Sunday, 30 September 2012

This is British Humour at it's best

As a half Froggy, I love it and wish I had this gift - but I haven't . . . . .

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A petition to bring the picnic tables back

This video, made in June 2012 , illustrates the use of these picnic tables before they were removed. 

Please sign this petition to bring back these picnic tables, that were removed by the Town Council a year ago.

Let's learn together how to campaign effectively

It strikes me that 

we could work together

 as a group in this Furness area to encourage each other to take on local issues.

Avaaz is one of the organisations that offer's help to do this. Here's an email I've just received from them.
 What do you think?
Let's not argue but get off our backsides and

actually do something!

Think of a petition you'd like to start on any issue – it takes just a few minutes to create your own campaign! If your petition takes off, it may become an Avaaz campaign – either to members in your area, or even to the whole world.
Today is a big day for Avaaz. If you join in, we might just move from having a small team of 40 campaigners to having 40,000!!

When I started Avaaz, it was just a crazy idea. But I loved the idea, and shared it, and now it's an idea that 16,000,000 people share! I've been blown away by the passion, creativity, smarts and commitment of everyone in this community. Every day Avaaz members send in brilliant and important ideas for new campaigns to create the world we all want – more than our small staff could ever carry out alone.

So, to unlock all the incredible potential of our community to change the world, we've developed our website tools to allow any Avaazer to instantly start their *own* online petitions, tell friends, and win campaigns.

The site just went live – will you give it a try? Think of a petition you'd like to start on any issue – something impacting your local community, some bad behaviour by a distant corporation, or a global cause that you think other Avaaz members would care about. If your petition takes off, it may become an Avaaz campaign – either to members in your area, or even to the whole world! Click here to get started – it takes just a few minutes to create your own campaign!

I'm so excited about this. In just five years, Avaaz has run an incredible number of hard-hitting campaigns and grown to be the largest-ever global movement for change, all with just a tiny staff – imagine what's possible with all of us starting and winning amazing campaigns! I can't wait.

With much respect and hope,


P.S. If you're not yet ready to start your own campaign, consider forwarding this email to a friend. We all know someone who's itching to change the world or some piece of it - and this new tool is a powerful way to do it: is a 15-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 19 countries on 6 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, 24 September 2012

The NHS in this area - action needed

Just received from Becky of the 38 degrees campaigning group.

The government’s plans to privatise and fragment our NHS are taking shape in Barrow and Furness.

Local doctors are forming a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the area. They’re going to get new powers to decide what health services you and your neighbours are able to access and who provides them.
Whether it’s treatment for diabetes, skin conditions, a broken arm or depression, profit-hungry companies like Virgin Care and Serco are circling, ready to bid for contracts by promising to slash costs. [2]

The doctors on your local CCG will be under pressure from the government to hand out contracts to private companies. That could put vital services at risk. [3] But the last thing most doctors want is to carve up our NHS for private profit. Plus, the new CCG has a legal duty to listen to local people. [4]

So right now, we’ve got a big chance to ask local doctors to use their new powers to protect our NHS, not privatise it. Together, we can make sure they hear from hundreds of local people as they make these crucial decisions.

Can you add your name to the petition to your local CCG now?

Donations from 38 Degrees members have funded lawyers to prepare robust wording for CCGs to write into their constitutions - protecting our NHS from the worst risks of the government's plans. [5]

If we can get in early, while CCGs are still being formed, we can give doctors a better choice - one based on sound legal advice and the interests of patients, not private companies.

38 Degrees members will be able to work together to persuade their local CCG to write these safeguards into their constitutions. The government and the private health industry probably won’t like it at all, but there’s little they can do to stop people power.

First things first. Can you add your name to the petition in Barrow and Furness?

Thanks for being involved,

Becky, Marie, Robin, Ian and the 38 Degrees team

PS: The website tool that links you up with your local CCG is new - you’re one of the first to test it. If you have any problems or questions, please let us know by emailing:

[1] GP Online: GP and CCG relations: what are the challenges?
[2] "Virgin Care...will take over integrated children's services in the south-west in March 2013 and will run frontline services for three years. Critics have warned that such deals herald the breakup of the NHS, with private firms cherrypicking services." Guardian: Virgin Care to take over children's health services in Devon
GP Online: Services open to “any qualified provider” revealed by DH
[3] “...plans for a radical restructuring of the health service in England, which will give GPs control of much of the NHS's £106bn annual budget, cut the number of health bodies, and introduce more competition into services” Guardian: NHS Reform Health bill passes vote
BBC: NHS - The shape of things to come
[4] Telegraph: Scrap NHS Bill, say doctors who will run reforms
Pulse: More GP commissioners withdraw support from health bill
[5] 38 Degrees blog: Top legal advice to save our NHS

Kate Rawls at the Coach House, This Friday

Click on the picture to see it full.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Why are house prices so high?


Have you come across George Morbiot?

Now you can follow his articles on his blog. (I've put a link to his blog on the right).
I have immense respect for this man as what he does he does extremely well.
He has just completed a very thorough survey of the literature on the above subject and his conclusion is that  the dreadful disease that robs people of their ability to think, Alzheimer’s, is most likely comes from what we eat.

