Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Tory run Suffolk in a pickle!

The 'do nothing' party seems to be getting ready to start 2009 with some idea's. Now don't get excited, they don't seem to have done much research into them as you will see with the latest one.

The Times online has the story that a Tory Government would cut the salaries of 'fat cat' Chief Executives of Local Authorities. Now you would think that would seem like a good idea, especially to the Tory faithful, and by looking at the comments at the end of the 'Times' story, it seems the blue rinse brigade are keen on this plan.. I am sure they will be joined by all the readers of the Daily Mail. But this is when research may have been useful. Of the eight highest paid Chief Executives in the country, six are at Tory run administrations!

So why wait till after an election, Eric Pickles - get your Tory run councils to cut these salaries now. Oh that is the problem, they like to pay high salaries to the likes of Andrea Hill in Suffolk and at the same time cut services to those who need them most.

Yes it is that Andrea Hill- Suffolk (Tory run) has the second highest paid Chief Executive in the country.

Andrea Hill giving Eric Pickles a call?

So if Eric Pickles can't even get 6 Tory run administrations to cut the salaries of 'fat cats' how the hell are they going to control those in the City!

Back to the drawing board Mr Pickles.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Why are we in Afghanistan?

With the number of casualty's we are suffering, it is only right that we question why we are fighting in Afghanistan, but I believe we are right to be there and here is one more good reason why we are needed.

“You have until January 15 to stop sending your girls to schools. If you do not pay any heed to this warning, we will kill such girls. We also warn schools not to enrol any female students; otherwise, their buildings will be blown up.”

This is the latest announcement from the Pakistani friends of the Afghan Taliban. More on this at Harry's Place.

Plenty to read

Just chilling at the moment before the usual Boxing Day football.

It was our turn to entertain the family this year and my wife did a fantastic job with the cooking and we all had a good time. I received some brilliant presents including a pub quiz and some pickled eggs!

But my favourites as always were my varied selection of books. which I thought I would list and then it will serve as a reminder to make sure I read them all.

Two military books: Andy McNab and is latest offering "Seven Troop", I like his factual books and as with "Immediate Action", it has plenty on his time with my former regiment - The Royal Green Jackets. I also got some pre tour reading with a book about Afghanistan and the recent British Operations - "A Million Bullets" by James Fergusson.

My usual assortment of sports books, and this time the more humorous side of football with two books from the "When Saturday Comes" stable. "Learn to speak Capello" by Tim Bradford and "Scenes from Football History" by Dave Robinson. I also had a football trivia book by James Dart, "The Knowledge" and "Ipswich Town - On This Day" by Dan Botten.

My final book this year was my only fiction with Cris Ryan's "Firefight".

Now I just have to find time to read the as I have also three football games to watch this week and I have to start delivering the Chris Mole calenders to the constituents of Rushmere ward.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas from Ipswich to all the readers of this blog.
The cartoon is from Walter Crane, more famous as a contributor to English children's literature, he was also a notable socialist.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Dodgy "Charity collection" on Ipswich streets

I have received information from a number of Rushmere residents about "dodgy charity collections" in Rushmere. Last month we saw these unscrupulous people back on our streets. They put through your door a leaflet asking for old clothes to be put in a bag which they will collect from your door. Once the clothes are sold on the money raised will go to the 'Children's Welfare Foundation'.

Often the leaflets even state they are collecting for a Registered Charity. The Foundation were registered with the Charity Commission but are to be struck off as they have not even filed any accounts for last year. the firm collecting the clothes are 'Fortune International' who hail from Bedford. They blame the charity but when pushed they said all they had given the charity was a total of £600 in a year. Not much when they are out every day collecting over most of East Anglia.

The licensing department at Ipswich Borough Council are aware of this firm and they have not applied for a license, more worrying is that they believe this firm may even pick up bahs from doorsteps that are meant for respectable charities!

Advice= If in doubt when reading a leaflet, contact Ipswich Borough Council Licensing Department or the Charity Commission and pass on this information to other residents. Charities need all the help we can give them and getting rid of firms like Fortune International will help.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Billy and the A13

Last month I blogged about the Billy Bragg concert at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich. As i have already mentioned it was brilliant but!
there is aways a but... He never sang his tribute to South Essex/east London and in particular the A13. Now it may have been because he thought we would have preferred a song about the A12 or the A14 (or A45!).
Well thanks to the brilliant blog, 'The Poor Mouth' - you all now have a chance to hear Billy wax lyrically about that great road!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Granted a 'Leave of Absence'

Last Wednesday the Full Ipswich Borough Council granted me a 'leave of absence' for 11 months. this will enable me to keep my place on the council if I am mobilised in January to join 2 Rifles on a planned tour of Afghanistan.

I thought it may have been a quick decision, and as I had to leave the chamber, I did not think I would be out of the room long. But a debate was had and two of the Lib Dems abstained and one even spoke against allowing me to retain my post.

I can understand some people finding it difficult to vote for me to leave if they are against our presence in Afghanistan but I was surprised that they actually spoke against it.

But I am led to believe that our group leader, David Ellsmere spoke very powerfully for me to be allowed to stay on as a councilor and also from the opposite benches, Steven Wells also spoke up for me and so it was nice to have cross party support.

My Labour colleagues will continue to campaign in Rushmere whilst I am away and take on my ward work and the two Conservative councillors for the ward have also offered to take on any outstanding case work.

I am not sure when I am off, or even if I am definitely going but until I do I will continue to work for my constituents, on Saturday I was delivering budget leaflets in the ward and this week I have 3 committee meetings at Grafton House.

Once I have definite news on my mobilisation I will inform my constituents.

"Magic" Jim no longer?

We all can find it hard to move on, or know when it is time to give up. This afternoon I was conned into playing sevens rugby, and at 46 when the next oldest player was about 26, not the most sensible of idea's! We came second, "The Dueling Badgers" that is. (I know-stupid name) But I have now officially declared that I am now retiring from competitive sport.

But it may not only be me who is finding it hard to give up. Jim Magilton, our Irish manager at Ipswich Town is determined to stay/hang on to his mangers post at the club. But many of us town supporters are coming round to the idea that a new man may be needed.

I loved Jim the player and I still admire his passion for the game and the club but tactics and man management need some work on.

So it may no longer be "Magic" Jim Magilton, but just plain Jim.