Stalybridge Labour sunk to a new low at the Stalybridge Carnival last Sunday, when their gazebo collapsed. Continue reading
Conservative Co-Chairman Sayeeda Warsi has congratulated Ed Miliband on narrowly winning the Labour leadership election.
She called on the new leader to recognise his role in creating the financial mess that Britain is now in and tell us what he’d do to fix it.
Sayeeda said, “For the past five months, all we’ve heard from Labour is knee-jerk opposition, now’s the time for Mr Miliband to tell us how he’d cut the deficit. He promised us a Labour spending plan before the spending review, now we’d all like to see it.”
And she added, “Ed Miliband wasn’t the choice of his MPs, wasn’t the choice of Labour Party members but was put in to power by union votes. I’m afraid this looks like a great leap backwards for the Labour Party.”
Sayeeda’s comments came after a dossier was published that showed massive black holes in the spending commitments of both Miliband brothers.
The dossier, by Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, showed that both Ed and David Miliband had made massive unfunded spending commitments during the Labour leadership campaign, in which they also opposed the Coalition government’s actions to deal with Labour’s record deficit.
Both Miliband brothers had committed to £44bn worth of deficit reduction but were unable to make their sums add up, opposing individual cuts and making extra spending commitments. The shortfall in David Miliband’s spending plans added up to £55bn, while brother Ed’s was even greater at £67bn.
Read Sayeeda’s exclusive blog post by clicking here.
Read more about the Milibands’ spending black hole by clicking here.
ABOVE: RANK & FILE UNISON MEMBERS’ PAY IS A PITTANCE COMPARED TO THE £127,436 EARNED BY THEIR LEADER, DAVE PRENTICE
(Photograph by Kaihsu Tai & reproduced by kind agreement from Wikimedia Commons.)
A leading Ashton Conservative has attacked the hypocrisy of fat cat union leaders.
As one union leader called for ‘co-ordinated strikes’ and ‘direct action’ in protest at any future cuts to public services, it was revealed that the likes of Bob Crow and Dave Prentice earn hundreds of thousands of pounds each year – lining their pockets with pay and perks far in excess of the vast majority of their union members.
In addition to their pampered existence, the union leaders enjoy extra funding for union activity each year via the taxpayer-funded Union Modernisation Fund, whilst using vast amounts of cash to prop up the Labour Party.
Paul Buckley, the Deputy Chairman of the Ashton-under-Lyne Conservative Association, highlighted the issue in a recent letter to the local papers.
Dr. Buckley wrote; “Last month the leader of the RMT union, Bob Crow, called for “co-ordinated strikes” and “direct action” in protest at the cuts in public services that are coming our way.
“This month we learn that Bob Crow gets a whopping £105,679 a year in salary and perks. He doesn’t even get the highest amount –the leader of the largest teachers’ union (the NUT) gets £124,483 and the leader of the Fire Brigades Union has to make do with £115,804. Dave Prentis, the leader of Unison (the union of many local government workers) gets a massive £127,436 in pay and perks – though he says his salary is ONLY £92,688 – well that’s all right then, only about 5 times the average salary in Tameside.
“The vast majority of the people they represent do not earn anywhere near that amount of money.”
“The Unions receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayer’s money every year from the Union Modernisation Fund. The unions spend vast sums every year supporting the Labour Party – the same Labour Party whose disastrous running of the economy whilst in government that has caused the difficult, but necessary, decisions to cut funding in the public sector.
“Will these leaders take a cut in pay, apologise for their support in getting us into this mess in the first place and be constructive and work with the coalition government to make the cuts as painless as possible? Or will they continue as before, bring the country to the brink and make the pain much worse for everyone?”
Commenting on the removal of Cllr. Roy Oldham as the leader of the Tameside Labour Group, Cllr. John Bell, the Tameside Conservative Leader, said: “I have known Roy Oldham for over 35 years and rarely agreed with his politics.
“Nonetheless, his contribution to Tameside Council has been immense. He brought discipline to a rabble of a Labour Group, and worked tirelessly to promote Tameside’s name beyond the boundaries of Greater Manchester. I therefore extend my very best wishes to him for the future.
