Stoke-on-Trent - Work In Progress?


18 Jan 2010

Well, it has been a busy weekend for Mike and myself.

The election campaigning is gathering a pace and has now started in earnest.

The news today that Stoke-on-Trent is one of the worse areas to be hit by the economic recession has highlighted a real issue.

For the upcoming elections both Local & General, there is a real need, now more than ever before, for the politicians to tell us how they will rebuild the City and how they will improve it's prosperity.

It's easy for those who wish to earn our support, to knock and focus on the negativity. Indeed that has been the case for the opposition parties in the past. But maybe now, and in these upcoming elections, we should charge our wannabe political representatives, both for the Council Chamber and the Houses of Parliament, with the responsibility of telling us what they will do to drastically improve this City and the lives of the people who live here.

We have 7000 more people claiming jobseekers allowance over the past new nearly double to the previous year.

It is all to easy to adopt the blame culture. You only have to read the negativity that it ingrained on the majority of comments on this website.

Oh yes, blame is something that we in this city are Premier League standard at.

The agenda for change that is required cannot just come from the politicians from within the chamber or who represent us in Parliament. The desire to change this City must come from us, the people too.

We can start by electing people that have the ideas of how to improve the City. We don't want representatives who see their sole roll of just telling us what has gone wrong. The BNP for instance has been very effective at this. Well if the BNP want our vote then let them prove to us that they have the where-with-all and the intelligence to actually make a real difference to the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Labour have been the party of the past, we need to hear what they are going to do to move the city forward. Can they bring in the investment, that will in turn bring jobs, which will in turn give our people the money, that will in turn make that positive difference to their lives?

Over the weekend I met the 3 Conservative PPCs' that will fight for the city's Parliamentary seats. I enjoyed interviewing them very much. There was passion and desire, but more importantly for me the negativity was balanced with a 'this is what we would do' attitude. I met the council candidates too. The impressive thing was they were all one team. Chairman/Campaign Organiser, PPCs, Council Candidates, and party activists.

I hope all the political parties adopt the same approach, although given the recent much publicised disagreements in the Labour Party locally, it's going to be a struggle.

The Lib Dem's are in a period of change, with David Jack taking over as Local Party Chairman. He has his work cut out to change an ethos of 'let's not say anything and no one will notice us', which has got them where exactly? Hanging onto Labour and the Conservatives coat tails desperate for a slither of power that a coalition gives them.

The BNP has lost one and is about to lose another, vital member of their team. They could go into meltdown as the people they have lost our the backbone of the group and for as good as Michael Coleman is, he can't do it on his own. He interviewed very well on Friday but unlike the Tories he was full of what was wrong and not enough of how to put it right. This might have got him elected to council but it is a whole different ball game for Parliament. So the plea is come on Mike show us what you've got. The BNP has to do more to win over the voters than any other party because of the stigma that goes around with them. They will not win more support if they can't give the electorate a decent explanation on the solutions to the City's problems.

So, we now know the task ahead of our aspiring politicians with an eye on the chamber or an eye on Parliament. They have to fix this City and raise the hopes and aspirations of the good folk of this City.

We as a city will take longer to recover because we are coming from a negative position than most others because of our weak business base, Lack of qualified people and our lower number of business start ups.

So Stoke-on Trent is it work in progress? Maybe there is a need to get the cream of our society into the positions where they can represent us and make a positive difference in our council chamber.

We have a new Chief Exec who although costs the city a fair few quid, has the right mentality and business background to put us on the road to recovery. We have to embrace the changes he will introduce to Stoke PLC. We have just seen 150 people go on a voluntary redundancy initiative. I think this will be the tip of the iceberg. Over the next few years we will see a leaner, meaner, more effective and more efficient local authority under John Van de Laarschott.

The biggest question of all is will we have the politicians to match representing the City?

We all need to think long and hard and to listen to all the candidates to see if they are capable delivering their part in the revival of this great City.

We all have a part to play even if that part is to put a tick in a box next to a name. The challenge is to find the right box to tick........

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Ian Norris's picture

Indeed a work in progress,

Indeed a work in progress, but are you looking at it upside down still?

Communities have completely lost faith with the authority, they continue to claim to consult but never LISTEN.

Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme was very positive, many small local groups formed meet set in place plans for areas to get kicked in the teeth the neighbourhoods expanded for no reason, and their hard worked plans chucked in the Bin.

Ironically BSF has now started to form community groups, who are moving from focusing on the School Programme into Electoral Boundaries consultation.

