Month after month, I wait with baited breath to see whether our esteemed leader has at last reached the point where he presents us with a credible money saving idea! And month after month, his blog disappoints!

This month (August) he reveals the personal frustration he has with the fact that he cannot put used ‘yoghurt pots’ in his ‘green bin’ for recycling! This issue is troubling the Tameside leader so much, that he tells us he is raising this with the new chair of Greater Manchester Waste, Cllr Catherine Piddington, who also happens to be a Tameside councillor.

Now, presumably this on-going problem with our executive leaders used yogurt pots; which obviously is causing the Quinn family many sleepless nights, is based on the fact that yoghurt pots are made of a different kind of plastic called polystyrene and the false belief that polystyrene cannot be recycled.

However, in truth all plastics can be recycled; the only restrictions are to do with having the right facilities and the infra-structure in place. So when one considers the fact the GMWDA is purported to be England’s largest Waste Disposal Authority which claims to provide a world class environmentally sustainable solution for Greater Manchester’s waste; and who, five years ago entered into a £631million - 25 year contract with Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Limited (VLGM), one could be forgiven for assuming that he, as the executive leader of an authority member, would be expected to have been aware of the fact that extrusion machinery has now been developed to produce products from mixed plastics, including polystyrene, that was once thought impossible.

On the other hand, if the executive leader has written his monthly piece based on ignorance of modern waste recycling methods, he might still have stretched his thoughts to another form of recycling; that of using the empty pots for alternative uses. (Re-using)

For instance yoghurt pots and other plastic containers of all sizes and descriptions can be used for a variety of uses in the greenhouse and garden. They pots make ideal seed pots, bird feeders and even to deal with insect pest control.

They can also be usefully employed in schools and playgroups for making a variety of artistic items, in addition to crayon, paint and chalk holders and other crafts.

However, the most ironic statement in this month’s blog was his statement:

“We have to stop literally wasting money, so as a bit of a reminder I have asked that stickers be placed on ‘£andfill’ bins to point this out.”

So, he intends to waste taxpayers’ money, printing and distributing tens of thousands of stickers to stick on our bins to remind us to stop wasting money!

Brilliant! …I can’t wait for next month’s epistle!



According to a snippet in this week’s Tameside Advertiser it would seem that Town Hall Chiefs, led by the indefatigable Cllr Peter Robinson (New Chair of the Councils Enforcement Co-ordination Panel) will be working with the police to apply Rule 218 of the Highway Code regarding parking on pavements!

In his opening gambit he declares, “Offenders could be fined or prevented from parking by the introduction of ‘high kerbs’ or ‘bollards’ in some of the boroughs hot spots!”

Now this is again very confusing because recently the government has set about encouraging local authorities to take responsibility for parking away from the police. This is known as decriminalisation because parking offences are civil, rather than criminal!

Even the Department for Transport is reluctant to create a new law. It has stated that: “There is currently no national legislation banning the parking of all vehicles on the pavement, due to the wide range of circumstances and locations where pavement parking occurs.

Now, admittedly Vehicles parked on pavements can create a hazard:

They can be a hazard to pedestrians by causing an obstruction that may result in them having to step off the pavement into the roadway, thus putting them in danger.

Vehicles parked on pavements obviously restrict the width of the pavement and makes life difficult for someone with a pushchair or wheelchair to pass safely - again this person may have to enter the roadway to avoid the obstruction.

It also causes damage to the pavement - broken flags, potholes, etc. and creates serious problems for blind, disabled and older people.

In every town in the land there are some very inconsiderate drivers who only think of their own convenience and disregard other people problems, but some drivers have problems too. Many of Tameside’s town’s have very narrow streets (not to mention the villages) and pretty narrow roads and when there is parking on both sides, the space that is left can be minimal.
                                                                                                                                                                  Ask anyone who has had their wing mirrors, costing in excess of £100, knocked off can make one want to put the wheels just on the pavement to try and minimize damage. Also, so many large vans making deliveries to shops and private houses just increase the problem.

However, instead of imposing even more restrictions on visitors and much needed shoppers, it would have been better if he had set his mind to find ways to accommodate increasing numbers to our towns, by announcing innovative plans; like the building of an iconic Car Towers similar to those in German cities; introduce night time only deliveries to our towns, in order to take large vehicles off our crowded daytime streets or introduce workable borough wide Park & Ride systems; design one way traffic management schemes to allow adequate on street parking, or introduce hundreds of bike racks to send out a message that non-motorised traffic is valued just as highly as motor vehicles.

…. And whilst he’s got thinking hat on, require new house builders to design properties with off road parking for at least two vehicles each; then I’d have been impressed, but predictably, no!

His first and only thought is to fine the motorist and gather in more money from what are classed as legitimate actions for the council to waste on vanity projects like turning Hyde Market into a desert!

