Author Topic: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader  (Read 2818 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« on: February 18, 2010, 02:48:48 AM »
Lamplighter Blood Eagle wants Swindon to know of this communication from Cllr Derique Montaut, (Leader of the Swindon labour group) to Cllr Rodderick Bluh, Conservative leader of Swindon Borough Council.

Councillor Montaut details nearly £1,500,000 (1.5 million pounds) worth of public money he thinks can be saved, meaning some services Bluh intends to cut could be left alone.

When you consider other amounts of our money spent by Cllr Bluh on his vanity projects like the Canal, Tabernacle stones, The Radio One Big Weekend and his latest wheeze - WiFi, we're looking at a potential £2,000,000 (2 million pounds) being spent by a man driven by legacy-politics. And these are only the ones we know about. I'm willing to bet there's other we don't know about, don't forget that the WiFi was kept a carefully guarded secret for at least two years.....

I think publishing this is in the public interest.  I also think that by the time I've published it, Monty will have already been subjected to the Bluh cHarm offensive.

I know I take the piss out of Monty quite regularly, but this time I'm giving him a round of  :clap: :clap: :clap:

Quote
Cllr Derique Montaut
Leader of the Labour Group
Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices
Euclid Street
Swindon
Cllr Rod Bluh
Leader of the Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices
17th February 2010

Dear Cllr Bluh,

In response to your Cabinet’s budget recommendations to Full Council, I challenge you and your Conservative group to amend your budgetary proposals, in order to show some compassion to the most vulnerable residents of our town, whose services you are looking to cut, and to show that you are committed to keeping Swindon’s streets clean and safe.

The Labour Group is deeply concerned about the effects that this budget will have on Swindon’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. There are some who depend on many of the Council services that this administration has earmarked to be cut, so what sort of signal does this budget send to them? I am not certain that you and your administration have thought about this question. I will now take you through some of the services that I, as Leader of the Labour Group, am particularly concerned about being cut.

Firstly, the proposed subsidy withdrawal to the Community Meals service. What must be remembered about this service is that it was set up in order to cater for people who could neither nourish themselves without support, nor afford private sector alternatives. So the direct consequence of the Council withdrawing its subsidy from this service is making the service’s prices unaffordable for those that need it. This may lead to the most vulnerable in Swindon being unable to receive the proper nourishment they need, a terrible scenario for a town that is meant to be civilized.
Secondly, the proposed £77,000 savings to the Shopmobility service. Although I accept that the proposed changes to Shopmobility may not create direct service cuts, though the Shopmobility users vehemently argue that it will, I do think that it isn’t fair on Shopmobility users that the Parking services team are being moved from the David Murray John building to the Shopmobility offices to save the Council money, when Digital City (the Wi-Fi Company) receives free office space in that very same building. In actual fact, I am certain that, if explained this, Shopmobility users would be outraged that their service was being severely disrupted, whilst private businesses, like Digital City, receive special benefits from the Council. 

Thirdly, the complete withdrawal of Council funding to Enterprise Works. This decision really surprised me because it is the policy of your own national party to get disabled people and those with learning difficulties, off benefits and in to the working world. Many of the company’s staff have been working at Enterprise Works since the business was founded and by withdrawing the entire Council subsidy from this business, you are removing the reassurance that those staff had that their Council was willing to support them.

The Labour Group is also worried about your proposed cuts to street cleaning services and the implications these decisions will have on Swindon’s local environment. Again I am uncertain that your administration has calculated the effects of these service changes. Now I would like to take you through particular parts of the street cleaning budget that the Labour Group is concern about.

Firstly, the exorbitant increase in charges by the Council to collect bulk waste. Although £25 might not seem a lot of money to many, there are some who would see these costs as simply too much for such a simple task as collecting bulk waste. The direct consequence of this is mass fly tipping, a scenario that would stand to affect every resident of this town and one that the Council must do its utmost to avoid. Especially as, if this scenario did occur, the council would stand to spend just as much clearing up the fly tipping, as they would be saving from the increased collection charges.
However, the effects of fly tipping stand to be even worse with your recommendation to “delete [the] dedicated fly tipping crew”.  I have to reiterate that this Council must do everything in its power to avoid fly tipping; having safe and cleanly streets is something that all residents expect and is an action they compel their Council to deliver.

Thirdly, your decision to remove the evening street cleaning shift in the town centre. What you and your administration need to remember is that the Swindon Borough Council is seen by Swindon’s residents as an organisation they can turn to and see how they should behave, therefore if you deliver anti-social policies for the town’s premium shopping area, then a possible consequence of this is that the town’s residents will think it is okay to be anti-social themselves.

Now I understand that no cuts in Local authority budgets are easy and in every area of Council expenditure there are reasons why money should be spent there, however it is important to make sure that the first areas of Council expenditure to be cut are not those that directly affect our local residents and, in particular, the vulnerable and disadvantaged. I am sad to say this, but in many parts of this budget it seems like you have chosen to save areas of Council expenditure that do not benefit the residents of this town, over areas of Council expenditure that do give real benefits to local residents. This is something the Labour Group, a group that is determined to keep our streets clean and focus on the welfare of our town’s vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, cannot support. I will now outline just some of the areas of Council expenditure that need to be targeted for cuts first, before services that support the vulnerable and disadvantaged:

1.   Â£45,000 on Council hospitality. 
2.   Â£146,000 on consultancy fees.
3.   Â£560,000 on the Council’s Communications Team.
4.   Â£500,000 on your plans to redevelop the Civic Offices.
5.   Â£129,400 on a London Lobbying Firm.
6.   Â£50,000 on PDA’s for Council staff, when I’m sure all of these workers have mobile phones that provide exactly the same function
7.   Â£15,000 on a membership with Cotswold Water Park.

