Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Greening Kirklees Blog Top 10

I started doing this blog in 2009 and have done 214 posts to date (including this one). An average post gets around 100 views or so, which I'm quite happy with. Going through the stats on which posts are most popular is interesting. So here's the Top 10 countdown

Number 10 - A relatively new post with 215 views is this expose on Labour's election expenses in the Newsome Ward at the last Local Elections

Number 9 - Is my report on beginning the first post General Election Kirklees Budget setting process and contains some criticism of Eric Pickles 233 views

Number 8 - Is a report back on an LGA Environment and Housing Board meeting. A bit mundane I thought but obviously not - 236 views

Number 7 - Is a string of letters regarding the Feed In Tarrif between myself and a local Conservative Bernard McGuin in the Huddersfield Examiner. He is desperately trying to defend his anti FITs opinions which have no basis in fact. - 359 views

Number 6 - Is the story about my role in getting 'Welcome to Huddersfield' signs erected on our bit of the Kirklees boundaries. Funnily enough the Kirklees Highways staff forgot about one of the signs at Ainley Top which was all taped up so I unveiled it myself and videoed with the assistance of my Dad. Here it is - 385 views
Number 5 - Was the Green Party winning all 3 seats in Kirkburton Parish Council By Elections that were called by the Conservatives in February 2012. Those By Elections cost us £10,000 out of Parish funds. 385 views

Number 4 - Zombie Posterboards are those which are left behind long after an election is finished. Labour always manage to leave at least one behind. There's still one hanging around in Newsome now which I pass most days. This post from 2011 introduced the concept  509 views

Number 3  - This was a short piece criticising the Huddersfield Tory Candidate for not appearing at Hustings meetings during the election campaign - 667 views

Number 2 - We may be entering terriotory here where people may have arrived at Greening Kirklees by accident. The post is entitled 'The Wrath of Khan' and refers to misinformation at a Council meeting from Cllr Mehboob Khan about the Green Party administration on Brighton City Council. Of course there may be the odd Trekkie or two who got there by accident. 706 views

Number 1 - This post had a massive 2812 views. So what was it about. It was entitled 'Strange Bedfellows' and was all about the shenanigans at this years Annual Council Meeting. I thought it was a pretty good post highlighting how the Conservatives had enabled Labours Mehboob Khan to run the Council and his reward to them of committee chairs and the allowances that go with them. It might have been a good post but even I thought it wasn't good enough to see such a dramatic spike in interest. So I did a bit of digging and found that most of the people viewing it were from Canada. I did a search on 'Canada' and 'Strange Bedfellows' and was directed to a video on Youtube. Fortunately it was all about linking environmental action with investment companies and not anything too dodgy. So yes unfortunately they had arrived at my blog by accident. The video is mildly entertaining and here it is.

Friday, 14 September 2012

It is a fair cop? Allowances for West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panels

It is a very fair cop!
In November there will be elections for the new Police and Crime Commissioner posts. This  will be a paid post and will in my view be an unnecessary and expensive politicisation of the Police force on the US model. The election itself is timed in the dark nights of November and is almost guaranteed to have a very low turnout yet cost a small fortune to hold. This in itself is all bad enough but recent action with regard to the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panels warrant special attention.

The Police and Crime Panels have the job of scrutinising the Police and Crime Commissioner and will comprise of a panel of 12 Councillors from around West Yorkshire. The membership of the panels has been determined by the 5 West Yorkshire Council Leaders (all Labour) and should be roughly proportional according to the political makeup of the Council. As such there are 8 Labour members 3 Tory and 1 Liberal Democrat. Each member of the panel will receive an allowance of £11,716. That is a total of over £140k. So how much has been provided by central government per Councillor to pay allowances for these posts? Well it is around £920/ member /year. So out of highly stretched council or police budgets Councillors are paying themselves the best part of an additional £130k/year. You could argue that central government should be making more money available for these posts if they are that important. The fact is that they have not and so really West Yorkshire  Labour Council Leaders should be putting this case back to central government rather than simply paying, mainly Labour Councillors, an allowance which will simply be a drain on already depleted  funds. Another good question is to ask is what has happened on other Police and Crime Panels across the country with regard to allowances? It seems that the decision to pay over 10 times the amount of funding provided by Government is one that very few other Councils are taking and nationally WestYorkshire are pretty much going it alone.

