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Keir Hardie's Cat

Pendle Labour Party Blog
Closure of Colne Recycling PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 16:05

For the Attention of Jo Turton
Executive Director Environment Directorate
Lancashire County Council
Waste Management Group
PO Box 78
Fishergate
Preston
PR1 8XJ

19 July 2011

Dear Jo Turton

AN OPEN LETTER REGARDING THE PROPOSAL TO CLOSE COLNE RECYCLING FACILITY

Pendle Labour Party wish to register a strong objection to the proposal to close the Household Waste Recycling Centre at Colne.  We are opposed to the closure proposals because:-

  1. Pendle tax payers should not have to suffer a further and unnecessary cut to their  services when there is plenty of money in reserves at County Hall gathering very  little interest.
  2. The County Council cannot hope to meet its 2011/12 priority target of reducing the   amount of waste sent to landfill to  nil by making recycling more difficult.
  3. 64% of the households in Pendle are closest to Colne HWRC and only 17% are closest   to the Burnley one. This means that the vast majority of Colne and Nelson residents  will have to travel further to reach a Centre if Colne is closed. The extra   financial cost in fuel will discourage people from recycling and has to be added to  the increased environmental cost.
  4. The proposed closure will lead to an increase in fly-tipping, the costs of which   will have to be carried by Pendle Council and not the County Council, creating a   further unfair burden.
  5. The jobs of well trained, helpful local staff will be put at risk. Pendle Labour   opposes any such redundancies caused by this poorly conceived proposal.
  6. The County Council should be negotiating with SITA to protect the future use of the  Centre, instead of acting as if it is going to cease to be available.

Pendle Labour Party is gathering a petition against the closures and this will be sent in prior to the end of the public consultation period in early September.

We are encouraging all Pendle residents to register their opposition to the closures and pages of the petition are available for people to complete on request from our offices.

Yours truly

David Foat
Pendle CLP Secretary


 
Murdoch at Westminster PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 05:55

More high drama with news that Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks have been invited to appear before the Culture Select Committee.

The Guardian reports that the Committee cannot compel witnesses to appear before it.

This is not the case. The House of Commons Library briefing on departmental select committees tells us that the formal power of summons extends to UK citizens only.

If the Committee asserts itself there is no escape for Rebekah Brooks.

And would the Murdochs stay away in these circumstances? I guess so.

The Library Paper also tells us that members of parliament cannot be compelled to appear before select committees. Time this was changed.

Ed Miliband, who put in a confident and convincing performance on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, was quizzed about the Ashcroft vs Baldwin controversy.

Michael Ashcroft claims Miliband’s Director of Strategy, ex-Times journalist, Tom Baldwin paid someone to hack into one of the tax cheat’s many bank accounts.

Miliband states unequivocally there is no truth whatsoever in this allegation.

The simple solution would be for the Culture Select Committee to invite both of them before it to take questions under oath.

Alas, you wouldn’t see Ashcroft for dust. He would run a mile before agreeing to appear before a select committee on those terms. He would be dangerously exposed; all alone with no expensive lawyers to shield him.

Last year, when the Public Administration select committee did a one-off inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Ashcroft’s elevation to the peerage, he and William Hague declined to come before us.

As I recall, Sir George Young wrote to the Committee informing us they were “not inclined to attend”.

They gave the committee two fingers.

We raged. But there was nothing we could do about it.

 

Read the original article on Gordon's Blog


 
Now Wash Your Hands PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Saturday, 09 July 2011 10:18

I recently emailed the local Conservative MP asking him to oppose the Government’s reforms of the National Health Service.

Will he take any notice? I doubt it; toeing the party line appears to be more important than constituents’ concerns.

Interesting that one of the changes that was proposed following the ‘pause for consultation’, is to open up the membership of the new GP led consortiums designed to take control of around 65% of the NHS budget, to include clinicians and nurses.

