Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tory gives £100,000 to UKIP


Tory backer, Stuart Wheeler, has given UKIP £100,000 to fight the European Parliament Elections. Wheeler says he puts loyalty to his Country above loyalty to the Tory Party. Click here to see an interview with Stuart Wheeler.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Vote For Dave Pascoe In Rossmere Ward


A by-election is to be held on May 7th for the Council Seat left vacant following the sad death of Rossmere Councillor Michael Johnson in February. Mick and Dave were opposed politically but they conducted their opposition without personal animosity. They often ‘crossed swords’ during campaigns and debate was always ‘lively’. RIP Mick.

Vote For Dave Pascoe In Rossmere Ward!

Dave lives in Rossmere Ward and has fought this seat four times in the past, each time coming closer to winning with an increased vote every time. In 2008 Dave broke through into second place when the Liberal Democrat vote collapsed.

Only UKIP is a credible alternative to Labour in Rossmere Ward. Tories or Lib-Dems can’t win in Rossmere and Labour will be lining up one of their Party Faithful who will expect to take the seat by right. I hope the residents of Rossmere don’t allow themselves to be taken for granted!

UKIP wanted the election to be held on June 4th since this would have reduced the costs of holding the election as it would have been on the same day as the European Parliament Elections. However, the current politicians don’t care about how much of your money they waste and they have decided that saving money isn’t important.

Dave will be sending out more detailed proposals during the campaign but if you would like to know more, display a UKIP poster, or help with the campaign then Dave is always available at 64 Dunbar Road. I know he would invite you in for a cup of tea but that’s illegal during a campaign! Politicians can promise you the earth but they can’t give you a cup of tea!

Alternatively, telephone Dave Pascoe on 223754 or
e-mail him at d.j.pascoe@btinternet.com.


________________________________________________________________________________
Published by Stephen Allison 13 Beaconsfield Square Hartlepool TS24 0PA
on behalf of Dave Pascoe 64 Dunbar Road Hartlepool TS25 5DX

Friday, 27 March 2009

Sorry seems to be the hardest word!



Maybe Gordon Brown needs to think about what he needs to say sorry for! Click here for some suggestions from Nigel Farage MEP the UKIP Leader addressing Mr Brown during his recent visit to the European Parliament in his attempt to drum up support for his faltering G20 Economic Summit dream

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Pay Rises all round!


I receive a copy of a letter in my Councillors Bag today originally dated 3rd June 2008. I assume it was to remind me that Hartlepool Council agreed the final pay award for 2008/09 back in June last year and that it was 2.75% against an interim award of only 2.45%. All members and staff salaries will include the agreed award from April 2009 and arrears of 0.3% to cover April 2008 to March 2009 will be paid to Members and Staff in May 2009.

With the country on the verge of bankruptcy I suppose its time to get every penny you can before the whole thing collapses. In the Council tax setting meeting this year I did propose that Councillors should voluntarily forgo their allowances for 12 months s a gesture towards the hard time we are going through. Believe it or not there was very little support for my proposal!

Happy Birthday Rosie

My little girl is 18 today. Happy Birthday Rosie!



Eighteen years ago today I was the happiest and proudest man alive. After 30 hours in labour it was eventually decided that Rosie needed some surgical intervention in order to make her appearance into the world. Rosie's dislike of exerting herself started in the womb, why should she do something herself when if she waits long enough someone will do it for her. I was allowed into the operating theater (and I've still got the surgical mask tucked away in my special box of memories, along with the umbilical clip!) I was warned to stay at the head end and not look round the screen but of course I had to look didn't I! A student nurse had already been positioned ready to catch me so I presume most dads take a peek and wish they hadn't. Anyway, out she eventually came and the surgical team asked if we had a name "Rosemary" I said through floods of tears. Well the entire theater then broke into a chorus of "Love Grows where my Rosemary Goes" and that got me sobbing even more.

Happy birthday Rosie.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Is the British Government.......


When a government needs money it sells things called “Gilts” or “gilt-edged securities” which pay a fixed income over a fixed term. Returns are usually low but they are seen as one of the safest forms of investment because they are issued by the British government, which has never (so far) reneged on a debt.

However, Gordon Brown’s government today failed to find enough buyers for £1.75 billion pounds of bonds as debt investors refused to back Gordon Brown’s plan to stem the worst economic crisis in three decades by spending his way out of trouble.

Labour wanted to sell a record £146.4 billion pounds of debt this fiscal year and as much as £147.9 billion pounds in 2010. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Britain will have a deficit of 11 percent of GDP in 2010, the highest in the Group of 20. Brown’s whole strategy is based on borrowing and if he can’t get anyone to buy his debt it means the prospect of going cap in hand to the IMF is getting closer.

Going to the IMF effectively means admitting the UK is bankrupt.

Anyone care to place a bet now on Gordon Brown getting the Nobel Prize for economics?

A new slant!

We are all no doubt well familiar with the Oil Minister;s Children trying to get money out of Nigeria and offering huge amounts in commission to anyone who will help them. However, I got a different angle thrown at me today. It just shows ow hard people are working to come up with new scams........the e-mail is someone called John at "cantv.net" which if you google search comes up with a header from Venezuela. Why a US Serviceman in Iraq would be using an ISP from South America is an obvious question.

Anyway, enjoy........

Hi,

I am SSG Dewayne Pittman, an active American soldier serving in Iraq, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, as our mission here is highly exclusive due toinsurgents everyday and car bombs are attacking our peaceful mission here.

We managed to secure funds from the war zone. The total amount is US$ 19 Million dollars in cash. We want to move this money out of this place,this place is a war zone, so that you may keep our share for us till when we will come over to meet you.We will take 70%, my partner and I.You take 30%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone. We plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the money out in a large box, using diplomatic immunity.

If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details.

This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hrs if you want to handle the deal with us as brothers.

Respectfully,
SSG DEWAYNE PITTMAN.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Save our Pubs

COUNCILLORS have given their backing to a nationwide campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of British pubs. UK Independence Party (UKIP) councillors Steve Allison and Martyn Aiken handed over 1,000 beer mats to the landlady at the Owton Lodge pub, in Stockton Road, Hartlepool.


The beer mats are part of a nationwide campaign from UKIP to highlight the effect the smoking ban has had on pubs.

The party wants to see landlords given the power to decide whether to allow separate smoking rooms on their premises. They are also calling for the tax on real ales to be cut to support traditional beers.

Coun Allison, of the St Hilda ward, said: "UKIP believes pubs know their own customer base better than 'the man from Whitehall.' It should be the landlords who decide if their pub is non smoking or not and if they want a designated smoking room they should be allowed to have one as long as it is correctly signposted and the staff don't mind.

