Archive for July, 2009

30/7/09

July 30, 2009

Jim Walker makes a good point and a follow on to that point might be for our trade unions to stop paying levies to support the present parasites and instead look amongst their members for frontline nurses, teachers, coppers etc. and persuade them to stand for Parliament.
The likes of Edwina Currie may want us to believe that their jobs are demanding and beyond the abilities of us lesser mortals but what were her initial qualifications?
People from the front line roles of the jobs mentioned are above average intelligence, good standards of lieracy and numeracy. Furthermore they have both experience of the quality of life of the majority and they have demonstrated a concern for our quality of life. What better qualifications for an M.P.?
I’d rather have a Copper (possibly no longer able to function in that role) representing me than some little sycophant, whose qualifications might, typically, include a degree in Greek Literature and an ability to worm his/her way past a party selection committee, made up of a smug little coterie of self-important non-entities.

links

July 29, 2009
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Re: Low Hall Park NR

I’m the Vice-Chairman of “Friends of Low Hall Park”. (BBC – Manchester – Nature – Damsel rescued in Wigan)
We are one of many local groups, set up by Wigan Council, to help manage these old mining sites, which have become naturalised.
Most of the land between Wigan and Leigh will be made over to such sites, as part of the Council’s sustainability program.
The official access to Low Hall (formerly known by locals as Sammy’s floods) is a car park next to a bus stop and an electric sub-station.
Unfortunately there are other points of access, which can be used by off-road bikers etc. We are seeking means to limit such access, whilst still permitting disabled access.
Local police have been active in trying to re-educate the bikers.
(low – Google Maps).
We have recently had our opening day.
(Stuart Maconie And The Damsel Not In Distress) (Wigan News :: wiganworld)
and under the guidance of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust countryside manager, Graham Workman. We hope to have a website, soon. We are also hoping to erect a highly visible name board, at the site.

meeting august

July 29, 2009
The August Friends of Low Hall (FLOW) meeting will be held next Monday, 3rd August in The Balmoral, Atherton Road, Hindley at 6:30pm.
As always everyone is welcome, particularly if you’re attending one of our meetings for the first time.
See you there,
 
Ian
 
Ian Wright
Wigan Community Projects Officer
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester
and North Merseyside
Wigan Office
The Grange Community Complex
Highfield Grange Avenue
Wigan
WN3 6SU
01942 233976
07740 419 183
www.lancswt.org.uk
Lancashire Wildlife Trust is a Registered Charity number 229325 and a Company limited by guarantee number 731548.
 
We receive no direct government funding, relying upon donations and membership subscriptions to continue our work.
 
Lancashire Wildlife Trust is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying North of the River Mersey.
 
We provide protection for endangered species, own and manage nature reserves, educate and inspire children to carry on the work, offer opportunities for people to volunteer in worthwhile conservation projects and campaign at every level of government.

Low Hall

July 29, 2009

Sammy’s floods is now known as Low Hall Park. I am Vice-chairman of a local group set up to help improve it as a nature conservancy area (wetlands).

Wigan and Leigh has lots of land, which has been despoiled by the mining industry and then left to rot.

Wild flora and fauna have moved in  and the Council has finally realised that they can actually do something to improve our environment. They’ve done this by setting up similar groups of local people to mind/tend these area’s and encourage the enjoyment of them, by our neighbour’s.

24.7.9

July 29, 2009
If Road Tax was scrapped and loaded onto Fuel Duty, it would not only penalise the gas guzzlers, it would also preclude the need for differential road charges.
Those roads and times of day, where congestion is greatest will automatically penalise those motorists on those roads, by the simple fact that they are moving slowly.
If they’re not moving slowly, then there is no congestion.
Car performance data shows that cars use least petrol, when cruising at 45 mph.
At half that speed they use twice as much fuel and pay twice as much tax.
Cars in a traffic queue can be paying fifty times more tax for the privilege of doing so.
No need for capital expenditure on toll booths, elaborate G.P.S. co-ordinated surveillance, or the staff to manage them.
The only downside would be that Government would have an incentive to increase “traffic calming” schemes and to allow roads to deteriorate.

27/7/9

July 29, 2009

 

So far Wigan Council i.e. Lord Smith has committed us to several PFI’s, including The Wigan Life Centre  (£187,000,000, I believe), Mesnes Park, Leigh Sports Village and Bickershaw regeneration plan.

He  is looking at plans for Leigh Town Centre and now these Super Schools.

Presumably there are more, that I am not aware of, but, in all cases, we are building, on tick.

The Council/ Lord Smith  is acting like a 16 year old girl with her first credit card.

These things are being bought with money borrowed on a 25 year mortgage. I suspect that this will be at an extremely high rate of interest but we are unlikely to find out as the Council would presumably quote “commercial confidentiality”. Its stock response.

At this rate, our council taxes will be getting used to pay off these debts, with nothing left over for any new developments.

Consider this Super School:  Built by lowest tender (!),  despite horror stories about the state of P.F.I.  schools in other parts of the Country . For instance, Newcastle had a PFI built school, where gas taps were coming loose and leaking in brand new laboratory.

We will have no final say in the nature of the structure  but we will be stuck with paying, for whatever we get, for the next 25 years.  

At the end of 25 years we get the buildings, as with a mortgage, but in the meantime, a private company runs it, as if it were the landlord and we were merely paying rent.

We have no say in the maintenance, or lack of it.

We might, for a number of reasons, find it necessary to abandon the school buildings. E.g. financial difficulties, falling rolls, subsidence (this is a mining area), structural defects etc.

In that eventuality, we would be unable to pay for an alternative structure, because we would still be paying for the failed one and we could even find ourselves having to pay another private firm to watch over the abandoned facilities.

