Less than a month to the EU referendum – do the sane, right thing…

Hello all

I’ve been out canvassing with other Blackpool Labour activists today promoting Labour’s Remain Campaign for the EU referendum. For those of you who I spoke to today that are planning to vote out, the song below is dedicated to you ;p

Sorry about the blog-slacking – I have been busy…honest.

Last week I attended the mayor making council meeting.¬†It was great to see Kath Rowson donning the chain – she is a great person and I am sure that she will be a wonderful mayor. By the way, she is coming to Revoe Residents Assn Fun Day in August ūüôā

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Our new mayor, Kath Rowson

Also last week, I was pleased to meet the head of Blackpool’s Library Service, Elaine Midgley who took the time out to show me what the Library Service offers. I had no idea just how much stuff goes on in our libraries – there’s sooooooo much more to do there than borrowing books, so thank you Elaine. Take a look:

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Also, last week, and this is nothing to do with any council duty, I attended my first meeting of the Lancashire Secular Humanist’s. I’ve been a member of the British Humanist Association for some time now, but I’ve never attended an event.

What is humanism? Well, it’s basically atheism with conscience. It is about applying reason to all your beliefs and decisions, rejection of the supernatural and trying to live a good life for both yourself and the greater community. Stephen Fry explains it far more eloquently than I do:

Also last week, I had a very illuminating meeting with the councils transience officer who outlined some of the projects that the council are undertaking to tackle the problems of transience in the town. This includes schemes to try to build a sense of community for those people who have traditionally drifted from one home of multiple occupancy to another. Innovative stuff.

This week, I have attended both Audit Committee meetings and Licensing Committee meetings – details and agendas are available HERE should you be interested.

I have also dealt with a number of enquiries from constituents this week. Rubbish¬†and alley gates figure highly in the reason for the calls, but I’ve also dealt with some very saddening calls regarding anti-social behavior. I have referred these issues through to the relevant council officers and I really do hope that they are able to go some way to addressing these problems.

I nipped into see East Bloomfield Residents Assn this morning where one of the ladies reported an incident to me that occurred to her yesterday:

A builder knocked on her door to give her a price for ramp to her front door (the lady in question is elderly). The man repeatedly asked to come in an use her toilet but the lady refused. I make the point here that he wasn’t taking no for an answer. The lady eventually told him that her grandson was using the toilet to which he replied “He’s taking his time isn’t he”!!!!!

He then proceeded to ask for ¬£200 IN CASH UP FRONT to build the ramp. When the lady told him that she didn’t have ¬£200, he asked for ¬£150. He didn’t get the cash so he left.

This sounds well dodgy to me – especially the bit about repeatedly trying to gain access to the house. I have reported this to the Police just in case, but anyone reading this from South Blackpool, please remember this when dealing with tradesmen.

Finally, as stated, I have been out canvassing today as part of the Labout Party’s Remain In campaign for the EU Referendum next month.

Please, please, please think carefully and don’t buy into the rubbish being peddled by the right wing press and media – THEY DO NOT HAVE OUR INTERESTS¬†AT HEART. Leaving IS insane.

This is an attack on our rights. Forget all the stuff about immigration (as EU immigrants CONTRIBUTE more than they take out of the economy) and faceless EU bureaucrats, etc – it’s a smoke screen pure and simple pushed by right wing millionaires who want to get rid of our rights and other things that enrich our lives.

Vote leave and wave bye-bye to¬†The Working Time Directive –a Directive of the European Union. It gives EU workers the right to a minimum number of holidays each year, rest breaks, and rest of at least 11 hours in any 24 hours; restricts excessive night work; a day off after a week’s work; and provides for a right to work no more than 48 hours per week. Since excessive working time is cited as a major cause of stress, depression and illness, the stated purpose of the Directive is to protect people’s health and safety.

Who does getting rid of this benefit? Us? Who do you think?

Vote leave and also wave bye-bye to The Water Framework Directive is a European Union directive which commitsEuropean Union member states to achieve good qualitative and quantitative status of all water bodies (including marine waters up to one nautical mile from shore) by 2015. It is a framework in the sense that it prescribes steps to reach the common goal rather than adopting the more traditional limit value approach.

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So you see that blue flag above that one of our beaches won last week? Well, being part of the Water Framework Directive helped us win that.

Oh and did I mention the The European Convention on Human Rights? An international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe? Do you think that may be important and worth keeping?

So please, please, please think carefully and do some reading before voting next month – if we vote out and it’s a disaster (which I think it will be), there’s no going back. Don’t buy the right wing crap.

And on that note, I’ll sign off.

Come back soon, Jim

Scrutiny, the IN Campaign, a massive mog and a working mans club.

Press play and enjoy for some background music whilst you read….

Greetings all

Since I last checked in on Wednesday, I’ve still been chasing my tail.

