Sunday, 21 December 2008
A revealing story in today’ News of the World - Gone-servative Party - appears to show that David Cameron’s honeymoon is over. Mr Cameron has lost over 40,000 members of the Conservative Party since becoming leader. There is a long term decline in membership of all political parties but even taking this into account, to lose tens of thousands of members whilst projecting yourself as the “heir to Blair” is bound to attract comparision. When Labour were challenging the Conservatives in the mid-nineties, membership went up by more than 100,000.
Breckland Councillors pay set to rise again. See Thetford and Brandon article. Councillors allowances at present.... Breckland Council £4,950.00 Broadland Council £3,810.00 Great Yarmouth £3,483.00 Kings Lynn & WNBC £4,974.64 North Norfolk £3,906.96 Norwich £5,275.00 South Norfolk £4,350.00 TOTAL 335 £1,483,993.76 Councillors allowances are an interesting subject. I don't disagree that councillors should be paid an allowance. Most councillors attend a large number of official council meetings and other community meetings/events/activities/functions. However, there is no legal requirement for District Councillors to attend anymore than 1 meeting once every 6 months, this is what I, and many other people have issue with. Also, how can it be fair that a councillor in Breckland is paid an allowance of £4950 per year, and a Great Yarmouth councillor only gets £3,810? Also, the council's themselves can vote on how much they pay their Leader of the Council, Chairman of Committees etc. The total amount paid for 'special responsibilities' for a number of councils is shown below; Breckland Council £148,728.40 Kings Lynn & WNBC £89,655.54 North Norfolk £55,481.57 South Norfolk £38,715.00 Why should the 'leading' councillors of Breckland, get paid over 3 times as much for the equivalent in South Norfolk?
It has been very busy over the past few weeks with lots going on! 1st Dec; Normal full day at work plus meeting of the Thetford Community Association / Ballpark group at 6pm at my office. 2nd; Had another meeting of the CDRP funding panel in Swaffham at 10am, debated a whole list of projects. The £4500 we requested for the Table Tennis Club at Abbey NC was approved, despite the Breckland Rep saying that Breckland Council did not support the bid, partly because they do not support projects which reward bad behaviour, which is not what the project is about at all. In the afternoon I attended a meeting regarding Pine Close shops and then led the Abbey Youth Club from 3.30pm - 8pm. 3rd; ANCHOR committee meeting at 4pm till 6.30pm then straight to Town Council Planning Committee for 7pm 4th; Had a coach trip to London as part of my business today, took 25 people to see Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia, went very well with some good feedback. Got to put more effort into promoting the business for the New Year and get the office properly set-up! 5th; Had a little lay-in! The helped deliver some of the newsletters for the Barnham Action Group. Thetford Sports & Social Club booked a half page advert which was mutually beneficial for the group as money coming in to help pay for printing and good publicity for the club. On Friday night I helped to man the ANCHOR fundraising stall at the Christmas Lights Switch-on, we managed to raise £50. 6th; Helped Abigal with an event in the Town Centre as part of META. We ran an ANCHOR stall again, selling tickets for the Christmas Hamper Raffle. Gary Winter was there sinking which went down very well, (pictures to follow). Managed to raise over £100 for ANCHOR today. 8th; Had the normal update / admin session with Tim Lovejoy at Fulmerston at 10am. Pine Close newsagents now closed and probably will be for some time. Helped out at the Charles Burrell Garden & Sculpture Project workshop from 6.30-8.30pm. Had 14 kids attend which was encouraging. 9th; Got ready during the day for the Barnham Action Group AGM, helped set out tables and chairs and set-up display boards. Displays included; CB Garden Project, Community Arts work, Pine Close shops, road traffic and parking, Ingleton Wood, Fulmerston Family Project and Thetford Toy Library. Event was well attended. 10th; Nothing special today, other than a Personell Committee meeting at Charles Burrell at 2.30pm 11th; Monthly STAG meeting at 10am then helped out at Bingo at ANC from 6.30pm 12th; Attended the Mayors annual Christmas Do for staff and councillors and former Mayors. Got to play 'old' games such as kerplunk etc. Was quite good fun! 13th; Had a bit of a lay-in in the morning then helped out at the Christmas Thanksgiving Service at the Abbey from 3.30pm. Was a weird event, but I think it pleased the people that attended. 15th; Met with Tim at 10am 16th; Led youth club from 3.30pm - 8pm 17th; Finance and Buildings Committee at Charles Burrell at 2.30pm, had a meeting at the Town Council offices to discuss Sports Provision in Thetford at 3.30pm, then a Staniforth Trust meeting at 6pm and Planning Committee at 7pm - lots of meetings today! 18th; Had the Christmas Quiz Night at the Abbey tonight, went well. My team won! Me, Colin Armes, Dennis & Yvonne Sully. Decided to donate out £50 prize money; £20 to the Thetford Labour Party, £20 back to ANCHOR and £10 to a lady called Mrs Pink who we had heard that the day before had been mugged at Bury Bus Station. Christmas Hamper Raffle was also drawn tonight, in total raised approximately £450 for ANCHOR. 19th; Attended the Keystone staff and tenants Christmas do from 2-4pm Saturday 20th; Had a lovely long lay in, then walked (!) to my office at Bury Road - Dad borrowed the car to drive to Dover to see Ricky before Christmas - got quite a bit of work done, then went clubbing in Norwich Saturday night, got in at 3.30am! eek Sunday 21st; A lay-in again! Then had a rest day, pottering around doing bits and pieces, oh - and wrapping Christmas presents! (and updated my blog which I've been lacking!) 22nd; Will be going to London with James, Jana and Mark for James's birthday. We've booked to go ice-skating at the Tower of London 23rd; Got a meeting with Tim and Elsie (BAG Treasurer) at 10am, then will be getting ready for the children's Christmas Party at the Abbey. Got over 50 kids booked and should be a very good night!!! Had a very useful meeting at 10am, met with representatives from Norfolk Community Foundation re: how to access money which they have available for community projects, I will certainly be encouraging groups to apply ASAP.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Deselected council leader gets a seat SHAUN LOWTHORPE 29 November 2008 11:06 Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox has secured a new seat formerly held by one of his predecessors. The Tory councillor, who was deselected from his Wymondham seat last month, has been chosen to contest the Humbleyard division, just outside Norwich, at next year's county council elections in June - should a poll go ahead. The seat was previously held by former council leader Alison King, and more recently by Judith Virgo, whom Mr Cox defeated for the job at a selection meeting on Thursday. Like Mrs King, the council leader has faced problems with recalcitrant Tories, including Breckland's Cliff Jordan, which is believed to be at the heart of his losing Wymondham. But Mr Jordan, who as chairman of the mid-Norfolk constituency oversaw the deselection of the leader, insisted that rules were properly followed and there was no plot. The decision sparked a row within the ruling Tory group at County Hall and claims that it was part of a putsch organised by districts upset at the county council's stance on the unitary issue. Other councillors who have also been deselected include fellow cabinet member John Gretton, Christopher Lloyd-Owen, Janice Eells, and David Rye. While another county councillor, Heather Bolt, is appealing the process after being offered a different seat - in Gaywood Central, a Labour stronghold. More recently there have been suggestions the controversial county farms issue has also added to the discord within the Tory group. Mr Cox was not available for comment last night, but in a separate move Mr Gretton confirmed he was appealing his selection process with Tory central office after losing a local appeal decision. Mr Gretton believes he has enough evidence to demonstrate the constituency has breached a series of selection guidelines, and the rules chosen have marginalised the views of local branches, which previously had a say in which candidate was picked. “I do not have any faith in what they have done because they have very deliberately sliced grassroots conservative democracy out of the picture,” he said. “What they are effectively saying to the local branches is that it is okay for you to raise money for us but you have got no influence over the political process.”
