In a shock result which rendered the previously vociferous Labour Twitterati silent last night, City Independent candidate Jackie Barnes won the Springfields and Trent Vale by-election.
Campaigning postman Les Porch has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Springfields and Trent Vale by-election.
Les Porch has been a prime mover in the petition campaign by Riverside residents demanding a rethink over Stoke City FC’s plans to expand their training academy.
Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to be able to put forward vision for Dresden and Florence and the City of Stoke-on-Trent on PitsnPots.
I am extremely, proud to have been chosen by the Labour Party, to be a candidate in the ward in which I live and have grown up in.
I have worked hard alongside my predecessor, Cllr Bagh Ali, to improve Dresden and Florence.
Tough decisions have had to be made by the council in Stoke-on-Trent due to the horrific cuts imposed on us by the Conservative and Liberal Government.
But Labour have worked tirelessly to make sure that any cuts in Stoke-on-Trent protected services that we believe people need. In particular, Labour listened to residents concerns over Children s Centres it is down to your Labour Councillors that none have closed.
As a Labour Councillor, working as a positive team, I want to see the regeneration of our City continue, bringing in business, visitors and jobs.
Despite these tough times, if I get elected, I will be committed to putting people first, and my three top priorities are:
* More good quality, well paid jobs by attracting new employers by building on our strengths, sorting out our weaknesses and promoting the City.
* A great start in life for our young people, by continuing to provide excellent education and defending Children s Centres
* Creating a Council you can be proud of, that is responsive to your needs, listens and delivers excellent services across the City.
If you want a strong local voice to stand up for Dresden and Florence then vote for me. I promise I will repay you by working hard for the area in which i live.
Stoke-on-Trent Labour Party had a massive boost to their local election campaign when David Miliband paid a visit to the city to take part in a Q&A session with students at Staffordshire University.
The former Labour Government Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010, paid a glowing tribute to Council leader and Leader of the Labour Group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council Mohammed Pervez.
Mr Miliband who is MP for South Shields was narrowly defeated for the Labour leadership by brother Ed in September 2010.
He told a lecture theatre full of students, members of the public and Labour Party activists that even though it had worked against him he was in support of the AV system which will also be voted on May 5th.
Mr Miliband also answered questions on the threat from the far right, the NHS, and University education and student fees.
He also answered questions on his time at the foreign office and explained his vision for setting up his Movement for Change organisation.
David Miliband took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Pits n Pots and give his views on the Labour Party’s current performance, the poll ratings, the national coalition and the cuts.
He also praised the work of the coalition parties here in Stoke-on-Trent in dealing with the unprecedented amount of cuts.
We also managed to catch up with Council Leader Mohammed Pervez who gave us his thoughts on his party’s campaign and their chances in the upcoming local elections.
Out of the 199 candidates nominated to fight the upcoming local council elections, 139 represent national political parties.
So, it kind of got me wondering, if we happened to end up with a hung council, who would form the next coalition?
Now opinion is divided as to the chances and plights of the various political parties but I think everyone recognises that Labour are the clear favourites to take an outright majority in the council chamber.
I also think that everyone believes [even the Tories themselves] that the Conservatives could get a bit of a public kicking as the electorate exact revenge for the unprecedented cuts that the whole of the country is facing up to and having to deal with.
Despite fielding 44 candidates, the Liberal Democrats face obliteration from the council chamber. They have just 4 councillors presently here in Stoke-on-Trent. Across the country the electorate are expected to send a very clear message to Mr Clegg that he has got it wrong in joining with the Tories. The Libe Dems have become the political whipping boys following a series of high profile national policy u-turns which some say have angered the public to an extent where they will suffer a huge backlash in the May local elections.
The BNP locally have managed to field just 10 candidates and what is very different to last year is that there seems to be some sort of “Ëœarrangement’ with the England First Party not to field candidates in the same wards which would result in a split in the Nationalists vote. With the 6 England First candidates, far right voters will have an option in 16 of the 37 wards across the city. Of course this is a far cry from the days when the BNP described Stoke-on-Trent as their jewel in the crown but never-the-less the BNP could be another party that suffer at the pens of the electorate. The public feel that there is a genuine alternative to the mainstream parties with a number of credible Independent candidates and groups like Community Voice who actively seek to scrutinise the ruling administration and have become a self styled group of people champions.
