Friday, 14 November 2008


It seems fitting that the 'secret meeting' held by the Labour Party was held a few paces away from the birthplace and school of Captain Smith, Captain of the ill fated Titanic.

'Sources' from within the Labour Party (NEC agents have yet to report back to me) say that the NEC wielded the hatchet and carved up the Labour Party structure 'in revenge for a sacked Meredith'. The 'lame duck Mayor' ("you win some-you lose some") was given a wholehearted rapturous applause as he spoke of the 'great new beginnings for Labour in the City' (little did he realise that the biggest applause came from those who administered his demise).

'Sources' reliably inform me that there has been a tinkering at the edges on party structure and that a good dose of restructuring is all that is needed to bring the masses to the ballot box and bring home the bacon for Labour (they talk of little else in our corner shop! ('ooh, I hope Labour restructures tonight, so I can get my family out to vote for Labour').

Don't Labour realise that the only subject on the agenda is POLICY?

The quote I'm given is the Labour Party have been bypassed and Mike Tappin and Joy Garner happily go along in the delusion that the entire collective view of the Labour Party membership is unnecessary!

The current POLICY being played out belongs entirely to a 'Lame Duck Mayor' and sacked former Councillors (Tappin, McLaughlan, Smith, etc..) SACKED because of those policies (Trust me THEY TALK OF LITTLE ELSE DOWN OUR CORNER SHOP! 'I'm voting BNP because they shut our schools and care homes')

'Sources' inform me that the NEC have totally disregarded the complaint made by members of THEIR party structure that continues to ignore the rule book and has resulted in a policy document that the party membership ignores and is appalled with. Basically, Labour's policy goes against party and public opinion.

I gather that our very own Tommy Reynolds castigated bloggers for dissing Labour (he means the Oracle and his agents). The Oracle is hurt by this and apologises and promises to never do it again. I am however, amused at the thought that Tommy was dressed in his little Captain's uniform for the occasion as he oversaw the complete destruction of the Labour Party and let the Director of the West Midlands take all the credit for calling the meeting (pure fabrication) and doing absolutely f*** all to rectify the wrong being mismanaged for Labour in the City.Nice one Tommy!

The Oracle says this: If the Mayor, Serco and ex Councillors continue to pursue an agenda that is rejected by the voters, then Labour Councillors will fall victim to any and all parties. They will be totally responsible-as is the case- for the rise of the BNP. The coalition of Labour and Conservatives is a disgrace to the Labour membership that totally abhors such an alliance. The public are quite correct: Vote Labour get Tories, so why no vote BNP and get BNP! A protest that is ignored by the NEC and the Director.

Piss about all you want but the bottom line is that if this City is a natural Labour stronghold and Labour is the natural voice of local Government here, and the current Labour Group continue to ignore its own party, then this Labour Group is ignoring the voice of the people.

When Captain Smith was informed of a 'iceberg dead ahead'! He is rumoured to have replied, "What *f****** iceberg"?

Maybe Joy Garner should advise this blog why voters despise labour so much and why they appear to reject the policy document she stands on. Explain why people are angry to benefit by £200M for schools? Which Labour Councillors are next up for the chop, those that agree with the Mayor, or those that disagree? (hint-the Oracle knows the answer).

Is this current Labour Group, the voice of either Labour, the Labour membership or the 'natural voice of the people'?

The NEC will now retire to Noddy Land and we'll all live happily ever after. Ahhhhh, that's nice.


BNP R Great said...

I blame immigrants for this like everything else. I'm with Craig on this one.

Anonymous said...

It's all Barry stockleys fault, so leave Tom, Joy and Mark alone. They are the future and the future's bright.The parents are ungrateful bastards who should shut their gobs.

Margaret said...

The oracle has pretty much just about summed it up.We can argue all we like, the fact remains that the Labour group is an uncaring lot on a payroll vote and doling out the Mayor's agenda in spite of public opinion. I'll just keep voting BNP until I see a change in Labour's direction.

the joker said...

It is a valid point that those who dreamed up the current school closure plans are now all dead duck councillors who were quickly followed by this lame duck mayor.Forgive my insight but isn't something obviously obvious here?
I mean....they are shite, for instance? Labour's ruling body seem top have done nothing to rectify the slide. Why? Is it because they continue to force through the agenda regardless? Talk about not giving a fuck!

terry turbo said...