On Thursday, I attended a the council scrutiny committee as an observer – the Resilient Communities Scrutiny Committee.

These committees exist for a panel of councillors made up of both the red and blue variety to scrutinise the provision of council services and functions.

This was a very interesting meeting that looked at the provision of children’s services and the Better Start program. Please click the link below to view the agenda and a look at the presentations:

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I then had a well deserved Friday night off (it was my first night off for several days) and watched The Hateful 8. I say watched – I lasted about half an hour and fell asleep! It doesn’t appear to be one of Tarantino’s better efforts which is a bit of a shame, as I’ve loved everything else that he has done.

I then had a group meeting with the Labour Group at the Town Hall on Saturday morning to go over the agendas for the two Council meetings on Monday (the latter one includes the making of our new Mayor, the very splendid Kath Rowson).

After the meeting, I dashed across to the Highfield Road area to meet a group of activists doing some doorstep campaigning for the EU Remain campaign. I had the pleasure of meeting one of our MEPs, Julie Ward, during this session.

Leaving the EU would be madness, utterly madness. As well as the inevitable huge economic uncertainty, we would lose loads of rights including human rights and employment rights provision. The leave campaign is being driven by the right wing who want to get rid of these rights – don’t buy into their madness. The Boris Johnsons, Michael Goves and Nigel Bloody Farages in this debate DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART!

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Campaigning with Julie Ward MEP

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The IN crowd

Rant over. After this session, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of a new exhibition at the Grundy Art Gallery.

It is a completely new exhibition having its world debut at the Grundy, called This Kolossal Kat, that Massive MOG by Turner Prize winning artist Mark Leckey.

If you haven’t been, get up off the couch or armchair or wherever you are reading this, and get yourself down to the Grundy. The exhibition is awesome and something really prestigious for Blackpool. Honestly – GET YOURSELF DOWN THERE – IT’S REALLY GOOD!

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Felix the Cat shenanigans down at the Grundy

I then had to leg it to catch the tail end of the birthday celebration for New Revoe Residents Association at the Brunswick club – a lovely bunch of people, so Happy Birthday you lot!

It was then back into the car for an evening in Liverpool – I’d been the worst son in the world and hadn’t seen my folks in weeks!

Anyway, I seem to have another busy week in store next week, so drop my soon to catch up.

Jim

Can you dig it?

Press play and enjoy whilst you read – you’ll see why I picked the tune in a mo.

I’ve been a very, very busy bee since I last checked in.

I spent Saturday morning and lunch time with the good folks of New Revoe Residents Association shifting 3 tons of compost that was delivered for their community garden with Cllr Cain.

It’s always a pleasure to meet with this group and we had a bit of a laugh whilst we grafted. Many hands made light work as they say and we soon shifted the massive pile of dirt!

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Shifting a mighty big pile of dirt!

It was then back home for quick shower and change to attend an musical entertainment evening hosted by the Fylde Coast Hindu Society in Poulton. 

Again, these are a lovely group of people who made myself and Lisette feel very welcome and we will definitely be attending future events that they host.

Their events are open to all, irrespective of your religion and if you see any of their events advertised, you should definitely give it a go. Where else can you be treated to Bollywood dancing and singing for 3 hours for FREE (and an amazing plate of food too)?

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Lisette having a go with the much more experienced Bollywood dancers from Fylde Coast Hindu Society

I spent most of Sunday writing the Politically Correct column in this weeks Blackpool Gazette (publish today). Have a read (click the link below) – I discuss just how far away the life of the average millionaire Tory frontbencher is away from mine and yours, the great stuff going on in the Bloomfield Ward and Sadiq Khan.

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Monday night was the Labour Group Local Campaign Forum (LCF). The focus of this meeting was predominantly the forthcoming EU referendum and some campaigning around this.

Tuesday evening, myself and Cllr Cain met with council officers to discuss the creation of a conservation area around Foxhall Village – this plan is only on the drawing board stage at the mo, so there will be more to follow when there is more meat on the bone of the proposals.

That brings us to this evening. After racing to the Town Hall after work (the traffic between Lytham and Blackpool was the pits), myself and some fellow councillors attended a 2 hour Dementia Training session. This training was superbly delivered – I learned a lot and was engaged for the whole session (I have to confess, if training sessions go over an hour, I am usually jamming pencils in my leg to keep me awake – this was not the case tonight!).

Phew! As you can see, I’m busy-busy!

Anyways, my bed is calling, so nighty-night!

Jim

Keep Blackpool Tidy and PACT

Todays blog is brought to you by The Pogues – press play to listen whilst you read…

Due to the bank holiday weekend just gone, it’s quite a short blog this week.

