Thursday, 31 March 2011

Union lane housing development has been passed

We tried.

Colin Hodgson went specially to the planning meeting today in Kendal in order to support the arguments put forward by the people on his patch.

He spoke well and effectively.

Sadly we were not able to persuade the other councillors that the bland report by the Highways Department where they said that there were no problems should be challenged. This was even though in 2005 and since, they have drawn attention to the dangers at the intersection of Union Lane and Stanley St.

What's going on behind the scenes that they no long report the hazards they saw there before in 2005.

Do people feel that there may be backhanders being passed between the developers and the highways officials?

Monday, 28 March 2011

My - that feels better

Having sat down , tired and frustrated and ready for bed - I now feel reinvigourated.

Isn't it great to have a blog to let fly with a few words (perhaps too many) and feel better for it.

Watch out piano here I come it's only 9:40 pm still time for some more practice.

In the company of my freshly painter Flag pole brackets that are looking extremely 'professional' with a decidedly high 'feel good ' factor. Latest innovation - stainless steel bolts that avoid endless use of Gaffer Tape to hold the poles securely.

Wednesday we get to try them and fly our first flag from the house.

What fun  !

The Census Form

My - how frustrating.

Finally got round to trying to fill this in.

My problem is that I believe the questions actually mean something.

But when it asked me to comment on my main occupation, I flipped.

They'll have to consult with me to help me decide which is my Main one.

Was it being a student which I did until I was 24 - obviously not.

Was it Chemical Engineering - at Glaxo then at Shell in California ?

Was it Entrepeneur in the Holiday business at The Falls converting barns, hotel, providing a food service to the several barns.

Was it Health Food Market Stall followed by restaurant, live music, jewellery and gifts and loads of beans at The Corner House - now Oxfam.

Or was it teaching in a high school, or in a primary school or both together or being a IT consultant.

Or is/was it 'politics', grass roots community work doing pottery, candles, and now flags.

Or is it as a budding pianist.

Or acting my (inside) age immitating a three year old? - Hand - Handhandhand Hand Hand - No Cars, No cars, Nocki nocki nocki, No cars , Hooray - jump we've made it. Bike bikebikebike - watch out everyone - ready or not here we come. Varum varumvarum wheeeeeee.

Or prospective Cafe runner which was my 'job' last week.

I hate little boxes and being encouraged to squeeze into them.

I like to think that thinking out of the box is my main occupation and has been all my life.

How does this concept  - - - - -

Fit in a box?

No doubt someone will show me soon.

What's on

In a comment to a posting in 2009 of the above title,  paulconnorzoe said... ( I'm repeating it here)

Could you please add this info to your whats on guide?
Thank you so much      -   Leanne Fox

Feast of St George Festival 
in Ulverston town centre on Saturday 23rd April

Free entertainment includes:

  • Face Painting
  • Jester
  • Street entertainment
  • Tombola
  • Living Statues
  • Sausage throwing
  • Balloon modelling
  • Maypole dancers

Contact Leanne at Pure for information or to book a stall 01229 582208

Sausage throwing?

Piano progress

The Market this last Saturday was disappointing

In contrast to Thursday when the full space of the square was available, Saturday saw four traders leaving their vans in the square causing an untidy mess which can't have impressed visitors and shoppers.

One problem was that access from private cars was not being prevented from New Market Street so vans were left to block this but this was an excuse - one van in New Market Street would have done the job.

It's disappointing that the actions of traders themselves is leading to the market becoming less attractive. They seem to delight in shooting themselves in the foot - a point supported by the long term traders like David and the plant stall who thought more should have been done by Anne, the market supervisor.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Friday, 25 March 2011

The sun is out and it would be good to sit in the park

But if this is Mill Dam Park , things are different.

True there have been, and still are, lots of crocusses out; then the daffodils are just coming out, the tulips have buds, the forget-me-nots are strong and healthy, the wall flowers too and the african marigolds seeds are germinating : thanks to our efforts and money.

But where is the wood for reparing the park bench that SLDC Parks Department have promissed on three separate occasions? Where is the picnic table that we were promissed last May and again in November. Both times we were told that there would be no problem in supplying these.

However we were also told that Councillor Hodgson was "out of order" in his part in preventing this happening.

So we've got the message : if you want something - do it yourself. If we want a second picnic table after the one we already supplied then we will make it ourselves as we want it to be well made, strong and heavy, and the Ulverston firm that was making them has stopped. We'll also repair the bench and hope that this time the kids don't wreck our repairs.

