council in 2011.

But, the BNP will have their work cut out if they are to halt and reverse their apparent decline.

At the local elections they lost 26 councillors across the country including all 12 from Barking and Dagenham.

They now have just 19 councillors in total across the country and are 15 behind the Green Party who have 34.

To put their task of challenging the 3 main parties into context you need to realise that the Conservatives have 3369 councillors, Labour have 2865 and the Lib Dems have 1665 across the country.

We managed to catch up with Stoke BNP Group Leader Mike Coleman earlier today who remains upbeat about his party’s performance and future prospects.

Listen to the Audio Interview below:

Wol’s Election Analysis – The BNP’s Bubble Bursts As Labour Rise to The Top

Stoke-on-Trent’s electorate went to the polls on Thursday 6th May to vote in both the local and General Elections.

There had been a lot of hype about the General Election.

The BNP claimed that they were targeting the seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central and would surely benefit from the alleged imposition of Labour Party PPC Tristram Hunt and the very public departure of Gary Elsby from the Party he supported for 27 years.

It so did not work out that way. Elsby lost his deposit with a humiliating 399 votes. He must surely be now contemplating life after the Labour Party and giving his wounds a serious licking.

BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby gave his campaign a serious amount of time and effort. His blog site was getting a massive amount of hits and his video diaries told the viewers everything that is wrong with parts of Stoke-on-Trent, but were void of any positive ideas on how to improve the lives of the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central.

Stoke BNP Group Leader Mike Coleman’s campaign never really took off. I kind of get the impression that Mike knew it was going to be an uphill struggle bordering on mission impossible to get the electorate switched on to the BNP message.

Melanie Baddeley was no more than a paper candidate for the British National Party and any minute chance she had was wiped out the moment her husband was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis. He was later charged with the offence and will appear before magistrates on 14th May.

All three of the BNP PPC’s were effected by the revelation that there was a vein of holocaust deniers in the far right party.

The revelation came from former Stoke BNP Group Leader Alby Walker after he quit the party. He was quickly followed across the council chamber by his wife Ellie.

These actions angered some of the party supporters, but effectively killed any chance the BNP had in returning a BNP MP in this City.

Locally, the BNP lost two of their sitting councillors. They failed to get any of their candidates elected, often finishing in 3rd place or lower. They have the embarrassing record of never successfully defending a council seat in this City.

Nationally the BNP were mauled. The nations electorate turned their backs on the policies of the far right. They lost all of their 12 seats on east London’s Barking and Dagenham Council.

Nick Griffin was pasted in his attempt to get elected as an MP for Barking. He came 3rd with just 6620 votes in a result that saw sitting Labour MP Margaret Hodge double her vote.

There are a number of far right websites that are calling for Griffin to go, they are demanding a change in leadership.

The BNP leadership [Darby & Griffin] polled just over 9000 votes between them which is no where enough to get them elected anywhere in the country.

Their total number of votes across the country amounts to 563,743, which equates to just 1.9% of the total number of votes cast at the election.

The fact that the mainstream parties are now willing to talk about immigration issues may well be the reason that people are turning their backs on the far right.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have tabled policies to deal with the concerns of people who are worried about the impact the number of people who are coming into this country is having on the economy, jobs, housing, and public services.

The Labour Party nationally has been rejected and it would seem that Gordon Brown’s days are numbered.

Locally the Labour Party are resurgent.

They have taken 17 of the 20 available council seats. They have smashed the BNP and critically injured the Independents.

Labour have made a mockery of those who moaned and hit out at the candidate selection process. There were a number of people that left the party in protest. Is the Labour Party vindicated now?

Two candidates Mick Williams locally and Gary Elsby nationally, stood against their party and were unanimously rejected at the ballot box.

Stoke Central CLP needs to re-group and re-build and elected new officers who will take the constituency forward and ensure it becomes progressive. There may be a way back into the party for some it would seem. Tristram Hunt MP is committed to uniting the party and bringing ex members back to the fold. Somehow I can’t see that happening in Gary Elsby and Mick Williams’s case.

Our own Nicky Davis urged people to reject Labour at the ballot box, She wrote:

Mark Meredith’s Labour, continuing after he was kicked out, do not deserve to win an election in the city. They will do the city no good, their track record says it all.