In this particular article he concludes:

"We cannot yet state unequivocally that poor diet is a leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease, though we can say that the evidence is strong and growing. But if ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, here it is. It’s not as if we lose anything by eating less rubbish. Averting a possible epidemic of this devastating disease means taking on the bullies: those who mock people for their pathologies and those who spread the pathologies by peddling a lethal diet"

"A scarcely-regulated food industry can engineer its products – loading them with fat, salt, sugar and high fructose corn syrup – to bypass the neurological signals which would otherwise prompt people to stop eating. It can bombard both adults and children with advertising. It can (as we discovered yesterday) use the freedoms granted to academy schools to sell the chocolate, sweets and fizzy drinks now banned from sale in maintained schools. It can kill the only effective system (the traffic light label) for informing people how much fat, sugar and salt their food contains. Then it can turn to the government and blame consumers for eating the products it sells. This is class war: a war against the poor fought by the executive class in government and industry."

For more it is well worth reading the whole article which is thoroughly researched. We owe a real debt of gratitude to people like George Monbiot for the thoroughness with which he does his work.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

This petition is beginning to take off

Now well over 30,000 in a few days.Spread the word!

Feeling Low?

The sun's out and it's a beautiful day - and it costs nothing

Song: Streets of London

Artist:Ralph McTell 

 Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She's no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea last an hour
Then he wanders home alone 

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

And have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman's mission
Memory fading with
The medal ribbons that he wears.
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn't care

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind
Yes - you've guessed right - this is the tune I'm practicing on my clarinet at the moment.


Why can't this talented singer and composer of this beautiful song be found more easily on Youtube?

I had trouble and I know it's there. - You'll have to remember "round geertjerita".

"round rita ulverston" doesn't find it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Inequality:the Enemy between Us

Bill Kerry Co-Director Equality Trust


Thursday 11th October 2012 7pm

Learning Gateway Lecture Theatre Carlisle and live stream
to Hugh Pollard Lecture Theatre Lancaster

The first event in our series for this year will take place on Thursday 11th October.  The seminar will commence at 7.00pm. and last for around one hour followed by time for questions.  It will be held in the Learning gateway Building, Fusehill Street Campus, Carlisle and streamed live to the Hugh Pollard Lecture Theatre in Lancaster.  Light refreshments will be available at Carlisle from 6.15p.m. onwards in the Learning Gateway.

The seminar will be given by Bill Kerry.  Bill is the Co-Director of the Equality Trust.
"Inequality- The Enemy Between Us"

In 2009 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett published The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone.
Their ground breaking research made an instant and global impact.

'A big idea, big enough to change political thinking' (Sunday Times) 'A compass to rebuild our societies... a shining vision' (Independent)
'Brave and Imaginative...a far reaching analysis' (Nature) 'Powerful' (Financial Times) were some of the reviews.

Wilkinson and Pickett ask, "Why is it that we have created so much mental and emotional suffering despite levels of wealth and comfort unprecedented in human history?"
Drawing on data from around the world (UN, WHO etc.) they show how income inequalities wreck the promise of wealth: only an equitable distribution improves our lives.
Kerry, Wilkinson and Pickett founded The Equality Trust to promote this powerful message.

Kerry will speak on the Trust, its aspirations and its mission.

To assist with the arrangements for the event, it would be helpful if you could advise us beforehand if you are able to come along, by e-mailing
or by telephoning 01228 616211. We look forward to seeing you.

We are grateful to Riverside who are supporting the whole of our 2012-2013 Seminar Series

This event is also supported by the CO-OP, Carlisle One World Centre and Sustainable Carlisle

Monday, 17 September 2012

A brave attempt to change our sick, sick society

A message from Lucy Holmes

During the Olympics I picked up a copy of The Sun newspaper to read on the train. As I flicked through the paper I noticed that there were no bare breasts on Page 3, or on Page 5. 

But then I got to page 13 and there she was, a beautiful young woman in just her pants. Her photo was the largest of any woman in the issue, larger even than those of Jessica Ennis who had just won a gold medal.

Newsreaders on TV don’t say, ‘And now let’s look at Courtney, 21, from Warrington’s bare breasts,’ in the middle of the 6 O’Clock News, do they? But The Sun, Britain's biggest daily newspaper, continues to show semi-naked women in it's 'news'.

That's why I have started a campaign on called No More Page 3, appealing to Dominic Mohan, editor of The Sun to please, please (I am asking very nicely) take the bare breasts out of his newspaper. Click here to join me.

I have nothing against these beautiful glamour models. Nor do I believe that people will stop buying The Sun if these images are removed. The Sun on Saturday and Sunday don’t have Page 3 girls and still have thriving circulations. I believe that Page 3 is outdated and this is a long overdue outcry.

Home Office figures state that over 300,000 women are sexually assaulted each year and 60,000 are raped. It's hard to deny that showing women as sexual objects contributes to these figures.

The Sun is the most widely read newspaper in the UK. Families across the land buy it, it lies on breakfast tables and living rooms, it’s found on trains and buses. Our sons and daughters see it. So it's not just women speaking out, already many fathers have signed my petition, alarmed by how disturbing this is for their daughters.

All I am asking is that women be treated, and represented, with respect. Like men are. Please click here to join me and more than 10,000 others in telling The Sun: No More Page 3.


Lucy Holmes

PS: you can follow the campaign @nomorepage3 and like us on Facebook for campaign updates - including how you can put pressure on the Sun’s main advertisers in October.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Our local Green Party

I had a revealing discussion with Bill Shaw, formerly of Swarthmore Hall yesterday.

The local branch, I find, are following a simplistic strategy, recommended by Headquarters.
They believe that you put forward a candidate for every position so as ' to provide the voter with choice'.

Sounds good but what then happens is that you can have a candidate from another party who also shares Green philosophy but is a member of another party getting defeated because the green philosophy people have their votes split between two candidates and someone with totally different views gets in.