“Kieran Quinn now faces a massive task to fill Roy’s boots and placate a split Labour Group. In this era of ‘new politics’ I hope that he will be willing to work with the Conservative Group in his efforts to improve council services. I wish him the very best of luck and look forward to a period of more enlightened politics in Tameside.”
This powerful new film looks back on 13 years of a New Labour government.
Before voting please take just ten minutes to watch this film.
CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE TO LABOUR MP’s SHOCK RESIGNATION
Responding to news that James Purnell is to resign as the Labour MP for Stalybridge & Hyde, Cllr. John Bell, the Tameside Conservative Leader and Hyde Werneth ward councillor, said:
“James Purnell was never a Stalybridge & Hyde man because he never fully concentrated on his duties as a constituency MP. From day one, he had an eye on the bigger Westminster stage and he never made any secret of his desire to rise through the ministerial ranks as soon as possible.
“As a result he was sloppy in his approach and his judgement was questionable. Mishap followed him around wherever he went – most famously when he insisted on being photoshopped into a photograph with the management of Tameside Hospital.
“At the 2008 local elections more people voted Conservative than Labour in the eight wards that make up Stalybridge & Hyde, and we were hoping to defeat him at the next General Election. Now, that he has resigned I can say that he won’t be missed.
“Irrespective of their politics, an MP’s first concern should be their constituents. Purnell always put them second to his own political ambitions. It was therefore right that he should go.”
Further comment was added by Rob Adlard, the Conservative Prospective MP for Stalybridge & Hyde, who said he was “disappointed” that Purnell would not now be held to account by the electorate in the forthcoming General Election.
Rob was speaking in an interview for Tameside Radio, which can be heard here.
CONSERVATIVES SUBMIT OFFICIAL COMPLAINT FOLLOWING ‘STATE OF THE AREA’ COUNCIL FARCE
LABOUR’S ACTIONS HAVE GIVEN DEMOCRACY IN TAMESIDE A GOOD KICKING
Tameside Conservatives have submitted an official complaint, and a demand for a full investigation, following Labour’s refusal to allow a full debate at last Tuesday’s so-called State of the Area Address ‘Debate’.
The democratic snub was in breach of the Labour-controlled council’s own rules which allow for a debate following the council leader’s annual address.
However, the debate ended in FARCE when it was curtailed to just THREE speakers – Council Leader, Cllr. Roy Oldham; Conservative Leader, Cllr. John Bell; and Mossley Independent Leader, Cllr. Roy Etchells – as Labour sought to block Conservative councillors from speaking by claiming the debate was only for group leaders.
This led to angry scenes in the council chamber, as Conservative councillors demanded the right to be heard.
They brandished their official Tameside Council procedural standing order booklets, which clearly stated that councillors are, “…entitled to conduct an open debate on the content of the address” – a fact reiterated on the meeting’s agenda paper.
However, their demands were brushed aside as Labour councillors obstinately refused to accept the council’s own rules.
Labour’s embarrassment was complete, when the Conservative Leader, Cllr. John Bell, called the controlling group “dictators”, before reading out the relevant rules to an audience watching from both the public gallery and on the internet.
In a further blow to democracy, an edited video version of proceedings has since appeared on Tameside Council’s website without the comments of either Cllrs. Bell or Etchells included.
Commenting on the matter, Cllr. Bell said, “Democracy was suspended in the council chamber as, once again, Labour blocked political debate, in a blatant contradiction to the council’s very own rules, in order to deliver their autocratic style of democracy.
“Tameside Council is made up of 57 councillors. Even by the dictatorial standards of Labour a ‘debate’ is not defined by the comments of just three councillors without the opportunity for further comment by the remaining 54 councillors.
“Several members of my Group wished to speak on matters relating to issues such as community safety, education, the environment and transport – but were unconstitutionally blocked from doing so.
“Furthermore, the comments Cllr. Etchells and I made have now been deleted from the edited video that now appears on the Tameside Council website. The event costs council taxpayers £10,000-a-year, and they have a right to hear the views of the opposition.
