Thursday, 30 April 2009

Young people first

For a change.

What is the hold up with the facilities for young people?

Two things have been promised:

  • A Skateboarding Park in Lightburn Park.

  • A Multiple Use Games Area for Croftlands Playing Field

Neither are happening.

Two months ago the foundation for the Skateboarding Park was promised to start "in three weeks time". Still nothing.

Last September the MUGA for Croftlands was promised for the Spring.

So what is happening Councillor Norman Bishop-Rowe. This is your patch.

Are the promised funds in SLDC being diverted elsewhere?

Young people because they are less able to express themselves in a rational persuasive manner often fail to get things done for them. Yet we are all to quick to jump on them when they misbehave .

Is it the adults that are misbehaving here?

"Take you skateboards somewhere else"
is often the cry.

"Where" they reply.

"Anywhere but here" is the answer.

Who's being childish?

Do we want to raise responsible young adults with initiative?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Swine 'flu - a media frenzy

Is it time to stop reading the papers and watching TV; and just get on with life?

Let's have some reporting done when there is something real to report.

Thankfully some reporters put us straight.


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Taking our eye off the ball.

It has been clearly established that Global warming is a major threat.

Nobody knowledgeable questions that if nothing is done, the world's average temperate will continue to rise until humans cannot survive on the planet.

The unknowns are:

1. When this will happen.

2. Whether this rise can be reversed.

Many eminent scientists believe that the temperature is rising much faster than most had expected as evidenced by the melting in the polar regions.

Others of equal caliber believe that only a massive change of carbon emissions resulting in carbon being actually taken out of the cycle has any hope of saving us. This can only be done by burying carbon/charcoal.

Yet we as a community seem incapable of focusing on the most important issues and allow ourselves to be distracted by swine 'flu, the banking crisis, terrorists, dog shit or whatever the press, the public choose in order to avoid facing reality.

When are we all going to wake up?

We all need to give ten percent of our time trying to understand the bigger issues.

The performance of Manchester United, the latest design of camera, the latest in fashion design, the life of Jade Goody, the career of Kate Winslet ; all these are insignificant compared with our three main problems:

1. Global warming.

2. The running out of the worlds resources in particular oil which will lead to increasing food prices.

3. The social unrest arising out of the perceived injustice of the credit crunch.

Everything else to my way of thinking, pales into insignificance.

We all need to face reality and not continue to allow the press or others to encourage us to look in the sand for answers like Ostriches.

At 11.20 am Tuesday Laurel and Hardy made us shake again

Well, we all rumbled a little !

Does this call into question the burying of radioactive waste?

Or will this be another fine mess we get into?

Mind you, 9km is a long way down!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Benches at bus stops

I'm told that some of these are being removed making it hard for those to wait who have problems standing.

Any sightings please.

Which view do you support?

At attempt to disperse young people with high pitch sound using a device called a Mosquito by Appleby Police or

Help Create a Bright Future for Cumbria's Young People with a Penrith based charity that promotes partnerships between the community and schools using "Creative Ambassodors".

The first is funded by the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and is being used to tackle anti-social behaviour problems at an Eden sports club. The Mosquito works by emitting a high-pitched buzzing noise that causes discomfort to young ears, usually under the age of 25, but cannot be heard by adults.

Some would see this action as negative and aggravating the problem with young people and alienating them from society. It is seen as being discriminatory towards the young in the same way that the was done against the Jews or even towards old people.

Do the people in Appleby believe that it will help solve a problem ; simply move it on elsewhere; or even worse aggravate the gap between young people and those older.

EDINBURGH is set to become the first place in Scotland to ban this controversial device .

It is not known how many may be around Edinburgh, but deputy education leader David Beckett said the proposed ban would send a message to would-be buyers that it is not welcome in the Capital.

The campaign has won the support of human rights groups including Liberty, whose director, Shami Chakrabarti:

"What type of society uses a low-level sonic weapon on its children? Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender, rather than to our kids," she said.

