This was my first time out with the Newby team (organised by Vanda Inman )and the area was a big contrast from the Ramshill ward at the other end of Scarborough. Much smaller houses and no multi occupancy at all. (Such a relief – I had to spend lots of time trying to get into places divided into flats!) Quite a lot of maintenance needed doing with dodgy pavements in several streets. I got a lot of complaints about how long people had been waiting to get something done about them. More
Along with my newly elected fellow Labour County Councillors a strange affliction has infected us. The symptoms are easily spotted, walking along seemingly obsessed with looking down drains and gullies, an unhealthy preoccupation with potholes and a fascination with road markings.
Then a week or two later I’ll be doing it again but this time in the company of the local highways surveyor and I’m pleased to say that much of the work will be done. Some things take a little longer but I’m pleased I’ve obtained £30,000 for carriageway repairs in the next financial year for Fieldside in the Northstead area of Scarborough.
There is also the sheer difficulty in getting my head around nearly a £1 billion budget and the coalition government cuts. In my specialist policy area of health and social care it looks grim for many people receiving social services as they will be ineligible under even tougher eligibility criteria.
This is all against a background of the so-called welfare reforms including the bedroom tax and the enforced reclassification of people moving from health related benefits to job seekers allowance.
This afternoon (Thursday 10th July) I will be attending the first meeting of the County Council area committee which covers the Borough of Scarborough. It will be interesting to see how the sole surviving Independent member and the UKIP member cast their votes.
On the Borough Council there are two by-elections to be fought after Tory councillors resigned in Newby and Ramshill. Both are winnable by Labour, particularly Ramshill, where we once held one of the two seats and which has a volatile political history. We’re eager for both elections to be fought as soon as possible.
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Concerns have been raised by Councillor John Ritchie about the level of consultation with parents as Hinderwell School in Seamer appears to move relentlessly closer to becoming an academy.
“People have already been told it’s becoming an academy. I believe the decision was taken weeks ago. There’s nothing wrong with academies – they can work – but they’re not the only answer and schools should not be forced into it.
The school has produced no evidence that they’ve had a balanced look at this and considered the alternatives.”
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The Labour Party was set up by the trade union movement to provide a political voice for working people but it is now much more than that. It aims to speak for EVERYONE who shares our values. But that trade union connection is important in keeping us grounded and in touch with what working people think is important. It also provides a real link – important at a time when all political parties have a small individual membership. We should remember that more than 6.5 million people belong to trade unions.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the particular selection in Falkirk, the principle of Unions trying to get more union members into the House of Commons is important. Our MPs are now increasingly professional and middle class with too little shared experience with those millions of people who are not these things.
For many years I was Political Officer for the Shop Workers’ union, Usdaw, and in my day our Rules only allowed us to sponsor our members who had worked in our trades. Sadly, this is no longer the case for my union and for most unions. But this is partly the result of our better educational chances. Labour’s abolition of the eleven plus and the near universality of comprehensive schools mean that many, many more working class boys and girls get the educational opportunities that allow them to progress into professional and managerial jobs. Because of this, unions have an even bigger responsibility to look among its members to find people who will represent from their own practical experience a section of society increasingly absent in political decision making. Turning to the current controversy . Paying someone’s Labour Party membership fees for them is clearly wrong – but trying hard to encourage union members to join individual Labour parties is clearly right. We should never forget this!
When I hear the Tories baying for blood, their hypocrisy makes me sick.
All union members have a choice as to whether they pay into Unions’ political funds. If they don’t want any part of their subscription to be used for political work, they can opt out.
So unlike the Conservatives. Look at the companies that give money to the Conservative party! Can shareholders opt their share holding out? No Way! And do the CBI and the Employers’ Federations lobby the Conservative Party? Of course they do! And what about all those companies? We KNOW that they do their best to influence the Conservative Party. The difference is it’s all behind closed doors.
But that’s the Conservative Party for you! One law for them and another for everyone else. Such double standards.
“Jobs Yes – but not at any price” said Diana Jeuda, co-ordinator of Whitby Labour Party’s three month investigation into York Potash’s proposal to mine for potash at Dove’s Nest, three miles south of Whitby. The Whitby Labour Party branch, backed by Scarborough and Whitby Constituency Labour Party, is pleased to support the proposed mine, but with a number of environmental and safeguarding provisos.
This far-reaching and thorough investigation included a meeting with the Chief Executive of York Potash to raise questions and to clarify matters of concern. Members of the Labour Party visited Boulby mine to experience underground working and talked to Boulby’s senior management to gather information. Following further study of UN and other reports together with stock market intelligence, the Labour Party now has a 5,000 word response which you can read here or download here. More