"Depending on what figures you read there are four or five pubs going out of business every day because of overtaxing and over zealous health and safety laws. That is a great shame because pubs are great social venues and surely it is better to have people drinking in a controlled environment like a pub.

"The punitive level of taxation on beer and spirits in pubs also reduces sales volume and hence revenue, forcing many pubs out of business."

Landlady June Hollifield, who has been at the Owton Lodge for five years, said: "I think it is a fantastic idea and anything that supports British pubs should be celebrated. "I was given 1,000 beer mats and they will be placed around the pub."

Gordon Parkin, UKIP's lead candidate for the European Parliament elections in June, was also present at the launch.

Any landlord who wants beer mats delivered to their premises should contact Dave Pascoe on (01429) 223754 or email: d.j.pascoe@btinternet.com

http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/Future-of-pubs-is-put.5096262.jp

Please sign our petition to Save The British Pub - http://www.savethepub.co.uk/petition.html

You can also download a poster for display at your local pub.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ask No Questions......hear no lies!


While writing the previous post I was reminded of a conversation I had some years ago with a friend who worked as a medical researcher. He had spent several years looking into the effects of mumps and the treatments available. However, he had just changed the focus of his research to give prominence to the effects of HIV and AIDS on patients who had suffered from mumps during childhood. I asked him why the change and he admitted it was purely to obtain funding. He told me that it was politically advisable (at that time) to include HIV and AIDS in some way in any grant application as it was almost impossible to obtain cash without them.

Reading the Council Papers I receive it seems to me that the Tall Ships Race is Hartlepool Council's equivalent of HIV and AIDS when it comes to obtaining funding. It is politically advisable (well at least from the Mayor's viewpoint I would assume) that no opportunity is lost to refer to the Tall Ships Race. Almost any spending can be justified if it can be linked to the Tall Ships Race. It was career suicide for any medical researcher to suggest there might be other aliments or afflictions apart from HIV and AIDS and in Hartlepool Council at the moment it is totally unacceptable to question anything that has the words "Tall Ships Race" attached to the proposal.

5 Year Procurement Plan


Five year plans were beloved by Stalin and the Soviet Union Planners and they are still in fashion in Hartlepool Borough Council. The Council's Five Year Procurement Plan (6 monthly update) included mention of the Tall Ships Race (without which no Council Document is complete these days), Building schools for the future (another sacred cow in Council speak) and the Council's ICT Partnership (about which least said the better).

The agenda papers however didn't mention the vacancy currently on the Council's Website for a Strategic Procurement Manager. This is described as an exciting opportunity for a procurement professional with excellent managerial and purchasing skills to take forward our challenging Corporate Procurement Strategy. Presenting an opportunity to make an impact across the Council, this role will have a high profile, working with Chief Officers and Senior Managers as the Council continues to explore new and innovative forms of procurement.

Since the Procurement Plan has been approved by the Finance and Efficiency Portfolio holder I did wonder what a "Strategic Procurement Manager" would actually be doing for 37 hours a week (permanent post) to earn their £38,575 - £42,195 pa, plus Essential Car User Allowance.

Hold on! Isn't there a recruitment freeze in place at Hartlepool Council? Obviously not!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Whatever that means?


I recently received an Agenda paper for a Council Committee Meeting that included the following paragraph. Can anyone help me understand it?

"In relation to (company name) and the provision of the learning disability respite service, the impact of the personalisation agenda and implementation of self directed funding has developed the scope and availability of services in the market place. The department is currently undertaking an extended consultation with carers and individuals who use the service. In the interim it has been agreed that the service provided by (company name) will continue until 31st March 2010 to enable a full tender process to be undertaken to establish a future buildings based respite service."

I think that means, "There is much more choice available. However, we are staying with the existing supplier for another twelve months until we decide what to do."

Of course the report is only to be "noted" by the committee I sit on since the decision has already been made by the Portfolio Holder. I'll have to make sure I give it a good "noting" for the future? Whatever that means?

Dearest one, Greetings


No matter how many spam filters I apply the phishers just keep on coming. I quite likes this one because of the grammar and speeling..lol...its almost as bad as mine...

Dearest one,Greetings,
Please with Due respect and humility, I got your contact from the international web site directory) We know that this is not the normal way to contacts someone because of the too much scam in the internet but we did it because of its confidenciality.

I am Marry Collins, the only doughter of late Mr. Wilfred collins. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast before he was poisoned to death by his business associates, my mother died on the 28 November 1998 according to my father he took me and my younger brother so special because we are motherless.

Before the death of my father on 29th April 2006 in a private hospital here in Abidjan.He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has the sum of $5.000.000 (Five Million Dollars) left in a suspense account in a Bank in (Europe), that he used my name as his first doughter for the next of kin in deposit of the fund.

He also explained to us that it was because of this wealth and some huge amount of money his business associates supposed to balance him from the deal they had that he was poinsed, that I should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice where we will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose, (such as real estate management) for our future hope.Please We are honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways.

To provide a Bank account where this money would be transferred to and also promise us that you will remain honest and serve as the guardian of this funds with the investment since we are too young to handle such project, untill we finishes our education we will now take over.

We have every legal evidence to proove about this funds.Moreover we are willing to offer you 15% of the total sum as compensation for effort input after the successful transfer of this fund into your designate account in your country.

As soon as you comfirm the money in your account, you will be sending us a sufficient ammount to get our visa to come over and continue our studies in your contry.

pls contact me wit this email address marry_c20079@xxxxxxxx.fr


We are waiting to hear from you.Thank
you.Yours Sincerely,
Marry Collins.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Council Meetings to a T

Human sexuality

Many aspects of human sexuality are very puzzling, take celibacy. This can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by environmental factors. While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend, Tony and Julie listened to the instructor declare 'It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.'

He addressed the men.'Can you each name and describe your wife's favourite flower?'

Tony leaned over,touched Julie’s arm gently and whispered,

'Self-raising,isn't it?'

Thus began Tony's life of celibacy.

Out of Touch!

Brilliant example I saw today from John Youles (UKIP Secretary Norwich North) about how out of touch with reality many of our politicians are.

" Taxi drivers in Norwich had had their costs put up by the city council increasing charges for waiting at ranks, etc., so at a meeting with the council they asked for a fare increase. They were told not to worry, as the council would eventually approve A BACKDATED FARE INCREASE.

Think about it...."

http://www.ukip.org.uk/index.php/topic,983.msg3352/topicseen.html#new

Support for Brown?


My policy on anonymous comments is fairly clear but I do accept those that add to the debate. Yesterday "Anonymous" said in response to my post about Gordon Brown and the Nobel Prize...

