Thursday, March 22, 2012

And Bob Farrer is looking to go Independent

According to the Black Cat Radio, Bob Farrer (County Councillor, District Councillor and Town Councillor) is considering going independent. The article says:

Eaton Socon Councillor Bob Farrer has told Black Cat Radio that he's considering standing as an Independent in the upcoming local elections. A number of disagreements in current council policies are thought to be behind the move.

How likely is this to happen? Bob has form on "considering going Independent". But he remains a Conservative. If Bob does stand as an Independent he will not be able belong to a Conservative Group either at County or Town. He would therefore lose his Chairmanship of the (useless) Town Council Planning Committee.

What are Bobs chances if he goes Independent? Lets take a look at the electoral history for Eaton Ford.

2011 District Elections

2008 District Elections

2007 District Elections

The Conservatives have gotten over 1100 votes and scored 1549 votes in 2011. The 2011 vote may have something to do with the AV referendum on the same day. Looking at the Town Council elections, on the same day in 2011, Farrer and Harty

This gives a personal vote of roughly 270. Even if Bob Farrer goes Independent he will need to take a far higher vote than 270. Like all candidates Bob needed to start his campaign many months ago. Currently Bob is a Conservative. Even though Bob has a number of policy disputes with the Conservatives if he wants to become an Independent and carry on being a councillor Bob needs to put in a load of work.

If Bob goes Independent he will need to bring with him a large number of Conservative voters with him. I don't feel he will and therefore will lose if he stands as an Independent at this late stage.

If I were the Conservatives I would be very annoyed at Bob Farrer if he announces he was going Independent just before the elections. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Del Boy is looking for a comeback

I had to chuckle that Derek Giles is going to stand as an Independent at the elections on 3rd May 2012. In an article in the News and Crier announcing this the following was said:

After having two years out of politics I feel the time is now right to stand as an Independent candidate. 
Hold on where are the 2 years? Derek didn't re-stand in 2011 for the Town Council. He even attended a meeting of the Town Council less than a year ago.

In his time as Leader of St Neots Town Council, Derek Giles took the Town Council to the brink. This was a headline when the Town Council was under Derek Giles leadership.

Derek goes on:
Leaving the Lib Dems will be hard, but I have become less and less enamoured over the last two years and I feel I can best service my community by not being attached to a political party. 

20 years as a Liberal Democrat Councillor and now he decides party politics is wrong?

Derek moans on:
Councillors should also live in the ward they represent. 

Gordon Thorpe who was Town Mayor and Deputy Leader of the Town Council when Derek was Leader. Gordon Thorpe was was also a Councillor for Eaton Socon although he lived in Eaton Ford. If Derek believes councillor should live in the ward they represent then he shouldn't have had anything to do with Gordon.

And the electorate are idiots:
Half of our elected councillors in Eaton Socon do not actually live in our village.

That is true. But they were elected with this knowledge by the electorate. Also Derek seems happy that Gordon Thorpe was elected although he didn't live in the ward.

Derek on his personal beliefs:
I believe that voting for the person not the party at a local level is the best way forward. 

Why 20 years in the Liberal Democrats? Is this change anything to do with Derek having left the Liberal Democrats?

What are Derek's chances?

The recent electoral history:
St Neots Eaton Socon (2 seats)
Derek Giles  LD  680
Gordon Thorpe  LD  650
Rodney Farrer  C  608
Elaine Kadic  C  514
Douglas Brown  Lab  128

St Neots Eaton Socon
Gordon Thorpe LD  671 47.5%
Mandy Thomas C 659 46.7%
Graham Hitchings Lab 82 5.8%


The highest vote Derek Giles has got is 680. But that was under the Liberal Democrat banner. The Conservatives scored a 911 vote. Even if Derek takes all the Liberal Democrat and Labour votes, he still needs more to get a majority.

There is enough out there for Derek's opponents to make hay on whatever Derek Giles says in his election literature. With the electoral history of Eaton Socon, even if Derek works full time on his election, knocking on every door and getting many leaflets out to the electorate he doesn't stand much of a chance.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

And another thing doesn't make sense....