Therefore any decisions to review department or hospital closures will be in the hands of a broad based group of health professionals rather than the PCT. The result will be an influential body that will have total say on which services should be provided at which hospital and which hospitals will remain in operation.

A very convenient outcome, if your name is Cameron or Clegg or Lansley and prior to the 2010 General Election you had given the people of Enfield, Bury North or even Pendle and Burnley a warm feeling that if they voted either Conservative or Lib Dem a future review of services could keep departments and hospitals open.

It may also be a convenient outcome for those Lib Dem and Conservative parliamentary candidates who had campaigned for the retention of local services as part of their election platform, that the issue is now being taken out of their hands and it will be solely down to the health professionals. Result - no need for articles in glossy leaflets, chains, or stalls outside of department stores any longer.

Anyone seen the soap?


 
News of the World : Who Knew What PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Ellis   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 22:28

Tom Watson made some powerfull points in parliament on Wednesday...

Tom Watson MP in the House of Commons on 06 July 2011, afternoon (from Hansard):

News International’s decision to throw Andy Coulson to the wolves last night was an attempt to divert us from an even bigger wrong: that company was systematically, ruthlessly, and without conscience or morality, interfering with the phones of victims of murder, cruelly deceiving their families and impeding the search for justice. Glenn Mulcaire has accepted some share of responsibility for this moral sickness, but the editor in charge of him refuses to take responsibility. Indeed, far from accepting blame, she has – amazingly – put herself in charge of the investigation into the wrongdoing; the chief suspect has become the chief investigator...
...I believe that Rebekah Brooks was not only responsible for wrongdoing, but knew about it. The evidence in the paper that she edited contradicts her statements that she knew nothing about unlawful behaviour. Take the edition that she edited on 14 April 2002, which reveals that the News of the World had information from Milly Dowler’s phone. In other words, they knew about the messages on her phone...
It was a central part of the paper’s story that it had evidence from a telephone – evidence that it could get only from breaking into that phone at the time. The story that Rebekah Brooks was far from the Dowler events is simply not believable when her own newspaper wrote about the information that it had gained from that phone.
I want to inform the House of further evidence that suggests that Rebekah Brooks knew of the unlawful tactics of the News of the World as early as 2002, despite all her denials yesterday.

Rebekah Brooks was present at a meeting with Scotland Yard when police officers pursuing a murder investigation provided her with evidence that her newspaper was interfering with the pursuit of justice. They gave her the name of another senior executive at News International, Alex Marunchak. At the meeting, which included Dick Fedorcio of the Metropolitan police, she was told that News of the World staff were guilty of interference and party to using unlawful means to attempt to discredit a police officer and his wife.

Rebekah Brooks was told of actions by people whom she paid to expose and discredit David Cook and his wife Jackie Haines, so that Mr Cook would be prevented from completing an investigation into a murder. News International was paying people to interfere with police officers and was doing so on behalf of known criminals. We know now that News International had entered the criminal underworld.

Rebekah Brooks cannot deny being present at that meeting when the actions of people whom she paid were exposed. She cannot deny now being warned that under her auspices unlawful tactics were used for the purpose of interfering with the pursuit of justice. She cannot deny that one of her staff, Alex Marunchak, was named and involved. She cannot deny either that she was told by the police that her own paper was using unlawful tactics, in that case to help one of her lawbreaking investigators. This, in my view, shows that her culpability goes beyond taking the blame as head of the organisation; it is about direct knowledge of unlawful behaviour. Was Mr Marunchak dismissed? No. He was promoted...

"Families who trusted Rebekah Brooks when she said she felt their pain, families who have been cruelly let down by the intrusion into private grief and the callous exploitation of their suffering – anguished families", indeed – are now being tortured yet again by the knowledge that in the world of Rebekah Brooks no one can grieve in private, no one can cry their tears without surveillance, no one can talk to their friends without their private feelings becoming public property.