“Consequently, Labour’s actions have left us with no option but to lodge an official complaint, coupled with a demand for a full investigation as to why the democratic process was hijacked by the dictatorial demands of Labour.”
TAMESIDE COUNCIL’S S.A.A.D. PROCEDURAL STANDING ORDERS
The State of the Area Debate is governed by Tameside Council’s P.S.O. 33, which states:
33. State of the Area Address
33.1. The Civic Mayor shall chair a Civic Meeting of the Council in November/December each year to which the Executive Leader will present a State of the Area Address.
33.2. Members of the Council and the Civic Panel will be entitled to conduct an open debate on the content of the address.
[SOURCE: TMBC P.S.O. 33, http://www.tameside.gov.uk/constitution/part4a/orders#33]
A S.A.A.D. HISTORY
It is not the first time the State of the Area Debate has touted controversy since it’s introduction to the political calendar in 2001.
The event which costs approximately £10,000-a-year, is estimated to have cost Tameside taxpayers over £88,000 since it’s inception. Last year the event cost £10,928.
No comparable event is held by any other local authority in Greater Manchester.
In 2001, the Labour Leader promised that there would be a Conservative mayor in 2003, but went on to renege on his promise. This resulted in the Conservatives boycotting the Debate from 2002 until their return in 2008.
[SOURCE: “…Cllr. Oldham added that should the Civic Mayor be retained the role will be rotated across political parties and there will be a Conservative Mayor for 2003. The role will then be rotated according to the ratios of councillors for each party.” “U-TURN, Now Council WILL hold poll for elected mayor” Tameside Reporter, 13th December 2001, pp.1-2]
IT’S A SUN SENSATION! AFTER 12 YEARS OF SUPPORTING LABOUR, THE SUN DROPS BROWN & GIVES ITS SUPPORT TO THE CONSERVATIVES
(Screenshots courtesy of ConservativeHome)
The Sun has officially dumped Gordon Brown, and is now backing David Cameron and the Conservative Party to “put the great back into Great Britain”, and win the next General Election.
Following Brown’s shocking Labour Party Conference speech, Britain’s biggest selling daily newspaper dropped the bombshell earlier today.
In a front page exclusive, the Sun said, “After 12 long years in power, this Government has lost its way. Now it’s lost The Sun’s support too.”
The paper’s editorial went on to explain, “The real story of the Labour years is one of under-achievement, rank failure and a vast expansion of wasteful government interference in everyone’s lives…
“Britain feels broken . . . and the Government is out of excuses.”
Brown was then shamed with a litany of failure.
The Sun outlined how Labour had “FAILED on law and order”, “FAILED on schools”, “FAILED on health”, “FAILED on immigration”, “FAILED our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan”, and, “…FAILED the children they claimed to have made their priority. After 12 years of Blair and Brown, Britain is officially the WORST country in the developed world in which to grow up.”
The paper then turned up the heat, claiming that, “…all along the Government has had one overriding concern: Itself…
“Labour’s driving ambition has not been to improve Britain. It has been to retain power at all costs – with no lie judged too great in its ruthless and relentless self-promotion.”
The Sun finally turned towards the future, and wholeheartedly backed the Conservatives.
“Britain needs a brave and wise Government to restore our self-respect… This will not be a Government that merely talks the talk, as Labour has. It will ACT… We hope, and pray, that the next Government will have the guts and the determination to do these things.
“And we believe David Cameron should lead it.”
The paper concluded,”The Sun believes – and prays – that the Conservative leadership can put the great back into Great Britain.”
LABOUR ARE “DISMISSING REALITY” AS TAMESIDE’S CRIME FIGURES INCREASE
The Leader of Tameside Conservatives claims Labour are “dismissing reality”, after official crime figures found that burglary rates had rocketed by 41 per cent in the last 12 months, and overall figures for key offences had also increased.
Cllr. John Bell also claimed Labour lacked the “will and the wherewithal” to tackle the problem by dismissing Conservative calls to increase the number of police officers on the streets of Tameside.
Cllr. Bell’s comments came after Labour’s Cllr. John Taylor had rubbished Conservative concerns about community safety in Tameside.
