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.

Eve Maley, loses against the council – again

It was just under two years ago that Eve Maley, having lost the Northwood and Birches Head election by one vote, following multiple recounts which had found her previously one ahead, took legal action against the council over the conduct of the count.

Returning Officer Paul Hackney had allowed three or four recounts depending who you believe, or indeed, which of his own accounts you read, since in one letter he said four counts had taken place, and then in his submissions to the High Court, he said it had been only three. He then declared the election in favour of Dave Sutton, the Lib Dem, who has been serving the ward ever since, in a position of pseudo-limbo.

And this week, following several expensive visits to the High Court in London and three figure legal bills on both sides, a public hearing found in favour of the city council.

The commissioner charged with making the final decision, after it had been deferred repeatedly before, said he had “sympathy for all parties”.

He could empathise with Dave Sutton, who has had to go on in his seat for the last two years with this weight hanging over him, Paul Hackney and his team, who have “clearly done their best with the appalingly complex, time-consuming and wasteful procedures”, and finally, with Eve Maley, who “felt that the election process was not quite right and she had some grounds for that belief”.

The commissioner went on to say that, had the letter of the law allowed him, he would have preferred to act “like a Wimbledon umpire”, and called a ‘let’ allowing to all parties to re-run the ‘point’.

For me, the odd thing about the way the case panned out was that Eve’s original point of major contention, was that so many (three or four) recounts had taken place, all of which found her in front, before final count was chosen to be decisive after it found that Sutton was one in ahead. But the case ended up being debated over the possible loss of a postal vote, rather than whether or not the Returning Officer had done things correctly on the day.

And of course, what was suspicious, at least from Eve’s point of view, was that it seemed all too convenient that Lib Dem leader Jean Bowers kept demanding and being allowed recounts, especially considering Eve was council enemy number one, having also very publicly brought the matter of the council putting a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on her house to court as well.

But, it’s all over now. And does she regret it? Not one iota. She told me:

“It’s all been a complete waste of time, and taken much longer than we thought. But I don’t regret it. At least people have been questioned for their actions.”

But, aside from who was right and who was wrong in this matter, I can’t help but feel for the woman, and her husband John, who have been through hell this last few years.

They fought and lost the house they called their own, which they, and their surveys said, was in perfectly good condition, when the council decided the block needed to be demolished altogether because of apparent structural problems, and yet, they still stand now onminously, boarded up and fenced at the back to prevent the vandals from getting in.

Then Eve stood for election – her manifesto including not knocking down decent properties – and lost in such a contentious way, and then lost a battle to have the decision overturned, nearly two years on.

Now, the couple live in one of the new apartments overlooking the canal, and are remarkably chipper, considering that they seem to have been beaten into submission by their own local authority on two counts.

And although their case would put many off fighting against something they feel is unfair, I have huge admiration for the woman who refused to back down, and stood up for what she thought was right to the end.

I just hope that Eve and John are now allowed to enjoy their retirement in peace, and that the council doesn’t decide one day soon that the Waterside Apartments are about to imminently fall into the canal.

21 Month Long Dispute Uphold’s Sutton Victory.

A 21 month long disputed election result has upheld the original declared victor.

Dave Sutton was declared the duly elected candidate for the ward of Northwood & Birches Head in 2008 after a number of recounts.

Independent candidate Eve Maley disputed the result and claimed that she was the rightful winner.

A 21 month long legal process and bitter dispute ensued.

Yesterday after a whole host of High Court hearings, a two day public inquiry at Hanley Town Hall declared that the election and it’s result was lawful.

Mrs Maley was disappointed by the outcome and has now set her sights on standing as a candidate in the forth coming General Election in Stoke-on-Trent Central against sitting MP Mark Fisher.

Speaking in today’s Sentinel Mrs Maley said:

"I don’t regret doing this at all.

"The inquiry has shown that dozens of mistakes have been made, but they have still come down in the council’s favour.

"I’m not just going to give up. This council needs to be challenged and that is why I am going to stand as an MP."

Dave Sutton, who is a member of the Liberal Democrats, spoke exclusively to Pits’n’Pots today and you can hear this Audio Interview at the bottom of this article.

Dave speaks openly and honestly about the stress that this has caused him over the past 21 months.

Update 21/4: Council election dispute back in the High Court

By Matt Taylor

Update 21/4:

The case over a Hanley woman who took legal action against the council over a disputed election result has still not been resolved despite spending the last two days in the High Court.

Eve Maley took the city council to court over the election for Northwood and Birches Head because she felt aggrieved that the Liberal Democrats were allowed multiple recounts which led to the eventual announcement of their representative Dave Sutton being declared the winner by one vote, when Eve had been ahead in the previous three totals.

