"Vote for me, I've got a very expensive lifestyle to maintain!"
No sooner had the poster boy for markets hung up his best ‘day-glo’ after supervising the careful storage of the ‘Christmas  Chalets’ than the call came through from Kieran Quinn, the Tameside council leader and beleaguered councillor for Droylsden who had hit on another populist event to show the Droylsden voters how sorry he was for raising their council tax.

“It’s Easter time!” said SpongeBob and seeing as I'm not too popular here in Droylsden, I thought we’d better get the huts out again and try to get the punters out to our Easter Market!”

Easter, of course, is first and foremost a Christian festival and a service organised by Droylsden Churches Together will be at the heart of the four-day market.

“Now, I know that here in Droylsden we've not got what one could call a pious community, so it’s not going to become Tameside’s version of the Oberammergau Passion Play, the religious bit starts at 12.30pm on the Saturday and will be over after lunch so later that afternoon we can get into the serious fun of holding an Easter bonnet competition.”

In his blog, SpongeBob told us that following the success of last year’s inaugural Droylsden
"Got any eggs? No, not chukkie eggs, bloody Easter eggs?"
Easter Market there was never any doubt they would want to hold a second one. "Too many people were demanding it!” and explained that a combination of good weather and great attractions pooled to attract thousands of people to Ville-womble Square and the Droylsden Centre, and told us at the time, that “it often seemed as though half the town was there.”

So what have the people of Droylsden got to look forward to this Easter?

Well, This year’s market – again organised with the help of Droylsden town team – opens on Wednesday, April 1, and continues until Saturday, April 4. Like last time there will be lots of food, fun, entertainment and activities.

"We’ll have stalls in the town centre, a licensed bar, and an ice rink. Youngsters can look forward to funfair rides and a big wheel, and there will be live entertainment from the stage".

A bit like the disastrous Ashton Christmas Market then?

"People we're queuing-up to tell me how good it was!" 
Cllr Kieran Quinn, who is also chair of the town team, said: “I'm delighted to say the Droylsden Easter Market proved to be extremely popular. I've lost count of the number of people who came up to me and said how much they enjoyed it!”

But that’s not surprising because ‘counting and general arithmetic’ has never been one of his strong points!

As he says: “Here in Droylsden, we do it every year – well, almost every year. Admittedly we’ve missed a few up to last year, but who’s counting?”

Chairman of Droylsden’s Market Traders Association, Ivor Smallstall, also put his oar in: “Yes,even though it’s true to say that Droylsden market’s turnover has not yet returned to the levels of the 1980’s we’re certainly very optimistic about the future!”

Kieran will tell you that Droylsden is very easy to get to. Just catch the tram in Ashton and in a couple of stops you’ll be at the heart of the action!” (in Manchester)

In Droylsden we have real shops for real people! 
“That’s true,” said Ivor, “People in Droylsden will be able to get to Manchester and beyond, and obviously, the reverse is also true, but who'd want to?"

So there you have it. There’s plenty of car parking to be had whenever you want to pop into Droylsden for a coffee while you browse the online retailers from your iPhone, and thanks to the mass of charity shops, burger bars, kebab shops, money lenders and betting shops the high street is looking a lot better than when we had all those nasty empty shop and pub fronts.

No, we’ll soon be back where we were 30 years ago at this rate, so there’s no doom and gloom here!

Just keep your fingers crossed for the weather.



Kieran Quinn’s political writer, together with John Taylor’s ghost writer; whose task it appears is to create at least 10 ‘good news’ stories per week, are surely the gifts that keep on giving!

In one of this week’s stories however, they have written a piece that offers us an insight that is far better than they know!

It concerns the report that Tameside Council’s Operations and green space team has won the LGC (Local Government Chronicle) National Award for Efficiency, which according to Tamesides Press Release, recognises the way the unit has maintained and even improved the work it does despite cuts to its budget in excess of 50%!

Now here again we have yet another example of Kieran struggling with simple arithmetic, because on the LGC website: http://www.lgcplus.com/lgc-awards-2015/efficiency/5082544.article?blocktitle=The-Winners&contentID=18331 

Tameside’s Operations and green space team has actually seen 42% of costs taken from their budget!

Of course, the slant Kieran’s writers have to put on the Press Release in order to maximise our focus on the fact that their funding has been cut, is down to the fact that they are also trying to retain their roll leading the council – there’s a crucial election looming after all!

