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Offline buckhysen

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Parking problems (Old Town)
« on: July 02, 2009, 04:49:16 PM »
Hey there,

Some of you may know my user name from the old (And new) Swindontalk forum. I've been reading this forum for ages and thought I'd finally sign up as it seems like the best place to post this, with so many councillors, etc on here.

I'll try not to turn this into a rant (Wishful thinking ;) ) but would just like other's opinions and views on my problems with parking fine's and residents parking in Old Town over the last couple of months, and hope that someone who deals with residents parking can at least do something.
I know some of you on here read my original email/letter forwarded to the council and various councillors, etc so apologies if I repeat myself.

I started driving again a couple of months ago and the same day I got my car I sent off for a residents permit for zone E in Old Town... About a week later the payment was taken from my account so I expected my permit within about 7 days, over two weeks later and just 4 days before my holiday I still had no permit (Not to mention I was also using up all my visitors permits which we also have to pay for), so I made a quick call to the council and spoke to a lady who promised me she would send me a temporary permit (10 Days), as my flight back was going to be late this wouldn't have covered me so she said she'd put a 30 day expiry date on the permit. Thinking this was dealt with I said my thanks and hung up.

The next day it arrived and I put it on my car. On the Friday night, a day before my holiday I had nowhere to park, so despite a long day ahead and not arriving on my hols until the early hours of the morning I woke up early to move my car out of the visitors bay and into a resident zone. So imagine my anger when just 2 hours later I went outside to pack and found a parking fine on my windscreen, just cm's from the temporary sign!

I rushed in and wrote a quick email which I also printed out and sent into the council, thought better of leaving my car outside my own house so parked it at my parents for the week and went off on holiday.
When I arrived home I didn't hear back for a week (Over 2 weeks since my letter/email) finally, and to cut a long story not quite so long ;) they accused me of changing the date on the permit and told me I'd have to pay the fine!
I rang the council offices to explain why I had a 30 day temporary permit but was told the lady was out of the office and could not verify this, so would have to complain when I receieved the demand letter in 14 days.

So I sent an email out to several people who deal with residents parking (Thanks to the Focus team in Old Town) who passed on all the emails to me. My email was not only about my fine but also regarding residents parking in Old Town (And in my street in particular) and to ask why I was paying £25 to park in my own street when only half the street had a residents zone, and the LARGER zone was set aside as a waiting bay.

After 2 weeks the only reply I received was from Stan Pajak, EVERY SINGLE other councillor, MP and whoever else was attached to that email ignored it.
So I sent another letter and asked why my questions had not been answered and asked why the promise of an improvement to residents parking in Old Town 2 YEARS AGO had still not seen any progress (I have my own ideas about this).
After a few more days I finally received a half hearted reply saying my letter would be passed on to the person who deals with residents parking.

Now this is what gets me! That letter was then forwarded on to no less than 6 more people, all with the promise it had been forwarded to 'The person who deals with residents parking'. So what are the council saying? We have 7 people with the same job title, all incapable of being honest enough to answer a residents perfectly reasonable and relevant questions.

What I did find very disappointing is that the people I was told would respond and be happy to answer my questions, and the two who are the main people to talk to with regards to residents parking (Peter Greenhalgh and Rod Bluh) still have not replied or even acknowledged my original letters.
And the only reply I have had was from Jon Brown (Who also cancelled my parking fine, Thank you), although my questions have still not been answered. Mainly because Jon Brown for all his good will doesn't seem the person to answer them.

My personal view is that the council know damn well they have majorly cocked up with regards to residents parking but for some reason will not rectify the problems. Yes there have been some nice ideas but as usual our council seem unable to carry them out to their fullest.
I mean, lets take my street for an example. You have 12 houses, as far as I know only 8 cars are owned by these residents.... BUT the council only have residents parking on this side of the road, enough for about 7 cars, yet on the opposite side is a waiting bay (Which incidentally has no sign) for 8-10 cars as well as wasted yellow lines which would allow a further 2 or 3 spaces.
I'm told the waiting bay sign will be put back up soon, but why not just turn it back into what it used to be? a resident zone.
My Street is about the smallest in Old Town I would imagine yet we are wasting around 11-13 resident parking spaces, so I dread to think just how many other spaces are wasted in Old Town.