Why was the one shown on Google maps removed in the first place?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Correspondence with United Utilities in 2009 and recent acknowledgement

Regarding the work done by United Utilities opposite the Westmorland Gazette.

This demonstrates that Commercial companies do care and respond to criticism both positive and negative, when by contrast the Cumbria County Council don't do their job of supervising work and don't. This is why the cobbles got into the mess they were in and needed this expensive and disruptive work that is going on now.

From: Geoff Dellow gd at
Date: 3 July 2009 10:39:18 GMT+01:00
To: Jeremy Robinson - United Utilities
Cc: Roz Harris , David Parratt, Nick Raymond, Jams Airey, David Pickthall

Subject: Ulverston 'cobbles'

Your work looks promising.

Two concerns would be:

1. Was the back fill compacted well enough.

2. Will the pointing match in with the rest!

On the first , the hard core being used was top quality - but will it settle in time leading to unsightly dips in the road.

On the second , I hope (but doubt) that the county highways are giving some guidance on what materials are being used and how it should be done.

Many thanks for your cooperation and concerns to do good work.

Geoff Dellow

Note : this good work has now been dug up together with the good quality cobbles that needed no attention.

Second note - I have received an acknowlegement from the office of Jill Stannard, the Cumbria County Chief Exec:

On 22 Mar 2011, at 09:23, Stannard, Jill wrote:

Re: Do you think your contractors respect you?

Thank you for your email which will be passed to the Chief Executive for her attention on her return from leave.
Pauline Byers
Assistant to the  Chief Executive's P.A.
Chief Executive's Office | Cumbria County Council
The Courts | Carlisle | Cumbria | CA3 8NA
t: 01228 226511
f: 01228 606302

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Letter to Cumbria County chief officers

Who earn in the region of £100,000 per year.

Sent off this morning to chief executive, Corporate Director of Environment  see the Cumbria County web site  ccccopy to James Airey :

Do you think your contractors respect you?

Neither do we in Ulverston.

Your Highways Department have authorised Amey to work on the setts ( cobbles) down market street.

Today they will continue to do work they see as totally unnecessary : ripping up perfectly good cobbles and relaying them again. At the same time they will not be relaying cobbles further down the street that they agree need doing much more.

They think the County Council are crazy and say so on video.

In view of this poor management by the Cumbria County Council, where your contractors are ridiculing your decisions, do you not think your salaries are over inflated?

We await your reply with interest.

Dr Geoff Dellow

Here is a press release that has just been put out:

Highways Contractors today agreed that what they were being asked to do was crazy - something they have come to expect from Cumbria County Council.

Here on video Amey contractors agree that in the course of doing work to cost the tax payer £150,000. they are being told to rip up a perfectly good cobbled highway, and then relay it when further down the street cobbles that do need relaying will be left.

This situation was foreseen and warned against in a video made six weeks ago which resulted in an interview with James Airey the County Councillor for the area.

Sadly however it seems that James Airey has been unable to change their minds. This is a legacy of the former Head of Highways for this area Nick Raymond who has been moved sideways and a new person appointed

Ulverstonians and shopkeepers are furious that not only is the money being badly spent but that the work has disrupted the commercial functioning of the town in particular items popular market for six weeks already .

Yet in another six weeks of disruption unnecessary work is being done AND the job will only be half finished so that to get all the cobbles in good condition the town will be subjected to disruption yet again in the future.

What is particularly galling is that had the County Highways Dept being doing their job of monitoring the quality of work done in the past by contractors when the replaced the cobbles, then this expensive work wouldn't be necessary at all.

The issue is also being discussed on the Ulverston blog at

Monday, 21 March 2011

In Inane County Council

At this very minute Amey on the instructions of the County Council are digging up perfectly good cobbles only to stop work at the bank corner at Union Street and leave the mess of uneven cobbles below.

The Amey contractor agrees that the County Council are Crazy.

This video has already attracted 120 viewings in a few days - something I've never witness before which shows there's a lot of interest.

So why has the press written nothing yet?

Is this why we need this blog?

Meanwhile we foot the bill and put up with the inconvenience and the killing off of trade on our High Street.

Here's the video I made six weeks ago:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

New initiative

Seeing the sad state of our Market in town, I've resolved to do what I can to bring the management of our market back into the hands of local people. At the same time I hope to buy back the right to manage the Stockbridge Lane car park.

Both these two facilities are being poorly managed by SLDC.

I'm hoping that they will want to surrender their control.

