Have you got a story to tell? Have you been through the mincer of TMBC's Pay & Grading Review/Job Evaluation? Or have you been made redundant by the Guardian Media Group? Do you want to hit back? Do you have a story - or any information - which you'd like us to know in case we can use it in some way to attack the political and media Cartel in Tameside? Drop us a line - email tamesidemafia@gmail.com.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Oldhamisms

The following are all excerpts from Roy Oldham's State of the Area Address which we covered in a live blog a couple of weeks back. I don't know what it is, but something happens to Roy Oldham's words when they're transcribed - or is it just when they come out of his mouth in the first place?

Oldham is to Tameside MBC what John Prescott was to the Houses of Parliament. There was a rumour that applicants for Hansard transcribing jobs used to face a test which entailed listening to a Prescott speech and then writing down what they thought he was trying to say. In Roy Oldham's case it would surely be much, much harder. If you don't believe us read on, and then leave a comment with your interpretations:

1/ Turmoil usually comes from change and you can see many Councils around the country - they don’t know what they are but they call themselves ‘hung’ Councils and it’s not a bad word ‘hung’ because the only thing that’s ‘hung’ pretty out of dynamism it ain’t going to move a lot if it’s hung, and that’s what happens to Councils of that nature. We’re not.

2/ Many pension funds in the private world have ceased to pay a final settlement and you might relieve your task as a pensioner somewhere when the market is at bottom in stocks and shares you will be in serious trouble with what your take home pay will be having retired after many years of quality service in most cases - not so in Greater Manchester Pension Fund or in the other Council funds but in this one in particular.

3/ We have, all of us who sit politically in this chamber and are Members, support the bid and that’s thanks to ex-Councillor Meredith I didn’t think he’d get whipped for it but I’m sure the sting has gone out of that now that due to him asking for a recorded vote we have everybody’s name logged in as a supporter of the TIF Bid and that’s what happened.

4/ There is always something creeps up at you in this case when you say another burglary has suddenly come out of the woodwork again, maybe some people have come out of prison and that’s what sometimes happens and hopefully they’ll be back there and our figures will fall again in that level.

5/ Wounding is down by twenty-seven percent and there’s a reduction in youth causing annoyance. That won’t be a level and buttered playing field, there will be areas where it doesn’t go down or indeed rises but that’s looking at an averaging.

6/ Every time somebody sticks one on to say how marvellous Judy is because she’s twenty-one or fifty-one or something they’re costing Judy some money because otherwise the lighting column will corrode.

7/ It will produce a better understanding that the waste products instead of it having to be dumped in a hole in the ground which are getting short in number and are in somebody else’s back yard.

8/ In terms of attractive streets what more than In Bloom can do for you.

9/ It wasn’t floral things like those baskets and planters and they want to get involved themselves and that’s what was happening to Dukinfield one and their enthusiasm I hope will spill off into other areas.

10/ ...this is dynamic and for everybody who will see it they’re going to be extremely pleased with what we’ve done and the more we do this then the more I believe that people begin to understand that you’re in a good place and you don’t break things, you act responsible and you behave yourself and if you let everything slide then I think things go the other way then, if everywhere is just a tip what the hell they just treat it as a tip.

11/ Customer Services, Procurement, Human Resources, Adult Services, all of these play massive parts in our lives, Trading Standards, these are like the forerunners to you becoming ill.

12/ We’re going to look at how we can help our retail shopping and it won’t necessarily be on car parking because the problem with that is if you have no more payment for a certain period of time you’ve got to control it by people which costs you money and they’ve got to check if you’ve been there an hour or two so that you only enjoy that free period of time.

Friday, 28 November 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Tameside Council's Statue Frenzy

It appears that Tameside Council have gone into a mad spending frenzy over statues placed across Ashton-under-Lyne. It was announced a few weeks ago in the press that to celebrate the imminent reopening of the Ashton Market Hall, that Ashton District Assembly had splashed out on six bronze sculptures. Thanks to a tip off from a reader, we have obtained documents of the costs of the sculptures under the Freedom of Information Act.

The costs are as follows:

4 x "Children Statues" - £30,000 (£7,500 each)
1 x "Miner" - £7,500
1 x "Guitar Case" - £4,500
Labour and Installation Costs - £1,643.32
------------------------------------------------
TOTAL: £43,643.32
------------------------------------------------

Yes you read that right, £43,643.32 of your council tax has been wasted on more tack. 

