SPEAKER'S CORNER

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 19 Jun 2012, 04:11

Tiz, Martha tells me that while she agress with my general thesis, growth is necessary to compensate for the rise in population. Not too sure about this, If population growth falls is it all right if GDP follows it? I shall ask her.
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 11 Oct 2012, 06:02

THE VIEW FROM THE BUNKER OCTOBER 2012

As a concerned citizen I feel I have a duty to keep abreast of current affairs One would think that in an age of over-communication this would not be a problem but of course like all the rest of the plebs I have a handicap. The news I am given is heavily edited and has an agenda and I am not party to the inner workings of the establishment. As an historian I feel the urge to interpret what I see and hear and try to make some estimate of what it all means. So I poke my head out of the bunker each morning and while the world is quiet and not bothering me, try to make sense of the picture. Here's what it looks like this morning.
The main item of domestic political comment this morning is David Cameron's speech at the Conservative conference yesterday. I say yesterday but here we hit our first problem, the gist of the speech is released to the media the day before it is given and we can't be sure what is said off the cuff, from the heart, and what is carefully crafted rhetoric aimed at creating an impression. This becomes problematical when the speech includes a reference to his disabled son. Was this a spur of the moment, genuinely emotional reference or was it deliberated and discussed in meetings beforehand. I suspect the latter but then I would wouldn't I.
The general opinion seems to coincide with mine, this was not the speech of a Leader secure in his power and confident of the way forwards. There was no substance, no mention of the Coalition, no policy statements and no specific acknowledgement of the fact that two years into their recovery programme every target has been missed and the UK is sliding deeper into recession. There was no reassessment of the fiscal programme, simply a 'steady as she goes' message. The conclusion I reach is that their 'programme' is still a negative one of cutting welfare and not of endeavouring to raise disposable income in the 90% of ordinary consumers because this is the key to domestic consumption and therefore growth in the economy. The one massive economic fact they have never acknowledged is that 85% of GDP is generated by domestic spending, whilst exports are important they cannot deliver the growth needed particularly as this is the most competitive economic area in global terms. Every other economy is trying to do the same thing.
As for the rhetorical flourishes about him wanting all children to go to Eton and have the same advantages that he did... I'll leave you to assess that. It was a crude attempt to defend the indefensible which is the situation where we have a political leader class who all have the same antecedents; privileged and wealthy backgrounds, no experience of the real world (even more reprehensible when they have to make decisions on military matters) and they all came into politics as a life-style choice via an Oxbridge degree in politics and economics and political internships. Gone are the days when working men climbed in through the hawse hole via the trade union movement or industry and we are suffering from this deficit. Personally I don't think it would be as bad if there was a greater proportion of historians. The evidence is that our leaders are mostly completely ignorant of even recent history.
I think you've got the picture. My problem is that I saw what a determined and principled administration could achieve, despite a far worse economic position, in 1945. Looking back, Clement Atlee was the antithesis of what most people would see as a strong leader but look at the calibre and temperament of the men and women he had to control. It was an amazing performance and yes, I realise that he too had a privileged background but he had the benefit of men like Bevin and Bevan who came from the grass roots and kept the party honest.