I'm in touch with a large group of stall holders that would be willing to attend our market if the prices were lower. A full market is worth striving for.

David Gardiner - the guy at the plant stall says that the towns where they have control of their own market stalls are surviving reasonably well, the stall holders here are feeling pretty dispirited.

We can do a lot better.

With the approval of the rest of our committee, I plan to brighten the Market Square up with a few of our flags each Thursday until the Flag Festival starts.

Everything is on track for their being an impressive display of 50 new flags in The Gill. This is the part of The Festival that we're responsible for; the rest is being run the Better Towns Team chaired by Ralph Spours (Jane Kendall has resigned), Jean Povey, Cllr Judy Pickthall and Peter Winston (who took the project back in mid February having given it to us in early January). We are continuing what we had started having been officially been given the job in January.

James Airey, County, District and Town Councillor has agreed to meet me soon to review the present situation regarding the work on the cobbles on Market Street

I put it to him that:

"The main question is :

Will the work down Market Street be completed by Friday April 29th when the Flags go up for the Flag Festival, The Royal Wedding and the influx of people visiting the town for the 10th Anniversary of Printfest ?

The work down Market Street is having a devastating effect on the numbers of people coming to the Market which in turn effects the takings of the local shops.

The relaxed easy going attitude of the I.T. Shaw workers is upsetting to the traders who work hard to earn a living."

Let me know if you think this is a good idea and whether you want to get involved.

This sculpture is impressive

Friday, 18 March 2011

Busy day ahead

See The Flag fortnight page!

I wake up and can't wait to get up and get on with all the work that's going on.

Great to have so many people wantoing to help.

Isn't it great to find sunlight at 5:30 am - we're approaching the time of greatest change per day - 21st March.

Now I'm off to do some sewing then drilling as well as fix a new fridge in.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Some experienced a little snow this winter

Courtesy one of our readers

Where is it?

Try writing to Derek 

derek.smith at

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

From Amnesty International

Lubicon Cree youth thank you for all your support
The Lubicon Cree Indigenous people in Alberta, Canada have been battling for three decades to preserve their traditional lands and hold to account the oil, gas and logging companies that have devastated their environment. You sent more than 3,000 messages of solidarity to them through our Greetings Card Campaign. The youth of Little Buffalo school made this video to say thank you for all your support.

Sleeping out for refused asylum seekers
In February students across the country took part in 32 mass ‘sleepouts’ to draw attention to the destitution of refused asylum seekers. Read our blog on how it went and take action now to urge the government to get behind more sensible rules on permission to work for some asylum seekers.

Human rights activist sent back to labour camp two days after release
Just two days after her release in February, Chinese human rights defender Mao Hengfeng was rearrested and sent back to a labour camp. According to her family she is suffering serious injuries as a result of repeated torture and ill-treatment suffered during her previous 11 months of detention.  Demand freedom for Mao Hengfeng

Amnesty premieres at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

    We are proud to present the UK premieres of two stirring documentaries in association with this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival: This is My Land... Hebron, about life in the largest city in the occupied West Bank, and You Don’t Like the Truth, about Omar Khadr, Guant├ínamo’s youngest detainee.  Screenings at various London venues from 25-31 March. Find out more

Cycle the breadth of Britain for Human Rights
Cycle through some of the UK's most beautiful countryside for the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge. Why not watch a video of last year’s incredible trip to get you in the cycling mood? Or find out more and register

What creative imagination can do with paint and hands

Thanks Annette

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Brian Simpson of Ulverston has a thrilling enthusiasm

I love people who are really enthusiastic about something. Anything.

Brian is the Welsh champion of racing on a motorbike up and down mountains.

Here I ask him how and when he gained this enthusiasm. He also does Drag Racing. . .

Just watch the last ten seconds of this video and you get a taste of what Brian is talking about:

Just imagine the muscles he must develop to keep his head still attached to his body when being subjected to this level of acceleration

Monday, 14 March 2011

A Park to aspire to

Dave has alerted us to what is happening at Park View in Lytham St Annes just south of Blackpool.

"We have proved that if people work together for the good of the community, then anything is possible. We have created a safe environment not only for young people but for the whole family to enjoy. We now  have the first 3G park in the country. But we believe that we haven’t just built a park we are building a new community, we now have children from all backgrounds playing together, children who previously didn’t know each other. The park is the one place in the community where there are no social barriers."

This is just what I love to see happening. I've seen samll parks all over Paris that operate in this kind of way.

Parks provide a place for people to  be rejuvenated and get to know each other.

