Aston cum Aughton – spin at work?

Those who cannot get through Friday without their weekly fix of the letters pages in the Rotherham Advertiser, will not have missed Jim Fletcher’s letter of Friday 24th June.

In this weeks issue of Friday July 8th, a full two weeks after Jim Fletcher published his excoriating letter on matters appertaining to Aston cum Aughton Parish council, Gerald Smith and the Clerk to the Parish council, the Clerk’s response appeared.

The clerk’s letter is a spin doctors delight! Whilst being a disaster in PR terms at the same time. It in fact admits the substance of Jim Fletcher’s points, reference the way the Parish is run and the over cosy relationship of the Clerk to the Parish Labour Group and Gerald Smith in particular.

Familiarity breeds contempt, in this case it seems to have blinded them to the fact that the way this Parish Council is being run does not fit well with the appropriate codes of conduct, standing orders seem to be flouted and utmost secrecy surrounding the detail of financial matters raises the most serious of issues and would benefit from detailed investigation, by the police perhaps.

Why does Alan Hodkin start his letter by denying something, of which he was never accused?

To whit, attending meetings of Holderness Labour Party!

A quite ridiculous denial designed to confuse or divert the reader, who likely will not still have the edition from which he quoted.

This is a very old spin doctors trick to gain some moral authority before making his points. In this instance it just leaves him looking rather foolish! We are not so easily bamboozled.

The Clerk goes on to inform readers that he essentially confirmed the substance of Jim Fletcher’s letter, I précis:

‘At Aston cum Aughton, the Parish Labour Group meet prior to the full Parish meeting with the Clerk in attendance advising them. Those Labour councillors present, transact the business, then force these decisions through the full Parish meeting using weight of Labour numbers to get their way’!

Nothing new there then! But it gives us a wonderful insight to the attitudes prevalent at Parish councils in Rotherham. They are apt to be run as ‘fiefdoms’ by those powerful politically and Aston cum Aughton Parish council is no exception.

Perhaps he should not have listened to Gerald Smith after all? Or is he just unfit to hold his position?

If this is all too familiar to you at your Parish or Town council, please get in touch and share it with us, see RikiLeaks.

Read comment from Jim Fletcher.

MacShane expenses scandal – blames dead daughter for ‘mistake’, how low can he stoop?

MPs expenses: former Labour minister faces new expenses investigation

Police investigating the expenses of the former Labour minister Denis MacShane have been handed fresh evidence that he over-claimed thousands of pounds for his second home, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Labour minister Denis MacShane

Labour minister Denis MacShane Photo: PAUL GROVER

By Heidi Blake

7:15AM BST 21 Jun 2011

Comments57 Comments on Telegraph Website and rising rapidly!

Detectives are scrutinising documents passed to them by a former political rival of the Rotherham MP after the House of Commons authorities failed to spot a glaring error in the amounts he was paid. Read on.

See previous: Exclusive – MacShane’s magic calculator!

What do you think? Click Here: to view or comment on this posting, if you can’t find the comments button below.

Read The MacShane files.

Richard S Russell vs Rob Foulds – Fact Check

Rob Foulds

In the wake of the local elections this year and the dirtiest campaign, from parts of the Labour Party, ever in Rotherham! Much has been made of the fact that Rob Foulds did not live in Rother Vale Ward where he stood as a Rotherham Independent candidate last year. Labour has taken every opportunity to draw attention to this fact believing that this would be damaging to Rob Foulds’s reputation.

Rob Foulds stood in the Rother Vale Ward, which he can see from his front window, because Richard Russell was a ‘bussed in’ Labour candidate from far away West Melton, just next door to Brampton Bierlow, part of the Dearne Valley and not the most ‘local’!

Richard Russell Deselected 'Dud'

Richard Russell was also a decidedly poor candidate, rejected by his home ward of Hoober, where  Labour Party members deselected him after 28 years as their councillor because they already had quite enough of this insufferably arrogant, ignorant and greedy**(See note below) Councillor, whose abilities appear to be in inverse proportion to his ego! A right numpty, in fact!

Interestingly and very illuminating, Richard Russell always gives as his address Wath-upon-Dearne. Say that to the neighbours, and they will tell you they live in West Melton or even Brampton Bierlow! What planet is he on? His wife Pat is also a councillor, representing the far away Silverwood ward. There seems to be a pattern emerging don’t you think?

The fact that Labour members from the Rother Vale ward selected this dud, previously rejected candidate, to represent them is evidence that Labour is completely contemptuous of the voters! And the stupidity of Labour members in Rother Vale was also made abundantly clear by their outrageous choice.

Another factor was also important for Rotherham Independents, the clamour from residents of the ward for a more able and local candidate. The resentment in the ward, even among fiercely loyal Labour voters was clear. This was eventually persuasive and crucial in deciding to contest the Rother Vale ward last year, I understand. This resulted in Rob Foulds reducing the Labour majority and gaining 1,700 votes, quite a surprise in this most tribal of Labour seats and with the backdrop of a simultaneous General Election, very surprising indeed!

Chris Read - Wickersley's Local Candidate?

When it became known that Wickersley Labour Party had selected a candidate with no local connexions, from far away Swinton, Rob decided to take a stand on this issue and made it an important plank of his campaign! Rob Foulds lives in the Wickersley ward and was fully entitled to be aggrieved that Labour was not fielding a local candidate but one from the only point where Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster meet, the Dearne Valley! To add insult to injury, Chris Read cannot drive, which will make serving the residents, difficult if not impossible, in the long term! Wait until winter comes!

