Thursday, 13 November 2008


Today, I have spoken to a possible candidate for Council Leader, Alan Rigby.

Alan talked to Pitsnpots about his hopes and fears for the future of our city.

Alan told me, that it was his personal decision to declare his desire to become a contender for the post of Council Leader. He also said, that he was completely against all party politics. He feels that the EMB has been completely wrong for our city, because it has stitched up the vote before any debate. He felt that the Mayor wanted, and got each party leader on the EMB, so that their party whips, would ensure that any decision that the Mayor wanted was pushed through. Alan says that an example of how the EMB has been detrimental to the city, is to count the number of Press Officers, PR Officers and IT Officers that get the Mayor's message out, he feels that this is a classic case of wasting public money.

He is also suspicious, about the incoming Transition Board, because some members represent ideals that the city has already voted out. Mike Tappin was rejected as an MEP, and as a city councillor. Lloyd Cooke of the Christian Saltbox Centre was a huge supporter of Mike Wolfe and Mark Meredith, and now that the mayoral system has been rejected, Alan feels that to have these two board members is inappropriate. He urged caution, with regard to the Transition Board, because he believes that central government wants to run local politics.

Alan wanted to clear up his alleged support of the BNP, by saying that he detests what the BNP stand for nationally, he believes that untethered immigration has to be stopped, but he believes that any genuine Asylum case should not be refused, especially when there is a danger to lives.

Alan believes that the BNP have some hard working councillors such as Alby & Ellie Walker and Mike Coleman, who he has worked with on several committees.
He was very keen to point out that he is not racist, and that he has many African and Asian friends.

Alan is also against Labour nationally, as he believes they have taken our country into two illegal wars.

Mr Rigby said that the Independents have had to form a group, so that they can access all facets of council life. He wants the Independents to be a group, but each member can vote on any issue how they wish, and that there isn't or never will be a party whip.

Mr Rigby is a man of faith, a lay preacher and he has voted using his Christian beliefs in his time as a councillor, with the Dimensions fiasco and the Moblie Libraries being taken off the road, as examples.

Alan says that too many councillors serve their parties first, and their electorate second in this city, and he is keen that everyone who serves in this cabinet puts the people before the parties every time. He would pick the best people for the cabinet positions, and what party they represent would not come into it, as he would work with any party or individual who would work in the interest of the city.

Alan promised that every issue would be debated in the council chamber and that everyone would have a free vote. He says he wants openness and transparency.

On the emergence of D4S, Alan said that he thought that they had bought the most difficult issues into the public domain and that they had highlighted the need for democracy in our City.

He feels that he has a better than 50-50 chance of becoming the Council Leader.

He told me that a BNP councillor had approached him in the corridors of the civic offices, and told him that he would vote for him if he stood as council leader because he is a man of integrity.

He finished by telling me, that he feels the public may show support for him because he may not be the best or the most experienced, but he is 100% honest and that should be enough to show that he is different to what has gone before.

This post may get a response, so tell us what you feel about this post from a man who is one of the main contenders............................................


Shaun Bennett said...

Of course, we'll need to see which names emerge as the decision gets closer, however at this moment in time I for one would be very happy to see Alan Rigby as Leader of the council.

As has been pointed out, Alan is essentially a good and honest man who puts his residents first-by contrast to one or two other contenders in this race which no doubt others will mention.

I just hope that his detractors-and there will be some from amongst the various party bloggers-do not choose to attack Alan as the man who would put the BNP in by the back door. I'm sure that Alan has the commonsense to agree with BNP arguments where they are right and to ferociously attack them where they are out of line. That is what we should expect from a council leader. We cannot continue to base the argument on 'everything the BNP say must be wrong and evil because its the BNP'. Perhaps if we engage, the public will become more convinced by the arguments.

Personally, I would like to see a coalition of Independents, Conservatives and mabye Lib Dems take control of the governance of the city similar to the arrangements we had under Geoff Davies back in 2002. I am convinced that if we had not adopted the mayoral system and elected Mike Wolfe after just a few months of that coalition, the city would not have been in the depths we find ourselves in now. I still think that the Independent-Tory coalition has something to offer the city, and I am appalled that the Conservative group strategy seems to have been to alienate Alan and the Independent group over the last few years.

