Sunday, 30 September 2007
Tomorrow (October 1st) is Lincolnshire Day and I shall be a guest on Radio Lincolnshire's Drive Time programme, at 4.40pm, to talk about County days, and in particular how Yorkshire Day has grown in popularity over the years.
It is high time the yellowbellies had a day of their own. They have a smashing flag (pictured) and whilst we in Yorkshire wear a white rose on our special day (August 1st) the beeb is encouraging Lincolnshire folk to wear something yellow. In that case I shall wear a yellow tie.
October 1st was chosen because the date coincides with the Lincolnshire uprising on this date in 1536.
This blog has received a comment, via the anonymous option, to this posting which was predominantly about Labour but did make reference to Coatham Links, the topic of the comment, which we have rejected.
We reserve the right not to publish anonymous postings even when the writer identifies himself if we consider them to be offensive, personal or if we think they may be libelous. All three apply in this case.
The blogger whose name appears on the bottom of the comment does not allow comments at all on his blog, at least that was the case the last time I looked.
If the person concerned would like to re-send the comments with all the references to other people removed we will be happy to publish the points that refer to me, and any additional ones he may have, as a blog item and answer them point by point in good faith.
Saturday, 29 September 2007
The bizarre decisions of the referee seemed to favour Gillingham. He clearly ignored shirt grabbing and niggling fouls by the out-played Gills and concentrated on minor dissent infringements by the Leeds strike duo and three others.
Leeds looked like scoring a dozen until the sendings off, which meant the whites had to quickly change things around and battle to defend the one goal lead. This they did comfortably until the very last minute when the Gills equalised. United were clearly in a different class.
It is disappointing that their 100% start to the season has ended but what can you do when the referee is playing for the other side.
Gillingham 1 Leeds United 1
Friday, 28 September 2007
My eagerly awaited copy of Conservative Blogger Iain Dale's Guide to Political Blogging in the UK dropped through the letterbox yesterday morning and I read a good bit of it in bed last night.
Disregarding the obvious Tory slant to Iain's contributions and the fact that our blog is down to No 77, in this year's top 100 Lib Dem blogs (according to a "panel" of fellow Lib Dem Bloggers), from No 48 last year when Iain Dale choose the list, this excellent guide tells you almost everything you want to know about political blogging in the UK.
It doesn't tell you, however, who the panel of Lib Dem Bloggers were and what the criteria was they used. I suspect the huge increase in well written new Lib Dem Blogs, that have appeared over the past 12 months, our lack of interest in the national political scene, shown so far, and our low number of commenters, probably had something to do with our slide down the list. We will try our best to improve for next year.
Reading the book in bed with a low light made it hard to read. The type is very small and worst of all the text could not be closer to the centre fold. I found myself trying to force the book open to read the end of a line. The margin on the other side of the page is almost 4.5cms wide. This is obviously because there are pictures on some of the pages but it would have been better if these were on the centre fold side.
I read with interest the pen pictures of 50 top bloggers in the 'who's who' section and was very disappointed to find that almost all of these were bloggers from the south, as are most of the other contributors. This does not mean I think the guide is biased, it just means that I think Iain should cast his net further afield next year.
The 'Glossary' of blogging terms is a mine of information. There are many there that I have never heard of and some I have heard of but had no idea what they meant. Barking moonbat "a negative term for describing someone as being at the far edge of whatever ideology he or she is advocating," is one such term I had never heard before but will remember for future use.
It is useful to have a list of 1200 political blogs and their domain names but I am pretty sure that there are a lot more than 125 Lib Dem supporting blogs around.
The guide has a generous sprinkling of cartoon strips about a blogging dog by Hoby which makes it all the more a good read and well worth the £11.04 plus postage from Politico's.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Leeds United have been informed by the Football Association that they do not think it is "appropriate" for there to be any further inquiry into the scandalous imposition of a 15-point penalty so eagerly confirmed by our rival clubs.
Well I'm sure that has rattled us enough to keep on socking it to 'em for a few more games then.
Two fingers to the Football Association as well as the Football League.
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All sessions free to card carrying CAMRA members.
Limited supply of commemorative glasses.