“These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving,” Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner for England told the BBC. “The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old.”

On the other hand Creative Ambassadors are seen by others as encouraging young people to be positive.

" The regeneration of Cumbria depends on motivating and raising the aspirations of its future workforce.

To meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world, today’s young people need creative talent, enterprising attitudes and the confidence to develop innovative ideas and practices to address the needs of the future."

To find creative practitioners around Ulverston click here - there are lots!

Which approach do you favour?

My visits to the Town Council over the past 18 months suggest that there is only one councillor that attempts to engage with young people. The rest suggest that this is someone else's business and there is no sense of urgency to see projects through.

Is it surprising that they get angry?

What are your views?

Liberty and Kent County Council are against the Mosquito

Friday, 17 April 2009

Nick Raymond and Capita Symonds

(Nick Raymond is Head of Highways for the South Lakeland Region)

I'm coming to get you!

Having heard more firsthand accounts of the arrogant behaviour of you guys, I am redoubling my efforts to get elected so that I can challenge you to do your jobs properly.

I shall be in your offices in early July after the election to ask you to give explanations for your behaviour.

Now is the time to start improving your performance if you want to earn some brownie points with me.

It's time that local government was more accountable to the electorate.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Why do we delight in tearing each other apart?

The press, sleaze and Gordon Brown.

By contrast.

Nepali shepherd.

Why is it that those living the hard 'simple' life seem to be the ones with the biggest smiles?

Is life for us really that bad?

Or are we riddled with feelings of injustice and lack of control over our own lives?

Will the credit crunch make us more self reliant and value good friends and community more?


Sad to see

The people of South Ulverston appear to have given up.

Many of them no longer believe that democracy works.

They have suffered so many disappointments that they, justifiably, have stopped believing that they can influence their surroundings through local government.

I agree that in many cases it is so frustrated to be strung along with promises of others doing things that the time and effort are best spent doing the job, where one can, oneself.

This is the approach I have used when dealing with flooding from Dragley Beck which I have documented before with footage posted on Youtube

The problem lies with the water from heavy rain, not being able to pass under the bridge at Low Mill. This was captured on film last September. The solution is to clear the rubble that has in the past been dumped over the bridge on the downstream side. This I have started to do by lifting the blocks out of the river bed. There is more to do with a lot more rubble there together with a long strong beam still buried.

The 'action' by the Environment Agency has been entirely superficial with a few things being lifted out of the beck. Many of these have been just left on the bank and not even taken away.

One of the first things I will do when elected as County Councillor is to pay them a visit and get them to explain themselves and report back here.

Not only are houses being threatened by the flooding but potential businesses are being prevented because of the unpredictable threat of flooding.

This is just one of the things that can be improved in the area.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Insurance - Swintons, replacement for Armstrongs

Not impressed!

A right pushy, hard sell outfit!

Gone elsewhere!

Ed Balls talking nonsense about discipline

It's very sad and worrying when politicians stand up and talk rubbish on television.

Ed Balls claims that discipline is improving.

If it is, it's because we have some brilliant teachers who are managing to make their lessons interesting in spite of the straitjacket of the National Curriculum, SATS and the 5 A-Cs GCSE testing.

For the most part the interference of the government in education over the last twenty years has lead to many problems.

A good teacher, supported by imaginative management can subvert to dictates of government and achieve quality education. However many teachers do not have the confidence to challenge the way they are being required to teach. Few schools have Heads who have the confidence to take on the Government thinking.

As a person that came into teaching at 53 I was able to teach the way I chose and thus achieve very good results. In a sink school where all the problem children in the borough were sent(Hainault Forest High,Redbridge, London) I was able to teach with few discipline problems. This is because children enjoyed their lessons. They liked being challenged with imaginative projects where they were encouraged to express themselves.

I was never given promotion by the management, but on the other hand because I was able to produce the results , I was left alone to teach the way I wanted.