One bit of advice I would give to Alan though is that if he does end up leading a coalition of Independents, Tories and Liberals please don't feel compelled to appoint certain person as your deputy just because they are their official group leader, otherwise you'll get off to a bad start with the electorate straight away!

TruthTeller2 said...

Shaun, Do you mean Dodger Fibbs darling of Trentham per chance?

Tony said...

This was a difficult one for me really. This interview was done over the phone but I'm sure that I have reflected our discussion accurately. After I saw the Question Time programme I so wanted to dislike Alan but, truth is I did like him and he came across as a genuine man that was a bit naive when he was elected and was rather taken aback with just how stitched up things were in our council. I applaud his bravery for coming out and being the first to say that he wants to lead the council. I get the impression that he will get more objections from within the council to the fact that he as only been a councillor for a short time. Is this a bad thing? Where are the voices of the other contenders? We need to hear them! Alan also stated that he is willing to face the public on pitsnpots on Focal next Friday. The man has the courage of his convictions!

Bob Bagley said...

OK Mr. Rigby, if you want to be taken seriously lets have some policies from you!

I won't be holding my breath as Independents such as Alan Rigby define themselves by what they are against rather than what they are for. But, nevertheless, perhaps the time has come to put Rigby and his BNP allies in office so that people can see what they have been voting for.

nita said...

I would like to thank Alan Rigby for giving us his honest opinions.

Having read everything that he has to say, I feel that he should be a serious contender for Leader.

I like the idea that he would pick the best people to sit on the cabinets, and it would not come
down to what party they represent. Do you want a cabinet that will always agree with you, No. Do you want a cabinet that will be allowed to disagree if they feel a decision is wrong, Yes. I get the impression, that Alan Rigby would listen to every opinion made, and that is a positive step forward for the City.

Tony said...

you will have your chance to put your questions to Mr Rigby during the pitsnpots on Focal Radio next Friday either through the blog or on the phone. Will you take part?

Joseph Stalin said...

I think Lee Wagner would make an ideal leader for the city council!

Tony said...

Joe Now you're just being naughty!

Joseph Stalin said...

Yes, I think I shall give Focal a call on Friday and ask Riggers if he would have a place for Lee on the cabinet.

Ian Norris said...

joe: you need to releasie the City Independents are not the same as those of the indy/Tory/Labour Allaince. Its not difficult. just ask them if they will vote under a whip.

Fray-Bentos said...

Alan Rigby to lead the council?

One day Thomas a man shall land on the moon!

no such thing as society said...

Yes Ian Norris, but you served with Lee Wanger as a councillor in Tunstall and to this day you have never condemned him for his child porn conviction or distanced yourself from him!

Joseph Stalin said...

Norris, you need to realise when someone is being facetious!

Bob Bagley said...

Tony, here's a question to put to Mr. Rigby.

Will he rule out appointing BNP councillors to positions in his cabinet if he becomes the Council Leader?

nita said...

Bob. This can be a question that you can put to Mr Rigby directly next Friday on Focal Radio, either through the blog or by phone.

Would you object to BNP Councillors sitting on his cabinet, if he was elected as Leader?

I personally think, that as long as we have Councillors sitting on the Cabinet, who will represent the people, and work as a team, to take the City forward, it is irrelevant what party they come from.

Bob Bagley said...

Yes Nita I would object to BNP councillors being appointed to the cabinet as they are not a fit party to hold those positions given their views. And if Mr. Rigby will not rule out having the BNP in his cabinet then he will show that he is not a fit individual to lead the council.

brooneyes said...

Bob, you are the worst kind of fascist. The Chinese government obviously represent your ideal
political regime, so feel free to leave anytime.

Hugh said...

Bob - I believe that the kind of inflexibility that you show towards "dissent" of any kind (especially towards the Independents on the City Council)is one of the major failings of the current, and previous, administrations.

Is it not better to appoint to the Cabinet a Councillor who has some sort of experience of his portfolio - for instance a former teacher running education, a bus/train/truck driver running transport, etc. - than one who has merely risen in the ranks of his local party - viz. a (former?) chiropodist running Childrens Services?

S-o-T is in such dire straights now that it desperately needs people to run it who are open and honest, who know what the people of the City need and want, and who are prepared to defy Central Government if necessary for the good of the City.