"But didn't Paul Krugman the 2008 winner (and someone who obviously knows what he's talking about) sing Gordon's praises. It was he who said "Gordon Brown may very well have saved the world's economy".

Of course it all depends who you listen to! According to a report in today's Guardian, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has totally rejected Gordon Brown's plans. So I doubt very much if she considers Brown to be the Saviour of the world economy? Merkel insists any global recovery plan must rein in the markets and it's not time to look at more growth measures.

Last night the EU's 27 leaders acknowledged the scale of the crisis threatening to blow the 16-strong eurozone apart. Merkel has the support of the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The Germans have admitted that their economic contraction could be worse than the 2.25% forecast and France admitted it faced its worst slump for 30 years, with the economy likely to decline by 3%.

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/20/merkel-rejects-brown-economic-plan)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Nobel Prize For Economics


The Nobel Prize in Economics 2006 went to Edmund S. Phelps of Columbia University for his analysis of intertemporal tradeoffs in macroeconomic policy.

The Nobel Prize in Economics 2007 was shared between Leonid Hurwicz of the University of Minnesota , Eric S. Maskin from the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and Roger B. Myerson of the University of Chicago for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory.

The Nobel Prize in Economics 2008 went to Paul Krugman of Princeton University for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity.

The Nobel Prize in Economics 2009 goes to.......Gordon Brown? Let me check, it isn't April 1st is it? It's still March! According to an article I've just read on line (See link at the bottom of this post) Gordon Brown is being mentioned as a possible Nobel Prize Nomination for Economics. I can see the nomination now!

The Nobel Prize in Economics 2009 goes to Gordon Brown for "his single handed trashing of the UK Pension Industry, presiding over the biggest crash in UK Banking EVER and for saddling the future generations of British Taxpayers with a debt so huge they will probably never be able to pay it off."

I suppose Gordon Brown getting the Nobel Prize for Economics is no worse than huge Bonuses being paid the bankers who have had to be bailed out by the taxpayer, or Fred the Shred's Enormous Pension. Apparently the story starts with the Vatican's favorite economist, Ettori Gotti Tedeschi, who is hugely impressed with Brown's moral fibre. When Brown met the Pope last month he said that without G20 action to tackle the crisis an extra 2.8 million children could die before their fifth birthday between now and 2015. Last month, the Pope himself came up with a moral denunciation of the American bankers that Brown has himself attacked as "irresponsible".

Tony Blair must be furious. Gordon Brown getting an endorsement from the Vatican! Could you make it up?

http://waugh.standard.co.uk/2009/03/give-gordon-a-nobel-prize-vaticans-favourite-economist.html

Feet First

I had my picture in the Hartlepool Mail Today. That's me sat in the treatment chair having my feet looked at. OK, it wasn't really my picture in the Mail but Sandra's. She recently treated her 500th patient and had a little write up in the Mail "Women in Business" Section

http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/business-update/Feet-first-for-Sandra.5079839.jp


A former nurse who became a chiropodist is celebrating after treating her 500th patient since qualifying as a mature student. Hartlepool woman Sandra Allison owns Fetching Feet Chiropody, which is located in the Arches, in Park Road.

The 49-year-old qualified as a podiatrist in the summer of 2007 after completing a three year degree course at New College Durham.

Fetching Feet Chiropody provides treatment for corns, callus, verruca, sports injuries and foot problems. Before moving into chiropody Sandra spent more than 20 years as a nurse after completing her training at the former Cameron Hospital in Hartlepool. As a qualified nurse the mum-of-two is also able to administer local aesthetics and to carry out nail surgery and treatment of in-growing toe nails.

Sandra, said: "I became a nurse because I wanted to work with patients, but nursing was less and less of that and more and more filling in paperwork. As a chiropodist I get to treat patients every day. It gives me a great feeling when someone tells me they feel like they are walking on air after I've treated their foot problem. That's what it's all about for me and every patient is an individual to Fetching Feet Chiropody."

She added: "The first visit will always be a comprehensive assessment of the general condition and well being of the patient's feet and lower leg," added Sandra, who also carries out home visits.

"Assessment takes about one hour and concludes with an individual treatment plan unique to that patient."

The Arches surgery is open every day except Sundays and Wednesdays, is open on Saturdays until noon. Early morning appointments can be arranged before 9am and one night a week the surgery is open until 7.30pm. Telephone Sandra Allison 01429 232526 for an appointment.

By Chris Cordner

Small Print

As someone rapidly approaching the Big 50 my attention was caught by an advert in the paper today "Exclusively for the Over 50s. Premier 50 Current Account giving 5.0% AER interest" The 5.0% being in letters almost 2 inches high. Not a bad deal I thought. However then came the small print. On balances up to £2,500. 0.1% on balances over £2,500. This being in letters less than a quarter of an inch high.

So, if you hadn't read the small print and invested £10,000 you would be expecting 5%, or £500 a year income. what you'd actually get is £132.50. Unfortunately there was more small print. A £10 monthly fee applies. So Investing £10,000 would actually yield £12.50 a year. If you invested the maximum (£2,500) at the top rate the yield would be £5.00 after fees and charges. If they had said in the advert that "Exclusively for the Over 50s. The Premier 50 Current Account at 0.2%" then it isn't quite as attractive. Or invest £10,000 at 0.125% (which is what you would actually get) then the deal isn't quite so good!

In case you are wodering which bank was offering this deal......
I hope you can make that out? It is very small. You always did have to read the small print but it's even worse these days, and the Banks wonder why people have lost all trust in them.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Tory Campaign launchs for Euro 2009 Elections






Thanks to http://torylogo.com

Is the Mayor Mad?

The title of this post caught my eye on Greg Beaman's blog this evening (See Links on the right). No, he didn't mean Stuart Drummond, the Street Sweeping, former Monkey suit wearing, Mayor of Hartlepool (although some people might have their own opinion on this). He didn't even mean Boris Johnson. The Mayor in question is the mayor of Kiev, Leonid Chernovetsky.


Apparently Leonid has recorded a CD of songs because only God had a better voice. In selfless fashion the millions of dollars a day he expects from sales will help bail Kiev out of a financial hole. The Mayor (of Kiev) has also recently issued a call for all OAPs to be tempted into state care with a diet of caviar and pineapple. Maybe he was thinking the "free bananas for school children policy" has worked for the Mayor of Hartlepool so the Ukrainiane equivalent could be caviar and pineapple for Senior Citizens!

Unfortunately killjoys in the Ukrainian parliament have called for medical tests after fears for the Mayor(of Kiev)'s mental condition after he approved plans for a giant sculpture of a flying cow and a public monument to street lights. He has refused to comment on the MPs demands and has instead gone on holiday.