In the budget report to HDC Cabinet it says:

This represents a percentage increase of 2.6% of the average District Council tax level, and 3.5% of this Council’s lower tax level.

How did HDC come to this conclusion? Isn't the District Council tax level and the Council's lower tax level the same? What I feel HDC is the on about is the Council Tax level for the District is averaging 2.6% whilst HDC's own increase is 3.5%.

So why is this so? Council Tax is made up of several billing authorities. The County Council, Town Council, Police and Fire all precept the money they want to raise from the Council taxpayer from The Billing authority, which, in this case, is HDC. The average increase for St Neots is 2.8%.

With the Police (2.92%), County (2.95%), Fire (2.5%) and HDC coming in at 3.5% the only reason the Council tax is lower is the Town Council comes in with a freeze on Council Tax.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Will Cllr Ken Churchill be allowed back into the County Conservatives

Back in September 2011 Cllr Ken Churchill was suspended by the County Conservative Group for 6 months. The District Conservatives voted to suspend but not by the required majority. Ken was also a Deputy Chairman (Political) and is no longer in this position.

As Ken was suspended on 16th September 2011 for 6 months this means the last day is 15th March 2012. Once this date has passed this means Ken can apply to re-join the County Conservatives Group.

So what has changed? Well nothing much. Ken does need to get back into the Conservative Group if he wants to stand again as a Conservative candidate at the County elections in 2013.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Town Clerk job up for grabs

The Town Council has decided to put the job of Town Clerk up for grabs. SNTC has put an advert on the SLCC website:
I say good for the Conservatives. Unlike the previous Liberal Democrat administration who didn't get an Acting Town Clerk into to the job after P. Devonald left, the Conservatives have gone down the right route to appoint a new Town Clerk.

In the 2010/11 Accounts the Town Clerk's salary is given as between £60k - £70k.
SNTC is looking to pay LC4 band of local council pay for the job. That is a very wide range for this job.
As can be seen this is between £48,260 and £69,103. It looks as though Helen was being paid in the Points above substantive range. Unless the job has really changed then between £57,478 and £69,103 is the range of salary.

Even if the Conservatives want to pay less, the council is bound by its membership of NALC and being a Quality Town Status from paying the correct amount for the job.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why are we paying for this CCTV camera?

The Cambridge Street Car Park was closed on 1st March 2012 for redevelopment. In fact this is land leased by HDC to Turnstone Estates. Yet, surveying this area, is an HDC CCTV camera which SNTC contribute towards.

With no cars to look after there seems no reason to carry on with this CCTV camera. St Neots is set to overpay for this useless camera from April.

I will point out that HDC has a CCTV camera outside Lidl and Lidl has its own CCTV. The only reason to keep this CCTV camera going is to look after the Children's Play Area, which is due to be taken away very soon.

This makes no sense and SNTC should not pay for this useless CCTV camera.
In the News and Crier there is a piece on HDC's Council Tax Hike. At 3.5% this means HDC is at the top of the league table. The first question is how much will this 3.5% actually raise. The sum is very easy. The Council Tax Base is 60125. Multiply the CTB by the rise of £4.34 increase and this gives the amount raised by this increase at: £260,943.

Now onto what Cllr Ablewhite says in the News and Crier:

The council set an increase of £ 4.34 on a Band D property, currently £124.17. Cllr Ablewhite said the charge would still be one of the lowest in the country and would help create stability in charges in the coming years. He said: “We are trying to get ourselves into a position in the next four years where we do not have a bigger gap then which could be an extra £1 million. I don't understand this!

Cllr Ablewhite said the increase meant they would be able to restore proposed cuts of £188,000 to voluntary sector funding, CCTV, adapting homes for the elderly and disabled (Not all elderly and disabled. Only for those entitled to this grant. Cost £1.2 million), frozen leisure centre prices (£150,000) and an investment in St Ives leisure centre (£3 million). All this spending equates to: £4,538,000. So by taxing us more by £260,943 HDC uses this money to spend £4.5 million. Something doesn't add up here!

