Author Topic: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools  (Read 11386 times)

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Offline Richard Symonds

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No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« on: September 11, 2013, 01:07:31 PM »
In the Adver Today complete with a number of comments!

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10663795.No_buyers_for_new_Croft_type_schools/

I'll let a little time go by and then copy and paste the article and the comments which are worth reading.

I am not sure that Brian Mattock's smiling photograph is appropriate in view of this failure, what do you think?


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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 01:57:36 PM »


No buyers?

No surprise !

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 02:29:46 PM »


No buyers?

No surprise !

I think the surprise is that they thought anyone would want to buy it in the first place!!

As for the savings I wonder what the long term maintenance issues will be with all those puddles on the roof?

Sadly this is yet another example of the Council investing in something it doesn't understand, but did so with OUR MONEY. 

Isn't 6% of the Council Budget spent on interest payments?

I hope they have learnt their lesson and will not EVER again indulge in speculative ventures.  With Bluh all but gone we can hope!!
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Offline jennyb

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 04:31:35 PM »
Is it misleading to compare the Class Solutions prototype with a 420 pupil primary school which includes all of the facilities necessary to run a school within the buildings and within the site? 

Might prospective buyers of any products compare like with like in order to assess value for money?

Might prospective buyers consider whether the purported 2/3 of the price for 2/3 of a school works for them?

Might prospective buyers also consider building longevity ( ~60 years according to an elected member) as a factor in value for money?

Might prospective buyers ask for proof that this prototype is cheaper to run, for comparison purposes ? 

Might prospective buyers ask where else this design has been built?

It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 06:26:30 PM »
Is it misleading to compare the Class Solutions prototype with a 420 pupil primary school which includes all of the facilities necessary to run a school within the buildings and within the site? 

Might prospective buyers of any products compare like with like in order to assess value for money?

Might prospective buyers consider whether the purported 2/3 of the price for 2/3 of a school works for them?

Might prospective buyers also consider building longevity ( ~60 years according to an elected member) as a factor in value for money?

Might prospective buyers ask for proof that this prototype is cheaper to run, for comparison purposes ? 

Might prospective buyers ask where else this design has been built?

Good points, although I have to admit that I don't know whether pupils attending the Croft School have more, or perhaps less, facilities and/or equipment available to them than pupils at other local schools.

On my infrequent strolls around Croft I've never managed to work out which building contains a hall in which whole school assemblies are held.  Does it have one?

Offline Muggins

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 06:37:57 PM »
Do they have assemblies these days?

There was an interview on BBC Wilts this morning between Anne Snelgrove and I think Cllr Renard, I didn't catch it all, but it was heated and interesting.
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Offline AnnCalsox

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 07:24:55 PM »
 Here are the comments from the Adver

There is one that refers to assembly facilities - lack of

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1:49pm Tue 10 Sep 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Anyone surprised....?

 My understanding is that Swindon won't even use the design for its own schools beyond the debarcle that was Croft.

 Where's Blur for a comment as Croft was his pet project?

 Quote " "Overall, it has saved the public a large amount of money. ". Really? Evidence please; which schools and based on number of pupils attending. Surely the adver could have provided that as part of its journalism rather than simply accept unqualified quotes?
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2:59pm Tue 10 Sep 13

Tim Newroman says...

So, the council has actually saved the tax payer £1.5million then?

 Little wonder they haven't sold the concept on if all they put behind the marketing was £9,500!
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6:57pm Tue 10 Sep 13

Localboy86 says...

When we have idiots like Oliver donnacie making decisions no wonder things don't go to plan. People should only be able to run for council or be involved in any type of politics if they have achieved something in life or even held down any sort of worthwhile job.
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7:00pm Tue 10 Sep 13

Localboy86 says...

And to be clear qualifications do not automatically count as an achievement, someone should have put these to use, like run a profitable company, before even being considered worthy of making decisions which could effect us.
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7:18pm Tue 10 Sep 13

OldTown90 says...

Since the actual costs of the school have never been shared publically then there is no evidence of the savings being reported,only the word of the councillors. And we know how trustworthy this administration, and former leader and self confessed man of integrity are don't we?

 And don't forget when totting up the cost to add in £1million for the temporary school which was no more than a Trojan horse to secure planning permission from a rather feeble planning committee.