But Kiev residents have demanded he return home and undergo medical examinations immediately. One resident said: "Anyone who thinks old people are going to just move out of their homes they have lived in for decades because someone offers them a bit of exotic fruit and caviar is obviously completely bonkers. He needs testing."

Greg personally thinks it's a shame, after all he hasn't started bombing countries he doesn't like. Greg thinks that is madness. Of course in my opinion electing a man in a monkey suit as Mayor of your town, that's madness!



Of course so far Stuart hasn't even come up with an idea as good as recording a CD to sell to raise money to honour his other campaign pledge of controlling Council Tax Increases. Having any ideas actually puts Leonid Chernovetsky ahead of Hartlepool's Mayor. If he did record a CD I wonder what songs the Chief Executive would pick for Stuart to sing on it?

Not even Gordon Brown has been brazen enough (yet?) to confiscate the pensions of anyone that dares to criticise his disaster of a premiership.


Imagine the situation. You’ve paid into a pension scheme and then just because the pension company don’t agree with your politics then your pension is taken away. So much for free speech, so much for your pension “rights”. You might think it’s unfair to do this. After all there are enough people dipping into your pension pot without making it a condition of collecting your money that you are politically reliable. Not even Gordon Brown has been brazen enough (yet?) to confiscate the pensions of anyone that dares to criticise his disaster of a premiership.

However, Peter Mandelson cannot criticise the European Union unless he wants to risk his £31,000-a-year pension as a former European Commissioner. To buy that level of index linked pension on the open market would be £550,000. Unfortunately for Lord Mandelson European Union rules show that if he speaks out against Europe as a former Commissioner he could be stripped of his pension altogether as Lord Mandelson (and other Commissioners) has to comply with EU Rules both during and after their term of office. One of these rules places an obligation on former staff member of the Commission is to maintain a duty of loyalty to the Communities.

It is bad enough that such gagging orders exist for people drawing EU Pensions, but it is even worse when the individual concerned is still an active member of the British Government. Lord Mandelson’s British Government post deals specifically with Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, an area that is closely involved with EU legislation, regulation and policy. In the event of a conflict between British Interests and EU Directives then Lord Mandelson’s financial interest means that his loyalties are to Brussels, not Britain. Mandelson must place the EU above the UK if he wants to retain his pension.

Apparently a spokesman for Lord Mandelson claimed that "Peter Mandelson does not see a contradiction between British patriotism and EU loyalty.”He has always had a clear view of British interests and how they are secured by our EU membership”.


That’s OK then. No conflict there! If it’s good for the EU then it’s good for Britain. Does anyone actually believe that? Nice to know that one of the people elected to look after our interests are being paid by a foreign government. Ah but of course Mandelson isn’t elected to his present post, he was “appointed” and therefore doesn’t have all that troublesome “democracy” rubbish to hold him accountable to the British Public anymore.

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4996440/Lord-Mandelson-must-remain-loyal-to-EU-to-guarantee-pension.html)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Swearing at work

Dear Employees:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of 13 New and Innovative "TRY SAYING" phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

1.Try Saying:
I think you could do with more training
Instead Of:
You don't have a ******* clue, do you?

2.Try Saying:
She's an aggressive go-getter.
Instead Of:
She's a ******* power-crazy b*tch

3. Try Saying:
Perhaps I can work late
Instead Of:
And when the **** do you expect me to do this?

4. Try Saying:
I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead Of:
****-off arse-wipe

5.Try Saying:
Really?
Instead Of:
Well **** me backwards with a telegraph pole

6.Try Saying:
Perhaps you should check with...
Instead Of:
Tell someone who gives a s**t.

7.Try Saying:
I wasn't involved in the project.
Instead Of:
Not my ******* problem, mate.

8.Try Saying:
That's interesting.
Instead Of:
What the ****?

9.Try Saying:
I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
Instead Of:
No ******* chance mate.

10.Try Saying:
It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
Instead Of:
Why the **** didn't you tell me that yesterday?

11.Try Saying:
He's not familiar with the issues
Instead Of:
He's got his head up his ******* ****!

12.Try Saying:
Excuse me, sir?
Instead Of:
Oi, ****face.

13.Try Saying:
Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
Instead Of:
Yeah, who needs ******* holidays anyway.

Old News


The old chestnut is coming up again, as it usually does around this time of year, questions are being asked about how many people work at Hartlepool Council? or more accurately how many are employed by the Council! I was recently clearing out some old files and came across this letter which I sent to Hartlepool Mail in 2006......nothing changes:

Sent to Hartlepool Mail, 26th February 2006

Dear Sirs,

In reply to recent correspondence in your letters page I must point out that under the Freedom of Information Act individuals can get answers from Hartlepool Council. However, with official figures there is always a “but”

When I asked how many people were employed by Hartlepool Council I received figures adjusted to “full time equivalents (FTE)” so my question was not actually answered. Apparently there were 3,506 FTE employees at Hartlepool Council in 2001 and now there are 3,334, or 172 fewer FTE employees now than in 2001….BUT… in 2004 approximately 400 staff transferred from the Council to Housing Hartlepool so that has disguised the true growth in numbers.

More significant is total cost of employees at Hartlepool Council. In 2001, Hartlepool Council paid out £79,383,000, £22,000 average per employee. Total costs have gone up every year; even in 2004 when the number of staff dropped, the total cost still went up by over £6,000,000. In 2005 the total costs were £101,425,000, taking the average to over £30,000 per employee over a 20% increase in four years!

The other information I obtained shows that in 2001 no-one at Hartlepool Council was paid more than £99,000 and ten employees received more than £50,000, giving a cost for the senior managers of £650,000., By 2005 two employees each received over £110,000 and twenty others received over £50,000. A total of £1,430,000 being paid at the top bands. An increase of over 200% in the past four years. So when the Council hold their hand out for more money next year just remember these figures. Nice work if you can get it!

Stephen Allison
St.Hilda Ward Councilor
Hartlepool Unitary Authority

************************************************************************************

Or how about this one, from March 2006....

Dear Sirs,

Council announces a panel to monitor new posts. Election time is approaching and some Councilors need to appear to be doing something! Three years ago, I was on a panel, setup with the same objective, after inflation busting Council Tax rises and increases in the number of employees at Hartlepool Council. I left the panel after a couple of meetings when it became obvious it would not be allowed to actually achieve anything.

The panel “advised the Mayor” and any job they advised to leave unfilled would immediately be classed, by the Chief Executive, as vital for Operational reasons, (usually health and safety), the Mayor would back the Chief Executive, ignore the panel and give permission to proceed with recruitment to fill the post.

Setting up panels, referring to scrutiny, monitoring, all give the appearance of activity without actually achieving anything. The Mayor announcing a FREEZE on new recruitment! Now that would be news.