The whole board of News International is responsible for the company. Mr James Murdoch should be suspended from office while the police investigate what I believe is his personal authorisation to plan a cover-up of this scandal. Mr James Murdoch is the chairman. It is clear now that he personally, without board approval, authorised money to be paid by his company to silence people who had been hacked, and to cover up criminal behaviour within his organisation. That is nothing short of an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

There is now no escape for News International from the responsibility for systematically breaking the law, but there is also now no escape from the fact that it sought to pervert the course of justice.

I believe that the police should also ask Mr James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks whether they know of the attempted destruction of data at the HCL storage facility in Chennai, India. Mr James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks now have to accept their culpability, and they will have to face the full force of the law.

Their behaviour towards the most vulnerable, their knowledge of lawbreaking and their failure to act, their links with the criminal underworld and their attempt to cover up lawbreaking and to pay for people’s silence, tell the world all we need to know about their character – that they are not fit and proper persons to control any part of the media in this country.


 
Are we Sick of News International PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Ellis   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 12:36

The recent affairs of News International are increasingly sickening for ordinary people.

As news leaks out we find they (in the shape of News of the Word) have hacked Milly Dowler's phone, then the Soham twins, then the 7/7 survivors.

It's like an iceberg, the more you see the more you realise is hidden.

In my view News International have been persistently institutionally abusing individual rights for years. Remember Hillsbrough, all their lost libel trials (look up Kelvin Makenzie in Wiki for a full list) and now this. They appear addicted to abusing individuals in pursuit of their tabloid story. And now they are willing to corrupt the police (and who knows what other parties) in pursuit of their right to print. It's not suprising that Cameron hired Andrew Coulson (ex News of the World editor) for the use of this poison.

Now I think we have reached a tipping point and ordinary people will rebel from the News International practices (and others they have influenced).

The question is what is to be done about it. Obviously don't buy their product. Don't advertise in it. But what do we do about News International?

This a serious (and difficult) issue here. For my money News International should not be allowed to take over BSkyB but also their licence to operate in general should be considered. This to be straight is a form of censorship and has damages with it. But should we allow a persistently bullying, abusive  and corrupting organisation to continue to so damage our civic culture and individuals within it, so they can make money from their product?


 
Closure of Police Stations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 07:05

I see that police station closures are on the cards. Time for East Lancashire’s MPs for the moment to put to one side their charity runs, restaurant competitions and “Save the Pub” campaigns and stand up and be counted.

The last time there was a serious threat to local police stations was back in 1995-6, under the Major Government.

I believed then, and still do, that a police station is a place of refuge.  It is more than bricks and mortar.

Towns feel safer when there is a police station, open for business.

It really is as simple as that.

 

Read the original article on Gordon's Blog


 
Affordable Pensions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:16

A flustered Francis Maude today couldn't justify the Tory position that public sector pensions are "unaffordable". In an interview on BBC's Today Program with PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Maude was cornered on the "unaffordable" claim. He quickly U-turned on "unaffordable" with "untenable" - another undefined term to hide behind - he offered no explanation as to why the pensions are now "untenable". There's an interesting commentary on this debate by George Eaton over at New Statesman - if you look at the Hutton Report then, "The government's plan to ask employees to work longer and pay more is a political choice, not an economic necessity". As the Public Accounts Committee observed: "Officials appeared to define affordability on the basis of public perception rather than judgement on the cost in relation to either GDP or total public spending." In other words, the public have been misled and ministers are determined to keep misleading them.

At a rally in central London Sally Hunt, president of The University and College Union, had this to say about Nick Clegg's, "public sector pensions are gold-plated" comment: "The average pension of a female college lecturer is just £6,000 a year.  This is a government that has already presided over an increase in the income of the richest 1,000 people by 18%. How dare they call us gold-plated?"