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Wednesday, 26 September 2007
They had spent the past four years promising everything to everyone. Their leader on Redcar & Cleveland Council practiced opposition for opposition's sake. He jumped onto every populist bandwagon and often opposed things his own pre-2003 administration had set in motion.
The Evening Gazette's letters column was filled with one paragraph sound-bites, supporting the Labour stance, many of which were in the names of people we suspect do not exist (and here and here).
Listed below are just some of the issues where Labour have shown that what they say in opposition is different to what they do in control:
The Lib Dem led Coalition 2003 -2007 took many difficult decisions that lifted the Council from being rated as only 'fair' when we took over in 2003 and to 'four star excellent' within three years.
When we took over in 2003 the previous Labour administration had appointed Persimmon Homes as the preferred developer and the scheme was launched by Councillor George Dunning just prior to the 2003 elections.
Cllr Dunning became Labour Group leader after the election and aided by Labour MP, Vera Baird, Labour flip flopped this way and that over the scheme and encouraged a very nasty campaign by a small group of protesters.
No sooner had they won back control but they were all for it (and here and here).
Closure of Eston Town Hall and James Finegan Hall
The Coalition were faced with the task of what to do about the Poulson designed 1960's town hall at Eston and Finegan Hall alongside it. The previous Labour administration had cut the Council's maintenance budget years before, to prop up their "no compulsory redundancy" policy and claw their way back from having the second highest Council tax in the land. Both buildings were in need of major investment and are unsuitable for 21st century local government.
The Coalition decided it was much more economical to provide a new civic hall in the more accessible centre of Redcar, rather than have main council services split over three main towns. The Audit Commission had criticised the previous Labour Council for this inefficient set up. Moving the town hall to Redcar would reduce travelling for staff and make it more accessible to the borough's residents.
Although we promised that a brand new replacement for Finegan Hall would be built before the hall was closed a group of dancers launched a campaign against the closure plans. Councillor George Dunning, the council's Labour Group leader, backed the protesters. Over and over again he was reported as saying: "Our position is that when we get back control in 2007 we will keep open the James Finegan Hall and refurbish it along with the Town Hall." Read more here and here.
No sooner are they back in control than they have now voted to do exactly what the Coalition had planned. They have done a complete u-turn. It is interesting that they held the Cabinet meeting in Saltburn, far away from Eston.Councillors Allowances
In opposition Councillor Dunning went on and on about Councillors allowances complaining that Redcar & Cleveland's allowances were higher than other neighbouring Councils. But at yesterday's cabinet he said "Tees Valley Councils need to catch up with us" as they voted to go on with the current system.
Land at Church Lane
Councillor Dunning and his deputy. Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, led the opposition to the Coalition Cabinet's plan to sell a small section of land, alongside the town hall, to Tees Valley Housing Group. This would provide some much needed homes in the area and in particular provide more options for people moving out of the South Bank renewal area, whilst at the same time preserving a substantial area of green space.
Labour twice managed to win the vote to reject the proposals at planning committee but Tees Valley Housing Group appealed and this was upheld by the Government Inspector.
On taking control Labour still had the choice of not selling the land to Tees Valley, and thereby preventing the houses being built. Councillor Dunning promised in this letter that this is what he would do.
But yesterday, in far away Saltburn, the Labour cabinet voted to hand over the land and allow the houses to be built. They have achieved exactly the same outcome as the previous Coalition Cabinet had attempted to arrive at.
The new Labour Cabinet have shown once again that they say one thing in opposition and do exactly the opposite in control. They owe the residents who trusted them to do what they promised a most humble apology.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
Goals from Jermaine Beckford and David Prutton, along with a man of the match display in defence from Rui Marques and great work by Seb Carole made it seven wins out of seven.
This Leeds team is on fire!
Leeds United 2 Swansea City 0
Friday, 14 September 2007
Leeds had to endure massive pressure from Bristol Rovers for much of the game but our dynamic twin strikers took their chances well.
Bristol Rovers 0 Leeds United 3
She will succeed Colin Moore, who is retiring from the role after completing eight years in the job in December.
Residents can no doubt look forward to a range of "it" campaigns, such as "blitz it" "bin it" and "just do it" which seem to have been a feature of Amanda's five years as Executive Director at South Tyneside.