It will never happen under the current Council. The Mayor actually boasts about how much money he is spending and Labour Party Policy treats local government as a huge job creation scheme. This is very popular amongst people who get jobs from it. The policy is less popular amongst those facing massive council tax increases to pay for it. So until Council employees outnumber everyone else, at which point they will all be told they must Vote Labour to keep their jobs, then we will get meaningless panels set up to allow Councillors to hide behind

Stephen Allison
St.Hilda Ward Councilor
Hartlepool Unitary Authority

************************************************************************************

************************************************************************************

Hartlepool Top's the Table

Unfortunately I'm not referring to the Division 1 League Table. That of course is a position Pools will never occupy with results like yesterday where Pools crashed out with a 2-0 defeat to a struggling Cheltenham Town who have failed to win in their past 16 games. The manager, Chris Turner even went as far as to say he was embarrassed by the team's display.


In an article on the club's website (http://www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk/page/GafferTalk/0,,10326~1590624,00.html) he said "I wonder if those players in there are embarrassed like I am because those fans who traveled down to watch us today deserve a lot lot better.".

Another group of people who deserve a lot better are the struggling Council Taxpayers of Hartlepool. Hartlepool now sit on top of the table for highest council tax bills in the North East, and are in a play off place for topping the table nationally. Go on HBC I'm sure you can snatch the top spot next year!


(Click on image to open larger window)

In football parlance, the only hope is a fans' revolt that sees the current Manager sacked and new blood brought in. In June this year the Council Taxpayers do have an opportunity to replace the Mayor. After all "No more Council Tax Increases" was one of the Mayor's Campaign pledges, anyone remember that? Of course in the current economic climate we are seeing people who have failed totally being rewarded with bonuses and huge pensions. Stuart getting re-elected would just be another failure getting unjust rewards.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Initiative? This is a Local Authority! We'll have none of THAT here.


A constituent told me a sad, sad tale this week. According to them a council employee given the job of purchasing a small number of quite low cost items had used his (or her) initiative and rang three or four shops in the town requesting prices. He had let his (or her) fingers do the walking! This resulted in the Council saving about £150. Good result I would have said. Unfortunately the Council Officer in question received a ticking off for not using the Council's Accredited Supplier for these items, which would of course have cost considerably more. Now I'm not one who says we shouldn't have financial procedures. These protect the Officers as much, if not more, than the Council. However when the bureaucracy becomes so rigid that initiative and cost saving are actually a disciplinary offense then maybe the lunatics are definitely taking over the asylum.

I sit on the Contract Scrutiny Committee. A total waste of time committee that literally exists to watch Council Officers opening envelopes. The existence of the Committee is an insult to the Officers who it watches. If we need to watch the envelopes being opened then why don't we need to watch what happens when the opened envelopes are taken away, shoved through the sausage machine and a recommendation, based on a matrix of price, quality, past performance and the f factor(*), is then brought back to the committee to endorse. The bureaucracy is running the operation. Procedures are not there to help, they are there to straight jacket everyone into total obedience. "I followed the procedures" is the ultimate defence against any accusation!

(*) f factor is the number by which you have to multiply the answer you have calculated to get the answer you wanted in the first place. If the contractor you really want is a bit too expensive but has the best heath and safety performance then you decrease the price part of the matrix and give more weight to health and safety. After all who could complain that the contractor was picked because he had the best safety record? You can't really put a price on Health and Safety can you?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Hartlepool Council Recruitment Freeze


The recruitment freeze at Hartlepool Council continues? with only 10 jobs being advertised at the moment. Taking the middle range of the pay bands on offer this will add another £250,000 a year to the wages bill. Of course many of these are temporary posts or posts funded from "other budgets" but the bottom line is still that Hartlepool Council continues to grow and grow and grow!

ADULT AND COMMUNITY SERVICES VACANCIES

Collections Access Assistant (Culture Shock)
Ref No SR-ACS120 - Band 6
Band 6 £16,230 to £16,941
Closing date 18th March 2009

Outreach Officer
Ref No. SR-ACS703 - Band 7
Band 7 £17,574 - £18,882 pa
Closing date 18th March 2009

Relief Register Driver/Assistant
Ref No. SR-CS96 - Band 5
Band 5-6 £15,247 - £16,941 pa pro rata
Closing date 23rd March 2009

CHILDREN'S SERVICES VACANCIES

Qualified Supply Outdoor Education Instructors
Band 7 £17,574 - £18,882 pa
Ref No SR-EDUC276 - Band 7

Team Manager (Safeguarding & Specialist Services)
Ref No. SR-CS311 - Band 14
Band 14 £38,463 - £42,072 pa
Closing date 18th March 2009

Transition Development Officer
Ref No. SR-CS66a - Band 13
Band 13 £34,107 - £37,555 pa pro rata
Closing date 18th March 2009

Contact Point Data Manager
Ref No. SR-CS43 - Band 10
Band 10 £24,331 - £26,706 pa
Closing date 18th March 2009


NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES VACANCIES

Principal Engineer (Environmental Issues)
Ref No. NSD06 - Band 13
Band 13 £34,107 - £37,555 pa pro rata
Closing date 18th March 2009

Student Environmental Health Officer
Ref No. SR-NSD708
£10,000pa
Closing date 18th March 2009


REGENERATION AND PLANNING VACANCIES

Vulnerable Persons Housing Officer (Choice Based Lettings)
Ref No. SR-RP14 - Band 10
Band 10 £24,331 - £26,706 pa
Closing date 18th March 2009

Going to Grandma's Funeral

Bereavement leave is becoming a tricky subject. The traditional "day off for Grandma's Funeral" is getting more complex.


Hartlepool Council for example have removed any reference to bereavement leave from the "caring for adults and caring for children leave schemes" and now have a simple statement that all employees are eligible to half a day leave to attend a funeral. In these days of political correctness this is not identified as a close relative's funeral or a friend's funeral, it is just a half day leave to attend a funeral. It doesn't say in the policy that the employee needs to say who's funeral they are attending, nor does there appear to be any limit on how many funerals you can attend in a year. It would probably offend the individual's Human rights to even ask! No-one need ever have to "go to the dentist" ever again, they can just be "at a funeral". Blanche from Coronation Street would be in her element, she loves a good funeral, doesn't matter who's!

A manager may further grant, at their discretion, up to a maximum of 3 days paid leave and in exceptional circumstances 5 days paid leave. It is not necessary for this bereavement leave to be taken as one block. To determine whether an employee is to be granted this additional Bereavement Leave then the closeness of the employees’ relationship to the deceased will be taken into consideration. The term "close relative" or the actual family member/relationship are not defined e.g. mother, father, uncle etc as it is felt that from a diversity perspective this would be too narrow, particularly in today’s climate e.g. same sex relationships/civil partnerships.