Despite this however, they declare that there has been no reduction in the standard of street cleansing, grounds maintenance, countryside, arboriculture or horticultural services.

They put this down to the fact that the Operations and green space team now work much more closely with ‘community partners’ which, they say, has brought it closer to residents and made it more responsive to their needs.

Then we get the obligatory comment from ‘Spongebob’ who said, He was delighted, but by no means surprised that the Operations and green space team had received national recognition through the LGC Awards, and went on to say, ‘Although the Government will have halved this authority’s funding by 2017 we never stop looking to improve services and meet the needs of residents and businesses.’

Well, not for the last 5 years anyway. Because prior to the Coalition Government cutting council  funding, Tameside council would have carried on spending more and more money, building their ‘little empires’ whilst their inefficiency and neglect; which has brought parts of the borough to its present decaying condition, would have continued unabated to this day.

Does anyone not find it strange that since the end of the 'culture of profligacy' practised by the debt ridden Labour government of Gordon Brown and the tough cost cutting policies of the Coalition; that all of a sudden, council’s up and across the country faced with organisational changes and economic challenges, all at once have seen fit to embark on ambitious, innovative and extremely effective new approaches to running their services?

An now, having discovered ‘business efficiency’- an ethos that thousands of private sector businesses have been practising for years; our council, by inference, openly admits that for over 30 years they have not been spending money efficiently and now they have been forced to find more efficient ways to deliver the same services, they waste no time in slapping each other on the back by giving each other ‘prestigious ‘awards!

The LGA Awards judges added: “The Tameside Council team gave an inspiring presentation and showed they are a good example of moving forward despite tough economic conditions. They have not only made financial savings, but actually improved residents’ lives.”

Well its taken them long enough! - However, before we break out the champagne, one should be aware that our council’s progress in this latest competition for public sector performance was purely measured relative to that of 9 other councils and not relative to its own past performance.

You might also be interested to learn that missing from the 'Press Release’ was the fact that Tameside MBC were also entered into 4 other categories in the LGC awards, namely: Community Involvement, Environment, Housing and Public Health. 

In these categories they came nowhere!



“Sacrifices have to be made! ... Additional cuts that amount to £38 million over the next two years, a huge total of £142 million by 2017 must be made!”

So, folks Kieran has a plan!

“First, we’re going to build a state-of-the-art climbing and adventure centre which will be unique to the north west!”

Now, I don’t know who gives Kieran Quinn the information he uses to justify announcing these ideas, but it must be like presenting straw-poll research documents to ‘Spongebob’ because he seems to believe every daft premise that is laid before him.

In his latest ‘press release’ he quite clearly would have us believe that this climbing centre is only the fifth to be built in England – the nearest one is in the North East he informs us!


Perhaps he should give Dave Turnbull the Executive Officer of The BMC - whose organisation is committed to the increased provision of climbing walls on a sustainable basis; and who together with The Climbing Walls and Climbing Wall Manufacturers Association (CWMA) and the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) who work together to improve industry standards, build these was and climbing centres all over the country!

If he does, he might well learn that in the 14th edition of the BMC Climbing Wall Directory, which is based on the information held on the BMC climbing wall database, that since the last edition in 2014 the climbing wall industry has expanded at a pace and there are 26 new walls to be added to the already excellent range of 400 + British indoor climbing centres.

Among them, much nearer than the north east are listed below:

There’s one called 'climbrochdale' in Rochdale.

www.northwestface.com  Here’s another in Warrington.

www.awesomewalls.co.uk   Oh look, there’s one here in Stockport

 www.manchesterclimbingcentre.com   and www.vertical-chill.com   another two here in Manchester!

He also tells us that this project is being funded by Active Tameside, backed by Tameside Council, with the investment expected to more than pay for itself within 10 year!

It might also be interesting to learn that there was one in Longdendale. At the Recreation Centre on Manley Grove it was also in fact run by Tameside Sports Trust, now (Active Tameside) Unfortunately the wall is no longer in use as it no longer reaches the 'required safety standards' - so they couldn't make that one pay!

So how is it, considering the huge cuts that ‘Spongebob’ has to save, that Tameside council continue to pour more and more taxpayers money into a registered charity? (In November 2014 alone Tameside paid them over £65,775,00)

The Tameside Council Executive Leader and Droylsden East Councillor Kieran Quinn then went on to say, “This is great news for Tameside and Droylsden. Families are a key priority for the Council and this facility will ensure that the borough has a range of opportunities to be active and improve the health and well-being of all the family!

