Friday, 14 November 2008


I am delighted to post Mike Barnes's response to my Alan Rigby interview.

It has been a while since we last heard from Mike and I know that the pitsnpots followers are keen to hear what he has to say.

I happen to think thay Mike Barnes would be a fantastic leader for our city. During the referendum campaign he displayed a calmness when faced with Paul Breezes public tirades and he showed a real passion for our city.
In my opinion, Mike could bring about the change needed to the Labour party locally that is much needed.

"I read with interest the article on PitsnPots regarding Alan Rigby.
Firstly, let me say Alan is a very likable, genuine, committed person - a real gentleman some would say. In his interview he throws his hat in the ring for Leader of Stoke-on-Trent Council.
I would dearly love to win the lottery, but I think me winning it is as likely as Alan Rigby becoming leader. Alan is not the only one to express their interest in the newspaper and on these pages. They say a week is a long time in politics, eight months is an eternity - and that's when a leader will be chosen.

I don't begrudge them having their 15 minutes of fame.

In Stoke we face enormous change and enormous difficulties. Lets take a deep breath, sit back and see who (hopefully) shows everybody, over the next few months, they can really lead. We need somebody who can go beyond normal party politics, with fresh ideas, and somebody who can listen AND make people feel like they are being listened too, and take the majority of voters and the council with them.
I know what some of you might want to ask, so here goes.

Am I interested? - errrrmmmmm - Yes of course I am - but a number of others will be too, and are capable. So right now, I am happy to do my best from where I am, see how things go over the coming weeks and months. Next June I may think I have a chance and support for my ideas, but I may feel that somebody else has shown that they are better. In which case I'll throw my weight behind them.

In any event, most councillors I have met are decent people just doing their best with what they believe.

Good luck Alan Rigby - I will be checking my lottery numbers as well!

P.S. I am obviously pleased with the referendum result (thanks to everybody!) and have been asked to help on a number of other campaigns (all of them important and worthy causes). Whilst I am still going to be active within D4S - I have decided my main focus now is to tackle and defeat the BNP".

Mike Barnes


Tony said...

This is the sort of comment I expected from Mike. No issue ducking and straight to the point. He would be my choice for Council Leader. Mike shows that he would put the city first and not himself, this is evident when he says that he thinks he could be a good leader but he would get behind someone if he felt they would be more suitable. Mike wants to tackle the BNP and to stop it's rise in popularity in our great city and I for one will support his efforts. Not that I dislike anyone from the BNP, we have seen how committed they are to their party with what they post on this blog. I happen to think that a city led by, or a cabinet made up of, BNP councillors would be a disaster for our city.
I thank Mike for his response and I wish him all the best for the future whether, that is as Leader or a supporterof the leader.

former labour voter said...

When I think of Joy Garner and Mark Davis being leader and poodle, I think of Laurel and Hardy.
Mike Barnes being Sir Laurence Olivier.

Town Hall Observer said...

Carry on taking those tablets Mike, you certainly need them!

nita said...

Mike Barnes is another Councillor who should definitely be put forward for Leader.

He makes a very important statement, and that is, the Leader should be "somebody who can listen, and make people feel that they are being listened to". Very often difficult decisions have to be made, but is it not far better to engage with the public, than just simply tell them what they are getting. Mike Barnes is right, people do need to feel that their opinions are being listened to. If you can't always get what you want, then it would be better to be told the reasons why.

We can read a lot into the type of person Mike Barnes is. If he feels that another Councillor has better ideas, or is better for the job than himself, he will step back, and support that person.

Like Alan Rigby, I feel that Mike Barnes would be a person that would listen to Councillors opinions. I feel he would encourage debate, and engage with the public.

nita said...

Town Hall Observer. Thank you for your vast contribution to the debate! We are now all wiser, having read your valued insight!

Former Labour Voter. Laurel and Hardy were massive stars in their time, just like Joy and Mark are now.

brooneyes said...

Quote. "My main focus now is to tackle and defeat the BNP."

Two things. First, your main focus should be on rebuilding the
economic infrastructure of this city, putting in place an education system capable of producing the standards that we all want to see. Your focus should be aimed firmly at the crappy lot our pensioners have at the minute,
or perhaps a fully co-ordinated, citywide youth policy. Secondly, in typical lefty fashion you choose to focus not on the people that are most needy, but on the spiteful, loser politics of the far left. If you're looking for a fight Barnesy, you're in the right place, but if you think you can defeat us, why haven't you and the rest of these Labour mongrels done it before?
That's right, you keep trying, but you keep getting beaten. You'd be far better off concentrating on politics than making promises you can't keep.

former labour voter but will vote for barnes said...