But who authorises such rubbish? Well you can point the finger at Councillor Lynn Travis (Ashton Waterloo) who is chair of Ashton-under-Lyne District Assembly (yet lives in Mossley!). However readers may be unaware that her husband, Frank Travis, is responsible for Ashton's regeneration at Tameside Council. A little conflict of interest you may think... 

It gets better. Frank is far from partisan in his job: when we heard words of Sean Parker-Perry's resignation we were told that Lynn and Frank were with Sean at the Labour Party Conference this year. And the icing on the cake is that Frank has stood as a Labour Candidate in Mossley in 2007 and was Idu Miah's agent in 2008.

There are laws that civil servants must not earn more than £35,852 per year and be political - this means standing for council or actively being a member of a party (canvassing, leafleting attending meetings etc). With Frank Travis being responsible for Ashton's regeneration we have a good guess that he is on at least £40,000. But we shall never know, as council staff salaries are not to be disclosed to the public under the Data Protection Act.

In other news, it was reported in this weeks Tameside Advertiser that Ashton District Assembly had again spent more money on statues on Lord Sheldon Way. The cost was confirmed in the article itself at £70,000 and received partial funding from the National Lottery.


UPDATE 22/12/08: This has now filtered down to the Tameside Reporter, the councils response makes interesting reading. It goes on to mention that the Lord Sheldon Way statues cost £90,000, but as stated, the Advertiser said they cost £70,000 with Lottery funding. We presume that the statues did cost £90,000 with TMBC paying £70,000 and the Lottery fund paying the remaining £20,000.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

James Purnell's False TIF Claims


James Purnell was in the Tameside Advertiser last week posing in a cramped train brought on by a constituent challenging him "to see for himself" over the poor condidtions commuters face by having to travel from Stalybridge Railway Station. The Advertiser states that James was "astonished at the crammed carriages and agreed it was ‘unacceptable’".

Poor James forced himself to take the First TransPennine Express service where he had to stand next to a toilet in Standard Class like most people do. The Tameside Andrex spouted that the experience for James was "claustrophobic and uncomfortable" - Diddums! Luckily for James, there was no red box lost this time.

So after seven years of being an MP, James is waking up to the problems that his constituents have to put up with to travel to work. But it isn't the first time James Purnell has brought up the issue of overcrowded trains and poor service in general at Stalybridge Railway Station. He did a petition in 2002 and again (notice the same picture was used) in 2003. So twice Purnell has appeared in the press to "express his concerns", but what has he actually done to solve the problem? Sod all by the looks of things.

Moving on, James Purnell uses the opportunity before the TIF Referendum to promote his support for a "yes vote" by saying:

"We need billions of pounds to improve these services. We need more carriages and more services. That is why the TIF proposals and the congestion charge are so important"

However, as one reader pointed out in the comments of the article on the Tameside Advertiser website, there are no extra carriages or services promised for Stalybridge Railway Station. If you look at the TIF Map [PDF Link], you will see that there is no mention at all for extra carriages or services at Stalybridge Railway Station, just a Park and Ride - & the land on which it will be built just so happens to be owned by the GMPF!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Nazi Don's reaction to leaking of the BNP membership list



We've had very little to say up until now about Tameside BNP. This is partly because there seems little point focusing an a relatively insignificant pimple on the arse of Tameside's political scene (albeit a particularly nasty & painful one). This may change in future, but all we'll say for now is that if you thought a Labour-run Tameside Council was bad, can you imagine what the place would be like run by that lot?

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this little mashup we found on Youtube.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Roy Oldham's Karma, Part 2


As discussed many times on this blog, the Tameside Council run Greater Manchester Pension Fund (headed by Tameside Council Leader, Roy Oldham) invests in many unethical businesses. We would like to draw your attention to one in particular - British American Tobacco. According to this file [PDF Link], the GMPF hold £9,188,274 of shares in British American Tobacco (BATS) as of 31/03/2008.

We have embedded an hour long BBC documentary above which attacks the tobacco industry and points out that one in particular, the same British American Tobacco, targets children in third world countries or 'emerging markets'. They do this by selling cigarettes individually, rather in packets, so that children can afford them.

We have been told that one councillor complained about the conflicting messages of the government. Whereas the government in this country is pushing people to stop smoking, the GMPF happily invests in the tobacco trade. The councillor made a valid point of asking how secure the shares were if many people in the UK were to stop smoking? Roy Oldham responded that the shares shouldn't be hit because there is "massive demand" in China.

So what a massive dose of karma Roy Oldham gets when he is diagnosed with cancer, when he will happily condone his pension funds investments to sell cancer sticks to children.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Live: The Tameside Council State of the Area Address 2008

Welcome to our live blog of the 2008 State of the Area Address. Email updates are coming straight from Liam Billington's iPhone...