It is hard to decipher who is who when analysing the 42 or so Independent candidates. The largest number will be attached to the City Independent Group under the stewardship of leader Brian Ward. They suffered something of a public backlash for joining in the 4 party ruling coalition. They have a reputation out of the mean streets of Stoke has being very hard working community councillors.
But in the event of a hung council just who could work with who?
There has been some suggestion that the Labour Group on the council have over egged the national cuts issue. This has caused unrest among the Conservative element in the chamber. One wonders whether the national Conservative party would allow their Stoke-on-Trent counterparts to take part in another love in with Labour.
An opposition member said to me recently that he thought it was like a scene from “ËœBrokeback Mountain’ to hear the interviews with Pervez and Ross Irving on Pits n Pots.
Well after the election it could be more like “ËœLast Tango in Packmoor’ if Labour don’t get the 23 seats necessary to take overall control of the city council.
I think there will be a few voices of discontent if a coalition between Labour and the Conservatives were proposed.
Any coalition with a far right party will not happen. Both the leader of the Labour Group Pervez and the Leader of the Conservative Group Ross Irving have ruled out working with the BNP in the past and I can’t see that that would change in the future.
The Liberal Democrats are expected to have a poor showing following the election so I don’t expect them to play a significant part unless Labour were short of just a couple of seats.
The prospect of Community Voice playing a part in any future coalition is a fascinating one. Mike Barnes had a very public parting of the ways with the Labour Party. Mick Salih and Peter Kent-Baguley also fell out of favour with the Labour Party and all three have been harsh critics of the coalition and Labour in particular.
Community Voice are tipped to do well in the local elections and could well be the dark horses come May 6th. I would love to be a fly on that particular wall to witness the coalition talks involving Community Voice representatives.
The City Independents will also play a major role in any future coalition and to some degree a coalition agreement with this group would be Labour’s worst case scenario. By the very nature of their group the CIG are made up of Independent thinkers and minds and it is very hard to get them agree to anything which makes a partnership arrangement with a group who operate a whip very difficult indeed.
Even though all this is speculation, we do need to consider what will happen in the event of a hung council.
One thing is for sure, groups like Community Voice, the City Independents, even Independents4U could play a major role in the future shaping of the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
With the exclusion of the far right for moral reasons and the possible exclusion of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on political reasons any coalition arrangements is fraught with danger.
The reason for the boundary changes and reduction in the number of councillors was thought to bring about political stability.
In the event of a hung council, the political gerrymandering and posturing will be no different to what it is now. There will just be less characters involved.
One thing is for sure, the next four years will be very interesting here in planet Stoke.
199 candidates have come forward to contest the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Elections which will take place on 5th May 2011.
These candidates will seek to represent 37 newly formed wards in a council reduced from 60 to 44 following a review by the Boundary Committee last year.
The City will be split into 31 single member wards, 5 two member wards and 1 three member ward.
The release of the candidates list confirms that whoever is elected, the council chamber will have a very different look to it on May 6th.
The 3 member ward of Baddeley, Milton & Norton has 16 candidates seeking election. 12 from national parties, 1 from Community Voice and 3 Independent candidates.
The current Council Leader Mohammed Pervez [Labour] is facing opposition from former Conservative & Independent Alliance Leader Roger Ibbs who is now standing as an Independent candidate.
Deputy Leader of the City Council and Leader of the Conservative & Independent Alliance Ross Irving is seeking election to the 2 member Hanford & Trentham ward. There the main opposition is understood to be from former coalition cabinet colleague Terry Follows [CIG] and Peter Hayward [Ind].
Liberal Democrats Group leader and coalition cabinet member Kieran Clarke is again standing in the Birches Head & Central Forest Park ward where he comes head to head with Former elected mayor Mark Meredith. He will also face a stiff challenge from former elected mayor champion and community leader Paul Breeze.
City Independent Leader Brian Ward is standing in the Blurton West & Newstead Ward and will not be facing former colleague Roy Naylor who recently announced he is standing down. The main opposition is thought o be from the Labour candidate Neil Day.