The degree to which the employee is involved in responsibilities arising from the bereavement e.g. death certificate, funeral arrangements, house sale / clearance, etc will also be taken into consideration. Should 5 days not be enough time due to the geographical location of the funeral, then the employee must make their own provision for this i.e. annual leave, flexi-leave or unpaid leave. So going to Barbados to attend a funeral might be OK but only the first 5 days of the trip would be paid!

Demand for Council Houses is on the increase!


Demand for Council Houses is on the increase according to a survey conducted by the Local Governmemt Association. More than eight out of ten councils are experiencing or anticipate an increase in demand for social housing because of the recession leasding to rises in repossessions, falls in mortgage lending and house prices that remain out of reach for many people on an average salary.

Proposals to address the problem include Councils should be allowed to keep all the rent from council housing and right-to-buy (The Government holds on to £300 million of money that council tenants pay to councils in rent). Councils should also be able to borrow on the open market in the same way that Housing Associations have the freedom to do so to enable them to start major new programs of council house building and improvements. There should also be extra public investment in infrastructure projects to pave the way for private development.

Social housing is becoming more and more of a priority in the ecconomic recession because fewer and fewer people can afford to get onto the property ladder.

Of course Hartlepool Council gave away its Council Houses and so doesn't have anything to worry about!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

MANAGEMENT F-LAWS

According to a new management book (Management F Laws by Russell L. Ackoff, Herbert J. Addison and Sally Bibb. Published by Triarchy Press ISBN 0-9550081-1-5. 20 Pounds) the less important an issue is, the more time is spent discussing it. Everyone is an expert on trivia. So everyone can discuss trivialities with equal authority and at great length.

Anyone who has ever attended a Hartlepool Council Meeting can verify this is true. Hours and hours of discussion on trivia but serious, big decisions are made almost without discussion. Even if Councilors ask questions or try to stimulate discussion the process is immediately shut down by the "Experts" who bring the discussion back to their own comfort zone and limit discussion to what they know about it. Expert opinion is rarely challenged by other experts as they all broadly agree with each other, challenge often only comes from non-experts who don't know enough to understand why their ideas are "not practical". However, it is often the naive question that experts fear, because these challenge the established wisdom. If you always do what you've always done then you get what you've always got. That is why successful organizations move their senior people around on a regular basis, to shake then up, challenge their pre-conceived ideas. After two or three years any individual is as likely to be just part of the problem and not part of the solution. Its called "capture by the system" and Stuart Drunmmond displayed the perfect example after less than 12 months as Mayor when he admitted that now he knew how the system worked he understood why Council tax had to go up every year. You shouldn't be there to "understand how it works" you should be thee to challenge why it works as it does.

Experts and bureaucrats of course seldom accept any responsibility for errors resulting from following their advice. However, they accept full responsibility for any successes that result from following their advice, however remote the connection.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stephen Allison International


In the greater scheme of things this blog is very, very small time. However, my monitoring software now allows me to see where in the world my blog is being read. It only holds the last 10 people to access the blog but this morning you might just be able to see (click on the map for a bigger scale image) I have had someone from mainland Europe (possibly Brussels?), a hit from the west coast USA/Canada Border, someone in China and someone in the sea off the west Coast of Africa (I assume on a ship?). Welcome one and all to my international readership!

Now I'm late for a meeting.

Must Dash!

Size does matter!

As someone who has kept a chicken or two in my time I was interested to read the view of Tom Vesey, the chairman of the British Free Range (Egg) Producers' Association, in the Times on line, that large eggs might make a larger omelet but doesn't make the hen that laid them very happy.

Mr Vasey recons it can be painful to the hen to lay a larger egg.


However, egg size is just something else that in the end is dictated by the supermarkets. Farmers produce large eggs because the average price paid by Supermarkets to the Farmer for 12 free-range eggs is 77p for medium, £1 for large and just over £1 for very large. Just checking on line at ASDA/TESCO/SAINSBURY'S showed almost identical prices with the public paying £2.58 for a dozen Medium eggs, £2.92 for a dozen large free range eggs and a whopping £3.98 for a dozen very large eggs. Shoppers apparently mostly opt for large eggs as they think they offer better value for money and there is little consumer demand for small eggs, which weigh less than 53g and are mostly used in processed food. At a mark up of £1.81 a dozen for Medium eggs, £1.92 for large and £2.98 for very large then the public are probably right in their assessment of value.

According to Christine Nicol, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Bristol, there is no strong published evidence of pain in egg-laying hens, but, she did say they do often spot bloodstains on large eggs.

Another Poultry Fancier on Hartlepool Council is of course the redoubtable Councillor Geof Lilley. He feeds his flock marigold leaves and claims it makes his eggs taster better than the ones produced by my birds. All I know is a nice fresh egg, still warm from being laid, is a treat everyone should experience in the mornings! Being woken up at dawn by a cockerel crowing is less of a treat!

(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article5884068.ece)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Compensation

It is getting harder and harder to convince myself we are not living an endless repeat of 1st April.

According to Jack Straw (The Justice Secretary) prisoners released early from jail are being paid compensation because they lose their three free meals a day while banged up. After they have been released the ex-cons are having to buy their own food! Imagine that! Buy their own food! If they had remained in prison then they would have been getting fed by the taxpayer. How unfair is it to release them early and make them miss out on their free nosh. Definitely deserve compensation, no doubt about it!


The government has so far paid out £5,500,000 in compensation and the scheme has cost £429,000 to administer, well it takes lots of civil servants to hand out our money! Bringing the total cost to the taxpayer to almost £6,000,0000 since June 2007.

The lunatics are definitely running the asylum!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Cross government co-location fund


Great example of short term knee jerk reaction and a desperate search for ways to spend our money. The Department for Children, Schools and Families have recently invited Hartlepool to bid for a share of a national co-location fund of £200 million. Bids need to be sent in by 6 April 2009.

The Mayor and Cabinet clearly have no ideas as they are desperate enough to actually ask none executive Councillors if they have any suggestions.

The invitation to submit suggestions was sent out today and the deadline for responses is before the next Cabinet meeting on 24 March.

The funding is intended to support schemes which can demonstrate that they can;

"improve outcomes for children and be sustainable".

Any projects must be able to deliver the new facilities by September 2011.

So anyone in a position to suggest a scheme in the next 2 weeks had better get their thinking caps on. Apparently the DCSF is particularly interested in seeing bids for

"co-location projects on sites where universal services are already located e.g. schools and primary health care services. It expects that many areas will prioritize projects for the co-location of services which work on a face to face basis with children, young people, families and communities. Such projects could be achieved through adaptation of existing spaces in schools, youth centres or other community facilities, through the development of one-stop shop facilities or through investment in mobile facilities.