Councils lose court bid to halt review Upbeat: Nick Daubney SHAUN LOWTHORPE 29 November 2008 06:00 Councils fighting plans to overhaul Norfolk's town halls lost a legal battle to derail the process yesterday - at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to ratepayers. A top judge refused to stall plans for local government reorganisation which could see all seven of the district councils, along with the county council itself, consigned to the history books and replaced by a new super council including Lowestoft. He also ordered the authorities bringing the challenge - Breckland, South Norfolk, and King's Lynn and West Norfolk - to pay three-quarters of the legal costs incurred by the Boundary Committee as well as their own fees, adding to the spiralling multi-million pound bill even before any final decision has been made. Mr Justice Cranston, in the High Court, ruled their challenge was “premature” but they came away with a slim hope after he said it would be impossible to complete consultation on the affordability question by a December 31 deadline. That leaves alive their hope that the tight schedule set by ministers to get Parliament to approve a new council and get it up and running by 2010 could fall because a general election is due. Despite what appeared to be an overwhelming ruling against them, the three councils were still sure they were heading for victory and the challenge was vindicated. Last night the councils said they would lodge an appeal to challenge the ruling next week and even hinted at taking out an injunction to ensure the process was given more time to look at the affordability issue. Nick Daubney, leader of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council, said he was upbeat, adding: “The judge is dismissing the case, but still saying we have got to have more time. We will put in our appeal next week. We are talking to financial experts to allow them to do a proper job. “I think it's well worth it. There is a cost to this, but I think because of the overall cost to the public, it will be worth it. Compared to what Norwich City Council and the county council have spent we are talking peanuts.” John Fuller, South Norfolk council leader, said he was delighted. He said: “We didn't win the main points but we came away winning the one we wanted. The public did not have information to see whether it was worth spending £100m on a reorganisation at a time when the country can least afford it." The committee's proposals were due to be submitted to communities secretary Hazel Blears by December 31 but Mr Justice Cranston's ruling means that deadline will probably have to be put back. The independent Boundary Committee, which is carrying out the review, also welcomed the ruling and said it was business as usual as its members put the finishing touches on their final recommendations. And with a recent decision to put back the county council elections by a month until June, supporters of the process believe there is still time to get a new council under way. Mr Justice Cranston accepted the committee's plea that it was not obliged to "make a comparison" between the benefits of a unitary authority or maintaining the status quo. "A comparison with the existing two-tier structure was never on the cards", he ruled. He also dismissed the three councils' criticisms of the way the consultation process was being run, and said the committee had "well and truly embarked" on consulting all the affected local authorities about the affordability of the proposals. The committee had provided "sufficient material" to the councils so they could make a "considered response", he said. Tim Leader, deputy chief executive of Breckland Council, said: "The inevitable consequence of today's hearing is that the secretary of state will not now be able to receive the Boundary Committee's advice on local government reorganisation in Norfolk in December, as originally planned. We will now be writing to the Committee to clarify how long the extended consultation period will be. "Our decision to take legal action has been vindicated. Our desire throughout was simply to ensure the people who will pay for any reorganisation of local government in Norfolk would have a proper say on what the reorganisation might be." However James Eadie QC, for Ms Blears, told the judge: "We would not wish anyone reporting this case to leave court with the impression that the claimants have won in any way, shape or form". He said the councils had lost the case "on all the issues of principle", though Ms Blears would now consider a "short extension" of the December 31 deadline. Daniel Cox, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: "We note the High Court judgment and await the publication of the Boundary Committee's final recommendation for change. We will now need to wait to hear what effect this may have on the consultation period."
