Sunday, 19 October 2008


Following his debate with Paul Breeze on the politics show today Mike Barnes of Democracy for Stoke has just posted this comment on our blog:

Mike Barnes said...


Don't let Paul Breeze con anybody into thinking he is just a concerned resident. He's an ex-deputy Elected Mayor, and a councillor who lost an election in his own area. (All deputy elected mayors have lost their next election!).

So far the Elected Mayor system has closed over half of all elderly care homes. It has led to the council, for the first time in its history having government intervention in Children's Services - effectively paying a private company to close decent schools - when we had already agreed (and had government agreement) on other proposals.

It tried to close Dimensions - but failed due to campaigners and a few brave councillors.

We had the ice rink farce that cost £150,000. We've had the gravestones heartache where thousands of headstones were knocked down only for the council having to compensate them.

Now EM wants to close our community centres to save money.

You know what I find odd? 5 months ago the Elected Mayor wanted to close Dimensions to save £60,000. Yet when we recently lost £5m in that Icelandic bank, council comment was, it doesn't impact on services????!!!!

Elected Mayors are more open are they? Well tell me why the cabinet have a private meeting the week before the open one with exactly the same agenda? How open and democratic is that?

Finally it has led to having 9 BNP fascists on the council, with a good possibility of having a BNP Mayor next May. If we still have a Mayor system on 24 Oct, my advice will be: get yer coat, yer bag, yer hat and yer loved ones, and get as far away from Stoke as possible, as it could be burning next summer if the BNP have their way.

It is time for me to nail my colours to the mast and say that I fully support the Leader and Cabinet model and I will be voting YES on Thursday 23rd October.
There is no point in having 60 councilors and having them paid £7000 per year and when we need them to act on our behalf they have no powers to act. Rob Flello is 100% right in my opinion when he says that we need a "time out" from the mayoral system. We need our councilors to represent us, not to be able to go so far and then fall at the last hurdle because of the ego of one man.

We have three excellent ward councilors in our ward and they work tirelessly on behalf of their electorate and I want them to have the power to follow their hard work through to a conclusion.

Finally, if I am unhappy with my council leader then i will have the opportunity to kick him/her out a lot sooner than four years!

For these reasons I urge everyone to vote YES for a leader and cabinet model on Thursday 23rd October..... You know it makes sense!

This is my opinion, other bloggers may have different views and they may post their thoughts as is their right to do so, after all we live in a democracy don't we?
This is what we want isn't it? Democracy for Stoke!

Nicky, in her very accurate way will be posting her views on the mayoral debate that took place on the BBC's Politics Show later on tonight......................


Bob Bagley said...

I managed to watch the politics show earlier today and was stuck by how aggressive and confrontational Paul Breeze was. I'm sure this doesn't help his cause. So far as the referendum goes I think that it's impossible to call. I know of two old ladies who voted No in the belief that they were voting to scrap the mayor! Ideally the referendum would have been accompanied by a massive public education excersise, but how, when and by who this would be undertaken by I don't know.

Sorry to keep this one running, but even if the referendum votes for leader and cabinet it may still be possible that the BNP take a role in the running of the city as the City Independent group seem unwilling to rule out an alliance with the BNP or take any action against Councillor Alan Rigby for his courting of the fascists. At least I'm consistent, and sorry again Tony!

Tony said...

I too thought that Mike Barnes was head and shoulders above Paul Breeze who did loose the plot somewhat. We at pitsnpots have been called BNP activsts and I honestly don't know why. I can't think of anyone as anti BNP as me. The onlything I have said is that some of their councilors have been very effective in dealing with ward issues, I said this because it is true, but i would never vote for their party because i really like the diversity that this city has. Yes there are probably Asian people in our city who have extreme views but the we know that the BNP has extreme views. I just happen to think that extremists on both ends of the spectrum are very much in the minority. Thanks for your input Bob and keep posting.

Bob Bagley said...

I'm big enough to admit it when I've got it wrong, so Tony please accept my sincere apologies for me having suggested a few weeks back that you were somehow a BNP sympathiser, I now know that this is certainly not the case.

I will say though that some of the views posted by Nicky concern me!

Tony said...

Nicky's thoughts are hers and hers alone. She can see some good and a lot of bad in all the parties and a more definitive example of a "floating voter" there could not be!

st george said...

Ex-Cllr Paul Breeze calls councillors arrogant, and then shows just how arrogant he is - on national tv !!

Nicky should be asking the BNP cllrs if they are offering the same services they give to a few people, to all the 10,000 residents in each ward ?

Ellie Walker takes a few hot meals to some old ladies several days a week. Batkin will cut your grass, and move your rubbish.

Those old dears will be telling all their families and friends how marvelous they are. Vote. Vote. Vote.