In an open letter to the Tameside Advertiser, Cllr. Bell said, “Cllr. John Taylor dismissed Home Office figures that showed burglary rates in Tameside had increased by 41 per cent during 2008/09, making Tameside the 12th worst burglary hotspot in the country, and the second worst in Greater Manchester.
“He also dismissed Home Office figures that showed the number of crimes committed for key offences had increased by two per cent – meaning there had been an extra 235 Tameside victims of these crimes in the last year, from a total of 13,478 crimes.
“Furthermore, Cllr. Taylor dismissed the need for more police officers on the beat, and also suggested that any extra police officers funded by Tameside Council could not be deployed on the streets of Tameside.”
Cllr. Bell continued, “In dismissing reality, Cllr. Taylor is happy to endorse current Labour policy that includes spending over £2 million-a-year locally on a team of 50 Patrollers, and over £261 million-a-year nationally on PCSOs – in both cases, civilians in peaked caps with little legislative power.
“He then conceitedly wonders how we could afford extra police officers for Tameside.”
Cllr. Bell then outlined a £1.95m-a-year proposal to support the borough’s neighbourhood police teams.
He said, “For £1.95m-a-year Tameside Council could fund a team of 100 Special Constables to each work a 20-hour week, supported by 20 full-time regular officers – all provided to strengthen the current neighbourhood policing teams.
“It is an ambitious and attractive proposal that could be delivered if only the Labour council had the will and the wherewithal.”
Cllr. Bell concluded, “It is simply a question of priorities, and whereas Labour are happy to spend taxpayers’ cash on waste such as street art, notice boards and bronze statues (£419,000), and increased propaganda (£277,000), the Conservatives would ensure core services got the funding they deserve whilst ridding the budget of Labour’s tat.
“That’s how Tameside could afford more police officers, Cllr. Taylor.”
(Source: The Guardian)
The Guardian have, this week, produced an excellent ‘atlas’ that illustrates UK Government spending in 2008/09.
In the week, that Gordon Brown finally admitted that Labour would have no choice but to cut public spending, the atlas shows exactly where he spent taxpayers’ money in the last 12 months.
An incredible £620.685bn was spent, including a staggering 49,891 per cent increase in the cost of the Treasury – which snatched an additional £85.5 billion from taxpayers’ pockets to prop up failing financial institutions.
The atlas also illustrates the scale of Gordon Brown’s borrowing, with Britian’s interest on its debt now costing taxpayers £24.1 billion-a-year – up seven per cent on the previous year, and almost as much as the Home Office (including policing) and the entire transport system combined.
To take an audio tour of the UK spending atlas please click here.
For ten years Gordon Brown said there would be no cuts under Labour, but now he has carried out his biggest-ever U-turn.
For Gordon Brown, the CUT is out of the bag…and with it, his last shred of credibility.
This article first appeared on the influential ConservativeHome website on Saturday 22nd August 2009:
Cllr John Bell, the Conservative opposition leader in Tameside, on the fight for lower Council Tax – and the reintroduction of weekly bin collections…
In May 2008, Tameside Conservatives enjoyed their best local election results for 30 years, taking 37 per cent of the vote and gaining seats in two wards; one of which we had not won since 1975, the other never won at all.
In two other wards, we came within seven and 14 votes respectively of adding to our numbers, and in the marginal Ashton Hurst ward we turned a 12-vote majority into a 784-vote romp.
And it proved a shock to local Labour MP, James Purnell, who found that in the eight wards of his Stalybridge & Hyde constituency more people voted Conservative than they did Labour. Stalybridge is now a Conservative town, and Purnell’s recent resignation had more to do with saving his Parliamentary seat than any botched plot to overthrow Gordon Brown.
Nonetheless, for all our success, at the end of the campaign, when the seats were added up, we were still only left with 10 Conservative councillors compared to the entrenched group of 44 Labour councillors that run Tameside Council.
If the Conservative Party ever felt the urge to make a case for proportional representation they need not look any further than Tameside.
