Inexorable logic of numbers?

Firstly an examination of the current political make up of Rotherham MBC:

Party Number Percentage
Conservative 4 6.4
Independent 1 1.6
Labour 58 92

Labour’s overwhelming preponderance on RMBC, ensures that their untrammelled use of power is rarely challenged and never properly scrutinised from within.

Rotherham Politics is here to change all that! It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone, even Adam Khan, that most of our focus is upon the members of the controlling Labour Group!

With 58/63, 92% of the Borough Council membership the Labour Party and it’s members and fellow travellers, control pretty well everything that moves!

We move on to consider the make up of Labour Group itself:

There is much diversity of view on many issues and some of it was on display today. However, they are united behind a common credo of self preservation! They largely control the party structures and are able to play fast and loose with Labour’s own rules, procedures and policies.

Labour’s rules make it quite clear how the local structures relate to one another and where Labour Group owe accountability. It should be the case, that the Local Government Committee maintains control over policy and hold Labour Councillors to account. Furthermore, the LGC should control and independently monitor, Labour Candidate selection processes.

How different it is in Rotherham!

Firstly there are no polices to speak of! Secondly the LGC is a poodle and thirdly, Labour Group controls candidate selection. The precise opposite of what should happen!

During the last three years, it is claimed by some, new and fresh faces have appeared on the Council who will be intolerant of the control freakery that pervades Labour Group. Is there any evidence to back up this assertion? Quite simply No!

Labour Group has another division, not immediately apparent to the casual observer, the division between insiders and outsiders, or those who support Roger Stone and those who don’t! Best estimates of the relative numbers in each group suggest a 40/18 split between  these two groups.

This is not good news to anyone who wants to change the party from within.

What is clear from this, is that Roger Stone has solid support in Labour Group and likely when it comes to a replacement, they will come from this controlling group. Smart money is said to be going on Paul Lakin even in these early stages of the Leadership battle to come.

What does this tell us of Jahangir Akhtar’s future? The inexorable logic of numbers tells us that Jahangir is not perhaps, Deputy Leader because of his own level of personal support, but at the pleasure of the Leader. Some commentators have already speculated that Jahangir will be relieved of the Deputy Leadership to be replaced by the ‘anointed one’, as early as next year?

Libraries – RMBC Cabinet Minutes for 4th July

Dear Rotherham Friends,

Well the decidedly dodgy Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns at Town Hall Towers can’t say that when they slash my highly-successful Wickersley Library’s opening hours by more than 10% after their supposed “consultation” that no-one gave them any views and opinions in direct opposition to their latest piece of civic and literary vandalism.

Here for posterity and information are the RMBC Cabinet Minutes for 4th July when I publically asked the higher-paid-than-Sheffield-City-Councillor and junketing-mad RMBC Cabinet why my Wickersley community is proposed to be so nastily and vindictively disadvantaged –

http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=11002&T=1

I did follow up with a demand for the “Local Needs Assessment” report which Cabinet Member Cllr Amy Rushforth decided to hide behind and to rely on as her shield for defence in her answer to me.

Those of you who know me, are quite well aware, even if the Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns are not, that this document will be obtained from them either the easy way or the hard way, and that I’m not bothered which way it comes – but come it most certainly will.

I would advise and urge anyone who has an opinion on the way that their community is governed by these Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns to e-mail and challenge and scrutinise those who seek highly-paid public office to govern us with our consent and who then engage in the profligate use of our hard-earned tax receipts to disadvantage our communities like mine here in Wickersley.

They don’t like, and are not used to, being challenged – well tough, cos there’ll be more not less in the future

Kind Regards,
Don Buxton

Complaint – Vehicle Obstructing Public Footpath Outside Town Hall Towers – Further Correspondence

Rotherham Politics updates readers on the continuing saga of the basic abuse of power:

Latest first, as usual.

Dear Mr Kimber,

Thank you for your courteous response, the contents of which I have noted.

Mr Battersby would be able to achieve significantly more credibility and respect with Wickersley and Bramley residents if he were to articulate himself in the same professional, measured and very eloquent way that you have displayed in your e-mail to me.

Instead he chooses to ape the responses, behaviour and attitude of the Cabinet Member, Regeneration and Environment, and so although he may consider himself to be diligently employed on the betterment of Rotherham, his efforts are not recognised as he lacks credibility or respect – two vital elements which I am sure you will agree are fundamental to establishing a satisfactory working relationship among equals.