What we need are more TAGs, Springfield Group, Community School Action Group, etc. And Councillors that will LISTEN and work with them. Councillors and MPs won’t turn this City around residents will.

Take a look here for online example of community working together

http://wardscorner.wikispaces.com/

I lost love the first Picture, nice sound bite for all to take to heart

Nicky Davis's picture

"What we need are more TAGs,

"What we need are more TAGs, Springfield Group, Community School Action Group, etc. And Councillors that will LISTEN and work with them. Councillors and MPs won’t turn this City around residents will."

That's such a good comment Ian I just had to repeat it. Progress needs to start at the grass roots, then we need councillors to help get things right and especially not to work against communities.

Nicky Davis - non-party political activist - a firm believer in grass roots democracy and strong local communities.

Pooter's picture

'Well, it has been a busy

'Well, it has been a busy weekend for Mike and myself.'

Eh? Why? Wot?

Readers, I think we need to be told..!

Ian Norris's picture

pooter: think referring to

pooter: think referring to all the recent interviews on the site

Warren Lloyd's picture

It's true that Mike Coleman

It's true that Mike Coleman is a good counciler and a leader any local party would only be to pleased to have, but what back up has he got, Ellie's going to go the same way as Alby pritty soon. So we have Melanie Baddely, who might also think about following the Walkers, 'Night in the Cells' Batkin, 'old emtey seat' Burgess, the chease loveing Tony Simmonds, Marfleet and Simmonds, the last two showing very little or no interent in anything much- witch is more then what absent Johnie shows, cos he don't even bother turning out. Force to be reconded with, no, this lot are a spent force before its even began. I surgest Mike cuts out to, goes indetendent, keep his seat and watch as the BNP go flat on there backside.
What we need in this city are people who are willing to say stuff your partys, and your groups, and lets all work together to get this city fit for the people who live hear.

Pooter's picture

Right on the nail Warren! To

Right on the nail Warren!

To have posted that bit of simple common sense just proves that you're up and better!

Now come on! Get yourself up standing as a Councillor!

Nicky Davis's picture

Warren I do think you're

Warren I do think you're being unnecessarily mean and overly dismissive. And what's the problem with cheese? There's no crime in it. Speaking of which that comment about the night in the cells is most unfair as it implies a crime may have been committed when it was not!

Nicky Davis - non-party political activist - a firm believer in grass roots democracy and strong local communities.

Warren Lloyd's picture

Oh! I forgot Sandland, sorry,

Oh! I forgot Sandland, sorry, just goes to show how much of a impact he's had.

Pooter's picture

To be fair. I actually know

To be fair. I actually know Councillor Sandland - and Steve Batkin too.

Warren, they're both two men of principles and morality who I'd happily feel ok to say I know.

Guest's picture

Fair coverage on the BNP here

Fair coverage on the BNP here is a nice change from the usual one-sided rubbish churned out from local media. Good read.

terry turbo's picture

Warren, your last sentance

Warren, your last sentance says it all.

What we need in this city are people who are willing to say stuff your partys, and your groups, and lets all work together to get this city fit for the people who live hear.

This has been a major factor in the demise of this City.
Can we pull it back YES.
All it takes is determination,imagination, guts and the majority working for the city.
Can our councillors put aside their party's and their predudices?
Well if they can't they should resign and step aside for those that will.
We have not time for party politics.

Guest's picture

Terry, There is a strong

Terry,
There is a strong rumor doing the rounds that now Alby has left, you and Craig are about to rejoin the BNP.

Is that true?

Pooter's picture

'Guest' _ for Fuc8s sake,

'Guest' _ for Fuc8s sake, just say who you are? Just that it negates what you have to say.

Right. I dearly hope Craig and Terry WILL NOT join this bunch of losers but will rather realise our dear England for what it is: namely a place full of others that are just as passionately committed as the rest of us in their desire to cherish and maintain the principles that makes this still the best place in all the world to live.

Craig, Terry. That doesn't mean you have to accept the uncontrolled Marxist shite those arsehol*es try and dump on us!(Know what I mean?)

Guest's picture

...and "Pooter" is your real

...and "Pooter" is your real name?

I'm only asking the same question as you did.
If you want me to make up some silly random pseudonym like you have, then call me 'Guest' _ for Fuc8s sake'.

I'll ask again.
Terry,
is it true?