A place where this kind of park could be developed would be Lightburn. But is anyone interested?

With the present politicians we have I can't see this kind of thing happening. As described before Cllr Colin Hodgson actively prevents improvements to Mill Dam Park.

Will the politicians on Croftlands help them get the kind of park that they want?

Or is this going to be a botched opportunity?

Lytham, here I come to find out how they did it. Anyone feel inspired enough to join me. Thanks to Dave (below) the content of their web site is now viewable , the cached material is perhaps not needed

We could start with Mill Dam and go from there. It will all depend on the involvement of local people.

Thanks again Dave for this brilliant piece of information, without you we wouldn't know about this project. This is an example of what this blog and the internet is all about.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Allan Wilson using light superbly

The first of three pictures of reeds at Leighton Moss.

You can buy Allan's photos as pictures or cards at:
The Brewery, The Bake House, Gillams, The Mad Hatters and the indoor market

Flag Fortnight

I talked to the Director ot Printfest this morning. 
At their recent meeting they welcomed the involvement of the Ulverston Flag Group in celebrating their 10th anniversary on April 29th. 
Plans are well in hand to make an extra 24 flags for this event. 12 will be displayed on either side of the Coronation Hall entrance and make a colourful display. ...

These are in addition to those going on people's houses in and around The Gill.

I support Norman Bishop-Rowe

I understand from the Evening Mail that a very negative group calling themselves the Croflands Community Safety Group and led by Pat Appleton are disagreeing strongly with our councillor.

I want him to stick to his guns and have written the following:


I think that you are right to support a BMX area on Croftlands.

When I campaigned for county council, I visited every house surrounding the playing field and in the process discussed its use.

I found that 90% of these people had the following views:

1. That young people needed somewhere to do what they found exciting.

This was Skateboarding and BMX riding. This has been demonstrated by the use of the ramp that has been well used by both in Lightburn Park.

The young people demonstrated their interest in skateboarding by using the area in front of the garages at the park side of Central drive.

This is documented on Youtube by a short video I made at the time.
Young people also congregated and became a nuisance with their skateboarding in front, but particularly behind the parade of shops on Central drive.

2. People felt that they needed somewhere nearby for their children to do this , especially those that found Lightburn Park to be a long way to go.

They felt that they wanted there children in the age range 7 to 12 to have somewhere to play that was close to home in case of trouble.

3. They were aware of  a very negative group of adults calling themselves The Croftlands Community Safety Association which I understand you know well from your visits to their meetings.

This group who live on the edges of the field, led by Pat Appleton are fearful of young people as a whole. They have had some bad experiences with youngsters attracted from Barrow to the Croftlands Community Centre and assume that all youngsters are the same. They tend to be people with no experience of children at first hand.

4. Those that have got to know the boys that practice skateboarding and BMX riding find them, on the whole, to be responsible young people. It is true that on the fringes as in Barrow skateboarding can attract louts who want to make trouble - they don't get involved other than to torment those working hard to develop their sporting skills.

I have checked with parents and teachers; they find that skateboarders  generally work hard at school and do well. Skateboarding  like any skill that requires perseverance develops determination and patience,   character traits to be encouraged . Not surprisingly exam results benefit as a result.

Thus I support you wholeheartedly in wanting to provide a facility for young people that we will encourage fun , adventure, risk taking and perseverance.

This are the qualities we want in our youth who will grow to be the leaders of the future.

Leaders we badly need in these difficult times.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

My kind of thing!

A bike ride to end all bike rides!

Is this just plain stupid or is it fun.

Just imagine what would be said if we tried to organise an event like this in Ulverston.

Down Hoad - too tame.

This town must have a hell of a drop in altitude - imagine a trip to the shops .

Any takers ?

My nearest activity would be 'running' down the Wastwater screes.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Don't we have responsibilities for what is happening in Libya ?

Gadhafi is able to supress the 'rebels' in Libya becasue he has funds to employ mercenaries and superior weapons.

How come?

Where did he get the money?


Who paid him lots of money for it?

If we bought an expensive car from a poor but dodgy neighbour and he used the money to send his kids to starve in another third world country.

How would we feel?

Would we want to intervene -- alert the authorities - or would we say - "the kids can sort it out for themselves?"

My computer is talking to me

" an unknown error occurred while accessing an unnamed file"


Why do humans have such a hard time relating to each other

Watch these dogs - we could learn from them!

They all seem to get along and are having a ball!