I now consider this matter closed and do not wish to take you away from the many other important civic tasks which I have no doubt you need to complete.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

On Tue, 24/7/12, ChiefExecutive <ChiefExecutive@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:
From: ChiefExecutive <ChiefExecutive@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: FW: RE: COMPLAINT – VEHICLE OBSTRUCTING PUBLIC FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL TOWERS
To: Don Buxton
Date: Tuesday, 24 July, 2012, 12:03

Dear Mr Buxton,

Thank you for your e mail dated 20th July.

One of the things I have found since I returned to work in South Yorkshire is the pride and passion of local people for their town and community. Many apply this passion in very positive ways, and it helps the town tremendously.

I see the same sense of pride and passion in council employees. These are people who are often criticised unfairly in some quarters. However, I have no doubts we try our very best in difficult circumstances. Many are rightly proud of what they do and what the Council is able to achieve with and on behalf of residents and local business.

As I know Mr Battersby well I can say he would not intentionally seek to offend anyone. I have always found him to have a helpful and measured approach in his dealings with people. He is also proud of the things that he and his colleagues have achieved and continue to try to do to improve Rotherham .

Lots of residents and businesses have helped to improve the town centre too. By supporting the buy local campaign, visiting for events such as the Jubilee or Olympics celebrations, by investing in their businesses, or by investing their time in other ways such as stewarding events. These are examples of local people providing strong positive support and what this can achieve

I have read the correspondence you have sent to me. I do not think it represents the personal criticism you have taken although I accept this is the way you have interpreted it otherwise you would not have taken the trouble to write to me.

The point that I think is being made is a simple one. Investment funding is very tight and there is competition for it. Towns that give out a unified message that they have confidence in their future and are a good place to do business are more likely to attract investment than those who do not. The town will only thrive if we can attract appropriate investment and this is not an easy task in the current financial climate.

I acknowledge there is still more to do with the town centre. However, I do not think that should deflect from the fact that in the last few years significant improvements have been made at a time when many other town centres have suffered badly.

I agree that correspondence should confine itself to dealing with the issue rather than using personal or emotive language. Some of the correspondence the Council receives does not always do this however it is pleasing to know yours will not fall into this category.

Yours Sincerely

Martin Kimber
Chief Executive

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

I wish to bring to your personal attention the words used in an e-mail to me by one of your subordinate employees, and which I am forwarding to you for your comments and observations.
This is the statement of his which I find to be totally offensive and grossly unprofessional:

“Lastly, I strongly disagree with the comments that you make regarding the town centre.  I would have hoped that as a local resident you would want to support the town centre and not make disparaging comments about it. The evidence would suggest that many do not share your view, given the significant and ongoing increases that we have seen in the footfall figures, the many new businesses that have opened and the significant improvements in the look and feel of the place.”

I find your employee’s use of such a specific personal value judgement towards me to be completely inappropriate. I am not interested in whether your employee finds my words or opinions to be disparaging or otherwise.

He may privately choose not to share my point of view but nonetheless as a lifelong Rotherham resident, citizen, voter and ratepayer, and coincidentally the provider of the financial resource which keeps him in such a secure, highly-paid and comfortable employment and pension, it is neither necessary nor professional for him to give me his private opinions about me and the views and opinions that I may hold.

I may choose to disbelieve RMBC propaganda that Rotherham town centre is now riding the crest of a new era in terms of civic, commercial, industrial and economic output, activity, employment and economic success in the face of a world recession unprecedented since the Great Depression, but it remains my absolute right to form an opinion based on my interpretation of any information I choose to access or not.

Do you personally condone and encourage your subordinate and junior employees to respond to “customers”, ratepayers, residents and voters in such a manner, or is this merely the lone response of a subordinate employee who is now adopting the boorish behaviour and attitude of the Cabinet Member to whom they regularly report?
Lastly, I would have accepted, but disagreed with the response from your subordinate employee, apart from the contentious paragraph which I have highlighted.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

On Fri, 20/7/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:
From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: COMPLAINT – VEHICLE OBSTRUCTING PUBLIC FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL TOWERS
To: Don Buxton
Date: Friday, 20 July, 2012, 11:53

Mr Buxton, thank you for your email. Apologies that I did not treat your email as a formal complaint. Previously when I had treated them as complaints, you were clear you did not want them treated as such. That is my mistake, as you had clearly badged this email as a complaint.