Kind regards,

'Guest' _ for Fuc8s sake'

Nita's picture

From a national point, I know

From a national point, I know people are fed up of the Labour Government, but upto now I personally have seen nothing from the Conservatives or Lib Dems that makes me think yes I could vote for them, they offer something far better. This is the problem, I don't think the Labour Government is perfect, but don't trust the others to drastically make a difference. That is the dilema, stick with what we have or gamble on another party.

I agree, many parties are good at criticising, but not too good at letting the voters know what they can offer that is any better.

The general and local elections will be very interesting this time. There could be a massive backlash against Labour due to so many people across the city being out of work through redundancy, and are struggling to find new employment, and many families struggling to pay bills, mortgages, etc etc. Although the recession has hit many countries, the people will naturally blame the Labour Government. I think the 3 main parties should be worried, as locally the BNP are fast becoming the party that represents the people. They are going to have to work very hard to gain the disgruntled voters back. From what I hear people want the 3 main parties to be bold enough to address and be more open on immigration policies.

So, when the leaflets for the elections come through my door I don't want to know what is being done wrong, I want to know what each party intends to do to improve our city and country.

Nicky Davis's picture

Brilliant comment Nita and so

Brilliant comment Nita and so very well put.

I agree with pretty much all of it, but I'd go further to say although we want to hear what all the parties will do, we can not trust labour because we know their track record of spin, shambles and dictatorship. So we need to take a leap into the unknown to some extent. But the more we can hear concrete plans that others may have the better.

Nicky Davis - non-party political activist - a firm believer in grass roots democracy and strong local communities.

Nita's picture

Warren says "What we need in

Warren says

"What we need in this city are people who are willing to say stuff your partys, and your groups, and lets all work together to get this city fit for the people who live hear"

Totally agree

terry turbo's picture

Guest, I follow my own path

Guest, I follow my own path not anybody elses.
I am totaly fed up of party politics and have been for a long time, as I see this as the main reason this City has become a dump.
I also believe that we can (if we pull together)pull this city out of the gutter, by ridding the council chamber of puppets of bosses living in London, or Birmingham.
People who champion the cause of this failed council,and the three to***ots down south will never learn the simple fact that its "our City not Browns, Cameron's,or Cleggs" and if we can't fix it them to**ers certainly can't".
The ones that will rebuild this mess will be those that serve the people not themselves,or their party.

terry turbo's picture

Pooter, I can guarantee you,

Pooter, I can guarantee you, me and Craig are not going anywhere.
Nita, we have been saying the same thing for months now, but because we are ex BNP we were slagged off.

Pooter's picture

Terry I'm so glad to hear

Terry I'm so glad to hear that.

Never mind the brain washed. You two speak a lot of impressive sense.

You both are realists as to the England we now have.

So. What's to be done? I suggest we gather round those who've come here and feel confident enough to be English to the exclusion of their own origins.

Don't worry! I'm all for keeping the barriers up! Hang em? Get drunk and assault a passer by? You're getting a flogging, followed by a month in a work camp mate.

Nita's picture

Terry, totally agree. If all

Terry, totally agree. If all parties locally started working together our city may just get somewhere.

terry turbo's picture

Nita, Just got to get

Nita, Just got to get councillors that will be open to compromise and work for the good of all.

Guest's picture

.....oh dear, how

.....oh dear, how queer.
Utterly bizarre!

Pooter's picture

You little tosser. Not my

You little tosser.

Not my fault that you're failing in life.

Know why? It's because you can't get a girlfriend.

Listen: what you have to do is first; be you. I know you have no confidence but women will look through that and see you for what you are and if they feel there's something there they'll take you on.

Listen. Giving you good council here.

So. The lesson today is that no matter how short/fat/ beedlin' downright ugly we might be, thankfully there's always some female that's going to look beyond that and pick us up, dust us down and set us sternly on the road again.

Just be you. Show them that beneath the Shite you're really a nice guy.

I look forward to receiving my invitation to your (sure to be) wedding.

Guest's picture

....blah, blah,blah!

....blah, blah,blah!

terry turbo's picture

Guest, what are you

Guest, what are you saying?
Come on put your Ideas forward.
How do you see te City regaining its glory?
It will take men,and women of vision, and they are out there.

Warren Lloyd's picture

Yes guest, please put your

Yes guest, please put your ideas forward, I myself have ideas on public transport, licencing, health and socal care, idaes for young people, lets hear yours. I may not like what Terry and Craig say at times at times, but they are commited, show a careing for this city and have put forward good ideas. If Terry says he's going nowhere, then he's going nowhere.

Pooter's picture

For goodness sake Warren. See

For goodness sake Warren. See this cry for help for what it is and let's all rally round?