And:

The council’s Labour group screw over communities then just before an election pathetically say they have not listened enough but will now. No ““ LABOUR CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!

Well, It seems our Nicky got it wrong. This election saw the voters turn to mainstream parties and reject the Independents that Nicky favours so much. She has hailed the work of some of the BNP councillors and yet the electorate has shown them the door.

As one prominent Party politician put it: ‘Is there any such thing as an Independent?’

But, the Labour Party in Stoke-on-Trent need to to tread very carefully now. They need to understand that they have been given an opportunity by the electorate. If they get it wrong this time it could well lead to another rise in the BNP’s popularity.

Why? – simple, the Labour Party started to go down hill faster than Franz Klammer when they formed a three party coalition with the Conservatives and the Lib Dem’s. This robbed our City of the individual party voices. We were robbed of the inter-party debates. The electorate were unhappy that they had voted Labour and got Conservatives and visa versa.

Yes, there is a need for all the parties to work together for the good of the City but the different parties MUST retain their individual party voices. Nothing else is acceptable.

The Labour Party hold 26 seats in the chamber, just 5 short of the 31 they need for an outright majority. If they were to form an alliance with the 4 ex Labour members, PKB, Mick Salih, Mike Barnes & Pauline Joynson, they would be just 1 short of the required majority.

Would the Party turn towards Ellie Walker, or maybe Gavin Webb? The City Independents are known to have a growing number of members who are discontented with the direction of the Groups Leadership. Could Dave Conway be enticed back?

There will be interesting times ahead of the Annual Council meeting on May 27th.

I am proud of the coverage that PnP have given both the General and Local Elections. All the 500 word articles went on unedited. Video and Audio interviews went on untampered with.

Every candidate and Party got equal treatment, including the BNP. That is the way this site will continue. We want to work with all parties to get their message out but we will continue to scrutinise every council decision and will never shy away from reporting what is going on, no matter how uncomfortable that makes certain individuals.

We wish every success to those candidates who were successful and commiserations to those who were not.

A politician text me yesterday [Friday] and congratulated me on our coverage. He said that we had helped some people to make up their minds which way to vote and that we provide an essential service to the politically interested in our City.

If that’s the case I’m more proud of that that anything else…..

General Election: The Best Coverage In Town.

The electorate of Stoke-on-Trent go to the polls today and select the politicians they think will best represent their views and needs.

The nation faces a massive decision today. Whether to stick with a Labour Government in a kind of ‘better the devil you know’ type of thing. Or whether to return a brand new party with a whole different range of policies.

The latest news indicates that we the nations citizens will return a hung parliament.

It has also been suggested that postal votes are double that of previous elections and the same can be said for proxy votes.

The latest and final poll before the polls close at 10pm, an Ipsos Mori survey suggest the Conservatives will capture 36% of the votes, Labour 29% and the Liberal Democrats 27%.

That would equate to the Tories securing the most seats, around 279, but they would not have an overall majority. Labour would take 261 seats and the Liberal Democrats 79.
Locally here in Stoke the campaign is going right to the wire.

We have spoken to all the major parliamentary candidates across the City and no one in any of the three constituencies are taking anything for granted.

A source close to Tristram Hunt, the Labour PPC for Stoke Central said that the reaction on the doorsteps is very positive and they are hoping that it transfers into vote. The message was pretty much the same from Rob Flello’s campaign HQ in Stoke South and from Joan Walley in Stoke North.

A source from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Conservative Party thought that their campaign was well on track both for the local and the General Elections. There is a growing optimism for the chances of Stoke South PPC James Rushton from within the organisation.

We have been informed that the BNP vote may well suffer at both the local and national polls. Simon Darby, Deputy Leader of the BNP and their PPC for Stoke-on-Trent Central has voiced concerned that the lack of an effective Liberal Democrat campaign may well result in a wave of support going over to Labour. He has suggested to Pits n Pots that the Lib Dems did not put an election address out through the Post Office in a deliberate attempt to scupper the BNP campaign.

We are LIVE at the Kings Hall to bring you all the latest news, views, audio and video from the scene as it happens.
Follow our live blog tonight, you need not go anywhere else.

We will have a ‘Cover it Live’ feed going live very soon which will be updated with audio and video as well as written content throughout the night, right up until the results are declared around 3.30am.

Mike, Phil & Tony will be there to record interviews with the winners and losers.

