What’s Going On With The BNP.

It’s not just Stoke on Trent where the BNP were hurt in Thursdays election. The right wing party had a torrid time all around the country as there support collapsed. The party won two seats but on the whole lost 11 councillors around the UK.

In Stoke on Trent BNP areas of Meir South, Meir North, Bentelee and Townsend and Addley Green all dismissed the party, retuning Labour members as the city council were cleared of the anti-immigration party. More then worrying for the BNP, saying that they had brought there last two manifesto’s to the city to lurch

Another heartland is Burnley, where they are now down to one council member and they lost another two on the North West Leicestershire council.

Out of the 268 council seats the BNP ran in, they won just two, they were in Queensberry and East Goscote, with a mandate as low as five votes.

They were also in the running for seats in the Welsh Assembly, and pushed ahead of the Libdems in four seats there. 7% of the vote was need to gain any seats, non of them reached the threshold.

They also had candidates in the running for the Scottish parliament and in the Northern Ierland Assembly, but again failed to gain any seats.

It’s a bad time for the party that had seen two MEP elected in 2009, but have in less then 12 months lost 12 seats in Barking and Dagenham Council and in the last 18 months been taken from 9 members to none in Stoke on Trent and have now not won any seats on council since 2008.

Last year, the BNP contested 338 in the general election, but lost deposits in 266 of them.

Locally I have heard moaning from right wingers that all the wards they held seats in had been subject to boundary changes. I have also heard talk that the loss of 16 council seats may have not benefited them. They are also rather upset about some third party leafleting that went on throughout the city as well.

What do you think, have we seen the end of the BNP, can they come back from this, it’s a long time to the next planed vote local or in the UK now. There is talk of them talking with the likes of the EFP, EDL and other groups of that kind to pull together and work together. What do you think will happen.

Don’t be nasty, play fair and we might get a good debate going hear, on a subject the seems to be of some local interest.

User Friendly Play Area In Hanley Park.

Stoke on Trent city council say a new play area they have created in Hanley Park is a first of its kind in the city.

The facilities have been designed for all children to use, including those with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. The equipment there includes a activity unit adapted for wheelchair use, and roundabout for use with wheelchairs and a sensory walk.

A grant of £188,768 was used to complete the area and the work took a total of five3 months, witch followed consultation with the public.

Jane blizzard, representing the Aiming High Parent Forum told the BBCs News website that it had been fantastic that parents had been involved in designing the area. The designers had taken on board issues that arise from parenting a child with a disability.

Director of children and young people’s services at the council, Sharon Menghini said that the new area linked well with other facilities to encourage both able bodied and disabled children to play side by side.

Hanley park was chosen because of its central location within the city.

You have to hand it to the council and others involved in this one, it’s fantastic for the city to have a area like this within it, and it’s something that we can be justly very proud of indeed.

What the hell I’m playing at with that cup of tea that smells like a flower bed.

As some of you are well aware, I have been talking about running for the city council for a number of years now.

I was on the verge of running last year, but I did not think then that I had much to offer, that I needed to learn a few things about how the city ran. Not just in my area.

I looked at ways I could run as part of a party, looked at what it entailed, had the paperwork to join both the Labour and Libdems right in front of me one very confused night last May. I even picked up a pen, I was a second off starting to fill one of them in, Labours’ if you must know.

The only thing that stopped me was waiting to see what a new leadership would bring, I’m of the thinking that it brought more of the same. I think that they are the best party for this country, They will always have a problem with some, but I think they look after most people who want to get on and work and those who can’t work very well.

To me, that’s the only thing I ask of any government. The Libdem application went out of the office window in about a million bits when it become clear what their leadership were up to, they have sold out the very heart of that party, they don’t deserve any support at all.

I know grass root Libdems who are unhappy and who can blame them. They have lost any chance of any real local power for a very long time, and that’s a shame, they are good caring people.

The problem I would have being a member of any party or group is that very thing. Being a member will mean you know what the party wants you to do, not the people who, if you are on a council, think you should do.

The people put you there, put their hopes in you, and to me, that’s all important. I just could not keep a party whip, I’m a rebel, a lose cannon in the nicest possible way.

Now I’ll go off subject here a little bit. I understand that in the city we have a few Labour members who are unhappy with the way Labour have treated them. All I can say is Labour have changed, for whatever reason, they changed. They have changed the way they work, and they had the right to that. If you don’t like it, you say “Thanks for the ride people, it was good while it lasted”, and you walk away, without any malice.

