It was kind of Cllr John Taylor to warn all the cash-strapped struggling families of Tameside of the dire consequences of falling into the trap of borrowing money from ‘Pay-Day Loan Companies’ in order to pay their ever increasing household bills. (See his Letter to the Editor, Tameside Reporter – 24 October 2013)

Strange he didn’t mention the ever increasing ‘Council Tax’ that he and his fellow Labour councillors landed us with this year and will no doubt increase it again next year too, in order to fund their avarice.

Then in an effort to mitigate his council’s greed he told us of Ed Miliband’s plan, (should Labour return to office in 2015) to raise a levy on the Pay-Day Lenders profits and give it to Credit Unions so that they can lend it to struggling families instead.

Now can anybody see the madness of this?

Labour increase their taxes, they then raise a levy on company profits and give the money to Credit Unions to lend to indebted families, so they can pay their taxes!

Do these people think we’re stupid?



I want the desk with the biggest chair!
It was interesting to hear the Labour Council Leader Kieran Quinn announcing his delight as he whipped the wraps off the exciting multi-million pound ‘vision of Tameside, especially the part that explains, “It will also mean that we (the council) can replace the aging council administration building, that is too large for our for our needs, no longer fit for purpose and too expensive to run with a smaller, more efficient building, that we can share with other partners

It therefore goes to confirm; as many people have been saying for years, that in the not too distant past, Tameside’s Labour controlled council employed far too many public sector workers and saw Tameside’s empire builders, filling every spare chair in the council offices with flunkies; doling out public money to overpaid, over-cushioned pen-pushers.

Become a Tameside Labour councillor, it's a job for life!
We still remember the debacle when bosses at Tameside Council forked out £4,995 on training and leaflets for staff and councillors giving them guidance and tips on how to walk as part of the council’s well-being strategy. And that is just one small example, (… I think enough has been said about bronze statues!)

If nothing else, the cuts in grants from central government has proved that despite the Labour Leader’s annual gripe about having to make draconian cuts to services; the fact that he is now more than happy to be moving the entire council into smaller premises, illustrates that the council could have been operating just as easily with far less staff and for far less money for years.

Having less money to waste on vanity projects, the current councillors have been made to wake-up and examine every aspect of the way they work; and although they appear to have gone some small way in discovering how to maximise efficiency, they’ve still got a long way to go in bringing down the excessive pay of senior managers.

Does anyone find it rather odd that in his keynote address in 2011, Kieran Quinn revealed that the authority would have to find £132 million of savings over the next four years and axe more front-line jobs to cope with the cuts in Whitehall’s funding. Yet here we are, two years later, he suddenly finds the wherewithal to stump-up £13million which is reported to be their share of the £76million investment in the construction! (…You’ll notice there’s been no mention of the extra hundreds of thousands of pounds they’ll spend on new office desks, chairs, cabinets, etc’!)

Now whether the design and positioning of this ambitious town centre scheme will have the desired effect on the local economy, we will have to wait and see, but if, as we are told, this will bring in an extra 3300 people, more thought is needed as where they are going to park. After all, they are not all going to arrive by bicycle and tram!



Edward (Eddie) Miller has been a good friend of mine for many years. In fact we met at college back in the early 70’s when I, as a mediocre drummer, jammed in a band led by Ed, who played a mean tenor sax.

We’d lost track over the years, but last week; on learning of my interest in local politics and my penchant for standing up for the down-trodden and the innocent victims of petty bureaucracy, he emailed me to say that he had been forced to lay-off five life-long members of his trad-jazz band and as a consequence, he was thinking of implementing legal proceeding against the Labour Party in an effort to recoup huge financial losses because of cancelled bookings.

For over 45 years, The Ed Miller Band have played in clubs for weddings in Denton, receptions in Stalybridge, parties in Mossley and jazz festivals in Audenshaw and Droylsden, not to mention many parties in Hyde and Hollingworth and have even topped the bill in far flung places like Greenfield, Denshaw, Diggle and Delph.

This fabulous old traditional jazz band have been playing to record crowds in the traditional ‘New Orleans’ jazz style, and have entertained punters young and old with memorable tunes, ballads & 100’s of popular numbers of the early twentieth century, from their vast repertoire.

However, over the last three years, many long-standing bookings and regular weekly gigs have been steadily dropping off and others have been suddenly cancelled! – A sad state of affairs and a fact that Ed’ himself attributes to an unfortunate name association with Labour leader and Wallace stunt double, Ed Miliband.