Like Redcar and Cleveland, South Tyneside has moved from a 'fair' authority to 'excellent' and is one one of only ten nationwide to be classed as 'four star improving strongly'.
Amanda Skelton's career in local government has a housing and regeneration background, with vast experience in delivering frontline services. She has previously worked for City of Sunderland Council, Newcastle City Council and Salford Council before arriving in South Tyneside.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Liberal Democrat Councillors on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council are delighted that an independent report has named the Lib Dems as the greenest of the main parties.
The report entitled “Green Standard” is published by an alliance of respected environmental campaign groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Woodland Trust.
It awarded the Lib Dems three “green lights” approving their policies. Labour received only one and the Conservatives none.
This confirms what we have always known. Whilst the other parties talk about the environment, only the Liberal Democrats put words into action. We have ambitious plans to make it easier for people to make their homes greener, and to tax pollution.
In Redcar and Cleveland the Lib Dem-led Coalition which ran the Council until May built “green” schools such as Freebrough in Brotton. We gave free home insulation to homes with residents over 60 or under five. But now Labour has stopped this scheme. This shows that at local and national level it is only the Lib Dems who are committed to action on the environment.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Work on the site is expected to begin by next March in a phased development that will span several years and negotiations for a £2.5million funding bid are being progressed by the Council to construct access and highway improvements to serve the site.
The North East company, Graphite Resources, is expected to deliver its plans for the site's 'anchor' development which is earmarked for almost half the site.
The company will be hosting public consultation sessions at the South Tees Business Centre in Puddlers Road, South Bank on Thursday, September 13, between noon-7pm and Saturday, September 15, from 9am-noon.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Author Wendy Robertson will be running a half day writing workhop called "The Historical Imagination" at Redcar Library on Saturday, September 15. Tickets cost £5 and include tea and a biscuit.
For more information contact Sandra Reddie on 0191 222 1332
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Leeds best start to a season since 1973 means that many teams in League One are still close enough to catch within a very short period of time.
It is Bristol Rovers away next Friday and a win there could actually see United off the bottom, at least for one day. That would be some achievement
Leeds United 2 Hartlepool United 0
Friday, 7 September 2007
Click on the North East News South Friday 7th September 2007.
Thursday, 6 September 2007
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Ian Swales (pictured above with local conservationist Alexandra Stamp) made the call following the publication of the 2007 English Heritage “Buildings at Risk Register”.
Of the 119 buildings and structures listed in the North East of England no less than 6 lie in Kirkleatham village near Redcar.
Ian Swales said "These buildings are important to our local heritage. Kirkleatham is a beautiful mixture of glorious nature and distinguished early 18th century buildings and monuments unique in the Redcar and Cleveland area. A place that should be a magnet for visitors has now become a cause for local shame ."
Chief among the buildings at risk is the Kirkleatham Hall Stables, a handsome 18th century Grade II listed stable block set near charming walks and woodlands. The stables are approached through elegant gate piers topped by large lions which are listed Grade I. A conservation plan and options appraisal was commissioned by the Council in 2005 but the condition of these magnificentl structures continues to deteriorate.
To the North East of the stables lies a romantic gatehouse badly in need of repair and dating from around 1780.
Ian Swales said “English Heritage have suffered a drop of nearly £20m over the last 6 years in the grant provided by the Government. The heritage lottery funds are now also being raided by a Government who seem to have undermined the independence of the lottery by announcing what will happen to the funds raised.
“As well as restoring the heritage grants the Government should change the VAT rules. The present system favours green field development as that is VAT free whilst repair and renovation attracts VAT at the full rate."
The 27 votes to 23 decision came today at a meeting of the Council. The Labour-dominated authority decided instead to use the term “Redcar & Cleveland” on the Town Hall address.
Labour also refused to allow the public to have their say in a referendum on the issue.
Councillor Chris Abbott, Lib Dem Group Leader said:
“This is an act of cultural vandalism. The North Riding of Yorkshire has never been abolished for cultural, ceremonial, sporting and postal purposes. Our borough is still a part of Yorkshire.”
Redcar Lib Dem Councillor Josie Crawford added:
“Labour said they would be open and transparent, and take the Council to the people. Yet they refuse to give the people the opportunity to have their say on it.”