As this is getting far too long I'd like to put forward a few questions, none of which I've had a decent answer to...
(Btw I've removed my Street name as this is a public forum)

1) Why does ***** Street have a larger Waiting zone than a residents parking zone? When there is a perfectly good car park opposite Longs Bar (Plus others) for visitors to the area to use.

2) Why is there a waiting zone at all? Why should we be paying £25 a year when non residents are parking for free outside our houses? Most who abuse this and park how they long for as long as they like, often blocking the road.

3) Why can't ***** Street have a 100% resident zone on both sides? It always used to have until the council came up one day about 7 years ago and changed it without any word to residents! I might add... Leaving every resident parked on that side of the street a parking fine for TWO days in the process!

One reply put to me also (Which I did highlight in my letter) was that there are more cars now than there were when the scheme started in the early 90's. So why then did the council approve so many flats, etc in Old Town a few years ago?
If there already is not enough parking spaces then why add more residents and cars?

I'd be very interested on your views and any answers to these questions.

As it is, parking in my area is ridiculous, you cannot go out after 4pm or you can never park anywhere when you come back. Last night I could not park in my street or in any streets near my house, even the yellow line areas were taken up and going to the car park is not always an option, and why should I park 4 or 5 streets away at the car park with young'ish children and heavy items to carry?? Not to mention the fact that who the hell comes home from work at 10pm anyway, or wants to go out moving their car to a car park so late?
And there's no way in hell I'm paying £1.80 a night to park from 6pm ON TOP of the annual permit and visitor permit fees. That is just an insult to residents!

The entire residents system is an absolute joke and needs sorting out NOW!
There are ways to do it just that our ever inadequate council who often come up with good ideas but can never carry them out or see them through properly (Millennium clock, Xmas tree anyone?) just choose not to put residents above revenue it seems to me.

Quite frankly council, you are charging me a fee for a service (Residents parking) that you cannot supply. I wonder how council workers would feel if they had to pay to park at their offices and then not be able to park their cars. I'm betting that problem would be sorted out in an instant.

And judging by what I've read and speaking to other residents in this area I am by far the only person who is annoyed at this!



Offline Mart

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2009, 07:26:18 PM »
Hello.

Residents Parking turned me into the embittered emotionally stunted sod I am now, but I can type much quicker that I used to.

First up, about that £25, erm, think you'll find that's wandered northwards to a more satisfying £40. From memory, and I'm sure I will be corrected if I'm wrong, once upon a time in late 2008 a budget proposal ambled through council (I think that's how you have to say it 'through council', I expect officers were involved as well) it mentioned not a word about the residents parking cash cow, revenue stream scheme. All was sweetness and light.

Except the budget was evidently an even more thinly veiled load of old cobblers than usual and it had a bit of a hole, in no way exacerbated by spunking investing £400k on a jolly up run by an organisation we all bung £150 a year to anyway (There's nothing on the effing telly!)

So when the budget emerged blinking into the daylight in February 2009 imagine the delight that the lately inserted upward shunt in parking charges elicited, s'all to do with the fact that nobody had noticed how much time them poor old parking enforcement officers were spending in the town centre blight that are residents' parking zones, for years, and years and years and years, nobody noticed. Not during the great Residents Parking Ball's Up of a couple of years ago when the fees sustained another inexplicable hike and no stone was going to be left unturned and you had to keep your head down in case an initiative dinged off your noggin.

So, you should be joyful when you get ticketed, it is proof positive that the Parking Enforcement Officers are indeed banging in the hours we are now paying for. Rightfully of course.

You should be more grateful than very grateful actually. Apparently even at £40 a pop we still ain't contributing our proper whack, yeah, apparently though SBC is going to do the decent thing and shut an old people's shelter to save us finding the extra dosh this year.

Course, there is a view that SBC couldn't run a piss up in a brewery and is your typical flabby inefficient, cliched, hackneyed old example of what happens when a local authority has too much time to gaze into it's own orifices and have visions.

Car parks, residents parking. A static resource, how difficult can it be? Bit of software, bit of enforcement and they've had years of practice. Not noticing Parking Enforcement Officers spending all their time here.

You can also mull over the fact they have trousered all of the VAT differential on car parking, £150k, kerching!

I'm sure this has been of no help at all.
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Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2009, 08:16:36 PM »
Hi Bucky

I know exactly the road you mean!

