Thursday, 23 October 2008


I have just come off the phone to some inside sources and there are indications that this ballot will have an incredibly low turn out.
It appears that the percentage turn out will struggle to hit 20% and one polling station locally to me reporting a turn out of just 10% up until 5.30pm!

There has been some last minute campaigning by both the YES & NO campaigns and with such a low turn out many people, including some of the councillors I have spoken to today, say the result is just too close to call.

We here at pitsnpots were delighted with the comments posted yesterday and we have been told that many councillors, the odd MP and even the Mayor himself are dropping in regularly to read the posts and comments.

Some of the councillors I have spoken to today said the article in last nights Sentinel had an effect on some people. The article prompted this response from Potteries Alliance Councillor Peter Kent Baguley:

The local daily paper's headline today reads:
REVEALED: If you decide to vote "YES" in the mayoral referendum tomorrow, the BNP could soon be leading YOUR council.

Illustrating the story right across the page is a picture of some of the BNP councillors with the BNP national leader, Nick Griffin. The story claims: "In an anonymous survey, The Sentinel asked every member who they would choose as council leader." Anonymous? Strange use of the word since the supposedly anonymous survey was a topic of conversation amongst most if not all councillors! And, though it may not have crossed the collective mind of those running The Sentinel's extremely biased, pro NO referendum campaign, The Sentinel was the last source to which the majority of councillors would confide their real thoughts on the issue of leader! So, given the councillors' reticence, not surprisingly the BNP leader emerges the front runner with a tally of 8 supporters, presumably all of his BNP colleagues.
The Sentinel well knows that there is not the slightest possibility of the 51 other councillors ever voting for a BNP councillor to be the leader of the council.
The Sentinel also well knows that if the referendum produces a majority of NO votes, there is every possibility that a BNP candidate would be elected in next May's elected mayor election.
The Sentinel's sly and shameful scam has turned reality on its head.
The stench of having sunk to the sewer of stitching up stories so shamefully will pervade the paper for a very long time.
Were it merely an in-house magazine, it may have been a bit of a laugh, to be followed by something equally gutter press-ish from the opposing camp. But it isn't an in-house magazine or student rag but claims to be a serious daily newspaper. This kind of squalid journalism has done nothing to enhance the reputation of the paper. Like so many of the business people who make their money in Stoke-on-Trent, the editor lives well away from our city. Perhaps he could make that a permanent arrangement and perhaps the owners could consider installing an editor charged with upholding the highest standards of journalism and to try to rebuild confidence with the people of the city. After all, fewer than half of the households across the City see The Sentinel and that proportion continues to decline.
Unfortunately, its squalid, sordid, sniping at the YES campaign which advocate the quite sensible system of the councillors electing the leader of the council has unsettled some elderly readers. I know, because my telephone has been busy this evening. The supporters of the mayor system never mention that the prime minister is not elected by all of the electorate! Of course, business people are lining up in support of the elected mayor under the guise of strong leadership! More wishful thinking than so-called hard-headed business sense, since the past two elected mayors during the last six years have not demonstrated leadership, strong or otherwise!
Neither have had the remotest influence on the ever changing bureaucratic structure of the council and have singularly failed to enhance decision making processes, failed to enhance transparency of decision making and failed to be honest about most of the controversial issues such as the high schools' re-organisation, closure of elderly people's homes, withdrawal of council-run pre-school nursery provision, the sale of the council's stake in the Britainnia football stadium, privatisation fronted by a so-called strategic partnership, and much more, all compounded by endless spin, recycled stories and more spin.

It is time that The Sentinel acted like a proper, mature newspaper, and thought more about its responsibilities to democracy and less about its rights for making profits through cheap journalism.

These are the words of Peter Kent Baguley, this is his opinion.

We the pitsnpots bloggers have had great support from the Sentinel which we really appreciate, but we remain true to the ideal of presenting a balanced view point. Hence the posting of Peter's point of view.

So over to you, what do you think of Peter's rant about the Sentinel article? Do you agree with him, What do you think of the predicted low turn out? and finally who will win the YES or the NO campaign?.................


Just had one of the main players from the "YES" campaign on the phone and they are very confident in the outcome of the Ballot. Turn out is well up in some area's so the expected percentage is thought to be well over 20%. The "YES" campaign think they have pulled it off!

As yet no news from the "NO" campaign, I will let you know if Paul or any of his campaign team get in touch by either phone or email.


No such thing as society said...

Well for someone who has minuscule influence in the council Mr. Kent-Baguley has relied heavily on the local media to get his points across, and indeed he has a record of courting The Sentinel and being their rent a quote on many and varied issues.

I think he has made a dangerous decision here by so comprehensively denouncing The Sentinel. He might well come to regret biting the hand that feeds...

nita said...

Its great to hear that the people of Stoke on Trent, really care about how our City is run, or maybe not?

Nice to see them flocking into the polling booths!!

What really annoys me, is, that these people who can't be arsed, are the first ones to moan.

Martin said...

The infamous James from Penkhull summed it up on the Sentinel website. It's not how the city is run that's the problem, it's the quality of the people who put themselves forward.

Tony said...

We are waiting for the infamous James to join us at pitsnpots Martin, do spread the word 'cos its good here innit?

Shaun Bennett said...

I went to vote at around 5pm, just as it should really have been picking up, and my polling station seemed pretty dead. There was noone else around whilst I was there and I saw a couple of people go in as I was leaving. My impression is that turnout will be incredibly low.