Loads go on here - bashing on about 'Community'.

Well. Would just like to say that we here in Pits n' Pots, in our typically modest way, are also a community too and are ready and willing to help out!

Just that I wonder if you read this disturbed post 'between the lines'.

Warren. Been around. Seen the world. Bin to Benedorm or whoever you spel it.

Trust me. I nowe a crie for helpe when i sea it.

(Those last bits were wrote, not to lampoon you mate vbut just in case 'guest' mite reade it just sow hee might gete the messarge)

terry turbo's picture

I challenge all the

I challenge all the councillors that read this blog to have the guts to put their names to a statement that they will work without predudice for the city and not for their party's interests.
Lets see how many have the bottle.

terry turbo's picture

Warren, I have seen some of

Warren, I have seen some of your ideas and you've got your head screwed on.
At least you have to bottle to put them forward, instead of sitting n the sidelines taking cheap shots.
As I have said we have the men and women to take this city forward.
Its just a pity tey are not in the chamber.

Pooter's picture

Listen. It boils down to

Listen. It boils down to this.

No ones going to help us. Vote for him/her?

None of them give a shite about the place. We have to dump the Lib/Lab/Con/Bnp scam and sort of declare ourselves almost a sort of Republic.

Stoke has nothing to offer - except a blueprint for other bankrupt towns to follow us back into recognition.

And those that actually believe(!)the false socialist assurances are utterly mad and should be deprived the vote.

Guest's picture

I hate to be a 'knocker', but

I hate to be a 'knocker', but I think we're at risk of falling for a common fallacy among those desperately hoping for change from big dysfunctional organisations (i.e. Stoke Council). The idea that "the new big man with a big stick" will come in and quickly put everything right. Problems in organisations are invariably a complex and interconnected series of knotty tangles. Many of these tangles lead outwards into the city's illiteracy and deep ingrained pessimism, and as such are only partly amenable to Council pressure. Yet I fear that, due to the bankrupt nature of UK government, the new man will be forced to "wield the axe" several times in the course of his leadership. And wielding the "jobs axe" is the crudest way of seeming to tackle the problems. Further years of cuts in jobs and services will only inflame the general pessimism in the city, and also further fragment an already bitterly fragmented Council.

Guest's picture

I don't necessarily like this

I don't necessarily like this about us all working together and being best mates, though.

The fact is, we all love this city, as a lot of people don't. But if we have strong feelings about what is best for us, we will obviously feel intense disagreement with others, and that's why I actually don't particularly mind being slagged off.

I consider that my way is better than Craig Pond's way, Shaun Bennett's way, David Jack's way, or the other people who disagree with me. Obviously. Because if I thought other people's opinions were right and mine were wrong, I'd go and change my mind.

We should not pointlessly argue over what is irrelevant. But we have to bear in mind that there will be heated disagreement over what is the best way forward, and so there needs to be a clear alternative between this and that.

In the 80s, people disagreed with my views. I now think if the alternatives were put before them they might think differently. But nationwide this simply doesn't happen because Brown refuses to take a stand. Well, in Stoke we are in need of people who are solid "patriots" but will slag each other off constantly!

Craig Pond's picture

It's taken some time, but

It's taken some time, but it's good to hear you talking
sense Bernard. I concur with your sentiments.

We should organise a get together for those on here who are interested in the well being of the city, just arrange to meet socially and chit chat about what is needed.
Anyone know of a room in Stoke, or as central as possible, where we could meet?

Craig Pond's picture

It's taken some time, but

It's taken some time, but it's good to hear you talking
sense Bernard. I concur with your sentiments.

We should organise a get together for those on here who are interested in the well being of the city, just arrange to meet socially and chit chat about what is needed.
Anyone know of a room in Stoke, or as central as possible, where we could meet?

Gary Elsby's picture

I don't agree that the cure

I don't agree that the cure is to 'stuff the party' etc..

The politial structures have to be strengthened and to be worked up into a work ethic that is fit for purpose.

The imposition of candidates by some of the main parties is quite sick in a Democracy and is yet again, another political experiment being played out.

Independents who suddenley become independent, should state quite clearly what they are independent from and from whom.

Independent from Nationalism or independent from racism?
Neither, indicates independence from no-one but the whip.

The City needs to balance its budget and that is paramount, but it also has to provide the best service available within that constraint.

I am not convinced that the current crop of Councillors live up to the expectations of the electorate based purely on the quality of the individual.