BNP group leader Michael Coleman will have his work cut out to defeat the very popular Labour candidate Ruth Rosenau in the ward of Meir North while former BNP deputy group leader Anthony Simmonds will surely split the far right vote with England First Candidate Nicholas McVeigh which could give a boost to Labour Candidate and current cabinet member Tom Reynolds.
Former BNP group leader Alby Walker who is now representing Community Voice is facing an uphill struggle in the Meir Park Ward to defeat City of Stoke-on-Trent Conservative party Chairman Abi Brown.
Walker’s wife Ellie is taking on former BNP colleague Melanie Baddeley in the Abbey Hulton & Townsend ward. One surprising omission from the candidates listed for this ward is that of former Labour councillor Graham Wallace. A number of sources had indicated that he would stand against the official Labour candidates selected.
Community Voice group spokesperson Mick Salih will stand for election in the huge Baddeley, Norton & Milton ward. He faces stiff opposition from all the mainstream parties.
There is some 53 Independent candidates standing including members of the City Independents, Community Voice, Independents4You and those who have chosen not to put any description on the form.
Whatever the outcome, the city’s electorate have a wide and varied choice of candidates to select from.
These elections will be the last, barring by-elections, for four years.
Pits n Pots will launch our election coverage later today.
This will be the most comprehensive coverage anywhere, given to each and every candidate regardless of political persuasion.
We will offer every candidate an equal opportunity to write an election article for publication [500ish words] and the chance to record an audio interview of around 7 minutes. These will be left on the site for reference.
As the City is still reeling from the loss of many key services and community facilities we have to now face up to yet another low blow, dished out from central government that will affect the vulnerable and most needy right across the country.
I refer of course to prescription charges which will rise by 20p from today in what will be seen by some as another stealth tax introduced by the coalition government that will hit those on low income.
It will now cost £7.40 per prescription but this applies to only those who will in England and do not qualify through means or through a medical condition that exempts charges.
The rest of the UK has decided to scrap prescription charges to each and every member of society. The latest being Scotland who follow in the footsteps of Wales and Northern Ireland by making them free from the start of next month.
The Department of Health defended its policy of charging in England.
It said the fees raised more than £450m a year –
equivalent to the salary costs of 18,000 nurses or 3,500 hospital consultants.
Under the new charges, an annual pre-payment certificate will remain at £104 but the cost of a three-month certificate will rise to £29.10.
Professor Ian Gilmore, study author and former Royal College of Physicians president, has suggested that ministers should consider scrapping charges altogether.
He described the current system as “Ëœoutdated and arbitrary’ and has suggested that patients with long term conditions lasting a minimum of six months should be exempt from charges for three years. After this period patients could then be re-assessed by their GP’s and depending on their health, the exemption period could be renewed.
Prescription charges were introduced in 1952 for the whole of the UK. The Welsh Assembly voted to abolish the charges in 2007. Northern Ireland followed in 2010. The SNP gave the electorate of Scotland a pre-election boost with today’s announcement that the charges will end north of the border.
Scotland’s announcement has placed the Liberal Democrats with something of a dilemma. They have announced that if they were to win a majority north of the border in May, they would keep the promise of free prescriptions. This announcement will anger Lib Dems in England and attract more criticism to the already beleaguered party. As a part of the coalition government in Westminster they are a part of the decision to raise prescription charges in England from today.
The latest announcement will anger groups opposed to the government cuts.
Some sections of society believe that they are being discriminated against.
Prescription charges abolished across the UK bar England and University tuition fees also abolished in Scotland since 2000 despite being doubled in England as a part of the coalition government comprehensive spending review.
Today is a sad, sad day for our City and for everyone who lives and works here.
This is the day that we say goodbye and bid farewell to a number of much loved services and leisure facilities.
We have already seen the closure of the City Farm. By the end of play today we will lose Park Hall Golf Course, the Dial a Ride scheme, Stoke Recreation Centre, Fenton Library and the cafe at Gladstone Pottery Museum.
Communities are devastated by the closure of Shelton and Tunstall pools which will also close their doors today.
There is talk that a private investor is looking to keep these two amenities open but I know a number of councillors have concerns that this is a viable option.
