Musings on election candidates May 2012

So who might stand for Maltby in May 2012 ?

Word is that Will Blair is standing down and a Mr Rounds is ready to take his place.
Waiting for news from Labour Party on who is hoping to stand for them (or who is being told to stand for them …)
At present we have 14 Labour Councillors out of 18 on Maltby Town Council,- 4 from the same family.
One of the 14, is currently RMBC cllr … for Hellaby Our new RMBC cllr is conspicuous in her absence from MTC meetings this year, so maybe she is pulled out with work for the borough. Cllr Amy Rushforth will I am sure, be backed wholeheartedly by the Labour Party whilst she draws breath. (That might be ‘whilst her Father draws breath’ Rothpol)

So, who will be running for the other seat?

Chairman of MTC, Cllr J Carratt has been turned down as a candidate by the Labour Party for the second year running.
Now, what if Ms Godfrey, Labour Group leader for Maltby and Hellaby Ward (who lives in Hellaby) were to be elected or Cllr L Astbury (newly elected and very inexperienced but of the Stringer family using her grandfather’s email address!)

Did I hear something about Labour wanting/needing more women as councillors … or am I being cynical or sexist or both?

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.

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!

LDF0271

LDF0294

LDF0296

LDF0306

LDF0408

LDF0410

See also: Local Development Framework consultation.

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 www.maltbynews.co.uk what is in HIS interest and not that of the Maltby community.

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 …

Representing the town, the people … or something else ?

Update on Rotherham Borough Councillors representing Maltby :

(from RMBC website)

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/councillors/specificWard/21/maltby

Councillor Amy Rushforth

Ward : Maltby  Party : Labour

Biography : Councillor Rushforth has been a member of the Council since 2000 and is currently Cabinet Member for Lifelong Learning and Culture.

Councillor Will Blair 

Ward: Maltby   Party: British National Party

Biography: Councillor Blair has been a member of the Council since May 2008 and is a member of the Health Select Commission

Councillor Chris Beaumont

Ward: Maltby  Party: Labour

Biography : Councillor Beaumont was elected a Councillor on 5th May, 2011 and is a Senior Adviser for the Cabinet Member for Safeguarding and Developing Learning Opportunities for Children, Vice-Chairman of the Wentworth Valley Area Assembly and a member of the Improving Places and Health Select Commissions.

This seems reasonable enough – 2 Labour and 1 BNP sounds about ok from my knowledge of the views of Maltby electorate.

Apart from not  getting my head and understanding around the new cabinet members titles and responsibilities (yet) there are another couple of things that don’t feel quite right to me.

Why does anyone stand for election as a  Rotherham Borough Councillor when they have never stood for Maltby Town Council ?  Surely if being a councillor is to represent the people, then it’s logical that you would want to represent them at all levels. A sort of ‘working your way outwards’ rather than upwards. Amy Rushforth and Chris Beaumont are both currently serving on MTC and (despite them both being Labour party members) this appears to me that they have the interest of Maltby at heart. Our BNP councillor does and always has donated generously to local causes and events, but apparently doesn’t want to have his say too locally.

Secondly, if you are a member of Maltby Town Council (past chair, in fact) why would you stand for election for a neighbouring ward and not your own ?

 Councillor Jenny Andrews

Ward: Hellaby  Party: Labour

Biography : Councillor Andrews was elected a Councillor on 5th May, 2011 and is an adviser to the Cabinet Member for Culture, Lifestyle, Sport and Tourism and a member of the Improving Places Select Commission and Licensing Board.

One view might be that this was party politics working at it’s fullest (and worst) – or would that just be cynical ?

Have your say about Rotherham Advertiser

Are you tired of   ’lazy journalism’ ? Fed up of reading pieces lifted directly from press releases provided by the subject  in question? Longing for a ‘MacShane free week’ ? Bored of seeing the same old stories from the same old people week after week? Wish you could have your opinion aired more objectively ?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, now is the time to join the Rotherham Advertiser’s Readers Panel !

Rona Biggins, PA to Doug Melloy of the Rotherham Advertiser says :

‘ Thank you for letting me know you are able to attend the meeting on 19 July at Vascos.
I have attached a copy of the questionnaire as requested. We are hoping to attract more members over the next few months, particularly non-readers, occasional readers and some younger people so it would be helpful if you could pass it on to anyone you know would be interested.’

Anyone interested or knows anyone interested, either get in touch here or contact Rona directly at

Garnett Dickinson Publishing Ltd
Brookfields Way
Manvers
Wath-upon-Dearne
Rotherham
South Yorkshire
S63 5DL

T.+44 (0) 1709 768000
rona.biggins@rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk 

Hope to see you at the next meeting ...
maltbyblogger