On Tuesday evening, myself and some fellow councillors were given a presentation by Keep Britain Tidy with the theme of making Blackpool the cleanest resort in Britain by 2020.

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As I am sure any Blackpool resident will agree, we have a problem with litter in the town and other types of waste issues such as fly tipping and dog fouling, so that target is an ambitious one.

Interestingly though, Keep Britain Tidy surveyed 50 areas in and around the town and found it to be no worse than other towns of similar size.

Also interestingly, they only found dog fouling in 2% of the sites surveyed.I assume that they concentrated in the town centre and not where I live or in the ward as you need to be proficient at hop-scotch on some streets to avoid unfortunate foot falls!

Anyway, the Keep Britain Tidy campaign centres around prevention. There are some quick wins to be implemented such as bins with cigarette stubbers on them and signage warning of littering enforcement.

As stated in an earlier blog, we are looking at rolling out mobile CCTV cameras around the Bloomfield area, so litters and dog foulers, we’re coming for you (with fines).

On Wednesday evening, myself and Cllr Cain attended a Police And Communities Acting Together (PACT) meeting in St Peter’s on Lytham Road.

It was good to see so many people coming out and actively trying to improve the area.

Activities such as littering and parking were discussed as well as an extremely serious matter of anti social behaviour affecting several residents. It really does appear to be an horrendous situation for those affected but hopefully the plan that has been instigated by council officers and the police to deal with this matter will soon bear fruit.

Last night, I had a night off as I worked late, but I did deal with some resident enquiries such as issues with “boy racers” causing disturbances.

I did rather enjoy the first episode of new series of Peaky Blinders last night – I cannot recommend this show enough – it’s ace so give it a go.

 

Anyhoo, I’m off to a meeting of Blackpool South Constituency Labour Party now to hear what is going on at a national level within the party (Gordon Marsden MP will be there) and 1 or 2 beers may be quaffed afterwards – but not too many as I am off to shift 3 tonnes of compost in the morning for the lovely folks at Revoe Residents Association.

Until next time, Jim

Yiddish Folk Music, Felix the Cat & Poetry

I thought that with all the Labour Party antisemitism garbage flying around in the press this week, you may enjoy the music below. It is by a Canadian band who do traditional Yiddish folk stuff. The CD is great Рpress play below and give it a try (it features on the soundtrack to a very, very, very funny New Zealand movie called What We Do In The Shadows).

In my very humble opinion, in a modern democracy, you should be able to  legitimately criticise the actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people without being called an antisemite. Granted, the way in which some party members have gone about this has been ill considered to say the least.

So then, let’s get on to what I have been up to this week.

Well, earlier in the week, I attended some diversity training at the town hall. As a civil servant and union rep. I have done this sort of training before, but I have to say the content and delivery but the council officers of this training was first class.

Myself and Cllr Cain have written to business owners on Central Drive this week with a view to installing advertising banners along the Drive. These will look like the ones that run along Yeadon Way and should really improved the look of the road. This is just one of a raft of measures that we are looking at the spruce up the area.

On Wednesday, I gave a lift campaigning to a couple of colleagues in Lancaster – Lizzi Collinge who is standing for a County Council seat and Oscar Thynne who is standing for a town council seat in the forthcoming local elections. It was a pleasure to meet them both and they will both serve the town well.

That reminds me – this Thursday May 5th – get your bums off the couch and go out to vote in the Police and Crime Commissioners election. Clive Grunshaw has done an amazing job not just locally, but nationally in highlighting the effects of Tory cuts on policing. He really has grafted for Lancashire, so come on, get out there and get him relected.

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Out campaigning with Lizzi Collinge and Oscar Thynne in Lancaster

On Thursday, I was delighted to be shown around the Grundy Art gallery by some council officers. I really do think that this gallery is a little gem and if you don’t nip in regularly, then please do. There is ALWAYS some thing there to prick your interest.

There is an exhibition starting on 16 May that I am told is going to be great. It is by a Turner Prize winning artist called Mark Leckey and is based on Felix the Cat! Click the image below for the link:

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I then spoke to the council officers about progress and some ideas that we have regarding improving Central Drive using the arts community in the town (still at ideas stage – more on this to follow later).

As well as all of the above, I am actively organising the Revoe Residents Assn Fun Day in August and a Labour Party presence at Blackpool Pride in June (and ward enquiries, of course).

Finally, I was rather looking forward to attending the Mayday Fun In The Park at Devonshire Road Rock Gardens today – but of course our weather has been up to its usual shenanigans and the event was cancelled. Boo!

Anyhoo – off to the Pub Poets tonight at the Bootleg Social. This happens once a month on a Sunday night and some absolutely amazing Blackpool poets turn up. It really is a fun night and if you have never been to poetry night before then give it a go – honest – it’s a proper laugh. Link to the FB page for updates and the events:

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Until next time, Jim