Officers and certain councillors are desperate to further discussions with the individual concerned and to offer assistance where ever possible. I have seen an email in which the potential investor offers sincere thanks to councillors and officers as they try and present a credible business case and secure the necessary funding.
Only time and rigorous scrutiny will tell whether this offer can be taken seriously and until i’s are dotted and t’s crossed parties are trying to play the matter down for fear of wrongly building up the hopes of the action groups and communities concerned.
Politically, opponents are keen to blame the city council’s ruling coalition of Labour, Conservative & Independent Alliance, Liberal Democrats and the City Independent Group for these unprecedented cuts.
Out on the streets though it is a very different matter. The general public are in no doubt as to who is exactly to blame.
The electorate hold the national coalition 100% responsible, everyone I have talked to is angry at the level and speed of these cuts.
For me, it is way too much, way too soon. The fact that we are at the start of what can only be described as a public sector cull, puts our country’s recovery from the worst recession in modern history at risk.
Take out the disposable income of the vast number of people who are about to be thrown out onto the scrap heap with the only prospect of landing squarely on the dole queue, and the knock on effect on the economy could be disastrous.
Meanwhile back on the mean streets of Stoke-on-Trent, the effect of these cuts is biting at the very front end of our society. No one is left untouched, the elderly, children, the disabled and the most vulnerable are all to suffer for the indiscretions and downright financial mismanagement of a large number of bankers who thought that they had a god given right to play a game of poker with the worlds finances.
And what has been the effect on the very individuals that put us in this mess in the first place? They are to be rewarded with unbelievably high bonuses often paid out by near state owned financial institutions.
Action groups will carry on fighting for the services and
facilities that they want to save and I pray that there is some success to be had.
£35million pounds have been wiped out of the budget for the upcoming financial year with the inevitability that another £20million will follow next year.
Our elected representatives have faced up to their responsibilities; officers of the council have administrated the cuts based on the balance sheet in front of them. The objectives? To save, to cut, to reduce and to merge services and facilities knowing that their actions are going to hurt the very people they seek to serve.
There have been those both inside the chamber and out in the political scene at large, that have sought to make political gain from the fact that Stoke-on-Trent City Council has had to make cuts. Indeed I know that certain individuals have been told to stay away from the Tunstall Pool Action Group meetings because their number one priority was to make political gain from the fight.
As much as we pontificate locally, in reality we all know there is little we can do to influence the level of cuts metered out to the public of Stoke-on-Trent.
Direct action on a national level is the only sensible recourse to voice our discontent and complete bewilderment over these unprecedented and unnecessary cuts.
The public have to take the issue up with the organ grinder [the national coalition government] as opposed to the monkey [Stoke-on-Trent City councillors], for it is them that have decided to decimate the funding to our City.
The protests in London last weekend attracted in the region of 450,000 people and but for a few hundred anarchists and complete nut jobs they were hugely successful in delivering a very direct message to this government.
That message is very loud and very clear ““ There is an alternative!
Peaceful, direct and unwavering protests on the largest scale imaginable would send a clear concise warning and in my humble opinion is the only way to save the services and facilities we value in this city.
So, in summary to save Stoke, we must march via London and parliament square for it is there that the true perpetrators reside.
It is just over a month until the polls open for one of the most important local elections in Stoke-on-Trent for many years, with changes to the ward boundaries, a reduction in councillors and moving to whole elections.
This year we are going to build on our coverage of the 2010 local & general elections and provide even better coverage of the candidates, campaigns and the election.
We are putting the finishing touches to our 2011 Election Section and will be publishing it very soon.
This year each and every candidate will have their own page here on Pits n Pots where we will link to news stories about each candidate both on PnP and other local media, link to copies of any election leaflets that they produce.
Tony Walley will be going out on the road and speaking to any candidates who take up our open offer which is:
Pits n Pots will allow you to publish 500 words about your campaign and give you the option of a 5 minute audio interview both of which will be published unedited in return you will be asked a number of questions which have been suggested by Pits n Pots readers, each candidate will be asked the same questions.
If you decline the offer of an interview with Pits n Pots that is fine but a candidate page will still be created with any publicly available information.
What questions do you think we should be asking the candidates in this election? Use the comments below to come up with suggestions, we will sort them and then put the best up for vote to be included in our candidate interviews. Keep the questions generic as they need to be asked of each & every candidate.