Our present position is a million miles away from the days of the late 1970s, when Tameside Tories controlled the council on the back of a famously successful fight against the Callaghan Government’s introduction of the comprehensive education system.
Since then it has been a rollercoaster ride in Tameside. From the high of 1976, our numbers plummeted to a low between 1996-98 – when there wasn’t a single Conservative councillor in the borough.
However, since those dark days, we have been on the up, and the 2008 results were another step in the right direction, towards the real possibility of further gains in 2010.
With Labour’s recession biting hard in Tameside, we are committed to a programme of ambitious reform in Tameside. However, we face a determined Labour Group obsessed with their image and frivolous, expensive pet projects that aim to court public popularity.
At February’s budget meeting we tabled an amendment that aimed to slash their propaganda and waste from the public purse. This amendment would have frozen Council Tax for 2009/10 and saved over £2.2million, equating to between £23 and £76 per council taxpayer. However, this was rejected by the Labour Group, who voted to carry on regardless and increase Council Tax, as they have done every year since the Council Tax was introduced.
As result, Tameside residents will now have to fork out for dubious commitments, such as:
£277,000 earmarked for increased communications spending;
£240,000 worth of ‘advanced’ spending with the two local newspapers and one radio station;
£11,000 committed to the pointless State of the Area Address; and,
£419,000 to be spent on bronze maps, statues, street art, community notice boards and ‘cultural’ developments.
We are committed to opposing such high spending in these areas, whilst delivering better core services; and within our manifesto we pledge to:
- Reintroduce the weekly black bin collection;
- Provide a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to community safety and anti-social behaviour by increasing funding for more police officers and pay for Special Constables – fully-trained, voluntary police officers with full police powers – whilst increasing youth provision, something that has been cut in Tameside in recent years;
- Help local businesses by providing two-hour free parking;
- Introduce a scheduled programme of road and pavement repair, and street cleaning, something that has a poor record in Tameside; and,
- Ensure Tameside’s poor education standards are raised by placing a greater emphasis on the teaching of Maths, English and the sciences.
By cutting Labour’s excesses and concentrating on the basics, we believe that is the way in which residents will get the best value for money return on the Council Tax they pay, at a time of economic hardship.
However, our task won’t be easy. With a determined local Labour Party, and lively local minority parties, we will have to ensure our vote isn’t squeezed out if the success of 2008 is to be repeated in 2010 and beyond.
Labour’s calamitous Government and handling of local services has had a massive impact on local people, while their blatant lies have brought the Denton North East By-Election down to the level of the gutter.
The Conservative candidate, Floyd Paterson, answers Labour’s lies perfectly, with his latest leaflet (click on the images above).
THE TAMESIDE LABOUR WEBSITE & THE LINKS TO THE WEBSITES SELLING ‘REPLICA’ ROLEX WATCHES & BODYBUILDING SUPPLEMENTS
For all their fake Rolex and steroid needs, residents need not apparently go any further than Tameside Labour.
That is what astonished web surfers will find if they log onto the official website of Tameside Labour.
The website has links to websites selling ‘replica rolex’ and ‘bodybuilding supplements’.
Ironically, the links are found at the bottom the home page under a banner entitled “The Work Goes On”.
The website, which has been in existence since 2003 is promoted by Ashton Hurst Labour councillor, Alan Whitehead “on behalf of the Tameside Labour Party”.
And on the website, Labour Leader, Cllr. Roy Oldham boasts, “This site has been put together to highlight not only our manifesto pledges but also to show the progress we are making towards delivering these pledges.”
Floyd Paterson, the Conservative candidate for Denton North East, said, “We know New Labour are a fake party on its last legs, but even so I was astounded to look at the official Tameside Labour website and find them promoting the sale of ‘replica’ watches and steroids.
“It is believed that the use of steroids in young people has more than doubled in the last five years, with as many as 250,000 people now taking them regularly.”
“Is it official Labour policy to promote the sale of these goods? Are they receiving an income from these links? And, is this the legacy Labour wants for Tameside; a generation of people hooked on steroids wearing fake goods?”