If you want to run in the next election, you put your name down and you state your case, without any malice. A council chamber is not the place to, and I hate this, ‘nail’ anyone up, neither is the streets of any ward as voters decide who they wish to put their faith in, for the next four years.

We all know who I’m talking about here, these people need to move on, drop the axe and grinding stones and put a good case to be on council without malice. Let’s face it, some have had their chance, and in no uncertain way, failed. I say “grow up, get over it, have the guts to step up and state your case or stay bitter and move nowhere”.

So, I have put my name of the paper, I’ll step up to the plate for the city I was born and bred in. The city I love and will always live in. I “Ëœm proud to call Stoke-on-Trent home. I have, in my time, had the chance to move out of the city, I would not feel right living anywhere other then here and I would not want to.

I’m running in South Meir, it’s the area I live in. I understand the problems we have here, and if lucky to be voted onto the council, my main job I think will be done in this area. it’s a large ward and a mixed bag too, little private homes like I’m use to, larger private family homes, old peoples homes, council estates, large posh homes as the wife calls them (she’s my election agent), even a few farms mixed in. It’s interesting and I would think challenging ward that I would love to be involved in.

What I’m finding as I start my run is people think that I’m bothered about who’s running ‘against me’, I’m not. I don’t see it as anyone running against me or me running against anyone. We all have a right to run, as long as you are a voter, live or work in the city of Stoke on Trent and can get 10 people from that ward to nominate you, you’re off and running as a independent.

Then you can sit back and hope for the best, or you can get out, and try a make a difference by telling people what the hell your up to, that it’s important to vote, not for me, but for someone. It’s no good saying “ËœThey never do anything for me’ or “ËœIt’s no good voting, they are just in it for the money.’

This is something I hearing a lot, the pay. Now, as I understand it, a basic council member on Stoke on Trent City Council pockets £12,000 a year, and there are now no expenses paid, and that’s fine by me.

I have put myself forward to the council, its my job to ensure that I can afford any out of pockets incurred by me to do my job.

Bottom line, 100% truth, I’m not in the least bit bothered about pay, I fully intend to keep my other job. Many know what I do, I’m proud of it, I work as hard as my health allows me to. Many know who I work for, and some might think it might pose a problem, it will not.

I’ll take the money, of course I will, I’ll make dammed sure I’m not left out of pocket, and that I’ll be at lest a bit better off for using my time I spend messing around, sampling fruit and herb teas, watching too many DVDs, walking the dog, messing about with the wife’s motorbike for no good reason, mowing the grass, looking up and paying for to much music on I-tunes (the wife will be very happy), watching monthly meetings of Stoke on Trent city council on the internet because I’ll be there, cooking the tea and every important thing I do on the last Thursday afternoon of the mouth.

I’ll also knock many of these things on the head, all bar the fruit and herb tea, if I have something to do within my job with the council. So long as there is boiling water, I’ll bring my own cup and a few tea bags and we can all have a go. Might even be able to afford a bit more of it with a few more quid in my sky rocket.

Some of the money, and I’m not joking here, will be filtered back to the ward, in the form of a good brew of Green Jasmine by Good Earth for all, no I’m joking again. I’ll ensure that little things that mean so much to people get done, I’ll pay for a few flowers around the place, the odd new bin, the stuff for some kid on the council estate. do a bit of painting, I’ll have no problem doing that, its not political, its me.

This is not my 500 words, this is my blog telling you what I’m up to at the moment. I’ll put what I feel is important to this city in my 500 words when asked for it. If anyone as any questions I’ll try to answer them hear for you.

I don’t expect myself to make it, I tried at least. Whatever happens, if I make it or not, I’ll still be here.

Pits n Pots as been good to me and for me, I’ve been though a lot, just before I signed up and while I have been a member here. it’s a part of what I do, it’s a part of me. So is 6towns Radio, and when all this gets done, I look forward to using that music I pay too much for. Now, if you’ll excuse me I fell a Rooibos and Harvest Berries cuppa coming on.

OHHHHHH! THAT HIT THE MARK.

Proposed Cuts To Ward Budgets Could Effect Communities.

A cut of 90% in ward budgets may leave the council paying for costs that will still have to be covered and my appear as unexpected costs. The plans also cuts to next to nothing one of the few ways in witch we of communities in the city has a say in witch some public money is spent.

Within the plans to save the city £35 million is a proposal to cut each councillors ward budgets from £50,000 p/a to just £5000. This means that at the moment, communities have £150,000, held by the three thee councillors for the area to ask for and use within it. It seem that after May, each ward will only have £5,000 per ward.