What goes on in many lessons is training rather than education. The former kills off initiative and enthusiasm it leads to many disruptive pupils who feel they are failures and leave school hostile to 'the system'.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Unrest in Education

Finally the teachers have had enough of testing and are taking on the government.

It's been a long time coming but all enthusiastic teachers and heads will be behind this rebellion against SATS.

The Government have for the last ten years adopted a very simpleminded approach to raising school standards. They thought that by measuring the performance of schools this would improve education.

In fact this has had quite the opposite effect. Teaching has switched all its emphasis to getting good results in the SATS. Education - inspiring students to want to learn, to want to find out for themselves - has gone out of the window.

In the early days many enthusiastic and inspirational teachers got out of the teaching profession. They objected to being told how to teach their subjects and being capable people they had no trouble finding alternative employment.

The thought was that by setting standards this would make poor teachers teach better. This doesn't work in practice. Instead of improving they find ways of appearing to do so. They make it as easy as possible for pupils to get through their exams by providing ready-made worksheets for the students to fill in. Their heads dictated that the borderline students had extra coaching so that they achieved the magical C grade. Those that were clearly at E and below would be kept quiet if possible or even encouraged to stay away from school because they saw themselves as no-hopers and became disruptive.

In many schools the teachers that are left are without fighting spirit and conform to the requirements of their management. They follow mindnumbing lesson plans that follow the National Curriculum. They are depressed and produce uninspiring lessons which follow a tried and tested mediocre level of 'success'.

At last the teachers have had enough which is brilliant news for all of us. They should be encouraged vigorously!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Monday's picture

Sheep on Hoad - Click to enlarge - photo Kevin Sellers

Parking Disaster

The Town needs all the trade it can get which means, at Easter, having its car parks used at efficiently.


While The Gill Car Park was full with cars queuing for places at 1 pm yesterday, Easter Saturday.

The Stockbridge Lane Car Park was nearly empty.

Drivers from Broughton, Barrow and the surrounding areas who were waiting for spaces in The Gill were totally unaware of an empty car park only yards away up the hill.

Why is this?

Because the County Council refuse to put adequate signs to the large Stockbridge Car Park.

There is no sign at the Market Cross where one is obviously needed.

There is only a small one at Hill Foot for those coming in from Barrow.

This story is made all the more deplorable by the decisions of our head of Highways, Nick Raymond and our County Councillors Wendy Kolbe and Pauline Halfpenny who chaired the series of three consultations in Ulverston in October.

At these meetings, those present decided by a large majority that better signing was needed to the Stockbridge Car Park, yet Nick managed to score this proposal so that it went to the bottom of the list of priorities for Ulverston and despite Wendy Kolbe's repeated assurances that we could leave the details to her to sort out, nothing has happened to improve this signing.

Furthermore most of the great and good from the Town Council were present and this anomaly has continued unchanged despite repeated requests for explanations.

Somehow "Signs to the Stockbridge Car Park" were seen by Nick Raymond as "promoting the use of the motor car " and not seen as environmentally friendly.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Another small success!

The roadmarkings that we complained about outside Oxfam have been redone to a high standard.

Lines at the top of the Market Square, Freshly done in December 2009, were clearly inadequate.

A comment on Youtube was that they had been done by a bunch of cowboys in wet conditions.

Showing the firm that had done the work, a petition from local people expressing their disapproval of the workmanship, resulted in them returning to do the lines again.

It would appear that local government are allowing poor workmanship by their contractors.

The council are immune to criticism but the contractors clearly feel embarrassed.

It really pays to make a fuss.

Thus it proved unnecessary to present the petition as had been planned

From this you will remember the state of the three month old lines in February:

Now these lines look like this:

This may be seen by some as nothing to write home about, however anyone having had dealings with our Highways Department will think otherwise. They will realise that this admission that the original work was unsatisfactory signifies that in future the quality of line markings will be up to standard.