We will include 1 or possibly 2, depending on interest, ward questions, so if there is a particular issue in your ward then feel free to add this in the comments below but make sure you say it is a ward question and provide the name of the ward it should be asked in.
We will be asking you, our readers, to help us with our election coverage when it comes to Election Leaflets.
This year we are working with the Election Leaflets website. What we would like you to do is, scan or photograph any election leaflets you get delivered and add them to the Election Leaflets site, all you need to do is upload your images and fill in a simple form, you don’t need to create any accounts just follow the instructions.
If you do upload any leaflets, please tag them with:
- Candidates Name
- Any other tags you think are suitable
If you could then drop an E-mail to le2011 at pitsnpots.co.uk with a link to your uploads, we will add the link to the candidates page. Please check the spelling of the candidates name as this is the most important tag that will be used by Election Leaflets to group the information see Shazad Hussain as an example.
Don’t worry about the site not having wards only general election constituencies on it, the Election Leaflets site will still accept local election leaflets.
If you don’t want to upload the leaflets yourself then you can E-mail the files to le2011 at pitsnpots.co.uk and we will do it for you. If you don’t have the ability to scan or photograph the leaflets then you can send them by post to or drop them off at:
PnP Election Leaflets
6 Towns Radio
Shop 26 Queen Street
and we will sort them out for you.
Lets make this the best Local Election coverage we can and let’s get as much information about our candidates as we can so we can hold them accountable for their promises & pledges for the next four years.
Just when you thought it was safe to assume that the City of Stoke-on-Trent had recovered from the blip of being Nick Griffin’s BNP “ËœJewel In The Crown.
Ladies and gentlemen of all creeds, colours and religions – let me introduce you to the England First Party [EFP], headed up locally by two men considered way to extreme even for the BNP.
Mark Leat was a former BNP Councillor and Craig Pond a former BNP group organiser and they are expected to appear, amongst a few others, on the ballot papers in the local council elections in May. Pond is expected to stand in Goldenhill & Sandyford and Leat in one of the wards in the south of the city.
BNP sources have confirmed that they were kicked out of the BNP for being too extreme in their views and in Ponds case for some of the intolerant bile he spews forth on his tiny PCF blog and on certain other “ËœNationalist’ forums.
To give you some background, the England First Party was formed in 2003 by Mark Cotterill, who had been the founder and chairman of American Friends of the BNP. He had been responsible for pumping funds into the BNP until he decided that their politics no longer matched is own.
The EFP have some very worrying policies, up until last June, one of their main manifesto pledges was “the abolition of all non-European faiths and religions”. This is something that they later retracted but it gives somewhat of a flavour of the kind of people they hope to engage with.
They have a white supremacist ideology which marks a clear difference to the “Ëœmodern BNP’ and they are not afraid or have no desire to use electable language. They say that they want to reclaim the country from what they describe as “Ëœimmigrant invaders’. They also advocate “Ëœrepatriation of all immigrants to their lands of ancestral origin’, but nowhere do they say the matter will be voluntary.
“”¦ their clothes, their food, their culture, their psychology, their biology, their physiology and their history challenges ours at every point of the compass”.
This leaves no uncertainty about the kind of people who support them.
Last year they fielded just 7 candidates across the country in the local council elections, three of them were here in Stoke-on-Trent, the lack of interest was not surprising when you consider the party has as little as 100 members as of the last Electoral Commission figures.
They fielded no candidates in last year’s general elections; instead they encouraged their members and supporters to support any National Front candidates.
They also advocate the nationalisation of most national and public services. They want to ban the association between the Unions and the Labour Party and they want to set up workers co-operatives to protect the interests of workers.
Having said that one of their chosen candidates has not worked for years and chooses to spend his time writing extremist views in hate fuelled rants on the EFP Stoke website among others.
The fact that this candidate is seeking election and as such deems himself fit enough to undertake ward work alongside civic duties should be investigated by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Warren Lloyd, who is seeking election to the council as an independent for Meir, has major health issues which may result in him having to undergo a heart transplant. He still manages to work and to contribute to society. The difference is down to personal pride.