This happened recently when Jane Carson, Lib Dem, who had done a lot of work on behalf of a green philosophy for one term on the SLDC was defeated by Pauline Airey, Conservative who has done nothing for the people of Greenodd/ Penny Bridge. This happened because the green vote was split between Jane Carson and an unknown Green Party candidate - Jo-anne Duncan. See my previous posting here.

The underlying problem is the lack of thought being given to politics . We consistently miss out on good people because the electorate vote mindlessly with little thought. They even vote along national party lines one local people standing for local issues.

What first needs to change in all areas is for voters to vote for the candidate that supports the policies they favour. Secondly two candidates who hold similar views should never run against each other.

Sadly we can expect that with mindless local party leaders and with mindless voters the existing practise will continue. Shame on you Judith and Simon Filmore, our local Green Party leaders I'd hoped you were better motivated. Instead of working to achieve solutions on local issues you follow a mindless "vote for the party" strategy.

Things will not change until we get a lot of independent candidates so that people can vote for the person and what they stand for and not blindly for the party. This happens in more progressive towns when the the party candidates don't get a look in. Sadly Ulverston still lives in the Dark Ages and suffers from inertia because of the low quality of their councillors.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Smug lot - from JAK

Why? A bit of background.

-->An open letter to councilors and those interested in working here . There is a common theme about my concerns and that is the welfare of our town.

You will no doubt know that I made the decision to run for the County Council (South Ward) as an Independent just over four years ago and set myself the target of visiting every house in this ward during the year before the election. This I  90% managed. Because of this I did a lot of work in becoming familiar with all the problems in this ward at County level - not only did I do all the house  visits but I spent £4,500 of my own money to employ someone to do research for me on any subject that cropped up.

In order to share my views I started this blog which has now had in the region of 1,600 postings. The blog, I learn from the available statistics , attracts between 4 and 500 unique visitors per month, about 300 of whom are regulars. I also use Youtube extensively as you have no doubt noticed.

The County Highways Department has attracted a lot of my interest and I have addressed the County Council in Kendal on several occasions concerning their performance. Though it would never be admitted I had a substantial hand in getting our local head of the highways, Nick Raymond moved from his post. There were many complaints about his arrogance and incompetence. 

It was during this time I made contact with Unitied Utilities who were very keen to put right their mistakes in leaving a lot of pot holes down Market Street when they upgraded there main water main all the way down Market street in I think it was 2007. They came back at my request and repaired a lot done by their contractor Balfour Beatty which they agreed was substandard. Work they have done, since has been exemplary and I keep in regular contact with their local boss in Penrith in order to maintain a good relationship.

You will remember when this work was done recently (against my recommendation resulting from consultations with other Highways Departments notably Mr Rhodes at Preston - I believed  limited repairs can achieve a perfectly good result - as illustrated by the work carried out by United Utilities - something for which setts, unlike asphalt, are particularly suitable).

I am raising the issue of the repair of the setts because the effect this work can have on the commercial welfare of our town. This is also the motivation for solving the damaging effect on Market Day trade with the uncertainties regarding traffic movements. Having been a market trader myself I am also aware how other towns, like Settle, have always run their own market rather than let it be run from outside (as we do, by the SLDC). David Gardner of the plant stall whose family attends several markets across the North West  will tell you that the market at Settle does well the Town Council is very supportive because the Councillors take a keen interest in a way he says does not happen here in Ulverston (I'm now aware that Judy Pickthall tries to do what she can). In a similar way I have been greatly involved with the issue of car parking and had a hand highlighting this three years ago at SLDC Council meeting: the anomaly of Stockbridge Lane Car Park. Fortunately Jack Rice did substantial work in collecting data from SLDC and published a report which has led to reduced charges at this car park.

Should any councillor want to discuss any of the issues highlighted on my blog I am too willing if this will lead to some action. Sadly my experiences of local councillors is consistent with the widely held belief in Ulverston that they are quite frankly - 95% useless at solving difficult complicated problems. Problems I agree need a lot of resolve and determination to 'solve'. Having said this they can be good at most of council work which requires less intense effort.

May I wish you well on your journey as politicians. No doubt I shall have many opinions to air on my blog in future. Many people believe it serves a useful purpose in helping to keep local government on its toes - Something you will agree by their rating by the audit commission is badly needed at both the county and the district level.

Looking to the future I shall be working extremely hard to prevent the opening of another supermarket in the town something I continue to research in connection with the relative contributions made to the town by the Coop and Tesco. Planning is something I know a fair bit about (as I have been involved with planning and Kate Lawson in the area since 1970 when I ran The Falls, self catering cottages just outside of town which came to national prominence through its Home Away Food Service). Something again I have written about many times on this blog.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

So true says JAK

Ulverston Shop Traders Beware

Amey is coming back to the 'High Street'.

Work on replacing the cobbles down Market Street is planned to resume on October 1st.

Last time they were here, their own workers described the work they were doing in replacing a perfectly good road surface as crazy when what really needed doing futher down the street was not being tackled. (Now they are returning to 'finish the work'.)

This unnecessary work caused major disruption in our main shopping street. What is more, though the quality of road surface was good and done with excellent materials, it was done at the wrong level leaving very little gutter on one side. It was also done extremely slowly and antagonised many of the shopkeepers with the casual attitude to efficiency by the Amey workers who arrived late worked slowly and several days not at all.

This time will the work be any more efficient ?

Are our County Councillors going to be more on the ball this time?

The following comments were mailed to County Councillor James Airey on August 21st when he wrote:
 "the work to finish the cobbles on Market Street will begin on the 1st of October."