Lines done well in the first place last a lot longer and hence save money because they don't need redoing so often.

Contractors will I believe provide good work in Ulverston in the future provided we maintain our questioning attitude.

By electing me to the County Council in the forthcoming election, I will be able to raise matters like this much more easily and thus get a higher standard of service and save the taxpayer thousands in the long term.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Ulverston Cobbles - mistakes rectified

7 April 2009 16:14:52 BST

Dr Dellow

I am delighted to confirm we have completed all remedial works to the cobbles on Market St., Ulverston.

I have also been informed that Cumbria County Council have approved the funds to rectify the stretch between New Market St and Brogden St.

Graham Wheelhouse is the Engineer for the scheme.

Please accept my best wishes for the future.


Jeremy Robinson

Water Maintenance Project Manager,

United Utilities,

Hadrian Depot, Nelson Street.

Carlisle CA2 5BJ

My reply, on behalf of the Town:

Copy to Roz Harris, formerly of Ulverston who raised the matter with her bosses at United Utilities after seeing our petition on Market Street in September last year.

7 April 2009 23:08:47 BST

Jeremy Robinson,

Many thanks for your welcome news.

We appreciate your efforts in making a vast improvement to the state of our cobbles, so that many of the problems are greatly reduced.

We now look forward to the many other areas the cobbles being brought up to a similar standard.

The work of the county will still leave much more to be done but it is a much appreciated step towards our goal of having our cobbles restored to complete health!

Geoff Dellow

The story behind this is that when we approached United Utilities along with their employee, Roz Harris they agreed that the work carried out for them by Balfour Beatie in 2005 was substandard and agreed to fix their work even though their liability to do this expired in 2007.

They pointed out that they had never received a complaint from the County or anyone else before. This was in spite of the numerous complaints made to the County by the Town council which were ignored and apparently never forwarded to United Utilities.

This incident shows that Private Industry is far more concerned about its reputation than the County Council who behave in a cavalier manner, ignoring criticism from all quarters. It is not surprising that the Audit Commission give the County a very poor rating, yet despite this the Councillors choose to ignore this and support their Highways Department when questioned publicly over this.

Here is the account of the presentation

And here was the result :

To the question:"Why did you not supervise the contractors?"

The Highways replied "We don't have the money to do the repairs"

Which totally ignored the original question and was allowed to stand by the Chair of the meeting Cllr Geoffrey Cook despite this being pointed out.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Encouraging trend in Gill Banks

The incidents of dog fouling have definitely gone down here as the local people 'take ownership' of this area.

I take this to mean that people here, quite sensibly, are not looking to others for help but have taken matters into their own hands to keep this attractive area that way.

For several weeks now this area has been a joy to walk in!

Sunday, 5 April 2009


A celebration of Chris Thorp's life.

At the Lantern House , Monday, April 5th, at 2.00 pm.

He will be there in the form of the influence he had on the people who knew him.

I'm looking forward to it.

A chance to tune in with the spirit that he has left behind in the many that I've not yet met.



Trees always lift my spirits!

Here at The Health Centre, Stanley Street, up from the Gill.

Click to enlarge.


Saturday, 4 April 2009

County Square

I was out talking to potential voters in the June election last night.

Several expressed strong views about the work that has been carried out here.

What are yours?

Has there been an improvement?

Was it worth over half a million?

Does the emphasis on Stan Laurel make sense?

It was an idea strongly supported by the Town Council; did they get it right?

Why not let them and the press know your views?

This will encourage/discourage them next time!

Click here to write to The Mayor, The Deputy Mayor, the Evening Mail Reporter and me, Geoff Dellow and I'll publish your views here.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Ulverston Web Site

Preamble - below !

Click on the following town names and you get the results thrown up by Google that a potential tourist would see. Now, be honest, which town impresses you?




Grange over Sands

Now why not write an email to the following and tell them what you think by clicking on the link below and then press send!