That said, I had thought that we had concluded this matter in our previous exchange, in which you were clear that you did not want to waste further time on this issue.
I can provide the following response to the points raised in your complaint. However, let me be clear, that this will be the last correspondence on this matter.

1. What parking enforcement steps you intend to initiate against the inconsiderate and parking-fee-evading driver of this very expensive saloon.

None.

2. If you don’t intend to initiate enforcement steps please supply categoric and specific legal reasons why this is not your intent.

As stated previously, the vehicle in question is a fleet vehicle leased by Rotherham MBC and is therefore a statutory vehicle. The Traffic Management Act 2004 allows for statutory vehicles to be exempt from parking restrictions when being used for official duties. This is the official Mayoral car, whilst ET1 is off the road.

3. Will you advocate and approve such inconsiderate and fee-evading parking for me, or any other Rotherham citizen voter and ratepayer?

No.

4. If “No” in relation to (3) above, please explain in detail why not.

I would have thought it was obvious

5. Will you be issuing specific instructions to your Parking Enforcement Manager and his/her staff that similar parking of any vehicles, RMBC or otherwise, unless engaged in specific recorded statutory or emergency service duties is not tolerated in any circumstances and will result in enforcement action being taken against the registered owner and driver of the vehicle by way of a Parking Penalty Notice.

No.

6. If “No” to (5) above, please explain in detail why not.

It is not necessary. My team are well trained, are already well aware of the parking regulations and restrictions, and carry out their duties in a comprehensive and efficient manner.

Lastly, I strongly disagree with the comments that you make regarding the town centre.  I would have hoped that as a local resident you would want to support the town centre and not make disparaging comments about it. The evidence would suggest that many do not share your view, given the significant and ongoing increases that we have seen in the footfall figures, the many new businesses that have opened and the significant improvements in the look and feel of the place.

Regards
Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

Thank you for the brief partial response to my Complaint, which you had delegated to your subordinate employee to respond to. Please inform me how RMBC will formally finalise this Complaint in line with its Corporate Complaints Policy.

I now feel a little more enlightened, but still concerned, that the parking-fee-evading, lazy and inconsiderate parking of this vehicle was due to the current Mayor’s unwillingness to walk like us ordinary citizens and to gain a healthful benefit from such simple cardio-vascular exercise.

I suppose I shall have to grudgingly continue to pay my RMBC Parking Fee to park my private motor vehicle, and unlike the current Mayor, then walk to my destination, on the handful of visits that I now annually make into Rotherham’s drab, dreary, deserted and derelict town centre.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

On Fri, 20/7/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:

From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: COMPLAINT – VEHICLE OBSTRUCTING PUBLIC FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL TOWERS
To: Don Buxton
Date: Friday, 20 July, 2012, 8:42

Mr Buxton, I noticed the vehicle myself earlier this week, and on speaking to the town hall attendants was advised that the vehicle in question is on loan as replacement for the mayoral car ( ET1) which is in the garage due to problems with the brakes. I have responded to the other points previously.

Regards
Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Complaint – Vehicle Obstructing Public Footpath Outside Town Hall Towers

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

While passing through the derelict and deserted central Moorgate district of Rotherham town centre adjacent to the Town Hall Towers complex, I noticed that yet another top-of-the-range BMW saloon was lazily and inconsiderately parked right outside of the pedestrian and disabled entrance to Town Hall Towers (see attached photo)

This is in spite of there being numerous vacant pay-and-display parking bays which the inconsiderate and lazy driver could and should have occupied, just like you or me, or any other visitor to Rotherham Town Centre.

I shall be grateful if you will confirm the following for me –

1. What parking enforcement steps you intend to initiate against the inconsiderate and parking-fee-evading driver of this very expensive saloon.

2. If you don’t intend to initiate enforcement steps please supply categoric and specific legal reasons why this is not your intent.

3. Will you advocate and approve such inconsiderate and fee-evading parking for me, or any other Rotherham citizen voter and ratepayer?

4. If “No” in relation to (3) above, please explain in detail why not.

5. Will you be issuing specific instructions to your Parking Enforcement Manager and his/her staff that similar parking of any vehicles, RMBC or otherwise, unless engaged in specific recorded statutory or emergency service duties is not tolerated in any circumstances and will result in enforcement action being taken against the registered owner and driver of the vehicle by way of a Parking Penalty Notice.