It is no use producing proof of council tax payment to justify the right to stand. We accept that is the case but do not accept that as the sole criteria for seeking public office and sorting out a situation that goes beyond being a standard servant of the public.

It is a pity therefore, that dogma gets in the way of responsibility.

The political parties are still acting in a way that is unjustifiable to a moral and overburdened electorate and they deserve much more.

The escape into Fascism, Nationalism or imposition is reprehensible to the quality of mind, but is a typical recepie cooked up by those that continue to interfere from afar.

Craig Pond's picture

Gary, the problem

Gary,
the problem with party politics at local level is that it soon becomes controlled by politics at national level, and so decisions are being made on the basis of what's best for Westminster, not what's best for the city.

The incessant interference from these bloody idiots in the West Midlands demonstrates this perfectly, and you have first hand knowledge of how this interference conflicts with what would best be decided locally.
These interlopers even want to tell us who we can and cannot have standing as prospective councillors, a decision that should always be at local level.

web monkey's picture

Come on, lets not get boiled

Come on, lets not get boiled down by we said what first arguments, lets expand on what the article is about.

Craig, no one said anyone was thick, the point is we have many skilled workers in S-o-T. The only problem with those skills are the industries they are to be employed in aren't there at the minute.

This is an opportunity not to be wasted on moaning about the past and push for a future we can all be proud of.

The only wind farm producer in the isle of white went bust this year. Can you imagine the difference in wages in the isle of white and Stoke. It makes sense to make use of our work force. They are a bright bunch, eager for work and want a steady industry.

Bankeyfields , Tunstall community portal

Craig Pond's picture

WebMonkey, I never

WebMonkey,
I never said anything about anyone being thick,
and I don't know why you have credited me with saying such a thing.

terry turbo's picture

Gary, sorry mate your

Gary, sorry mate your attitude of "The politial structures have to be strengthened and to be worked up into a work ethic that is fit for purpose" is just the sort of thing we don't need forced down our throats.
All credit to your beliefs and party loyalty, but take a look at the end result of "party political structures" around you.
You will never act without predudice, and that is why in my opinion you will make a divisive councillor, and we have enough of them already.
The only way forward is kick party politics out of Stoke and start the repair job.

Gary Elsby's picture

I don't accept that at

I don't accept that at all.
It is because of prejudice that the whole system has broken down.
If we keep promoting those that have brought this City into disrepute, then we will get what we wished for.
Nodding donkeys always nod in tandem.

terry turbo's picture

Gary, if we keep fighting

Gary, if we keep fighting about who's best and voting against any plan on party political grounds, we will never go forward.
Take away the party's and sit down to debate issues that affect the people of this city is the way forward.
Scoring cheap political points is counter productive in every way.
Debate like sensible human beings and we will win.
You say "nodding donkeys" eventualy the people will kick these out.
How many of our councillors voted against something just because they did not think about it first?
I beleive this is our only course to take.

Warren Lloyd's picture

Garry, there is room for

Garry, there is room for inpedendent thinking and repersentation within local politics, I think its better to be independent of a party when sitting on a local council. The problem is that you sould focus on what the people who in the area you stand for think, want and need, the party would get in the way of this. Any council needs free thinkers, not tinpot dictaters and party pups.

Nicky Davis's picture

That's more like it Warren,

That's more like it Warren, very well put. We especially don't need the dictators. Transition and performance board should be thrown out.

Nicky Davis - non-party political activist - a firm believer in grass roots democracy and strong local communities.

terry turbo's picture

Warren, well put mate. This

Warren, well put mate.
This is the way forward.
There are those that say I am a negative person, to those I say "for the last twelve months I have been on about people representation, where's your voice now"?
I will knock what I perceive as waste, and predudice till the cows come home.
Thats my way.

Warren Lloyd's picture

Nicky, ok then, I'll repeal

Nicky, ok then, I'll repeal the night in the cells gag, in hinesight it was reather crass. As for Simmons, at any other time, he wants to get chease, he can get all he likes, just so happens time he was getting said best cheader when he sould have been in councel chambers voteing on a new leader, and we all know what happend, the BNP toys landed on the floor when Alby's plan for world domination went out the window.

Nicky Davis's picture

That's good on the cells

That's good on the cells comment Warren. You have a point about the cheese though, that walking out of the leader vote was pretty daft. Alby's plan for world domination was out the window then but with recent antics it seems it's well down the toilet and has left the bnp splashing about trying not to get caught up in the flush vortex.

Nicky Davis - non-party political activist - a firm believer in grass roots democracy and strong local communities.

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