When the law fails – the tax man gets his man!


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Holding politicians to account using the law and procedures, sometimes isn’t enough. They are slippery creatures when ‘at bay’. Naz Ahmed and Denis MacShane come to mind. Al Capone, the American Mafia boss, was never successfully prosecuted for any of … Continue reading

2011 in retrospect – Anticipating 2012 – 30,000 hits later!

On New Year’s Day, a few sometimes random reflections on 2011, and the same for the year in prospect.

2011 was an interesting year politically at the local and national level and 2012 looks set fair to be at least an equally interesting year as some of the issues from last year reach their conclusions and as yet unforeseen developments occur that Rotherham Politics will report on as the occasion demands.

2012 will see many new developments in the blogosphere, as keeping an eye on those who wield power in the ‘name of the people’ and spend vast quantities of our money, catches on. Rotherham Politics has started developing in unexpected ways, into the world of our parish councils. Most of Rotherham’s citizens know little of the activities of their own parish council never mind knowing how to hold them to account. This is changing fast as experience grows and more and more internet connected citizens follow the examples of others that can be found documented in the Parish Pump, check back regularly as rapid development is expected over the following weeks and months.

Found this graphic on the Independent website, it shows the ‘poll of polls’ throughout 2011 and makes depressing reading for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party as the latest information shows quite clearly a lead for the Conservatives for the first time. David Cameron has reasons to be cheerful it would appear! Click here to launch ‘A year in politics: How party fortunes changed’

The Labour Party must be getting increasingly concerned that the Leader, foisted on the Party by Trades Unions, is a dud! Looks very much that public opinion on Ed Miliband personally, is beginning to crystallise and the people are unimpressed, to say the least!

Charismatic? He is not!, and he doesn’t look like acquiring any soon. He has been exposed as merely an apparatchik, with little in the way of inspirational leadership qualities and it is beginning to look as the only suitable replacement available is Yvette Cooper! David Miliband has, I am afraid, missed his opportunity and there is no path for David to the Leadership, that wouldn’t involve further strife in the Miliband family.

Personally, I doubt that the Labour Party will have the stomach to replace Ed and we will be destined to another General Election of the ‘Foot pump’ and ‘Welsh windbag’ variety, leading to a more powerfully placed David Cameron, with an absolute majority in Parliament, without need of a coalition partner! Followed inevitably by another lurch to the right by the Labour Party chasing votes.

The papers now available due to the 30 year rule, reveal that 2011 was a lot like 1981. Austerity, rising unemployment, public sector job losses, strikes and even riots on the streets! Lets hope that 2012 does not simply play out like 1982, or we really are in for a rough time!

May 2012 will see the first and last local elections of this four year cycle and the first not to be distorted by a General Election as in 2010 or the referendum in 2011. Looks already as though it will be an uphill battle for both Labour and Liberals with many losses expected. Turnout for these elections is predicted to be an all time low and this will have unpredictable effects even perhaps in Rotherham? Remember 2013 will be a local election free year, the next four year cycle starting in 2014 when the terms of office expire for the largest cohort of ‘dinosaurs’ remaining on RMBC.

Across the country the cause of Independents has run out of steam, as the anger over greed, sleaze and expenses fraud abates and those brave souls prepared to challenge the status quo are demotivated by their experiences and fall by the wayside.

The Police investigation into the MP for Rotherham Denis MacShane’s expenses claims has just celebrated their second Christmas and New Year! One hopes very much that this charade is brought to a swift end in 2012. There must be a limit even to Denis’s excuses! Justice must prevail no matter how well connected and powerful they are. Readers of Rotherham Politics only have to read the MacShane files to leave them scratching their heads at the delay! I am reminded here of Dominic Lawson’s comment about the “type of man of the left for whom the essential and intrinsic virtuousness of his public positions allows him to retain his sense of personal rectitude even when his private conduct is deplorable.”

Gerald Smith, Rotherham Politics hopes, will not be involving himself with the legal side of elections in May 2012 after so spectacularly getting it wrong in 2011 and ending up having to accept a police caution (a conviction) for an elections offence he repeatedly denied in his flurry of letters in the Advertiser at the time. This ignorant buffoon is surely living on borrowed time as he is called to account for his actions, usually at our (great) expense! Make your own mind up? Read the Gerald Smith Files. His ward Labour Party having been taught how to ‘dump a dinosaur’ by Gerald Smith himself last year in ridding RMBC of Hilda Jack, may well turn around and do the same to him!

Another welcome development this year has been the campaigns to save the greenbelt which is still growing, learning all the time and preparing for the battles to come! Currently there are two websites for those concerned about the wholesale destruction of important green spaces and wildlife habitats in our Borough. The Save Our Green Belt – Rotherham Action Group and the Dinnington and Anston Action Group. Anyone who thinks that these groups are not serious about preserving the Green Belt is deluding themselves.

Whatever happens in the local elections in May, there will likely be the largest new intake to the Rotherham Labour Group in the history of RMBC! Will this provide Jahangir Akhtar the votes he will need to oust Roger Stone? Or will he have to wait until 2014 when Roger Stone will step down, if he has any sense that is, we shall see?

Rotherham Politics did well on the readership front, notching up over 30,000 hits in 2011! Impossible to be precise I’m afraid about the 1stQuarter, as we migrated to a new platform at the end of March. Hits recorded between January and March are the hits these older posts got only after migration. Readership has increased in every quarter of 2011 and we very much hope that this trend continues in 2012. 1stQuarter 3000; 2ndQuarter 5115; 3rdQuarter 10875; 4th Quarter 12618, a grand total of 31,608, on my calculator. The perennial  favorite  Gerald Smith case goes international – Swedish ‘Kristdemokraten’ picks it up! has had a total of 1,741 hits so far.