Labour, are dead in this City, they just don't know it, they like their leaders, are on another planet with their heads devoid of thoughts for anyone but themselves.
The only people who are not suffering in their pockets is them.
They have lost the meaning of "public servants" and think the public are their servants, to fill their corrupt bank accounts.
At last the people are waking up to it.
They (like Freddie Mercury sang) are waiting for the hammer to fall.

brooneyes said...

This is something more and more of the electorate were figuring out for themselves. The Labour party as was, no longer exists. In it's place is a morally corrupt collection of no hopers, liars, cheats, thieves, and the downright malfeasant.
Labour is dead, long live the BNP!!

Shaun Bennett said...

"The quote I'm given is the Labour Party have been bypassed and Mike Tappin and Joy Garner happily go along in the delusion that the entire collective view of the Labour Party membership is unnecessary!"

That sounds very familiar! Its not just the Labour Party who are afflicted by that particular view of the membership!

Amy said...

It's very worrying that I am starting to hear the names of sacked councillors cropping up again (Smith, Tappin, McLaughlin, etc). They were voted out for a dammed good reason and we really don't want to see or hear from any of them again! Are they so arrogant that they don't realise what the people of SOT actually think of them?

Anonymous said...

Even worse would be a reaction by Labour to go back to the 'good old days' of Stockley, Hathaway, Jones, Tinsley, Wallace, Dimmock, Shaw etc. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire!

nita said...

Is it any wonder that the Labour Party is in such a mess across the City.

All they want to do is back stab one another.

Why this constant criticism of Joy Garner, Mark Davies, Tom Reynolds?
I fail to see, how this is helping matters.

Are the Labour Party united, I think not.

brian burslem said...

I've laways voted Labour but I voted against ian mcloghlin because of the school closures. I know full well that there are descent labour members in the party trying to get the party back on course but i will continue to vote against any labour member supporting this policy.

bob, burslem said...

i don't think that labour is in a mess in the area as i believe them to be united. many top leaders like bill austin who led the city and county is totally mad at garner and tappin for siding with roger ibbs and the tories.

Ian Norris said...

Isn't this the Time of year the budget is debated within the Council, surely all Cllrs should be fully scrutinizing the Budget to prevent last years mistakes happening again. or dont they care casue they can just Blame Meredith for the Budget?

tory voter said...

sounds like it should be tom and mark and joy who should explain why their own party disagrees with them and why they ignore rules and members.

terry turbo said...

Ian, I suggest you look at the Audit accounts, there are some interesting facts in there.
We tried to get information about the accounts and were blatently blocked by the now defunct Julie Gill, who could not handle questions from three citezens.
When even councillors are deliberately kept out of the loop, someone is trying very hard to hide something.

nita said...

Bob, Burslem. Like you say, there are many good Labour Councillors, but the rift seems to have been caused by the issue over the schools. Certain Labour Councillors are for the new schools, and some are not.

Most people would agree, we need the best education for our kids. So, we should welcome the investment into our schools. I think the main issue is, taking the schools out of their communities, and parents are not too convinced that Acadamies are the way forward. Change, brings a lot of uncertainty. People are simply not happy with the way in which the whole process has been handled.

Now, unless Labour sorts its problems out within, we will see the BNP grow and grow.

Bob Bagley said...

Nita, I'm interested by your statement that unless Labour sorts its problems out within, we will see the BNP grow and grow.

Don't you think that other parties/groups also have a responsibility to stand up to the BNP?

You won't be surprised of course to hear me say that I don't expect the Independents to take any stand against the BNP. In fact, one Independent who stood in my area a couple of years ago put out literature more provocative than the BNPs if anything.

Long serving Labour member said...

Nita I have been a member of the Labour Party for 44 years. This is the only time I have ever known Labour Councillors actually doing something that the overall membership disagrees with. Yes, there has often been disagreements but that is a healthy and vibrant democratic party which finds concensus. This current group actually wilfully go against democracy to force something through that even people outside the party disagree with.
Members who openly protest at this disgraceful affair are the ones in the right. Why not ask Tom Reynolds and co why they vote against their own party. Watch for the clever talk of not doing so and how all councillors are as one. It's politicspeak for group discipline. Ask the questions that has put them in a tiny minority in this City. Roger Ibbs and Ross Irving will go just as Joy Garner will go. Those that continue to go against the majority will eventually be isolated and the majority will flow through. Fools, the lot of them and shame on them.

the joker said...