So what's my verdict on the Coalition two years into their term? The first thing to say is that the term 'coalition' gives the wrong impression. The only reason the Tories and the LibDems got into bed together was to seize power, it can't be described as a genuine partnership of equals. The role of the LibDems has been to try to moderate the influence of the reactionaries driven by Old Tory DNA. They have had very little success and so have damaged their standing with the electors, their poll ratings are miserable and in a future election they will lose many of the seats they presently hold. In effect then, the Coalition is a slightly hampered Tory government. Despite all their efforts to modernise they have proved to be a classic right wing administration. Their austerity measures hit the poorest and weakest elements of society, they drag their feet on what everyone agrees is necessary reform of the banks and the financial sector and their policies on employment and education are regressive to the point where they seem to be hell-bent on restoring 19th century laisser faire policies. One thing is certain and very hard to argue against, they are rolling back the improvements the working class have gained in the 20th century.
All right, I have used a dirty word, 'class'. We are told by our masters that 'we are all in it together' and that the concept of class is redundant and outmoded. All I can say to this is that the evidence points to even more distinct class divisions. In similar vein, any reference to the increasing gap between the rich and the poor is characterised as 'the politics of envy', I would prefer it to be called the politics of fairness. I'll use another dirty word, 'Marx'! Reading 'Das Kapital' is very instructive and yes, I took the trouble to do it this year, only the abridged version I admit but I got the gist of his ideas. He was quite brilliant! In the second half of the 19th century he gave a good road map for understanding the evils and consequences of unbridled capitalism. The great shame is that the politicians took his thesis and bowdlerised it for their own ends with consequences we are all aware of. Funnily enough, in my efforts to get a handle on what is actually going on I read Harold Macmillan's 'Middle Way' written in the 1930s and it's quite obvious that he was influenced by the same ideas that drove Marx, not good news for the Tories!
The conclusion? We are looking at perhaps the most inept and reactionary administration in recent times and I include the Thatcher years. It is blindingly obvious that the only way to growth which is what is needed to finance deficit reduction is to stimulate the domestic market by raising the disposable incomes of the bottom 90% of the electorate. Their policies are diametrically opposite and doomed to fail. Problem is that this means that we can see no light at the end of the tunnel. If you think I'm pessimistic, you may be right, I'd prefer realistic.
I have a story for you. You may have noted the fall from grace of a TV personality called Jimmy Saville. The evidence that he was a serial sex offender is overwhelming, if he was still alive he would be brought to trial. At the moment the chief target is the BBC because much of his activity was related to his status as a TV star and abuse took place on BBC premises. In addition, 'Newsnight' were considering doing an expose of him last December but spiked it and in January this year a hagiographical tribute to him was aired. Questions are being asked why this happened. There is little doubt that the culture in the BBC aided Saville and protected him but to concentrate on the BBC is unfair. Here's the story: In the days when I was spending quite a lot of time at the Granada TV studios on Quay Street in Manchester (it's a long story...) we often ended the day in the Stables Bar which was the semi-official social club for Granada. I was in there one evening and noticed a table at which about ten very striking mature women were sat and they didn't seem to be interacting with anyone else. I mentioned this to my companion, a senior producer, and he congratulated me for noticing them. He told me that they had all started their TV careers as the 'obligatory glamour' on popular shows but had been eventually ousted by what the producer described as 'fresh meat'. When they lost their position on the show the company policy was to give them low profile jobs in the organisation. They struck me as a sad group and I wondered what stories they could tell. So I suspect that the BBC isn't the only culpable organisation here. Perhaps this will all come out in the investigations into Saville. There was much to be regretted about the ethos of all TV companies thirty years ago and perhaps some aspects of that linger today.
Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Writing them down helps me to focus, I apologise for exploiting you!

