Déjà vu – Has anything really changed?

Upon opening my print copy of the ‘Tiser this week, on page 6, there was an excellent piece under Gareth Dennison’s by-line, dealing with the Millers loan and the Titans financial arrangements re Millmoor. He was reporting the July Meeting of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council which took place on Wednesday 27th.

Although generally supportive of helping the Millers, I read the account with increasing incredulity and amazement! I couldn’t believe what I was reading, it was as if Roger Stone was talking about Monopoly money, not real Pounds and Pence of hard earned. By the evening the import of the article had reminded me of the way Layden had operated. Who always explained his actions using confusing terminology to bamboozle listeners that he actually understood what he was talking about! I’m sure he didn’t understand either, because he could never answer the most basic of questions when asked, at the many opportunities I had to see him in action! He was a master of his craft and achieved National prominence largely through guile rather than ability.

The feelings of Déjà vu became ever stronger, the more I let my mind wander to the past when Sir Jack was King of his Castle. I can remember an autumn meeting of a Labour Party Branch in Rotherham when he was explaining the reasoning behind the funding of the Anti Poverty Forum, based in Rotherham. That was Garvin Reed’s little side project, that ended in disaster and Reed spending time in one of Her Majesties prisons! Involving among others, one much younger Roger Stone! That story is for another time, perhaps? I digress.

Layden was fond of terminology such as ‘innovative’ and Roger Stone’s use of this term certainly rings alarm bells! As does the use of the Prudential Borrowing Facility, a right to borrow for investment that Councils have had since 2003. The assurances given to officers, it was stated, were ‘cast iron’, another Laydenism, that no money of ours was being put at hazard!

“Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss!” A line from Won’t get fooled again, by the Who. Released on 31 July 1971, exactly 40 years ago today, was an angry denunciation of the dashed hopes of a generation for genuine change. In the wake, of the then, recent events that demonstrated the inability to put dreams into action, the disillusionment was felt keenly by those of us who experienced these events contemporaneously. We may have been guilty back then of more than a little naivety but who would have thought this song might still have resonance in Rotherham of today, in that nothing ever changes, only the people change, in Rotherham of Layden’s  day, councillors waited for the ‘grim reaper’ to remove them from office, not quite such a universal expectation these days, I’m glad to say.

Roger Stone seems to have become a reincarnation of his illustrious predecessor, it would appear, when he makes the following guarantee, “There’s no cost to us.” We will no doubt see in the passage of time, if he is right. Meanwhile, we wait and see, and perhaps ponder upon one of Roger Stone’s more ridiculous claims that, “better football will be played there,” quite on what basis he makes this claim is not clear, but perhaps it was one of those ‘cast iron’ guarantees he referred to earlier in the report?

The report also states that RMBC stands ready to take the same action in other cases and raised the possibility that the Titans might benefit in future, from a similar arrangement.

The simple sad fact of the situation is that absolutely nothing has changed in Rotherham since the 70’s, we still get council decisions, made with no one understanding the consequences of their actions, not even the officers! The officers track record in this respect has been lamentable and no reliable guide as to what is permissible. I would cite the recent case concerning Chris Read, the Bramley traffic scandal and the blue badge abuse scandal as evidence for my assertions. Déjà vu, indeed!

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The Freedom of Information Act 2000, (FOI) gave us important rights to new types of information from governmental and other public bodies. It also gave rise to The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) I quote from their website:

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Save our Greenbelt – Some questions that must be answered?

The Save our Greenbelt campaigners have identified some of the many questions that the LDF proposals raises, I reproduce them here with permission:

“Why has Rotherham reduced the amount of houses from two years ago? When Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster have kept the same figures.
Can you please identify available brown field sites in the borough?
With a large amount of empty industrial/ business units what is the logic behind building more during an economic down turn?
Why have many of the smaller proposed building sites not been show on the larger maps available in libraries and at drop in consultation events?
How many of the ‘affordable Houses’ will be build with funding from Sheffield housing association?
What percentage of Rotherham’s predicted population increase will be from Sheffield’s overspill ?
How will building houses on Bassingthorpe revive Rotherham town centre? What evidence do you have to support these claims?
How do you plan to reduce Rotherham’s Carbon Emissions by 2% year on year by building thousands of homes that produce Carbon, on land that absorbs Carbon?
By building on the land at the side of Highfield, Lowfield, and to some degree on the Bassingthorpe Farm, what actions are in place to prevent even more, and deeper, flooding of Scrooby Street, Pipe Lane and Rossiter Road?  If you have not considered any preventative actions, why not?
Those areas are prone to flooding after heavy rain.  Covering those fields with concrete and tarmac will prevent the water being soaked up by the earth.  Where do you think that it will go to.
Do you intend widening Munsbrough Lane.  If so how do you propose to deal with the very narrow part, bearing in mind that there is a large pipeline, whether gas or water is not known, only approximately a meter from the road edge, in the field, running the whole length of Munsbrough Lane?
The decision to put ‘employment’ in to the greenbelt is totally indefensible. Why was that decision made when there are other sites available such as the old B&Q and the now defunct Greasbrough Road Depot?
What type of housing will be built on the greenbelt of Bassingthorpe Farm? Council, Housing Associations, Private or a mix.
Do you and the council, to preserve the greenbelt of Sheffield, still intend to take in the overspill from Sheffield?  If so explain why?
In your paperwork, it has been stated that there will be a ‘Greenbelt Corridor’ through the Bassingthorpe Farm, and surrounding areas.  Where will this ‘corridor’ be located?
Has there been or will there be a geological survey of the land regarding not only recent mine workings (19th and 20th century) but also for ancient workings (17th and 18th ) century? If not, why not?
Has there been or will there be any surveys or monitoring of the local wildlife and the impact on them due to such a massive building programme adjacent to their habitats?  I refer you to your ‘Key Objectives’ as outlined in BNE 5 and BNE 6.  If not, why not?
Has there been or will there be any surveys or monitoring of the local fauna and flora?  If not, why not?”

The LDF proposals are seriously flawed, unwelcome and unneeded! Based as they are, on flawed, incomplete and selected evidence! We cannot afford to let them destroy any more of our agricultural land. Everyone in Rotherham will be affected to some degree by this wanton destruction, it is time for ‘people power’ to make itself felt in the largely deaf Town Hall. Join the campaign, perhaps? At least make your anger felt, by telling us what you think? Click comment below.

Chris Read finally comes clean! Took him long enough!

Chris Read’s RMBC profile has been updated, he has bowed to the inevitable and updated his contact details, nearly right! Still doesn’t seem to realise his post town is Mexborough, but a deal more honest than presented previously by this Labour man!

Chris Read Contact Details

2A Church Street,
Swinton, Rotherham, S64 8QA

Tel: 07585 795980 / 01709 570013

Email chris.read@rotherham.gov.uk

Biography, a bit thin? Anyone want to write one?

Read the Chris Read Files

Gerald Smith guilty! takes his punishment!

We have learned that an important strand of the problems that surfaced in Aston cum Aughton during the later stages of the election campaign, has been resolved.

When the Aston cum Aughton Independents learned of the existence of a scurrilous election leaflet, produced and printed by Gerald Smith, they decided they were not going to take this, and made a formal complaint to the Police. The Police have been investigating ever since. The outcome can now be reported:

Last Friday, Councillor Gerald Smith was formally cautioned by the Police for his actions associated with the issuing by him, of a scurrilous election leaflet.

We at Rotherham Politics understand that this means that he has therefore admitted his guilt and now has a conviction on his record!

The ramifications of this will take some time to become fully apparent. A reference to the Standards Board for bringing the Council into disrepute, perhaps? Or suspension from the labour whip at RMBC? Now standing convicted of election offences it is difficult to see him remaining in the bosom of the party, especially once the Regional Party hears about this embarrassing situation. To complain yourself, email them  yorkshire@new.labour.org.uk.

Ed Miliband, also a local MP, will not want Rotherham Labour Group to bring any further embarrassment to him or the party over an issue as clear cut as this!

Gerald Smith could always do the honourable thing and stand down from the elected positions he holds himself. He can’t be taken seriously ever again and he must go!

Gerald Smith – breaking story, significant developments!

News is coming in of extraordinary developments in the saga of Gerald Smith and the Parish Council elections in Aston cum Aughton last May.

Victory it would appear for the downtrodden for a change! Full story later…..

If you are new to this story, read the Gerald Smith Files.

Top ten posts last week – Total 859 page views

This weeks stats are now in, there were a total of 859 individual page views. We would like to thank everyone of you! And also a huge thank you, to those who have passed links on.

Home page 305
The Advertiser – Selective Readers’ Letters 69
Rotherham criticised in Parliament – Simply Unacceptable! 61
Top Ten last week – Total 369 page views 47
Just another unreliable newspaper 44
Rotherham surely having a laugh at our expense, perhaps? 35
Miliband speaks – Denis pushed off Labour Benches! 29
MacShane – Updates Twit Pic, wraps himself in the union jack? still lying about being a Labour MP! 21
About Rotherham Politics 16
Today we welcome a new contributor – Millie Tant 14

The biggest surprise was the interest in our newest contributor making the welcoming post sufficiently exciting interest to make this weeks top ten, even though it was only posted this afternoon.