Why is the question not being answered?If the damage being done to Labour is the Mayor and his followers, why is his policies continuing when the mayor is gone? Bill Austin, the most senior labour memmber in the City opposes this policy of coalition with tories and claimed in the sentinel that he hasn't spent his life fighting tories only to see labour now join with them. Labour members have drifted away fromthe party in disgust. So answer the questions.

senior labour associate said...

Thats actually incorrect Long serving Labour member.

The overwhelming majority of local Labour members wanted Barry Stockley to do the decent thing and resign when Labour was losing seats hand over fist in 1999/2000. Of course he refused to do so and insisted on staying on until the bitter end.

And by the way Bill Austin has next to zero credibility in the Labour party these days (assuming that he had any in the first place). He hasn't even attended a meeting in at least 5 years!

nita said...

Bob Bagley, you are right, it is upto all the parties to take responsibility. However, I feel that Labour stands more of a chance, as it has always been the more popular party across the City.

Long Serving Labour Member. This confuses me. How can it be right, that, if the majority disagrees with a decision, but the small minority wins? Yes, I agree, it is healthy to disagree on issues, and you should be free to debate.

Tom Reynolds is a Councillor in my ward, and to be honest he does a good job. If his only crime is to stick to what he believes in, then I have no problem with that.

ong serving member said...

They didn't win, they lost hands down and that's the problem.Surely you've been told that they are ignoring the members wishes?
There is no split in the party, as the party is united. however, the tiny minority broke ranks and are following an unpopular line that no one wants. The problem appears to be coming from the South area nd meredith leads them. Labour members are eaving te party and aren't surprised that bnp win seats.The names mentioned are totaly guilty and solely to blame. The minority push through school closures with the old chestnut of outside interference from Sandwell, west midlands. bullies who ruined a good party here.

brooneyes said...

Hey Tony,
what happened to that list I e-mailed you? There's plenty of scope with that for some ver lively discussions!

Tony said...

Worry thee not Craig, it has found it's way to the ORACLE. His agents are on it!

Anonymous said...

It should be remembered that it was Barry Stockley's incompetence that led us to having an Elected Mayor and Council Manager in the first place; Roger Ibbs (to his credit) tabled a Motion to Full Council that the Council should hold a referendum on having an Elected Mayor and Cabinet, but Stockley, in his narrow-minded incompetence, rejected this, and it was narrowly defeated in Full Council; after that The Sentinel picked up the baton for Mike Wolfe and we are where we are now.

From my not quite 44 years membership of the Party, I would assess the problem as being too many Labour (and other Party) councillors that are too old, and have been in office for too long, and are too resistant to change.

I cannot understand why people on here are so resistant to accepting ideas, suggestions and assistance from outside Stoke - we are far too parochial and stuck in the past. We need to modernise and move into the 21st Century - yes people we have changed Century's! If that means adopting Best Practice from anywhere, then we should grasp the opportunity with both hands.

To quote Bill Austin (a man for whom I have the utmost respect) as a senior figure in the local Labour Party shows total ignorance about today's Labour Party.

As for the snide remark about Stoke South, we have a growing membership, and thanks to people like Tom Reynolds and Mark Davis, are becoming more active and more successful. I personally am sorry we have lost talented Councillors like Mike Tappin (who was endorsed by three of the four Residents Associations in his Ward this year) and Ian McLaughlan, who I hope we can welcome back after his foray into Shropshire North.

We need Councillors with intelligence and drive - not the deadbeats that have occupied the Council Chamber for so long.

Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned anonynous, there are two sides of the fence to sit on. One side endorses the school closure policy and the other side doesn't. The ones who endorse it are losing their seats just as fast as the electorate can vote them out. Until someone somewhere acknowledges that the general public are making a statement and have a view that absolutely must be listened to, there is going to be turmoil in this City. Whether those in charge like it or not, they have been elected to serve us and they have to stop ignoring our wishes. The longer this goes on the more disenchanted I become with the mainstream parties - the majority of the labour group seems to acknowledge this so they must somehow find a way overpowering those who want to force BSF through at all costs. The cost will be allowing the BNP to take control of our City!

nicky said...

