"It's not fair! They're messing with our version of democracy!"
Reading the usual deluge of verbal diarrhea contained within the Readers Letters page, it now seems irrefutable to me that the quality of forensic reporting and questioning, with the exception of one or perhaps two, appears now to be a lost art.

How much longer can Cllr John Taylor’s alleged correspondence be published verbatim and go unchallenged by journo’s and readers?

Here is a shining example of a career councillor, who through the shear manipulation of the Labour councils voting system; reveals, when analyzed, that he and his cohorts have used the so called ‘democratic’ electoral system to their own maximum political advantage over the last 30 years, in such a cruel and manipulative way.

And now, finding that the current government are reassigning ward/borough boundaries, he gets on his soapbox and accuses them of ‘messing about with our democratic system’ - claiming ‘they are out of control!’

The sad truth is, that as it stands, our local council election system has merely provided comfortable places for some councillors to rest their bums for life, whilst suckling on the public tit.

Ideally, given our current situation, we need people to enter local government with a view of neither political left or right, just some plain bloody common sense for a change, who’ll work towards the betterment of the borough and most important, all its people.



The local government transparency code was issued to meet the Government’s desire to place more power into citizens’ hands, in order to increase democratic accountability. It is intended to make it easier for local people to contribute to the local decision making process and help shape public services.

Without any ambiguity it requires all Local Authorities to publish details of each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500. This includes items of expenditure, consistent with Local Government Association guidance, such as:

·         individual invoices

·         grant payments

·         expense payments

·         payments for goods and services

·         grants

·         grant in aid

·         rent

·         credit notes over £500, and transactions with other public bodies

For each individual item of expenditure the following information must be published:

·         date the expenditure was incurred

·         local authority department which incurred the expenditure

·         beneficiary

·         summary of the purpose of the expenditure17

·         amount18

·         Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered, and

·         merchant category (eg. computers, software etc).

It really couldn’t be clearer, however if one had cause to seek out the transaction details incurred by Tameside Council (See under COUNCIL SPEND on the council website) you’ll find on opening the latest expenditure report, (July to September 2015) it is now only available in CSV format, with more redacted information than a farfetched Tom Clancy espionage thriller!
In this limited format, the reader is also left none the wiser as to what the payments were for, and makes it impossible to ascertain the overall spend.

However, if one has the patience to wade through, you will find a few eye-watering sums that have been/and continue to be paid out on a regular basis.

Of course, the usual suspects are there, sucking vast amounts out of the coffers, but there are a few others, which need a second look too.

Remember the ‘bin swap scheme’ –that’s the one which we were told would save us money. The one that 1001 people ‘voted for’ on the budget simulator.

But, nowhere on that simulator did it mention the cost of replacing domestic bins!

Would it surprise you to learn that on October 2015 a total of £289.325.90 was paid to a company called SSI SCHAEFER LTD to supply domestic bins?

Perhaps someone could explain why, when the council claims to have ‘no money’ for lollipop crossing attendants to keep our children safe on their way to and from school, they need to spend £300 grand on all these extra bins?

And whilst they are thinking of creating an excuse for that, perhaps an explanation as to why £25,000 was paid out on the 23rd October 2015 to New Image (Public Relations Ltd) for the design, manufacture and storage of 30 'market stalls' and the organisation and management of a Christmas Market, when, one would assume that the 'market stalls' had already been designed, built, stored and paid for and featured in 2013's expenditure records?



Judging by all the toing and froing going on over the closure of the Tameside swimming pools, an article in the local press recently seems to imply that the left hand and right hand aren't talking!

The article reported of a 'sporty student' from Tameside College, (that's the same college, who in close collaboration with the council, have created 'Vision Tameside') who has been awarded an ASA Level One in teaching aquatics and is using her talents to teach children in Tameside how to swim!

The article goes on to say that the former Saddleworth School student plans to go to uni' after finishing her course at Tameside College to study for a degree in nutrition with the aim of starting a business in health and wellbeing.

I wish her well, but with Tameside closing our swimming pools whilst our college; who are supposedly working hand in hand with Tameside Council; are churning out students who have set their sights on working within the health and leisure industries, one can only wonder where they are to find work?

The last words came from the Sports Development officer at Tameside College who said, "We are so lucky to have a fantastic advocate for female sports and physical activity at the college."

It's just a pity by the time she and all the other sports students qualify, there will be 3 less swimming pools for them to ply their vocation.

Maybe, residents and sports students from Tameside should write to Cllr Taylor, the man responsible for most situations in Tameside, and ask him to come up with a solution on how to teach children to swim, without them getting wet.

After all, he seems to have mastered most things, without first putting in the effort.



A leaflet dropped through my door the other day, containing news from our friendly councillors.

The Headline read: NO LAUGHING MATTER and they’re right, especially when one read the bit about how they have delivered on 1 of their ‘15 for 15’ pledges.

Last year, Tameside council introduced a shopper loyalty scheme which is running across the entire borough.

So far, according to their own figures, over 205 local businesses (which is a strange number to base a statistic on) and 1145 Tameside shoppers have registered to join the scheme.

Which in a nutshell tells us that in a borough with approx 265,000 residents, a miserly 0.43% of Tameside residents have taken an interest and may have benefited in some way from this scheme!

Of course, what the council fail to divulge, as usual, is the full cost this loyalty program.

For instance, what were the costs, such as those associated with program launch; the database creation and maintenance,(if they’ve had the foresight to capture it) the value of rewards/savings claimed, and costs attributed to the issue of regular activity statements.

Promotions are a great way to increase revenue and reward important customers – providing they are executed correctly. Unfortunately, this ‘shopper loyalty scheme’ appears, by the council’s own statement, to be a typical example of a left wing council interfering in an area of business it should have steered well clear of.

The great tragedy here is the fact than rather than admit failure and pull the plug, they inform us that they are to continue down this mad path!

Tameside – the council who say they’ve no money!