Vote Loony – You Know It Makes Sense!

Close of nominations reveals the first Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate has appeared in Rotherham! Omar Mehban is standing for them in Mahroof Hussain’s Ward, Boston Castle.

There has appeared also a rift in Holderness Ward Labour Party where the Official Labour Candidate, Christopher Robinson is opposed by the newly Independent (and Unofficial Monster Raving Loony Party Candidate) Hilda Jack, the sitting Councillor. She is refusing to lie down, after being dumped by Labour in a ‘palace coup’, organised by her long term ally Gerald Smith. See: Rotherham’s disgraceful parade gets ever longer!

The third surprise is Thomas Fenoughty who, despite having a solid majority, is not defending his Wales Ward seat?

Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Opposition? What Opposition!

Little wonder that Rotherham Council is so poor – there’s a distinct lack of scrutiny or oversight provided by the so-called Tory opposition!

There are 7 Tory Councillors on Rotherham Borough Council but what do they spend their time doing? They must all be asleep during Council meetings or absent as few of them has ever been reported as raising any issues with the ruling Labour Group over recent years.

What’s the purpose of having an opposition when they don’t ‘oppose’? Or could the answer be that they are content to take their Councillor allowances, do very little and join in with the ‘troughing’ and ‘social life’ that Councillors appear to enjoy and value above all else?

In my opinion, they act more like an Independent group, showing a lack of co-ordination and direction, presumably with a Group Leader who takes a Leader’s allowance but doesn’t seem to be ‘leading’. It seems to me that Rotherham Politics provides more scrutiny, oversight and comment on the antics of the Council than the official ‘opposition’!!

If the Tories claim to be truly opposed to what the Labour Group is doing, then they should form themselves into a cohesive group, elect themselves a Leader who gives leadership and supports the Group and starts doing what they are on the Council to do!


If ‘Wonder Boy’ Beck gets it wrong?

RikiLeaks ‘snail mail’ inbox*, the Royal Mail to you and me, has been busy this week.

Rotherham Politics brings you the first, received on Monday, concerning Borough Councillor Dominic Beck the member for Wales Ward and Anston parish councillor who lives South Anston.

A while ago when Rothpol was idly surfing the RMBC website and started to pay closer attention to the Interest Declarations made by RMBC Councillors, it was realised that the existing system was woefully inadequate and poorly administered! A fill in and forget it attitude seems to be the case amongst Councillors and the Monitoring Officer in our Town, this is especially disappointing in view of the time limits for amending records is only 28 days not the years it takes most members of the Council to update theirs!

I am very grateful therefore to my anonymous informant, for taking the time, trouble and expense to inform readers of just such a fine example in Dominic Beck:

Dominic Beck Councillors Interests Declaration of 10. 05. 2011.

Dinnington Guardian Published on Friday 24 June 2011 Career in politics Beck-oning

My informant highlights the following issues, Dominic Beck does not include his membership of the Labour Party nor Trades Union Membership as required under Labour Party Rules. Dominic Beck claims ’employment’ by Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and RMBC simultaneously and points to the resulting conflict of interest!

My informant is entirely correct about their first two points but the third is an example of a mistake by Dominic Beck, he is not an employee of RMBC, but an elected member, as employment by RMBC would disqualify him from membership of the Council! RMBC should not have been mentioned in an answer to question 4.

One for pedants, where the answer does not apply to him, the only permissible answer is none, not the Blank or N/A answers given by Dominic Beck in his declaration of  10th May 2011.

One wonders why the Monitoring Officers counter signature was applied to this incomplete and incorrectly filled in declaration and indeed the fact that this particular example exists, does not inspire one with confidence that the rest of the declarations by other Councillors are any better.

Further questions, when did Dominic Beck’s contract of employment with Hughes & Hughes expire? As Hughes & Hughes is a company owned and run by Darren Hughes surely there must be some omissions from other declarations? What is the nature of his employment by B&R Chamber? Did it change? When did he cease being a student? we should be told!

* ‘Snail Mail’ inbox address available upon request.
Darren Hughes – Declaration of Interests
Thomas Fenoughty – Declaration of Interests

Councillors and Co-opted members code of conduct.
Officers code of conduct.

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!

Wales Ward – Is political skulldugery involved?

As I understand it, until the recent furore, Wales Ward was looking forward to the local elections, expecting the candidates to be, Dominic Beck for Labour and Gavin Sharp the sitting Tory councillor.

In recent years Wales Ward has developed into something like a private electoral argument between Tories and Labour, everyone else being squeezed out in the rush. The exception was last year when the extra turnout ensured the unexpected victory of Labour. Wales Ward is also represented by Jennifer Whysall for Labour and Thomas Fenoughty for the Tories.

The story starts with the announcement by the Labour party of their selection of Dominic Beck, an 18 year old student, as their standard bearer. This immediately caused problems for Rotherham Labour Group, when the Advertiser printed his refreshingly truthful and honest observations on the ongoing expenses scandal! This resulted in him receiving ‘advice’ from those not quite so fresh and inexperienced.

Ward voters were, I understand, not much impressed with Labour’s choice and were very likely planning not to turn out to vote in the usual numbers. Labour had a problem therefore.

Rule No 2.5 part F of the political dirty tricks rule book reads: ‘If you are in trouble, play the opponent, not the ball’

The story now focusses upon Gavin Sharp, the sitting Tory Councillor. His attendance has been pretty abysmal, since being elected 4 years ago and he started to come under pressure. He acted on 17th March promptly resigning his seat. If he thought this would make the story go away and avoid further embarrassment he was wrong. His resignation, unfortunately, only fuelled the fire.

Last Friday, the story exploded on to the front page of the Advertiser under the headline, £1,179 AN HOUR! the online story, £46,000 bill for ‘missing’ councillor. This rather public humiliation will have been most unwelcome to him, as he is a Bank Manager and Magistrate.

Surprisingly for such a local matter, the Tax Payers Alliance were amongst those giving him a good kicking, in the shape of Emma Boon.

Unsurprisingly, Jane Austen speaking on behalf of Rotherham Labour Group, milked the issue to extract the maximum political capital. I think she could have made a much better job of it, unsubtle she isn’t.

Most surprising of all was the way his own side put the boot in! Tony Mannion, aka ‘the Sitwell Polecat’, clearly displeased at the negative publicity this issue has generated, perhaps unwisely, failed to engage brain before opening mouth!

The one thing about this sorry turn of events that must not be forgotten in all this, is the Tories total incompetence to manage and control their own members. Had he not spontaneously resigned, He would have been their candidate, no replacement had been selected to replace him!

Where does this leave Wales Ward? The Tories have selected a new candidate, Gill Shaw, Chairman of Wales Parish Council and is pledged to better attendance than Gavin Sharp.

Dominic Beck

Dominic Beck, the Labour Candidate now just 19 years old, is surely going to be significant liability on the doorstep. Dominic claims to be a full time student and a full time employee simultaneously. It is difficult to see how Dominic could find the time between his studies and work to serve as a councillor. The issue of his youthfulness and distinct lack of experience will not go away! The Labour party are clearly taking the mickey out of the Wales Ward voters, but I am sure they have figured that one out for themselves.

This sorry tale of incompetence and inaction by the Rotherham Tory Group is only to be expected when you take a quick look at their membership on Rotherham MBC. They don’t look to me like they will be an effective opposition any time soon. Their age profile, not helped by the defection of Darren Hughes to Labour assisted by intolerance inside the local Tory party, makes this a major priority. The public relations performance of Rotherham Tory Group needs radical improvement, a piece of free advice – keep Tony Mannion away from anyone with a note book!