This is great but what exactly does 'finish' mean:

How far?  to the A590 ?

To the same standard as before?

Will the public and shopkeepers being subjected to the appalling behaviour of Amey/ IT Shaw work force in the casual and disorganised way they performed their work ?

Are steps being taken so that the work is done quickly - for instance :

Starting from opposite ends at the same time?

Working quickly and efficiently on the cobbles starting very early in the morning until late in the evening?

I believe that with competent work and organisation, the last lot of work could have been done in less than a third of the time.

How closely will you be monitoring the progress or will it again by up to the public to complain and publish stuff on Youtube as I did in order to get an improvement in the standard of work?

The result you may remember was that the gutter height was in some parts close to only an inch high  with a sudden slope, clearly visible by the newsagent,  downwards that followed immediately after this was pointed out by me on Youtube  - A stretch I now refer to as Dellow slope.

On the basis of past experience I suspect you and Peter Hornby, our county councillors, will do nothing to get the work done efficiently and surrender all responsibility to us - the general public to make sure the job is done well.

Can you assure me that things will be run differently in October?

There are several of us that will be monitoring the work carefully - even day by day starting October 1st.

The people to contact with your concerns are 
James Airey  - email phone:  01229 588461 mobile:  07734 265963 who represents North Ward and 
the less experienced Peter Hornby email phone:  01229 585416 mobile:  07747 711576 who actually is the councillor concerned with the town centre.

Whilst on the theme of county councillors,  isn't time that the south Ulverston Ward that includes Croftlands ditched their ineffective conservative councillor Peter Hornby and got themselves a decent hard working county councillor?

Time to be thinking seriously about who next, as the election comes up in May next year.

No not by electing an ineffective Labour Councillor like Wendy Kolbe who annoyed the residents of South Ulverston because of her incompetence (even hardy Labour Party members regretted her appointment which she hung on to for twenty years - she was described by other County Councillors as effective as a wet lettuce). What this ward needs is someone with character who can do a difficult job well. How about John Lawrence? He did a hard job of reducing the work force at Glaxo when it had to be done and was highly regarded by the engineering professionals that worked alongside him at Glaxo.

Many of the people in this ward need a good kick up the backside. They get poor politicians because they just let things happen around them. People like Carl Fines who is so fed up with politics and politicians that he refused to vote as ever (he told me he never has) at the last election, even for people he admired (me!).

Come on now with problems like Highways (the missing island where North Lonsdale Road meets the A590, that slipped through Wendy's wide open fingers), and the town centre and the Environment Agency, SLDC and CCC, the poor support regarding flooding in South Ulverston: you need a strong , honest, hardworking politician - John Lawrence - if he will do the job (he stood as a Labour Town Councillor this year and sadly North Ward didn't snap him up).

This month's Allan Wilson photos

Clever Scams

One of our readers has sent me this message:

Beware of realistic-looking messages form Linked-In or Better business Bureau claiming you have messages unread or complaints against your business.
The e-mails carry a virus which can steal passwords etc.
Delete the messages immediately.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Evening and other classes

I've just been told about a great Tai Chi course run by a very positive woman.

Sarah McCormick is a new Tai Chi tutor

Sarah has over 15 years of practising Tai Chi and has been teaching it for 8 years. Completed East West Taoist Association Teacher Training Exam 2004. As well as teaching Tai Chi, she works as a gardener which helps to observe balance in the natural world.

The course is described in detail here:
It's on Wednesdays from 19:00 till 20:30 and starts tomorrow

Numbers for the course at the moment are five and it needs eight to run (my partner  is one of the five, hence the plug!)

Other courses are listed here

Roger Davies - Songs in Plain English

I was so impressed with Roger's songs and his performance  at the recent Furness Tradition Festival here at the Coro that I've just bought six copies . You could be receiving one of them as a Christmas present - and you won't have to wait that long.

He'll be back in Ulverston in February next year.

There are several of his songs on Youtube. Here's one: 

Market Day accidents

A toddler's buggy is hit in Market St, a child is injured.

Inactivity reigns. The Town council have been 'dealing with the problem' since October last year.
Their responses are in.

" Councillor Judith Pickthall, deputy mayor of Ulverston, said: “This can be solved and will be solved but as ever these things take time.”"

Do you detect a sense of urgency?

Are you reassured?

Is there anyone really focusing on this problem and who is it?

The replies that have been received are for the most part couched in officialese or is it typical political nonsense?

Stuff that maybe reassures the apathetic. Meanwhile a dangerous situation continues because a document lies gathering dust on a County Council Desk and no one is there to raise questions.

Why do we put up with these politicians?

If you ran a business like this  - where would you get with the answer given by Judith Pickthall?

If Gavin Knott at Appleseeds or other successful business people in the Town like Gillams or for that matter I T Shaw who feed off Council contracts, were on the case - How long would it take to solve? - One month or perhaps two?

But here we are expected to put up with a year with still no firm date being even suggested.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Fun Loving Geoff Dellow

Yesterday I had a wonderful time return to my favorite walk: one I first discovered when I was 25, over 50 years ago.
It provided a tremendous surge of energy and confidence as I was reminded of the person I was that many years ago.
It's near the Newfield Inn in the Duddon Valley and as I don't want to meet Tom, Dick and Harry there, I'm not pinpointing it. It's a place to be savoured with just one or two very special people.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Why do we want to tease our local politicians?

Cllr Colin Pickthall writes:
"Might I gently and quietly suggest that the insulting references to councillors on your blog, and elsewhere, hardly encourage co-operation, or even responses."