The DCSF would also expect the partnership projects to be centred on services for children, young people and their families, with involvement of two or more partners from education and wider children’s services, early years provision, sport (including swimming and the Olympic legacy), health, youth support services, local housing, police, justice, play, recreation and leisure services."

Hope all that is clear?

In a throw away line in the middle of the appeal is the phrase,

"Given the timescale, any projects suggested would need to be ones which were already worked up in some detail with partners."

So its not actually NEW ideas they want to fund, just throw some money at old ones!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Timewarp

I was looking for an old file on my PC this evening and came across the text below. It was in a file path D:\Users\Stephen\Documents\Council\FullCouncil\Budgetspeech that was created 18 February 2003 22:51:00, modified 20 February 2003 11.12 and printed 20 February 2003 12:34:00. When I read it I was amazed by how little things had changed in Hartlepool Council Chamber over the last 6 years.

So let's take the Time Tunnel back to February 2003. The Council tax setting meeting of Hartlepool Unitary Authority........


======================================================================

Comrades,

In May 2002 the people of Hartlepool voted for change, despite the best efforts of the three mainstream political parties to rubbish the idea the people voted for a Mayor, THEY VOTED FOR CHANGE. In May 2002 the Mayor promised much but so far has delivered very little. He promised Bananas, but after he was elected he said that was only a campaign gimmick and no one really means what they say during a campaign. His second promise was to bring down council taxes, and today he faced another failure to deliver, was this just another campaign gimmick Mr Mayor?

In my opinion the way the Mayor has folded under pressure on the 3.5% Council tax increases is regretful to say the least. The people wanted someone who would fight for change, not knuckle under to the establishment when the going got tough. In an earlier council meeting Mr Mayor I believe you said something along the lines that now you know how the system works you don’t think you can realistically bring down council taxes, well Mr Mayor you CAN bring down the tax, all it needs is someone with the political will, the strength of character, the backbone and the real desire to do it.

You have been quoted as saying “next year” and that you are throwing down a challenge to the Council to bring down the Council Tax “next year”, I thought you threw down this challenge in May 2002 when you were elected, I appreciate you are learning the job but surely you must have realised that there would be a budget in March 2003. You've had 10 months to get ready for this moment and when you were faced with the hard decisions I’m afraid you showed a woeful lack of bottle.

We’ve been told that unless we take Officers' advice and put up taxes at least 4.5% then they will leave and the council will collapse, so if any decision that goes against Officer’s advice will have such disastrous consequences then I suggest that all the elected Councillors, and yourself Mr Mayor, resign en-mass and let the officers get on with running the town, if I as a Councillor can’t challenge an Officer when I think they are wrong then what is my function??? If you Mr Mayor can’t make a decision that goes against officer’s advice then what are you for?? What exactly do the people of Hartlepool get for the £1,000 per week plus that you are being paid

I also joined the Council for the first time in May 2002 and was almost immediately in trouble for questioning things. Since I’ve sat in this council it has become obvious to me that the Civic Centre is a perfect Ivory Tower where the real world intrudes as little as possible, secrecy, petty party politics, one-up-manship, personal agendas and individual egos are the key players. Council Committees and meetings almost always start and finish, and have a considerable portion in the middle, where the main business is congratulating everyone on what a fantastic job they are doing, it really is a mutual admiration society, we must be doing well because we did so well on the last inspection, we must be doing well because we are all so fantastic, we really are wonderful aren’t we, only people with a life outside the inward looking, self obsessed world of local government think there are any problems that need to be faced. Appended to the reports for this Council meeting are figures showing more than half the wards in Hartlepool lie in the bottom 10% for deprivation in the country, How can we as a Council preening ourselves over an Audit Office assessment while the scale of real people’s problems is so huge.

I suggest getting out of the fairyland castle atmosphere in the civic centre, try getting the views of the real people, the people who don’t vote because they feel it doesn’t make any difference, the people who don’t come to consultation events because they feel no-one listens anyway, the people who don’t attend neighbourhood forums because at 10:00am in the morning on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday they are out at work trying to earn enough money to keep their family fed and clothed and to pay the ever increasing council taxes which we blithely raise year after year after year. I will therefore be opposing the motion to raise council taxes 4.5%

MPs should normally serve for no more than three full terms

The Jury Team have some very good ideas. Of course that means they have ideas I agree with. One that definitely gets my support is that MPs should normally serve for no more than three full terms. I would actually go further and include Local Authority Councilors (and directly elected Mayors) in the group that cannot remain in power indefinitely.

If National democracy is suffering from lack of accountability and the strangle hold of the party system then the situation in local government is even worse. Local Councilors are often either retired, unemployed or unemployable. Hartlepool has an elected Mayor, his main claim to fame being prior to this was as the Monkey Mascot for Hartlepool Football Club. The general consensus is that he isn't doing much harm, but then the Council is run by the Officers anyway and the Labour Party dominate his cabinet and all the main Council Committees.

No-one with any sense is involved in local politics these days, unless they are using it as a stepping stone to higher things. So why am I involved you might ask, well that's easy ...........
.......... I like tilting at windmills!

Jury Team

It is a lovely bright, crisp Sunday morning and my e-mail inbox currently contains 245 unopened messages. It actually contains almost 500 messages in total as I leave them in the inbox until I deal with them. Messages with senders I don’t recognise or subjects that don’t catch my eye can quite honestly wait ages before I open them. As for checking my spam box well that’s a regular job, NOT. I emptied it at 10.00pm last night and this morning it already it has over 200 entries. That’s a spam mail every 15 minutes through out the night!

The number of incoming e-mails has dropped recently since new government regulations (well that's what they said and quite frankly I haven’t time to check) means that the “bounce” from my Councillor’s e-mail address to my personal address has been stopped. I now have to log onto the Council system to access a separate e-mail account to check my Councillors E-mails. So far I'm keeping on top of those but the number is creeping up slowly

Anyway, there is a point to this rant. When I can’t face the inbox any more I check a couple of my favourite websites. I am a huge fan of www.politicalbetting.com and it is one I like to visit regularly and this morning there was a post by “The Jury Team”


This was written by Sir Paul Judge (and printed in today's Sunday Times). I don’t intend to repeat the article here but his summary was very succinct:

“Everybody knows that the (political) system is broken, everyone agrees that reform is required. However turkeys do not vote for Christmas. It seems that if we want to change the system we have to change the turkeys".