17.25 pm: predictably, Twitter is down for maintenance, so we'll be updating by email...

17.30: Roy Oldham - Pension Fund is 'paper money'

17.36: Oldham: "Being hung isn't bad" - referring to control of councils.

17.38: Oldham - not speaking about GMPF. Because of my question.

17.41: TIF - Every councillor supports the TIF.

17.41: (the Purnellios are here Charlesworth and Kane)

17.42: Oldham on TiF referendum: "Vote for what is best for you"

17.42: **UPDATE BY CAPOREGIME - TMBC'S REALPLAYER FEED IS DOWN**

17.45: Longdendale Bypass - "Still working on it"

17.50: Pet notice boards for lost pets - just don't do it. The council are to provide community noticeboards.

17.56: Recycling : "Forget saving the planet -it saves money"

18.00: Statues in Ashton named "cheeky children". Now going on about council statue inventory...

18.02: New "Dynamic" Bronze statue in the works. Bronze is the colour.

18.11: Council is to pay police precept with recycling profits. Also. "Community Chest" fund. A panel created for each D.A. Community chest fund rewards will be distributed on how well a town recycles.

18.13: Tameside MBC going to help businesses in economic downturn by paying contractors faster.

18.15: Oldham has finished talking. Conservatives give a reply.

18.17: John Bell comments on Janet Callendar's resignation..

18.18: ...it isn't good... Slow and not exciting.

18.19: John Bell admits he wouldn't do many things differently.

18.20: 50 committees and panels. John Bell is pushing for smaller governance.

18.23: Bell is attacking scrutiny reports. TMBC claims 88% of households are satisfied or under 22k of Tameside folk are dissatisfied.

18.24: Less than one litter fine/dog fouling fine handed out per day on average. The council says this is positive.

18.26: Giving stats on average weekly wage. Isn't good. Will have figures later.

18.28: Bell now going on about empty apartments. Again, some stats which will be given out later.

18.32: Bell is now going on about public sector pay...

18.34: Bell is contradicting council's crime figures. Crime meets a minimum standard.

18.35: Now health - sorry about the lack of stats, figures are being fired out too quickly.

18.36: Labour councillors ironically walking out on John Bell...

18.38: Claire Francis fucked up the microphone and stepped on it!

18.40: Now onto education. This is the last subject...

18.44: Roy Oldham now responding to John Bell...

18.46: Oldham going on about child fatalities on roads. Just 1 this year.

18.46: Oldham "the police are our partners".

18.48: Residents can expect to find money in their bins for recycling. Called "cash in the bin" (?!). I predict it will stay there if people won't bother to look for it....

18.49: Before the State of Area address began, Oldham announced resignation of a finance director.

18.50: Oldham criticises Salford Council (a Labour Council) over equal pay.

18.52: Oldham criticises resident for watching how roads are dug up. "Should be in work".

18.56: State of area address ended. Full council continues...

LIVE BLOG HAS NOW ENDED

Our original preamble read: Liam Billington has emailed Tameside Mafia to say he will be live blogging Roy Oldham's State of the Area Address at Ashton town hall. We have embedded the twitter feed below, so all you need to do is bookmark the page and check back at 6PM when the full council meeting kicks off.

The address is not going to be held in a separate hall this year, but is to be held in the full council meeting itself. So John Bell and the Conservatives have no excuse to walk out.

For those with high speed broadband and a generous download limit, may wish to watch the address via video streaming. Although you do need Real Player. The streaming starts at 6PM.

Friday, 14 November 2008

James Purnell Saves the Nation's Post Offices (Just Not in Stalybridge & Hyde)

It has been trumpeted in the national press today that James Purnell has saved Britain's Post Offices by retaining a £1bn 'Card Account' contract from 2010 to 2015. The key decision was made by himself and the newly appointed Cabinet Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), Lord Peter Mandelson. Purnell clearly mixes in questionable circles.

However much a "saviour" of the Post Office Purnell may appear to be, in his own constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde, things ain't so rosy. Since becoming an MP in 2001 his constituency has lost 10 post offices with another two not looking so good.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Stalybridge & Hyde Conservative PPC Applicants

We have an exclusive that Stalybridge & Hyde Conservatives got to meet applicants on Tuesday night wishing to be the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the seat in the next general election. The prized picked person will have the honour of standing against the Cabinet Secretary of state for Work and Pensions, James Purnell.