So oracle you are saying I think that labour are still deluding themselves that people will turn back to them. Crazy aren't they!
Instead oracle, you are right, "If the Mayor, Serco and ex Councillors continue to pursue an agenda that is rejected by the voters, then Labour Councillors will fall victim to any and all parties". (Except perhaps the tories - there are a lot of people won't vote tory with Ibbs in charge.)

Joker, some excellent points made despite the colourful language.

Terry you are right, labour are on another planet and self centred with it. Are you getting anywhere with those audit accounts? I'd be very interested to see what could get unearthed there?

Craig, yes I figured that out after Blair took over. I used to like labour before that but I never much liked Blair and it's been downhill ever since. I wondered if Brown would make a difference but, no good.

Shaun, yes the tories too. How come the parties, tory and labour, manage firstly to get the wrong people in charge locally then secondly don't seem to be able to do anything about it?

Brian, here here, I agree.

Nita, well put too, the main issue is taking the schools out of their communities and imposing acadamies. We won't stand for it.

Long serving labour member, I hope you are right about who will go.

Anonymous 00:04 Adopting best practice from elsewhere would be no bad thing. However if it is crap practice we will resist it! I don't want Ian McLaughlan back. What we need is intelligent councillors who will serve the people, not those with the 'drive' to tank their way through with no consideration for the local view.

Anonymous 00:48 Well said, bsf is a crucial local issue and "the general public are making a statement and have a view that absolutely must be listened to"!

Anonymous said...

With power comes responsibility - shirking that responsibility and doing the popular thing rather than the right thing is the coward's way - you may lose your seat for taking tough, difficult but necessary decisions, but you retain your self respect and integrity, something there is too little of amongst the current ragbag of politicos, particularly the labour whingers on here criticising Meredith et al. These political dinosaurs have tended to do just that: jump on the popular bandwagon and avoid the difficult decisions...that's why labour haemorrhaged votes and seats in the first place, well before BSF or the advent of Meredith, McLaughlan, Pervez,Smith, Davis and Reynolds. The old guard did not want to make way for this new generation, who stood up to their bullying and bankrupt ideas and were determined not to shirk responsibility. And so they became hate figures to these failed, bitter labour politicians and activists, who incidentally are not representative of the silent majority of the membership who selected Meredith as the labour candidate for mayor in the first place! These people seem to enjoy and thrive on dispute and opposition within their own party more than tackling the city's problems, such as low educational attainment etc, putting forward solutions, getting out and campaigning against the BNP and taking decisions. The labour party in this city will stagnate and be unproductive as long as the silent majority of the membership allows the self styled 'majority' of dinosaurs to lead the lions like donkeys. It's time to stir the sleeping giant!

nita said...

Anonymous 00.04. You are right, and the reason I voted for the Mayoral System in the first place was, the fact that I felt that our Council was not being run correctly. So, I voted for Mike Wolfe, whom I thought did a fair job. He was approachable, and willing to listen. His downfall, was that Councillors resented the fact that he did not belong to any of their parties, and wanted to take the City in a new direction, away from party politics. Then Mark Meredith got elected.
Another person who is prepared to make difficult, and sometimes unpopular decisions, to move the City forward. So, after the efforts of two Mayor's, who have tried to do positive things for the City, the people have decided they don't want the Mayoral System at all. Yes, there are parts of the BSF proposals that I don't agree with, especially removing schools from their communities. However, I for one would not criticise these people for trying to take positive steps to improve education across the City.

So, we have now got the Leader and Cabinet System. Have the people made the right choice, we will have to wait and see.

terry turbo said...

Nicky, the lids about to blow, we went in front of the Audit Committee, and they found it uncomfortable going, so much so the accounts leader Julie Gill resigned, halfway through the meeting.
The Audit has not been closed, by order of the Audit commissioner untill all our questions are answered.
Something definately stinks, and I believe they are worried we are getting closer.
We will contact you as soon as we know.
Meanwhile I suggest anyone who is interested to contact the Accounts Department, and find out where "your" money is being spent.
I promise you, you will be surprised.

gary elsby said...