6. If “No” to (5) above, please explain in detail why not.

I have previously been advised by your subordinate employee, Karl Battersby, that he’d issued instructions that there was to be no further inconsiderate, lazy and parking-fee-evading parking behaviour by any vehicles on the pedestrianised public footpath outside Town Hall Towers.

This latest blatant piece of motoring laziness and inconsiderate behaviour makes your subordinate employee’s response seem very hollow and insincere at the very least.

I look forward to your specific and detailed response to the complaints I have raised in this letter..

Yours sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

Come Dine With Me – RMBC Style!

So in the land of Socialism, our well paid Mayor invites his well paid councillor mates along to a four star hotel for a £40 per head slap up meal, the Mayor arrives in his chauffeur driven BMW ET 1.

RMBC has two top of the range dedicated BMWs one for transporting the Mayor and one for transporting the Leader

The new Riverside building has the Ministry of Food bistro and the Town Hall has its own in-house catering facility, so no need for our Councillors to go hungry.

In the town where everyone matters, Cllr John Doyle is considering if a consultation on the removal of day centre transport and hearty meals for disabled adults should go ahead.

The anonymous council spokeswoman reassures us that the move will be good for service users and they will not have to spend so much time travelling, what waffle, she clearly has no understanding of the social benefits adults with learning difficulties can gain from a trip into a centre with friends.

So there we have it! Cllr Dave Pickering can spend money like water on four star meals and be driven about in his BMW, but for adults with learning difficulties, no meal and no transport.

Cerberus.

Read this and weep!

Dear Rotherham Politics Readers,

I must admit that I had to double-take this “Star” article when I read it earlier tonight. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was like something from Dodger’s Books-4-Babbiz shabby Dolly Twin Peaks scam scheme.

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/be-a-bookworm-in-school-break-1-4743920

Rovrum’s kiddy-winkies better make the most of this typical RMBC razzmatazz mumbo-jumbo for this year, cos when Da Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns have gone through their hollow sham of a consultation most of Rovrum’s Librariz iz gonna ave less hourz, innit. But they’ve tried codding me that less can mean more?

Kafkaesque or what?

And, once more who have we to thank for this vindictive piece of civic literary vandalism why no other than our New Laybah sham socialist higher-than-Sheffield-CC expenses RMBC Elected Members at Town Hall Towers who love to feast and junket at our vast expense.

The blinding cheek of it.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

Shaun Wright’s Supporters – Hidden Agenda?

In the first posting, using information brought to our attention by an anonymous RikiLeaks correspondent, to whom we are grateful, we bring you some interesting information on Shaun Wright’s uber-supporters:

From, www.shaunwrightforpoliceandcrimecommissioner.com/page4.htm

What kind of idiot registers a campaign website with 47 characters in it? Darren Hughes, that’s who! Amazing? The work of an incompetent, or a fool! Little wonder then his campaign was so poor in May’s local election.