SCG/11/10/12
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 02 Jan 2013, 08:47

EGO OR PRINCIPLE?

I'm sure you are all aware that I believe that one source of the problems we see today in the world around us is simple incompetence, carelessness and perhaps a weakening of the ethics we were taught when I was a lad. It's not universal of course, there are plenty of good conscientious people about but they are often swamped by the mediocre. However, there are other areas where more basic human traits are damaging us.
This piece was triggered off by watching the unedifying political shenanigans in the US as the Republicans fought to get their version of reform into the solution of the much abused 'Fiscal Cliff'. The world breathes a sigh of relief this morning as a compromise is reached on some aspects of the case which means the markets are mollified but there is still the question of the public service cuts down the line and even more important the battle that looms over the budget in light of the fact that the US is nudging its borrowing limit again. I have opinions about these matters but at the moment what is exercising my mind is the way the politicians acted.
As I understand it, the Republicans are against tax increases because they promised cuts to stimulate the economy in their electioneering. Obama wanted reasonable tax increases for those with higher salaries with some protection for welfare benefits and the way he got his version through Congress was by putting the Republicans in a position where if they had held out any longer the electorate would have seen them as the bad guys dragging the US economy down, perhaps even to the point of recession. Smart politics but I can't help wondering where, in all this brinkmanship, was the principle that politicians are elected to serve the best interests of the voters, of whatever political persuasion.
Could it possibly be that the reason things came to this pass was the unwillingness of the Republicans to recognise that the economic burden must be seen to be more or less equally shared? Could it also be that Republican representatives and senators thought that their posturing would mitigate the effects of losing the election with Republican voters. Was the chance to be centre stage in a political crisis more important than addressing the problem in good time and avoiding the loss already incurred to the US economy by uncertainty and doubts about the future?
My belief is all of the above but most disgraceful is the egotistical and self-serving nature of some of the contributions I have heard over the last few days. The worst are the ones who espoused hard line views in the knowledge that they could appear to be right wing but would be protected by the fact that everyone knew there had to be a compromise. They reckoned that the thing the voters would remember was that these men stuck to their electoral promises even though it was a sham.
There is a greater problem and this is not confined to the politicians. The basic economic problem that all the developed economies face is that for years we have lived in a fool's paradise. Politicians have massaged the voters by telling them they have never had it so good, the American Dream or its equivalent in other countries was alive and well. The 'New Economics' had banished boom and bust and the banks joined in by doing what was best for their profits, extend public credit to unheard of heights. It is this public and private indebtedness that is at the root of the perceived failure of Western Capitalism and as far as I can see, only a few brave economists have dared to raise their heads over the parapet to point out that 'The king has no new clothes'. In plain and simple terms, there are not enough assets in the world to balance against the enormous amounts of phantom money swilling round the world's economies. If this was a private businesses the accountants would pronounce it insolvent.
This bald fact is what governments and individual politicians will in the end have to face. It's no use kicking the problem down the road and crippling the electors with enormous interest rates on the government debt which as soon as it gets into the system further stimulates the generation of even more phantom funds.
Ego will in the end have to give way to principle but the worst thing of all is that I can't see any chance of it happening. Instead what we have is a world that shows it knows austerity is the key, all the developed countries have signed up to this, but their version of austerity is that which hits the poorest people first and leaves the rich relatively unscathed. Any economist will tell you that the biggest driver of growth is the disposable income of the bottom 85% of the wage earners. Thus, by imposing austerity on this group the politicians kill the goose that they say will lay the golden egg, real growth in the economy from value added by manufacturing and hard work. Their response is to raise the chimera of exports, unfortunately for exports to succeed, someone has to import and the global markets are shrinking.
Ever heard of something called the Baltic Dry Shipping Index? It is the premier index of shipping charges and returns. In 2008 it stood at 11,749 points, at the moment it is running at around 1,500. In other words shipping is hardly paying its costs let alone making a profit. This is the most reliable indicator of the state of world trade and it doesn't give any confidence for the short term future.
Sorry about all that as a New Year gift but I had to get it off my chest! Love to all!

SCG/02/01/13
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tardis » 26 Mar 2014, 10:29

At last night's Pendle Council Executive meeting, the Civic Hall was a part of an agenda item. It was the reason that I attended because I'd like a little clarity on the issue for all those concerned residents who use this important resource. Plus, it was me that got the solar panels put on the roof to try to generate income.

Nothing was said by the only Barnoldswick Cllr present on that Committee and it will return as an agenda item to the June meeting, which will put it right up against the closure date (not entirely fixed in stone) of 29th June.

Effectively, after the elections of May 22nd
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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by David Whipp » 26 Mar 2014, 15:52

Regarding the Civic Hall, Tardis manages to tell half a tale.

Having managed to secure a further three months of Pendle Council stewardship beyond the 31st March deadline that his Conservative colleagues had previously agreed to, which gives enough time for the town council to make a decision on whether to take it on, I only needed to agree the proposals in the report at last night's meeting.

I don't know about Tardis's job fitting solar PV panels, but as someone who campaigned for the Civic Hall in the 1970s and a member of the original community association, I'm very much in favour of keeping the building in public use.