For Kirklees there will be one Labour and one Conservative nominee. This gives Labour another opportunity to reward the Conservatives for allowing the Labour Party to take the leadership of Kirklees Council at the Annual Meeting and it is interesting Kirklees was chosen by West Yorkshire Labour Leaders to be one of the places where the Conservatives were allocated a place. Patronage rules OK.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

‘Canute Syndrome’ – the medical term for climate change denial

'Canute syndrome' - a belief you can go against nature
As the ice at the arctic diminishes signalling a potential acceleration of the effects of climate change we have to wonder about the welfare of the Climate Change deniers. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence they still cling to the deluded notion that it is somehow a hoax or even worse a conspiracy. The ‘conspiracy’ usually goes along the lines of global warming being invented by the liberal left to impoverish the economy except for their buddies in the green energy sector. So what to do about these deluded desperate deniers while the evidence against their thesis is all but lapping at their feet? Well if they persist in their beliefs against the weight of scientific evidence we have to jump to one of two conclusions. You could, like them, be a conspiracy theorist and say that they’re only taking this position because they have mates working for big energy companies and huge corporations who have profits as their principal amoral motive and that they couldn’t give a flying frack about the future of the ecosystem. Now I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist (even though I do find them really interesting). UFO’s being hidden by the US, 9/11 being planned by the White House and fake moon landings are all concepts which fascinate me even though they are complete and utter bollocks. So if I don’t believe that climate change denial is just concocted drivel to protect vested interests then it must be an illness of some sort. Now a medical condition is something which we should react to sympathetically. We can’t go around ridiculing people who are ill. I mean what sort of bleeding heart, tree hugging, green liberal are you if you go around behaving like that? So from now on it is help and treatment that need to be order of the day for your Nigel Lawson’s and David Bellamy’s.

The real hardcore sufferers though are those in the extreme state of ‘climate change denial denial’ In this manifestation of the condition sufferers deny they don’t believe in climate change but their actions give them away. They cut feed in tariff subsidies to decimate the solar industry, they cut investment in renewable energy projects and champion fracking as a new energy source and call for more gas turbines and a third runway at Heathrow. Would they do this if they really believed in the devastating impact of climate change? Of course not. Crazy as it may seem our own government are sufferers of what I am now calling ‘Canute Syndrome’. King Canute (sometimes spelt ‘Cnut’) is of course the English and Norwegian King who tried to send back the incoming waves from his throne by a beach in Hampshire and got his feet soggy. I fear there are quite a few ‘Cnut’s’ in the cabinet and even more since the reshuffle. Actually Canute is supposed to have been demonstrating his humility before nature and God to his courtiers when he got his feet wet. This is a humility before nature that our current politicians need to demonstrate by their actions or perhaps they should give up their responsibilities and take the treatment they so obviously need in both their best interests and that of the wider planet.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Video CV's - New Initiative from Green Party Cllrs

One of the issues that has been raised with Green Party Councillors is the number of people who are trying to find work but are finding it difficult to get interviews or can’t find a way of making their job applications stand out amongst the many that land on employers desks.

Councillor Andrew Cooper said,

“We want to give people the best shot at getting into employment and I thought that if they can’t get an interview with an employer why not give them a video interview to help them show their abilities and personality and put it up on Youtube. By establishing a ‘Huddersfield Jobs’ You tube Channel employers will be able to look for potential employees and get additional information about them that they wouldn’t get from a simple CV. People looking for work will also be able to email a link to their Youtube Interview to local companies so they can get themselves, their character and their skills noticed. In this way we can help people get back into employment quicker.”

Andrew has identified some funding to support this project through the Huddersfield Area Committee and is working with council officers and Paddock Village Trust to get it up and running and off the ground. He said,

“I think this initiative has real potential. We have got to come up with fresh ways to use the new media to help get people into work. If we get this right I believe this idea could be taken up by other Councils and have national significance.”