He is referring to my statement:
"Local Councillors are notorious for talking big and doing extremely little."

Insulting? Isn't notoriety akin to fame? Perhaps my warped perception of what in fact is a noble profession - speaking up for the underpriveldged - perhaps I've been wearing the wrong glasses for the last thirty years and should have had a different prescription. I need to change my glasses to rose tinted ones?

Cllr Pickthall I am very receptive to any advice you may have that will encourage co-operation, but realistically; what's the point.

May I very gently suggest that I made a polite request by phone for your assistance in re-enstating the very popular picnic tables on Gill Banks. This was early in May.
You stated that it was early days and it would have to go before the Town Lands Trust Committee.
You have in fact been on that committee since mid May. You have obviously been very busy.

I've heard nothing from you.

Perhaps this is usual for a local politician. Messages need come in threes to be noticed.

At the same time in early May, I contacted my SLDC representative, Cllr Helen Irving, regarding the provision of fencing in Mill Dam Park see below. I also heard nothing.
During the previous weeks I requested repeatedly that she meet me in Mill Dam Park which is just 50 yards away from her house. She agreed but it would have to be in a fortnight or so - I am still waiting.

A little later in May, during a meeting with my County Councillor James Airey I showed him the state of the setts in the Gill that break all the Highways standards on safety. He said he would see to it. The setts have got steadily worse. Now I understand; "seeing to it" means  reporting it - something I imagine that I can manage myself. Apparently it doesn't mean getting the job done. No just putting the job on someones list.

With the previous Town Cllr Colin Williams he stated that a badly needed repair in Lower Brook Street was "fixed" - nothing happened and I did the repair myself breaking the law in the process. Well the repair is good to this day and no one would now know it had been done by an unauthorised person. To him "fixed" meant he had sent an email. . . . .

When about 15 Pot holes needed repair down all the way down Market Street due to poor workmanship of the contractors for Unitied Utilities, the then Cllrs headed by Norman Bishop-Rowe stated that they could get nowhere with the County Council Highways Dept. in getting them fixed. Was I breaking all the rules by contacting the boss of Unitied Utilities directly (with the help of one of their employees who was originally from Ulverston)?
United Utilies apologised in writing for the poor standard of workmanship, sent me a cheque for £25 and came and made good, except for a stretch between New Market Street and Brogden Street which the Highways Department insisted that they should be paid for doing the work because they would be doing the work themselves . . . . Since then United Utilities have done excellent repairs something I've complimented them for, through our regular contacts.

I can go on and on to illustrate that the idea of using your local councillor to get things done - is mostly likely not the best course of action if peace of mind is important. Operating as an individual can usually get work done far more quicker by finding the right person, being polite and assertive and building a relationship of co-operation with the people involved - Work on the wall of Union Lane through the NHS managers, work in Mill Dam through the Parks Engineer.  Market holders get frustrated and  decry the lack of interest shown in their plight through our councillors.  Other towns like, Settle, they find that Cllrs are round regularly to check how they are getting on so that they feel valued and looked after. Sometimes it can be better having no expectation than experiencing a let down. Is this why people like Carl Fines of South Ulverston avoids politicians because he ends up feeling so angry being let down repeatedly.

Over all these experiences I have learnt that if one wants a job doing quickly and well, one is best avoiding a councillor and dealing direct with the people that will do the work.

Sadly I find  - "Local Councillors are notorious for talking big and doing extremely little."

In order to remain sane never assume they will achieve anything. Then extremely rarely a politician comes up trumps.
Former Cllr Jack Rice worked very hard following my attempt to get a result by visiting the SDLC General Meeting and talking about the Car Parking issue. They promised me an answer : it was "the matter is receiving consideration". Jack Rice, even though he wasn't a District Councillor achieved a change in policy over Stockbridge Lane charges by presenting SDLC with hard facts in his report which he extricated from them using Freedom of Information. During his brief time on the Town Council he demonstrated a willingness to take on responsibility (tackling issues outside his remit - Birkrigg Common), and showed tenacity with quiet determination. The opposite of the front page "isn't it terrible" photograph we see over and over again. Then there was Tim Farron MP, some time ago and he isn't even my representative but we have a 'good understanding'. And even further back was District Councillor David Foot who worked hard with little recognition or support as an Independent District Councillor.

 * * * *
Notes: Correspondence with Helen Irving my SLDC representative:
On 17 May 2012, at 12:46, wrote:

Hi Geoff
I have been tied up with meetings but i will look into this at Milldam
----Original Message----
Date: May 17, 2012 10:55
To: "Ballantyne, Carl"
Cc: "Judy PICKTHALL", "Helen Irving">, "Margaret Hornby", "David
Pickthall", "James Airey">
Subject: Re: Mill Dam Park

Thanks Carl,
Yes it clarifies what is going on , however I do not accept the
The fence is clearly the responsibility of the sheltered housing as
the fence, surrounding the then new Sheltered Housing was there before
the park existed. At that time in 1984 there was housing, a fence round
it with what was then barren land  with rubble and broken glass left
behind by the builders on the land that is now our park who built the
I know because it was I together with a  . . . . . . . .

Responses to: Inaction on Market Days re New Market Street closures

The following four responses have been received: two immediately:

From Sgt Rupert Johnston

In relation to the issue on Market Days, former Councillor Colin Williams brought this issue to Council last year. In November 2011 I arranged a meeting between the different Stakeholders, inc SLDC Highways, parking enforcement, market officials, town Cllr's etc. The meeting was chaired by Insp. Kevin Spedding. It was established that the current Traffic Prohibition Order that covered Market days was not enforceable and therefore needed to be revisited.