Those hailing from Rotherham in bold

John Healey MP – Wentworth & Dearne Constituency
Cllr Steve Houghton CBE – Leader Barnsley Council
Cllr Roger Stone OBE – Leader Rotherham Council
Cllr Jahangir Akhtar – Deputy Leader Rotherham Council
Cllr Jim Andrews – Barnsley East CLP Secretary & Chairman South Yorkshire Fire Authority
Cllr Ken Richardson – Barnsley Central CLP Secretary
Mr Alan Goy – Rother Valley CLP Secretary
Cllr Maggie Clark – Rotherham CLP Secretary
Cllr Neil Hamilton -Wentworth & Dearne CLP Secretary
Mr John Mills – Don Valley CLP Secretary
Mr Jim Smith – Sheffield Central CLP Secretary
Mrs Elizabeth Gee – Headteacher
Mrs Tammy Hayward – Hospital Ward Sister
Miss Jade Mellows – Miss Sheffield & Businesswoman
Mrs Winnie Billups – Chair of Area Housing Panel
Mrs Kath Roden – Branch Secretary Royal British Legion
Mrs Ann Gallagher – GMB Branch Secretary
Mr Ken Curran Chairman of Unison Labour Link
Mr John Cafferty – UNISON Regional Secretary
Karen Reay – UNITE Regional Secretary
Mrs Carol Maleham – UNISON Branch Secretary
Cllr Kath Sims – Labour Group Secretary
Mr Reg Littleboy – District Labour Party Secretary
Cllr Lindsay Johnston – District Labour Party Chair
Cllr Patricia Knight – Don Valley CLP Chair
Cllr Alan Gosling – Labour Group Chair & Wentworth & Dearne CLP Chair
Mick Clapham – Retired MP for Barnsley West & Penistone
Jeff Ennis – Retired MP for Barnsley East & Mexborough
Mr Lee Parkinson – GMB Branch Chair
Mr Mick Stowe – UNISON Branch Chair
Cllr Alan Atkin – Vice Chairman South Yorkshire Fire Authority
Mr Tony Wright – UNISON NHS Branch Secretary
Mrs Rona Helliwell
Cllr Karen Dyson
Cllr May Noble
Cllr Margaret Sheard
Cllr Eva Hughes
Cllr Emma Wallis
Cllr Ann Russell
Cllr Judy Dalton
Cllr Lindsay Pitchley
Cllr Jane Hamilton – CLP Treasurer
Cllr Patricia Russell
Cllr Rose McNeeley
Cllr Jackie Falvey
Cllr Jane Havenhand
Cllr Tracey Cheetham
Cllr Maggie Godfrey
Cllr Denise Lelliot
Cllr Gordon Watson
Mrs Sheila Walker
Cllr Jennifer Whysall
Cllr Joe Hayward – BLP Secretary
Cllr Tim Shepherd
Cllr Robin Franklin – BLP Secretary
Cllr Alan Gardiner
Cllr Martin Dyson
Cllr John Parkinson
Mr Trevor Cave – BLP Secretary
Mr Mick Clegg – Shop Steward
Cllr Tom Sheard
Cllr Graham Kyte
Cllr David Leech
Cllr Bill Mordue
Cllr Barry Dodson
Cllr Terry Sharman
Cllr Shaukat Ali
Cllr John Foden
Cllr Paul Lakin
Cllr Brian Steel – UNISON Convenor
Cllr Dave Pickering
Mr Darren Hughes
Cllr John Swift
Cllr Geb Nightingale
Cllr Keith Goulty
Cllr Dominc Beck
Cllr David Roche
Cllr Glyn Whelbourn
Cllr Alex Sangster
Cllr Alan Atkin
Cllr Richard Russell
Cllr Chris Read
Cllr Peter Wootton
Cllr Alan Buckley
Cllr Andrew Roddison
Cllr Simon Tweed
Cllr Gerald Smith
Cllr Colin Barron

Even when Shaun Wright’s spurious duplicate is removed, this list is perhaps more revelatory than intended? A few random thoughts:

Fifty Two are from Rotherham (at least!) in a list of Eighty Seven, a staggering 59.7% in fact! This does rather lend credence to the information supplied to us, that a conspiracy to get rid of Shaun Wright from Rotherham MBC was afoot!

When the new Cabinet was announced, well before selection for PCC candidates had occurred, Shaun Wright’s name was not among them? Did Roger Stone think he was not up to it after his Children and Families debacle?

Not good enough to be a Rotherham Cabinet Member? Yet foisted on the long suffering people of South Yorkshire as PPC Labour Candidate by his ‘mates’ mounting a campaign not to support him, we are told, but to get rid of him!

Shaun Wright’s Campaign Manager, Mr Hughes and rumoured Rawmarsh Ward successor, is also on this list?

Darren Hughes, would seem to be a strange choice? Given that he was the only Labour Candidate in May’s Local Elections to loose his seat, after what turned out to have been a spectacularly ill-judged campaign in Anston & Woodsetts Ward!

That and the fact that he was trying the impossible, to get himself elected once again as though his duplicitous support for the Exclusive Brethren and swapping sides from Tory to Labour would not have been noticed. Turning up to meetings in his Porshe or Range Rover, does not make him a convincing Labour man at all!

I note that there is only one Member of Parliament listed as a supporter of Shaun Wright John Healey Wentworth & Dearne Constituency. Easily manipulated? It would certainly appear so.

Why was Denis MacShane not on this list, even though he had very publicly backed Shaun Wright? Too embarrassing even for this Labour apparatchik to claim his support? Not very popular in South Yorkshire, is our Denis!