I know Stan and Ollie were famous. They were famous for making us laugh and we laughed at them for getting everything wrong at all times. They never succeeded in anything and collapsed everything around them, much to our mirth.
Yes, Joy Garner and Mark Davis are like Stan and Ollie. Very much so.
Barnes pisses all over them.

brooneyes said...

former labour voter but will vote for barnes.

That's not saying a lot.

Bob Bagley said...

Tony, what you have to remember is that it is down to the 15 Labour councillors to decide who will be the Labour candidate for council leader. I would have thought it is unlikely to be Mike Barnes as he does not seem to be very popular amongst other Labour councillors after being voted out as their deputy leader last year.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Craig on this one, I blame immigrants.

terry turbo said...

As Brooneyes said, "sort out the infrastructure without the failed party politics" or else your in for the same problems as Wolfe, and Meredith.
There must be agreement with all party's in rebuilding 60 years of Labour failure, whoever takes the helm.
Tony, you say that Mike Barnes wants to stop the rise (with your help)of the BNP, well if this is the case, and travelling down the same road as Meredith,he is on to a loser.
You keep on about what the BNP will bring to the table, in order to rebuild this City,and in the next speech say "they will be a disaster for this City" but fail to see that no one from the other party's is posting their intentions to take this City forward.
I also noted in the debate previously that no one else came up with any idea's on how to cut the financial waste, and cutting the insidious poll tax down.
These are the things that people want, not political infighting to satisfy their masters in London.

brooneyes said...

I get the feeling you're flogging a dead horse with Tony and chums. If they are stupid enough to still want Labour representation after all the damage that party has inflicted on this city, that is their call to make. We'll concentrate our efforts elsewhere and achieve our aims without the votes of those too pigheaded to listen.

Shaun Bennett said...

I would much prefer Alan Rigby as Leader, as I think that Mike Barnes is just the more acceptable face of the old Labour regime. He just finds subtler ways of putting his party interest ahead of the city than his colleagues more blatant attempts.

However, in reality, Mike probably has more chance of becomming Leader. Unfortunately, we should start from the presumption that Conservative and Lib Dem councillors would be much much happier to continue an alliance with Labour than they would be to go in with the Independents that they have spent the last few years trying to marginalise.

If we also then presume that Ibbs and Barnes worked closely on the anti-mayor referendum we then find ourselves drawn inevitably towards the possibility of a continuation of the out-of-touch Meredith coalition under a new head.

If we then assume that most Labour councillors wouldn't be able to stomach supporting a Tory Leader of the council, whilst most Tory and Liberal councillors would be quite prepared to support a Labour leader of the council, we end up with no choice but another Labour Leader. The question then is who has most support for the position within the Labour group?

One key factor that could well influence the outcome of the Leadership contest however is whatever happens in the challenged Northwood and Birches Head election result. At present with the elected mayor, the Meredith Coalition controls a bare majority on the council of something like 2 votes.

Once the mayor is taken out of the equation then it would only take the loss of around one seat to the opposition parties for that coalition to lose its majority. If the sitting Lib Dem in Northwood then lose the seat on appeal to Eve Maley it would be technically possible for all the opposition parties (Independent, Potts Alliance and BNP) to gang together to form a majority.

Nevertheless, without the defection of either the Tories or Lib Dems to support an Independent led coalition however, such an outcome still seems highly unlikely as we should presume that many or at least some of those oppostion councillors would not be prepared to support a coalition including the BNP.

So whilst the Northwood result will make a crucial difference on paper, it will probably be the Tories and Lib Dems that finally determine who the next Leader of the council will be.

Ian Norris said...

What has Mike Barnes that make everyone love him, was he not part of the Labour innner sanctum with Salih and co in the past, sit at the back hatching their little plots. Did he not throw hios dummy out pram on munerous occasions and resigned from Chair of the Poilicy Committee due to differences within the party, is this the man of a Steady and Robust Leadership?

no such thing as society said...

Yes Ian your memory is as long as mine.

Mike Barnes is one of the few survivors from the incompetent and discredited Barry Stockley Labour leadership which the Independents finally got rid of in 2002. To go back to those days would be just as bad as the elected mayor.

Suedo Images said...
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Anonymous said...
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Ian Norris said...

no such thing as society: is confused if you can why can't the others? Mike keeps his head down and comes out a saviour for removing a mayor, and everyone forgets the past.. Great here we go again..

nicky said...

The trouble with labour at the moment, especially locally, is that there is so much in fighting and they are all so much up their own agendas that they don't pay enough attention to running the city.

So Mike Barnes' priority is to fight the BNP, I guess that is when he finds any time away from fighting othr parts of labour. So with all that going on when is he going to have any time to do anything useful in the council?