Before PFI, if it was thought that we NEEDED a new school, we would tell the Government, they’d loan us the money (interest free or nominal interest), Wigan Council Officials would oversee the purchase of materials etc. and we would get exactly what we wanted, with an option to change plans, without penalty.

This way we get schemes, which we may not strictly need i.e. no Ministry officials checking on whether, or not, it is just some Councillor’s self-aggrandisement.

No officials checking, on our behalf, that everything is on the square; that materials are up to specification and future “Health and Safety” requirements.

For example, Platt Bridge’s Super Primary School does not have a fire sprinkler system installed, although I believe that it is a Government and Fire Service Policy requirement.

It would be interesting to find out how much of each pound of Next Year’s Council Tax, will be going to service P.F.I. debts but I doubt if we would get a full or completely honest answer to that question, from this Council.

We do know that PFI costs at least 40% more than simply borrowing from the Government.

We also know that you have less choice when it comes to contractors who want their risk underwritten and profits guaranteed by the Government or local authority.

In this case, The Council had, apparently, already agreed on the one preferred bidder, even before the consultation process had begun.

26/7/9b

July 29, 2009

 

If MP’s had given themselves a £9000 p.a. pay rise, to cover expenses, there would have been an outcry.

That, however, would have, at least, been upfront and allayed concerns about their corruptibility.

In time, we would have forgotten about their lack of integrity and we wouldn’t even bother to comment on their pay.

For most people the statements “they pay themselves £80,000 p.a.” and “they pay themselves £100,000 p.a.”  give out the same message.

The new expenses scheme seems hardly different from the old.

They are still presented with the same opportunity to exhibit their corruptibility. All that has happened is that they have been protected from charges criminality by removing the need to provide evidence of it, in the form of receipts.

Far from restoring public confidence in MP’s, this scheme simply proclaims their contempt for the public and an indifference to the public’s opinion of MP morality.

Unfortunately, I fear, they are probably correct in their contempt for us.

 Many will forget and future elections will still be won on old party loyalties, unless, as I hope,  one of the fringe parties or sufficient of the Independents can make inroads on this cosy club of Labour and Tory.

If MP’s had given themselves a £9000 p.a. pay rise, to cover expenses, there would have been an outcry.

That, however, would have, at least, been upfront and allayed concerns about their corruptibility.

In time, we would have forgotten about their lack of integrity and we wouldn’t even bother to comment on their pay.

For most people the statements “they pay themselves £80,000 p.a.” and “they pay themselves £100,000 p.a.”  give out the same message.

The new expenses scheme seems hardly different from the old.

They are still presented with the same opportunity to exhibit their corruptibility. All that has happened is that they have been protected from charges criminality by removing the need to provide evidence of it, in the form of receipts.

Far from restoring public confidence in MP’s, this scheme simply proclaims their contempt for the public and an indifference to the public’s opinion of MP morality.

Unfortunately, I fear, they are probably correct in their contempt for us.

 Many will forget and future elections will still be won on old party loyalties, unless, as I hope,  one of the fringe parties or sufficient of the Independents can make inroads on this cosy club of Labour and Tory.

26/7/9a

July 29, 2009
My first reaction to the article, about policewomen being given headscarves to enter mosques, was just another story about officialdom trying to antagonise the native population.
Then I recalled that, when I was young, all the women that I knew carried Lancashire printed cotton headscarves with them. These they donned in windy weather or, significantly, when they entered church.
Entering church was, of course, more common then but, even now, it’s still the custom for women to cover their heads at church ceremonies.
Reading around; many of the Muslim traditions coincide with Christian customs of the time of the Crusades.
We still face East to pray. A Nun’s habit is similar to the Burqa and back in those dark medieval days, Abbots and Lords dispensed their own version of justice.
Fortunately, we progressed from our own form of Sharia and the condemnation, as witches, of women  who bared their hair or who wore make-up.
Intolerance of Muslim customs seems, in this respect, hypocritical but some aspects should be opposed.
The embracing of Sharia is a retrograde step and efforts should be made to educate Muslim communities in the advantages of a Secular legal system, which is, theoretically, free from religious or political bias.

26/7/9

July 29, 2009
I hope more celebrity’s follow Esther Rantzen’s example and stand for Parliament.
Party hacks are already setting up a banshee wail, like wartime sirens calling raising the alarm against an attack on their cushy billets.
If enough Celebrities step forward, we’ll no doubt see the party mandarins joining the fray, in order to protect their voting fodder.
The argument that they will find Committee work  arduous is false, because only party wannabe’s need to join those talking shops.
All that a good independent MP needs to do is represent his/her constituents and vote on issues that are important to their constituencies.
 
A sizeable number of unaligned MP’s, in Parliament can only benefit Democracy.
At present, the Government consists of Gordon Brown/Mandelson and Gordon’s voting fodder.
After the next election it will be Dave and his voting fodder.
The Celebrities will not be subject to “The Party Whip” and will be able to raise a voice for those swing voters, who are normally ignored by Governments of both parties, once election results are in. The Government will be less able to bulldoze through items such as illegal wars, European legislation, Laws that threaten Civil Liberties etc.
We may even see Ministers, who see domestic problems as being more important than opportunities to strut the world stage, jetting off hither and thither to attend conferences, that benefit no-one but the owners of various five star hotels, around the world.

19/7/9

July 19, 2009
I find the frequent reports of mental and physical torture suffered by the elderly, in various Care Homes, to be more than a little worrying.
If, when my time comes, I sign up for assisted suicide, will I be exempted from Burnham’s £20,000 tax on the old and infirm?