There is now debate over a missing postal vote which could hold the key to Eve achieving her aim of changing the result of the election with the possibility of a re-run.

But although these were counted yesterday, no decision has yet been made and there will now be a further hearing, which is to happen next Friday, 30th October, at an as-yet undisclosed location.

The battle thus far has cost Mrs Maley seven thousand pounds, with further costs still adding up paid for by legal aid, as well as mounting costs to the taxpayer for lawyers representing the city council.

As published on October 19th:

Eve outside her home in Eaton Street

Eve outside her previous home in Eaton Street (now subject to a CPO)

Eve Maley, aged 64, from Hanley, took umbridge when the vote to elect a councillor for Northwood and Birches Head last year went against her by one vote – after several recounts.

In the first three counts Eve was found ahead in the ballot. But with Dave Sutton being second in the running, the Lib Dems called for the multiple recounts which led to the fourth overturning the decision, instead putting Sutton one ahead. It was when this occurred and after Eve was refused the right to a recount herself, that she decided to take action against the council.

But a year-and-a-half on, several hearings in the Royal Courts of Justice, and costly appearances by QCs on behalf of both Eve and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, nothing has been resolved. And today’s hearing before a commissioner was no exception.

However, it does seem as if the long battle is coming to a long-awaited conclusion.

The case has taken a turn from what it was originally concerned with, as the count of votes which were delivered by the city council to the courts did add up to the tally declared in the final count. Now it has come down to postal votes, because the numbers published by the Returning Officer did not add up correctly, meaning there was one missing vote. Since this vote could have been for Eve, the argument is that, of course, it would have led to a draw.

The postal votes and spoilt ballot papers therein will be examined tomorrow, when Eve returns for another appearance in the big smoke. But this could still not be the last, with a possible final hearing to happen in Stoke before the matter is ultimately resolved. Eve said:

“We got what we wanted in that they are going to check the postal votes. There’s one missing and they can’t account for that. So it could have been declared a draw.

“The commissioner wasn’t happy that the whole thing had taken 18 months.

“But it could still not be sorted tomorrow and if not will be completed in Stoke. It’s been a nightmare.

“If they had just given me a recount in the first place, then either way the result went, none of this would have happened.

“The best outcome is the truth – what went on needs to come out. People who voted for me need to know the truth.”

“Councillors are trying to force me out for saying it like it is”

By Matt Taylor

The Chairman of a city neighbourhood group says he is being forced out of his position because he says it “like it is”.

Geoff Brookes, aged 64, lives in flats off Bucknall New Road and runs the Newshaw Walk residents’ association which meets at the Elim Church.

But the 40-year-long resident of the tenements claims that councillors and officials of the council are attempting to push him out because they think he is a “stirrer”.

Geoff maintains that he is simply standing up for the rights of people who live in the flats, which are divided between owner-occupation and council/housing association rental. He said:

“[councillor] Jean Bowers came to a meeting – the first one she’d been to in twelve months – and sat through it with arms folded.

“People were saying, ‘we only see her when she wants the votes’. So I put the question to her, “Would you mind telling these people what you have done for them?” And she said, “Nothing,” and then added, “but you haven’t asked me to do anything.”

“Then I got a letter from the council saying they don’t like how meetings are being run and they will not participate in them.

“I called Jean Bowers because I wanted to sort the situation out. And she said she would send [Northwood and Birches Head councillor] Dave Sutton to the next meeting.

“But Dave Sutton came along and started handing out copies the letter which was addressed to me outside the meeting.

“Then he came in, sat down, and started reading the letter out.

“I told Dave Sutton to stop reading it as he was disrupting the meeting. But he just kept on reading.

“So I said if he wanted to read it, he should wait till ‘any other business’ or leave. So he left, saying “I’ve never been thrown out of a meeting before”. And then he handed out copies of the letter to people outside.

“I hadn’t had chance to bring the matter up yet with the committee so hadn’t asked them what they thought.So then I asked everyone present if anyone disagreed with me being the chairman, and I had unanimous support from everyone in the room.”

Geoff claims that councillors have now boycotted his meetings, and that council officers will no longer talk to him. He added:

“I feel as if they are trying to force me out. By saying it like it is, I am looked on as a stirrer.

“I am not interested in politics, I am just interested in people.

“I have now put in a complaint against Sutton because he shouldn’t have read a private letter out, or handed it out to members of the public.”

But Dave Sutton said that Geoff is simply a persistent complainer. He said:

“I can’t comment because he has made an official complaint to the council about me.

“He has made complaints about everyone.

“I know you want both sides of the story but it would be wrong at the moment for me to comment, especially as I also have the case over the election still coming up as well.”