Monday, September 29, 2008

Sean Parker-Perry - Longdendale Labour's Congestion Charge rebel?

Over at Tameside Mafia, there's news about James Purnell's latest recruit which is interesting enough, but the blog contains an interesting nugget of info which is likely to point to the real reason why Sean Parker-Perry was sacked.

The blog has unearthed a comment on the Tribune website which runs as follows:

SO MUCH for free speech. The delegate from Tameside was barely off the rostrum after delivering a blistering attack on the proposed Manchester congestion charge when he got a text from his boss demanding to know, in so many words, what he thought he was playing at. His boss is Pensions Secretary James Purnell. And the delegate is a councillor.

It can only be Sean - Purnell's new recruit was a Councillor, but is no longer. The last thing Purnell wants is an acolyte who thinks for himself - especially if it's in a different direction from the Party line on the issue of the Congestion Charge.

So where does this leave Sean in terms of Longdendale Politics? Well, we all know that Roy Oldham is Tameside's biggest advocate of the Congestion Charge, and Councillor Reynolds can be found amongst the members of selected pro-Charge groups on Facebook (or at least used to) - so he's certainly isolated locally, and definitely so amongst Tameside's Labour Councillors (even if some of the local MPs are not 'on message'). No doubt the local Labour Party will have to consider taking him in hand at some point, it being a Party particularly concerned with discipline at this time of crisis.

Who knows, perhaps Sean will go the whole hog and come out against the Bypass? Stranger things have already happened...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tameside MBC - Death Race 2008

A front page article in this week's Tameside Advertiser speaks volumes about the priorities of Tameside MBC and their contemptuous attitudes to public safety in and around their borough. The article reveals that TMBC consider Roadside Memorials to those killed by motor cars are 'distractions' and - even more bizarrely - 'dangerous'. Their plan is to remove them after a month of display. 

The whole matter is a stark illustration of how such deaths are depoliticised, and precisely because they are a 'necessary' part of the social existence entailed by the capitalism. The depoliticisation comes about in the description of these deaths as 'accidents' - i.e. inevitable and incidental, when in fact they are anything but. 

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation forecast that deaths from car use could reach 20 million worldwide between 2000 and 2015, with 200 million facing serious injuries. If one is to include the bereaved and those left to care, the figure rises to 1 billion people affected by the motor car worldwide over a 15 year period. 

At these rates, the car industry kills more people than diabetes and malaria - 1.2 million people per year. It ranks seventh amongst the world's biggest killers. And yet huge amounts of human energy and money are poured into the industry and subsidiary concerns such as road building, which exacerbate the problem -  the veritable cause of death, and on such a colossal scale. 

All of which is why Tameside MBC make a conscious decision to remove any obstacles that stand to remind us of these facts (to the extent that the public is not already completely marginalised from learning about such shocking statistics). The Advertiser article quotes Councillor Peter Robinson (a former funeral director FFS! - no doubt his nickname is 'the grim reaper') stating that the place for tributes to the dead is in the cemetery, not on the road. The subtext is that the machine rolls on, and the dead and the reminders of them, must be cleared away, lest they hinder 'progress' and 'business as usual'. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sean Parker Perry's Family Commitments

We have an exclusive tonight: word has today reached us that the Work and Pension Secretary of State & local MP, James Purnell, has sacked his office boy (sorry, Parliamentary Political Operative) Councillor Sean Parker-Perry.

The official line is that Sean has quit due to 'family commitments' - he clearly thinks he's got as much on his plate as Ruth Kelly. We suspect it's a resignation in the same mould as that of another former Purnell employee who fucked up, Mike Doherty.

The truth is, we knew something was afoot 8 days ago when someone searched Google for the phrase 'Sean Parker-Perry Resigns' and landed on the blog. It would be hard to search with a more specific term that that!

If this news is correct, we would like to remind readers that it comes after the following set of circumstances in recent months:

1) Police charges are brought against the blogger, Tameside Eye, for material posted on his blog about Sean, and promptly dropped a few days ago. Tameside Eye revealed that the complaint against him had been brought by Sean, in collusion with a Police Officer on the Longdendale District Assembly.

2) James Purnell's website had material relating to Sean's Environment-cum-Tool Hire Business Active Longdendale removed from it last April, after a series of articles by us about Sean, one of which produced fairly conclusive evidence that Sean was behind the (now deleted) 'Roadmunkey' blog and had used Purnell's office to create and maintain it, and also that he had edited Wikipedia on many occasions to make himself and his employer look good.

All of this also suggests that Purnell is going through his closet and removing any skeletons prior to jostling for place in the bid to replace Gordon Brown as Party leader. 

No doubt Sean will trot out the line that he's enough on his plate being a Councillor and Small Businessman to work full-time for Purnell, but it seems that his father-in-law's efforts to hoist him up the political ladder have failed miserably - his star is no longer in the ascendant. After all, there's no room for sentiment in politics...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ruth Kelly - "good riddance to bad rubbish" or "bring on James Purnell"

You may have noticed that contributions to this blog have wained of late, which is for a number of good reasons, and most bloggers will know that a dearth of new posts means a decline in visitors. So when I checked the sitemeter this afternoon and saw that we had so far had 35 visitors, I knew something was up. A quick flit through the results brought up lots of people searching for one name - Ruth Kelly.

Yes, Ruth Kelly decided to resign today, and since we have mentioned her once or twice as well as photoshopped her fizzog, we attracted some attention. It seems that whilst it's quite likely that she engaged in corporeal mortification, the sheer torture of life in the Cabinet was more than she could take. Either that or she wants to spend more time with her family. We'll leave the debate to the political anoraks.