It is my understanding that the Town Council were to take this forward and I was present at a Town Council meeting when the Council decided on a preferred option following a presentation by Victoria Upton from Highways. This option involved a permanent reversal of the traffic flow on Brogden Street and a Traffic Prohibition with only limited exemptions i.e. emergency service vehicles. The signage was also to be renewed so that on-street parking could be enforced by the wardens.

I am aware that funding was an issue but I do not know the current position. Once the legislation is in place the Police will enforce it and I assume that the SLDC parking enforcement officers will do the same.

Sgt. Rupert Johnston
Ulverston and Lakes NPT

Tel: 101
Ext: 58536

From Cllr Colin Pickthall

In reply to your e-mail about traffic on Market Street, it is of course a long standing concern, which has not been resolved yet because of the need for new signage, which has to solve the problem of those who have legitimate reasons for moving in and out of New Market Street.  You may not know that at a recent Town Council meeting Inspector Spedding told us that he had given appropriate wording for new signs to the County Council, and we are now awaiting their determination.  You may not have seen the article in the Evening Mail a couple of weeks ago, where Cllrs John Clough and Judy Pickthall were highlighting the need for the problem to be solved.

It is, as you well know, a very difficult matter to resolve, largely because too many drivers disregard or brush aside any barriers that are put up short of armed road-blocks.  The dangers to pedestrians on Market days, and throughout the week along the bottom end of Market Street, are clear to everyone apart from the barm-pots who park as they like and drive as if brain-dead.  It is astonishing that no-one has been seriously hurt.  So the matter IS being addressed and will be resolved, though not, of course, as rapidly as you would like.

Might I gently and quietly suggest that the insulting references to councillors on your blog, and elsewhere, hardly encourage co-operation, or even responses.


Colin Pickthall.
Geoff : The article referred to above by Cllr Colin Pickthall is to be found here in the Evening Mail on August 16th
Quote" Councillor Judith Pickthall, deputy mayor of Ulverston, said: “This can be solved and will be solved but as ever these things take time.”

One from Cllr John Clough next day, Saturday.

Hi Geoff

I totally agree with everything you have said in your mail, and you are just one of many residents who have approached me about this very same issue.
We have discussed this at nearly every Town Council meeting I have attended since I became a councillor in May. I don't wish to be to critical here but Cumbria County Council and the Police when asked, or written to by Ulverston Town council about this matter are very reluctant to act or do anything quickly that can resolve the issue blaming by laws, bad signage, who can, and can't enter Market street on market days etc, etc.
CCC are, and have been since July this year responsible for providing an enforcement officer to deal with the traffic problems (I don't mean a car park attendant) within Ulverston town centre but you know as well as I do, you don't see one most days.
May I also state the Police do not patrol the areas enough especially on market days and deal with drivers who are clearly obstructing other drivers and parking half on half off the pavement so pedestrians are forced off the pavements into the traffic, which is one of the most inconsiderate, and common pieces of bad driving you can see on a daily basis, woman with small children and push chairs should not have to go around a badly parked vehicle, or a vehicle which is causing a major obstruction.
I can state this quite clearly as I am in town almost every day of the week and see the carnage that happens, especially on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Along with my fellow councillors I will commit to try and get this sorted one way or another and no doubt we will be discussing the matter yet again about by laws and whos responsible for what at the next and subsequent council meetings.

Regards Cllr John Clough.

One today Monday, from David Parratt, the Town Clerk :

For information, Cllr James Airey will be updating the Town Council on this
issue at their meeting this evening.

In order to implement the necessary restrictions that have been agreed, the
relevant Traffic Regulation Order needs to be enforced. Before this can be
done, consultation has to be carried out with a number of stakeholders -
CCC, SLDC, Police, Emergency Services, Market Traders & Shop Keepers,
Disability Groups and so forth. Issues related to the Market Charter also
need to be addressed. There will be a significant change in signage and
there will be a cost. It is agreed that the present situation is
unacceptable and that the necessary restrictions need to be brought into
force as soon as possible. However, this is a complicated scheme and will
take a while to be implemented.


David Parratt
Town Clerk
Ulverston Town Council
Tel 01229 585778

Friday, 7 September 2012

Inaction in a confusing and dangerous situation

Traffic continues to travel down New Market Street towards the Market Square, Ulverston, when there has been a long expectaion that this cannot happen when the Market is taking place.

I know the stall holders are furious and pedestrians, particularly those with children in tow or in buggies are apprehensive enough to avoid shopping at Ulverston Market. As a regular user of the Ulverston Market I share their concerns.

Yet this dangerous situation continues because, I guess, of inaction by our Town Councillors.

This guess is based on my long experience that the other officers, Police and Town Clerk,  make sure that jobs get done quickly and efficiently whereas Local Councillors are notorious for talking big and doing extremely little.

So here's a chance for me to be proved wrong: answers to the following letter, sent today, to all those concerned will be welcomed on this blog.

I feel one of my video interviews on Youtube of Town Councillors coming on especially as I have already shot some footage of this same problem was in over a year ago?

 Traffic coming down New Market Street  and turning into Market street when Markets are in progress - sent today Friday September 7th 2012

Dear Town Councillors ( Clough, Harris, J Pickthall , Hornby, Irving C Pickthall responsible for Town Ward and my representatives on North Ward), The Town Clerk and Sgt Rupert Johnston of Ulverston Police.

I note that a very dangerous situation continues to occur in the above situation and times.