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Norfolk Tory group split widens SHAUN LOWTHORPE 21 October 2008 06:59 The split within Norfolk County Council's ruling Tory group appears to be widening as allies of leader Daniel Cox last night turned their ire on those trying to unseat him as more of his supporters face de-selection. Mr Cox failed to get re-selected for his Wymondham division last week along with allies John Gretton and Christopher Lloyd-Owen in what appeared to be an opening salvo against his leadership. The council leader insists he will stay on and is confident of finding another seat for next year's election. His angry supporters believe he has been treated shabbily. Last night, it emerged that another senior councillor, Stephen Bett, who is chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, is also being challenged for his North Coast seat in North West Norfolk. As police authority chairman, he followed the constabulary line in supporting a single super council, but he was keen to play down any suggestions that he was being targeted. Downham Market councillor Shelagh Hutson, who previously worked as agent for former cabinet minister Gillian Shephard, is also facing a battle to hang on to her seat. The coup is centred around Breckland Tories, with the Mid Norfolk Conservative Association chaired by Cliff Jordan, a thorn in the side of former leader Alison King, acting as key movers. Mr Jordan insists there is no vendetta against the leadership. But that cut no ice with cabinet member Chris Mowle, who said he was distraught at the way the leader had been treated. “This is a personal vendetta by Cliff Jordan and his cronies,” he said. “I don't think the public will have a good view of this.” Another cabinet member said: “We expected it to get nasty and it has.” Last night, Mr Bett said he was hopeful he can win through when the selection takes place on October 29. “What people forget is that the county council had no option but to respond to the Boundary Committee and the Tory Party hierarchy was quite happy with the way we responded,” he said. “I find it quite odd when we have had a county council leader who has done a good job in difficult circumstances. I think it's a great shame and it doesn't put the Tory Party in a very good light.” Another Tory insider said that opponents of Mr Cox would need to de-select around nine councillors to face a realistic chance of gaining control of the group. And with many associations already selecting their candidates, Mr Cox may need to rely on an existing councillor's willingness to step aside to stay on. The insider warned that the group was staring at a damaging split, and if the aim of the rebels was a coup, then Mr Jordan and his supporters should either put up or shut up. “There are elements within the group that have got ambitions the size of Mount Everest and brains the size of a pea,” the source said. “It if goes on like this I can see there being two split groups on the county. “It will be the end of the Tories at County Hall, the insider added. “There will be so much ill-feeling and bad blood. I hope Central Office steps in and bangs a few heads together.” Critics are moving against Mr Cox in the wake of his handling of the unitary council issue - and his role in promoting the option of a single super council with Lowestoft. Unhappiness at the cabinet's running of the county farms, and the Icelandic banking collapse, where the authority has £32.5m in frozen accounts, have added to the pressure. The EDP understands that opponents of Mr Cox believe his authority will be so weakened by his de-selection that he will be forced to fall on his sword as leader. Paul Morse, Lib Dem group leader, said the Tories had taken leave of their senses. “Clearly there is going to be an issue about his authority and it shows that a rump of the Conservative Party are prepared to de-stabilise the county council to protect their own fiefdoms,” he said. Labour group leader Sue Whitaker was surprised at the move but felt Mr Cox could carry on. The Greens said it was a shame the leader had been de-selected.
I'm no plotter - Norfolk Conservative SHAUN LOWTHORPE 22 October 2008 06:09 ANALYSIS: Norfolk Conservatives at war Cliff Jordan - considering running for Norfolk Conservative leadership The man accused of conspiring to oust Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox insisted yesterday he was no plotter. But Cliff Jordan said he was considering running for the leadership, after attacks from Mr Cox's supporters. The row within County Hall's Tories shows no sign of abating after a decision to de-select Mr Cox from his Wymondham seat last Wednes-day alongside cabinet member John Gretton and Christopher Lloyd-Owen. Other allies of Mr Cox also facing contests include Stephen Bett and Shelagh Hutson. Mr Gretton said last night he was launching an appeal against the de-selection move because he believed the process followed was open to challenge. The leader's supporters are angry at his treatment, while fellow cabinet member Chris Mowle claims the de-selection is a plot and personal vendetta against the leader by a cabal of Breckland Conservatives led by Mr Jordan because of the leader's handling of the unitary issue. John Gretton - 'Some of the questions were spat at me' Mr Jordan rubbished the claims and said the selection process was fair and proper. "There is no way it could be organised," he said. "I didn't know of any conspiracy, and that's the truth. "I certainly haven't been involved in any plot; I actually like Daniel Cox as a bloke and I have said so before." But he said he was considering throwing his hat into the ring when a leadership contest was due, after being baited to put up or shut up by Tories backing Mr Cox - while being inundated with calls from his own supporters to take things further. "I didn't think anything could make me change my mind and run, but I am rethinking now because it's obvious that those that are up there aren't up to it, because they are resorting to these kind of tactics," he said. "Ask Chris Mowle for evidence: he hasngot any. I am looking for an unequivocal apology from Mowle. It's almost hideous what he is doing. "They should run within the rules of the Conservative Party, that's what they should be doing. They are resorting to what I call 'low-life' tactics. "If I do go for this, there will be a radical shake-up there, that I can tell you, if I'm successful. There's a number of things I haven't been happy about." Mr Gretton, a Dereham councillor and a cabinet member for cultural services, said he believed he could act as a standard-bearer to have the decision overturned He added:"I walked into the Conservative Club that night and the only people there were other Breckland district councillors. "I certainly didn't perform well. I walked into the room and was aware of the hostile atmosphere from the start. Some of the questions weren't so much asked as spat at me. 'What do you think of unitary' was the first question. "De-selection was traditionally a very serious business in response to specific allegations or because you haven't attended meetings, or a constituent had made a complaint "They have been rather clever by trying to exploit the party constitution, but I think I can demonstrate that they have acted unconstitutionally." Mr Jordan said he was confident the rules had been properly adopted and followed. He added: "He obviously attended a different meeting to me. He was treated very courteously. The questions he was asked were put to everybody. "If it was the first question he was asked, then so was everybody else. He was treated no differently than anyone else, and that's the truth. "They can appeal and the whole thing can be gone through. It's a much fairer system; you can't run roughshod over this system, and that's what they do not like." ANALYSIS: Norfolk Conservatives at war
Norfolk Conservatives at war SHAUN LOWTHORPE 22 October 2008 08:18 There's nothing quite so heated and bitter as a family row. And Conservatives in Norfolk are going at it hammer and tongs in a very public way at the moment. Supporters of Daniel Cox point to a plot being launched against him, led by Breckland's Cliff Jordan, who is chairman of the Mid Norfolk Conservative constituency party. The cause? The leader's handling of the unitary issue, where the county council has successfully won favour (so far) with the Boundary Committee for plans for a single supercouncil including Lowestoft. In their view, the row is a revenge attack by those - and that means every other district council apart from Broadland - whose own unitary bids failed. Not so, says Mr Jordan, who from the outset has insisted there was no plot. What is happening, he says, is that the party in Mid Norfolk is making best use of rules to have a proper contest and a real debate - and the fallout is sour grapes from those who have lost out. His critics have told him to put up or shut up, and, stung by the criticisms, the signs are he is going to meet them head-on. So what is going on? There are two ideological wings among Norfolk's Tories - county and district. Relations have been strained for some time, with “district” Tories agitating for a tougher, leaner, more right-wing approach to running services - by which they mean cuts, charges, and sell-offs - to keep council tax down. County Tories, meanwhile, their eyes opened by the step up from running the parks and public toilets to the big-ticket services, ponder the savagery of such an approach and the consequences it might have on vulnerable children or older people. So, they have shied away from implementing such far-reaching measures - or gone native, as their critics might argue. Many try to straddle the two - serving as so-called “twin hatters”, as both district and county councillors (of which there are quite a lot, by the way) but at the end of the day you are ideologically in one camp or t'other. So far the “county” Tories have always been in the ascendant at County Hall. But is the balance about to change? The unitary issue appears to have concentrated the minds of wannabe county councillors who now feel that, if a new authority is on the cards, it might be time to sign up, when before they might have been happy to stay on the district councils. Several district Tories are vying for a seat at the county table, including Breckland leader William Nunn, his cabinet colleague Ann Steward and Broadland's Simon Woodbridge. West Norfolk borough leader Nick Daubney thought about it and changed his mind - but the signs are that an ideological shift could be on its way whether the unitary decision goes ahead or not. Knock out a couple of Mr Cox's supporters, whether by accident or design, and all of a sudden the sums start to shift. But divisions exist within all parties, and certainly on the unitary issue, so why are the Tories now reacting so badly? The local government review and the county's so-far-successful bid for a single supercouncil has quite definitely got up the noses of some. But the second simmering issue is a row over the cabinet's management of the County Farms, which, insiders report, sparked a heated exchange between Mr Cox and Mr Jordan when the Tories last held a group meeting. The third is ideology, and the battle for who really can lay claim to carry the torch for David Cameron's Conservatives, and just what that might mean. The Tory constitution allows for the option to challenge a sitting councillor; Mid Norfolk, where this row kicked off, has adopted that route. The fuss now centres on the technicalities of whether they did it properly and the precise details of what happened when the executive committee introduced the change at a meeting on June 18. All sides agree the meeting happened. That's about all they can agree on, so powers higher up will probably have to sort it out. Mean-time, the rest of us can only watch and wonder if this storm will blow over - or if the Tories are really hell- bent on tearing themselves to shreds.