Use this story to comment and to ask the questions that you want the candidates to answer.

Follow us live on Twitter – @pitsnpots @Tony_Walley @Mike_Rawlins @Tideswellman

You can also join in the fun and be a part of the Pits n Pots team by posting the results as you see them announced of the TV.

Lets enjoy this the most interesting General Elections in recent times ““ together….

Election Special: Norsheen Bhatti Conservative PPC for Stoke-on-Trent Central Clashes with the BNP

Norsheen Bhatti the Conservative Party Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent Central is one determined lady.

Her selection was not without controversy when it was revealed that Norsheen was a part-time belly dancer.

She has taken her campaign to the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central and she is encouraged by the positive reaction and the support she has received whilst out canvassing.

Last night [Wednesday] Norsheen crossed swords with British National Party PPC & Deputy Chairman Simon Darby at a hustings organised by the Community Schools Action Group.

In response to a comment made by a member of the audience Norsheen said: “there is nothing British about the BNP”

Simon Darby replied: “well I’m more British than you”

Norsheen demand an explanation from Mr Darby for the remark and he responded by saying that she had made a personal attack on him and she had got one back.

On a day of political gaffe’s, Mr Darby’s comment was misguided to say the least and he gave this explanation on his blog: “Previously she had stated she didn’t want to be photographed next to me, then referring directly to me she stated “there’s nothing British about the BNP”.

Having spent the last twenty years virtually dedicating my life to my nation and my people, that wasn’t exactly the best thing to say to me. Instantly I responded, “well I am more British than you are”, which, despite her subsequent attempts for victimhood, effectively sealed her fate”.

Norsheen Bhatti is quite a tenacious debater and rarely ducks an issue.

We managed to catch up with her today for an exclusive interview.

She revealed that even when out canvassing in areas of the City that are represented solely by the BNP she had never had a racist or derogatory comment aimed at her.

Watch the video below.

SOT Central Parliamentary Candidates Speak to CSAG

Stoke-on-Trent Central parliamentary candidates attended an open Community Schools Action Group Meeting at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre on the evening of April 28th.

CSAG chair MARGARET LOWE opened the meeting and introduced the candidates. Active CSAG campaigner WENDY BOOTH sent apologies for absence. BARRY STOCKLEY (CSAG) chaired the meeting. He outlined the background to the CSAG campaign. In 2007 there were surplus high school places. Mitchell High School and Berry Hill High School showed cooperation by volunteering to close on condition that there would be a new build school on the Mitchell site to accommodate pupils from both these schools. The city council then appointed SERCO which was a most disastrous decision for education. The SERCO proposal was to merge Michell with Edensor and Berry Hill with St. Peter’s. The proposals were rejected totally by parents at Mitchell, Berry Hill, St. Peter’s and many from Edensor. Reports from consultation meetings had been grossly distorted. At a meeting for Berry Hill and St. Peter’s a motion was proposed to reject the merger. Every parent and governor voted to reject the merger but this was not reported. Barry, together with Mark Fisher MP, had challenged Ged Rowney, SERCO director of children and young people’s services and Tracey Penrose, project manager for BSF, over this. Tracey said she must have overlooked this. Many councillors are supportive of the CSAG campaign for a school on the Mitchell site but those appointed to cabinet do an about turn. Mark Fisher always supported the campaign. Each candidate was then given 3 minutes to introduce themselves and express their views as follows:

GARY ELSBY (Independent) explained he had been a member of the Labour party but had walked out because of what had happened. He had produced 20,000 leaflets in the 2008 local election campaign, but then the persecution started for standing up for Mitchell High School and Dimensions swimming pool. He had been removed from the membership list. Council leader Ross Irving had made fun of CSAG and of Pat Smith, Mitchell chair of governors. He had been condescending. Gary said councillor Peter Kent-Baguley is right because he says if we keep up the pressure we will win.

SIMON DARBY (British National Party) introduced himself as the deputy leader of the British National Party and said some might think that means he is wicked but he is not a bad man, he is just a normal guy. He does not believe in the BSF social engineering agenda to create an academy with only two parent governors. Schools should not be run by private companies which profit at our expense. He declared himself fully on our side.