This follows the highly successful introduction of a similar scheme at neighbouring North Yorkshire County Council earlier this year.
However, the ruling Labour group stopped short of agreeing to the proposal, and instead argued for the matter to be referred to the Council’s “Democracy Commission”.
Marske Councillor Margaret Wilson proposed the motion, saying:
“The Council already has the technology to do this and it will give the public the opportunity to see the Councillors they elected in action. It will also provide an accurate record of the proceedings.”
“I am pleased that the Labour Party half-supported my motion. We will now have to see what the Democratic Commission is all about, and whether it has any real power to change the Council in ways which allow public access.”
Redcar Lib Dem Councillor Joyce Benbow seconded the motion, adding:
“Few people are able to attend Council meetings, as they take place during the day. Access to the Town Hall Chamber is also difficult for people with disabilities. But if people could watch proceedings at home at a time of their own choosing, many more would get the chance to see and hear what goes on.”
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
The red carpet or is it pink?
Glynis with Dave Fitzpatrick and his girlfriend.
It seems that almost all the letters sent out to Redcar Lib Dems members giving notice of the September General meeting have landed on the doorstep with the envelopes spit open and the papers loose.
Many members have received only the face part of the envelope, whilst Joyce Benbow has received a Royal Mail packet (also burst open) with umpteen sets of the papers in them.
I spoke to our friendly Postman this morning and he was well aware of it. It had apparently been a talking point at the Sorting Office but they have no idea how it happened.
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
At 2pm on Thursday, in the Town Hall, Fabian Road, Eston, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Councillors will debate a spiteful motion proposed by Labour Councillors to delete Yorkshire from the Council's postal address.
Let's be honest about it, this petty action will cost absolutely nothing to the Council, though it may cost Royal Mail money in wasted time having to hand sort incorrectly addressed letters. It cost the Council nothing to add Yorkshire in the first place and it will cost nothing to replace it. I make this point because when it was first proposed that we use Yorkshire as part of the postal address Labour Councillors claimed it would cost £80,000 and they have spent years whining in the local press about the cost of associating the area with Yorkshire, when there is no cost. They actually made up the £80,000 cost and the annoying thing is that people believe them.
I was sent, last night, extracts from a local website that showed comments from anonymous posters objecting to the Labour motion. The only problem about that is all they could refer to was the cost of deleting Yorkshire from the postal address. What I am interested in is not the cost (there is none) it is the value. Redcar, Yorkshire means something. It identifies exactly where we are and associates the area with our real County. More than one thousand years of history and heritage is what it means to be part of Yorkshire.
Local government changes are made regularly and will be made again in the future, there is no doubt about that. England needs stable geography and there is no need to change the name of the area every time the name of the local Council changes. Areas for local government can be shown alongside real Counties on maps. As my posting yesterday explains what Labour proposes is nonsensical and will cause chaos for the postal service.
I have added a new Poll on the sidebar please express your views. You can also use the comments section.
Monday, 3 September 2007
They will be among the 266 strong audience at The Regent Cinema in Redcar on Wednesday, September 5, for the official Community Premiere of Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel 'Atonement'.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has worked with Northern Film and Media, Universal and BAFTA Films to bring the multi Oscar tipped film to the town where some of its most memorable scenes were shot for the official regional premiere.
Last Autumn the beach and a section of the Promenade was turned into Dunkirk for the filming of the movie Atonement, which involved 1,000 local people as extras.
And a living history group will be bringing war-time memories back to Redcar as the Council kicks off the free community celebrations with a 1940's Spectacular Event at 11am.
Visitors will step back in time as members of Hartlepool Heritage Memorial Society give up their time to turn parts of The Esplanade and beach into wartime 1940's.
To really get that wartime feel, Hartlepool Military Heritage Memorial Society re-enacts an encampment, complete with camouflage netting, field kitchen, mortars, sandbanks and ammunition including two 25lb guns and one Bofors, automatic, double-barrelled, anti-aircraft gun.
Founder, Neil Forcer, said: "We don't celebrate or glorify war. We like to think of ourselves as a living museum, where people can participate in what we're doing.