Following the Conservative’s historic victory in the Norwich North By-Election, David Cameron visited Norwich to meet the new Conservative MP, Chloe Smith, and her jubliant campaigners.
It was a victory for decent politics, one in which the voters turned their backs on Labour’s gutter-level campaign of lies and half truths.
It is a victory that the people of Denton North East will hopefully take heed of next Thursday, following a similar low-level Labour campaign, and vote for Floyd Paterson, the Conservative candidate, who has fought a positive campaign based on policy and optimism.
Figures reveal that Tameside has experienced one of the worst collapses in house prices in the country.
In 12 months, the average price of a home in the borough fell by almost 18 per cent – one of the largest drops in the country, and the second largest fall in Greater Manchester.
Floyd Paterson, the Denton North East Conservative candidate, said, “The economic policies over the last decade of the Labour Government have directly contributed to this situation. By loosening regulations and reducing the power of the Bank of England, an unprecendented housing boom has led to an equally spectacular housing collapse.
“We are now left in the position where thousands of hard-working families are now left in negative equity – owing more than their house is worth.
“In Tameside we have been left particularly vulnerable, with one of the largest collapses in the country. And, with unemployment more than doubling in the last 12 months in Denton North East, some residents are facing repossession and bankruptcy – all thanks to Gordon Brown and Labour.
“The threat of financial ruin is a now a very real threat to many residents.”
Tameside Council claims the is ‘no evidence’ that allowances vote ever happened!
The integrity of democratic procedure at Tameside Council is being questioned, after a Conservative amendment to shelve a 550 per cent increase in the allowance of the Standards’ Committee Chair was omitted from council records.
The proposal – which was also supported by independent councillors – was moved and seconded at the Full Council meeting in April.
However, despite a vote being taken, and the proposal being defeated by Labour members, officials failed to record the proposed amendment – who later claimed there was ‘no evidence’ that the amendment had been seconded.
The glaring error was exposed when the minutes of the meeting were published prior to Tuesday’s latest meeting of Full Council, where both Conservative and independent councillors argued in vain with Labour members to get the error corrected.
The Conservatives and independents subsequently rejected the minutes of April’s meeting as a correct record in a named vote – an unprecedented event in Tameside’s political history.
Cllr. Doreen Dickinson who had proposed and moved April’s amendment said, “It is wrong that the Chair’s allowance should increase by 550 per cent from £1,115-a-year to £6,137-a-year on the assumption that the committee’s workload ‘could’ increase, particularly when residents are struggling in the recession and some staff are going to have their pay cut as part of the council’s pay and grading review.
“Labour have reduced the amount of business going to Full Council to such a small amount that it beggars belief that an amendment was moved, seconded and voted upon at one of its meetings and not recorded accurately.”
She added, “Just because the seconder wasn’t heard by the officers it doesn’t mean it did not happen. At best, their mistake is careless, and at worst, it could be considered a gerrymandering of the political process.”
Cllr. Dickinson’s amendment was seconded by her Conservative colleague, Cllr. Basil Beeley.
Cllr. Beeley, said, “I was on my feet when I seconded the vote, and this was heard by my Conservative colleagues and the independent councillors present, and a vote ensued. I cannot be held responsible for the failure of the officers not to hear or see my contribution, and I am disappointed that the Labour Group has allowed this mistake to influence their recollection of events.”
Cllr. John Bell, the Conservative Leader, added further comment, “This wasn’t the only mistake that came to light. Another Conservative amendment at the same meeting was also omitted from the original minutes, although this has now been partly corrected.
“The Council’s motto is ‘Industry & Integrity’ but the integrity of Tameside’s democratic process in Tameside is now under intense pressure. At a time when the public are questioning the morals of politicians everywhere I am incensed that the Council has failed in one of its most basic duties – to accurately record the work of Full Council – on an item that is proving to be highly contentious at this moment in time.
“I think Labour’s failure to support Conservative and independent efforts to have this mistake corrected is rotten to the core.”
The report – by the Independent Remuneration Panel – advised the Council to increase the allowances of the Council’s Standards’ Committee members, including increasing the allowance of the Committee’s Chair from £1,115 to £6,137 – an increase of 550 per cent, backdated to May 2008 on the assumption of an increased workload.