I have seen vehicles swing out, round the corner proceeding from new Market Street into Market Street , narrowly missing pedestrians who believe that no traffic will be using the road at these times on Thursdays and Saturdays. The situation can be made even worse in that Brocklebanks has had their groceries spilling out onto Market Street itself.

This situation seems to me to be extremely dangerous yet nothing appears to happen.

Do you in fact agree?

When will this inaction to resolve the problem  come to an end?


Dr Geoff Dellow

The West Coast Mainline bid

And where has John Woodcock, our local MP, been all this time?

He's Labour's Shadow Minister for Transport for God's sake and we haven't heard a peep from him.

Surely if Labour were a force to be reckoned with, it would be he who was leading the fight.

If you scour his web site there's not a mention of it.

No wonder we ordinary mortals are tearing our hair out in frustration: we see something blatantly crooked going on and no politician shouts out and leads the fight locally.

Yes he is doing something about through trains to Manchester but isn't the handling of this bid far more important and basic to the public's view of democracy. We are promised that with over 100,000 on a petition  to parliament we get an emergency debate. Yet with well over 160,000 this has been denied - and who led what fight there was? No not the Shadow Minister for Transport but Tim Farron the Liberal Democrat. What kind of politician is John Woodcock? A cardboard cut out? He comes across as an eleven year old dressed up as a man. We're dealing with wolves out there we need real leadership.

Here is the answer I have received from his office:

Dear Dr Dellow

Thank you for your recent emails to John Woodcock regarding the West Coast Mainline bid, which we received on Saturday 1st September. Unfortunately John is not able to respond personally at the moment as he is recovering at home from a recent accident.

However, I can say that his position follows that of the shadow secretary of state, Maria Eagle, who has been quoted extensively in the media in the last fortnight. The shadow frontbench have a number of concerns about the government’s decision to accept the First Group bid.  Firstly, they feel that First Group’s bid may be unrealistically high, which could lead to sharp fare rises or in First Group being unable to meet their contractual obligations. They also have concerns that, whatever company ends up running the West Coast Mainline, the franchise agreement allows the successful operator to close ticket offices, reduce staff levels and significantly increase fares so that some routes could see fare increases by up to 11% for the next two years and up to 8% each year until 2026.  The recent fare increases are already seriously affecting many commuters and rail users.

John feels it is vital the government listens to these and other concerns that have been expressed in recent weeks. As I am sure you’re aware, the secretary of state for transport yesterday confirmed that the contract with First Group will not be signed until the legal process arising from Virgin’s challenge is concluded.

As shadow transport minister, John will continue to press the government to allow appropriate parliamentary scrutiny of the decision.

Thank you once again for writing to John on this important issue. He hopes to be back at work soon and will want to hear from you if there are any further issues you wish to raise.

Kind regards

Catherine Webb
Acting Manager

Office of John Woodcock MP
Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness
Tel: 01229 431204
Follow John on Twitter:
YUK is the only response I can come up with. With all this information at your finger tips why aren't you setting yourself on fire (metaphorically of course) attached to the Houses of Parliament Railings?

No wonder the public are despairing of politics as we know it.
And the Greens where are they? (The answer is of course - mindlessly promoting the Greens without a thought to local issues or the good politicians we do have - had, Jayne Carson for example, a strong advocate on environment issues, ).

No wonder local people are talking about forming their own political party - things are getting desperate out there. Party politics rules and not the issues we're really concerned about.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Yes, This is the task I've set myself

To not only play this but to play with all the expression used above.

Getting the tune right is beyond me at the moment - anything requiring memory gives me the shakes.

Today I had a good try playing my clarinet at the Market Cross between 10 am amd 12:30pm I'm slowly beginning to relax which is essential as I have either to make it all up myself or find a way to improvise in an interesting and musical way.

Ovservers gave me 5 /10 (I think I deserved only 3/10) for the sound and 10/10 for effort. What I feel is that it can only get better as long as the public can be tolerant as I overcome nerves and acquire the skills to play well. Your opinions and encouragement are very welcome.

I'll be back every Thursday and David at the plant stall is very accommodating. At the moment I'm enjoying the challenge - this week was better than last and the last about as bad as the week before!

At least I've got an instrument that couldn't care less about the rain - I'll be getting mittens for the cold.

Cheap Chinese Solar Panels

I have always believed that China with it's lack of democracy will be a world leader in the fight against global warming. Their scientists can understand the problem and act while we just squabble. Let's not kid ourselves, they are doing this for the benefit of the Chinese and very soon I expect we will become their slaves - in one way or other. We have our opportunity now and we are blowing it. We, with our misuse of democracy, allow and enable the  manipulation of our lives by people with money for their own benefit.

By voting in this way - below - we can do a little to stack the odds in our ( the human race') favour. We all need to wake up and act regarding what is happening. I suspect we need a revolution that bypasses parliament and sets up a new power base. This could be student led. They have the time , motivation, access to 'facts' and energy to act decisively. I'm hoping for them to show a lead that the rest of the activists feel that they can follow. Or are there other thinking people that will do it? I'm listening.

* * * * *

Climate change is accelerating, but there’s a massive new ray of hope: clean energy is booming, and producing nearly 20% of the world's electricity! Incredibly, the EU today threatened to stifle this breakthrough -- but together we can stop them.

In the last decade, China has invested billions in solar and used aggressive subsidy strategies that have sent panel prices plummeting. Clean green tech is now almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels! But instead of matching that investment, our governments have cut back on renewables, while continuing their huge handouts to Big Oil and Coal. Now that they're losing the solar market share, a few companies are pushing the EU to slap tariffs on China -- a move that could kill the clean energy revolution.