 
Lib Dem Scheming – interestinger and interestinger! PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pope   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 11:14

Sue Nike standing outside Holmfield House in BarrowfordLast Thursday’s (23rd June) Pendle Executive meeting threw up an interesting pattern in the latest Lib Dem scheming. Barrowford Parish Council have been in negotiation with Pendle Council to acquire Holmefield House as a community centre. A feasible price and conditions have been agreed in outline, the Executive had to agree the details of the sale.

All was progressing smoothly with the Tory led executive discussions when up pops Lib Dem Councillors David Whipp and John David to stick their particular oars in! They suggested that Holmefield House should be transferred free of charge to Barrowford Parish Council because 20 years ago Barnoldswick Council had been offered Barnoldswick Town Hall free of charge. It turns out this generous offer was turned down because the costs of making the town hall useable were prohibitive (apparently in excess of 6 figures).

Now why would the Lib Dems want the Tory led Pendle council to give a valuable asset like Holmefield House away for free? If we wind forward a bit we learn that Pendle Leisure is vacating Bank House on Albert Road in Colne, opposite the Wallace Hartley memorial, to move into Colne town hall. Is it possible that Colne Town Council would like to acquire a very attractive public building from where to run its affairs? Needless to say, the Lib Dems dominate Colne Town Council.


 
Britain’s true national debt! PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pope   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 10:39

The coalition’s economic policy to reduce the government debt as quickly as possible by reducing spending and so have to borrow less is a smokescreen for the real issue, the crippling Financial Services debt.

Analysis carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers based on the Office for National Statistics' 2010 Blue Book elegantly challenges the myth.

The figures look like this:

 

Debt in cash (£ trillion)

Debt as % of GDP

Sector

2009

2015

2009

2015

Households

1.5

1.9

110

101

Government

0.9

1.4

67

77

Non-financial companies

1.7

2.2

122

116

Financial sector

3.4

4.5

245

242

Total UK Debt

7.5

10.2

543

536

 

The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Britain is effectively the country’s income.

So what conclusions can be drawn from these figures. Firstly that, overall, the country is borrowing five and a half times the amount it earns. Equivalent to a mortgage of £190,000 when your total household income is £35,000pa. Definitely a bit on the high side but not impossible.

Meanwhile the government’s share of that debt is 12%, that is its share of the ‘mortgage’ is approx £23,000. Household debt is 20% of the total.

While the Financial Sector has run up 45% of the debt, equivalent to £86,000 of our theoretical mortgage.

No wonder the banks are ‘too big to fail’ and so can carry on blatantly handing out huge bonuses and salaries. They have us by the short and curlys. The removal of more and more restrictions on the financial sector’s activities, starting with Margaret Thatcher’s “Big Bang”, has left Britain dangerously exposed. This coalition government is focussing on ordinary people and their jobs and services while ignoring the elephant in the room, the fact that the financial sector is out of control.

References:

www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/09/economicgrowth-debt-relief

www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/may/24/government-borrowing-hits-record-figure-april


 
Eco Unfriendly Tories PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pope   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 10:24

The coalition is preparing to bin Britain’s climate change targets. After all, ministers have corporate sponsors to take care of. --- Read More ---


 
Brainwashing? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 06:17

There's an interesting piece by renowned journalist John Pilger backing-up what Tim Ellis said in an earlier post about Britian being debt almost to the tune of tax avoided by the super-rich and large corporations.  Pilger goes on to attribute, via his review of "Disciplined Minds" by Jeff Schmidt (Rowman & Littlefield), some if not all of the blame for our lack of curiosity and acceptance of non-establishemnt views on a broken education and training system - "Children are naturally curious, but along the way to becoming a professional they learn that curiosity is a series of tasks assigned by others. On entering training, students are optimistic and idealistic. On leaving, they are "pressured and troubled" because they realise that "the primary goal for many is getting compensated sufficiently for sidelining their original goals".  Reminds me of Gatto's views of the dumbing-down of the US education system.


 
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The articles are written by individual members so do not necessarily represent the view of Pendle Labour Party.