In the last municipal year the Committee officially met on three occasions.
INDEPENDENT REMUNERATION PANEL REPORT, FULL COUNCIL 14th APRIL 2009
At the meeting of the Tameside’s Full Council on the 14th April 2009, Cllr. Doreen Dickinson moved an amendment to shelve the report’s recommendations for 12 months, in light of the current economic climate.
Cllr. Dickinson’s amendment was seconded by Cllr. Basil Beeley and received support from Mossley independent councillors, but was defeated.
The Labour vote against the amendment was not unanimous, with some Labour members abstaining.
The full report can be viewed here (Item 11).
COUNCIL AGENDA, 19th MAY 2009
The original minutes of April’s meeting accompanied the agenda of the meeting of Full Council on the 19th May 2009.
The original minutes contained no mention of two proposed Conservative amendments: 1) Cllr. Dickinson’s proposed amendment re. the Independent Remuneration Panel (Minute 100); and 2) A proposal, moved by Cllr. John Bell and seconded by Cllr. Dickinson, to rescind plans for Community Panels to run parallel with each District Assembly as undemocratic and, instead, to pass on the proposed funding for these panels to the District Assemblies (Minute 97).
The Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Cllr. Bell, immediately complained about the omissions, and in a letter to him dated the 18th May 2009, the Head of Democratic Services wrote, “…I accept that your amendment [re. Community Panels] was formally moved, seconded and voted upon but this is not recorded in the minutes. I apologise for the oversight and consequently I will amend the minutes and submit a revised set of minutes…”
Nonetheless, the amended minute for the Community Panel still failed to include the proposal to pass on the funding directly to the District Assemblies.
In relation to the Independent Remuneration Panel report, the Head of Democratic Services, wrote, “…we can find no evidence that a motion was formally seconded. Our written records show that whilst the amendment was moved it was not seconded. Consequently I do not propose to amend this minute. It is for Council to determine whether it wishes to accept the minutes as a correct record or make amendments to the minutes submitted…”
A named vote is one in which the vote of each councillor is recorded in the minutes. Items debated at Full Council are usually voted upon by a show of hands, and the vote of each councillor is not usually recorded. However, six or more councillors “…may demand before the vote is taken that the names of those voting be recorded in the Minutes.” (TMBC Procedural Standing Order 24.2.)
The original vote for the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report, in April, was by a show of hands. The Conservative Group demanded a named vote at Tuesday’s meeting to ensure that their opposition to the minutes was properly recorded in the minutes.
The Conservatives have launched a campaign to force Gordon Brown to hold an election.
In the face of national turmoil unprecedented in post war Britain, only the dissolution of Parliament and a General Election will help the country move forward.
At the launch of the campaign, David Cameron, the Conservative Party Leader, said, “I think the scale of the problems facing Britain today – the recession, the debt crisis, and above all the political crisis – all point in one direction. I think there is now only one way of sorting out the mess, and that is for Parliament to be dissolved and for a General Election to be held right away.”
We are turning the campaign we had planned for the local and European elections into the campaign Britain now needs: a campaign for a General Election, to be held as soon as possible after the 4th June.
We want everyone – whether they support Labour, or the LibDems, or no party – to join in. Though the power of our collective pressure, we can force Gordon Brown to act.
No – there is no constitutional requirement for a General Election. Yes – this Labour Government could cling on for another year, with or without a new leader.
But we don’t think the country wants to wait another year to pass judgment on their politicians, and on this Parliament. We don’t think the country wants to wait another year before we start dealing seriously with the debt crisis and this economic crisis.
The political system in Britain today, from the Prime Minister downwards, is quite simply paralysed. And it is now abundantly clear that the country does not want to wait another year to give everyone in Westminster a simple message:
We want change – now get on with it.
LABOUR’S PAY & GRADING REVIEW HAS SEEMINGLY REACHED A DEAD END
The Labour Leader of Tameside Council, Cllr. Roy Oldham, has responded to Conservative criticism of the pay and grading review, which could see as many as 2,000 employees facing a pay cut in two years time – some by as much as £10,000-a-year or more.
