The Advertiser – Selective Readers’ Letters

The Rotherham Advertiser has been named as the regions best newspaper and awarded the Weekly Newspaper of the Year title at the O2 media awards for Yorkshire and Humber 2011.

Judges from regional and national newspapers, television and radio described the Advertiser as an excellent local paper and it has beaten the Yorkshire Evening Post (which won the title of Daily Newspaper of the Year) in  winning the overall  best newspaper in Yorkshire and the Humber. The judges selection was based on all round appeal  and for excellence in news, sport and features. They also praised the way the paper interacted with readers and for providing a superb package at a value for money price.

Congratulations everyone at The Advertiser. I do agree that the paper is good value for money – there’s not a lot you can get for 60p after all.  It has a variety of news, stories and features that appeal to a range of people and tastes.

Just the “interaction with readers” bit sticks in my throat somewhat.

If what is meant by this is competitions, talking with local people and reporting community events, then The Advertiser does that. But how the “Letters to the Editor” are chosen to be printed appears to becoming more politically motivated as each week goes by. No doubt it will be classed by some as ‘sour grapes’ on my part as it’s a while since a letter of mine was printed – though I continue to write faithfully on a number of issues.

But it rankles to continually see published letters from Alice Rodgers  who’s ethics and motives I have questioned on many occasions. Clarification requested RP.

Michael Conlon who failed to be elected as an independent councillor at the last election now writes about hoping the electorate will vote for the Socialist Worker Party.

It is not surprising that Maltby people could be confused and concerned about what is happening to their town when these two attempt to have the monopoly on Maltby’s published opinion verified by The Advertiser.

MacShane – Updates Twit Pic, wraps himself in the union jack? still lying about being a Labour MP!

Denis MacShane has updated his profile picture on Twitter. ‘Father of the Nation’ pose with the Union Jack as the background. ‘Dissembling’ Denis cannot help himself when still lying about being a Labour MP however!!

Denis MacShaneDenis MacShane

Labour MP for Rotherham


Someone in the whips office really should have a quiet word with him about this deceptive description, misrepresenting himself as a Labour MP. While they are about it, perhaps they would like him to amend his self description on Dale & Co website:

66_largeDenis MacShane

Denis MacShane is Labour MP for Rotherham.


It is time this disgraced politician stopped lying about his status, he has not been able honestly to claim to be a ‘Labour MP’ since October last year! When he was suspended from the Labour whip.

See also: Miliband speaks – Denis pushed off Labour Benches!. Read the MacShane files.

Local Development Framework – Public Consultation

So, the Public Consultation for Rotherham’s Local Development Framework has begun. Well officially anyway.

I am desperately trying to keep my cynicism away and approach this “new” consultation process with an open mind and not dwell on past experiences. I was doing ok with this until I ‘dropped in’ at the ‘drop-in’ at Maltby last Thursday.

All the suggested sites were there on the plans and maps ready for the public’s opinion on what to do and where to go next. I asked lots of questions and got lots of replies. It’s just that I can’t understand how it can be said that a certain place is ideal for 55 houses when in the same breath they say that they don’t know what type of houses, private or RMBC owned or even who the land currently belongs to.

Neil Rainsworth from Forward Planning agreed to send me the documents so that I can look at them at my leisure.

Documents attached – awaiting  perusal and opinions!







See also: Local Development Framework consultation.

Miliband speaks – Denis pushed off Labour Benches!

Ed Miliband Labour Leader spoke this morning with force and conviction:

“Today marks two weeks since we found out that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked by the News of the World.
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has resigned.
Tomorrow we will have some of the most important select committee hearings in modern times.
It feels that everything has changed.
But the real risk remains that too little will really change.” Read on…..

Close reading of his speech reveals a barley disguised call on Cameron to resign and clear messages for his own side, at least perhaps for our very own Denis MacShane it would seem!