Now I've sort of got the impression that as labour councillors go, Mike Barnes is one of the least bad ones, but that may not be saying much.

Nita, I think I know what you are saying when you refer to Mike's statement about listening to people. However it isn't terribly useful to listen to people and then shaft them anyway. This listening thing needs to be backed up by appropriate actions.

Craig, well said. That's my point, the focus should be for doing good in the city and you've given some good examples, rather than just fighting other parties.

Terry also, I agree, get going with good ideas instead of fighting.

Shaun, I agree, Rigby over Barnes by a long way.

Debbie said...

He is like Obama a pretty lad(with SFA policies ) and on the TV he was calmer than Breeze BUT BUT BUT he did not say anything.

This is where I do not understand Tony:
Mike is vacuous , evasive he is a smarmy guy with no policies. If he was not in your trousers he would be selling dodgy three pieces in shelton.

Tony :'No ducking! You say he did not duck the issue!
He did not ducking say anything a total policy VACUUM. The only comment he made was about his likelihood of winning the lottery. He was one of the Stockley old gang except he never had the balls to speak out he just followed and now pretends he was not there.
This was the kid at school who was picked last when you were picking football teams


Tony you seem a decent guy but I am always amazed at your lack of judgement of people. You hold Jan Weber in AWE and now this creep I am very concerned about your state of mind.

You should not be impressed by people who find reading the Beano a difficult task.

brooneyes said...

Hehehe, well said Debbie, I keep telling Tony he needs to refine the structure upon which he makes his political decisions, but the dozy old lefty hasn't taken that advice yet.

Tony said...

Craig, No, you keep telling me to vote BNP. I'd be more willing to put my testicles through a mangle than vote for your extreme party of hate!

Thanks for your concern. I am not in awe of Jan Webber, I think she has done a good job but, until the schools results are way above the national average, there is still much work to be done.
I am genuine and i got my honest opinion unlike others on this blog that use it as a party election broadcast and can't acknowledge when another party does something right or another politician comes up with a good idea.
I base my judgement of Mike Barnes on the fact that he has stuck his neck out and gone against the rest of the nodding doll like councillors and held out for what he believes in. He could have followed the pack like the rest. This, in my opinion, sets him apart from those councillors who follow the mayor and the party hierarchy like the rats that followed the pied piper!

nita said...

Bob Bagley. As you say, it is upto the 15 Labour Councillors to put a candidate forward. It does seem unlikely to be Mike Barnes, if as you say, he is not popular with the other Councillors.

As there is no overall control, some parties have to form alliances? It will all be very interesting to see, who joins with what party.

Debbie, you seem to have a problem with Jan Webber, and I have a feeling I know why, but that is upto you. Who do you think would make a good Leader then?

Ian Norris said...

Tony: what did you think of Mike Barnes performance on Question Time, pretty negative image to portray on national TV I thought.

As for being a Strong leader Why did he Quit as Chair of Governance commission, went he felt under too much pressure to LIMIT the Elected Mayors. If he was strong and stood by what he believes, he would have listened to the other Cllrs and requested limits on the Mayors Powers. instead he stood down.

nita said...

Ian Norris. I am very interested in your last comment.

So, are you telling us, that Councillors could have requested limits on the power that the Mayor has? Sounds like a good idea. This would have been useful, especially when the majority did not agree with a decision being made.

This wont be a popular comment, but I think the Council has been better under the Mayoral System. Maybe, the current Mayor has not listened enough to public opinion, and not taken advice from fellow Councillors, maybe he has been allowed too much power.

I now see what Terry and Craig have been trying to say, before the referendum. You can always demand a change in the power that the Mayor has.


Tony said...

Mike comment on QT might have been negative, but was completely accurate. He was keen to point out that our city is close to being run by an extreme party (nowhere else in the country). Mike was pointing out that with the EMB (all parties apart from the BNP) there are no other voices apart from the BNP. This is why in my opinion Ian, the BNP prosper in Stoke and their leaders know that Stoke is a unique case.

Ian Norris said...

Nita: Yes the Councillors drew up the Consitition for how the City would be run under Mayor and Manager, this included the Mayors Powers and the Powers Delegated out to Council Officers.

The Elected Mayor system good have been excellent, but sadly Cllrs fought against it, and now that D4S have got they system they wanted, they seem unwilling to now be involved in who the leader will actually be.

Tony: so do you believe the Cabinet will be made up of new members from all Parties or will then EMB simply be renamed the cabinent?
and how will the Cabinent succeed where the EMB has failed?

brooneyes said...

Tony, what's this b*llocks about extremism you're always writing?
If these are the sort of biased comments you are going to be making, let's have some clarification as to what you consider extreme.

brooneyes said...