Labour made the decision to do everything to conceal this fact from the Wickersley voters, the issues involved will be explored in detail in a later posting. The result reflected this but Rob’s vote put him in second place pushing the Tories into third place! Quite a result!

Notes: Greedy** Richard Russell made into third position in the greed list for last year receiving a total of £29,127.72 and Pat, his wife and fellow councillor, received a total of £13,640.64. Between them they got £42,768.36! Plus any benefits accrued by sitting on outside bodies, a not inconsiderable sum to add to their pensions! No wonder Richard Russell and Pat Russell became ‘carpet baggers’ to get on the Council, in Pats case, or to stay on after being deselected by Hoober ward members who know him best!

News just in! Police to probe Labour Dirty Tricks!

Police to investigate the Dirty tricks played by Gerald Smith and Holderness Labour!

Following the elections on May 5th this year when Labour went well beyond the acceptable, issuing election leaflets that were deceptive and libellous in the Parish of Aston-cum-Aughton, a complaint has been made to the Police in this case and it can now be reported that the Police have opened an investigation!

We are aware that there are similar problems in the Parish Council of Anston, where Iain St John and the local Labour Party have also been reported to the Police and we understand that this will be formally investigated as well.

Comment: Labour really need to understand that they don’t own Rotherham, they cannot expect to act outside of what is legal, decent and honest! The people own Rotherham! They need to understand that simple fact! Increasingly the public are no longer prepared to let them get away with their control freak, arrogant, greedy and dictatorial ways! Power to the people! We say!!…

Previously published: Click Here.

Gerald Smith – A very busy man

Gerald Smith as was mentioned before in a previous post, is one of Rotherham’s most disagreeable of local politicians. He first took his Holderness seat on Rotherham MBC at the election on 4th May 1979, the same day Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, some 32 years ago and Jack Layden was very much in charge back then. His powers are weakening as the years slip by and now only just, has a toe hold left in Cabinet as Cabinet Member, Regeneration and Environment. This years Cabinet when it is announced, may provide further evidence of this politicians waning star.

Smith is also a member of Aston-cum-Aughton Parish Council, to which he was re-elected without much enthusiasm from the voters this year.

Last years publicly revealed councillors allowances put him in fourth place in the Rotherham Greed list, see Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who Is The Greediest Of Them All?……. Only Roger Stone (Council Leader), Terry Sharman (Deputy Leader) and Richard Russell (Cabinet Member) had more.

Smith is of course a Labour Politician and has had a ring side seat in the scandals that have afflicted RMBC over the years. He is busy, I list below links to his wide range of activities:

Cabinet Responsibilities:

Committee appointments:

Appointments to outside bodies:

Quite a list I must say, some of these must pay as well, I wonder how much?

These links below are worth keeping an eye on if you are a student of Gerald Smith:

Register of Interests

Gifts and Hospitality

Declarations at meetings

I am collecting anecdotes about Gerald Smith from throughout his political career. If you have a good one, share it with us, either by leaving a comment by clicking on the comment link below or by emailing us, instructions on RikiLeaks.

Judge for yourself – Aston-cum-Aughton – more on dirty tricks!

The full truth will out about this very low and grubby dirty trick by cowardly unnamed Holderness Labour members.

Firstly I am indebted to the local contact for providing me with the following scans of the Aston-cum-Aughton Independents, a sub-group of the Rotherham Independents, I should point out nails one of the most blatant lies in the offending and offensive election literature put out by Labour Party Members!

They really should take a lot more care with the facts, when making claims. Even Phil Woolas, with the benefit of Gerald Shamash as his legal adviser, had eventually to accept that lies on election materials can get you in a lot of hot water indeed! We will hear more on someone called Gerald later.

There are others that will be addressed in a future posting, when I am furnished with scans of similar election material from Labour.

Click on the images to enlarge, use browser back button to return here.

Undoubtedly the best, most open and honest political appeal I have ever seen! No wonder the local Labour Party is worried? They should be!

Aston-cum-Aughton Parish Council Website, for more information.

MacShane – Do the Tories know something we don’t?

Jackie Whiteley

In a very surprising move Rotherham Tories have selected their proposed candidate for the Rotherham Constituency, despite the next General Election being four years away. Could it be that they know something we don’t? An upcoming by-election for Rotherham, perhaps?

Denis MacShane, the currently disgraced, Member for Rotherham. Was elected as Labour, now sits as Independent, after being ejected from the Party when news of the Metropolitan Police investigation into his parliamentary expenses broke on the 14th Oct last year.

This egregiously arrogant and at the very least, greedy MP, looks to be in serious trouble and a by-election must be a distinct possibility sometime later this year.

Jackie Whiteley fought the seat at last years General Election for the Tories and came second with a creditable 16.7% vote share, has been selected as prospective parliamentary candidate. Is this further evidence of expectation of MacShane’s comeuppance to come?

When? We wonder, will Labour do the same given that they do not yet have a candidate themselves?

I hear that the Rotherham Independents may be looking for a ‘standard bearer’ should this by-election be called – watch this space.

News update – Rotherham’s Independents are inviting applications to be PPC for the next time this seat is fought, anyone interested should contact Peter Thirlwall in the first instance.

See also:

I smell a rat!

Jackie Whiteley announced as Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Rotherham

MacShane finally gets the message – Labour pushes him out!

Labour withdraws whip from former minister facing police inquiry