Watching Parliament this afternoon, well it’s better than the awful alternatives available during the day, Labour members were well represented but the benches were far from full. The television director and the Speaker seemed to be assisting in making sure that Denis’s position in the outer reaches of the chamber of the Commons, could be easily identified, even to a casual observer. An apparently insignificant thing you might think? But this replete with significance!

Denis MacShane has been pushed off the Labour benches and is now to be actively shunned!

After all, Ed could hardly have said what he said this morning, and to have allowed MacShane to take a seat amongst them, this afternoon!

The Police investigation into MacShane’s expenses, in contrast to the hacking scandal, has taken nine months without revealing any results.

It is most important that this little bit of left over Labour sleaze, greed and perhaps worse, was brought to an end as expeditiously as possible.

During the very early part of recess would appear to be a convenient time for them, if the Police are not to be accused of deliberately dragging their heels?

Justice delayed must not result in justice being denied!

See also: “UK World Name Takes A Battering. Denis MacShane concludes that this scandal has caused severe damage to Britain’s world reputation. But can we get it back?”

Caution advised for above link! High blood pressure alert! May induce uncontrollable rage!!

Top Ten last week – Total 369 page views

Just another unreliable newspaper More stats 23
Good week to bury bad news? Healey no longer walks on water! More stats 15
Jacob Rees Mogg – New to twitter, is he making a twit of himself? More stats 13
Rotherham criticised in Parliament – Simply Unacceptable! More stats 13
Jacob Rees-Mogg bashes blogger into submission! More stats 9
About Rotherham Politics More stats 8
Save Our Green Belt – Local Development Framework consultation, your chance to be heard! More stats 8
Aston cum Aughton – spin at work? More stats 7
The Chris Read Files More stats 7
The Gerald Smith Files – New! More stats 4

Good week to bury bad news? Healey no longer walks on water!

What with all the media preoccupation with #hackgate some important stories are failing to make it to the public’s attention.

We bring you one of those stories that were nearly missed, concerning the Shadow Health Secretary John Healey, the Member for Wentworth & Dearne.

This Tuesday, John Healey was ordered by the Committee on Standards and Privileges (Chairman Kevin Barron) to apologise to the House.

Healey was found to have abused the postal rules by sending mail for party political purposes using pre-paid envelopes. A very basic error indeed!

John took quite some convincing that he had done anything wrong. At least until this report of the Standards and Privileges Committee issued on Tuesday was published yesterday.

Certainly takes the shine off John Healey’s reputation to discover that he has turned into a reincarnation of his predecessor!

Just another unreliable newspaper

As the House of Commons debates the phone hacking scandal and the conduct of newspapers, July’s issue of MaltbyNews is in circulation. (I hesitate to say “delivered to every house in Maltby as it proclaims, as it’s rather a hit and miss affair).

Amidst the national discussion on the reliability of the press and the infringement of liberties of the public, Maltby News’ editor Kevin Hall has chosen again to disregard his so called policy of giving the”right to reply’. Rather than respond in his ‘newspaper’ to the libellous comments and untruths that he has previously published he has produced an issue with neither “Letters to the Editor”, an  editorial comment nor the name(s) of the journalists’ who have written the copy.

The ‘Events Calendar’ notes the Local Development Framework  Public Consultation dates for Bramley and Wickersley but omits Maltby. Two Maltby Town Council News Pages (at a cost of £300) have a competition entry form with last year’s date on. If it wasn’t for the advertising by local businesses (at whatever the charge) and the ‘wrap around’ by Maltby Academy (ditto the charge) then a more cynical person than myself might conclude that Kevin Hall prints in what is in HIS interest and not that of the Maltby community.

Seen Elsewhere – From the Star

Police disciplined for ‘snooping’ in confidential files

editorial imageRobust stance: Deputy Chief Constable Bob Dyson.
Published on Saturday 9 July 2011 11:07

A TOTAL of 44 South Yorkshire Police officers and workers have been disciplined for breaching their access rights to confidential databases, writes crime reporter Claire Lewis. To read the full article, click here.

