Labour warned ‘party machine corrupt and rotten’ over a year ago! – why has nothing been done until now?

Those involved with Rotherham Politics have always been aware, that in Yorkshire at least, the ‘party machine was corrupt and rotten’ and badly in need of a shake-up. This phenomenon was named ‘scum labour’ by Michael Elmer and we feel it encapsulates the problems we witness within the labour party in Rotherham and frequently report on.

I must admit that I missed this little gem of a post, on of all places a left wing blog called, Left Futures when it was first published.

The party machine is corrupt and rotten

Posted on September 23rd 2010 by Jon Lansman:

On Saturday, Labour’s new leader must address several urgent problems. Making the party fit for purpose is one he cannot afford to ignore. The party machine as it is now was designed to support Blair in power, to command and control, to ensure that anyone selected for any public office was on-message, that any policy proposal presented for discussion at any but the lowest level was in line with the Leader’s thinking, that no unauthorised campaigning actvity took place. Party members were surplus to requirements except for their money and occasional appearances as extras on a film or photo set. A winning campaign could be managed from the centre, through the media, or so they thought. Read on……………….

Today the blog breaks the story that decisive action is being taken with this posting on Left Futures:

Labour’s clean up begins in earnest – top managers to go

Published 29th November 2011 by Jon Lansman.

Few Labour politicians are willing to discuss the true nature of the old New Labour party. Just over a year ago, we argued that the party machine was corrupt and rotten. A hard hitting attack that received almost no response. No rebuttal. No complaint. Just one supportive comment. Many people seem to prefer not to discuss it. That machine was still in evidence in Liverpool at Labour’s most recent conference, one year into the new regime. But today, decisive steps were taken to dismantle it. Conveniently sandwiched between the Autumn statement and the biggest strike in Britain for many decades, it has been a quiet revolution which will receive little media attention. Read on,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Providing this is not just another ‘Blair style’ cosmetic exercise, then yes, this news is to be welcomed. The proof of the pudding is in the eating of course, but at least this appears to be a hopeful sign of things to come?

I, myself tend to the Marx attitude, Groucho not Karl in this instance, when asked about club membership, “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me,” was his reply. I feel the same way about political party membership.

Red Ed and the Blairite purge: Secret memo reveals details over sackings

Cabinet in the Community – can we have them too?

Sheffield City Council, more progressive and inclusive than Rotherham in so many ways has stolen a march on Rotherham with their latest initiative, Cabinet in the Community.

Taking the Cabinet to the community! A brilliant idea. Could we have this in Rotherham, please?

Below, is a reproduction of material being circulated in the community, to give you an idea of how it is being publicised amongst the population:

The East Community Assembly Public Meeting and  Cabinet in the Community

Cabinet in the Community

Thursday 8th December, 2011, 5:30 – 6:30pm


Victoria Community Enterprise Centre, Stafford Road, S2 2SE

Cllr Julie Dore, the Leader of Sheffield City Council, and other members of the Cabinet will be in attendance to host a question and answer session with local residents.

Residents are welcome to arrive at the venue from 5.15pm for light refreshments .

If you would like the opportunity to ask a question to the Cabinet in advance please do so before29th November. Due to time constraints please keep questions brief and to the point. Email your questions to  or call the East Community Assembly Team on 273 5708. There will also be an opportunity to submit or ask questions at the actual meeting.

Public Meeting

Thursday 8th December, 2011, 6.45 – 8.45pm


Victoria Community Enterprise Centre, Stafford Road, S2 2SE

       The main agenda items will be a
    • Budget Update
    • Highways Report

You can either submit questions to the East Community Assembly in advance of the meeting using the contact details above or ask your question during the public questions and petitions section of the meeting.

If you need any help or support to attend this meeting please contact the East Community Assembly before 1st December 2011

If you like a copy of the poster with the contents above, please email us on

Doing the rounds – Euro crisis humour

This arrived in Rothpol’s inbox, couldn’t resist sharing it with readers.

Little Greek Village – How the bailout package works

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna. The tavern owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works!

If you like this or other posts on the blog, don’t forget to share it with your friends.

Who has trodden on Kevin’s corns?

Kevin Barron, remember him? Readers rarely hear about him on Rotherham Politics. He is the MP for Rother Valley and normally absent from Rotherham’s very own newspaper of record, the Advertiser. Outside of election periods, that is? Clearly irritated, Kevin wrote an ill tempered letter of response published in this weeks edition, a rarity indeed!

What can have aroused him to the extent that he breaks his normal vow of silence? A letter the previous week, authored by Dave Smith, who resides in Dinnington and a constituent of Kevin, was the catalyst. I quote:

Back the strikers

Sir – I for one will be standing four square behind the public sector workers when they strike at the end of this month. Also I would urge the private sector workers to do the same.

Do not fall for the Government propaganda that the public sector have a far better pension scheme than the rest of us. It is an old trick used by politicians, including Hitler.

They point the finger at others and blame them for the ills visited on the rest of us by these same politicians.

These MPs who would have us believe that we the taxpayers are footing the bill for the public sector’s “wonderful” pension and that we need to attack them in order for the country to save money, should come clean about the millions we are paying for them to have a far superior pension than the ordinary worker.