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by Tardis » 27 Mar 2014, 11:04

David Whipp wrote:Having managed to secure a further three months of Pendle Council stewardship beyond the 31st March deadline that his Conservative colleagues had previously agreed to
This was set out by Joe Cooney before you asked thanks to Jenny. I could quote the whole press release if you like. Flexibility was always built into the project.
David Whipp wrote:which gives enough time for the town council to make a decision on whether to take it on, I only needed to agree the proposals in the report at last night's meeting.
My only concern is that the delay, which you appear to be introducing, especially when juxtaposed with the excitement of the Trawden people on Tuesday night who really want their Community Centre to remain open, is in itself creating an air of uncertainty.

If the Town Council wishes to take over the Civic Hall, then please say so unequivocally and provide that certainty. I feel sure that the B&E would print that kind of statement as there is no political capital here.

This isn't about Politics. It is about saving a Community Asset for future generations. Then ensuring that its running is open and transparent to public scrutiny. Debates about dotting 'i's and crossing 't's can continue afterwards, uninterrupted.

If the Town Council don't then please consider stepping aside and maybe let others, who might come forward, provide a workable option to retain the community asset.

The deadline is going to be around the end of June and if the Town Council decides on the 23rd May not to continue negotiations, then the window of opportunity is reduced. If the town has to get used to the loss of the asset, then you are also well placed to remove that level of doubt.

It is only with that certainty, I believe, that the town will begin to see that the Civic Hall has a viable future and it will be removed from the list of Brownfield sites available for re-development under Pendle's Core Strategy.

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Re: WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION TODAY?

Post by David Whipp » 27 Mar 2014, 11:37

Tardis, weasel words won't get you and your political colleagues off the hook on this.

Cllr Cooney, Tory leader of Pendle Council signed off a plan submitted to Government, which included Pendle's ceasing to provide community halls by 31st March 2014, without any discussion with councillors from any other group on the council.

This deadline was repeated at a meeting chaired by Cllr Cooney with members of Barnoldswick Town Council and repeated yet again by one of Pendle's directors (Mr Mousdale) at a meeting with users of the civic hall. My request at the last but one Exec meeting for the deadline to be extended was reported widely in the press.

The town council is carrying out due diligence checks about the civic hall before making a decision about taking it on. The town council would be rightly criticised if it agreed anything before doing so.

At several meetings, I've been clear that the civic hall should continue to have a future as a public building and outlined a way in which this could happen. I hope the town council will agree with that when all the facts and figures are on the table.

Meanwhile, the user group which you purport to be a member of is busy moving its sessions down to St Joseph's; how's that for commitment?

By the by, did you stop for the rest of the meeting when it emerged that Cllr Cooney had agreed to a list of a further £400,000 of cuts being submitted to government, again without reference to anyone outside his political group on the council?

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by PanBiker » 27 Mar 2014, 13:58

Right, executive decision here with my admin hat on. I have moved the last few posts from the Attention thread into here which I feel is a much more appropriate place for the content of the posts.

Can I please ask that you re-read the Site Rules and Etiquette sections of the site.

I am not aware that the next tranche of local and borough elections have been officially triggered yet so please do not use the site exclusively as a replacement for the offset litho or copifax.

Moving the posts to here will also allow those that have no interest to ignore the banter completely.

Every one has the right to reply and I do not wish to stifle debate but please keep it civil at all times.

Crack on..
Ian

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 27 Mar 2014, 14:21

Thanks Ian.

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Tardis » 27 Mar 2014, 16:24

Sorry if it caused offence Ian, and everyone else.

As I said, this isn't about politics. It has no place in the local community when discussing an asset that belongs to everyone, not just one group. This is far more important than a photo opportunity, or feeding someone's ego.

All I ask is that you make a clear and unequivocal statement over the future of the Civic Hall. Place your cards on the table.

I will not debate, whilst you use the lowest form of debating.

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 28 Mar 2014, 08:26

It appears Tardis refuses to debate issues when he's losing the argument; this isn't the first time he's made similar statements on OGFB.

But how can he say that this isn't political, when it's his colleagues in the Tory party who have established a policy that Pendle will cease to provide community centres/civic halls and his colleagues whose policies in government have cut the funding to Pendle which has meant such cuts are being made? And when his colleagues have put through a policy on Pendle Council which reduces the budget for these centres by £70,000?