In the light of recent stories featuring Police, corrupted by journalists and private investigators, this story may yet not be complete or the Police’s actions so far, adequate to the circumstances!

This widespread and systematic casual abuse is an outrage and leaves all citizens feeling potentially vulnerable! This was not just ‘snooping’ but in each case criminal offences were undoubtedly committed and appear to be going inadequately punished!

The catastrophic loss of confidence in the police that these cases leave us with, can only be repaired when those who were caught breaking the law are properly punished for their crimes! Have we a ‘News of the World’ style cover up here?

See also Big Brother Watch. Also from the Star, Shock retirement: South Yorkshire Police chief tells why he is stepping down early. Is there a link?

New newspaper watchdog ? Bring it on …

So, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have called for the Press Complaints Commission to be scrapped following its handling of the News of the World  phone hacking debacle.

The prime minister  has demanded “a new system entirely” and the Labour leader says the organisation was a “toothless poodle”.

I agree wholeheartedly, though the PCC says that as they are an “independent” organisation the government can’t just order a replacement (forgive my use of speech marks around the word “independent” – I find it difficult to use the word without, especially when talking about politics)  The PCC is so similar in it’s response to criticism that it brings to mind RMBC Standards Board with it’s habit of putting in charge of an investigation the very people who are being investigated !

With the arrest of former editor Andy Coulson now under investigation for corruption and phone hacking, it’s to be hoped that all newspapers will now think more than twice before behaving in the underhand manner that appears to have been becoming the norm.

Here’s hoping our local ‘rags’ take notice too …

Aston cum Aughton – spin at work?

Those who cannot get through Friday without their weekly fix of the letters pages in the Rotherham Advertiser, will not have missed Jim Fletcher’s letter of Friday 24th June.

In this weeks issue of Friday July 8th, a full two weeks after Jim Fletcher published his excoriating letter on matters appertaining to Aston cum Aughton Parish council, Gerald Smith and the Clerk to the Parish council, the Clerk’s response appeared.

The clerk’s letter is a spin doctors delight! Whilst being a disaster in PR terms at the same time. It in fact admits the substance of Jim Fletcher’s points, reference the way the Parish is run and the over cosy relationship of the Clerk to the Parish Labour Group and Gerald Smith in particular.

Familiarity breeds contempt, in this case it seems to have blinded them to the fact that the way this Parish Council is being run does not fit well with the appropriate codes of conduct, standing orders seem to be flouted and utmost secrecy surrounding the detail of financial matters raises the most serious of issues and would benefit from detailed investigation, by the police perhaps.

Why does Alan Hodkin start his letter by denying something, of which he was never accused?

To whit, attending meetings of Holderness Labour Party!

A quite ridiculous denial designed to confuse or divert the reader, who likely will not still have the edition from which he quoted.

This is a very old spin doctors trick to gain some moral authority before making his points. In this instance it just leaves him looking rather foolish! We are not so easily bamboozled.

The Clerk goes on to inform readers that he essentially confirmed the substance of Jim Fletcher’s letter, I précis:

‘At Aston cum Aughton, the Parish Labour Group meet prior to the full Parish meeting with the Clerk in attendance advising them. Those Labour councillors present, transact the business, then force these decisions through the full Parish meeting using weight of Labour numbers to get their way’!

Nothing new there then! But it gives us a wonderful insight to the attitudes prevalent at Parish councils in Rotherham. They are apt to be run as ‘fiefdoms’ by those powerful politically and Aston cum Aughton Parish council is no exception.

Perhaps he should not have listened to Gerald Smith after all? Or is he just unfit to hold his position?

If this is all too familiar to you at your Parish or Town council, please get in touch and share it with us, see RikiLeaks.

Read comment from Jim Fletcher.