That comes across as caring to those individuals.
However, Councillors are elected to represent around 10,000 residents in their wards.
If they were to continue with this level of personal service, when will they have time to make policy, scrutinise decisions, or even, put right the council services that are letting these old dears - and the ones they can't get to - down ??

Look past these 'nice cosy' fronts, as local councillors, and seriously check out the policies and history of this very racist, fascist group.

The BNP.

And remember, they claim to be 'Socialist' - so did Hitler.

nicky said...


Tony is exactly right in what he says about me, I couldn't have put it better myself.

I've said more about my political views historically on the Labour Closes the Gap blog. Where I am now is very uncertain and my problem politically is that I don't feel that any of the political parties (including the BNP) represent my views sufficiently. I say again, I think I am actually a pretty average person.

I'm not really sure what it is I say that concerns you. What I think it is, is that you are very anti-BNP and think that everybody else should be too. Whereas I take a much more balanced view and am willing to see the good and bad sides of everyone and every party. In terms of the parties it is mostly the bad sides of all of them. In terms of the people there are certain ones I've had to deal with who hack me off to differing degrees but I have not encountered that in any of the interactions I have personally had with any of the BNP, as yet.

As far as local issues are concerned, what dragged me out of my apathy was the schools reorganisation issue. The ideas that the BNP group on the council have on that are largely very good, sensible, logical and community centred. I am also aware that if there is a mayor, the BNP candidate will have a very good policy on schools reorganisation, although I do not know about the other policies. I disagree with the BNP group on serco however as I'm more anti-serco than they are. Additionally the vast majority of the independent councillors also have highly sensible views on schools reorganisation. I know various people including Tony don't agree with me on independent councillors but I maintain my view nevertheless, we can agree to disagree. Now compare with the ludicrous proposals on schools reorganisation that the labour/tory/libdem lot cling to and it really is a no-brainer which people to side with, for me anyway. I know you don't agree, because you think an anti-BNP prejudice should override logic on this, of course you are entitled to your view but I think it is biassed and I don't share it. Now as for other local policies I will become more aware of these as they arise and I take a less apathetic viewpoint in thinking about them. For example tackling antisocial behaviour, public drinking and the like, I think the BNP are being a bit more proactive perhaps than other groups on this and I agree with them. This may concern you.

But on the other hand some of the BNP's national policies are truly awful in my view. One example is the incentives they would like to see given to return immigrants to their countries of origin. I am opposed to this as it puts undue pressure on people and makes them feel unwelcome. Deporting illegal and criminal immigrants though I'm all for. Personally I have a definite preference to live in a multicultural society with a rich diversity of people. In fact there are many people I know, some of whom I'm pretty close to, who are British but not born in Britain. I wouldn't want them to be asked to leave under a BNP policy. Another thing that is truly horrible is the policy on corporal and capital punishment which I could no way condone. I also disagree with enforced national service. So maybe you're less concerned.

I continue to choose a balanced view.

Bob Bagley said...


I just be very short and sweet if I can.

Its all well and good to set out and try to be balanced in your political views, but the reality is that the real world presents us with choices that are rather more stark.

Its impossible, for example, to say I like the BNP policy on schools, the Conservative policy on defence, and the Labour economic policy. You have to take the rough with the smooth and end up with a decision on which party most closely matches most of your views rather than trying to have the best of all worlds.

ian norris said...

Bob: I think you comment "You have to take the rough with the smooth and end up with a decision on which party most closely matches most of your views rather than trying to have the best of all worlds."

Why are the Lab/Lib/Tory allaince ignoring the views of mayority of residents over BFS programme.

The EMB have so far ignored the recommendation from the Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee WHY?

Bob do you agree with the recommendation and if you WAS a Cllrs would you support it?

nita said...

To be honest, I have no problem with the Mayor himself, it is just the system, that simply does not work for the City.

How can Councillors have voices, when the decisions, are made through the EMB, and then finally by The Mayor and Council Manager.

Have the Councillors ever been able to speak out against decisions made, I think not.

I have heard, that under a new Mayoral System, it won't be The Mayor who has the final say, but a Chief Executive, who does not necessarily have to live in the area? How true this is, I do not know. Can anyone clarify this for me?

ian norris said...

Mike Barnes continues to blame Dimesion closure ( agreed by scrutiny committee who only voiceD CONCERN at privatising swimming pools) Gravestone inspections ( agreed by LABOUR CABINET)

Again any Anti-Mayor support name one recommendation made by Cllrs the Mayor has refused. Or any recommendation from the Mayor voted against by Scrutiny or Full Council.

Last 2 weeks no one has answered because there have been NONE.

nita said...

Ian Norris. If what you keep stating is fact, that the Mayor has never gone against any recommendations, this causes me some confusion.