On the other hand under the right circumstances we don't do a bad job:

What goes wrong?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The value of top rate performances

They lift the spirits and provide inspiration and motivation for difficult times.

Art really is extremely import to communities.

Here in Ulverston we are very fortunate to get regular visits from top rate performers.

An example is the Manchester Camarata which I regularly review.

Their last concert in the Coro is still with me now. Seeing and hearing a group of people that put everything they've got into a quality performance for its audience is inspiring.

They are returning with a performance of something in the classical music world that is very special:

Berg's Violin Concerto

Here at the Coro on March 24th at 7:30

By contrast my visit last night to the Preston Guild Hall was a big disappointment.

They were performing Brahm's German Requiema work that has thrilled me many times in the past with its deep emotion.

It depends heavily on a good choir.

We were totally let down.

As I listened to it I reflected on how lucky I was to live in Ulverston for at least two reasons:

  • That the Manchester Camerata visited us with their top rate musicians
  • That we had a Flag Festival coming up where our Ulverston Flag Group will put on a performance of such quality that it will impress the art experts from all over the UK that are visiting us for the 10th Anniversary of Print Fest on Friday April 29th
Join us in demonstrating that we are a community of top performers that know how to put on a beautiful show that draws people from all over the country. There is work of all kinds for those that want to get involved - gd at

We already have one festival were so many of us demonstrate this spirit :

The Lantern Festival where quality and inspiration abound.

Now we have another tradition to continue :

Flag Fortnight

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

This is truly sickening

And it's happening now.

But it's not in Ulverston, or England or the UK.

So shall we ignore it?

It's what is happening in Belarus  .

If I was being imprisoned there as described in this article I would want the world to know of my plight.

This is why I feature it here.

This is why this situation was featured on the front page of The Independent today.

At least we should read it and know what is happening to others - we never know we could be pleading for help ourselves with everyone ignoring us.

What to do  is another matter - this is presumably what Amnesty International is good at.

Looks like I need to devote a very small part of my busy life to issues like this.

But then Ulverston has some groups of with little energy to spare.

I've just returned from spending about two hours with well over a hundred of them - the Ulverston U3A.

It was a strange atmosphere. It's as though they were being harangued by their school teacher Diane Hill who they knuckle down to and obeyed with some quiet but rare dissent. Why do they put up with iy I ask myself.

These people come across as very old for their age. They appear to have lost that childlike quality of being inquisitive; have they put too much emphasis on being led and guided rather than being adventurous.

People I know have found more fulfilling things to do.They choose to do things outside the Ulverston U3A. In an atmosphere like this, it's easy to become  of complacent.

With all this talent and potential energy - what a missed opportunity for the town -  an opportunity for the members a to develop high self esteem by working with a wider cross section of people and age groups.

Is the Ulverston U3A too inward looking, I ask myself. Too pre-occupied with itself and not with the world outside

Working with young people keeps one young! It helps redress one's perspective regards what is happening in the real world.

Even Diane Hill tends to agree with me when I admit to not wanting to mix with Old Foggies, like myself, all the time. I do love the energy that young people have. By restricting our rules for membership of the U3A, are we not missing  the vibrancyand questioning the under 50 year olds bring to life.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The way 'forward' in Ulverston

A bit of philosophising can make a world of a difference.

It helps one set ones goals.

I'm coming across more and more people who are doers.

There's a feeling that we need to work together and cooperate. We will achieve a lot by operating in this way.

I have been wasting far too much time and getting frustrated when one tries to persuade people, who have developed a none doing attitude, to do something.

I am concluding that it is not productive to try to get people who have not developed this skill to change: they get upset, you get upset.

We have to take on board that there are many people who have little confidence that they can achieve anything. Often far from achieving, they can seek to stop others that are doers from achieving.

They can block you or they will criticise you but they do not like doing.

So let's try to ignore these people who seek to drain our energy and rather concentrate on the ones that encourage others.

I'm in touch with several doers through the flag project - it's very encouraging, motivating and exhilerating.

It only takes a handful of these doers to achieve a lot.

Doers of Ulverston lets cooperate and concentrate on encouraging each other and work together - and amazing things will happen I'm sure.

Others will then catch the bug and doing will gather momentum.

A happy Ulverston will then become an even happier one.

You ain't heard nothing yet

Shakespeare at "Words on the Water" in the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

First one of his sonnets

Next intoduction to Othello

The audience were captivated by this modern day presentation.

The festival continues and Hip Hop is on the agenda tomorrow onwards

Well worth a visit.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Important planning consultation today- again

At the Coro today

Four people there to 'help' .