Fears over Barnham Broom hotel site Barnham Brrom Hotel and Country Club - hopes for expansion ELAINE MASLIN 23 October 2008 06:46 Owners of a hotel and golf club who lease a site bought using £7m of council tax payer's cash have said their business will no longer be viable unless they can expand. The claim has been made by Barnham Broom Hotel and Golf Club in a renewed attempt to expand its facilities, potentially with £4.5m of council tax payer's money. In a planning application for a new 42-bedroom wing, link corridor and new car park, the club says it needs to expand in order to make the business viable in what it says is an increasingly competitive market in the greater Norwich area. And that “maintaining the status quo is leading towards a decline in business viability”. The application was lodged in the same week Breckland Council, which bought the freehold of the site for £7m in 2006, revealed it had earmarked £2.8m for upgrading its controversial asset in its proposed 2009/10 budget, with a further £750,000 in the years before and after - cash which looks likely to be put towards the planned expansion. When the council bought the site the deal included the council spending £4.5m on upgrading the facility. However, a previous attempt to get the go-ahead for the expansion last year was thrown out by South Norfolk Council over concerns about trees on the site. Last night Breckland had not responded to a request by the EDP to reveal how much cash it makes out of its £7million investment of council tax payer's money in the club. Previous statements by the council have said it would make them about 2pc more than having the cash in a bank account. The new planning application has been lodged with South Norfolk Council with a public consultation on the scheme due to end ob November 4. It says: “It has been apparent for some time that Barnham Broom needs to embark on a new phase of expansion and redevelopment if it is going to remain competitive in the greater Norwich marketplace and effective in the future. “Failure to do so will see the viability undermined.” It adds the club has “traded consistently well” over the last 18 years, “but 100pc of all the profit has had to be used to re-invest and support the facility. It goes on to say that their vision is to see Barnham Broom become Norfolk's flagship leisure hotel and a “destination facility of choice”. The improvements would also mean it could be upgraded from a three star to four star facility. Barnham Broom's finances had been called into question earlier this year when figures lodged with Companies House revealed a loss of £245,000 last year. The current three star hotel has 52 en-suite rooms, restaurant, sports bar, spa, health and fitness facilities, sports and function facilities next to two 18 hole golf courses over 300 acres and 175 car parking spaces. There is an existing consent for an additional 42 rooms, restaurant/function room with kitchen and car parking, first given in 1995 and renewed a number of times since.
Warring Tories set for face-to-face meet SHAUN LOWTHORPE 23 October 2008 06:48 Warring Tories in Norfolk will hold their first face to face meeting tomorrow but the damaging split between them is not on the agenda - officially at least. The EDP understands that the group has called a gathering at County Hall ostensibly to discuss the Icelandic banking crises, where the council has £32.5m tied up, and to brief members on the status of the controversial review of local government following speculation that the credit crunch will see the process kicked into touch. Anger over the review - which has seen the county council installed as front runner with a bid for a single super council including Lowestoft - has sparked the crises and blown apart a compromise brokered by Tory Central Office over supporting the status quo. But all eyes will be on whether council leader Daniel Cox will be challenged by Breckland's Cliff Jordan, who has been stung by claims that he is leading a coup against the cabinet, and says he is prepared to make a challenge after being goaded to put up or shut up. Last night it emerged that county councillors in West Norfolk are facing challenges to their seats including Janice Eells, David Rye, Tony Wright, and Heather Bolt. While the EDP has learned that several senior county councillors were told they would not be selected and pressurised to stand down from party posts. One West Norfolk councillor, who did not want to be named, said 20 candidates were fighting for 10 places. “I have never seen anything like this in my life as a Conservative Party member,” the councillor said. “The thing that amazes me is that on the selection committee there are five borough councillors, who are standing. It will wreck Norfolk County Council if it goes on like this.” Another said he was accused of “doing the devil's work” by towing the county council line on the unitary issue. Mr Cox was de-selected last week alongside cabinet colleague John Gretton, and Christopher Lloyd-Owen, in what is being perceived as a revenge attack and an attempt by district councillors to get their own supporters on the county council, after their unitary bids failed. Mr Gretton, who complained that the selection committee was loaded with Breckland councillors, is challenging the process with the battle expected to centre on whether party activists and agents have followed the correct selection processes. Critics of Mr Cox believe his position has been weakened after his failure to be re-selected for his Wymondham seat, and one source close to the selection process, said it was a case of “bruised personalities, trying to make the story fit the result”.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Lottery cash boost for community project Published Date: 17 October 2008 By Lindsey Newton CHARLES Burrell, Thetford's engineering forefather, is to be commemorated in the town after a community project made a successful funding bid. The Charles Burrell Garden and Sculpture Project, aimed at teaching youngsters about the history of Mr Burrell and the impact his business had on Thetford, has been awarded £24,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project will involve transforming a derelict piece of land in Staniforth Road, near to Charles Burrell Humanities School, into a community garden complete with a metal sculpture. Through a series of workshops taking place over the next six months, youngsters will be working with an artist to design and construct the sculpture and they will be given a budget for plants and materials. Terry Jermy, community arts co-ordinator of Keystone Development Trust, said: "There is already a statue in Thetford for both Thomas Paine and the Maharajah Duleep Singh and there are plans for a Captain Mainwaring sculpture for Dad's Army – I am delighted that there is also now going to be a piece of public artwork in tribute to the other pillar of Thetford's history, Charles Burrell." A number of organisations are involved with the project including Keystone, Charles Burrell and Rosemary Musker high schools, Barnham Action Group and Charles Burrell Museum. For more information, contact Mr Jermy on 01842 821643.
