Would you buy a used car from this bunch?

The first time a Labour Leader chose his own Shadow Cabinet, rather than by election among the labour MPs themselves, we get an uninspiring Leader choosing a pretty uninspiring front bench!

Most would struggle to identify more than a handful of Ed Milband’s pick for his A team. The new faces are simply time served party apparatchiks who have known little else but politics since leaving college!

This is probably the weakest Shadow front bench we have ever seen and inspire little in the way of confidence just at the time when experience may be needed.

Labour leave parliament with the disaster for Ed Miliband at PMQs still reverberating in their ears, a disaster for them on Europe, and if that were not bad enough, Labour is now firmly behind in the latest opinion polls!

No sense of direction is apparent and Ed Miliband’s leadership is turning into a disaster in much the same way Michael Foots leadership was a huge mistake!

Ed Balls, in his announcement before this years autumn conference that he no longer had ambitions to lead the party, was interpreted by most, as firing the starting pistol for the race to replace Ed Miliband as leader. At least, it was an open invitation for plotting to commence.

Yvette Cooper, no wonder she has not taken her husbands name, it’s Balls! Is said to be in pole position and the favoured choice of those who judge these things, especially the MPs! She will have to assert her political independence though, if she is to remain front runner at the end.

Many other political political careers, currently on hold, will depend on Yvette’s success. Why is John Healey not in the Shadow Cabinet? Is a question I have now heard many times. Was it the result of pure political spite on Ed Miliband’s part, as some have suggested for the support he gave Ed Balls? Whatever the reason, the Shadow Cabinet is the poorer without him!

‘Cult’ wants to build school on Anston’s greenbelt!

A Christian group, with some pretty unchristian practises, has applied to RMBC for planning permission to build a place of worship and a school on greenbelt land at Anston. This application has received the backing of Labour or so it would appear, but for the locals, this application is distinctly unwelcome.

Firstly, this application, if successful, will be sited on greenbelt land at Anston!

This aspect alone will galvanise the community to oppose the scheme and the rumblings of increased community activity and organisation are plain for all to see. To find out more and to make your voice heard, see the Save our Greenbelt Dinnington & Anston Action Group website. Every inch of greenbelt use must be opposed, lest they just pick each piece off, one at a time! Going for the weakest first! The divide and rule tactic has been tried and didn’t work, leaving slices of the greenbelt apparently undefended will rebound on those that allow this to happen! Anston residents do this at their peril!

Clive Jepson has learned that all three Anston & Woodsetts councillors are in favour and in Darren ‘the defector’ Hughes case, has been working with them on planning issues for the last year!

Quite outrageous! Does he not understand the feelings of Anston residents? Well he wouldn’t would he? Darren lives in Catcliffe! Has he not consistently said, he opposed using greenbelt land. What a hypocrite!!!! But then, he has been a turncoat in the past!

Secondly, The nature of the applicants!

Ultimately, whoever they call themselves on a planning application, the applicants and those who will be running the school are variously called the Exclusive Brethren, the Brethren as on the original planning application or sometimes the Raven/Taylor Brethren.

It is alarming that this group should now appear to be hiding behind nominees, to confuse the casual observer at least, as to who is behind this project. Indeed, this lack of candour is a worrying development and goes to their basic honesty! It they fail on the basic honesty question, can anything they say, possibly be trusted?

Christian friends have told me, that even for a bunch of Christians they are distinctly left-field! Mostly active in the UK and Australia they have been accused of ‘cult’ practises, unfortunately, not without good reason!

The term ‘Exclusive’ refers to the fact that this group demands separation from the rest of society, even refusing to live in semi-detached properties unless the other is also occupied by a fellow adherent.

This school will only accept the children of members, so it is unlikely that any local children will be welcomed to their ‘exclusive’ school.

Their approach to education has been followed by trenchant denunciation where ever they have operated schools. Not the least for their treatment of science which tends to ignore all scientific developments since 1848! The access of students to books of all kinds is severely limited and those that are allowed them, heavily censored.

This group are apparently given to controlling their own members in similar ways that cults operate and is aimed at ensuring total domination of the individual to the group.

The Exclusive Brethren are not an open and welcoming bunch of Christians at all. Quite the reverse in fact! I find it incredible that this proposal should gather support from any Labour politician and very worrying that they appear to have been actively helping this project along, in contradiction to their public utterances on the greenbelt! But that’s Darren Hughes for you!

Where is Kevin Barron, the MP for Rother Valley constituency on this proposal? He surely cannot be in favour too! We shall see?

Imprint on a Christmas card?

When Rik received this Christmas card to the voters of Anston & Woodsetts ward it seemed to add little to our understanding, He was wrong.

Rik, despite many years of experience to call upon, could not remember ever receiving a Christmas card with an imprint from a Political Party on it. Here it is:

This must make this particular Christmas card, part of a cynical political campaign and not a genuine expression of goodwill. Labour’s cynicism knows no bounds it would seem?

Kevin Barron’s picture was included among those signatories. I hope no public money was expended on this document?  If it was, then it could well prove embarrassing?

What else does it tell us? Well for one thing, it clearly shows that the Anston & Woodsetts ward is now run by someone who doesn’t even live in the ward! There’s nothing new in that, Judy Dalton an Anston & Woodsetts borough councillor and Anston parish councillor lives in Dinnington! Local? Not!