One had no voice and could only read what was writtne in the accompanying guide but not answer questions.

Another said, "you're the only one who'se asked questions about retailing in the town and I don't know the answer"

Another said "The lady who can answer your question about the possible future of Stockbridge Lane Car Park should be here by now" Who's that - Jayne Kendall.

Oh sorry apparently she's not coming - Nice one Jayne.

Another wasn't at all sure what happened if a very reasonable argument was put to carry forward a proposal vs an emotive response from many many people. He'hoped' that reason would prevail.

What even if the Councillors were swayed by the vote carrying masses.

Well he 'hoped' that the senior advisor would be listened to and wasn't sure what would happen if it went to appeal.

There were plenty of " that's a good point - you should write that up on our forms over there"- at least five of them.

To the question "Are there any groups in Ulverston that are preparing a thought out response?"


Do other towns in SLDC have such groups?

Well yes several towns have residents associations dicussing and making proposals

Good old dreamy head- in- the-sand Ulverston and its councillors.

'Democracy' at work with a good mix of ignorance, incomprehensible documents, not-a-councillor-in-sight, and who cares anyway, finished off with it can all be changed in ten to twenty years anyway.

Well I have to soldier on and put in my reponses - regardless - just for my own satisfaction of feeling that at least I tried.

I need my bed! and a bit of fun!

How about a crossword - or was that a cross word?


And here's a technique I've not come across before:

Now let's up the pressure and flood key decision makers with phone calls. It'll only take 3 minutes, but if enough of us call -- they will get the message that we don't want Murdoch to win the BSkyB bid. Here are the numbers to call:

Update: We've made so many calls, we are crashing their phone systems. If you can't get through or if you get a busy signal, it means our pressure is working. Don't give up! Wait a few minutes, and try again.

Here are the numbers to call:

Office of Secretary Hunt: 020 7211 6200
Office of PM Cameron: 020 7270 3000
Office of Deputy PM Clegg: 020 7276 2561
House of Commons switchboard (just ask to speak with your own Member of Parliament): 020 7219 3000

Urgent action needed today

Today, nearly half our mass media could be owned by Rupert Murdoch.

For four decades he has interfered with our democracy -- determining election results, bolstering politicians in exchange for influence, and smearing others who refuse his orders. But he may have finally gone too far -- with just 24 hours left before the decision, the coalition is still deeply divided on Murdoch's bid for BSkyB.

The government is deciding right now whether Murdoch can gain control of one of Britain's largest news corporations. Let's tip the balance against Murdoch's attempt to tighten his grip on our media. Click to send an urgent message directly to key decision makers on the BSkyB bid and send this on to everyone -- let's flood our politicians with tens of thousands of messages telling them we want Murdoch’s hands off our democracy:

Murdoch has used his vast media empire to push war in Iraq, elect George W Bush, and block global action on climate change, and if he wins this week in Britain he will use his networks here to undermine all the issues that we care about. He has manipulated US, British and Australian democracy for years, but now he wants more complete control. In the US, most of the likely Republican presidential candidates are actually paid employees of Murdoch! When his Fox News Network was shunned by Barack Obama as a mere propaganda mouthpiece, it spawned the far right "tea party"and broadcast constant, often hate-filled attacks against Obama and his healthcare and peace agenda -- resulting in a huge win for Republicans in the 2010 congressional elections.

Murdoch media staff have trampled laws and standards when gathering news. Several News Corporation executives approved phone hacking and, when a formal investigation began, they had regular secret meetings with senior police officers who then failed to investigate the full extent of the scandal. Our government should punish such an organisation, not allow it monopoly powers over our media. But if Rupert Murdoch is allowed to buy all of BSkyB this week, he will soon own half of our newspapers and television. This should not be allowed in any democracy.

We can turn the tide on this powerful threat to our democracy. In the end the News of the World phone hacking scandal forced David Cameron’s communications director to resign. And a mass outcry from Canadian Avaaz members recently prevented a Murdoch-style TV network from getting taxpayer funding and stopped the Canadian government from removing the journalistic standards that would prevent this new network from spreading lies to the public. The fight against Murdoch has just begun, but already we've begun to win. Let's do the same in Britain! Click below to send an urgent message and send this on to everyone:

The power of Avaaz and of this moment in our world's history, is the power of unity. Across the Arab world and beyond, people are coming together in common cause across all boundaries. Murdoch's power is the ability to divide. His networks spew fear and misinformation, dividing left from right, citizens from foreigners, muslim from western, immigrants from non-immigrants, etc. Murdoch knows that democracy must be divided before it can be conquered. This week, let's show him what unity looks like.