 Also its hardly a complete school. The original plan was that when fully occupied it would rely on the Croft Sports Centre in order to host school assembly.

 It is also unconventional in so much as the staff car park is inadequate for the number of staff that will be required if and when it becomes fully operational. Lucky for them that there is a car park in the Croft that they will use. How much does adequate staff car parking facilities cost at a conventional school?

 So it may not be a conventional school but neither is it a cheap school (actually it is a cheap school appearance wise as opposed to monetary wise) when comparing the actual facilities against the actual cost. And its hardly solid evidence comparing apples with pears

 As LordAsh states if its so wonderful and cost effective why are the council not using it elsewhere e.g. Tadpole Farm.

 Which does beg the question - is the school ever going to get built there or are the kids in North Swindon going to lose out again as vanity rules at SBC?
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9:58pm Tue 10 Sep 13

Morsey says...

Compare a proper school building, having stood for around a century like Even Swindon school, then look at the short-lived, relatively expensive schools built today ... it just shows how backward we have become?
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1:14pm Wed 11 Sep 13

abbotboy says...

Is that young lad still being taken every day by the taxi firm from Shrivenham??
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7:00pm Wed 11 Sep 13

Peter Mallinson says...

If there ever was a reason for people not to buy into the Croft concept it must be asked "did all the nimbyism, ranting and general rabble rousing help to sell the idea". No!!

 Why would anyone want to get involved in that.

 As for the comments about councillors not having the right experience, background etc. I can agree with the statement as a generality and would like to say that there are some councillors who are not in work and see being a councillor as being fully employed.

 However I do object to being thrown in the same pond. I have had two very successful and demanding and careers in my life in both the RAF and BA. I have also started, run and sold two businesses over the last 20 years, so have a little knowledge of how to run things.

 Non of this is any use to you when you become a councillor, you are at the mercy of all and sundry. If you attempt to do something there is always bunch of people ready to rubbish you.

 That is what happened with Councillor Bluh and others over the Croft School.

 It will never change.
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7:54pm Wed 11 Sep 13

OldTown90 says...

Peter Mallinson says;
 " As for the comments about councillors not having the right experience, background etc. I can agree with the statement as a generality and would like to say that there are some councillors who are not in work and see being a councillor as being fully employed."

 OldTown90 says:
 I would say that not having the right experience is rife in this current administration. You only have to observe recent iterations of Cabinet.

 Also don't assume that fully employed is the same as gainfully employed or productively employed.

 Peter Mallinson says;
 " Non of this is any use to you when you become a councillor, you are at the mercy of all and sundry. If you attempt to do something there is always bunch of people ready to rubbish you."

 OldTown90 says:
 Totally disagree . I think you'll find its the incompetents that come in for criticism. Those that do a good job get positive recognition. Case in point - Nadine Watts, you know her Peter, she beat you in the May 2012 elections, is well respected in Old Town and has been praised by many residents of Old Town for the good work and positive contribution she makes in the ward.

 Peter Mallionson says:
 "That is what happened with Councillor Bluh and others over the Croft School."

 OldTown90 says:
 If Councillor Bluh, self confessed man of integrity, (self praise is no praise)get rubbished its because of the catalogue of failures that he and his administration have presided over in recent years An example related to this article is the abysmal school planning which leaves South Swindon awash in spare school places while North Swindon continually struggles to get adequate school provision.

 Another reason he gets criticised, justly in my opinion, is the failed commercial ventures e.g Class Solutions and Wi-Fi that occurred on his watch.

 Peter Mallinson says;
 "It will never change."

 OldTown90 says:
 Be assured.It will change. And for the better when this Administration are voted out. The people of Swindon deserve better. They've had to put up with mediocrity for too long.

 The greatest resistance to change is this current administration

« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 07:57:09 PM by AnnCalsox »

Offline Mart

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 07:47:31 PM »
WiFi with a roof on then?
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 Des Moffatt

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 09:00:28 PM »
Ha Ha Ha Mart

Offline Jodie Maggio

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 09:52:51 PM »
WiFi with a roof on then?

At least the Croft enquiry was published.  :)

Whether factually correct is another matter

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 11:51:55 PM »
So, ex-councillor Mallinson lurched out of the political graveyard again, unravelled a mouldy vellum parchment and spake the mantra of failure once again: "Not me guv'nor, cor blimey no, it was all them nimby's wot done for the Pop-Up School so it was.... annit wus them wot done the WiFi over too..."