We bring you the greetings section of this card, the only thing it doesn’t actually say is vote Labour!

Cheerful, not!

There is a huge clue as to this cards true purpose in this:

All roads lead to Darren Hughes! The one man band re-election campaign! Speaks volumes that this self-serving and inveterate self publicist should shamelessly exploit Christmas as part of his strategy to con the folk of Anston & Woodsetts ward in to voting for him next May! Some hope! Let’s dump Darren! Is the oft heard refrain.

Full page adverts – anyone might think Darren the Defector was seeking re-election in 2012

Darren Hughes has been taking out half page advertisements trying to convince the voters of the Anston & Woodsetts ward that despite turning his backs on them by defecting to Labour, he should be re-elected.

The latest example is now a whole page! Is this a sign that he realises the scale of his problem, to convince Conservative voters that he can be trusted, when he so clearly can’t!

Of course his desire to be re-elected is quite unrelated to the fact that he is on a nice little earner, as a Cabinet member! Darren the Defector – gets his reward!

Ethical standards at RMBC – no wonder Rotherham scores highly?

After I floated the simple question in a private email amongst friends, who or what was an ‘Ethical Standards Officer’? I also wondered if RMBC has any of these superfluous officers?

In response I received this link from Grald-Hunter:

http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=29644 If this link stops working, please let me know and I will make this file available by other means, email Rothpol.

He added this observation which cannot go unreported:

“Do you remember the great TV series “Porridge”? I bet if HMP Slade had produced an ethical standards self-assessment questionnaire then Norman Stanley Fletcher’s responses would be radically different to Mr McKay’s.

Strikes me it’s like asking the residents of HMP Dartmoor whether they think it’s right they should be compelled to live there.

Self assessment only works in an effective governance sense when there is a robust independent accredited evidential base to support the answers, rather than saying “Yes, we’re doing it all reight, reight, cos we’ve said we’re doing it reight, reight.”

Rotherham’s disgraceful parade gets ever longer!

Darren Hughes selected! No place for Stonebridge!

Rotherham Politics has learned that Darren Hughes was selected by Anston & Woodsetts Ward Labour Party at a recent meeting. Darren Hughes will be seeking to overturn his own substantial majority (520) he obtained over Robin Stonebridge in 2008 as a Conservative!

In a surprising move it was announced that no resignation from Jo Burton had been received, thus preventing Robin from seeking selection to replace her on RMBC next May.

Darren the Defector – Is this guy for real?

Darren the Defector – gets his reward!

Why did Robin Stonebridge resign in 2007 exactly?

Robin Stonebrige a portrait of him in action!

Received this as a comment today, far too good to miss! So I post it here for readers information:

I was one of the so called “tiny minority” that Cllr Stonebridge refers to. The other three were well respected persons of the village, all over an age where they should be “listened to” in respect to their knowledge and wisdom.

Yes I agree with Cllr Stonebridge, there was an air of “distrust and verbal aggression”, but this all came from the side of the Parish Council.

On several occasions members of the public were subject to verbal abuse by Cllr Stonebridge, why? Because we dared to ask an “awkward question”. The usual scenario was that I ask a question, PC does not answer question. I ask question again, PC Members then start to make loud “groaning” noises at members of the Public. I ask question again, PC then begins threats to evict me from meetings!

Cllr Stonebridge did evict me from a Meeting, shouting at the top of his voice “GET OUT! GET OUT!” He has just denied this in a recent Meeting. How can this “tiny minority” “bully” him and others on the PC when he is in charge of Meetings? I am quite happy for him to repeat the Comments he made about us to the “Star Newspaper”, just to show how vindictive his comments were about members of the Public he now serves?

Time moves on. I am now a Member of the PC, Guess What? I still ask “awkward questions”, I still get “groaning noises from PC Members (mainly Cllr St John), I still ask the question again, and I still get evicted from PC Meetings, 4 times at the last count!

In 1997 Cllr Stonebridge speaks of “verbal aggression” let me give you the latest update on this Cllrs conduct. At a recent Budget working group meeting, we were discussing where a particular some of money showed up in the figures, no one in my opinion could give a answer, there was no question of any missing money what so ever. I said, “well if no one knows where this money is, then it must have disappeared into the ether.”

Immediately and not for the first time, Cllr St John entered the arena, making false statements “that I was accusing the Clerk of dishonesty,” not true! Nothing of the sort was ever said, and for clarity, I think the Clerk is perfectly correct in the way he handles finance at the Parish Council.

Cllr St John’s words were immediately seized upon by Cllr Dalton. Cllr Dalton was quite happy to back him up, an argument starts. 2 or 3 to one person normally, and the noise gets louder.

At this point Cllr Stonebridge shouted at the top of his voice, in an aggressive tone “SHUT UP!”. He was looking directly at me when he did so, not bothering with his friends who were also taking part in the argument. Cllr Dalton then became “concerned” for “Robin” that he had shouted, not at me the victim, but because he might be in trouble for doing so.

Nothing ever changes. Verbal aggression in the past! Verbal aggression in the present! and no doubt verbal aggression in the future!

S Thornton

If this kind of behaviour in your parish council is commonplace, let us know about it! Don’t get mad, get even! Mail Rotherham Politics.