I wonder what the constituency or ward breakdown will be. I'm fairly confident that Stoke South and particularly the Trentham area will be solidly YES, but presumably Paul Breeze's old ward around Hanley will be fairly strongly NO. I have to say, I'm quietly confident that we've done it and we can wave goodbye to this shockingly poor team.

I won't be here over the weekend, as I'm going for a short break in North Wales. But I'll be keeping an eye out for the results, good luck everybody. I'll give my response now (please delete as appropriate):

YES- hoorah, thank goodness we can finally wave goodbye to Meredith, at least thats one unnecessary salary we can save. We may not see dramatic changes, and the city may well still be run appaulingly, but at least the system is not going to make things worse and we have a chance of getting some good people back into the running of the city. Lets just hope we don't find the NO camapign pushing for another referendum to go back to the elected mayor in another 6 years!

NO- disaster! It was the Sentinel wot lost it! that appauling bit of shoddy journalism yesterday came at a critical moment in the campaign and was timed for maximum effect. I really do feel very let down at the way that they have handled the issue for their own preferences. Unfortunately, it now looks like we are doomed to continue down the path that our leaders have chosen. The BNP may well be running the city within 6 months. Fantastic news for the Sentinel who will have a whale of time reporting all of these shocking events in local politics over the next few years, but probably not the best of results for the City of Stoke-on-Trent. Will the last person to leave the city please switch off the lights!

Anonymous said...

Shaun, two points - there's no "u" in appalling!, and secondly The Sentinel article could well be helpful - if the BNP numbskulls think that a YES vote will get them control of the Council, they'll have gone out and voted YES.

nicky said...

I think Peter Kent-Baguley's rant is absolutely fantastic! Well said Peter. I agree entirely.

No such thing as society, I do not believe that Peter will regret speaking out against the Sentinel. That is because he is a principled, free thinking, free speaking, independent. Now I know some around here do not believe there is such a thing as in independent with principles, but I do. I imagine this won't stop the Sentinel asking Peter for quotes, because after all, sometimes they will need a source who has a few brain cells to rub together.

In the "Sentinel secret poll hints at BNP success" blog comments I speculated that what motivates the Sentinel is simply what they think will make the biggest news story. They think there will me more news in a mayoral election campaign and more news afterwards because more can go wrong with an elected dictator. I'm not sure they care that much about the local area. Now if that makes them censor even more of my comments than they already do then so be it. (To be fair, they've published most but not all of my recent ones and they published my letter yesterday, well done for that Sentinel.)

In the "Passion on the Politics Show" blog comments I predicted a result of 54% leader, 44% mayor, 2%spoilt ballots. Should I change that? Well the Sentinel's biased no campaign may have partly worked, but on the other hand the turn out may be a bit low? I think the yes vote is the thinking person's vote (... she irritates the no voters...) so there will be a greater proportion of yes voters who bothered. So I think I'll stick with my original prediction. Although it's giving the yes vote a safer majority than the blog is suggesting.

Shaun I do like your little write up, especially the preplanned emotional responses for the different outcomes! (I always thought I was a stickler for forward planning but it looks like I'm not the only one.)

Now despite the fact that Peter Kent-Baguley was shamefully not included as one of the 'key players' in the 'Movers and Shakers' blog, consider the following:

If the YES vote wins, could all those councillors reading this please entertain the notion of picking Peter as your leader, he's great, you need him. Also could you please make sure you don't pick Roger Ibbs (to keep my moaning emails out of your inboxes if nothing else).

If the NO vote wins, Peter could you please stand for mayor?

Anonymous said...

Peter Kent-Baguley was shamefully not included as one of the 'key players' in the 'Movers and Shakers' blog.

Mmmm... not exactly a great amount of room to move (or shake for that matter) in a phone box!!!

nicky said...

Anonymous, don't be mean to Shaun! I have exactly that same problem with exactly that word. It's a difficult word and yet one which needs to be used an appau...alling amount.

Also the BNP aren't numbskulls, it was a pretty clever ploy siding with the Sentinel like that to engineer a no bias. I just wonder, is the New Local Government Network giving the Sentinel or the BNP a little help with their cause?

nicky said...

Bob Bagley is that you under that anonymous heading?

If not I'm seriously worried as the phone box obsession disease seems to be contagious!

Anyway - maybe Peter's got a tardis.

Bob Bagley said...

No Nicky it wasn't me (although I can't say I disagree!).

I know you want Mr. Kent Baggaley as leader but I seriously doubt it can happen. Theres just no way the leader of a party with just two councillors could say that he has any kind of electoral mandate to lead the city.

nicky said...

OK 59% leader, 41% mayor, fewer spoilt ballots than I thought. But I wasn't too far off.

Anonymous said...

Alan Rigby will be rubbing his hands.

Better get Albie Walker on the phone Alan!

Anonymous said...

Stoke on Trent, the land that grime forgot.

Me, Somewhere in The Potteries said...

So the result of the referendum broke down like:

Yes: 11.37%
No: 7.82%
Not arsed: 80.81%

The not arsed won by a landslide majority.

In true Stokie fashion expect some serious whinging over the next few months about the Leader and Cabinet system from people that voted "Not Arsed".

By the looks of the voting it seems that most people are in favour of no-one running the city and wouldn't care less if it fell into an abyss.

warren said...

I have still today,Friday, folks asking me do I vote yes to get rid of the lord mayor.
It was a simple question, do you want to change the way this city is run, vote yes if you do and no if you dont, and dont vote if you dont care less, and 80% could not care less. Ar well they will soon be bitchin' about this that and the other and the council will have every right to say 'well, we asked you and you said you could not give a stuff.' Most of Joke on Trent sould be hanging there head in shame tonight.