Friday, July 30, 2021
I apologise to those like Jim King and Gary Bullivant who post on here under their real names and those anonymous posters who have posted constructively, but a sick anonymous troll has forced me to turn comment moderation back on.
Sadly some very unpleasant people think it is OK to post things online while hiding anonymously behind a computer screen which they would never dare to say to anyone's face.
People sometimes joke about this sort of thing coming from people tweeting from their mum's basement though in a well-connected community like West Cumbria where everyone knows everyone else those of us on the recieving end have a better idea where some of these posts are coming from than the perpetrators may realise. I have some strong suspicions about where some of the anonymous online poison in West Cumbria comes from and that it is from people who really ought to know better.
I adopted a strict rule a few years ago when a critical comment was made on an obituary post, which caused grief and offence to the family of the person who had died, that I do not allow negative comments on obit posts. It is common for the family and friends of people who have died to look at the internet and see what has been said about them and I was determined never to allow my blog to be used to hurt innocent people in that way again.
Most people have respected that rule, which is why I was able for the last few years to comply with a request from a regular reader and poster to turn off comment moderation.
However, today someone who presumably thinks he or she is funny put a nasty comment on an obit post. I have deleted the post but I am not putting up with the possibility that it or something else nasty might be put on instead. Sadly therefore the individual concerned has managed to put me in a position where the least worst option is to turn comment moderation back on.
The alternative would be to not allow comments on obit posts at all, but that would prevent anyone who wanted to post a tribute to the deceased from doing so.
I will try to make sure I check what has been posted on a reasonably regular basis and will generally let through comments which are not offensive, especially those which are signed, even if I do not agree with them.
This position will last for a little over three weeks.
I will review the policy on Sunday 22nd August and may turn comment moderation back off at that stage.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
I am shocked and horrified by the news that Councillor David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, died earlier today at the age of 53.
I had met David several times over the last few years and both liked and respected him as one of the best leaders in local government I have ever met and one of the nicest people in politics.
In a joint statement, Bolton council's deputy leader, Coun Martyn Cox, and the council chief executive, Tony Oakman, said: "We have just learned the very sad news that Bolton Council Leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, has passed away.
"David served as a local councillor in Bromley Cross for many years, becoming council leader in 2019.
"He was greatly respected and had many friends both in the town hall and the wider Bolton community.
"As an individual he will be greatly missed by many, and it will take some time to come to terms with our sudden loss.
"Our thoughts at this time are with those closest to him."
Councillor Nick Peel, the leader of Bolton's Labour group, paid his own tribute to Coun Greenhalgh.
He said: "Despite our political differences, David has been the leader during a very difficult period of time with the Covid pandemic, and I know that he worked long and hard hours during this time on behalf of us all, with little regard for his own need for time off.
"David was a good humoured and conscientious councillor, and I always enjoyed his good-natured company, on those occasions when we could be less formal.
"I am sure I speak for us all when I say that in the true spirit of the Labour Movement, we offer our deepest condolences and care to his family, friends and colleagues who will be feeling devastated at this time."
Coun Roger Hayes, the leader of the Liberal Democrats group on Bolton Council, said: “He was an extremely nice and kind person and irrespective of any political differences I have always found him to be straight, honest and very open.
“A very big loss to both Bolton and the Conservative group.
“It’s sad, devastating news.”
Similar tributes have been paid to David by both Conservative and Labour MPs, from neighborouing authorities and from organisations as disparate as Bolton Wanderers and Bolton Council of Mosques. You can read some of them on the Manchester Evening News site here.
Condolences thoughts and prayers to those closed to David. He was a good, kind, intelligent man who deserved the respect in which he was held on both sides of the political divide and will be greatly missed.
Rest in Peace.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
An organising campaigning for a republic has a twitter campaign which makes the following point:
"Would you fly British Heir Ways?
It had a picture of a man in a pilot's uniform seated at the controls of an aircraft, holding his thumb up with the captions "I didn't learn to fly, but my dad was a pilot so we'll be OK." and "Hereditary jobs don't work."
Dsnny (@InTheLionsDen_) pointed out this morning on Twitter that this is perhaps not the most ideal analogy for the monarchy with five words:
"We don't elect pilots either."
