Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Two Years Young


Err, there's no cake. And I'm not called Ashwin....

It hardly seems like yesterday, does it, but this blog is now two years old.

In truth, it seems to have been part of my life for much, much longer. Despite the brickbats from my many anonymous friends, I've come to really enjoy blogging, as it allows me to set my own online agenda. And it's been a fascinating time to reflect on politics here in Darlington, through the Tesco debate, Labour's 2007 local election victory, and of course the historic No vote in the Mayoral Referendum.

(Of course, you've also had to wade through my thoughts on matters as diverse as local restaurants, Dr Who and the Banana Splits...)

I've been assisted in no small part too by the fact that Darlington now has a vibrant online political scene. With active councillors from all three parties blogging regularly, a forum for debate has been created outside of the walls of the Town Hall. Whilst Gill and Mike Cartwright, or Mike Barker and I might have vigorous exchanges of views from time to time, no-one can be in any doubt as to where our respective parties stand. Those who have weak arguments tend to get found out in the dynamic of debates during an exchange too. Although of course we may disagree as to who's winning and losing the argument, people who read our material inevitably will make up their own minds independently.

From what I can see, Darlington has the most active online political community in the North of England. And that's something to take some pride in.

Blogging's a democratizing force too. Believe me, there have been times when I would happily have taken an online meat-cleaver to some posts, but it remains the case that anyone can leave a comment here which will be read straightaway. I've probably deleted fewer than 10 grotesquely offensive comments in the past two years, not bad when you think that thousands of comments have been left.

So thanks to everyone again who's taken the trouble to read the blog, and more so if you've left a comment - it helps make this blog what it is. Biggest plaudits to those who actually leave their (real) names - for the most part those comments have ten times the credibility of the anonymous posts.

Here's to 2008-09...

26 comments:

miketually said...

Happy blogaversary Nick.

Amazingly, Bike Darlington has been going since May 2004. I think I've been blogging on various sites for more than six years now.

Blog said...

Never mind gladhanding yourself over one mans mission to speak tepid nothing in public. What about the Human Rights abuses at Victoria House. Are we going to get an answer or not to these serious claims?

Ian White said...

2 years of the Blob already!

Tempus Fugit

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Happy 2nd birthday Nick.

Let's have more observations on the rich tapestry of life, more constructive comments and less destructive comments.

John Williams pulls faces said...

Yes it is quite a blog to be celebrated. As you say it brings in a whole manifold of people - Tories, Lib Dems, fascists, commies, nutters, bores, wierdos, liars, sycophants, etc...
Most of whom prefer to be anonymous for some reason.
Apart from Little Red Tosser I haven't seen any of your Labour Party Colleagues showing an Ha'pence worth of interest in your blog.
The oppo seen to find sport in watching you waffle on about bugger all such as what you want to grow in your garden to eat - when no one seems to care, then savage you, wind you up and take the piss in your comments section.

Yes it has been two years worth of pure whale spunk!

Darlington Councillor said...

Have you seen the price of cetacean-related products recently....?

Darlington Councillor said...

By the way, "life's rich tapestry" was a phrase coined in the 1930's by the late, great Arthur Marshall, co-presenter of Call My Bluff with Frank Muir (this blog is nothing if not an education in pure trivia).

Your call for less of the knockabout, Alan, was entirely appropriate, and I restrained myself for all of 2 hours before compiling my latest post on Liberal Democrat Watch. Sorry.

JWPF said...

Darlington Councillor said...
Have you seen the price of cetacean-related products recently....?

02 September, 2008 22:23


Darlington Councillor said...
By the way, "life's rich tapestry" was a phrase coined in the 1930's by the late, great Arthur Marshall, co-presenter of Call My Bluff with Frank Muir (this blog is nothing if not an education in pure trivia).

Your call for less of the knockabout, Alan, was entirely appropriate, and I restrained myself for all of 2 hours before compiling my latest post on Liberal Democrat Watch. Sorry.

ME THINKS YOU'VE BEEN SCOOPING BACK THE DANDELION WINE THIS EVENING!

Darlington Councillor said...

It's been a bad year for dandelions...

Anonymous said...

What about the human rights abuse of people within Victoria House?

Left without underclothing because the staf would have to change them.

Windows left open the stench the smell.

Chris Close said...

Sorry that was me.

You are either stupid or delusional.

Your comments are silly.

I can prove evidentially every comment I have made and your vainglorious attempt to claim credit for your behaviour is bizarre.

Victoria House is a shit hole and you need to answer the criticisms made or you will be personally liable.

Stop the Covering up. said...

Clearly one of you Nick or Chris is not being honest about this Victoria house thing and not saying I agree with everything CC says normally he does not post things he cannot prove or back up, which is making me wonder why Nick is ignoring it perhaps its time to ask under the Freedom of Secrecy Act to find out the truth if refused it will clearly prove CC is telling the truth.
So Nick why not save us all the time and effort and come clean about the situation, my source says the fire officer had to order external bolts be removed from bedroom doors were these people prisoners?
Theres no smoke without fire.

As for the poster "John Williams pulls funny faces" no he doesn't thats his normal one. In our local area he is know as Johny Big Lugs ironic for a man who never listens.