As far as we're concerned, look at her record: supporting a third runway for Heathrow & doing nothing to re-nationalise privatised Rail network seem the most stand out failures. But locally, she has presided over the utter farce that is the Longdendale Bypass Public Inquiry and done fuck all about National Grid's Plans for the Woodhead Tunnel, effectively pulling the pud of the Save the Woodhead Tunnel group (whom, it has to be said, seem content to have their pud pulled). Disastrous.

Wouldn't it be ironic - and completely delicious - if Gordon Brown were to choose to fill Kelly's place that yuppie drip James Purnell in his pending Cabinet reshuffle. Then battle would well and truly be joined. Bring it on Gordon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Police drop case against Tameside Eye

In an interesting development in the case we highlighted over a month ago, Tameside Eye is reporting on his blog that the Crown Prosecution Service have decided to drop the case against him, and also that Tameside Police are not appealing that decision.

Needless to say, this whole matter raises huge questions about the actions of Tameside Police, and their seeming collusion with Longdendale Councillor Sean Parker-Perry over this matter. I envisage that some very interesting Freedom of Information requests lie ahead, and we expect that Tameside Eye's property - namely computer equipment - will be swiftly returned. 

This case is far from over, but the boot is clearly now on the other foot. This one may run and run...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Active Longdendale's Credibility Gap

You may remember we co-hosted a series of articles in April about Active Longdendale (AL), the pet project of Councillor for Longdendale, Scam (sorry, Sean) Parker-Perry.

We helped to put this shady 'organisation' under the spotlight, and this was followed in May by a response in the form of an article in the Reporter Group Newspapers from Sean (since removed from their website - how strange!), which actually left even more questions unanswered. 

Very little has happened since - indeed, since his re- election, Sean has been keeping rather a low profile. So why another article from us?

Well, the reason is that August saw the 1st anniversary of Sean/AL obtaining a £8,000 grant from the 'Awards For All' scheme, and that is significant because the money has to be spent within 12 months. The Railways Arch which Sean had leased has been refurbished - at least by outward appearances - but little else has been heard, other than AL's appearance at the Broadbottom 'Community Day' in June of this year.

Our spies tell us that at that event, Sean had his own AL stall there, plugging the 'tool hire' aspect of AL, as well as carrying a lot of Co-Op Labour literature. You may remember that the terms of the Awards for All grant specified that the use of the grant must be 'non-political' - so that's already a breach of the terms there and then. Sean had published a leaflet which detailed the hire of tools that would be available from AL, and the wind has blown a copy into our hands.* We can only assume that the cost of public liability insurance for such equipment would be huge, perhaps even prohibitive. Maybe this is why nothing further has been heard since Community Day about the tool hire aspect of AL? 

As to whether or not the grant money has been spent, we may never know, although you would expect Charitable Status to have been obtained by now (as the Chronicle/Reporter article promised) and therefore an AGM to have taken place and accounts to have been published. 

But other than that, there's really nothing to go off, because there has been nothing in the news & no activity on the website. All of this now leads to virtual confirmation of the belief that the whole Active Londgendale project is nothing but self-aggrandisement on the part of Scam (sorry, Sean), a method of boosting his 'Community' and 'Environmental' profile. 

Unless and until Sean decides that AL is accountable to the Community, nothing more will be known, and this will ultimately lead to more questions being asked of him and those who have sponsored him.

*the other side of the leaflet - an membership application form - can be viewed here. Most strange is the undertaking to "agree to the aims and objectives (of AL) as set out in the constitution". This elusive document was not available for inspection, and it is not mentioned on the website.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

John Watson - for how much longer can the "rules cope"?

We note that the Glossop Chronicle had another article last week about the latest delays to the Public Inquiry (PI), and that it seems to reveal further slippage on the whole process. We're not sure why the Chronicle is so privileged, but the information has yet to appear elsewhere. Perhaps the Highways Agency (HA) are keen to spin the news that we gave the exclusive for the other week? Indeed, according to the sitemeter, Carillion have been spending a lot of time on the blog of late.

Careful readers of the HA's latest submission to the PI will have noticed that they promised to publish a 'consultation strategy' this month - September 2008 (para 5). And whilst no date for the new Exhibitions was mentioned, the indication was that the revised Environmental Statement and other important documents would be submitted to the PI by May 2009. On the surface, it looked like the exhibitions would take place between this September and next May.

But the Chronicle is now saying that the exhibitions will not take place until June 2009. And a new article in Saturday's Manchester Evening News makes it clear that 'Public Consultation' will follow, making this PI the longest running Road Public Inquiry on record.

'Public Consultation' implies a long period of time - possibly several weeks. It also implies that the public will be consulted, and hence that responses will be invited, as is usually the case.

But what the HA actually want - and what the Inspector John Watson seems to want to give them - is to hold a public consultation on effectively brand new information (let's dispense with this 'revised evidence' crap!) whilst also holding a Public Inquiry simultaneously.

Surely 'never the twain shall meet'? How can the public respond to a consultation whilst a PI is underway into the 'same' (actually anything but) proposals? The Planning Inspectorate's own guidance notes make it clear (para 7.5 onwards) that these would not be 'duly made' supports or objections, since the deadline for responses has already been made. So how will they be treated?

If it is the case that the Highways Agency are making a new consultation, and that there will therefore be a deadline for responses, where does that leave the existing objectors? Do they have to object all over again, or do their existing objections - made against wholly different evidence - still stand ('duly made')? Perhaps, as we've seen before with John Watson, he will state that the 'rules can cope' with such a dog's breakfast?

This increasingly intriguing muddle of a farce is surely breaking entirely new ground now. But we'd like to know exactly what kind of rules or guidance permit John Watson to let the PI continue when the Highways Agency have effectively re-written their entire case, and further, allow the HA to re-consult on a new road scheme whilst keeping the PI into the old one open!