Unlike his political colleague Joe Cooney, who unilaterally committed Pendle Council to pulling out of the civic hall, I'm not in a position to commit Pendle Council to do one thing or another. Given his track record, Cllr Cooney could make a unilateral decision to say Pendle will continue to run the Civic Hall. Why doesn't he do so?

I've used my influence to get Pendle's deadline for the civic hall extended by three months and, with others, have got the town council to give serious consideration to taking the civic hall on.

I'm told that, elsewhere, Tardis is spreading a rumour that the town council has agreed to take over the civic hall. Looks like Mystic Meg has a competitor.

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 28 Mar 2014, 08:53

Talking of Mystic Meg.... I note in the BET this morning that A Stephenson MP says that "Unemployment in Pendle has dropped 25% year on year". Can anyone tell me exactly what this means? Is he claiming that under the Coalition Government we are having some sort of an employment boom?
I sent another letter in to the BET congratulating David Penney on his assessment of the 'economic miracle' last week. Unfortunately I again mentioned the relentless good news from the house in AS's weekly articles. You've guessed it, they didn't print it. Mind you, when someone takes a quarter page coloured advertisement each week......
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by plaques » 28 Mar 2014, 10:07

So we are to sell off some more public assets. What's new. Typical Tory philosophy. Remember the old adage, What's your's mine. What's mine is me own!
Try this link Not happy reading .http://www.lancsvitalsigns.co.uk/Pendle-r8.html

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 28 Mar 2014, 10:13

Work
At 8.3%, unemployment in Pendle is above national (7.8%) and regional (7.3%) levels.


That's the one that caught my attention! Now, about this 25% 'year on year'......
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 28 Mar 2014, 10:52

plaques wrote:So we are to sell off some more public assets. What's new. Typical Tory philosophy. Remember the old adage, What's your's mine. What's mine is me own!
Try this link Not happy reading .http://www.lancsvitalsigns.co.uk/Pendle-r8.html
Not happy reading at all. Shame they couldn't get Pendle picture taken in Pendle, instead of from Ribble Valley...

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Bruff » 28 Mar 2014, 11:48

I think it was Dennis Skinner who during one of his interventions some years back now, suggested that Government statisticians at the Office for National Statistics be given an annual non-consoldated sweetener in their salary for essentially having to lie in the employment figures they supply to Ministers. Cheeky I know, but basically the employment figures are so massaged you can make of them whatever you wish. Personally, considering that very many folk work in very many jobs where they are not paid enough by their employer to pop a roof over their head etc, I'll allow the Hon Member for Pendle's boast to pop in my left ear and fly out my right.

Richard Broughton

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 29 Mar 2014, 05:23

Dead right Richard. I know I get boring about it but look for 'Hungry or Healthy Thirties' by Charles Webster in Rare Texts. He shows that in the 1930s even the government's Chief Medical Officer was selectively quoting statistics to 'prove' that things were improving. He did this by using the general statistics and ignoring pockets of bad ones. Exactly the same ploy that is used today in all fields because it has the advantage that technically they are not lies. This is not good enough and is a Cunning Wheeze. It applies to all the 'good news' we are bombarded with, none of it should be taken at face value.
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 03 Apr 2014, 08:38

Have a look at this LINK for news on the growing imbalance of London property prices. They rose 18% last year overall, 5% in the last three months. Some boroughs have seen a rise of a third. They are now higher than before the crash of 2008.
Another statistic for you; Annual public spending on transport in London is £545 per head, In the North West it is £265 and in the West Midlands £202. If HS2 reaches the passenger figures forecast it is almost inevitable that the proposed North South cross rail link will have to be built at an estimated cost of £15billion.
William Cobbett was right, London is the 'Great Wen' and is sucking in investment funding at the expense of the rest of the country. How long can this go on?
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by plaques » 06 Apr 2014, 17:08

Today’s rant is about the Conservative broadsheet “Pendle Matters” April 2014. Normally one can expect some trumpet blowing in these issues, its par for the course. But this time they have really gone over the top. The front page shows Councillor Cooney and his cohorts celebrating in typical American game show fashion behind a banner “Conservatives Freeze Council Tax (again)”. Further reading explains how the conservative, against all odds, froze the tax against Labour’s bid to cut services. This demonstrated their concerns about adding extra burdens to hard working families.
What Councillor Cooney failed to mention was that in his own constituency of Vivary Bridge the supplement had increased by 351.7%. This equates to 1.15% on the Pendle compliment of the bill. Does Mr Cooney think we are all stupid? Or do families in the Vivary Bridge ward not count as hard working people?