Yes Residents Parking is a bit of a joke and like most council initiatives the review seem to be announced with a great fanfare and then when the realise how much effort/hardwork is involved it quietly gets forgotten about. The one thing you can guarantee is that Dale/Peter G (who i think are in charge of parking)/Councillors in general quite happy to post on this forum when they have some good news but rarely see them when the going gets tough!

The one thing which used to get me was if you had visitors staying you effectively had to use two tickets even if your visitor went at 9 as you could guarantee the inspectors be there at 8!


Offline Simon

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 11:34:40 PM »
Hello Bucky (is it OK to call you that?)

I'm not going to comment on this thread, what with me not being a car owner and not living in a residents parking zone and all that.

But I'd like to welcome you to Talk Swindon. O0
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Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2009, 11:40:38 PM »
1) Why does ***** Street have a larger Waiting zone than a residents parking zone? When there is a perfectly good car park opposite Longs Bar (Plus others) for visitors to the area to use.

2) Why is there a waiting zone at all? Why should we be paying £25 a year when non residents are parking for free outside our houses? Most who abuse this and park how they long for as long as they like, often blocking the road.

3) Why can't ***** Street have a 100% resident zone on both sides? It always used to have until the council came up one day about 7 years ago and changed it without any word to residents! I might add... Leaving every resident parked on that side of the street a parking fine for TWO days in the process!

One reply put to me also (Which I did highlight in my letter) was that there are more cars now than there were when the scheme started in the early 90's. So why then did the council approve so many flats, etc in Old Town a few years ago?
If there already is not enough parking spaces then why add more residents and cars?

I'd be very interested on your views and any answers to these questions.


The plan was to turn the waiting bays into pure Residents Parking bays, starting with zones E and D in fact.  However the Council have gone back on this.

Unfortunately it looks like the plan in some areas is to actually install some pay and display meters  :WTF:

Enfranchising other developments into RP showed absolutely no thought for the future.  The Council is no longer doing this, of course, but rather late.

Offline Alligator

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2009, 11:30:57 AM »

The plan was to turn the waiting bays into pure Residents Parking bays, starting with zones E and D in fact.  However the Council have gone back on this.

Unfortunately it looks like the plan in some areas is to actually install some pay and display meters  :WTF:

Enfranchising other developments into RP showed absolutely no thought for the future.  The Council is no longer doing this, of course, but rather late.

All roads now lead to one thing.....more money for Parking Tax Pete.

Visitor bays mean more congestion for residents, meaning more tickets issued.
Parking meters will mean that more people will take a chance on not using a park park and pay to park in residential areas.
Parking meters will hit residents who can't find a space in an RP zone twice, paying once for a permit and then again to actually park in a metered bay when the RP zone is full.

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2009, 02:02:07 PM »

The plan was to turn the waiting bays into pure Residents Parking bays, starting with zones E and D in fact.  However the Council have gone back on this.

Unfortunately it looks like the plan in some areas is to actually install some pay and display meters  :WTF:

Enfranchising other developments into RP showed absolutely no thought for the future.  The Council is no longer doing this, of course, but rather late.

All roads now lead to one thing.....more money for Parking Tax Pete.

Visitor bays mean more congestion for residents, meaning more tickets issued.
Parking meters will mean that more people will take a chance on not using a park park and pay to park in residential areas.
Parking meters will hit residents who can't find a space in an RP zone twice, paying once for a permit and then again to actually park in a metered bay when the RP zone is full.

I think the major concern is the the extra cars on street, I don't think permit holders will have to pay.

Offline buckhysen

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2009, 02:45:26 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys... and no Mart, you lost me at Hello ;)

I note again that none of the councillors who deal with residents parking can be bothered with a reply.

Last night and today I've noticed cars parking for 3 or 4 hours at a time with no tickets being issued out, yet it's funny how they always seem to ticket residents who park in a waiting bay for more than two hours!
And as I type this not only is the waiting bay full up with non residents cars but also most of the cars in the residents zone don't have permits on them. And where are the parking officers when they really should be here???

I totally agree with what's been said and have thought for some time that all this is done as an extra way for the council to make money and it absolutely stinks.