To anonymous who makes a futile attempt at putting down a great Labour talent called Bill Austin, yes Bill is now a senior gentleman in years but his record rolls out like a red carpet.Chair of almost everything in the City and County of Staffordshire. Leader of both of the above and holds the respect of all in the Labour Party and all other parties.There are elected Councillors and their are giants of the political world called Bill Austin. Bill disagrees with the coalition. The Labour Party disagrees with the coalition. A tiny handful of Labour Councillors in bed with Tories agree with it.

This idea of a small band of 'brave' councillors gong against th 'old guard' is pure fiction. The truth is, they go against party membership and that means as we can all see, means going against public opinion.
There is no conspiracy as elected councillors are doing as they wish regardless. They don't hold the final say and only they agree with themselves.nothing hard about this at all.

no such thing as society said...

And what do you say Gary about the overwhelming majority of local Labour members who wanted Barry Stockley to do the decent thing and resign when Labour was losing seats hand over fist in 1999/2000?

That is where Labour's troubles started, not with the elected mayor system (which Stockley is responsible for by being too arrogant to allow a referendum which would have avoided the mayor/council manager option).

Gary Elsby said...

A bit of a red herring, without doubt.
The fact is that this coalition is responsible for losing prominent labour seats, tappin, Smith, McLaughlan.
This coalition is responsible for losing the position of Mayor.
This coalition is responsible for pushing forward unpopular plans.
This coalition was nearly responsible for closing Diensions.
This coalition is responsible for political apathy and the rise of the BNP.
This coalition is responsible for the complete breakdown of the political system here in Stoke that requires an undemocratic transition board fed solely by a government watchdog hell bent on carrying forward the reason the coalition was formed in the first place.
Politics isn't hard. The only problem with politics is that not much nous is needed to enter the fray.Hence the rise of ignorance above intelligence and the public cry out for intelligence and not STRONG leadership shoving through what is not needed.
I was at the meeting mentioned. Humour was abound as it was pointed out that none of the turmoil and antagonism is felt elsewhere. Quite.(hint google Reilly)Our MPs also are honoured as having more support than the labour Group!(and they are in coalition with whom, may I ask?)

Anonymous said...

Why is labour so thick in the council that they don't listen? I'll vote bnp until they do and if they carry out their plans i'll always vote bnp.

nita said...

Gary Elsby. You make some excellent points.

Let me say what I think.

A person in Authority will always have to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. You only have to look at the current situation at JCB.

The Mayor has made a decision to try and improve the education for the kids of the City. This is right, and one that the majority would agree on. We have to do better. So, a set of proposals has been put together, causing a lot of controversy.

In the North, the end result is not a bad one. In the South, it is a different matter. We have schools being closed, to be replaced by, what people see as unproven Acadamies. The biggest issue is, that schools are being taken out of their communities.
In Trentham/Hanford, there is public outrage, as they fail to see why the best performing non faith school should close. They have a fair point. This school is performing better than schools in the North, that are staying open. Is this the right decision, make your own mind up? Berryhill/Mitchell currently have 2schools, both now to be closed, and the kids split between, Birches Head/Park Hall, and some may get into St Peters Academy. Result is, no school for the community.

So, I don't feel that the issue is what the LA is trying to achieve, it is how they have gone about it. People feel they have been told what they are getting, with no willingness to compromise on anything. They feel that Councillors are not representing their opinions. A Councillor is elected by the public to try and represent the majority opinion. If they cannot always, get what the public want, at least try to engage with the people to resolve the issues.

So, like Gary says, this has resulted in us losing the Mayoral System.

The Leader, has a major job on his/her hands. It is going to take a lot of hard work to get back public support. The number of people who voted in the Referendum, said it all.

warren said...

It worrys me sometimes, thet one of this citys most reveard sons is the bloke that sunk an unsinkabule ship. It says alot about this city that.
I'll keep saying this till it happens as well, Merediths been given the sack, be the voteing puplic( well, just under 20% of it anyway), he need to take note of this, clear out his office and return under the stone of witch he first appeard from under.
Lets look at this in the real would for one moment, I know the last time Labour got there hand on Stoke that fool Stockley nealy killed the city off, but the likes of Joy Garner and Tom Reynolds do seem to have something about them, showing a willingness to work with others for the good of the city and indeed the education of its children.I will not put this in the same way the second post did but let them have a go, I meen they can't make it more of a mess then it alraedy is.
The local Labour party sould return to appeal to locals, if that means casting aside some polices that the Labor govenment hold then so be it. Only with that done, and Mayday off to pasture will Labour have any chance of running this city how it sould be run.

long time labour voter 45 years said...

