Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Another Bank Hoilday!!!

Well it's been another corker of a Bank Holiday. It hasn't actually rained but it came very close and the wind was cold enough to keep most people indoors. After getting well wrapped up against the cold I did venture out and about for a brisk walk. I try to keep an eye on things as well as I can but St.Hilda Ward is so spread out it's not that easy. The size of the ward is one reason for a wry smile when I hear certain people still trying to raise the old chestnut about me "not even living in the ward"

One small group, reportedly close to a former St.Hilda Ward Councillor, who never accepted that I beat him for the seat in the 2006 election in St.Hilda Ward, never miss an opportunity to have a dig at the burning question "Where does Steve Allison live?" They have heckled me about it at public meetings, raised it at Council Meetings in attempts to get me disqualified as a St.Hilda Ward Councillor. The Mayor even got into the act on a couple of occasions! Of course they were unsuccessful. I was told they tried to get the Hartlepool Mail to start a crusade against me, also unsuccessful. They hijacked a local website to attack me at every opportunity, reported me to Standards Board (more than once) and ultimately asked the Electoral Commission (and the Police) to investigate me. All these attempts were unsuccessful. The whiff of sour grapes becoming very, very strong. Ultimately I was forced to challenge them to "put up or shut up" through the threat of legal action to stop their attacks which were becoming increasingly slanderous, more and more libellous, desperate and sad.

Of course it is impossible to live in every part of St.Hilda Ward; it’s just too big and too spread out. If I "live" in Beaconsfield Square then I don't live on Central, West View, Bakers Mead or Powlet Road, all of which are part of St.Hilda Ward. It would be much more accurate to complain that all three local Councillors "live" on the Headland! Of course the people complaining about me also live on the Headland so they have to be careful about people in glass houses and throwing stones!

I make an effort to visit the Headland, Central, West View, Bakers Mead and Powlet Road as often as I can. When people say they haven't seen me out and about on the Headland very much I always reply that St.Hilda Ward isn’t just the Headland and I haven't seen them out and about in Central, West View, Bakers Mead or Powlet Road! In fact I was in the Cosmopolitan for lunch on Sunday and I didn't see any of the other two Councillors anywhere! Same with the last time I went to a Central Estate TMO Meeting, no sign of the other two Councillors anywhere and the last time I knocked on doors along Powlet Road one resident commented that she didn't think "Headland" Councillors even knew that Powlet Road was in their ward!

Unfortunately the Headland is where I visit most often. I say unfortunately because I’d like to visit the other areas of the ward more, but practicalities mean it’s the Headland that I visit almost every day. I came to live on the Headland in 1973 and have had my business address at Beaconsfield Square since becoming self employed in 1986. I also maintain living accommodation there, even during 7 years in London I still came "home" on a regular basis and after getting married in 1990 I kept my business address and a bedroom in Beaconsfield Square. I have never made a secret of the fact that my main residence is not in St.Hilda Ward but I do maintain a sufficient presence in the Ward to meet the requirements to appear on the Electoral Register. This has been challenged and subsequently investigated by the Borough Solicitor and agreed that this is a perfectly legitimate situation. So no matter how much certain people may object to it I am perfectly entitled to be an elected Councillor for St.Hilda Ward. I feel where I live is completely irrelevant, its how I do the job that’s important and how I do it for the whole ward, not just the Headland.

No doubt “he doesn’t even live in the ward” will be a point of attack should I stand for re-election in 2010. To that I would say I maintain an office address in Beaconsfield Square and visit almost every single day so there is no problem contacting me there. I am also available through the Civic Centre, on my mobile anywhere in the world (and yes I do mean anywhere, just last week I dealt with several Ward matters on the telephone while sat on a balcony in Majorca) and of course anyone with access to e-mail can get a message to me usually in minutes.

It was a proud day for me when I was elected at a Councillor for St.Hilda Ward in 2002 and an even prouder day when I was re-elected, with an improved majority, in 2006. I enjoy being a Councillor and relish the opportunity to ask uncomfortable questions of the Mayor, Cabinet and the Lib/Lab/Con Councillors who behind closed doors are a cosy club dedicated to keeping themselves where they are and keeping out everyone else.

So I’ll keep on plugging away. Keep on doing my best and should I lose my seat in 2010 then that’s called democracy.


  1. up the workers

  2. Its what you do that matters and it is well known that you are one of the very few outspoken councillors not afraid to take on the clique both inside and outside of the council chamber.

  3. yeah but where do you live? lol