This move will be discussed on 22nd February. It was also debated at the transformation and resources overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday 10th February with Peter Bates, Director of resources tell the committee that this would have to change to the approach.

Joy Garner, Labour, the committee chairman responded and said, “ËœAs councillors, we need to know where the money has been spent and if we are propping up some services.’

City Independent Randy Contey stated his disappointment on the reduction. Saying the committee recommended a reduction per member to £40,000.

Cabinet member for transformation, Sarah Hill, Labour, said that it was going to be a difficult year all round. In keeping the £5,000 means if the situation was not as bad in a years time, more could be put back in.

Cabinet member for resources, performance and governance, Kieran Clarke, Lib Dem, said he himself was a strong believer in the ward budget system, but it was one of them that if the councillor as it someone loses it. He added that ‘With the £5,000 at least it is still there because if it went completely, it would be hard to reinstate.’

These budgets have been granted since 2007 and are a good way to help councillors help RA’s and other community groups to work on issues in the area.

Within the city, this money has been spent on the fitting of gates to alleyways that prevent unwanted anti-social behaviour such as street drinking and the use of drugs in the area. Local football clubs have been given cash to build changing rooms. Money as also been on local play areas to. In my RA area, we use some of the budget to part pay for street cleaning, witch works very well indeed. It at times is also used for bins and information boards within an area to, as well as many other projects.

As someone very much involved within the RA system, I’ll tell you this, the money that the council Members hold and we can ask for is, like the trash bashes we hold each year do make a difference in the communities, it help use to do the job we are there to do, to be a link between the people and the council, to work with the council, to improve and to keep standards in an area. Its very worrying that a ward budget may be cut to such a low level, even with one council member in smaller wards in May, the budget per member is very low and next to useless. What do you think.

City Council Give Advice To Schools On The Care Of Islamic Pupils In The Fasting Month Of Ramadan

Some jobsworth at the city council as taken it on his/herself to issue an 11 page guide for school staff on how to care for Islamic children if they are fasting in the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

Faced with massive council cutbacks some brains of Briton as pulled this idiots guide together has some children of the Muslim religion may still be fasting when the school year starts up again in September.

In the paper, it says Islamic pupils should not take part in swimming lessons. Although swimming is acceptable to Muslims in Ramadan. The idiot who put this together is worried some water may well be swallowed. It also goes to pains to point out to staff the effects of getting up early to have something to eat before sunrise. It also explains the tell tale signs of dehydration and that sex education should no be given to them past puberty as sexual thoughts are also to be avoided in the daylight.

Ramadan starts on the 11th August and lasts until September 9th, anyone tell me what date the kids go back School after the summer hols, because I have not a clue. During this time devout Muslims fast in the between sunrise and sunset, its up to them. Good on em’ for having the conviction to do it.

Lets face fact here, its been going on for a good many years, thousands in fact, and the best people to guide the children who wish to fast are the wider Islamic community, not some fool hiding out in the back office of the Civic Centre. Its not got a lot to do with them, and if a teacher can not see the signs of a child being tired or dehydrated, they really should not be in the job.

It goes as far as to say that those having a free school meal should get a packed one to take home. Myself, I’m at a loss about that one, don’t know about you lot.

How I’m seeing this is Ramadan’s like Christmas, without the drinking and the Ham Roast on Boxing Day. It comes round every year, just not at the same time as it goes on the cycle of the moon. There as been times when the full month of daylight fasting falls within schooling time, and I have never heard of anything like this being sent out.

OK, open for debate, your thoughts please.

Was The Early Morning Geese Cull Insensitive?

Residents around the area of Queens Park, Longton had a rather rude and worrying awakening on Thursday, the day after that nasty going on in the North West. City council environmental services sent a few lads with guns in to kill a few of the local Geese.

One workmate I talked to yesterday said she had never been as frightened in all her life as a volley of shots rang out from the area of the lower lake at just after 5.30 in the morning.

Jane Forshaw, head of environmental services said the cull was necessary and the birds were damaging the habitats of other animals, gave off a potential health hazard with their droppings and were a nuisance.

Now, I agree with all this, there are too many of the buggers round that lake, they are very destructive and they do poo everywhere. But to go in a park in a residential area at daybreak and start shooting at them the day after shootings in another part of the country, and them being reported on the news and uppermost in peoples mind, it’s a bit bad.

The work was carried out by a council contractor, who said that the cull needed to be carried out when the Park was closed to the public so as not to put them at risk. This I can also understand.

The local police said that they had been informed of the planned actions, and had received calls at the time from worried residents. Anyone ringing had been informed that a cull of Geese was going on.