It takes more guts to back down from a policy than it does to follow lame duck.The Government stood down from the 42 day policy because no one supported it.No one supports Reynolds or garner or their stance on schools.Labour losers going down with the ship.My guess is that Labour memers will either go or kick this cew out.

warren said...

Long time Labour voter... They are not silly and they know that a return to a more working class menifesto is needed on a local level. Althought I do very much dout that this foolliss lot in Westminster have the guts to work it out, to interested in London, the ritch folks there are piddeling around with them. The next local council vote, the local Labour must give proven Old Labour values, very much like some held by the BNP localy now, without, ofcource the foul raceisem, Then we will see the change. Its eather that or get Independants runing on a Old Labour tickett.

no such thing as society said...

Mike Barnes is trying to play a blinder. He was very much part of the debacle which took place under the inept council leadership of Barry Stockley but tries to pretend otherwise.

People have long memories and will remember that Barnes did nothing to speak out against Stockley whilst he was wrecking the city and Labour party.

nicky said...

Gary and Nita, I agree! The labour/tory coalition is going against the wishes of their own parties and of local people. What we definitiely need is much more intelligence. I have no admiration for anyone 'strong' enough to push through policies that are so blatantly loopy. It's not so much decisions being unpopular as nonsensical. Keep schools in their communities. Keep Trentham open, let Berryhill and Mitchell have the combined school they agreed on. Have you seen the strategy for change part 1 that Knight had the idiocy to sign off? It states, in SOT we currently (Jan 08) have 13,113 pupils and 15,523 school places. BSF plans to 2019 for which they project 14,642 pupils and plan to provide 13,050 school places. Well TAG have been telling the fools at serco that their numbers are wrong for ages now and now they seem to be starting to admit it but are not addressing it! Eh! No brain cells clearly. So this goes back to a previous point I made, they seem to want to make education so crap with these academies that people will leave or have their children educated over the border (in fact at least 1,592 will have to be), so they don't need to bother. They even have the cheek to state that in SOT their support for parental preference is expected to diminish. Well we know they give bu**er all support for parental preference, but they are meant to support this! Well, though Mr ***** Knight signed this, at least his letter (viewable through TAG website), is a good deal sterner. If they don't address the issues by part 2 and if PfS were to sign that off, we would know for sure they are rubber stampers, I sincerely hope they are not.

fenton tom said...

Be an MP gary and speak up for the city you are obviously a person that is trustworthy and that's what we have been missing for years round here.

Anonymous said...

Gary I made no attempt to diminish Bill Austin's record, and you know it! All I said was that he was no longer a senior Labour Party figure (and in fact, for those of us who have been around long enough to remember Bill's days as Leader of Staffordshire County Council, we remember the years of underinvestment in Stoke, as more money, per head of population, went to South and Mid Staffordshire - that was the driving force behind Stoke becoming a Unitary Authority in the early 1990's).

Anonymous 15 November 00:48 if you seriously think that Councillors who supported BSF lost their seats purely for that reason, you show your political ignorance; there are as many people who will say that it was the Coalition that lost everybody seats in May - perhaps that explains why long-time anti-Mayor Councillors like the Stan and Marj Bate, Sybil Halfpenny and Ted Owen lost their seats.

Finally I pose this question: given that no Party is close to having 31 seats, and with it a majority in the Council Chamber, how would you run the Council if not in coalition? And, if coalitions are so damn awful, why was the Tory/LibDem coalition in next-door Newcastle returned this May with an expanded majority?

It really is time to recognise that there is more to local government than BSF, and to look at the bigger picture, which actually shows increased investment in the City, increased social housing, and, as the Governance Commission pointed out, a Council that is showing the green shoots of recovery.

Gary Elsby said...

You claimed that Bil Austin had no credibility (pathetic. He remains a giant of local politics known throughout the Country and besides, recovery from what?