But happy Blog day anyway.

Chris Close said...

"So Nick why not save us all the time and effort and come clean about the situation, my source says the fire officer had to order external bolts be removed from bedroom doors were these people prisoners?"

No that was Rydal Road, not Victoria House, Rydal Road was where they were also restraining Elderly Mentally Ill people by force as well as having externalt bolts on the doors allegedly for 'safety reasons'............Give me strength.

Darlington Councillor said...

"stop the covering up" - it's neither fair nor accurate to say that I'm covering anything up.

I repeat (once more) - no resident or carer has ever contacted me to make allegations about this home. Should they do so, then of course I will ensure that the concerns are investigated.

I do not know what Chris is talking about, or the validity (or otherwise) of his comments. Victoria House is not a council-run home.

I cannot be any clearer than that.

Chris Close said...

there have been two published reports on Victoria House, Nick, one from Larry Hollando, who you may or may not recall and one from me, both directly commissioned by DBC.

Both called for the closure of Victoria House.

Copies of both can be obtained by you if you so desire.

Recently the Head of Service opined that the standards in this home have not improved.

So they are the same as they were ten years ago when I first came to Darlington.

People left lying around in their own faeces and urine, without underclothing.

Poor hygiene and food standards abound and whilst this is not a Council owned home it is a Council commissioned service to the tune of £500 per week.

I am not the enemy in Darlington. Your staff are and the Manager who continues to sanction the commissioning of this service, Cliff Brown, who unlike you, has no professional qualification in Social Care.

As for people in Victoria House, most of them are complex needs and cannot speak for themselves and nearly all of them have no family to speak of.

Chris Close said...

Sorry that was £500 per week per PERSON just so we are clear.

And the last time I was there Nick, the 'snoozlum room' contained a blanket and a set of 'fairy lights'.

Darlington Councillor said...

Chris - I shall write to you separately about the matter you have raised.

Nick.

ian h said...

Nick
Happy 2nd birthday to your blog, thought you might be interested as to what you should expect of a two yr old.....................

Dependent Behavior

Very upset when separated
from mother

Fear of Bath Obeys limited commands.

Repeats a few words.

Interested in his mirror image.

Feeds himself.

Capable of bowel and bladder control.
Language: vocabulary of more than 200 words
Temper tantrums (1-3yrs)

Does opposite of what he is told (18 months).

Chris Close said...

Nick

I understand from my own sources that I may be a reasonably content advocate in the near future and if that is the case, then at least you may become able to understand my frustration and anger at how I have been treated.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Close

Chris Close said...

Nick

I understand from my own sources that I may be a reasonably content advocate in the near future and if that is the case, then at least you may become able to understand my frustration and anger at how I have been treated.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Close

miketually said...

"It's been a bad year for dandelions..."

Do you know, I'd not noticed that it had been, but you're right.

Our tomatoes aren't ripening either!

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes ....

Put the toms under the bed or in the airing cupboard Mike. My old Dad used to do that to ripen his tomatoes. It did the trick.

I will not rise to the bait Nick about your last post.

Interesting news from Scotland about scrapping Council Tax and replacing it with a local income tax,based on people's ability to pay. What do you think?

As you know I am all in favour of lifting some of the burden off the shoulders of the hard pressed taxpayers.

Interestingly at the 1997 Election Tony Blair issued pledge cards which promised no tax increases, but for the last few years Labour have returned to its old 1970s failed philosophy of tax and spend and mortgaging the future through astronomical borrowing.

This is one of the main reasons why the Government is so unpopular.

Eldery and scared said...

'As for people in Victoria House, most of them are complex needs and cannot speak for themselves'

But i bet that their postal votes are all filled out for them with a x in the Labour box

STOP THE ABUSE NOW, THE SUFFERING MUST END.

NICK YOU CAN NO LONGER TURN A BLIND EYE

Chris Close said...

An interesting slant from 'elderly and scared', and also a view which I come across a lot.

There is a feeling of 'drift' in the Town that actuallly not much is being properly managed.

Big business is in charge and the Council just answers to them.......

Still waiting for your reply and presumably an apology, Nick?????????

Chris Close said...

If anyone else has concerns about standards of care in Darlington; has some evidence or concerns and needs help to expose them then get in touch.

The serious point about all of this is that these people have had no-one to stand up for them except us and they cannot speak for themselves.

This is why independent voices are important and do not deserve the treatment we have received as a project.

On our web page there is a forum where you can raise issues such as this and so long as you have a 'real' email address can do so confidentially and there are links to my inbox where any information will be treated by me with confidentiality.

Nothing I do I do without the direct permission of our clients.

Chris Close
http://www.a-i-darlo.com/wordpress/
chris_close_2000@yahoo.co.uk

Chris Close said...

Another day, Nick still no answer about Victoria House.

You have claimed I am delusional so why not reply and put everyone right?

Is it because I am entirely correct in my assertions and DBC has at last employed someone with integrity unlike philandering Cliff Brown who has none?

Chris Close
http://www.a-i-darlo.com/wordpress/
chris_close_2000@yahoo.co.uk