The city council issued an apology to anyone distressed by the actions. Again, all well and good, but could it not have been held off a few days?

The events of Wednesday were dreadful to say the least, any other time people would have just thought, “ËœLooks like they are sorting that Geese problem out’ turned over, farted and gone back to sleep, but the day after that going on, come on, for lord sake.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council – A Long Week Ahead!

I must be really sad me! But, I have to say I’m really looking forward to this week and reporting on the shenanigans of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Thursday’s Annual Council meeting should be a belter.

The first task is to confirm Cllr Denver Tolley as the new Lord Mayor. I have known Denver for a few years and I can honestly say I have yet to meet a single person who has anything bad to say about the guy.

Denver serves the Longton North ward and is respected by all. His wife Lynne will be Lady Mayoress and I have no doubt that she will prove to be one of the most glamorous the City has had for years.

They are both brilliant with people ans will be a massive hit whatever functions they are requested to attend.

The main event on Thursday however, is the election of the new Council Leader.

I think it is widely expected to be Labour Group Leader Mohammed Pervez. I tip his deputy to be Cllr Ross Irving, the current Leader of the council and Leader of the Conservative & Independent Alliance.

This will mean that there will be at least a two party coalition.

Which means that we may not get the four party coalition that Pervez had hoped for last week.

You see, it’s all about cabinet places and portfolio positions.

For a four party coalition to work, I estimate that the Labour Group will want to retain at least 5 cabinet places.

This will leave 5 cabinet places to be divvied up between the CIG, CIA and Lib Dems.

Kieran Clarke has been made to play the Hokey Cokey by his group as he has been in/out a few times all he needs to do now is to shake it all about. My sources tell me he is in at the moment.

It is known that the Lib Dem group were hesitant about Kieran carrying on the cabinet portfolio for resources given the amount of cuts that are set to bite hard.

The Conservative were very reluctant to enter into another coalition with the City Independents, But as I understand it today there are a couple of cabinet positions on offer to the CIG and the CIA groups.

Whether the CIG accept these is another matter and is very much down to what portfolios are up for grabs. I understand it that the CIG will be unwilling to accept the more controversial portfolios such as Children & Young Peoples Services, which has been something of a poisoned chalice.

The Labour cabinet members are being held closely under wraps. But, I expect a mixture of experience and new blood on there.

So you can see that negotiations will be ongoing throughout the coming week.

At Pits n Pots we are keeping our ears close to the ground and we will be covering the Annual Council live on Thursday.

The Boundary Commission Answer your questions – Exclusive

Today we spoke to Max Caller from the Local Government Boundaries Commission. I asked him to explain a little bit about the Boundaries Commission and the job they do and how that will affect Stoke on Trent’s Council Ward boundaries.

To make further suggestions to the boundary commission you can visit their website:

Thanks To Nikki Davis for her work on the question content.

Council Borrowing Near Limit.

Stoke-on Trent council will consider a 2.86% increase in the city’s council tax for the year 2010/11 at a budget meeting on Thursday (25th Feb.).

It as also been made public that the council plan to borrow some £380m to enable them to carry on running essential services within the city.

This amount is £95m the estimated £285m and £15m off the councils total borrowing limit of £395m.

The council insist that the money has to be borrowed because its cash reserves are not enough to pay for all its services.

City Council Admit To Serious Errors In Contracting.

Stoke on Trent City Council has admitted to making some “Ëœserious mistakes in awarding contracts for work. One firm, Kinders Ltd have been paid upwards of £3.2m in the past four years for work it did around the area.

Kinders where not to blame, the firm did nothing wrong, but the council admit that the contract given to Kinders should have been tendered. The work was carried out on an as and when basis. Disciplinary action may now be used against staff of the council as a inquiry into the matter is now underway.

Phil Crossland, transportation and planning director, told BBC Midlands News that what had gone on was not good practice, and that the amount of work should have been foreseen, allowing it to be tendered as a proper term contract.

Pathfinders, a government- backed regeneration project provided much of this work. The aim of Pathfinders is to modernise or replace housing stock. It seems like the work was done in a piecemeal way, but large contracts should have been awarded.

The work was done with no competition, the may have led to the council paying more.

Rob Flello, MP for Stoke on Trent South as promised to raise the issue with housing ministers. He had this to say:-

“It breaks all the rules in terms of procurement policy. We’re Talking Millions of pounds.”

The council said it would conduct a ‘forensic audit’ with invoices for completed work being look at again, these could run into thousands of items of paperwork. They also said no law had been broken.