NORSHEEN BHATTI (Conservative Party) said Labour had not been consulting with parents and teachers, which is important for schools. She has visited Mitchell High and congratulates the school for winning an award for the most improved school. She was touched by the children and how much they loved their school. There was passion from the teachers. She said there should be social responsibility and parents and teachers should be given the power to set up their own schools. She also said she was there to listen and wants to put people’s views first.

MATT WRIGHT (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) said what we are seeing is the systematic privatisation of the education system. Academies will be a disaster with worse travel to school. The sponsors choose the governing body and are in charge of ethos. It would not be good to have religious fanatics or companies in charge of schools. Tens of thousands of building workers are out of work. We need to rebuild or refurbish community schools. There should be no cuts to pay or conditions of staff and no compulsory redundancies. There should be no private finance initiatives because these result in the tax payer footing 300% of the building cost. He advocates a joint campaign of all schools under threat.

BRIAN WARD (City Independent) introduced himself as leader of the City Independent group on the council. City Independent councillors Rita Dale and John Davis had backed this campaign the whole time and talk about it every day. He said this is not an MP decision, the city council will make the decision. The protest should be directed to the council. He said Labour councillor Adrian Knapper had also backed the campaign at times. Brian said he had first heard of the fight to save the school at a meeting at Mitchell High. He is in cabinet now having previously been in opposition but nothing had been said at cabinet about this issue. Officers have been sent to check the sites and numbers to see if they are right. Brian said he bases his whole ethos on community issues. He said the public wants a school on Mitchell, not on ‘Springfield’ and to know why they should vote for one parliamentary candidate rather than another. He would have liked to ask Tristram Hunt the Labour candidate about the Labour government. Deals had been handed down from a Labour government which underfunds the council by £300 per child.

Margaret Lowe then read statements from the parliamentary candidates who were unable to be present:

PAUL BREEZE (Independent) said it was evident CSAG hearts are in the right place and we have passion. CSAG has a strong and logical case with evidence for the merger and site we want. Paul said he is fully independent and if elected will back CSAG 100%

ALBY WALKER (Independent) said there should be a new school on the Mitchell site and another on an appropriate site near Edensor. He opposed the Park Hall site and had organised the call in of this decision when he was a British National Party councillor. He is now an independent councillor.

JOHN REDFERN (Liberal Democrat) does not want to share a platform with the BNP. He is not happy with a new academy on Park Hall because of fears about safety and busy roads. He does not think it would improve education standards.

TRISTRAM HUNT (Labour Party) said it was already clear the only way forward is to have two local schools and he would fight tooth and nail for a school in the heart of the community. He had attended a previous CSAG meeting and visited Margaret Lowe at home. He is 100% behind us.

CAROL LOVATT (UKIP) had not responded at all.

The meeting was then opened for questions to the candidates.

MIKE COLEMAN (British National Party councillor and parliamentary candidate for SOT South) asked Brian Ward if he was in favour of Mitchell staying or going. Brian replied that it had never been discussed in cabinet and that the decision had been made previously by the mayor. Brian stated that he is supportive of a school on Mitchell.

PAT SMITH (Chair of governors at Mitchell) said she should put Gary Elsby right on his quotation. City Independent councillor Ian Mitchell was the one who was nasty and wanted a bulldozer through Mitchell High School. Ross Irving and Ian Mitchell had been invited to visit Mitchell High School four times, but each time the personal assistant had rang to cancel. It seems they dare not come anywhere near. In trying to speak to them she had just got insults. Stoke-on-Trent College, the intended academy sponsor, want a 1300 feeder school for the college. Pat said the experience with Stoke-on-Trent College is not wonderful. Nobody has spoken about the wonderful results for adults at Mitchell High. 1500 adults have learned in the community learning centre there, the learn direct there works because it is in the community. Mitchell and Berry Hill are happy to merge because they can form a natural community hub.

TERRY CROWE (Chair of governors at Berry Hill) said Ross Irving and his cabinet are trying to destroy education at the two schools. Terry said he had opposed the independent and Labour elected mayors and the Conservative council leader. This is not party political, it is a fight for the children out there. Terry asked Brian Ward to come off the fence because he has the power but has not faced up to his responsibility. He said Mike Coleman had brought up the issues in the council but they had tried to ridicule him. He asked Norsheen Bhatti if she would speak to Ross Irving and tell him to get off his backside and do something. He asked her if she was prepared to tell Ross he has got it wrong.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said if she were elected she would make representations everywhere.