If you feel the need to cast your vote outside of the mainstream candidates please look at who you are voting for.
There are a number of independent candidates that are standing that seek to represent their communities and will do so with a willing heart. They have no issue with anyone who lives in their wards regardless of skin colour or religion.
There are also groups like the City Independents and Community Voice that are also outside of the mainstream party structure. No one should have the desire to see the City turn to the extremes of far right politics as an alternative to the main three.
Still not decided? Let me show you some of the views of a confirmed English First Candidate:
At this festive time of the year, I would just like to thank Stoke-on-Trent city council for housing murdering terrorist Muslim scum in this city.
The Potteries Shopping Centre might need modernising, but not by exploding some bloody immigrant with a Semtex waistcoat, and the native people of these parts certainly deserve better than being blown to smithereens whilst out Christmas shopping for their loved ones.
Still, if the Muslims of this city would provide a little more effort in ridding their communities of these extremist morons, instead of sitting back and letting this terrorism blossom, they might get an easier ride from those of us who would like to see them go back to their own continent, where they could beat their wives, shag their own children instead of young white girls, and blow the crap out of each other, rather than us and ours.
The council and the politicians need to understand something though, if ever these cowards manage to blow something up in this city, they’d better run for cover, because the backlash against such behaviour won’t just fall on the Muslims, but also on those that have stuffed our communities full of them.
We simply cannot allow this situation to continue.
Kick this hypocritical, two faced lying scum out of our country, and if the establishment that is there to protect these islands and their native peoples refuse to do so, then matters should be taken into our own hands.
If it comes down to the survival of the indigenous people and their culture, or the backward and neanderthal behaviour of these bloody Muslims, I know where my loyalties lie.
Enough is enough.
It was fantastic to watch so many patriots march against the enforced presence of Islam in what used to be a green and pleasant land, and despite \Tommy Robinsons multiculturalistic claims, there is no place in England for this backward and barbaric religion, or those that wish to practise it.
But just what are these protests achieving?
They are highlighting the fact that numerous governments have ridden roughshod over the democratic rights of the British electorate by forcing these counter culturalists into our communities, but if the EDL don’t have the people within the political system to help enforce the changes needed to stop this Westminster displacement, then nothing will change.
What they absolutely must do if they want to see their country re tuned to them, is to vote for the nationalists that stand in their area, and if none are, then they need to bring them in, or stand themselves, because all the shouting and flag waving in the world won’t see the current crop of Westminster liars and cheats change the system to suit the EDL.
According to Pink News, the majority of people are in favour of same sex marriages. Rubbish and lies. Most people are not in favour of this.
Marriage is a Christian ceremony meant to unite a man and a woman in matrimony before God, and according to the bible, homosexuality is a sin, so how the hell do they figure to let them marry?!
Read this depressingly bad article on how the sexual deviants are being promoted as a new lifestyle choice for our youngsters.
No walk of life, no area of our culture has been left untouched by the poisonous hand of political correctness, even to the point of trying to infect our children with the idea that homosexuality is something to be aimed for.
Our country has no hope of survival if this wicked and reckless behaviour is not stopped.
In other state sponsored rants [by us the taxpayer] all Muslims have been called paedophiles, our council officers have been accused of being corrupt and described as thieves and our current elected councillors have been insulted out of hand.
I ask, is this the calibre of person that we want to elect to represent us?
To promote our City?
To help attract inward investment?
The BNP are in decline lot only locally, but nationally
too. Councillors like Michael Coleman, whether you agree with his politics or not, are respected for being hard working councillors.
It appears that there is a more sinister and extreme element, whose politics are way past the “Ëœfar right’ who are seeking to prosper from the downfall of the BNP.
All we can hope for is that everyone in our City sees right through the charade, deception, lies, intolerance of these charlatans and that we keep our City free from the embarrassment of being tarnished by the nation of having a racist element.
I am not advocating that we all follow a mainstream party, what I am absolutely saying is that there are alternatives, be them in other political groups, or acting as true independents, that are much more worthy of our vote.
The upcoming elections are the most important in modern times, which will see fewer councillors representing us.
Let’s make the most of them.
Let’s get the right people into the chamber, people who will look after our best interests and the interests of the City as a whole.