Friday, February 19, 2010

Purnell quits: exit Faction Man - enter Action Man?

This blog is the last place you'll hear it today, but the big news is the announcement from James Purnell that he will be standing down as an MP at the next General Election.

There's not much we can say about this that hasn't been said already all over the internet anyway. We're wholly unsurprised that this southern chancer has decided to duck out now before Labour take a beating next time.

But who will replace him? Well, the talk is that it's likely that the Longdendale Councillor Jonathan 'Jonny' Reynolds will be chosen by the CLP as a candidate, and we all know his track record regarding the bypass. But then there's also another factor: Reynolds is the Secretary of the Tameside Co-operative Labour Party, a faction which is backing Kieran Quinn to be the new leader of TMBC and led the revolt against Roy Oldham.

If Reynolds is chosen as the PPC for Stalybridge and Hyde, it's inconceivable that he won't publicly back the bypass, particularly as the Tory PPC has already done so. But like all politicians, what these people say in public is not necessarily the same as what's going on behind the scenes.

Reynolds can be assured that if he does stand for MP and wins, we'll be paying very close attention to him in future.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anthony McKeown's thumbs-down for Bypass 2.0

Regular readers will know that we've always paid a certain amount of attention to the self-styled blogging High Peak Borough Councillor, Anthony McKeown. Readers will also know that  McKeown has always been a steadfast supporter of plans for the Bypass (although seemingly not enthusiastic enough to either formally express his support in writing to the promoter, nor do so at the Public Inquiry), faithfully backing the line of the Council, be it under Labour control, or more recently Tory.

He's also in the past been a bit of a cheerleader for the MP Tom Levitt - but all of that started to change around the time of the MPs expenses scandal, when McKeown became the first in his party to formally criticise Levitt's behaviour.

With a new blog the other day, it now seems that McKeown is inching away from support for a Bypass. Have a look at this quote (emphasis added):

"Now my initial thoughts on the proposals is whilst I still support the idea of full bypass between Mottram and Tintwistle, I’m not sure on the basis of the information so far that the proposals suggested will have enough of an effect for the cost, and that alternative options such as supporting the building of a new station at Gamesley may be a better way to go."

Firstly, let's put aside Ant's dewey-eyed words about the original bypass plan: surely only Roy Oldham now supports the original bypass plans, and a belief in that discredited idea is about as sincere as the faith the captain of the Titanic displayed in the integrity of his ship's hull. Have a closer look - yes, Ant is saying that alternatives are preferable to a road.

But the best bit is perhaps reserved for the next paragraph in his blog:

"I’m also aware that whilst various bits are suggested within Glossopdale so far neither the County nor the Borough Council’s have been fully consulted / involved in drawing up these proposals."

That's pretty devastating for any bypass believer, and clearly illustrates the lack of continuity between the old Bypass plans and Bypass 2.0. Given that McKeown is the Secretary of High Peak Labour Party, it looks like a sea-change, albeit a change in the views of the current opposition. Will the new Labour PPC for High Peak follow suit?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roy Oldham's Downfall - is Bypass 2.0 in freefall?

Some of our readers may have noticed the story on the Manchester Evening News website that Roy Oldham is not only facing a challenge to his leadership of Tameside MBC from fellow Councillor Kieran Quinn, but that his local constituency party in Stalybridge and Hyde is supporting Quinn.

Now this is not 'new' news, and was actually reported at the end of January by Tameside Eye (with the hilariously apposite video above added to the post). But the fact that the MEN are using the story brings it out into the open.

What can it mean for the Bypass? It's well known that the original Bypass and the new Bypass ('with Bumps') 2.0 are Oldham's babies. As we hinted in our blog last night, there's a strong chance Oldham's end will spell the end of the road.

There's more to this story than meets the eye, so stay tuned over the next few days for more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Roy Oldham drops the bomb on Longdendale

As a taster, here's a little sneaky peak at the real substance of the report prepared by TMBC about the 'Longdendale Integrated Transport System' - RoyOldham/Colonel Kurtz has scrawled his solution for Longdendale. Our sources are telling us that there is a Tameside equivalent of Captain Willard waiting in the wings to stick the knife in at the right moment, but will he take up Oldham's priorities and methods, or are they only the property of the old goat?

We need motivation to adopt our old blogging habits, but an exposition of the whole sorry, pathetic affair will appear here at some point (yes, we know we promised it before!).