However, before the dogged councillor gives the ‘green light’ to the boroughs overzealous Traffic Wardens to go merrily writing up parking tickets; purely as a way to screw more revenue from motorists, who are, after all only taking the councils advice and attempting to ‘shop locally’ it might be a good idea for the Town Hall Chiefs, the councillors and the happy-snappy ticket Wardens to watch, a few episodes of “Call the Council” and pay close attention the some of their own council heroes parking on the boroughs pavements

They will see people like Brian Whelan, Phil Rodgers and Bev Hursthouse who have all been featured on our television screens, flagrantly parking with two wheels on the pavements.

So, until the intrepid councillor and his crew publicly slaps a £100 parking fine on these everyday heroes, we must all consider ourselves temporally immune to this latest example of ‘highway robbery’ – Unless, of course there is one rule for them and another one for us?



It is said that men in North Korea used to be able to style their hair in any way they wished, but now they can choose only one, that of their leader Kim Jong Un.

Not to be outdone and in an effort not to deviate one iota from the controlling ways of the young Korean dictator, Tameside council bosses, have adopted a strict political strategy, strikingly similar to that of Kim Jong Un, and as a first strike, have allegedly decreed that all civil servants working on Tameside council computers will be denied the right to access the thoughts of certain 'political bloggers' in an effort to subvert and control access to opposing political opinions and block access to legitimate bloggers who frequently engage in the questioning of the Labour dominated council decisions.

If true, this draconian diktat is tantamount to political censorship and flies in the face of the latest UK Government statement that they support access to the open Internet. In particular the adherence to the openness principle both for fixed and mobile access to the Internet, whereby consumers should always have the ability to access any legal content or service.

That being the case; by councillors blocking council workers access to free-speech; such restrictions are clearly verging on violations of their rights. Surely, the council has no right to censor protected speech on the Internet, and it cannot reduce adults to hearing and seeing only speech and opinions that the council considers suitably in concert with their particular views.

Put simply, democracy itself; the whole notion of an engaged citizenry holding their councillors to account, is potentially being denied to the very people who work for them and who may have also voted for them.

Apparently these poor dears who on the face of it ask us for our opinion and frequently say they participate in ‘public consultation’, actually only want praise. And anyone who dares to question or openly pass judgment on council actions is censored!

This situation highlights the dangers of the mindset that can come with a long period in power, only listening to those who agree with you.

My advice to these poor souls is if you can't cope, you should leave the work to someone who can.

I'm not listening!
When someone brings a legitimate mistake to your attention, don’t get on the defensive and start making excuses for it. You are supposed to be mature councillors; take responsibility for your actions. By blocking out criticism you are acting like those spoilt brats, who stand in the corner with their fingers in their ears, shouting “I’m not listening!” 

By adopting that attitude, you will be stuck in eternal mediocrity because you will never accept the need for improvement.

Remember, while denying your mistakes, and blaming others, you may be able to keep the heat off for the moment, but eventually the truth will out!

As a reminder to Labour Councillor Kieran Quinn and the rest of his apparatchiks, debate and dissent are supposed to be important parts of your national political tradition; in fact, if you read your own party’s history, it’s what Labour was born out of.

As Michael Foot once said: “Is the Labour Party to remain a democratic party in which the right of free criticism and free debate is not merely tolerated but encouraged? Or are the rank and file of the party to be bludgeoned or cowed into an uncritical subservience towards the leadership?”

In Tameside it would seem it’s the latter! If Ed Miliband is serious about plans to reform and to open up and democratise Labour's relationship with individual members, Tameside's council chamber might be a good place to start!



There is no doubt that in Tameside today; the steady concentration of media ownership, is, with growing frequently, seen as a problem, especially in terms of the dearth of investigative reporting or unbiased establishment scrutiny.

All we seem to be presented with are Rose-coloured 'Press Releases' printed and spouted verbatim, resulting in undesirable consequences which do nothing to serve the public interest.

For instance, you may have read that The Hattersley Hub, which includes a community centre, library, youth club, police post and cafĂ© and home to owners Peak Valley Housing Association and also includes Tameside Council offices, was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Community Benefit category at this year’s prestigious Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North West Awards.  

This building is costing £18,876 per month over the next 30 years!
All very nice!

But has anyone seen it reported anywhere that ‘This Award winning Hattersley Hub’ is now going to cost Tameside council tax payers almost £7 million over the next 30 years?

And perhaps more importantly, the reason why and the decision to agree to this vast increase in expenditure was not even approved by the full council. It was passed and approved by two councillors.