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Most of the quotes in the "Quote of the Day" section of this blog are intended to be inspirational, cheering, or make a political point I agree with.
And I try to include at least ten positive posts in this blog for every post attacking another party or perspective. However, there are times when a quote from another party cries out to be repeated, in order to critically examine it, particularly when a Labour MP manages to put into a few words much of what is wrong with the Labour party.
Labour MP Jess Phillips did that recently when she told the Sunday Times
"The only way that a woman will become Labour Leader is if men don't stand."
Some people will read those words and detect an atrocious sense of entitlement. Others, including me, will see in them an admission that Labour is sexist to the core.
No men stood aside for Margaret Thatcher and she beat them fair and square to be elected leader of the Conservative party and then Prime Minister.
No men stood aside for Theresa May and she beat them fair and square and was elected the second female leader of the Conservative party and Britain's second female Prime Minister.
So Jess Phillips is saying that the Labour party can't manage something the Conservative party has done twice in the past few years - elect a woman leader on merit without rigging the election.
Perhaps Labour ought to apologise for all the accusations it makes about the Conservatives not being interested in women and look a bit harder at themselves.
Monday, July 26, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
In some ways it doesn't seem all that long that Boris Johnson has been PM - there was only about seven months of "normal" politics before the pandemic started, not that this period seemed all that normal at the time - but it is two years.
Here is a list of some of the things the Conservative government has achieved in that time
There is an interesting story on the BBC website here about a plot to recruit social media influencers to spread fake news and undermine the vaccination programmes in Germany and France.
The plot failed because the people they tried to recruit were horrified and blew the whistle.
The BBC tried to trace the plot back to see who was behind it, getting as far as "a Russian man called Stanislav Fesenko."
The Russian embassy has, of course, denied that the Putin regime in Russia had anything to do with this.
No political party gets everything right - none should be above scrutiny or criticism.
There are a number of aspects of the current fraud investigation into the SNP's finances which give particular grounds for concern - and I will let this piece from the Sunday Times speak for itself.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
“The point of using that really was to try and drive the Remain campaign and the people running it crazy.”
(Dominic Cummings on why he insisted that all Vote Leave campaigners repeated the misleading claim that Britain's weekly contribution to the EU was £350 million.
Let there be any misunderstanding, if Dom Cummings said it was raining I would look outside to check but in this instance he has finally admitted something I have believed for five years was his real strategy.
And let's be honest it worked exactly as planned.)
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
After extensive debate among councillors and over thirteen thousand responses from local residents and organisations, the government has this afternoon announced which of the local proposals they have accepted for reform of local government in Cumbria, North Yorkshire, and Somerset.
I am very pleased to see that they have gone with the option I preferred and have been arguing for in Cumbria, which is two unitary councils for Cumbria, one covering the current areas of Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle, the other the current areas of Eden, South Lakeland, and Barrow & Furness.
This was the preferred option supported by Copeland council and Allerdale council. There were a total of four options for reform involving a change to a unitary model put forward by local councils - and it is perhaps worth pointing out that all four of the councils involved - Cumbria County Council and all six districts - supported one of those four options for unitary local government.
The Secretary of State has asked the existing councils and their partners to work collaboratively and constructively together to drive forward the process of establishing unitary councils.
Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
"I have always been clear that any restructuring of local government must be locally-led and will not involve top-down solutions from government.
Residents, businesses and service providers have had their say on what will work best for their area and now councils in these three areas can start planning for the next step.
Where there is local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents."
This follows an announcement by the Prime Minister last week whereby he set out his vision to level up and unite the whole of the United Kingdom. In a speech, he set out the government’s role to:
- empower strong local leaders by taking a more flexible approach to devolution, with new ‘County Deals’
- focus on growing the private sector by creating the conditions for long-term growth and productivity;
- invest in infrastructure and connectivity;
- ensure that people have access to good public services, and the skills and training needed to get good jobs; and
- improve the quality of life in communities through cutting crime and regenerating towns and high streets
Moving forward, Parliamentary approval will be sought to implement these locally led plans for the area. At the turn of the year, a draft structural changes Order will be laid in Parliament. This will include plans for the necessary transitional arrangements, including elections in May 2022 for the future unitary councils.