With hope,

Ricken, Alex, Emma, Sam, Milena, Alice, Iain, Morgan, Maria Paz and the whole Avaaz team


Murdoch close to deal with regulators over Sky

If Murdoch gets BSkyB, it will be a victory for monopoly capitalism

'News of World' bosses dined with Met chief

Who is Rupert Murdoch?

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How are the crocusses at Swartmore Hall

Is it time to visit them yet - see the adjacent background picture from previous years.

or perhaps this one:

Open to the public. Get there along the path alongside the primary school in Springfield Road. Cross the bridge when you reach it and up the slope to your left.

Or go straight on, up the path and round to the front of Swarthmoor Hall and in that way.

Volunteers welcome here.

Something else that will put Zest in your Life

If in doubt - give Diana a ring - what impressed me when I met her is how intently she listens.

A rare quality these days.

I'm convinced that anyone taking her class will enjoy the experience.

Make the most of her before word gets around - I am.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Negative comments on this blog

Jeb's unpublished comment -in blue, mine in green

"Lets be clear about this, this is what you wrote:

'In the case of my own SLDC councillor, who loves making the most of his status, far from being helpful, he actually stops SLDC doing things for our area because it would reflect well on me and poorly on him. One civil servant described his actions as 'out of order' when I talked to him recently'

 No action necessary

I didn't write it so I don't have to do anything about it.

But Jeb you said this allegation was serious and you said that if it was true the councillor involved was corrupt - your words not mine.

So you want to comment without action.

If I delivered 'proof' as I believe I can, would you then campaign for me to get elected at the next election, or would you campaign to have the councillor involved defeated?

My past actions - as already documented here on this blog

For my part I am so concerned about 'the system' that I spent a whole year prior to the last County Council election, visiting the homes of half of Ulverston.  Most weeks this was three or four nights a week in order to talk directly to the people I wished to represent; to hear what they had to say. Some of them like the people at Athersmith House told me that no person had ever visited them before - ever.

Along with this, I paid for and printed, many thousands of leaflets and delivered them to some 4,000 houses.

I attended the Rose and Crown and then Poppies most of the Saturday mornings so that I could talk directly with anyone that wanted to discuss anything.

Furthermore I paid someone £5,000 over the year to research the internet on topics relevant to becoming a potential County Councillor. (which is how I got my information on the way Preston deal with their cobbles - amongst many, many other things)

As a result, in the election, I got more votes than two of the candidates - the Liberal Democrat and The Green Party candidate. I was also attributed to being responsible for the defeat of the Labour candidate, who had stood for some twenty years, by a Conservative.

Thus I see no value in satisfying your purient desire for sensational information.

Who said anything about corruption?
You're saying that Hodgson has deliberately, corruptly, done down his own area rather than allow something that would make you look good? (As opposed to be a good thing for his ward).

I said nothing about 'corruptly' that's your word - attempting to crank up the comments here to make them more dramatic.

In fact I would go so far as to say that his actions are perfectly justified if he has received complaints about my involvement with Mill Dam Park, with the planting of 800 flowering plants last year followed by 1,000 crocusses and 600 daffodil and tulip bulbs which are coming up now - all paid for by me; with the repair of the bench, now vandalised again; with the placing of a picnic table by me at a cost of some £120; with the replacement of the latch by a concerned grandparent- requested by me; with the placement of pottery butterflies on the fencing; with the growing of sweet peas for people to pick both here and in the neighbouring Old Pound, having first consulted SLDC Parks department.

So it's conceivable that the councillor involved believed he was acting in the interest of his constituents by instructing SLDC not to cooperate.

The fact is that the civil servant involved believed that the councillor was "out of order" - a fact that I can prove I believe.

Should civil servants suffer for being honest?
And more, that local civil servants know he is doing this? And allow it to go on? That person should be out of a job shouldn't they? Who was it?

If you were suggesting that a civil servant would be out of a job because he was forced to admit something that was true by direct questioning, that would require him to lie to deny an allegation, then:

I would find this extremely offensive, disgusting - suggesting a really warped mentality.

If anything detrimental happens to the person that I talked to, I will campaign flat out, raise HELL, to achieve a just outcome.

The civil servant in question did all he could to avoid saying anything negative - initially refering to councillors as 'members' to which I asked "Does that mean Colin Hodgson". How else could he reply other than admit this was true and go on to say he was "out of order"

So I'm a coward

Well then, publish our 'proof'- otherwise you are a coward. Anyone can make allegations, back yours up, the electors have a right to know.