Well when I see a few of our grannies who frequently struggle to pursue simple pleasures, such as playing with the grandchildren and walking to the shops, queuing to climb a 70’ foot wall, I might start to believe him.

Let’s just hope the people of Droylsden see through all this electioneering nonsense and let someone less gullible lead the council.



In a desperate attempt to appear like a gregarious great uncle to people from certain segments of the community, the Droylsden councillor, Kieran Quinn, took the opportunity this St Patrick’s Day to try to give the impression, that as a man for all seasons, he is totally in-tune with the traditional festivals of his constituents.

As he says in his latest blog, “As a ward councillor I can now expect to attend a wide variety of cultural events that go beyond the Christian festivals I grew up with. We’ve just had the Chinese New Year and later on there will be Eid at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. I’m also looking forward to Easter in a few weeks’ time.”

Now I’m not accusing the Irish councillor of anything but forgetfulness, but if you must mention the variety of religious festivals of ones constituents in a last ditch hope that they might be persuaded to put their ‘x’ against your name, it might be a good idea not to overlook those of the Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist, Sikh and the Rastafarian faiths too.

Most thinking men know that ‘Politics and Religion’ do not mix. They represent two different worlds, and candidates vying for office who start to play the religious card, are close to reaching a point when an emphasis on religion becomes inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society such as ours.

Personally, I would expect anyone who was seeking to win an election; local or national, should not be trying to curry favour and kow-towing to the populist segments, but be promising to serve and be responsive to the full range of constituents, irrespective of their beliefs.



While thousands of Tameside Children, Mums, Dads, and Grandparents were queuing willingly in Shops and Supermarkets to spend record amounts to buy their poppies to honour those who lost their lives during the first world war and to commemorate the original Armistice of 1918, it has been revealed that one of our ‘Members of Parliament’ claimed back the £17 costs of the Remembrance Day Wreath on her expenses.

Details of the expense show the MP made the claim on 21 October 2014 for "Wreath for Remembrance Sunday".

Sarah Champion, is the Labour MP for Rotherham, who, ironically, was elected following the imprisonment of Denis MacShane, who had been jailed for expenses fraud; billed the taxpayer for the tribute as "office costs", describing it as "necessary expenses".

Of course, now she’s been found out, she has admitted that the claim should never have been made" and she will reimburse the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) immediately.

It’s worth asking yourself; with the General Election, only a few weeks away, if anything has changed with these MPs or whether they are purely canvassing our vote to enable them to keep their noses in the trough at our expense?

Obviously, for some, their “miserly” £67,731 wage (from April 2015) is not enough.

Perhaps instead of waffling on about the history of ‘Dukinfield Park’ or some other trivial subject, our local wordsmith might like to comment on this continuing scandal?



This week we could be forgiven for thinking that that great pioneer to promote aquatic activities has been reincarnated in the form of our local councillor for Markets, who, as rumour has it, (in his dreams) he successfully completed the first solo swim between England and France by emulating a national hero who inspires successful and aspiring swimmers to this day.

I believe it was on the 24th August 1875 whilst smeared in a pungent mixture of goose and porpoise oil, Cllr John Taylor dived into the Ashton Canal near Dukinfield Junction.

Twenty-one hours and 45 minutes later he waded ashore at Calais and thus upon claiming the town as a candidate for twinning, was quickly elected to the board of Tameside Sports Trust, where he continued to ‘Duk ‘ and Dive’ – creating a phrase and art form which has become synonymous with many local politicians up and down the country!

In this week’s letter, the pioneering councillor; apparently feeling resplendent in his best City Blue holiday Speedo’s; regaled us with a touching soliloquy of one of his weekly trips to Dukinfield Swimming Pool, where he tells us he was pleased to see many parents with their young children, apparently teaching them to swim; in actual fact those devoted parents were more likely to be instructing their offspring on how to keep their young heads above water, especially as this week, the increased council tax demands dropped noisily through every household in Tameside.

Another typical underhanded Tameside council trick which once again puts an extra financial burden on those he purports to represent and ‘do his best’ for!

Now, not being one to let facts get in the way of a golden opportunity to blame others, especially for this council’s shortcomings, Tameside’s equivalent of the ‘Man from Atlantis’ went on to mention the withdrawal of grants. He fails to mention that the issuing and withdrawal of grants, is purely at the discretion of a number of Independent Grant Administrators like The Big Lottery Fund, which uses Lottery money to make positive changes for communities in the UK and at the discretion of local councils

There are many others too.