The names of the candidates include:

Rob Adlard: Former Manchester City Centre council candidate. Now living in Longdendale.
Kashif Ali: Deputy Chairman of Manchester Conservatives. Was agent to Rob Adlard.
Kamran Ghafoor: Former Oldham MBC Councillor candidate for the Alexandra ward.
Stephen Holland: A councillor for the May Bank ward at Newcastle Borough Council.
Sajjad Hussain: Former LABOUR candidate for Manchester City Council in the Longsight ward!

Whoever is selected does have a good chance of winning if the local election results were anything to go off. At the local elections of 1st May, in the eight wards that constitute Stalybridge & Hyde; four were won by the Conservatives (Hyde Wernerth, Stalybridge/Dukinfield, Stalybridge North, Stalybridge South) three by Labour (Hyde Godley, Hyde Newton, Longdendale) and one by the Mossley Independents. The total number of votes polled by political parties in these eight wards was as follows:

Conservative: 9,225 (39.67%)
Labour: 8,347 (35.89%)
Liberal Democrats: 640 (2.75%)
Green Party: 1,601 (6.88%)
BNP: 1,375 (4.78%)
Independent: 1,113 (5.91%)
UKIP: 952 (4.09%)

If these figures were replicated at a General Election, the current Rt Hon Secretary of State for Works & Pensions would be out on his arse, and James Purnell would no longer have any reason to make token visits to either Stalybridge or Hyde.

Resources:

*Past General Election Results
*2008 Tameside Council Election Results

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Roy Oldham diagnosed with Karma

Tameside Council leader Roy Oldham is to go into Stepping Hill hospital (not Tameside) for surgery. 

Councillor Oldham, 74, will take time off later this year to undergo surgery for an acute attack of Karma he has experienced lately.
 
He announced the news at a recent meeting of the Labour Group, to reports of wild applause and partying into the night.

Councillor Oldham, who is the cruel overseer of the Longdendale ward, has been head of the council since 1066, making him the longest-serving waste of taxpayer's money in British history.

He was awarded a CBE in 2000 for his services to the British Empire, a formation that now exists in name only.

Speaking to Tameside Mafia, he said: "I have had this coming for a long time and I have put in place robust arrangements to ensure the Council is run like a Fascist Regime in my abscence under the deputy leader, Councillor Joe Kitchen-Sink. I am fully ready for this operation - I shaved my testicles myself only this morning - and anticipate a speedy recovery, and plan to be back in time for my annual festive cocaine and Jack Daniel's with our high-achieving but low-paid staff before the Christmas break, thank fuck"

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Ashton Labour Poppy Appeal

We have been informed by a reader that Tameside Council have facilitated the Royal British Legion in a Tameside Council van outside Ashton Town Hall. No problem you may think, but the curious onlooker immediately spotted poppy boxes labelled with various Labour branches in Ashton (see picture). 


Also in the van was information on fortnightly bin collections and recycling (click on link to view) which the council is trying to peddle to the public - what a tasteful way of drawing this to the public's attention!

Now you may think that there is nothing wrong with political parties or the council raising money for such a worthwhile cause. As our reader pointed out, he feels that the display is a set up to promote the local Labour group. Speaking to Tameside Mafia, Liam Billington said:


"The boxes were clearly labeled with Ashton Labour. People passing the van may think it is the Labour party raising money for the Royal British Legion. I have no issue with any political party raising money for charities, but the council should not be facilitating this

I bet your bottom dollar that in a week or two we will see a letter in the Tameside Advertiser or the Reporter from the Royal British Legion thanking Ashton Labour Party for the money they raised through selling the poppies"


Billington then forwarded his complaint to Robert Landon who is head of Tameside Council's democratic services.

Hat tip: Thanks to Liam Billington sending in the images.

Monday, 3 November 2008

James Purnell Loses His Red Box

It was revealed in the Sunday Mirror yesterday that Work and Pensions Secretary and Stalybridge & Hyde MP, James Purnell has lost his red box (no laughing at the back). Purnell left his ministerial red box on a "packed train" on October 4th from Macclesfield to London. Inside the redbox was casework details from Wayne Bowers, who is currently unemployed and living in Gorton. He asked his MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman for help claiming benefits.

According to commuters on the first class Virgin Pendolino service, Purnell was acting arrogant and showing off walking up and down the train whilst leaving the confidential documents open. Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, one passenger said:

"We recognised him straight away and he seemed to be showing off a bit. He kept leaving the box and walking in and out of the carriage talking on his mobile. I think he realised people knew who he was and was playing the big man. His behaviour was unbelievable. He was very arrogant"

Sounds just like our James. Shame then that James has broken the law - the Official Secrets Act, section 8 to be precise - Crown Servants are responsible for safeguarding information. Plus also the Data Protection Act.