I see Wing Commander Peter Von Shattering-Buttocks wasn't accompanied by his usual carer so he's lurching about without his hench-twit Olive to coordinate his rantings into a proper bile stream. Consequentially Petey is making a even bigger berk of himself than he usually does.......and he probably thinks he's helping to preparing the landing ground for Claire Ellis' parachute jump into Old Town by boasting about his BA Career.  I know some BA pilots, most of them are decent blokes but a lot of them are big headed braggards and ex-pilot Pete is one of the latter I think.  Not worthy of any respect and certainly not the regular hat-doffing he routinely expects.

Anyhow, I hope Mrs Ellis didn't let Petey pack her chute because, if he carries on 'making friends' in Old Town, he might turn her campaign into a Roman Candle, just like he did his own last attempt :)

Pete, go and polish your Jag or something......

Offline Muggins

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 08:29:34 AM »
All for 'transferable skills'  if they are actually transferred.   Councillors don't have to know everything, but it's a good idea of they can lean a bit as they go along and use the expertise of decent officers.

If I was a councillor in a council that has made as many redundancies as ours, and instead of advertising for the experts they need, keep redeploying staff from other jobs, I would need to know quite  a bit myself.

Why do you think they keep making these basic mistakes?
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Offline jennyb

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 09:52:32 AM »
Is it misleading to compare the Class Solutions prototype with a 420 pupil primary school which includes all of the facilities necessary to run a school within the buildings and within the site? 

Might prospective buyers of any products compare like with like in order to assess value for money?

Might prospective buyers consider whether the purported 2/3 of the price for 2/3 of a school works for them?

Might prospective buyers also consider building longevity ( ~60 years according to an elected member) as a factor in value for money?

Might prospective buyers ask for proof that this prototype is cheaper to run, for comparison purposes ? 

Might prospective buyers ask where else this design has been built?

Good points, although I have to admit that I don't know whether pupils attending the Croft School have more, or perhaps less, facilities and/or equipment available to them than pupils at other local schools.

On my infrequent strolls around Croft I've never managed to work out which building contains a hall in which whole school assemblies are held.  Does it have one?

This excerpt was taken directly from the full recording of the Nov 29th 2011 Planning Committee at which approval was given to build the Class Solutions Prototype:

The then OT WC Bawden stated
"Can I also make the point, many of you have heard me say before,  Children have only 1 chance at education. If I personally didn’t think that this was a site which would provide  a sports centre, provide playing pitches which  cost of £1-5 to £1.6m , if I didn’t think for 1 moment that putting a school there would not give the children who go there…….. and remember ..talking about the life of a school of 60 years, that’s thousands of  pupils. I think this ( the Croft) is a fantastic site."

The October 2009 feasibility study which 'selected' the Croft Site for a primary school was based on a 1.39 hectares site which included the facilities a primary school would require within the buildings . The proposed layout in this study was based on a single storey school. 

The application which was submitted for the Croft School in June 2011 ( based on what was later revealed to be the Class Solutions venture) was based on a single storey school on a .59 hectare site with reliance on the Croft Centre ( which has a large hall) , the Croft public car park and the Croft Playing fields.

Does the purported cost of the Class Solutions prototype rely upon the proximity of and access to a Community Centre, playing fields and Car park all within Local Authority ownership and control?

Does the evidence support that the Class Solutions prototype is a complete 420 primary school operating within its own boundaries?
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Tobes

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 01:12:31 PM »
In The Thick Of IT has a useful phrase for SBC's stumbling attempts at semi-commercial ventures, 'Omni-shambles'.

They've behaved like properly addicted gamblers, tugging away at the lever on the one armed bandit, but feeding OUR cash into the slot. Maybe there is a time for taking the odd risk to try and innovate - but in the teeth of local resistance to such ideas and at a time when money is so desperately tight, the last five years have proven that they're totally incapable of delivering on their promises. What total plonkers.

  :(
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 08:35:13 PM »
Here's the article better late than never!!

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10663795.No_buyers_for_new_Croft_type_schools/

No buyers for new Croft-type schools

11:10am Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
Photograph of Coun Brian Mattock pictured outside Croft School just before it opened.

A DESIGN for new schools drawn up by Swindon Council has not attracted any orders despite almost £10,000 of taxpayers’ cash being ploughed into the project.