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Tuesday 2nd September; Attended a course on how to put a website together, was held at the Keystone Innovation Centre and was attended by quite a lot of people, primarily those from the business community. Some guy from Business Link did himself no favours by making a derogatory remark about Thetford during his presentation which certainly angered me and probably others too. Then I had the weekly art club at the Abbey. Wednesday 3rd Sept: Work with Jean from 9.30am on the Charles Burrell project, going really well. Then worked with Tim Lovejoy from 2pm on Barnham Cross matters. Attended my first planning committee meeting in the evening at 7pm. Had to declare an interest in two items, both by Peddars Way as the fund my community post at Keystone Thursday 4th Sept: Went with James to see a financial adviser in town re: getting a mortgage, will cost about £800 to get me put onto the mortgage. At 2pm I met with 3 residents from the Abbey Estate who want to set-up a project to record videos and take photos about good community stories in Thetford and post them on the internet, gave some advice on potential funding sources, how to set the group up etc. At 7.30pm, it was the monthly Thetford Labour Party meeting, the first one taking place in the new Thetford Sports and Social Club. Friday 5th September: General office work, then attended a Finance and Buildings Committee meeting at Charles Burrell at 2.30pm Saturday 6th Sept: Worked with Jean from 11am - 1pm; yes! on a Saturday!! Spent a couple of hours door knocking and talking to residents about the Charles Burrell project and also parking issues along Staniforth Road and speeding concerns. Sat night - watched Bee Movie with Kyle and Jaime. Monday 8th Sept: Was due to meet Bev Williams from Creative Arts East to progress with the Bollywood Concert but her car broke down so that was cancelled, progressed with general bits and pieces and wrote my list of aims and objectives for September. Spent evening with Davi, had pizza and watched The Wedding Singer. Tuesday 9th Sept: Travelled to Wymondham to meet Bev, suprisingly managed to find the place in Wymondham quite easily. From there I went to meet the marketing company which is based between Wymondham and Attleborough, they are putting together the initial leaflet for the Charles Burrell project. Had to get back to Thetford via all the villages as the A11 was closed off. At 1.30pm I met with Tim Lovejoy and John Warnock about the TCA's football coaching project - went well. Then worked the first art club session from 3.30pm - 6.15pm then whizzed to Barnham Cross for the monthly resients group meeting from 6.30pm - 9pm. A busy - but very productive day!!! Wednesday 10th Sept: Had my first Staniforth Trust meeting, the Trust owns Kings House and the gardens, the Town Council rents Kings House off the Trust, all Town Councillors are Trustess of the Staniforth Trust. Had a discussion about making improvements to the garden etc. Thursday 11th Sept: Monthly Safer Thetford Action Group meeting at 10am Friday 12th Sept: Progressed with Barnham Cross admin work etc with Tim, and met with Angela, Steve and Keith Beckett to discuss safety issues around Pine Close shops and to agree further improvements. Looks like we're getting anti-climb paint (!) oh well. In the evening, myself, Sarah L, Ricky, Fiona, Gary and Fionas son spent a few hours sorting through all the cupboards at the Abbey Centre, we've created an art room and a music room for the kids at the Tuesday sessions! Limited storage as ever at the Abbey! Today - Saturday 13th Sept: Had a nice long lay-in, spending the day updating my blog, processing paperwork, generally tidying up and doing housework - washing, polishing, hoovering etc, all the fun things!
Colourful art hits the street Published Date: 29 August 2008 By Lindsey Newton "Thetford was awash with colour as youngsters celebrated the achievements of Team GB at the Olympics. The Street Art comes to Thetford event took place on Wednesday and yesterday and was organised by Terry Jermy, Keystone Development Trust community and youth project worker, with the aim of getting young people and families involved in art. Kevin Parker, a Norwich artist, created the design and sprayed the outline on the Market Place and the gaps were painted. Mr Jermy said: "It was a great chance for children to do something fun and creative in the town during the summer break." Ruby Miller, nine, of St John's Way, said: "It's fun doing the painting and we are working in a team," while Amy Meardon, 10, of Churchill Road, said: "It's quite tough to keep it neat but I am enjoying it and it will look good when it is finished." The painting will be on view until Sunday, when it will be removed with pressure washers.
Published Date: 05 September 2008 By Lindsey Newton A youth group to entertain Thetford's youngsters has gone from strength to strength, thanks to the dedication of staff and volunteers. The Abbey Children and Youth Venue, which meets weekly at the Abbey Neighbourhood Centre, was started six weeks ago by the Abbey Neighbourhood Centre Help Our Residents (Anchor) group.Set up to cater for five-15 year olds, the venue has got a youngsters who visit every week and numbers are growing.Thanks to funding from the Monument Trust, each session offers a themed arts activity.Activities have included making and decorating badges and Olympic medals as well as creating fruit kebabs.Terry Jermy, Keystone Development Trust community arts co-ordinator, said: "The response to the new group has been overwhelming and some weeks we have had more than 50 youngsters taking part."It is really great to offer the youngsters something to keep them entertained."Staff from Keystone attend each session and a number of parent volunteers help. The project is also supported by Ricky and Sarah Aylott, who run the Abbey Café.The Abbey Children and Youth Venue takes place every Tuesday from 4-5.30pm for children aged five-nine and from 6–7.30pm for 10-15 year-olds. Each session costs 50p. For more information, contact the Abbey Neighbourhood Centre on 01842 821643 http://www.buryfreepress.co.uk/thetford/Art-activities-group-off-to.4459814.jp
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
August is now over, it really flew by! I had a particularly busy week last week with the street art event in Thetford. On Tuesday 26th - Art / Youth Club day, 3.30-7.30pm, a total of 44 young people over the two sessions! eek! Bury Free Press attended today and took some pictures and will be writing an article about the club which I will post seperately. Wednesday 27th - Interviewed live on Radio Norfolk at 7.20am about the Street Art Event, chatted about the event and then they asked what Olympic sport I would take part in if I was an athlete and I couldn't think of anything so strangely said boxing! Thursday 28th - Second day of street art event, went really well, hundreds of people took part with the painting or just standing and watching. Will post photos and press cuttings seperately. A few negative comments - mainly about it encouraging graffiti, a view shared by some of my town council colleagues unfortunately but there we go!