Key to our success, as always, is due to Rotherham Politics contributors, sources, commenters and others, without whose input postings would be unintelligible and I am very grateful to you all.


Labour’s Selection Battleground!

The position with regard to the current round of Labour Selection/ re-selection meetings taking place around the Borough:

Anston and Woodsetts Ward: Darren Jason Louis Hughes plus one other candidate to replace Jo Burton. Retread, Robin Stonebridge, is reportedly trying for the second nomination? I thought that Robin was of the male gender? Oh dear!
Boston Castle Ward: Mahroof Hussain
Brinsworth and Catcliffe Ward: shabana hussain
Dinnington Ward: Simon Tweed
Hellaby Ward: Lauren Astbury
Holderness Ward: Chris Robinson
Hoober Ward: David Roche
Keppel Ward: Maggie Clark                                                                                               Maltby Ward: Maggie Godfrey
Rawmarsh Ward: Glyn Whelbourn
Rother Vale Ward: Denise Elliott distinctly a retread!
Rotherham East Ward: Maurice Richard Kirk
Rotherham West Ward: Kath Sims
Silverwood Ward: Ann Russell
Sitwell Ward:
Swinton Ward: Ken Wyatt
Valley Ward: Simon Currie
Wales Ward:
Wath Ward: Alan Gosling
Wickersley Ward: Emma Hoddinott, selected from a short list of One! We understand.
Wingfield Ward: Lindsay Johnston

The current interesting selections are of: Glyn Whelbourn, Maurice Richard Kirk, Ann Russell and Alan Gosling.

Any information gratefully received.

Specially for Independents thinking of standing next May!

Next week at Bramley Parish Hall, Independents from around the borough, will be meeting at 19:00 next Tuesday 27th September to begin the campaign leading up to next May’s Borough Council elections. Everyone welcome!

Rotherham Independents are part of the National Independent Network and are committed to the ‘Bell Principles’ as the foundation for their activities.

They are a ‘self help’ group for Independents, member led and committed to providing support not normally available to Independents at a local level. Fighting elections can be very expensive and a minefield of obstacles are placed in the way of Independent candidates, staying legal can be quite a challenge as recent experience has shown.

“Rotherham Independents cordially invite all members of the public considering standing as or wishing to support Independent candidates standing in the Borough Council elections next May, to join us at Bramley Parish Hall, Next Tuesday 27th September at 19:00.

We will be beginning our preparations and this meeting may well prove useful to all Independents, even those who do not want to be part of our group, may well find this evening very useful later on.”

Peter Thirlwall
Spokesperson Rotherham Independents

Update: I thought this information piece might at the very least excite some comment – little did I expect to shake the two Labour members out of hiding that it has.

Firstly  Community Champion, a Labour member who hails from Conisborough and a callow youth and secondly Stewart Platt, a Labour member From Maltby who is also a Maltby Town Councillor and who is definitely old enough to know better, have been misbehaving while the shop was left unattended! I hope these two miserable Labour specimens, might reflect on their evident foolishness, childishness or even worse and apologise, on behalf of their party for bringing Labour and Maltby Town Council in to disrepute and subject to ridicule!

The attitudes displayed are an affront to democracy especially when coming from members of  ‘a mainstream left-wing democratic political party’, they display all the arrogance of power, Labour dictatorships in both their home boroughs, a basic disdain of anyone who challenges them at the polls, or their opinions or indeed even asks questions!


Next years crop – badly in need of some weeding or pruning, perhaps?

I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at sitting councillors on RMBC who would be expecting to be fighting their seats for their party at the local elections next May. Unless their Party tells them otherwise, that is! There are some real lulu’s on this list, for the moment, I will give you the opportunity to examine each of them yourself and maybe the comments might start fingering the real corkers!

Anston and Woodsetts Ward: Darren Jason Louis Hughes – The Conservative Labour Party Candidate – 1704 (520)
Boston Castle Ward: Mahroof Hussain – The Labour Party Candidate – 1545  (641)
Brinsworth and Catcliffe Ward: John Eric Gamble – BNP – 1430  (61)
Dinnington Ward: Simon Tweed – The Labour Party Candidate – 979 – (117)
Hellaby Ward: John Turner  – The Conservative Party Candidate – 1865 (1096)
Holderness Ward: Hilda Landells Jack – The Labour Party Candidate – 1311  (515)
Hoober Ward: Frank Hodgkiss – The Labour Party Candidate – 1322 (465)
Keppel Ward: Sheila Walker – The Labour Party Candidate – 1069 – (184)
Maltby Ward: Will Blair – British National Party – 702 (18)
Rawmarsh Ward: Glyn Whelbourn – The Labour Party Candidate – 1291 (369)
Rother Vale Ward: Jeb Nightingale – The Labour Party Candidate – 1161 (392)
Rotherham East Ward: Maurice Richard Kirk – The Labour Party – 1163 (559)
Rotherham West Ward: Kath Sims – The Labour Party Candidate – 1227  (269)
Silverwood Ward: Ann Russell – The Labour Party Candidate – 1044 (138)
Sitwell Ward: Middleton, Christopher Norman The Conservative Party Candidate 1213
Swinton Ward: Ken Wyatt – The Labour Party Candidate – 1341 (332)
Valley Ward: Simon Currie – The Labour Party Candidate – 982 (171)
Wales Ward: Thomas Anthony Fenoughty – The Conservative Party -1275 (377)
Wath Ward: Alan Gosling – The Labour Party Candidate – 1461 (619)
Wickersley Ward: Martyn Lawton Parker – The Conservative Party – 1355 (100)
Wingfield Ward: Lindsay Johnston – The Labour Party Candidate – 1110 (118)

Undoubtedly the poorest of the three groups of councillors both for Labour and the Tories!