The modular concept, entitled Class Solutions, has been marketed to local authorities across the UK after forming the basis for the Croft School in Old Town.

The Adver revealed in February 2012 how the council spent £9,512 on marketing materials, including a promotional DVD and a model.

But no orders have been received to date since the project’s inception in 2011, according to a Freedom of Information Act request.


However the local authority said in its reply that interest had been received after an independent report on the school capital system in April 2011.

The council stated: “The publishing of the James Report and invitations to several national conferences on school design has triggered some interest from individuals from organisations who attended the conference.”

The primary school opened in September after a prolonged planning battle with residents.

Campaigners claimed the buildings were used to showcase Class Solutions.

But proponents say the design, which meant the school was cheaper and quicker to assemble than by using conventional methods, could be a cheap way for the Government to build hundreds of new schools.

Kareen Boyd, who opposed the Croft, reasserted her claim that residents were kept in the dark about Class Solutions during the row over access, traffic and demand for places.

She said: “There had been no mention of Class Solutions or its years and costs of research and development or that it already had a £10,000 marketing package based on the Croft location.

“Neither were we told that this had already been presented by the council to the UK Schools Building Procurement Forum well in advance of the planning committee.“ Mrs Boyd, of Hesketh Crescent, suggested other local authorities had drawn their own conclusions.

She said: “Prospective customers can now see the prototype in reality and compare the actual design and costs in the open market against companies with proven track records.”

The council has said it will provide designs and drawings for other town halls who wish to use the concept, which has been dubbed the “school in a box”. A spokesman said: “By any rational and objective measure, the Croft School design has been a major success.

"It cost £1.5million less to build than the three previous conventionally-built schools in Swindon, and is popular with pupils, parents and teachers.

“Taken in that context, the amount spent on promotional materials, which have been useful in sending to people and organisations who have subsequently expressed an interest in the design, is very small.

"Overall, it has saved the public a large amount of money.

“The concept will be used again for future new schools in Swindon.”


And the additional comments since Ann posted them earlier.

8:26pm Wed 11 Sep 13
Peter Mallinson says...

The administration may change but the quality of the council will take a nose dive. Have you seen the alternatives in action.

Just take a look at the TV today, it shows councillors in the chamber some are looking very untidy (scruffy). They are the ones who will take over.
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9:12pm Wed 11 Sep 13
LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
If there ever was a reason for people not to buy into the Croft concept it must be asked "did all the nimbyism, ranting and general rabble rousing help to sell the idea". No!!

Why would anyone want to get involved in that.

As for the comments about councillors not having the right experience, background etc. I can agree with the statement as a generality and would like to say that there are some councillors who are not in work and see being a councillor as being fully employed.

However I do object to being thrown in the same pond. I have had two very successful and demanding and careers in my life in both the RAF and BA. I have also started, run and sold two businesses over the last 20 years, so have a little knowledge of how to run things.

Non of this is any use to you when you become a councillor, you are at the mercy of all and sundry. If you attempt to do something there is always bunch of people ready to rubbish you.

That is what happened with Councillor Bluh and others over the Croft School.

It will never change.
Rubbish, Blur made Croft school a personal project so as to gain votes in Old Town where he decided to put himself up for re-election.

For many people the real issue with Croft school is not that it was built, it is that the need for additional primary school places was greatest in North Swindon and has been for a few years; an issue which has never been properly addressed and even now is patched up with sticking plasters (such as portacabins in Bridlewood) rather than addressing the real issue.

Even without the primary school issue being addressed the next big crisis is already on the horizon; which is that of secondary schooling.


For Blur in particular several of his projects fell flat hence the reason he jumped before being pushed; Wifi, SCS and so on.


I will agree with you on one thing though. A lot of very capable people refuse to stand for election because quite frankly being a councilor is a hiding to nothing and a no-win situation.
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9:47pm Wed 11 Sep 13
OldTown90 says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
The administration may change but the quality of the council will take a nose dive. Have you seen the alternatives in action.

Just take a look at the TV today, it shows councillors in the chamber some are looking very untidy (scruffy). They are the ones who will take over.
Peter, you have no idea how shallow you appear to be with statements like that.

You should never judge a book by its cover. A person's dress sense is no indicator of their calibre or ability. It would be foolish of anyone to draw such a conclusion. By your reasoning Einstein must have been a disappointment to his parents.