So if there is blame to be laid, then he needs look no further than into the nearest mirror for not informing the Community Groups of how to apply for funding which supports health, education, the environment and tackling need in communities, whilst leading a group of 52 individuals sitting on a council who seem hell-bent on granting permission to national chains whose business is to open more and more fast food outlets.

All these moving stories of ‘caring councillors’ grabbing every available column inch, whilst never spurning the ubiquitous ‘photo op’, signifies the building propaganda of the approaching local and national elections, in which, for the first time in years, both the Leader and Deputy Leader of Tameside are hoping to be returned to once more drink from the lucrative trough.

It won’t be long now until we hear the continual knock, knock, knocking on doors throughout the borough by multi-coloured rosette wearing candidates, ‘looking for our support’. So, beware, if you question them too rigorously they have been known to turn nasty!

Among these will be the very people who in 2013 declared that both Denton Pool and Dukinfield Pool had reached the end of their useful lives and that the refurbishment of the two facilities would not provide value for money.

They then told us that they intended to then build another pool ‘somewhere in between Denton, Hyde and Dukinfield’ to replace the two they were to knock down. This was suggested using figures supplied by The Tameside Sports Trust!

Briefly, the proposal was to lend Tameside Sports Trust upwards of £8.4 million who would then build and run the new pool. They would repay the loan over 25 years at the princely sum of £347,000pa.

That would bring in an extra £275,000 to shore up the council coffers. Or put another way, £11,000 per year! A pretty poor business deal in anyone’s eyes!

But that was in September of 2013! Since then, as per usual, we have heard precious little about a new pool, but we have seen a few new Kentucky Fried Chicken and refurbished Big Mac outlets springing up to add a bit more weight to the health problems of Tamesiders!

I can’t wait to see what his letter contains next week!  


It must be difficult for the current Tameside Council Leader as he desperately tries to prevent his platform speeches and blog copy becoming the sort of grand rhetorical waffle that characterises a man who is frantically fighting off a serious threat to his once safe Droylsden seat.

Tameside's broken political spin machine
One can imagine the man, sitting in his soon to be demolished ivory tower; gyrating his huge executive chair to destruction, whilst dreaming up patronising platitudes with which to woo the voting public away from the attractions of UKIP.

Unfortunately, most of his schemes are already being implemented by the existing Government, or are contained in other parties policies, so he’s either relying on the fact that most of his Droylsden voters aren't politically astute or sufficiently worldly wise, to instantly recognise a borrowed idea which aligns the Tameside Council Labour Leader with opposition policies, or he secretly agrees with current strategies and furtively shuns the party line.

In his latest blog  http://www.tameside.gov.uk/blog/leader/ he waxes lyrical about the vital place apprenticeships take in boosting young people’s chances in gaining useful employment.

And quite right he is too!

However, when one looks at Labour’s latest stance on apprenticeships it begs the question whether Labour can really be trusted to build a stronger economy.

It wasn't long ago that they were criticising the Coalition's record on creating apprenticeships, even though there are now more apprentices than ever before. In fact this current Government have created 2million apprenticeships, which means there are 85% more apprentices in schemes in England than there were under the last Labour administration.

You might also recall that last year, Labour called Intermediate (level 2) Apprenticeships "dead-weight" and proposed scrapping the scheme, replacing them with downgraded "traineeships" claiming that Intermediate Apprenticeships had "devalued" the apprenticeship brand and were "of no value to either employers or learners".

So, which is it Kieran?

These latest blogs and press releases are reminiscent of emanating from a poor man's ‘spin doctor’ – a patronising collection of words, calculated to gratify the lowest common denominator of public opinion in an effort to secure the illusion of a Council Leader who fully understands the people!

Oh, how he must wish for the return from Westminster of Michael Kane, - his ‘political assistant’ in all but name, who recognised the enormity of presenting 'image over substance' and could deliver politically spun stories which passed themselves off as plain-speaking honesty like shelling peas!



In a bid to justify spending millions of taxpayers’ money tearing down (TAC) Tameside Council’s Administrative Centre, and replacing it with another structure; Cllr John Taylor, who it would seem is currently not only responsible for markets, but is now a self-proclaimed Building Design Consultant, expert in Urban Design, qualified Planning Officer and Conservation Professional, has once again given us the benefit of his extensive knowledge; this time in respect of contemporary architecture.