TERRY CROWE asked Brian Ward to speak to Ross Irving.

BRIAN WARD said we must go though a process, we still have Mitchell High today and can not guess what happens after the election.

GRAHAM WALLACE (CSAG) asked Norsheen Bhatti why she said the Labour party had done this. Her Conservative party had been in charge of the council cabinet for 9 months now.

MICK STONE (CSAG) said to Brian Ward that he was sorry it appeared he was being given a hammering but his question was simply that as leader of the City Independents which have a majority of councillors, he should have influence, so what has he actually done since becoming leader of that group for this campaign? Mick put forward his theory that the area is seen as a hotbed of support or the extreme right and the establishment don’t like that. The area is seen as a poor working class area full of thickos on crack. So taking two lumps of the community and sending them in opposite directions was a ploy to water down support for the extreme right. But Mick thinks this could create the reaction they are trying to stop.

BRIAN WARD said there had been umpteen meetings with SERCO and the new chief executive of the council and there are issues so he did not want to give false promises. There was a desire to move the school because education was poor. Brian said he had backed Trentham who ran a good campaign. As he is not the ward councillor he does not know Mitchell High School. The independents have made more waves in the city than anyone.

GARY ELSBY said he had heard all sorts of stories about wanting the land, he didn’t accept the point about the far right, this area is underprivileged so why not build a school here?

SIMON DARBY said they are doing this in Burnley too, trying to mix muslim and white children. They are busing them around and they don’t like it. This government enforced bullying shouldn’t be happening. He said it is good to see support to fight this here, if we fight it he will back us.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said there is nothing British about the BNP.

SIMON DARBY said he was more British than Norsheen.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said if she were elected she would be supportive because children matter.

MATT WRIGHT said this would rip the heart out of the community and with the scale of public sector cuts to come we need unity in communities, not division.

ADRIAN KNAPPER (Labour councillor) said to Norsheen Bhatti that this is a council decision and if the two schools option were put to the council, Labour and the British National Party and others would support a school on the Mitchell site and another in Longton. He said the only thing in the way is the executive; Brian Ward, Ross Irving and Liberal Democrat support. Norsheen should go to Ross and get him to go ahead with what we want.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said the reality is the decisions have been made and the council’s hands are tied.

ADRIAN KNAPPER stated that schools minister Vernon Coaker would not block the two school option.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said it was not a decision made by the Conservatives but if elected as MP she would do as Adrian Knapper had asked.

BRIAN WARD pointed out that it is a cabinet decision, not a full council decision.

BARRY STOCKLEY suggested a vote of no confidence in the council leader.

JOHN DAVIS (City Independent councillor) said he is a governor at Mitchell High School. He had never seen so many lies and distortions of the facts than on this issue. The first time the proposal was discussed was over two years ago. The council have said for many years that this is a government decision and we are not allowed to build on the Mitchell site. At that time there was a Labour elected mayor and Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat elected mayor’s board. Mark Fisher had been brilliant and talked to the minister who said the site of the school is up to the city council. The current minister says we could have two schools. Another lie is that if we don’t agree it will affect funding and other schools. They have tried to set schools against each other. John called this ‘insultation’ not consultation and said the dictatorial decisions are ludicrous. But John said he believes in people power and we can beat them on the arguments. John asked the candidates if they would, like Mark Fisher, ignore the party whip and stand up for the community even against their own party.

BRIAN WARD said he would do better than that because he would save the school.

MATT WRIGHT said he would stand shoulder to shoulder.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said she would put people first.

SIMON DARBY said he would be 100% behind the fight.

GARY ELSBY said for 27 years he had stood by Mark Fisher’s side and Mark had asked him if he would take on the role of MP. He said Rob Flello MP was taking all the credit for saving Trentham High School and yet the community themselves had put up signs all over the area saying Trentham High School not for sale.

ANDY BENTLEY said when SERCO put forward their proposal the socialist party got 5000 names on a petition for no closures, no loss of jobs and new buildings if needed. His suggestion is every councillor should adopt a different strategy, instead of planning cuts they should plan what is needed as sufficient government funding and launch a campaign to force the government to give us the money. This has been done in Liverpool in the 1980s and they even got money out of Margaret Thatcher. Andy asked who would support such a strategy instead of money going to rich bankers.