If Cabinet members are chosen for their ability to get things done for the benefit of the people, so much the better.

Am I living in Cloud Cuckoo Land? Possibly, but we can all dream!

nita said...

There are 60 Councillors elected to the Council, 9 of them are BNP, these were duly elected by the people of the City. Whilst, I am no supporter of BNP policies, it is the job of the Council Leader to pick the best Cabinet he can.
Mr Rigby has truthfully said, that he has worked with three of them, and believes, that they are very hard working Councillors. Would he be wrong to put them on his cabinet? Would it be good for our City, if he appointed three work shy and unmotivated Councillors to his Cabinet, just for the sake of not being associated with the BNP?

Bob Bagley said...

Hugh - That might be all well and good if the BNP was full of talent but clearly they are not. What about Steve Batkin only spoke twice in his first two years as a councillor and one of those times it was to ask what "abstain" meant? He was also told to stop talking to the media after he questioned key facts relating to the Holocaust, including saying that Jewish people refused to debate the subject because they would be exposed as liars. Would he be a suitable person to be in charge of education in the city?

If thats what you want then bring it on, lets have the BNP/Independents running the council so that people can finally see the kind of people they have been electing to the council.

bnp and proud said...

Its all Barry stockleys fault.
Kick all asians out.

Hugh said...

Bob, I abhor Batkin's views - indeed I have seen first-hand incontrovertible evidence of what he denies. No, the man is not suitable for holding any Cabinet post. Is he, or has he ever been, a teacher? I assume he has not, and so he would automatically go to the bottom of the heap for that particular post.

My point is that no-one should be excluded from the Cabinet because he/she does not belong to a certain political party or grouping - an action that stifles open political debate.

I am sure that, within the current Labour group, there are very able Councillors who are not in the Mayor's Cabinet because they are not senior enough within that group. Is this fair? I don't think so.

I sincerely hope that any future Cabinet will be selected on merit, not on time served or by political party membership.

no such thing as society said...

When Alan Rigby stood for election to the council 18 months ago his campaign was run for him by Lee Wanger and he became a member of the 'Independent' part of the Conservative & Independent Alliance after his election.

So when Wanger was running Mr. Rigby's election campaign it was fine by him that Wanger is a convicted paedophile but as Mr. Rigby is now a 'man of integrity' presumably it is not?

If a week is along time in politics then 18 months must be an eternity!

nita said...

Hugh, we have seen first hand Steve Batkin's opinions on certain schools in the City. His comments on them at Full Council were disgraceful.

So, this is certainly one BNP Councillor who should not sit on the Cabinet.

Anonymous said...

you don't half float with the wind nita.I bety when ten buses pull up at your stop, you get on all of them!

brooneyes said...

You know, listening to you people criticise Cllr Batkin, one thing becomes blatantly obvious. You are all two faced. You criticise him for telling it how he sees it, but you vote in to run this city, every liar, fraudster, and charlatan! These people have destroyed this city, but you lot can't get away from those three little letters. All of you fearful
that the truth of your incompetence and stupidity, and even criminality, will be dragged out into the open for all to see!
The key to saving this city will be policy, not bitching and backbiting.

Big Jim said...

Craig's upset because he didn't get elected. As for liars and charlatans Steve Batkin has to be one of the worst, claiming dole when there's plenty of jobs to be had.

Town Hall Observer said...

Clearly electing Alan Rigby as leader of the council would be BNP by proxy.

Hugh said...

Craig - you have already said elsewhere on this blog that you personally have seen evidence of the Holocaust. What I don't understand, and I hope that you have difficulty in understanding, is how anybody can deny that something as verifiable as the Holocaust happened. If somebody can be so blinkered (or even mendacious) as to want to rewrite history for their own end (I know the Brits have been doing it for hundreds of years re. The Empire, etc.), then I want nothing to do with them, nor do I want them to run anything of which I am a part.

There you are - no three letter acronyms!

brooneyes said...

what this is really all about
is the disputing of the numbers killed in these "death camps". In one camp where gassing was said to have taken place, there were no shower buildings or gas chambers.
I haven't looked into this in depth, but if there's a query over the numbers killed, why not look into it in a logical and commonsense manner, instead of all this frothing at the mouth cobblers?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Craig in this one, I blame immigrants. And I too am going to deny the existence of the holocaust, then say my family fought against Nazism even though I belong to a party with the same values.