I'm glad you can see what myself and Terry were pushing for prior to the election, but it is just as relavent now as then. Have those candidates for leader gathered, and let's get the groundrules laid down before the
the vote is taken! Let's have them agree publicly to stick to what they say. Let's have them explain what they will do about education,
the economy, transport, the environment, law and order, housing. Let's back those with the best ideas for the city. All I ask is that you give the BNP an equal
chance to put forward our ideas.

nicky said...

Ian, re Mike Barnes and question time: I wrote a blog on that at the time and I can recall wondering what to say about him, but it just sounded like jibberish to me, I'd recorded it so played it back a few times. But personally I still wasn't getting it, so I just left him out. When he presented the case for the leader system on the politics show he made a good deal more sense though.

Nita, It was the power the mayor had that swayed my view against that system. Meredith used the power too much, but anyone else who became mayor could too and I just thought that was too undemocratic. I wouldn't have minded a mayor with much more limited powers. But now we have the leader system and it needs to be made to work well.

Craig, your point is very relevant. I hope council is considering this but we are not hearing much about it. I agree it is vital to lay down the rules and have it clarified how it is going to work. I would like to hear what the potential leaders have to say about all those key important issues that you mention and how decisions on these things will be made in the new leader and cabinet system and how all councillors get to have their input. All should have an equal chance to put forward their ideas for the city.

Debbie said...

Nita share your feelings!!
As you said:
'Debbie, you seem to have a problem with Jan Webber, and I have a feeling I know why, but that is up to you.'

I do not have a problemm with her. She was the default choice as Headteacher when few decent candidates applied. Having met her and spoken to her on a number of occasions she is about as charismatic as suet. She is not popular amongst many of her staff some of whom I know well. Finally Tony and Jan had the opportunity to amalgamate LHS with the Mitchell but moving to Bentillee was below her.

Apart from that I am sure her mother loves her.

Alison said...

Interesting comments about Jan Debbie. Is it a case of the green eyed monster? Perhaps you applied for the job and didn't get it?

Whatever your reasons, you obviously have no idea about Jan's relationship with her current staff. Or of how well regarded she is in the education community, not just locally, but regionally and nationally.

I really wish you would make yourself properly known to us, as you seem to have a lot to say about Longton and seem to know much more than the Governors do about what is actually happening there.

As for the rubbish you spout about the Mitchell takeover/merger (whatever Howard's woolly term for it was at the time), it is absolute nonsense to say the moving to Bentilee was "beneath Jan". The decisions regarding that issue were made by the Governors collectively, for the good of the STUDENTS. How is it right to make students who live in Meir travel (usually walking) to Bentilee? There were many other reasons which I know of, but I don't see why we should have to justify them to someone who hides behind anonymity - is Debbie even your real name? You say you work at another local high school -which one? And I notice that in your reply to Nita, you failed to answer the really important question - what makes you a good leader? And I would love to meet you, so I can criticise your personality as being "as charismatic as suet".

If you have half the guts, determination and drive, plus loyalty to staff and students alike, that Jan Webber has, perhaps you'll be a headteacher yourself one day. But with your spiteful comments, I doubt that you have much about you at all.

Final note - you have a stupid link from your profile about Tony's promise "never to remove a blog". You know full well why the Edensor blogs were pulled from this site - the ex education official accused us of having a vendetta. I am sure you know which ex education official we mean - he's probably a good friend of yours.

nita said...


If we must revisit the Mitchel/Longton merger we will.

There were good and valid reasons for both sets of Governors not welcoming the merger of the two schools.

I attended the consultation, at Mitchell, with a colleague, all those years ago. I know what was said, by the Head, and Chair, all very positive comments, "it would be their school, for their kids, and maybe a few kids from Longton would come along too". The parents were not too happy either, and some comments were made about Longton High School and its kids. So, it is a little unfair to say, that it was because Jan Webber did not want her kids going to Bentilee. Incorrect.

We have moved on now, and yes, maybe things would have been different if the merger had gone ahead. It didnt though did it, because the plans were halted, and have since been changed again.

I do not wish to enter into the debate whether the staff like/dislike Jan Webber. If they do or do not is irrelevant, but they have all just contributed to getting a good ofsted report, so they must work well together somewhere along the line.

Ian Norris said...

Nicky: you were not alone no one metioned Mike Barnes performance on QT, either it was because he wasn't noticed or stnad out or make any real contribution OR others just wanted to attack Cllr Rigby?

Anyway all talk of debates with potential leaders, its all pointless now as only the 60 elected Cllrs now have a say. So dont expect nay grand gestures from the potential candidates, and certianly dont expect Democracy for Stoke to publicly voiuce who they will nominate and support they dnont care anymore the mayor has gone (job done)