However, in comments to the local press, he ducked the issue, deciding instead to ignite class tensions – a tactic straight from the 1970s.
Cllr. John Bell, the Tameside Conservative Leader, was quick to respond.
He called Cllr. Oldham’s comments, “Bitter. Nasty. Insulting. Evasive.”
Cllr. Bell went on to state that, “It was not the apologetic response you would expect from somebody who is preparing to cut the wages.”
He continued, “Cllr Oldham would have us believe approximately a third of employees are overpaid. Could Cllr. Oldham, as the Leader of Tameside Council since 1980, tell Council Taxpayers who is responsible for this situation?”
Cllr. Bell concluded, “Is it not time that Cllr. Oldham drank from the cup of human kindness rather than the trough of the champagne socialist?”
CLLR. JOHN BELL’S LETTER IN FULL:
Bitter. Nasty. Insulting. Evasive. These are just some words that could be used to describe Cllr. Roy Oldham’s comments last week, regarding Tameside Council’s pay and grading review.
It was not the apologetic response you would expect from somebody who is preparing to cut the wages of approximately 2,000 employees, some by as much as £10,000-a-year or more.
He says, that I recently stated that Tameside Council was ‘overstaffed’. This was actually the opinion of senior council management. On top of this, Cllr Oldham would have us believe approximately a third of employees are overpaid.
Could Cllr. Oldham, as the Leader of Tameside Council since 1980, tell Council Taxpayers who is responsible for this situation?
At February’s budget meeting, the Conservative Group proposed a six-month moratorium on new vacancies, filling only those that were absolutely essential, as well as getting rid of waste such as bronze statues, Tameside TV, and increased council propaganda. Collectively, our proposals would have protected jobs, protected pay, saved over £2.6 million, and frozen Council Tax for 2009/10.
Labour rejected our proposals.
Instead, they prefer to increase Council Tax year-on-year and slash wages to pay for the vanity of their expensive pet projects.
Make no mistake; this is a mess of Labour’s making, instigated by Cllr. Oldham and his 43 Labour colleagues in Tameside. Is it not time that Cllr. Oldham drank from the cup of human kindness rather than the trough of the champagne socialist?
Councillor John Bell, Leader of the Opposition
“We are ashamed to be members of a Council that is unapologetically prepared to slash the wages of loyal employees at a time of economic crisis.”
Councillor John Bell
From Councillor John Bell, The Tameside Conservative Leader:
On behalf of the Conservative Opposition Group on Tameside Council I would like to apologise to employees who are facing a potential pay cut as part of the pay and grading review.
We have been inundated with complaints from employees, and we are ashamed to be members of a Council that is unapologetically prepared to slash the wages of loyal employees at a time of economic crisis. We know many of you have dedicated your working life to Tameside Council, and we are disgusted that this is how your loyalty has been rewarded.
Officially we are told sixteen per cent of staff are to receive pay cuts – some by as much as £10,000-a-year or more – but we are now informed that the true figure could be nearer THIRTY per cent – approximately 2,000 members of staff.
One female employee told me, “This is the salary I applied for. I have a contract. Where is the equality in losing 23 per cent of my salary?” Another wrote, “The amount of spin, misinformation and propaganda has disgusted me. It is nearly impossible to get the true facts.”
At the meeting of Full Council on 14th April, the Conservative Group proposed that, at the very least, those facing a pay cut should have their pay frozen until their ‘new’ salary reached the level of their ‘old’ salary.
I know that this would not provide a perfect answer to the predicament, but at the very least it would mean nobody would face a hefty pay cut in two years time.
From the Labour Group, there were no apologies for their failings, merely a boast that their model was the best and a threat to critics to, “Stop this bleating.”
Over the next twelve months residents are going to be inundated with propaganda from the council, following a £160,000 hike in the communications budget. Unfortunately, when the council can’t look after their own staff, what chances have they of looking after Tameside?
Councillor John Bell, Leader of the Opposition
“Anger over pay cut apology” Manchester Evening News, 14th May 2009