Hugh said...


Personal opinion: Even one was one too many.

"why not look into it in a logical and commonsense manner" - couldn't agree more - this and everything else!

"frothing at the mouth" - can't remember if I had the third jab when I was done for rabies. Maybe I should check?

Anonymous said...

There is one major problem with these discussions of a cabinet of talents.

Political Groups!

Where we elect members of a political party to serve as councillors we know they will sit as a group. This means they will come to a democratic decision and then vote en bloc.

You simply won't get members of the political groups sitting in a cabinet unless the whole group agrees to be part of a coalition. This will be true of all the groups, Lab, Tory, Lib Dem, even BNP.

For all Alan's "good intentions" and desire to use the talents around the chamber he won't even be leader unless he cuts a deal with one or two of the bigger groups, and it's doubtful they would let him decide their policy.

This is simply the way politics in our Council, and every other one, works.

brooneyes said...


"Everyone was one too many."

Shaun Bennett said...

Truthteller2, I couldn't possibly comment.

This thread has gone exactly the way I expected, and precisely the way that I hoped it wouldn't. We're all getting very hung up on whether a Rigby cabinet should include BNP councillors or not.

I think that Alan has made it quite clear where he stands with regards to the BNP in the article: that he deplores a lot of what the BNP do and say, but that he is not prepared to rule out everything that they say just on the basis of who the messenger is.

And that in my view is how it SHOULD be. Lets discuss what the BNP say by all means, but don't rule out everything that is said by BNP people just because you don't like them. If on the off chance they are right on an issue, or if they may be seen to be right on an issue, we should be able to think about it without thinking that anyone who agrees with them are closet BNP supporters.

I've said it before, but if we can't take these ideas on without resorting to abuse, heckling and cry's of 'Nazi' as a response, then people will think that they must be right as there is no answer to them. If we go down that route and continue to exclude BNP just because we don't like them, then they will continue to receive public support. We need to take them on where they are wrong, engage with them and SHOW that they are wrong whilst adopting their ideas as we would with ANY political party where they are right.

nita said...

Anonymous 11.03. You seem to be mistaken, I certainly do not float on the wind.

If there were 10 buses, I'd get on every one? What a ridiculous statement to make. First of all, I didn't vote for the Leader System in the first place, so that is one bus I must have missed.

Now, the people of the City, (well a small fraction of them), have decided on the system we are to have, we are in the process of Councillors putting themselves forward for Leader. Upto now, it is, in my opinion, that these two could do a good job. So, that's two buses I would get on.

So, I'm now stuck at the bus stop, waiting for the third person to put his/her name forward, then I'll decide if I get on or not.

Ian Norris said...

no such thing as society: mmm Labour Councillors also work with Lee, and Lee does work for them. and Lee is on the Tory/Lib/Lab allaince. Have any of these seen the need to say anything about Lee ?? er NO. so your point is?

brooneyes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
no such thing as society said...

Thats fine with me Ian.

Alan Rigby should be asked if he would be prepared to have any of these in his cabinet:

BNP (racists)
Wanger (paedophile)
Shotton (animal abuser)

Ian Norris said...

no such thing as society: Sadly after the long hard fight of Councillors to remove the elected mayor, those coming forward to pick up the mantle are being very quiet. Do any of them actually want the Job or was they hoping the Eleceted Mayor would stay in place and they could continue to blame them.

no such thing as society said...

Yes Ian, I think this is certainly the case with the City Independents who are happy to blame others but seem reluctant to do anything themselves.

Although they might vote for Rigby to be leader I can't see many of the Independents wanting to take on the responsibility of serving as cabinet members. I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

nicky said...

Alan Rigby seems to me to be a great guy. I would be very happy to see him as leader. It's a good blog you've done about him Tony.

I agree with practically every word Alan says here. The EMB has been a disaster. I view the transition board with some suspicion also. I also agree with what he says about the BNP. I detest some of the BNP national policies also, as I have explained in other comments previously. But on the other hand they do have some good councillors and some good local ideas. I also agree with Alan about being against labour nationally, but in my case I don't like the tories or libdems either!