The amount of money saved from these spendings alone would raise £1,445,400 and would be enough to save all of the services that you are preparing to cut in the budget, plus money spare to pay for the (originally cross-party supported) Personal Care at Home Bill.

I sincerely hope that, after reading this letter, you take another look at your budget and reprioritise areas that you wish to save based on the fairness and civilized values that Labour Group Councillors espouse. I have also sent this letter to Swindon’s local press, so that our constituents can fully understand what their administration intends to spend their hard-earned taxes on, as well as what they are looking to cut. I look forward to debating these issues with you in the Full Council chamber.

Yours Faithfully

Derique Montaut

Leader of the Labour Group



I think next Mondays Budget setting council meeting will be a political bloodbath and will therefore be well worth attending. I think the budget will be an exercise in 'slash and burn' and I doubt any of it will be popular with the voting public.

It promises to be a good night out for TS regulars that attend and, to members who have never been to a Full Council meeting, I reckon this would be a very good one to see at first-hand how your councillors behave when they're on their home turf.

If any TS members want to go along as a group, pm me and I'll set up a 'members only' forum to discuss and arrange  :)



Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 03:09:29 AM »
Additional:

While I was typing the post above another news item arrived at leaks@talkswindon.org

It appears to be a Labour group press release concerning tonights WifI Briefing For Councillors

Quote

"The Labour Group have taken a decision not to attend a presentation that was arranged to be delivered to all Councillors by Ricki Hunt, the Director of Digital City, on the Wi-Fi project. Members of the Swindon Council was invited to attend this presentation after much scrutiny of the Wi-Fi deal by both elected representatives and concerned members of the public. 

The Labour Group Leader, Derique Montaut, explained the reason why the Group took this decision, stating:

"The reason why the Labour Group have taken this decision not to attend this presentation is because we feel that, whilst this Wi-Fi deal is under investigation by the internal auditors within the Swindon Council, it would not be appropriate for members to receive a presentation by one of the chief brokers of the Wi-Fi deal" 




I'm willing to bet a small sum that The Swindon Advertiser does not report this. It has not reported the decision to refer the WiFi deal to internal audit, in fact it has not reported anything significant about any of the recent 'bad news' stories coming out of Euclid Street.    I do believe the comments received at leaks@talkswindon.org which suggest that serious pressure is being brought to bear on the editor of the paper.  It is time for a letter to the owners of the Adver I feel.

At present, only Talkswindon is talking about the things Rod Bluh wants shredded, burned, hidden or buried. 

One of Rod's problems is that you can't bury a bad smell.   Another is that Talkswindon members have very sensitive noses, sharp eyes and they love playing join-the-dots .....

« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 11:23:33 AM by Dougal »

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 10:20:33 PM »
£500,000 on a communications team? what are they doing showering each other in gold dust! :censored:

Thats at least 20 gardeners / street cleaners, the town would sparkle.

This is what happens when you get some one in charge who cares more about image than substance.

I can do without the propaganda Swindon News, i throw the damn thing away as soon as i get it, help feed those that need help.

I agree well played monty (for a change)
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 11:54:19 PM »
I am looking forward to Monday night then, anyone for breakfast?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 07:13:28 AM »


Quote
£129,400 on a London Lobbying Firm.

Isn't that what Annie and Mickey boy should be doing? 

Offline Muggins

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 10:18:50 AM »
That's the sum needed by a Conservative council that won't work or communicate properly with two Labour MP's - it's the price we pay for their pride/face. 

Wish we could pay for a firm of lobbeyers so we wouldn't have to deal sirect with SBC.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline komadori

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 11:53:02 AM »
That's the sum needed by a Conservative council that won't work or communicate properly with two Labour MP's - it's the price we pay for their pride/face. 
Or perhaps the price we pay for two Labour MPs that won't work or communicate properly with a Conservative council. I get the impression that both sides are guilty in this respect.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 04:24:06 PM »
I can assure you that I have seen several letters which between the two that show a distinct lack of proper engagement on one side, in fact one of them was after a town wide community/volunteer group failed to get a response from SBC - in particular Rod Bluh, and in desperation asked out MP to write.*

It appears from them that SBC are squeaky clean whilst our MP's are both in the wrong.
 
*When we did get a response and only via the MP, we wished we hadn't and it didn't help.  We don;t like to thinnk that our councillors are not basically good mannered.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 04:30:03 PM »
Quote
"We don;t like to thinnk that our councillors are not basically good mannered"

Councillors often are well mannered, but cabinet members often think arrogance and ignorance are in the job description.

Next mondays full council (budget setting) wiLl provide plenty of examples of this I'm sure.

Offline Mart

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #7: Leader To Leader
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 08:17:09 PM »
I quite like my councillor, I voted for him once. I asked him for advice and he helped, very quickly.

That's a ringing endorsement from me.

However.

I remain concerned that where a council wears a different rosette to the incumbent (cracking word, should name a sheep after it, The Wiltshire Incumbent) that entirely too much energy is expended in taking lumps out of each other.

I yearn (yearn, another cracking word, I yearn for you wistfully, Catch 22, R O Shipman?) for a world, no continent, alright country, mebbes county, town, village, ok, hamlet where the bloody whips and centralisation are told very firmly to keep their sodding oar out.

12,000 new houses f'rinstance, to the benefit of whom exactly? Got 12,000 jobs to go with them have we, got the infrastructure, got the libraries, hospital, schools and, erm, drains.

This country is standing on the edge of a condition known as fecked, Oliver Cromwell was, largely, a shite, but there is a growing requirement for someone of his ilk.

I think I am getting maudlin.
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.