Councillors are telling us the public, that they do not agree with some decisions that are being made, but because of the system, they don't get any say.

So do the Councillors really agree with the Mayors decisions, and are just telling us the public that they do not, to keep us happy?

If so, that is not trustworthy is it?

Who do we believe?

Bob Bagley said...

Ian - I have little interest in the Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee or BSF and try to look at the bigger picture.

What interests me is whether your leader Councillor James will have the backbone to publicly rule out a BNP-Independent alliance from running the city and get Councillor Rigby thrown out of your group for his courtship of the BNP.

Going back to my original statement that you vote for party most closely matches most of your views, well in your case I suppose thats at least one vote at the next election for the Monster Raving Loonies!

ian norris said...

Nita: As far as i'm aware its fact. The Cllrs still have power to make Whatever recommendation they wish, they have not lost any powers, they either dont realise it or wish to mislead the public.

Cllrs can of course vote against ANY recommendation or Policy. if they choice not to, and then tel public otherwise, if public willing to believe them they can get away with it.

How do you trust read they minutes and see what Cllrs said and how Cllrs voted?

Bob: but most people in the City DO CARE about Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee or BSF. Maybe thats why YOU and Labour are so out of touch.

And there is No indy-bnp alliance that is all in YOUR head, as I said in other forum if you have proof Alan Rigby is a racist report him to standards.

Tony said...

I don't think that Alan Rigby is a racist but i don't think he is an independent either. You can not canvass for a tory and on national TV promote the BNP and then claim to be independent, confused maybe! but not independent! That's why I have real fears over councilors saying/claiming to be independent i just think it's a label to hide behind. Back in the 90's a guy named Peter Haines was the force behind the "real" independents and from my knowledge they didn't lean to the left or to the right and i think that when these independets did start to align themselves with the parties he got the hell out of dodge beause he never wanted that!

ian norris said...

Tony: on QT he said he canvassed for a friend against the BNP. but they lost to the BNP due to thier work.

Thats not really promoting BNP but it could be read that way.

But as I dont know him,

no such thing as society said...

Mr. Norris - no one from the main political parties would seek a deal with the BNP. I think that shows that the Independents have no ethics and certainly no morals.

Incidentally I understand that campaigners who oppose the BNP are considering whether they should be targeting certain Independent councillors at the next election in addition to the main group of fascists.

nita said...

Ian Norris. On occasions, it seems, Councillor's have appeared to be on your side, but then gone and done the opposite, when it comes to the vote. Why do they do that? Why not be honest, and tell you their opinion, in the first place? This is probably why, the public, are sick and tired of politics in the city, and no one bothers, to get off their backsides to vote.

A Councillor should, always try and represent his/her ward, and, if possible, always try to do what the public ask. If they are unable to go with what the public want, then tell them why it is not going to be possible. Don't lead them up the garden path, saying yes, I'm with you on this one, then next day, do the opposite.

In my opinion, there is not really that much difference between the two systems, Leader/Cabinet or Mayor/Cabinet. If I am wrong, can someone please clarify, as Thursday is not far away. How I see it, is, if we go back to the Leader system, Councillors may get more say, but it will still come down to the Leader to decide. There will still be cabinets, committees, as under the Mayoral System. Under the Mayoral system, how I see it, is, Councillors are still allowed to vote, but the EMB decides and recommends, then the final decision lies with The Mayor and Council Leader. All pretty much the same to me.

This is why, I for one cannot make my mind up, and it changes every day.

nicky said...


I totally agree with what you say there about councillors and how they should behave and represent their ward. This should apply to all councillors whether independent or part of a political party.

I think the mayor and leader systems are much the same in many respects, but the mayor can not be removed during their 4 years, whilst councillors can remove the leader at any time. This will make a leader much more inclined to take councillors views on board and thereby allow councillors to better represent the people in their wards. And if the leader doesn't feel inclined to cooperate with councillors they will be removed to rectify that situation. Vote YES.

ian norris said...

Nita: I think Bob could explain it more, but I think its wrong that Cllrs have to follow the Party Whip on Local issues, whihc is why they say one thing to residents but then have to vote as told.

Also many Cllrs still do not Challenge the officers enough, look at the debate on Brittania it was rushed through to Full Council Cllrs had many Question. But they Voted again the Independent motion to deferr a decision untill all facts were known?

Nicky: it could also be viewd that a leader under fear of being voted out (although that has never happened even under Barry Stockley) could play policy safey unstead of being visionary and risking upsetting a few of the Old Skool Cllrs.

nita said...

Ian Norris. I think you are spot on. Councillors have to follow the Party Whip, and are not allowed to vote, the way they think. This is why, we the public, get irritated, when a Councillor backs you, then votes the opposite way.