The council was also in an area of rapid growth which had to be taken into account. True but how does this fact effect the District Council? HDC gets extra Council Tax for each new property.

Cllr Ablewhite said the Government grant was a one-off payment which would not affect base budgets and would lead to cuts in services when the grant ended. True, but that is also true of using Council reserves to prop up the budget. The Conservatives were very happy to do this and is the main problem behind their budget problems.

He said the challenge to the Government's stance was necessary in Huntingdonshire, adding: "I want to be a leader showing concise leadership and doing the right thing, not only for the council, but also for the people living here.”
Hmm... Challenging the Conservatives stance on their own promise for a two year Council Tax freeze and the coalition's similar promise. How are the people supposed to believe our local politicians when they can't even keep a promise kept by their national party?

Why vote Conservative?

Interesting article about Cambs Fire Authority in the Hunts Post. Cllr Sir Peter Brown has a go at the national government for not understanding Cambridgeshire. The article says:

Sir Peter Brown, one of Huntingdon‘s county councillors, spoke out strongly and voted against any reductions that might be made in Huntingdon’s fire and rescue service. Speaking at a meeting of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Fire Authority, Sir Peter said, “For more than 30 years, successive governments have expressed little understanding of Cambridgeshire’s needs. They have accepted that we are a growing county but, in many cases, have not accepted the responsibilities that go with it."

So who was Prime Minister for 6 years and Chancellor beforehand? Why our former MP John Major. And who was the Constituency Agent for John Major. Err.. Peter Brown.

Other ministers from Cambridgeshire in the last 30 years:
Francis Pym
James Paice
Brian Mawhinney
Andrew Lansley

"For more than 30 years, successive governments have expressed little understanding of Cambridgeshire’s needs". With the majority of the 30 years under Conservative rule and with a Prime Minister and other senior Ministers I would have thought our Conservative MPs would have made Government aware of Cambridgeshire's needs. And Peter Brown as Agent to John Major would have had a direct channel to John Major.

So there we have it. The former Conservative Agent to John Major is informing everyone that the Conservatives MPs and Ministers have little understanding of Cambridgeshire's needs. As that seems to be the case, what is the point on electing Conservative Members of Parliament.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

CCTV costs St Neots more.

In the Hunts Post there is an article about Ramsey Town Council and CCTV. Within the article figures are given for the amount each Town Council is throwing away on HDC's CCTV scheme. The figure given are:

Huntingdon Town Council: £39,710 towards a 28-camera scheme or £1418 per camera.
St Ives will pay £17,017 for 12 cameras or £1418 per camera.
St Neots £22,750 towards the town’s 13 cameras or £1750 per camera.

This equates to St Neots paying an extra £4316 for the privilege of paying for HDC's cameras.

HDC's 2010-11 Account still not approved?

I was looking to see whether HDC has finally approved the Accounts for 2010/11 which were supposed to be approved by 30th September 2011. According to the Councils own website these accounts have yet to be approved. This is just plain wrong.

HDC believes its residents should obey the law and will try and send us to prison over non payment of Council Tax. Yet HDC is very relaxed when HDC breaks the law.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eynesbury Conservatives finally keep a promise!

At the last local election the Conservatives in Eynesbury made the follow promises:
It says: "We pledge to hold a monthly surgery for the public to meet with their Councillors to enable them to talk about local issues concerning them."

Out in Eaton Socon a similar promise was made. The image below is taken from the Town Council website. The Conservatives got on with their councillor surgeries in the Eatons.
9 months after making this promise, the Eynesbury Conservatives have finally gotten around to holding councillor surgeries. The only way I found out about this was a post by Cllr Ursell on the St Neots Community Forums.
Whilst the Eynesbury Conservatives have set up councillor surgeries they haven't done much to publicise this fact. I've looked on the Town Council website and the District Council website. Nothing found. Even the Conservatives own website says absolutely nothing about these surgeries.

What is the point of holding surgeries with virtually no publicity? What a waste of money!