Thursday, 21 August 2008
It is more difficult than I thought to make regular postings on this thing! Well I've not posted since the 1st August so quite a few things have been happening.
Mon 4th August; Progressed with Charles Burrell Garden/Sculpture Project with Jean in the morning. At 3pm I met with Margaret Ince of Thetford Art Gallery to discuss the 'Upstairs Comes Down' activities and Street Art event later in August. At 7pm we had a TCA / Ballpark meeting at the Sports and Social Club.
Tues 5th August; Met with Tim Lovejoy (BAG Chair) from 10-12pm to progress with Barnham Cross Estate projects, from 12.30-2.30pm I was with the new cleaner for the Abbey Centre - Caroline. Then in the afternoon I had to whizz to Tescos to get the items needed for Art/Youth club which runs from 3.30pm - 7.30pm every Tuesday at the Abbey Centre, this week there was a fruit theme with fruity arts activities and we made fruit kebabs which the kids loved, they enjoyed it so much they made some to take home, wrapped them in tissue paper and put sticky labels on for their different family members.
Weds 6th August; Met with Dave H and Lynne W at 10am to undertake a handover of the TCA Accounts from Lynne to Dave, managed to remember to buy Lynne a thank-you card and get some flowers which was much appreciated. Went to Hemsby in the evening with James to visit Ricky, Sarah and kids who were staying in a caravan for the week. Managed to burn my arm coming down the sack slide at a funny angle! but was all good fun, especially the fish and chips!
Thurs 7th August: Just a day in the office progressing with things.
Friday 8th August: Met with Barbara B to sort through some arts materials which are being donated to Fulmerston Family Project. In the evening I went to meet Kyle in March and then to see Batman at the cinema in Peterborough, was very good!
Sat and Sunday - nothing particular that I can remember!
Mon 11th August; Progressed with Charles Burrell Community Garden Project, met with Jean at 9.30am, and we met with the Charles Burrell Museum at 10am - really constructive meeting, at 11.30am we met with a local builder to start getting quotes for the sculpture plinth and walkways, you could say its full steam ahead for this little project!
Tuesday 12th: Art Club again from 3.30pm - 7.30pm
Wednesday 13th: Nothing particular to report, was supposed to be a Town Council Planning Committee meeting but this was cancelled due to an insufficient amount on the Agenda. No TC meeting til Sept now!
Thursday 14th August; Monthly Safer Thetford Action Group (STAG) - always interesting and useful.
Friday 15th August; Met Carlos in Great Yarmouth, had some dinner and watched TV. Got confirmation today that our Big Sitting Room Project to Norfolk Community Foundation was approved and the Fulmerston Family and Community Project has been awarded £5,000 - the max possible, so I am delighted with that.
Saturday 16th August: Mum and Dad left for Dover to meet Ricky on ship and go on hols for a week, lucky them!
Monday 18th August! My birthday!!! Wohoo-- went to Colchester Zoo for the day with Jaime, James, Gemma and Charlee, was a really fun day, will post some pictures seperately. Got lots of cards, text messages, emails and facebook messages which was really heartening. In the evening, myself, J & J went round to see my sister who's staying at Mum and Dads and we had chinese with her, Dan and Jaden, yum!!
Tuesday 19th August: Back at work today, art club again, had an incredible 44 kids in total today, very very busy! James helped out today as he is on hols all week. Sarah's on A/L for the next two weeks, on my own at the Abbey, booooooooooooorrrrrrrrrinnnnnnnnng!
Wednesday 20th August; Nothing too exciting to report, just progressing with Awards for All application with the Fulmerston Family and Community Project, hoping to re-submit ASAP. Also continuing with Street Art event next week.
On Thursday, I will be progressing with various things and attending the Thetford Art Gallery presentation evening at 7pm.
Think that's about it!
Friday, 1 August 2008
Another busy week which has just flown by.... On Monday morning I met with Jean Ridley one of our casual workers at Keystone who will be working with me to co-ordinate our Charles Burrell Community Garden and sculpture project now that our grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is confirmed, hooooray! Then on Tuesday we had our second Abbey Children and Youth Club for 5-9 years and then 10-15 years, always very tiring as it runs from 3.30pm until 7.30pm and we had over 30 children again which is fantastic and they seemed to enjoy it, plus Community Music East were present this week too to run a music workshop so the kids really enjoyed that. On Wednesday I attended my first meeting of Thetford Town Council! It is going to be very strange campaigning for improvements as a member of the Town Council rather than being somebody who just attended Town Council meetings! Thursday was very excited because at 10am we had another meeting for the Barnham Cross Regeneration Steering Group, the group that is looking at demolishing some garage blocks and vacant pieces of land around the Estate, I've seen lots of the plans and proposals now and I honestly think this is the most exciting things to happen to this Estate since it was first built, it is going to completely transform the area for the better, later on Thursday we met with Fir Road residents and then Beech Close residents to look at the proposals for their specific areas. And finally, Friday morning I helped run one of our Summer Arts Extravaganzar activities - a family art session at Fulmerston Church, we had in total about 30 people and they really enjoyed it which was great, amazing how much mess can be made with just a few glue pots and some finger paints!!! Off to a meeting regarding my business website tonight.....
Monday, 28 July 2008
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
It has been another busy week! On Monday there was a meeting of the Thetford Community Association which was very good, we are now setting up our project funded by the Football Foundation to deliver coaching sessions at the Ballpark. On Tuesday it was the first Abbey Art Club / Abbey Youth Venue session, from 4pm - 5.30pm it's 5-9 years and 6pm - 7.30pm it's 10-15 years, for both sessions we had about 15 children which was great - although very tiring. On Wednesday I was at Fulmerston Church for my weekly Barnham Cross Community Work session. On Thursday in the morning I went to the Town Council offices to meet with the Town Clerk, sign my 'acceptance of office' papers and talk about how things work at the council and then later on Thursday I had a trip to London for my business, I had 30 people booked to see Hairspray and Joseph, the trip seemed to go really well and peopled enjoyed it which was great. Then on Friday I had the day booked off so I could have a lay-in, then I did some business admin work and then went to Newmarket Races with Mum, Dad, Michelle, Jaden, Dan, Mark and Evie for a day at the races and to watch UB40 perform - I didn't win all day at the races and then the last race I put £5 each way on a horse at 12/1 and it came in first so I won all my money back for the day!! hooray. Today I'm off into town to see the Storm concert at Castle Park.........