The Mayor, The Deputy Mayor, Geoff Dellow and the Evening Mail Reporter

Only by writing to them will they begin to change their attitude.


What does 'sorted' mean Cllr Col?

On 26th February Cllr Colin Williams informed us that this sorry sight had been 'sorted' by him.

"Thanks Geoff, for bringing this to my attention.

I have called Graham Wheelhouses' office @ Cumbria County Council but he's out of the office until 3pm today, Thursday.

This is a shoddy repair to say the least, but leave it with me and we'll get it sorted as soon as possible.

cllr Col Williams"

Could we have an update please, as nothing has changed ?

G12 and demonstrations

It was reassuring that the world leaders saw the need to come together and agree action. The proof will be in the pudding - and we would be fools to expect anything in the future other than hardship.

What I found really good was that no matter how hard the press and the police conveyed the message that there would be problems with demonstrations; there were only minor ones with one guy smashing a RBS window followed by a wrecking invasion of property (no doubt there were more that I didn't see). The sad thing was that those nearby didn't manage to stop this mindless emotional outburst - but they clearly tried.

It was good to see Joe Public getting involved. Let's hope this display of community involvement continues when they get home - I'm all for it !

Modern Education

I still act as an education consultant and was shocked yesterday to find that 15 year olds in one school were being spoon fed by their teacher in order to help them with their work - something that has become second nature to many teachers as they seek to get them better grades in their studies - this will help the school and teacher but is rotten education for the students.

They were being told that they could write to me for software for their projects.

However the teacher wrote the message to me for these year 11 students to copy.

Surely they could have done this for themselves.

This was a task they could surely done for themselves ?

How will these young people be able to cope when they leave school and later home if they haven't been encouraged to do simple tasks like this for themselves.

What is being put first is the success of the school in achieving high exam results , so the kids are not being encouraged to think and do for themselves.

As I sometimes say: YUK.

The need to encourage tourism

Some people will be concerned about the way many shops are closing.

It is true that the well established ones who have built up good customer relationships with local people will be secure as their customers stick by them.

However there is a parallel trade industry that is extremely important for the town.

When you inquire from people in the town on Saturdays and Sundays, where they are from, you discover that a high proportion are visitors and regard Ulverston as a very desirable town to visit.

With the weakness of the pound, the North East is finding a great increase in tourism. This results, they tell us, from five years of effort in promoting themselves abroad.

I believe instead of moving forward in this field we have been going backwards and relying in word of mouth and local publicity which fails to reach the foreigner.

In this context I have been very concerned for several years that Ulverston does not have a good web site to represent us to the outside world:

Specifically to tourists who might be thinking of holidaying in the area.

For a year we had no site at all when Jayne Kendall gave up and we waited for the town council site which in the end promoted - the Town Council.

Many towns do a far better job than us.

In fact , considering all the things we have to offer in the form of festivals, interesting shops, a setting close to the beautiful mountains and Lakes, how do we do?

To get an impression of what it is like, imagine that you are a tourist from say Germany, France, Japan or even from London.

Now explore how various towns promote themselves!

Our absurd local government.

Normally I have had to petition the authority to get things done.

Now that has changed totally.

I am finding that maybe I have to petition them NOT to do something.

Yesterday Union Lane had its double yellow lines redone despite the fact that I had requested to Nick Raymond not to do this but rather to do some of the work so badly needed in the town centre.

You are right to question why he should listen to a single individual - I was lulled into thinking that he had - however consider the fact that all eight of those I've talked to so far who live on Union Lane see this expenditure as totally unnecessary.

They interpret the system of local government to be totally bureaucratised so that common sense decisions are now impossible.

Democracy and the wishes of the locals NOT to have money spent on them appears to have disappeared down the hill along with the highly mechanised lorry that did the work and returned richer to Brampton, Carlisle, where they no doubt came from!

Sanity is now a rare commodity!