Saturday, May 09, 2009

Harrowgate Hill Tip Problem

Harrowgate Hill Interview

I hope this short interview with Harrowgate Hill Labour ward councillor Mark Burton is self-explanatory. The site concerned really is a mess, and worryingly accessible to local kids. I'm really pleased Mark brought this to my attention, and I'll be following the issue closely over the next few months.

(Note - I refer to this as my second diary shoot in the video, but I had to abandon my first effort from the Rossmere by-election for technical reasons).


Anonymous said...

Pieman and Pipsqueek making prats of themselves. The little wave from Pipsqueek had me falling off my chair. If this is the best you can do I would give up.

Thought you might be interested in the following from Guido Fawkes. I dont expect you to comment because I know you will keep silent on the reality of the situation in this country.

Labour would have us believe that they are idealists which is why they are now held in such contempt - and it’s that point that none of them seem to get. The Tories may have been sleazy in the 90’s but Labour are purely corrupt.

The Tories at least keep the public finances in some order - while they make money the country does too - Labour has comprehensively trashed the economy. IMF in the autumn anyone?

Yup the IMF it is.

Anonymous said...

What's Pepiso been claiming then? All will no doubt be revealed soon.

Anonymous said...

Bit like Laurel and Hardy. Another fine mess you got me into Mark.

Anonymous said...

More from Guido

Sounds just like dear old Darlo

This is very much how the former Soviet Union worked. The communist party elite led fabulous lifestyles: central apartments, dachas, second homes for their mistresses, chauffeurs, special shops with Western goods all free. This was kept low profile in case the masses found out, but they knew alright but couldn’t do much about it, living in a surveilance state with thuggish police at the disposal of the government.

It would never happen here of course.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes...

The previous postings are hard to describe. However what is your view on the MPs claims issue?

Surely you cannot support the claims which have been made.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks, Alan.

I think it's clear that a culture built up in Parliament since the 1980's whereby MPs and members of the House of Lords could supplement their income via various expenses claims. For sure MPs are underpaid compared to workers in corresponding professions. They had the ability to change that by reforming the rules once and for all, but successive Parliaments have bucked at that, fearful of the response of local constituents. Now MP's are reaping the whirlwind. There's a very good article in today's Observer by Andrew Rawnsley which sums up the current situation fairly accurately

Sad to say, there's more to come - I see from Guido that tomorrow's Telegraph will lead on Alan Duncan's bizarrely large gardening claims, and George Osborne asking for help with his chauffeuring costs!

As you know, I'm knocking on doors throughout the North East at the moment as part of the European campaign. I've actually been surprised how little comment has been made about the issue of MP's expenses, but where it has been , it has been in the context of "a plague on all your houses". I don't need to tell you that there is the possibility of a dangerous disconnect between Parliament and the people if the situation isn't resolved speedily.

To look ahead, I would hope that Parliament swallows some of the medicine it has freely dished out to councils and others. As an elected councillor, all of my expenses claims (when I make them, which is very rare) are subject to full publication under the Freedom of Information Act. Rules set dwon by Parliament mean that I have to declare at each meeting whether I have an interest, pecuniary or personal, in any of the items on the agenda. That is absolutely right, and ensures that in my experience, local government in Darlington on all sides is clean, and can be seen to be clean.

MP's and members of the House of Lords need to start from the same principle in whatever changes they make to the system governing their expenses claims. They don't have a lot of time to get the situation straight.

Ian W said...

Could not see what you were pointing out, camera panned to a fence for a second and away again a better shot of the problem may of been helpful.

On the subject of MP's expenses, I agree with you Nick that they should have to account for every penny they claim and should be subject to FoI, I think the fact that most MP's tried to block it becoming an FoI item speaks volumes.

If they really do want to work for their towns/communities many people think the present allowance to be ample without twisting the rules to "screw" more out of it. We all know this sort of legal manipulation goes on everywhere but MP's seem to just go that little bit to far, especially when many of them are raking it in from lucrative second jobs which I can only assume impinge on their ability to spend time and concentrate on the job in hand...that being the interests of their voters.

Our local two in particular of late have made some bad public decissions post offices and the Gurkhas when they voted against them.

Only those with something to hide will oppose their "perks" and second incomes coming under scrutiny or becoming avalible under FoI.

Fagin said...

Come on Telegraph lets have pepsico's and philly willy's and to prove I'm not just anti Labour Vague Hague's too.

He's probably still claiming for 17pints every lunch time. (yeh dream on William).

I can't wait, for the full list!

It speaks volumes they want the leak found so badly, Why... not enough time to fudge the figures I would imagine.

Dusty Bin said...

While on the subject of rubish, I see the bin tax has raised its ugly head once more today.

Nick, I hope all these posts about rubish and waste are not just a way of slowly easing us into getting ready to be taxed twice for our rubish collections.

What ever next fortnightly collections?

Darlington Councillor said...

Ian - thanks for your comments - but as I said above, I'm afraid I can't promise BBC production values! We were standing there because it was extremely windy on the day of the site visit, and that was the only sensible place to conduct the interview so that we could be properly heard.

If I get chance, I might pop up to the site to take some proper film of the conditions - otherwise, if you do go to the Civic Amenity site, the problem will be instantly apparent over the fence to the left of the tip's site.

"Dusty" - clearly I've not made myself very clear over the last year or so, in which case apologies. I do not favour measures which force or penalise householders to recycle - I think this sends out exactly the wrong message and is wholly counter-productive.

Councils which have gone down the wheelie bin route can take this approach - first they restrict the size of their bins to "encourage" householders to use less and recycle more. Next, householders are fined for not putting items in the wrong bin, or leaving out too much. In my opinion, it brings the whole sustainability movement into disrepute. I prefer to win the argument with householders about the importance of recycling, whilst also using technology to ensure that we are recycling to the best of our ability.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes...

Ian H I agee with you.

The party leaders - Brown and Cameron have apologised. Cameron has ordered the Tories to repay the money they have claimed and has introduced measures to stop the abuses. I don't know what Brown has done apart from apologise.

However things have moved on. 'Sorry guv we won't do it again" will not do anymore. The thing is the party leaders and Speaker Martin are as much to blame for turning a blind eye to the abuses. Speaker Martin even criticised those MPs who are so appalled and ashamed of what has gone on. There was even a threat by an MP today to turn the water cannon on protesters in Parliament Square.

The legitimacy, the dignity and respect for Parliament has now gone. The public now know that fiddling has gone on and yet the drawbridge is up. Nick you are right that we haven't seen anything like this for well over a century. Perhaps longer.

Saying sorry, ordering the repayment of expenses and tightening up the system do not cut any ice any more with the public who see the sytem as being rotten to its core. The culprits must resign or be dismissed from Parliament. The police must be called in to see if the criminal law has been broken or not. Speaker Martin must go as well.

Only this will lance the boil but it will take a long time to restore respect for the institutions of government. The frightning scenario of a plague on all your houses may well be played out in the European elections unless action is taken soon.

Carrying on as normal in the hope of it all dying down with the culprits still in the chamber is not an option any more. If the drawbridge remains up and a state of denial exists the thing will drag on and on and the more dangerous it will become.

There must be action to rid the House of Commons of its rotten apples and it must happen in days not weeks or months.

Finally, how does this mess look to the people who have or are about to lose their jobs and homes and the elderly who have saved all their lives for a decent standard of living? How does it look to the children and young people of this country and the code of behaviour which we expect them to follow and to uphold? Can I now say to my children they must respect Parliament when this wrong doing has gone on and the wrong doers remain?

Changes must come and soon.