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Dear Editor May I take the opportunity to thank all of the people that voted for myself and the other candidates in the Saxon Ward by-election held last week (17th July). I am delighted and humbled that so many people voted to put their trust in me and elect me as their new town councillor, particularly considering I was by far the youngest councillor and also a candidate for the Labour Party – at a time when such a thing may be considered a hindrance. I was particularly pleased that our campaign managed to engage new people with local democracy, a number of people who voted on Thursday had never voted before or seldom vote and I am pleased that we did our bit to engage these people in the democratic process. May I also thank the other candidates themselves who conducted a hard fought, yet positive campaign on local issues. My particular thanks to the runner up candidate, Mike Brindle, who was an excellent opponent. I believe that this result was the endorsement of hard work and determination. The people of Thetford deserve hard working councillors who fight with passion and determination to promote Thetford for the wonderful place that it is and seek further improvements, based on sound local knowledge and consultation with the people of this town. I hope I can live up to people's expectations and play may part in improving Thetford for the future. The real work starts now! Best wishes, Terry Jermy New Saxon Ward Town Councillor Newtown Thetford
Sunday, 20 July 2008
ME!!! I am completely shocked, humbled and amazed. Considering I was the youngest candidate at this election (by quite a large number) and also considering I was the Labour Party Candidate at a time when Labour is less than popular, I am suprised that we did so well. I had no idea that I had won right up until the Returning Officer announced the numbers and even then it did not quite sink in. The real work starts now!!
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Thetford Town Council: 'Youngster' steps down Published Date: 16 May 2008 By Paul Bloomfield Work commitments have forced one of Thetford's youngest town councillors to step down. Gareth Pickering, 29, was elected to represent the Saxon Ward last year, along with his 21-year-old brother Sam Chapman-Allen and mother Marion Chapman-Allen.The two brothers helped to cut the average age of the council from 70 to 58.6 years.However, Mr Pickering has decided to stand down because of work commitments and because he will be moving from Thetford.The announcement follows claims from representatives of the Thetford Labour Party that Mr Pickering had attended just four of 27 full council and planning meetings held over the last year.Ed Chambers, Thetford Town Council clerk, said Cllr Pickering had attended town council meetings in May, June, July, November and last week's mayor-making ceremony, which he said would be his last official duty as a town councillor and would be resigning at the next town meeting.Mr Chambers confirmed Mr Pickering had not attended any planning meetings since May last year.Cllr Pickering said: "The electoral rules state that you have to either live or work in the area you represent. As I am no longer living in Thetford, I would not have been allowed to continue as a town councillor. This is my only reason for standing down."He added: "I very much enjoyed representing local residents and taking the work of the town council forward." "I am very sad to be leaving the town council especially at this very exciting time, but I cannot give the amount of time that this important role requires because of my work commitments."Sylvia Armes, of Thetford Labour Party, said her call for his resignation was nothing personal."Mr Pickering last attended in November 2007 and then did not attend until just the other day on May 7. Had he not attended for just a couple more weeks, he would have been automatically removed."At this time of change in Thetford, we need councillors who will represent the people from their area and stick up for residents of the town."They simply cannot do this if they fail to attend a single meeting of the town council for nearly six months," she said.A by-election for the vacant Saxon ward seat will take place in due course.
Monday, 19 May 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Taken from the EDP website: "One of Thetford's youngest town councillors has announced that he is standing down because of work commitments.When Gareth Pickering, 29, and his brother Sam Chapman-Allen, 21, were elected to Thetford Town Council last year, they helped cut its average age from 70 to 58.6 years.But Mr Pickering, who works for Vodafone, in Bury St Edmunds, has now decided to relinquish his position as a town councillor because of work pressure and his decision to move away from Thetford.The news comes after representatives from the Thetford Labour Party revealed that the councillor had only attended four out of 27 full council and planning meetings over the last year.Mr Pickering, who was elected to the Saxon ward with is brother and mother Marion Chapman-Allen, last May, said it was with “great reluctance” that he would be resigning at the next town council meeting.“I very much enjoyed representing local residents and taking the work of the town council forward. We are very lucky in Thetford to have a great community spirit and growth point is going to mean great new opportunities for everyone, especially younger people. “I am really sad to be leaving the town council especially at this very exciting time, but I just cannot give the amount of time that this important role requires because of my work commitments,” he said.Sylvia Armes, of the Thetford Labour Party, who had been calling on Mr Pickering to resign, said: “At this time of change in Thetford, we need councillors who will represent the people from their area and stick up for the interests of the town. They simply cannot do this if they fail to attend a single meeting of the town council for nearly six whole months.”A by-election for the vacant Saxon ward seat will take place in due course." Report by Adam Gretton
Monday, 12 May 2008
I'm sorry, I dont care how they try to justify this, I still think it's ridiculous! £220,000! That's more than the Prime Minister gets for running the whole country and she is just running one county. "The appointment of Suffolk's new chief executive on a £220,000 salary was based on inadequate information but not unlawful, an independent report has shown" http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED12%20May%202008%2017%3A43%3A26%3A550
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Dear Sirs, Re: Review of Post Office provision in the Breckland area I write to express my group’s concerns with some aspects of your proposed closure programme for the Breckland area of Norfolk. We do not dispute that commercial and viability considerations are important to all successful businesses. However, such “reinvention” programmes have taken place in the past and yet there still appears the need for further Branch closures to be contemplated. As you will appreciate, more than half of the Breckland Local Authority area is comprised of rural villages, many of whom are reliant on the local Post Office as the “social hub” of their communities. Breckland does appear to be extremely hard hit by your existing proposals and I question whether you have fully evaluated the community value and importance of these offices to local people. Though I have no wish to single out individual offices, our group is particularly concerned by the proposed closure of the Nun’s Bridges (Thetford) and Beeston branches. In the case of the former, many elderly customers would be forced into a journey of nearly three miles to find an alternative outlet; and, in the latter, the shop has historically provided a vital source of commerce for the village, and the loss of the Post Office business would seriously threaten its viability. As a group, we would urge restraint and trust that every effort will be made to spare as many offices from closure as possible. Yours faithfully, ROBIN GOREHAM Leader, Breckland Labour Group
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Last night I attended the official 'Mayor Making' ceremony at the Guildhall in Thetford. Our new incoming Mayor is Councillor John Harding, and he takes over from Robert Kybird. John Harding is an 'Independent' member of the Town Council and I think he will be more prepared to highlight the failures of Breckland Council and be more 'independent' minded which I think is a good thing for the Town. I wish him well for the year ahead.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
If ever there was a single article published which could easily summarise Breckland Council's commitment to public services then I think it has just appeared in this weeks Thetford and Brandon Times - article below. The words; 'couldnt care less' spring to mind.