Today, the EU Commission initiated an investigation into tariffs. Many in the solar industry and Chancellor Angela Merkel are against this move. Now, if we build a 500,000 strong petition, Avaaz will make a formal submission to the EU that could tip the balance. But we only have days to make sure the public is heard. Sign the petition to the Trade Commissioner calling for talks not tariffs:

China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods could be considered overly aggressive. But while China, the EU and the US all continue to funnel tens of billions into Big Coal, Oil and Gas to destroy our planet, China is also providing loans and huge subsidies to the solar industry. And that's exactly what our governments have failed to do.

It’s tough, some European solar panel firms have gone bankrupt or are facing bankruptcy, but blaming China alone is short-sighted. Heavy tariffs placed on Chinese panels would increase the price of solar power and would be a job killer for the booming solar installation sector, which makes up a large share of the industry in Europe. Instead, European leaders should cut fossil fuel subsidies, invest heavily in appropriate renewables, and work with China to facilitate trade and speed up the clean energy revolution.

We're in a race against the clock to green our economies and prevent catastrophic climate change, and Chinese success in green tech could be the perfect catalyst for the rest of the world to scale up the technology and sustainably bring down prices. Let's urgently call on Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht not to kill our climate ray of hope:

In the world most of us everywhere want, our governments would incentivise clean energy, not hand out our money to polluters making record profits from dirtying our land, air and water. Today, we can save solar, and take one step closer to that future.

With hope,

Iain, Joseph, Alice, David, Julien, Emma, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS - Avaaz has launched Community Petitions, an exciting new platform where it's quick and easy to create a campaign on any issue you care strongly about. Start your own by clicking here:

More information:

BBC -- "China solar panel imports investigated by European Union"

ITCSD -- "Merkel calls for dialogue on EU-China solar trade row"

Forbes – “Solar Trade War Widens To Europe, SolarWorld Called 'Crazed Agent Provocateur”:

NYT -- "Europe Prepares to Investigate Chinese Dumping of Solar Panels"

EuroPolitics -- "Fresh trade frictions ahead of summit"

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bullying down on the allotment

For the most part my experience has been one of great trust and friendship amongst allotment holders. Now we refuse to be intimidated by a very small minority of weak people who can only be described by rational humans as lunatics with a mental disorder: people who delight in tormenting others. We are exploring a number of approaches and seeking the advice of experienced police officers in combatting this all too common behaviour from inadequate unhappy people. It can be the characteristic of quite strong people to buckle and seek the quiet life with the result that the bullies are encouraged to more bullying. In this case we are giving each other mutual support in order to discourage the weakminded lunatics and encourage them to like themselves enough to enjoy our friendship which has already been offered to them. More when we have heard the wisdom of our senior Ulverston Police who have already been very supportive and concerned.

Riased beds on my allotment

They've worked well this year with all the rain.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Escape to the countryside

What you can find if you know where to look. Within 30 minutes of Ulverston town centre - by car.

Isn't it wonderful.

The Hypocrisy of the Conservatives

At the very time that the Coalition is pouring billions into promoting sport as seen through the Olympics, the more important grassroots support of sport in schools is being eroded.

Our children need every opportunity to develop themselves as healthy human beings not only by the development of their minds but equally by that of their bodies. I come from a generation where physical activity was encouraged and promoted. I owe my health now, at 77, to the opportunities and activities I enjoyed in early childhood where access to fields and countyside was promoted.

We need to fight with everything we've got to counter the trend to sitting in front of the computer and living as though this and watching television was all there was left in life.

It isn't.

* * * * *

A staggering 91,574 of us have now signed the petition to protect school children’s playing fields - after it was revealed that the Government has relaxed the rules, making it easier to sell them off or build on them. Now, this coming Wednesday, 38 Degrees members are getting together in Surrey Heath to deliver it straight to the office of Education Minister Michael Gove.

The bigger the petition, the better our chances of safeguarding decent playing fields for school children, now and in the future. Every signature counts.

You’ve already added your name – thank you, your signature will be one of those carried in to Gove’s office this Wednesday. Please can you now forward this email to you family, friends and colleagues and ask them to sign too?

They can sign the petition by clicking here:

38 Degrees members in Surrey Heath are well placed to deliver our petition – Michael Gove is their local MP. But the message they deliver matters everywhere. Imagine Gove’s reaction when he sees signatures piled high on his desk, with a message from the entire country: our children’s open spaces and playing fields aren’t for sale.

Michael Gove thought he’d be able to slip these changes through without anyone noticing. He hates negative publicity – so the more pressure we put him under, the more likely he’ll be to change his mind. Let’s make this petition huge to prove that the public has indeed noticed, and we aren't happy.

Please ask your friends to help us pass 100,000 signatures by Wednesday:

School playing fields matter. They are essential to our children's education and to their health – now and in the future. Once they're sold or built on, it's hard to see how we'd ever get them back. Just like when we came together to protect England's woods, we’re trying to stop precious open spaces from being lost forever. If enough of us join in, we can win this time as well.

Please forward this email far and wide and ask your friends to add their name in time for the petition delivery this Wednesday lunchtime:

Thanks for being involved,

Ian, Marie, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

PS: If you use Facebook you can share the petition by clicking here:
If you use Twitter you can share the petition by clicking here:

Telegraph: Keep the Flame Alive: A million pupils could lose sports fields
Guardian: School sports fields in danger as government relaxes rules
Telegraph: Keep The Flame Alive: Team sports blow for schools