BRIAN WARD said every child in the city gets £300 less than the average for the country and where have the MPs been to rectify this?

MATT WRIGHT agrees with Andy because the money needed is like crumbs from the table compared to the richest people in the country.

NORSHEEN BHATTI said Labour had said education, education, education so it is scandalous we get less than others, due to the city’s Labour MPs.

SIMON DARBY said bailing out the bankers, gamblers, was a disgrace and we are paying the price. He would abolish investment banks, have no front line cuts, pull out of the war in Afghanistan, having had an illegal war in Iraq, pull out of the EU and stop foreign aid. Common sense is needed and we should look after ourselves more.

GARY ELSBY said laws should be reintroduced to stop the banking fiasco. He had fought all his life for what he believes in. Labour have done some good things. He said national insurance should not be increased. We should demand no special favours but just the same as everyone else has, which should be easily fundable.

NICKY DAVIS (CSAG) said that by the year 2020 the current SERCO plan will mean we will be short of high school pupil places by about 500 for the Discovery school, wherever it is built, 350 for the new St. Peter’s and 300 for Sandon. What is the best plan to deal with these shortages?

GARY ELSBY said an extra high school can be built in Longton. Caps on immigration will come. We must plan properly for the children and if necessary build more schools. He said the answer is simple, they should give us the money.

SIMON DARBY said it is despicable because it involves private companies so it is about profit and he knows the way these people work with their ethos of selling off public assets. He suggested what is needed is an investigation into the private companies involved and who has directorships involved with these companies. Immigration is problematic.

NORSHEEN BHATTI admitted she does not know, to be honest. We don’t have the funding, education is in crisis and we need to take control.

MATT WRIGHT said we should kick private companies out of schools, increase capacity and employ more teachers. Immigration would not be an issue if public services could cope with demand.

BRIAN WARD said the Labour government has done more privatising than Thatcher.

DAWN KELLY (CSAG) said it gets on parents nerves that they are told pupil numbers are going down at Berry Hill High School but the only reason for that is because of the threat to the school. People are sending their children elsewhere but if a school were to be kept on the Mitchell site they would come back.

KEN said there had been underfunding for years and asked if we should blame the MPs or the council.

BARRY STOCKLEY said we are not underfunded in BSF capital funding, it is the way it is used that is the problem.

BRIAN WARD insisted there was underfunding.

TERRY CROWE had attended a meeting to make teachers and other staff redundant because Berry Hill was targeted for closure. Terry backed up Dawn Kelly’s point. He said as Brian Ward had made a statement he would keep a school on Mitchell if elected, then why not do it now?

BARRY STOCKLEY thanked the 5 parliamentary candidates who had attended.

The meeting finished with a video showing how Mitchell and Berry Hill pupils worked together.

Simon Darby Shows His True Colours At Public Hustings.

BNP deputy leader and Parliamentary candidate for Stoke on Trent central Simon Darby used a public hustings to make a racist jibe at an Asian opponent last night, April 28th.
At the public meeting on local education held in Bentilee, Conservative candidate Norsheen Bhatti responded to a question asked by a resident saying “there is nothing British about the BNP. At that point Mr Darby pitched in with “I’m more British then you are.”
When ask to explain himself he said “You made a personal attack on me and you got one back.”
Miss Bhatti, who was born in Birmingham, had moved seat at the beginning of the debate, into an empty one left by Liberal Democrat John Redfern , who refused to attend the meeting because of the Simon Darby being there.
Other candidate’s attending the meeting were Independent Gary Elsby, Matt Wright of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition and Independent and Stoke on Trent councillor Brian Ward.
Candidate’s not attending, apart for John Redfern, were Labours Tristin Hunt , Independents Paul Breeze and Alby Walker and a National Front candidate.
Not content with attacking other candidates Mr. Darby opposed the plan to merge Edensor Technology Collage with Mitchell Business and Enterprise College, Bucknall. He explained he believed that forcing white and Muslim pupils to mix at any academy would made “a huge social engineering factory.”

Now I’m not going to be rude, or go off my head about Mr, Darby’s disgraceful outburst. My I just point out that what Miss Bhatti did was not to personally attack him, it was a statement on the party he belongs to, which she is fully entitled to do. If he is too thick to see this, which it looks like he is, I would question if he deserves to represent this city, or any part of it, at Westminster