Again, for another week there are lots of highly critical articles of Breckland Council in the Thetford and Brandon Times newspaper, including letters and articles. Here are the relevant letters from the 'letters section' and below are the actually newspaper articles;
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Lottery joy for Paine celebration
Taken from www.thetfordandbrandontimes.co.uk
06 May 2008
Plans to celebrate the life of Thetford's most famous son have received a major boost with organisers almost reaching their £100,000 fundraising target.Officials behind the Tom Paine 200 event spoke of their delight last week after securing a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The cash boost means that Thetford can celebrate in style next year to mark the bicentenary of the death of the 18th century revolutionist and democratic hero.John Weeks, former Thetford Grammar School headteacher and festival coordinator, said the news of the lottery money meant that they had almost reached the £100,000 target launched five months ago to stage an ambitious programme of events to commemorate the achievements of the renowned writer in 2009.Oscar winning filmmaker and Paine fan Lord Attenborough is set to open a re-enactment event on June 6 and 7, which will cast Thetford back into the Georgian age. Street entertainers, drilling musketeers, and rabble rousing politicians will be just some of the characters populating the town centre on that weekend before a gala bicentenary dinner on Monday June 8 on the anniversary of Paine's death.The six month long celebrations will also include summer museum displays, workshops, story-telling, concerts, art exhibitions, school events, tours, lectures and a community play.Mr Weeks said the festival aimed to amuse and entertain as well as do justice to the serious issues Paine himself addressed in his forthright “commonsense” way.“We are planning an event which will attract visitors from abroad as well as from across the country. But at its heart, Tom Paine 200 is a chance for local people to come together, whether as individuals or through their community groups, to celebrate Paine and to celebrate Thetford.”“We are delighted that through this Heritage Lottery Fund grant has given us the chance to explore the energy, creativity and resolution of the town, past and present,” he said.Thomas Paine, who was born in Thetford in 1737 and was the son of a corset maker, was educated at the town's grammar school before leaving Norfolk at the age of 19. He went on to shape the American and French revolutions through his pamphleteering and his major works Common Sense, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England, said: “Thomas Paine is an important figure in both the history of Thetford and internationally and we are thrilled to be able to help fund this exciting opportunity for people to commemorate his life and works.”For more information, visit http://www.tompaine200.org.uk/.
I finally managed to finish a couple of funding bids at work today, I've been working on these for a good few weeks and it always takes longer to finish these things off then you might think. I submitted the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Keystone which, if successful, will pay for a series of workshops locally at the life of Charles Burrell the steam engine pioneer which is a key part of Thetford's history. It will also pay for a community garden to be put together near to the Charles Burrell High School in Thetford and it will pay to commission an artist to construct a metal sculpture of a steam engine. The second bid was on behalf of the Thetford Community Association, a local charity in Thetford. This was just for a few thousand pounds which they need to put with some money they already have confirmed from the Football Foundation. This money will pay for two evenings of football training courses for young people at the Thetford Ballpark. Both very worthwhile projects. I should also be able to finish off tomorrow the application to Awards for All which I have been working on with a local residents group - the Barnham Action Group, this will pay for a youth club (the Big Sitting Room) to take place on two evenings a week for the next year on the Barnham Cross Estate. Fingers crossed! :)
Monday, 5 May 2008
From the Breckland Council website:
Breckland council would like to thank residents who took the time to attend the public meeting in Thetford on Tuesday evening. William Nunn Leader of the Council said;
“We asked for this meeting to enable local people to voice their concerns and I believe that the meeting gave us a clear understanding of the frustration that Thetford residents are feeling, I want to reassure the public that Breckland is highly committed to Thetford’s future, as it is to all its communities. We will continue to invest in both services and projects to secure long term prosperity for the town and surrounding area. We will be working together with all our partners including the Thetford Town Council, Keystone, the County Council, and everyone dedicated to building on Thetford’s real community spirit. The Moving Thetford Forward Group involves us all and we will be consulting residents and local groups to make sure that new developments are in line with what residents want to happen and meet local needs.”
How nice was it to not have to get up for work this morning! and to make things better, it is actually a nice sunny day. I have spent the morning putting together a mail-out to all members of the Labour Party here in the South West Norfolk Constituency. This is no easy task with over 150 members, it is suprising just how long it takes to print labels, put them on envelopes, attach stamps (thank-goodness for pre-sticky stamps!) and then stuff the envelopes with the letters etc. Oh well, hopefully it will be worth it. We have got Richard Howitt, the Labour MEP for the Eastern Region coming along to the next CLP meeting in a few weeks time so I am sure members will want to know about this and come along.
Wow! Welcome to my first post. I have been thinking about starting my own blog for sometime but have worried that I may not have nothing interesting to write about or that I may not get time to write anything that often. However, today is the 4th May 2008 and I have been prompted to start the blog as nationally, the Labour Party has suffered what the media is describing as "its worst electoral defeat in 40 years". As somebody that reads many blogs on a regular basis and as a supporter of the Labour Party, I have become increasingly disappointed that there are very few blogs from a Labour Party perspective. I regularly read blogs such as Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes, Dizzy, Conservative Home, Little's Log, Norfolk Blogger and others and all of course are highly critical of the Government, sometimes justifiably, and sometimes I feel they can be very vindictive, unfair, and tirelessly search for bad news stories without giving a fair account of a situation, or express a balanced argument. With my blog, aptly called 'Jermy's Journal', I hope to give the views of somebody who supports the Labour Party, and the principles of the Labour Party and share my views to anybody that cares to read them. It is likely that I will predominantly comment on issues concerning our local Town, District and County Councils here in Thetford as these are of particular relevance and interest to me and I will also comment upon national topics and international topics. Here's to hopefully, many more blogs. TJUK2008