I base my judgement on this administration's incompetence not on their dress code but by their actions and the devastating and crippling effect their actions have had on the people of Swindon.

The tribal party politics , and both parties have to accept blame, is at the root of the mess that Swindon finds itself in. And I have to say as an observer that ,in my opinion, the Conservatives appear worse than Labour.

The " we are right and the all others are wrong" approach which is evident to all who attend any council meetings has to change.

But like I said in a previous post this administration is anti-change. There are too many dinosaurs in this council. And I include all parties in that statement
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10:04am Thu 12 Sep 13
Localboy86 says...

I would vote for Peter, he tells it how he sees it even if people might not agree. I also respect him for not hiding behind various aliases on here like some wannabe councillors, who run the web editor like a little boy when ever someone mentions his name.
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12:23pm Thu 12 Sep 13
OldTown90 says...

Localboy86 wrote:
I would vote for Peter, he tells it how he sees it even if people might not agree. I also respect him for not hiding behind various aliases on here like some wannabe councillors, who run the web editor like a little boy when ever someone mentions his name.
About 99% of people on here use aliases. Including you.
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12:44pm Thu 12 Sep 13
Localboy86 says...

But Im not a wannabe councillor.
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I find the following quote from Peter Mallinson particularly unfortunate

"The administration may change but the quality of the council will take a nose dive. Have you seen the alternatives in action.

Just take a look at the TV today, it shows councillors in the chamber some are looking very untidy (scruffy). They are the ones who will take over."

I thought Peter was a Labour Party Councillor for some eight years or so?  He may have changed sides but is there any need to be so personal particularly as he counts one in attendance last night as a friend?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Tobes

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 09:07:53 PM »
It seems like a straight fight between two partys who are characterised by arrogance on one hand and an inability to effectively challenge it on the other. Both appear disproportionately inept.

 :embarassed:
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 09:15:55 PM »
Tobes, good to see you back.

Perhaps you could get off the bar stool and come to some of these meetings as you live on the doorstep?

Labour acquitted themselves well last night with plenty of passion and searching questions.

Next Council, providing the equipment is available, will be recorded and is a no miss event, it is likely to be lively and will test the impartiality of Voting Mayor Martin.

So please come on down Tobes or you could do Scrutiny on Monday night which is also likely to be a lively affair!!
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Offline the gorgon

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 09:21:26 PM »
It seems like a straight fight between two partys who are characterised by arrogance on one hand and an inability to effectively challenge it on the other. Both appear disproportionately inept.

 :embarassed:

God help Swindon.  :(

Perhaps the only thing that can save this town is some more independents, trouble is too many wards in Swindon are the sort where people would vote for a donkey if slapped the appropriate colour rosette on them.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2013, 09:42:23 PM »
Perhaps the only thing that can save this town is some more independents, trouble is too many wards in Swindon are the sort where people would vote for a donkey if slapped the appropriate colour rosette on them.

Will you help me then Gorgon, because I am going for Shaw?

and my reason is that I just cannot gob off any more without doing something about it.  We are descending down the toilet so quickly it will not be too long before it is too late to save local government as we know it!

So who else will stand as an Independent next May?

Come on Tobes, you can't defend your Dave any more or can you?
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Offline Tobes

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Re: No Buyers For New Croft-Type Schools
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2013, 10:56:59 PM »
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Will you help me then Gorgon, because I am going for Shaw?

As an independent? And as someone who will pledge not to cross the floor without the mandate of standing under a party rosette? If so, you have my complete support.

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Come on Tobes, you can't defend your Dave any more or can you?

Its on the record that I've both supported and criticised Dave according to the issues as I've seen them. Its always been a bit of a red rag to me though when people outside of the ward criticise him for his success in publicising issues of importance to local people - tends to rile me up somewhat, when I can clearly see the failings of the main opposition party to deal with the bigger issues effecting the town. That said, I would criticise Dave, Stan and Nicky for not being a lot louder. They may be a tiny party, but I think they could punch harder.

 My principal reason for not standing as an independent is the time and effort it would take to mount an effective campaign with a realistic chance of winning. If I failed to win outright, even a couple of hundred votes my way would ensure handing the ward straight over to Labour. Chris Watts would have made an effective councillor, I'm sure, but he is not standing in this ward, I'm told.

Who's the aspirant Labour candidate for Eastcott?
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'