As of this morning I left two printed notices in the Street urging NON residents to use the car park up the road, yet today there has still been a steady stream of cars in and out of the road, parking for hours upon end and now the Street is pretty much full up with non permit holders, so I have now started to leave small notices on car windscreens of any car parking in this road without a parking permit or visitors permit. This is the last thing I would normally do but as the council refuse to do something then at least something has to be done because quite simply it is ridiculous and residents cannot park. The waiting area only encourages non residents to come here.

I chatted to a couple of my neighbours last night and both were extremely annoyed at never being able to park in their own road and suggested we put in a petition to the council signed by the whole street asking for the waiting bay to be changed back into a resident zone and to answer our questions.

Personally I'm not convinced this would do any good as from past experience I have found our totally inept council next to useless when it comes to answering their resident's questions or doing anything to help.

One of the neighbours last night told me that when he arrived late home from work earlier this week he drove around all the roads in zone E and could not find a single space, in the end he had to park his car at the top of the road, in the centre and simply wait for a space, whcih took approx. 2 hours.
When it gets to the point where you cannot park in any street in your zone, it's too early to go to the car park and you have to leave your car basically in the middle of the street then it's a HUGE problem and the council need to sort it out.

So whoever deals with this and reads this then pull your finger out. You don't deal with it on a daily basis but the residents you are meant to be serving do, and they are sick and tired of it!

Offline Alex

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2009, 08:21:01 PM »
Hi Buckhysen,

you're right- on all counts. We've been over this countless times and no pogress has been made despite me and another  resident finding at least another 20 pssible RP bays and copying our maps to SBC with them marked accordingly.
 I find it odd that no parking attendants are in your vicinity but in Avenue Road  ( zone L) when they can issue tickets from 8am till 10 pm they are there issuing tickets at 7:15am.   :idiot2:

Offline James

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2009, 08:35:04 PM »
Quote
I find it odd that no parking attendants are in your vicinity but in Avenue Road  ( zone L) when they can issue tickets from 8am till 10 pm they are there issuing tickets at 7:15am.

I think that any patrols before the RP is open must be there for decriminalised offences, such as parking on double yellows.
Therefore they must be excluded from the cost of running RP - there being no possible RP offence for any car in any bay anyway...

I'm sure that any councilor who has been involved with this process can confirm all such patrols have been excluded from the RP cost base.

Can't they...?

James

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2009, 12:06:16 AM »
Quote
I find it odd that no parking attendants are in your vicinity but in Avenue Road  ( zone L) when they can issue tickets from 8am till 10 pm they are there issuing tickets at 7:15am.

I think that any patrols before the RP is open must be there for decriminalised offences, such as parking on double yellows.
Therefore they must be excluded from the cost of running RP - there being no possible RP offence for any car in any bay anyway...

I'm sure that any councilor who has been involved with this process can confirm all such patrols have been excluded from the RP cost base.

Can't they...?

James


I would love to able to say that.

But hand on heart I can't.

In fact, I think it's not.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2009, 06:47:05 PM »
Quote
I would love to able to say that.

But hand on heart I can't.

In fact, I think it's not.

Then someone somewhere is being 'creative' with their accounts, are they not? The cost of administering RP CANNOT therefore include the costs of the parking nazis wandering around ticketing people (during their overtime, which we pay) before 8 am  after 10 pm, surely?

Can you not ask that question of Mr Greenhalgh in the chamber, Dave? He's asking RP blighted residents to swallow a bitter financial pill as a result of his department having previously been seemingly unable to operate a pocket calculator. Now it appears that these missing RP administration costs apply the issues which have NOTHING TO DO WITH RP ENFORCEMENT.

Come on Dave - sock it to him and get some CLEAR UNAMBIGUOUS answers!!!!!
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2009, 09:40:58 PM »
Quote
I would love to able to say that.

But hand on heart I can't.

In fact, I think it's not.

Then someone somewhere is being 'creative' with their accounts, are they not? The cost of administering RP CANNOT therefore include the costs of the parking nazis wandering around ticketing people (during their overtime, which we pay) before 8 am  after 10 pm, surely?

Can you not ask that question of Mr Greenhalgh in the chamber, Dave? He's asking RP blighted residents to swallow a bitter financial pill as a result of his department having previously been seemingly unable to operate a pocket calculator. Now it appears that these missing RP administration costs apply the issues which have NOTHING TO DO WITH RP ENFORCEMENT.