If you see my behaviour as cowardly - I'm not bothered. On what basis do "the electors have a right to know" when most don't care and would only want to know because it was a bit of scandal which would give them something to gossip about.

They have no right to know from me.
On the other hand they could write to SLDC saying that certain allegations have been made on this blog by Geoff Dellow -

"Could they please investigate and if anything unacceptable has taken place would they take appropriate action?"

They could contact the councillor involved and ask him his side of the story.

This is something that you and anyone else could DO.

Best wishes to Colin Hodgson - just do better - emulate Tom Harvey of Grange!
For my part I have no wish for this councillor or any other of our councillors to be "investigated". I believe that they put a lot of effort into their councillor work. Some of them try hard, attend lots of boring meetings on our behalf. Of the councillors Colin Hodgson is one of the best and their are others who I would like to go before Colin. 

I have a lot admiration for him - he repeatedly speaks out when others are silent.

On the other hand I have no hesitation in telling him that sometimes his behaviour is unacceptable by many of his constutuents and could he change please.

My verdict is "Could do better" - a lot better and so could most of our councillors.

It is sad to see Ulverston going downhill and becoming a Ghost Town whilst Grange -over-Sands is improving thanks to some really gutsy councillors like Tom Harvey who I have seen putting up a hard fight whilst Colin Hodgson keeled over and played dead over the Parking Parks debate before the Cabinet and didn't even raise the issue of the lack of use of Stockbridge Lane (on his patch) and the fact that this car park only raises an average of 15 pence a day per carparking space (£4,000 per year for this 90 space car park given to the town I believe by Miss Richardson for its 'benefit').

Your next negative comments, Jeb and Atticus, are awaited with interest!

Another fantastic concert at the Coro last week

The Manchester Camerata visits Ulverston again to a very full hall.

Great enthusism, great playing, by players and audience alike ( the audience played by paying full attention and clapping their hands with vigour when appropriate resulting in many sore hands.

I'm late with this posting but it made a big impression and set me up with loads of enthusiasm for 'living' afterwards - something that is still having an effect.

This is what art is all about.

People say it's pointless but if it motivates us to get involved with our work and play, to be positive to each other and knuckle down and face difficult jobs, then :

Isn't it worth every penny spent on it.

Watch out for cuts by a shortsighted government supported by depressed people who miss the point of valuing the arts.

A country that values art will be fairing a lot better in thse times of hardship than the rest - here I don't mean financially but with a large percentage of its population enjoying life and very little depression about.

Make sense?

Value for money

What do people think of the way our £100,000 are being spent in repairing the cobbles on Market Street?

On the positive side :

1. The quality of work is high.

2. They are using recommended materials and as far as I'm aware the good procedures similar to those used by Preston Council when they repair setts.

This includes the use of "Ulracrete Flowpoint" - recommended by Preston.

3. They have started further up Market Street than I expected , thus catching some severe depressins that attracted polls of water and hnce deterioration.

On the down side:

1. Work is going very slowly

2. Some shopkeepers who work hard and hence have a thriving/good business, are not impressed with the poor work ethic -starting work late, leaving early - standing around in groups for what appear long times chatting.

This is our chance to see the workings of local government at close quatres - you can even sit, have a coffee and watch the action outside!

It's a time when The County Council can impress us or still leave a nasty taste in our mouths.

A chance for IT Shaw our local firm working with Amey to impress us with the standard and speed of their work.

As you might expect  - and you might like to warn them  - I'm filming them from time to time and will be putting the result on Youtube so that these firms can attract further contracts - or otherwise. If you keep close tabs on the work you can judge for yourself whether my future comments are appropriate.

Lastly, its a chance for James Airey and Peter Hornby our two County Councillors to show that they are 'on the ball' and well aware of what is happening giving praise and critism where appropriate.

Another Facebook Page

For those that would like me to get involved with local politics  show your interest here

Next elections in a year's time.

Be warned I'm enjoying:

Making Flags - designing, putting up etc

Making Pots with other potters

Learning to play the piano well

Nicking other people's kids and taking them for a romp

Growing stuff at The Railings, Mill Dam Park and my allotment

Studying and debating philosophy

Playing chess at the Stan Laurel

Reading Kate Adie's book for a book group

Watching Question time

And generally stirring things on this blog

Oh yes sleeping, eating and doing 'things' with other people!