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 07 Apr 2014, 04:38

Thank you P. I noted that picture as well but admit to be being confused. Who finances 'Pendle Matters'? I thought it was a Council newsletter and have always said that these are totally unnecessary and a waste of money. Is this yet another example of the Pendle CP's deep pockets? If not, why is money being spent on trash like this?
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 07 Apr 2014, 07:32

At best, it's meaningless to say that the council tax has been frozen.

One strategy being used at Pendle to cut costs is getting town and parish councils to take on services previously run by the borough council. These costs are then paid for out of the council tax paid to the town or parish. Hence, increases in that part of the bill in places such as Barlick, Colne and Earby.

I voted to keep Pendle Council's share of the council tax at the same level as last year to increase the chance of £1 million of Gov't grant being consolidated in the general grant settlement, rather than being at the whim of a government minister each year.

As for the funding of the Tory newspaper (not to be confused with the Pendle Council offering...); this usually carries a statement that it isn't funded by the taxpayer; of course it's not - especially if Lord Ashcroft continues to foot the bill.

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 07 Apr 2014, 08:19

You mean you suspect the Noble Lord is still financing the Pendle CP????? How can this be? Nobody from the party has ever confirmed this. Perhaps the other parties should apply to the same source under Equal Opportunity law....
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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 07 Apr 2014, 08:25

Stanley wrote:You mean you suspect the Noble Lord is still financing the Pendle CP?
Who knows? The money is coming from somewhere.

As well as the print costs, delivery is mostly by Royal Mail or commercial delivery companies. At election time, they ship in teams from Eastern Europe to deliver their leaflets.

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Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Stanley » 09 Apr 2014, 07:46

I'm getting even more confused about free sheets. I got another 'Pendle Matters' yesterday which repeats the claim that the Tories have 'frozen the council tax. It also takes credit for keeping the M65 lights on, supporting dementia care, saving the buses from those horrible Labour cuts, looking after the war graves in our local cemeteries, bringing in super fast broadband, protecting our green fields and getting rid of potholes. (No mention of motherhood and apple pie....)
But what grabbed my attention was the twice repeated strap line "This report was produced at no cost to the taxpayer". Really? I don't buy it. All funding originates from the people who work hard adding value to goods and hence all funding comes from the taxpayer. What really matters is the route by which it arrives and whether it originates from a reputable source. High time the Pendle CP made it transparent and explained how they are able to bombard us with expensive colour sheets, in this case on a weekly basis.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Bruff
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Location: Hoylake, Wirral - for the moment

Re: SPEAKER'S CORNER

Post by Bruff » 09 Apr 2014, 09:03

Presumably ramping up given the election in a little over 12months time. I remember noting on here prior to the last election how littered Pendle seemed with (often huge) banner/board advertisements featuring the well-scrubbed face of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party (or the Magic-Water Believer, as I prefer to refer to him as). I'd been to many constituences and not seen the like. I think we can look forward to the same next year.

[As an aside, if anyone is up for gathering outside the the Magic-Water Believer's outlet on Church Street so we can all do the dangerous thing and have a mass 'overdose' of homeopathic treatments let me know. Get the press along....]

Anyroads, I imagine I might be able to look forward to the same push here in West Wirral where I expect the incumbent has a fight on her hands. This is historically a Tory seat, and at the last election was not even classed as a Tory gain, so expected was Ms McVey's victory. There was no advertising on the scale of Pendle. She scraped in by 2,500 or thereabouts though, and quite a bit of literature is coming through now including a questionnaire the other month. Not the best designed I have to say, but then it is a real skill designing a questionnaire. I thought about suggesting some training as a part of her continuing professional development, but I wasn't convinced it would be taken in the constructive spirit it was intended, so decided not to.

Richard Broughton

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