Come on Dave - sock it to him and get some CLEAR UNAMBIGUOUS answers!!!!!

My suspicion is that almost all the activity on RP streets is cost attributed to the RP; my best guess is that only 50% of this should be so.  This is the primary reason for the suspicious RP figures and resulting cost doubling.

We have raised this at Full Council and got pure fudge.  Happy to have another go, though!

Offline Mart

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2009, 10:24:17 PM »
Dave, with you being my councillor and all, and one of the short list of people I could be arsed to vote for in my increasingly long life, and me being a resident, and me having a car, and me ranting on for thousands of words about being a mite irritable about nasty little price hikes in residents parking and considering little inconsistencies like this being a clear indication that the price hike is in fact a shoddy lash up and, if the wardens lived in residents parking zones we would have to pay them nights as well, in fact come to think of it, we may as well start paying the wages of all council staff for all time they spend in residents parking zones on their way to and from work, well Dave, in my personal view and after some thought......

Yes.

I really do think it would be quite nice for me, and my fellow residents, if you had another go.

Unless of course you think everything is hunky dory.



Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2009, 10:31:03 PM »
Dave, with you being my councillor and all, and one of the short list of people I could be arsed to vote for in my increasingly long life, and me being a resident, and me having a car, and me ranting on for thousands of words about being a mite irritable about nasty little price hikes in residents parking and considering little inconsistencies like this being a clear indication that the price hike is in fact a shoddy lash up and, if the wardens lived in residents parking zones we would have to pay them nights as well, in fact come to think of it, we may as well start paying the wages of all council staff for all time they spend in residents parking zones on their way to and from work, well Dave, in my personal view and after some thought......

Yes.

I really do think it would be quite nice for me, and my fellow residents, if you had another go.

Unless of course you think everything is hunky dory.


Nothing is hunky dory, unfortunately.

And I'll give anything a go twice, or two hundred times as is the case with RP.

In fact, let's take this beyond RP...

Offline James

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2009, 12:03:49 AM »
Keep on pushing!

You could ask:
1) Were costs for all patrols in RP zones before 8am/after 10pm excluded in RP cost base, since they cannot be out ticketing for RP offences? Clearly a source of contention...

2) What proportion of tickets issued in RP zones were for decrim offences between 8am and 10pm? Parking Officers involved with both RP and Decrim work need to have their time apportioned reasonably, and this will be available in the database set up to process PCNs...

Be a good start to get answers to these two...

James

Offline Tobes

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2009, 01:31:29 AM »
Keep pushing Dave. In fact, I wonder if this is something we ought to float by the Top Gear production team? This debacle hardly sits comfortably with Greenhalgh's newly found status as 'friend of the motorist' does it!!! Jim's questions are good ones - lets get some answers!

I'd still like Mr PG to come on here and explain himself like he used to in the good old days. It won him a lot of respect in the past.

Come on PG - come out of hiding and come explain yourself!
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 10:48:12 AM »

 
He has been silent for quite a while, hasn't he....

....So I think you should email Councillor Greenhalgh with a link to this thread:  PGreenhalgh@swindon.gov.uk

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 11:17:09 AM »
Keep on pushing!

You could ask:
1) Were costs for all patrols in RP zones before 8am/after 10pm excluded in RP cost base, since they cannot be out ticketing for RP offences? Clearly a source of contention...

2) What proportion of tickets issued in RP zones were for decrim offences between 8am and 10pm? Parking Officers involved with both RP and Decrim work need to have their time apportioned reasonably, and this will be available in the database set up to process PCNs...

Be a good start to get answers to these two...

James

Cool.  Willco.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Parking problems (Old Town)
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 11:18:51 AM »
I'm off for a couple of days - but if we haven't heard anything my the end of the week, I'll start the ball rolling in some different directions on this. Dave - can you confirm that you'll be asking this question? And if you've asked it in private previously, can you ask it in a more public setting so that there's a chance Peter's peers can see and understand the issue? I am getting the growing perce-ption that SBC members like questions to be asked in camera so that they can simply get brushed under the carpet. This issue should not be about party politics - but about whats fair and appropriate. Residents subsidising non RP enforcement through price hikes is not fair, not something which will ever win the tories support in Eascott and, given the wording of previous pronouncements on the subject, looks highly 'dissengenuous' to say the least.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'