"They can touch the uniforms and artifacts and really get to grips with it and even eat food of the era as we'll be cooking up Bully Beef on the day for people to try!
"What we provide is a completely different experience to that of visiting a museum where exhibits are often behind glass and remote. We'll also be in simple Royal Artillery gunner's uniform, so we'll be very much the common man soldier."
The resident of 127 Sandringham Road, Redcar woke up to this damage to the rear fence and garden hut this morning.
The fence fronts onto the West Dyke Road car park and it seems that someone has reversed out of a parking space, damaged the fence and pushed back the garden shed eighteen inches, damaging it in the process.
I understand that this is the second time that it has happened. It has been reported to the police. Did anyone see it happen?
Traffic will be banned from a stretch of the Esplanade, from its junction with Arthur Street to the junction near Station Road, from 8am on Tuesday, September 4 to 2pm on Thursday, September 6.
The closure will allow work for creating a 1940s day of entertainment, including a stage for music and dance performances as well as room for the red carpet to be rolled out for the 8pm VIP screening on Wednesday.
Below is a copy of an email to Peter Boyce Chairman of the Association of British Counties from Royal Mail's Address Management Centre at Portsmouth, dated 31st August 2007. The AMC is the authority on postal addresses. As experienced in the past, if you ring the local office you get the opinion of whoever you speak to, usually a telephone clerk who does not know the facts and is usually wrong.
Royal Mail's Automated Sorting System requires both the correct post town and correct postcode, otherwise a letter is rejected for manual sorting. In the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland there are four post towns. Redcar, Middlesbrough, Saltburn and Guisborough.
A letter addressed to someone in Saltburn, Middlesbrough or Guisborough with Redcar and Cleveland added will mean that two post towns appear on the address, causing it either to be misdirected or rejected for manual sorting.
A letter with Redcar, Redcar & Cleveland on the address is simply silly.
Re: Address Management
Thank you for your enquiry concerning the use of County information in a UK address.
I would like to confirm Royal Mail no longer require County information in a correct Postal Address providing the correct post town and full accurate postcode are included. Our customers are, however, free to include county information if they wish to do so.
In such circumstances, they may choose to use the former postal, traditional, or administrative county name with no detrimental effect on the service they receive. Royal Mail are not seeking to discourage the use of county information, but rather to provide our customers with a choice.
Former Postal County
Former Postal County information is what was used by Royal Mail, prior to the full use of Postcodes to identify between similar and same sounding place names. The information was taken from what was the Administrative county at the time, and has not been updated.
Traditional County information is provided by the Association of British Counties (ABC) and is historical data, backdating to the 1800's.
Administrative County data is provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This information is not static data, the county boundaries may change due to administrative changes.
In some circumstances it would be nonsensical for use in an address. For example, the administrative county name for Portsmouth would be Portsmouth, and for Southampton would be Southampton.
Royal Mail has not provided county information on PAF based products and services since December 2000.
The exception to this being the Royal Mail UK Addresses products and the Alias File, whereby all three county names are supplied and the user would have to make a selection from the above three county names if required. The Alias File is an 'add-on' data set which would be purchased in addition to a full PAF Data product, and again all three county names are supplied and the end user will need to make a
The PAF is intended primarily to meet the requirements of Royal Mails own distribution system. Whilst Royal Mail provide Postcode and Address data to third party users as a source of information we have no control over the manner in which it is used.
Royal Mail, Address Management Unit, 4th Floor, Royal Mail, Slindon
Street, PORTSMOUTH PO1 1AF
(0845 606 6854 (option 2) or postline (Royal Mail only) 5258 2778
Saturday, 1 September 2007
Tresor Kandol scored in the final moments of the first half as once again his link up work with strike partner, Jermaine Beckford, proved crucial for United.
Kevin Blackwell and John Carver lost it at the end of the match refusing to shake hands with Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. Interviewed on Yorkshire Radio, after the match, Dennis claimed that former Leeds caretaker manager Carver grabbed him by the throat. Blackwell, who under the circumstances, did a reasonable job as United manager, taking us to the Championship play offs, played the incident down, claiming he was just leaning in to listen to what Dennis had to say.
Leeds United 1 Luton Town o