Plus, we are paying full prime ministerial salaries to at least five ex-prime ministers.

Let’s just take one small section of these MPs’ pension scheme, ill health retirement. Well, it is a very hard job you know.

It is paid based on final salary and paid as if  the person had paid full contributions until the age of 65, no matter how young they are when they take it.

How many are their out there, public or private, have that provision in your pension scheme? We miners certainly did not.

I would say to the public sector workers don’t be surprised that the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party won’t support you.

They do not have the political will to defend the people whose ancestors risked everything to not only build the trade union movement but also the Labour Party.

Without these brave people Miliband and his cohorts would not be sitting in their cushy jobs and luxury life style.You only have to look at recent history to know how these people think about us.

Take Neil Kinnock and his Parliamentary secretary, Kevin Barron, and their performance during the miners’ strike.

Kinnock comes from a mining background and Barron was a miner, but  that didn’t stop them spending more time attacking us than defending us.

So, private sector, do not be conned and public sector stay strong.

Dave Smith, Dinnington

Dave Smith offered Kevin, not a delicate dry fly, presented carefully to a wary Trout, but a whacking great lure, huge and gaudy and presented with no finesse at all and he got the arm twisting take, that Trout fishermen everywhere dream of. I had Kevin figured, as a member of the ‘wary old’ category myself but nothing surprises me any more.

In colloquial speak, he seems to have, ‘gone off like a Muppet’!

From Kevin Barron’s letter, I quote:

Stood up for miners

“I would firstly like to point out that I was not Neil Kinnock’s Parliamentary Private Secretary during the miners’ strike”

“my analysis of what happened in the strike is not clouded by involvement with Trotskyist organisations.”

“I have always stood up for coal miners and coal mining communities. I was active in the cause of keeping Dinnington Colliery open many months after Mr Smith had taken his redundancy money and run.”

It is true, that Kevin did not achieve the lofty title of bag carrier to the Leader of the Opposition, Neil Kinnock, until 1985, safely after the strike was over. Paltry reward, you might think?

Kevin it should not be forgotten was a fully paid up ‘Scargillite’, a true believer! At least, that is, until his election in 1983. Which was accomplished it is said, with the personal help of Arthur, no less! That might alone explain the enmity expressed as Stalinists/Leninists and Trotskyists have not got on since the unfortunate incident with an ice pick!

In the early days, he was happy spouting ultra leftist propaganda at every meeting he went to and he used to turn up at an awful lot of meetings. I rather naively thought this indicated keenness until I was told, by a Trot as it happens, that NUM members were likely getting paid for their attendance at the meetings they went to. They never did ‘owt for nowt’.

The NUM also practised a form of ‘working class democracy’ known as democratic centralism, which when explained to me once by an old trade unionist, Greg Douglas, an authority on such matters, means you do as your are told and vote as you are told! No questions! Presumably, believe what you are told! Should be added to this list as well, for the sake of completeness. Total loyalty then, is the most prized asset of an apparatchik and Kevin Barron appeared to be no exception to this rule.

I notice the use of the terms, “I have always stood up for coal miners and coal mining communities.” No one accused him, of not standing up for miners nor coal mining  communities, so why the weasel words? That’s where we will leave this trip down memory lane for now, until the next time.

Institute for Fiscal Studies – Worrying conclusions for Rotherham in new report

The IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) has recently released it’s report, School funding reform: an empirical analysis of options for a national funding formula.

Despite it’s rather anodyne title, it has some very worrying conclusions about the future of education at all levels, for us here in Rotherham.

Just trying to digest the report. For those who would like to read it themselves. Download the report here as a pdf. The most important bit is on the last page.

In the Press:

The Star – £17m budget cuts will hit pupils hard

Cameron demonises public sector workers it’s all been said before

The airwaves are chocked solid with negative stories about the public sector workers and their planned strike next Wednesday, 30th November.

For anyone left who doesn’t think the strike is justified you need look no further than this coverage, which is beginning to look awfully like a previous Tory Government, 1979-1997. Have they no more fresh ideas than to simply ape, the Thatcher Government?

Under Margaret Thatcher, Public Sector workers were blamed for almost all economic woes. When various workers from the Health Service had had enough of being made scapegoats and stood up and demanded a fair pay and conditions package, they were defeated eventually as were the Mineworkers after their heroic attempt to save their industry collapsed after more than a year.

This action is significant for uniting every single public sector union, from the First Division Association (Organises the most Senior Civil Servants) to PCS (Organises mostly below average on the pay scale). This has never been achieved before! This degree of unity has obviously worried Cameron and is quite a result! Even the most senior public servants are expected to strike on the 30th November!

Buy Private Eye’s new issue 1302 – worth every penny this week

The new Edition of Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs section, has a cautionary tale of a blogger under attack, this time in Barnet, of all places!

The story, outlines the attempt by Barnet Council’s imaginative legal team who thought they could use Data Protection legislation to shut a blogging critic up. Back in May, Barnet Council made a complaint to the Information Commissioner, claiming outrageously that Mr Mustard was “an unregistered Data Controller.”