In his latest diktat to his dwindling bunch of supporters, he has put pen to paper to blame the last Tameside Conservative Administration for passing the plans to build the existing building some 40 odd years ago! – And here’s me thinking he was a humble welder!

We must have missed the part where he achieved his Dip.Arch,.RIBA which might have  gone some way to adding a semblance of credibility to his latest ramblings, or is he again merely twisting the facts to create a nice propaganda tool for himself – to impress those who are naive enough to believe it?

If so, his latest letter is nothing more than an opportunistic swipe at a typical 1960/70’s office building that if John Taylor was so incensed by its architectural appearance, he missed his chance to voice his opinion in 1979 when it was being built. After all, we know he has no aversion to writing letters! 

In fact, he writes so many these days that one suspects he might be in line to receive a special responsibility allowance from the council’s leader Kieran Quinn for services to the ink industry.

Ironically, in his letter, he referrers to the current buildings ‘nicknames’ – 'The Gas Holder', 'The Dustbin' and 'The Kremlin'. However, I suggest that those names were created by the populous in response to the antics of those career councillors who have dwelt within it and who have exercised overall control of Tameside for the last 36 years.

He then springs forward to the term ‘Vision Tameside’ – Now, cynically speaking, I should say that a man prone to ‘visions’ and leading his people into yet another new age sounds like a dangerous nutter to me, but really it is just the sort of daft title that is expected from pompous politicians nowadays.

Anyway, in his ‘vision’ he tells us the ‘new place’ will be built to the latest energy-saving regulations. That will make it much cheaper to run, saving a lot of money – in the long run!

Wrong on both counts obviously, because it will take many decades to recoup the demolition and new-build costs, and as for saving money, well perhaps the visionary councillor can tell us how many unannounced millions it is going to cost to firstly repair and re-organise both Hyde and Dukinfield Town Halls to allow the smooth transition and accommodation of all the administration staff; the communication and computer systems, the archives and all the customer service facilities, etc’ from the current building in Ashton and then a couple of years later, move it all back again into this ‘visionary’ money saving building; - which will no doubt be filled with brand new carpets, fixtures and fittings and enough office furniture to comfortably satisfy the backsides hundreds of administration staff and local heroes.

After all, one doesn't spend millions on a state of the art building and fill it with tatty chairs and chipped, worn out desks!

Tatty and worn out, creatively deficient councillors maybe, but not furnishings!

Then, after the reversal, let us ponder on what the future will hold for the relatively empty Hyde and Dukinfield Town Halls once all the administrative staff have vacated the newly configured council offices and trundled back to Ashton? Does anyone know? Have we been told? Surely, there must be a plan!

The visionary councillor once again gazing at the past tells us that over the years, the Tameside Administration Centre had become a huge barn of a place and was costing a fortune to heat. But of course the councillor forgets to mention that because of growing computerisation throughout the 80’s/90’s and from 2010, the Coalitions policy of cutting of Local Government spending and bringing it down to manageable levels, office space has become abundant throughout the country.

There are still many empty offices in St. Petersfield, that have never been occupied and that’s on a regeneration project that has several phases still to be completed!

He also won’t mention that over their 36 year occupancy the council piled on so many extra staff that Libraries and other buildings had to be transformed to handle some of the front line functions; let’s not forget when Labour came to power in 1997, state spending accounted for 40 per cent of Britain’s economy. Thirteen years later, they left a country in which that figure had risen to 52 per cent and the bloated public sector increased by almost another one million employees.

That army of new workers fuelled the rise of the notorious non-job: hugely generous public sector wage packets for an often incomprehensible work descriptions.

He then makes another rather confusing statement.

‘Revenue is being saved and being reinvested in these buildings ensuring many more years of use for our communities. Jobs before buildings!’

It’s been announced that the council is expected to spend around £13 million on its new eco-friendly premises – around £2 million less than what it would have had to spend to refurbish its existing offices.

Does anyone else find it odd that whenever any of these politicians use the word ‘save’ it is followed by the word ‘reinvestment’ which means spend.

So where is the saving? Where's the taxpayers money back?

And as for the style of the proposed new eco-friendly Tameside Administration Centre, will you could be forgiven for thinking it was designed by a colour blind sadist and looks like it should be on a low-rent business park somewhere, not overlooking a traditional open market! – or is that going too?