James Purnell's spokesperson responded to the articles by saying:

"It was one file from an MP with the attached correspondence and was returned safely within three days. Obviously, James is very sorry for the mistake. He has not broken any rules or guidelines"

Errrrr .... why is James Purnell's spokesperson responding to such a serious issue? We think we know why. Fellow Labour cabinet minister Shaun Woodward threw on a lavish £60,000 party in Marrakesh, Morocco. According to blogger, Guido Fawkes, 20 other members of the Labour party were there. We have our bets that James was there too.

We would like to remind readers that this isn't the first time that James has been careless with peoples personal data. Prior to the local elections in May, he allowed former assistant and endorsed candidate for Hyde Werneth, Claire Francis to ask for constituents National Insurance Numbers for a feedback form. The story was broken by former blogger, Tameside Eye which eventually led to local paper, the Tameside Reporter and then the Telegraph picking it up.

And it also seems an employee of a contractor for his department recently lost a memory stick with source codes and password for the Government Gateway project. Only last week a civil servant was fined £2,500 for losing confidential papers on Al Qaeda. James should suffer the same fate and be investigated by the police. On the Sunday AM show Gordon Brown showed little concern and said he hadn't had the chance to speak to James. We think he must go - you can't have one rule for one and one for the other. As our graphic indicates, Purnell is holding up two fingers to the electorate. He thinks he's bulletproof.

It seems that James Purnell is more than prone to these gaffes even though he has got rid of his office monkey, Councillor Sean Parker-Perry. So cue our latest campaign to get rid of James, every time he fucks up, you will see our new badge "Jim Nice But Dim".

Sunday, 2 November 2008

James Purnell Isn't Working

New figures in the Manchester Evening News revealed last week that Tameside has been hit with a rise in unemployment by 24.4%, which is higher than the national average at 19%. Now this is quite alarming considering that Tameside is home to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell MP.

Purnell recently has been spouting on about "work for dole" reforms and has been praised from all corners apart from his own constituency where in the local press he got into a war of words with an alcoholic *hic*. The interview was done by one of Purnell's local brown nose, Terry Duckworth Nigel Pivaro, who recently left the Reporter to work for the Daily Star. For local folk reading the blog, have they noticed the Tameside Reporter running regular features on Purnell focusing on these very "work for dole" reforms which are spun to say "hey it won't affect you". Well we shall see, but these rises in unemployment don't look too promising for James.

But rest assured if you are unemployed, Purnell does feel your pain (or so he would like you to think). The Independent had this interesting piece:

Whispers in the Commons reach me that minister James Purnell might have resigned had he been a casualty of the recent reshuffle. Still, a P45 would not have caused Purnell too many sleepless nights. In the early 1990s he found himself unemployed and did what any self-respecting young man does – sign up for the dole. "I remember queuing for a good hour, outside the kind of building that gave East German architecture a bad name," he writes in a local paper. Now he is Work and Pensions Secretary, and boasts: "My department employs over 100,000 people and spends more money each year than the entire GDP of Denmark." Perhaps now's not the best time to mention such extravagance?

Regarding the extravagance, in a Freedom of Information release it was revealed that the DWP had spent £2m on cabs in the past year. Taxi for Mr. Purnell please!

Now when I go to James Purnell's website to view his biography, where he details his career:

"He was a researcher to Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP during his time as Shadow Employment Secretary, 1989-92. After graduating, he went to Hydra Associates 1992-94, and then became a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research 1994-95 on their media and communications project.

He went on to become Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC from 1995-97. He then returned to work for the Prime Minister Tony Blair as Special Adviser on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy from 1997-2001"


And in 2001 he became MP for Stalybridge and Hyde and the rest, as they say, is history. So back to the point of unemployment, where does the unemployment fall? He says he was working in the early 1990's. Is James Purnell lying about being unemployed?

Purnell is touted as the next messiah for the Labour Party, and even though he copied Tory policy, he likes to think he is the one to reform work and pensions. Here's how I see it: the press are (wrongly) claiming that Crash/Flash Gordon Brown has been the savior to the world economy by bailing out banks. If Gordon can save a few banks, surely Purnell can save a few jobs too? Things don't look good at the DWP at all, it was recently revealed that unemployment is expected to rise to 2 million by Christmas. It seems James Purnell isn't working.