I agree with Alan that local government needs to be much less about party politics and more about serving the people. That's why he wants independents to vote the way that is most suitable for the people in their wards. That is the way it should be. In the ward where I live we have an independent councillor who serves the people properly and represents their interests and two tory fools who serve nobody but themselves. Alan would pick the best people for cabinet regardless of party, that is how I think it should be. Free votes, openness and transparency - fantastic.

The only way I differ from Alan is that he is a Christian and I am an athiest, but that is of little consequence, I have nothing against Christians, he can have his religion and I'll have my lack of it.

I do believe Alan is an honest guy and that is a quality I value very much. I wish Alan well and do hope he becomes leader because I think that then the cabinet will function well and the council will operate in a far more democratic way than we have been used to under the Meredith dictatorship.

Shaun I agree with some points you've made too. It is fine to agree with BNP arguments when they make sense and disagree when they don't, without taking a prejudiced view that everything the BNP say must be evil because it's the BNP. I don't agree with you that an independent, tory, libdem cabinet would be best. I think just pick those who would be good regardless of party. I do agree with you about the particular tory not to include. But personally I wouldn't include either of the Trentham chuckle brothers, especially after witnessing some garbage they were spouting a couple of days ago.

Nita you make the good point that 9out of 60 councillors are BNP, a fair proportion and question whether it would be wrong to include any BNP in the cabinet. Well if they are good councillors, why not. (Bob will have a go at me now.) People out there have actually voted for them, it's democratic representation.

Hugh, I'm quite happy to join you in your cloud cuckoo land. Great points, have people with relevant experience and maybe even a bit of common sense holding portfolios, better than the blinkered chiropodist in charge of children's services.
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say S-o-T "desperately needs people to run it who are open and honest, who know what the people of the City need and want, and who are prepared to defy Central Government if necessary for the good of the City". Well said!

Tony said...

You put your points across with your usual level headed way. One thing that concerns me is that Alan admitted to me that he has been nieve and he says his biggest fault is that he puts too much trust in people. Now, trust is fine, but, does that mean he would trust a councillor who he thought he could work with only to the find that person is pushing through his own extreme agenda? Or would he put too much trust in paid officers who could use that trust to further their visions (ie SERCO). It is fine to be able to put trust but I think I want a leader who will lead, not a leader who places trust in people who have the potential to have him over! That said there is no doubt that Alan is a nice man is cares passionately about our city.

Ian Norris said...

no such thing as society : your memory seem to be failing you this time, Independents did take control of the Cabinet for 6mths(would have been more but then Mike Wolfe then took over) and run the City.

brooneyes said...

Tony, I think you're right. These
bloody lefty extremists might just try to sneak their way on to the
Or isn't that what you meant?

nicky said...


I think Alan is not nearly as 'daft' in terms of being too trusting as you report him saying he is. I think he is intelligent enough to see the issues. Of course everyone has their agendae but it's about working together where those coincide and debating the issues where they don't.

In the new system it should be easier to get proper democracy. You couldn't get much more extreme local government than the Meredith dictatorship.

As for the likes of serco, there is proof via his voting record that Alan has not been fooled by them one bit. He voted at the 9th July CYP O&S committee to keep Trentham High open in federation with St.Joseph's, despite serco agents talking utter crap. Then on 2nd October full council meeting he voted yes to 3 excellent ammendments to the sack serco motion, put forward by others who are no fools either; Peter Kent-Baguley, Alby Walker and Terry Follows. Then he was one of fewer who had the guts to vote yes to Terry Follows original sack serco motion. QED.

I think Alan is very capable of leadership and what that means is to coordinate input from across the political spectrum in council and make the most of councillors knowledge and skills.

It would be quite a good thing to have an independent councillor as leader in my view. The city independent group is one of the largest groups, so a member of that group would be sensible if being from a large group is deemed to be important.

no such thing as society said...

Ian, does this mean you are saying that the City Independents will take on the running of the council next May (leaving aside for the moment who they may or may not form alliances with)?

Ian Norris said...

no such thing as society: why wouldn't they? They did in this past. Attemoting a cross party cabinent but Labour refused to sit on the Cabinent.

Tony said...

Nicky, I spoke to the guy and reported what he said to me, no more. He is a thoroughly nice man but whether he is Leader material we'll have to wait to see.

Former Town Clerk's Dept said...

All we need to know about this man is here:

Nice bloke, but very naive.