We have had some negative posts about some Labour councillors and anonymous comments that have been a bit too far in my opinion. At least these Longton North guys have got involved and endorse what pitsnpots is trying to achieve, so I would ask contributors to bear this in mind when thinking of posting negative comments on a personal level.
Without going into too much detail I have received a call from someone who was upset by some comments made by anonymous poster on this blog. This person had sought legal advice and wanted to let us know that the blog is being monitored. You all know I never intended this blog to be a vehicle for people to use it as an opportunity to make personal attacks on anyone.
That said let's get to my mate Tom's Blog............
" In my last blog for Pits’n’pots I criticised the City Independent Group for not having any positive ideas to move the city forward. Following the blog, many posters challenged me to lay out what Labour stands for in Stoke-on-Trent. I hope that today’s blog will at least play a tiny part in laying out that vision. At this juncture, I want to thank all those that responded to my post in a constructive way, even those that were critical of what I had to say. I agreed to contribute to this site because I subscribe to what it aims to do – provoke political debate in our city. It is a shame therefore that a few posters decided to attack me, my Labour colleagues, as well as councillors on other sides of the chamber in a venomous and vitriolic way. By all means criticise us and make fun of us – we are fair game, but to be so rancorous in the way it is done damages politics and wider participation.
I also want to add a disclaimer before I begin. All comments contained within any of my blogs are my personal opinions. Official positions are set out by full meetings of the group, so while I aim to reflect the policies of the Labour group, my blogs set out my own personal comment. I thought I would start by tackling an issue I mentioned in my last blog – regeneration and the environment.
Given the global economic downturn, regeneration is undoubtedly one of if not the single most challenging questions facing Stoke-on-Trent. People have heard lots of discussion around regeneration in the past, much of based on essential groundwork and master planning for projects that will improve our city. We need to start seeing cranes and diggers move in to transform, firstly the city centre, but also communities throughout the city. This can only happen with adequate inward investment.
The Mayor’s bid to get DCLG money to improve the suburban estates will be a great kick start in seeing renewal on housing. Nevertheless attracting businesses and jobs is integral to the success of the regeneration of the city centre and to the economic wellbeing of the city as a whole. Stoke can brace the economic storm and encourage inward investment by being aggressive in the way it markets itself to potential inward investors.
We have a lot going for us; a skilled workforce, space for development, a heritage of being enterprising and two respected Universities nearby. Instaffs and the City Council must go after potential businesses like terriers and demonstrate why this is such a great place to do business. We can learn some important lessons from authorities like Derby and Manchester that went hammer and tongs to market themselves as the place to do business.
Moreover there are some golden opportunities; government and commercial relocation programmes from expensive South Eastern locations, expanding sectors such as green technology. We need to pursue these avenues uncompromisingly.
Further, while we are on the environment, Labour has better green credentials that any other party. Nationally, we have introduced the Climate Change Bill. Locally the mayor’s recent green paper focused on how we can improve Stoke-on-Trent’s environmental standing. Even at a very local level, in Longton North we are investing in more litter bins to help people dispose of their litter in way that keeps our community tidy.
A final thought on regeneration centres on an issue that is somewhat of a hobby horse for me – transport. In the past Stoke’s development has suffered because of an insufficient transport network. Stumbling blocks have included the road system, the fact that there is no rail station in the city centre, and the poor availability of public transport. Now that the A50 and A500 are in place the road network has improved massively. For me public transport is a massive challenge, as it is fundamental to the mobility of a large proportion of the City’s population. Bus service need to be more comprehensive, and as the Task and Finish Group rightly outlined – the new Hanley bus station should be something the city can be proud of as a major gateway to the city centre. The cycle city scheme is genuinely fantastic for Stoke-on-Trent, and I am delighted that work on new routes will commence in January. A city with a fully integrated and inter-model transport system is extremely attractive, not only for residents but also for potential investors. While we are some way from achieving this we are heading in the right direction, Labour has the imagination and ability to make it a reality.
I intend to look at further topics in future blogs, including amongst other issues BSF. Until then I will look forward to reading your comments."