He continues "Parliament is a closed shop. To become a member, you need to be one of the less than 1% of the electorate who are active members of a political party. You must demonstrate loyalty to a party machine: leader, manifesto and press release. You need to travel around the country seeking a seat and impress local panels that still prefer not to select women and ethnic minority candidates or indeed anyone with an independent mind. It is not surprising that so few people put themselves forward.

Once elected, the MPs and MEPs find that they have little freedom. Today, the whipping of elected politicians is so strong that rebellion is newsworthy and a ground for the ending of political careers. With dreams of high office and six-figure salaries and expenses at risk, few of our MPs seem willing to apply their own political judgment. As Christopher Hollis MP said in 1946: “On most votes it would be simpler and more economic to keep a flock of tame sheep and from time to time to drive them through the division lobbies in the appropriate number.”

When I saw a list of the Jury Team's principle policies I was very tempted to sign up then and there. With one exception they are everything I believe in! I particularly support 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. I think 11 is already happening, 5 and 10 are a bit esoteric for a popular manifesto. Which leaves 6, Oh dear!

1. An end to Party Whips,
2. Transparent Pay for MPs and MEPs,
3. An independent Politicians Complaints Commission,
4. Capping donations to political parties,
5. Elected Select Committees,
6. European Legislation applied appropriately,
7. Term limits for MPs and MEPs,
8. General elections every five years,
9. Referendums as requested by 5% of the electorate,
10. Government departments run by a Board and
11. Independent publication of Government statistics.

I suppose 10/11 isn’t bad. Just a shame that the 1/11 is bigger than the other 10 combined, because without a free and sovereign parliament everything else is just irrelevant.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Retained Fire Fighters


The retained fire station on the Headland has weathered several storms and more than one attempt to close it as a cost cutting measure. However, it may soon be facing a challenge that may see its doors finally close. The UK fire services could be forced to lose thousands of retained fire-fighters once the European Union Working Time Directive comes fully into force. European Union Rules prevent anyone from working more than 48 hours a week and so could hit retained fire-fighters who often also have another job. One in five north east fire-fighters are retained personnel and in England as a whole there are about 28,000 retained fire-fighters, out of 74,000 fire men and woman in the service.

If the current 48 hour rule opt-out is removed then that is going to require a fundamental review of how the Headland Station is manned. Going over to a full time manned station would undoubtedly come with significant additional cost and could be used to justify closing the station all together. The Labour Party are in favour of the 48 hour rules, which are backed by the European Parliament.

European Union Rules have close post offices, almost killed off British Fishing, made it illegal to protect British Jobs for British Workers, costs the UK over £106,000 a minute (that’s over £150,000,000 EVERY DAY) and now possibly threaten our Fire and Rescue Services. When will the people realise we’d be better off out

Sawn-Off or Not Sawn-Off?

So far no-one has asked where to buy bottled water or tinned food. (If I was asked I’d say ALDI). Several people have however asked if I know where they can get a decent shotgun and also whether it should be sawn-off or standard.

To (legally) buy a shotgun in Britain you need to hold a Shotgun Certificate. The appropriate application form can be obtained from your local police station. If you are aged less than 17 you can have a Shotgun Certificate as long as you have your parent's signed permission. The Police may want to see a 'good reason' for you wanting a gun and usually want to see that you will keep your gun (or guns) in a secure place. I'm not sure if defending yourself against looters would count? You have to store ammunition separately.


A shotgun by the way is described as a smooth-bore gun which has a barrel not less than 24 inches with a bore diameter not exceeding 2 inches. The “not less than” bit in the description is of course a reference to “sawn off” shotguns which are easier to carry concealed under your coat and produce a much wider shot spread. This makes them better weapons at close quarters but totally useless for game shooting!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Due to the Credit Crunch Hartlepool Council has brought in some new rules

Dress Code:
You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

1) If we see you wearing Prada shoes, Versace dresses and carry a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

2) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.

3) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays & Sundays.

Bereavement Leave:
This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral arrangements in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Bathroom Breaks:
Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the Council bulletin board under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the Council's mental health policy.

Lunch Breaks:
1) Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.

2) Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

3) Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to Hartlepool Council. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

Financial Advice in these dark times

If you had purchased £1,000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago, it would now be worth £4.95.

With HBOS, earlier this week, your £1,000 would have been worth £16.50.

But if you bought £1,000 worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took the empty cans to an aluminum recycling plant, you would get £214.

So, based on the above statistics, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

The helicopter drop

Reading the financial papers these days is likely to confuse anyone. The latest cut in interests rates appears to have got us as close to zero as we can go. After all if no-one is receiving interest on savings then you may as well draw your money out and keep it in cash under the bed. At least in that way if the bank does go bust you already have your money out! Anyway there are some weird and wonderful rescue strategies being proposed. One of these is "The helicopter drop" first suggested by Milton Friedman.

How does this work, simple, print loads of money, pile it into a helicopter, fly over the UK and drop it out. Everyone gets richer as the money falls from the sky and of course they then go out and spend it in the high street. Unfortunately it does rather lead to inflation and could send sterling plunging.

It has never been properly tried, but in desperation it would pump up a deflated economy.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Going to get worse before it gets better


Barack Obama said yesterday that the economy was 'going to get worse before it gets better.'

Remember before the election? 'The audacity of hope!' 'Yes, we can!' 'A change we can believe in!'

Now it's, 'We're all screwed."

Of course we can rely on the great american people to pull us through......

Three things everyone needs to buy

So what are the three things that everyone should be buying right now? Gold? Government bonds? Personal Pension Plans? Actually none of these things. Building on the theme that the Uk is only nine meals from anarchy, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024833/Nine-meals-anarchy--Britain-facing-real-food-crisis.html) there are three vital commodities that no home should be without right now.

bottled water
tinned food and
a shotgun!

Nine meals from anarchy might sound far fetched but that was the expression used by Lord Cameron of Dillington, Head of the Countryside Agency, to describe just how close to starvation Britain's population actually is. Just three full days without food on supermarket shelves and law and order would start to break down, and British streets would descended into chaos. There might be 11 million gardeners in Britain, but your veggie plot won't go far when your kids are hungry and the baked beans have run out. Britain has not been self-sufficient in food since the late 18th century and the situation is rapidly worsening. In 1995, 27 per cent of UK food was imported. However, just a decade later, in 2006, it was 37 per cent. London and other big cities are even worse, with more than 80 per cent of their food being shipped in ever day.

So anyone with any sense is stocking up on bottled water and tinned food, the key being to survive until the population levels drop far enough to be sustainable.

Of course that's where the shot gun comes in! When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans people were rapidly reduced to looting in order to feed themselves and their families. It won't therefore be enough to have bottled water and tinned food, you'll also need to be able to defend what you have against those people who are not as well prepared!