Speaking from his sheltered flat in Hattersley, a tearful Mr Miller explained that, “After entertaining the folks of Tameside for almost 50 year we have now reach such a level that we cannot afford to put enough diesel in the van to get us to our next gig in Daisy Nook!”

A local representative of Tameside’s Labour Party replying to a Freedom of Information request (FOI) into the allegation of broken entertainment contracts and booking cancellations, released a statement advising; "Whilst we regret any loss of earnings fer’t local brass or indeed any other band genre as a result of the cloud of misery and boredom that surrounds our fearless leader; and I don’t mean the mighty Quinn; we could not possibly comment on the bands contention that any cancellation of bookings leading to their lack of earnings have anything to do with claiming the public's awareness of Ed Miliband and the similarity of their names has had a devastating effect to their bookings and album sales!

That being said, when an intrepid undercover reporter, masquerading as a volunteer black plastic bag-carrier for John Taylor approached drinkers in the newly refurbished Stalybridge Labour Club (a popular bolt-hole for Labour councillors and their acolytes, when planning the next tranche of celebrities to feature in strategic photo-op litter-picking duties) fans of the unorthodox trad jazz band were seen leaving the club at an astonishing rate of knots after reading that Ed Miliband was featured on the ‘what’s on this week' posters.

"...Then you tie the black plastic bag, just like that!"
According to Anette Kurtain, Head of Arts & Engagement Manager on the council’s Cultural Services Team, she confirmed that as of the beginning of 2013, “The Ed Miller Band have had all their upcoming bookings at Hyde’s Civic Square and each and every Labour Club across Tameside cancelled!

Daryll Beaderday, Entertainment Secretary for the Labour Club in Droylsden, told me; "We really didn't have much of a choice but to cancel the Ed Miller Band once we realised the name sounded like that bloke’ Ed Miliband’. What kind of forward thinking organisation would want to be associated with that socialist Muppet?

However, all may not be lost as the latest local news from Ed’ Millers Manager has announced that after deep discussions, and long hours of research, The Ed’ Miller Band are considering changing their name to 'The Cyril Smith Experience' in an effort to repair and restore the miserable tatters of the band's public image.

The story above is entirely fictitious. It’s satire. A parody if you like and should only be read by people with a sense of humour!


Last Friday, I got a curious email from a member of Tameside's Cultural Services Team.

It read, "Hi All, Don’t forget that tomorrow, Saturday you can see the scarecrows out and about in Hyde town centre!"

So what's new?



According to a major study by the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) young people in the UK are falling far behind those in countries like Japan, Finland and the Netherlands in basic education. 

The overall result placed students from England, 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries.

Yet according to Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Learning and Achievement, Cllr Ged Cooney, all Tameside’s local authority maintained schools have made such excellent progress, with 7 per cent more pupils achieving five or more top A*- to C grades including English and Maths than last year!

Now how can this be, I hear you say? What could be the cause of this great leap forward in Tameside’s educational system?

Well, could it be that teachers, whose own positions are influenced by their schools position in the authority’s league tables, are, for instance, persuading students to take subjects like ‘drama’ rather than ‘physics’ or English Literature  purely to boost their league table positions.

Or, is it, as has often been mentioned, that exams; especially in modern science subjects, have been made easier by teaching methods geared to 'teach to the test' which basically means students mainly focus on the recalling of facts, with no reference to logic or mathematics.

That means our brightest pupils are not being stretched, or trained in mathematical techniques, because they can get a grade A* without doing a single calculation. 

Conversely, the majority get at least a 'good pass' (grade C) by showing merely a superficial knowledge on a wide range of issues, but no understanding of the fundamentals.

These facts are borne out by the obvious lack of skills of graduates highlighted by employers.

So either, Cllr Cooney is right and Tameside’s teachers are the best in the world, and growing numbers of their pupils are turning into geeks with IQ’s soaring into the stratosphere, or could it be that the councillor only sees the situation as his bias permits? - That is, that he consciously or unwittingly excludes from sight those factors which which he does not wish to be brought to his attention.

Or could it simply be that standards in science exams in UK schools have been eroded over many years and the system is failing!

My money is on the OECD!



Does anyone find it ironic that Tameside council’s cultural services team is bringing Oldham Coliseum’s acclaimed production of “Animal Farm” to Hyde?

May I suggest that the entire front few rows be reserved for Kieran Quinn (Napoleon) and his long-standing tyrannical Labour councillors, so they can see first-hand how a society deteriorates when ruled by dictatorship and an autocratic regime?