This would , if successful, have been important to all bloggers as the penalties would have been considerable. Thankfully the Information Commissioner emphatically ruled in the bloggers favour, leaving some red faces at Barnet Council.

Bloggers, commenting on contemporaneous matters everywhere, face difficulties caused by those they seek to scrutinise coming up with evermore ingenious ways to create a climate of fear in an attempt to stop us. All bloggers need to be vigilant about these attempts to shut us down and must resist them. Ultimately It won’t work of course, but the pesky blighters keep on trying, nevertheless!

Readers may wish to look at Mr Mustards excellent piece on his blog, Read it here.

By far the easiest way to get your hands on future copies and get it a day before it hits the street through your own letterbox, is to subscribe, click here, to save money as well!

Council Data Loss – Rotherham’s shameful record from Big Brother Watch

Big Brother Watch, yesterday released a damning report into Data losses in local government. Called the Local Authority Data Loss, Read report, pdf here, it is a damning account of laxity when it comes to keeping our personal data safe and secure. The report makes clear just how much Local Authorities have room for improvement.

The situation in Yorkshire is mixed. Rotherham came in third place with 8 incidents in this league table of shame, behind Hull’s 12 and York’s 10. Time for Rotherham MBC to get serious about this.

Yorkshire’s National Daily, the Yorkshire Post reported the story yesterday thus:

Councils accused of lax attitude over confidentiality as data lost, this story was accompanied with a scathing editorial entitled, Council Data Loss Disaster. Can’t find a link yet on YP website, if anyone has found one please let us know.

The London Evening Standard has also covered the story:

Children in care among victims of data breaches by ‘lax’ councils

Minuteman Press – Latest with Rotherham’s embarrassing pantomime poster story!

The embarrassing story of Rotherham Council’s failure to enforce planning laws for a pantomime poster erected on one of it’s own buildings, spreads further!

Council violates own planning laws with giant poster

November 23, 2011 by

A council in Yorkshire has violated its own planning laws by erecting a giant poster in the town centre – without first applying for permission to do so.

Rotherham Council put up a giant poster advertising the town’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime on the side of the Arts Centre in the town. However, the council failed to first apply for planning permission to add the poster before it was put up. This puts the council in violation of their own planning rules. The poster is 25 feet by 15 feet in size Read on…..

Read also:

Tales from the Town Hall – adds fuel to the fire – Rotherham Council: What A Pantomime!

Yorkshire Post – Giant mistake as council puts up Jack and Beanstalk poster

Is RMBC breaking planning laws? You bet they are!

Section 106 Agreement – An invitation to extortion? Well what would you call it?

Section 106 agreements, Cllr Mahroof Hussain claims in the most recent edition of the ‘Tiser, “are attached to all sorts of planning applications these days.” You bet they are!

What are Section 106 Agreements? Some research:

“Section 106 (S106) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows a local planning authority (LPA) to enter into a legally-binding agreement or planning obligation with a landowner in association with the granting of planning permission. The obligation is termed a Section 106 Agreement.

These agreements are a way of delivering or addressing matters that are necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms. They are increasingly used to support the provision of services and infrastructure, such as highways, recreational facilities, education, health and affordable housing.

The scope of such agreements is laid out in the government’s Circular 05/2005. Matters agreed as part of a S106 must be:

  • relevant to planning
  • necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms
  • directly related to the proposed development
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development
  • reasonable in all other respects.” Source Here.

Wikipedia has this to say on Section 106:

“Section 106 of the Act, in conjunction with DoE Circular 5/05, allows for Local Planning Authorities and persons interested in land to agree contributions, arrangements and restrictions as Planning Agreements or Planning Obligations. Applicants can offer such agreements unilaterally or negotiate and agree them as support for their application to make it accord with local planning requirements, but without some of the rigorous controls of Planning Conditions under s 70(1).

It relates to monies paid by developers to Local Planning Authorities in order to offset the costs of the external effects of development. For example, if a developer were to build 100 new houses, there would be effects on local schools, roads etc., which the Local Authority would have to deal with. In that situation there might be a Section 106 agreement as part of the granting of planning permission. The developer might agree to make a contribution towards the provision of new schools.

Section 106 arrangements are currently being reviewed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. See also: Planning gain#Criticisms of Section 106 Agreements.”

There you have it, Section 106 is a licence to extort money, mostly from developers it should be noted, with little sympathy.

When Rotherham MBC tried to extort nearly £250,000 from our local NHS, to pay for a crack pot scheme, clearly the Council had gone too far, this time!

No one should be in doubt about the sheer effrontery of the Council involved in this latest attempt to get their grubby little hands on some of our money. It is outrageous that Mahroof Hussain had no understanding of the way this looks to his constituents in Boston Castle or Rotherham’s citizens generally! Especially, as it is the worst kept secret in Rotherham that Mahroof would like to succeed Denis MacShane when he is toppled from his perch!

Asking for money with menaces by withholding planning permission, as was the case in RDGH’s planning application, in my book, amounts to extortion! Who came up with this proposal on behalf of the Council? We must be told!

Mahroof could always start by apologising to the readers of Rotherham Politics?