In a Key Decision Report dated 15 June 2011, regarding the delivery of the new Hattersley District Centre; known as ‘The Hattersley Hub’ you may remember that I wrote at length regarding the unpopular decision to build the TESCO EXTRA DEVELOPMENT/COMMUNITY HUB and entwined within that debacle I warned of the potential financial pitfalls of entering into a 30 year lease. I also wrote about the fact that because of the inaccuracy of financial projections a ‘Deed of Variation’ was needed and be approved by the Borough Solicitor which involved committing the council to fund the premises for 30 years, at £108,707 per annum, subject to the terms of the lease and variations in the service charge. 

This committed the council to fund the Hattersley Hub to the tune of £3.261 million over the lease period.

And who, you may ask, was responsible for steering this document through? – Well, Councillor John Taylor, Deputy Executive Leader was the senior decision maker!

According to the council’s own report issued at the time, failure to enter into this Deed of Variation would have meant that Peak Valley would not have had sufficient funds to construct the new Community Hub building and the Council, having made promises to the community regarding better facilities and job opportunities, would likely have been put under embarrassing pressure to fund the shortfall from its own resources and on that understanding they set about occupying the premises.

However, it would now appear that that initial 2011 Key Decision Agreement which recommended signing the 30 year lease had not, until this year been signed, and, as a result it was has revealed in the new Key Decision Notice of 12 March 2014, (Economic Growth Investment and Sustainability Service) that the projected leasing costs in respect of the Hattersley Hub are now nearer £226,510 p.a. plus electricity and utility costs. (Which, according to landlord, Peak Valley Housing Association, have yet to be determined?) 

Which means that the council are now committed to paying over £6.795 million spread over the remainder of the lease!

And who has approved this extra commitment? – Well, Councillor John Taylor, Deputy Executive Leader, and Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick who incidentally lists in his declaration of interests, that he is a Peak Valley Housing Board - member

Now, it’s not that this information has been kept under wraps, but it really took some routing out from the depths of the council’s web-site and I’ll bet you a pound to a penny it was not released to the local press?

Knowing that Cllr John Taylor is an avid reader of this blog, albeit not as an devoted fan, neither  I suspect is his colleague, Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick; however as those responsible for signing off this agreement, they might consider; entirely in line with their self deprecating modesty, and humble dedication to the principle of public service, condescend to write one of their regular letters to the local press,
explaning (in their own words) as to why, they, on behalf of the council, agreed to pay an extra £3.534 million to lease The Hattersley Hub from Peak Valley Housing, so we can all assess this approved overspend, in light of the many other services and community assets, currently being re-designed, sold off or withdrawn.


“Call The Council”

What on earth are our supposed ‘enlightened councillors’ thinking?

Not content with aiding and abetting with the BBC in portraying our borough as the rodent ridden capital of the North, they have actually agreed to grant the film makers the right to film a second and third series, with assurances that the programmes would follow the same format as Series 1 and would follow the same style and be written for a similar audience.

Instead of this faked, cynically manipulated, artificial and incredibly inconsequential vacuous rubbish, one would have thought that given a unique opportunity to show off their borough in its best possible light; and in an effort to ‘use every tool available to stimulate economic growth’ Kieran and his crew would have put their minds together and directed the programmers away from this extreme example of falling standards and pointed it toward some of the more positive aspects that Tameside has to offer.

In his July Blog, our ‘forward looking’ Leader claimed, “We will be throwing the spotlight on some of the successful businesses in the area!” Really? Then why have you and the rest of those responsible for encouraging new investment and growth, allowed this portrayal of our once proud traditional market towns to be aired in such a dismal manner? - It’s a complete PR disaster!

With the arrival of the Metro which, we were told would bring more visitors to the town, what exactly does the council think they will be flocking into the town to see? Giant Rats and Cockroaches? Stray dogs causing havoc - Will they be ferried around in potentially lethal taxis to eat at vermin infected restaurants and take-a-way’s whilst being shat-on from above by flocks of feral pigeons?

Fortunately, the majority of our towns independent businesses do not rely on the mass influx of tourists, but still, they can't be too happy with the way they've been portrayed in these shows as engaged in theatres of war between purveyors of fake goods and trading standards officers. And pity the residents who maybe in the process of selling their house on an estate that can’t get their dustbins emptied because ‘the council’ are trailing another ‘pilot scheme’ or because of the raw meat hanging on a neighbour's washing line.

One thing that has not gone un-noticed is the total absence of the large contingent of regular performers like Cllr Taylor, and others who regularly grace the pages our local press.
It makes one wonder why the regular bunch of publicity seekers prefer to keep a low profile, when the BBC cameras roll in the town!

Perhaps they’re holding themselves in readiness for what promises to follow next? -“I’m A Councillor, Get Me Out Of Here”. A fly on the wall series showing a group of talentless, dogmatic, relics who have had their day and should just retire.