Saturday, 30 October 2010

Responses From Wokingham about Maiden Erlegh

Here are 2 links to a letter sent by David Armstrong, Policy and Schools Access Officer, Children's Services Wokingham Borough Council, in response to the questions I raised at the consultation meeting on the 29th September.

Page 1
Page 2

Friday, 29 October 2010

I hate to agree with BoJo

Well what can I say I agree with BoJo, what am I as the former Labour Parliamentary candidate in his old Parliamentary consistuency going to do.

He has warned that the Conservative's Housing Benefit plans will cause Kosovan "ethnic cleansing" of people on benefit in London. It was revealed that inner London Boroughs as looking to the outer areas for cheaper accomodation for its housing benefit tenants.

This will mean those that live in the outer boroughs will be pushed out to places like Reading, putting pressure on the rented market in Reading....So Reading will be pressured by London's distressed. This coupled with the Government's and the Conservative/Lib Dems removal of controls on Houses in Multiple Occupation.

How does this affect Park will mean that there is pressure on the already heated rented property market in Reading. The students will be fighting for property with families displaced from the outer areas of London and there will be no do you think this will end.

This makes the Tory clams of "we are all in it together" seem very very hollow. As usual they are attacking the weakest in society while they try and defend their own. It smacks of the worst sort of protectionism and I expect that we will see more of the same.

In the meantime, and I really do hate to say this, well done BoJo thanks for standing up against your party.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

What Does the Man on the no. 17 think of the Spending Review and the Browne Review

I saw a simple illustration of the effects of the Tory's and Lib Dems Spending Review and Browne Spending Review in my local Indian take away. Talking to the owner I asked how things were. He said something like, since the Tories brought in their new policies, people don’t want to spend their money.

The Spending review is terrifying, Have the people who thought this up ever been unemployed? Have they tried to live on £63.50 a week. I have tried it recently and its tough, imagine what it will be like if 500,000 public servants are on £63.50 and then another 450,000 workers from the private sector join them. Madness, deperate madness.....

So a little illustration of what happens when the government blithely decides to cut its funding.

As you may know I am the lollipopman at Alfred Sutton. I have a manager who is responsible for improving road safety in Reading. This member of staff manages the lollipop people and makes sure that we are safe and looked after. She also organises cycle training for children and I am sure has lots of other duties that make fewer people are killed on the streets of Reading. Maybe its quiet work, maybe its not on the TV everyday.

This job has been cut, the woman who's job it is is being made redundant. Immediately no one will see the cut but as the number of people hurt and killed crossing the road in Reading rises and there are fewer and fewer lollipop people as the conditions we work under get worse and worse  then we will ask why isn't Reading Borough Council doing more to protect vulnerable people in the streets.

The answer to this question will be "oh yes the Tories and Lib Dems cut the job and abandoned the children of Reading to save money." Thats what the Spending Review will do on the streets of Reading.

The Browne review is the same, the Tory/Lib Dem coalition are looking for all sorts of fig leafs but their acceptance of doubling or trebling of undergraduate fees, will simply put young people off coming to uni. If you were faced with £7,000 or more fees before you even thought of living costs, you would probably think twice about Uni. Imagine a £21,000 debt before you have bought a curry, drunk a beer or attended a lecture. Add to that concern about interest rate charges and the fear you might not get a job because of Nick and Dave’s double dip recession.

So as my friend at the curry house says, people don’t want to go out anymore because of the Tories and Lib Dems...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Councillor Swaine has difficulties with Twitter

Councillor Swaine has, I believe denied Twittering during the Council meeting. Shame really as we have got hold of his Twitter Feed and here it is. Poor old Councillor Swaine already prejudiced before he walks in to the room and attacks members of the public.  Thankfully one of the residents there last night has complained about his behaviour and a good thing too.

Never mind, all I can say is: he's just a bit pathetic really

Warren Swaine's Tweets
 waswasere Warren Swaine

Naughty @waswasere "caught" tweeting council debate. Labour still trying to manage media agenda.

12 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine

I think I'm going to get a hard Paddington stare from Linda Fort for sniggering at the back.

12 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine

Jon Hartley says that talking to the administration to get a consensus position is "outrageous". Typical Labour.

12 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine

Peter Jones admits that #rdg Labour didn't attend a meeting in March over Maiden Erlegh. Maybe it got stuck in their junkmail filter again.

12 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine

#rdg Labour have their hecklers in to interrupt a maiden speech. Shame on them.

13 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine

Man who presided over inadequate secondary school provision in#rdg complaining about lack of places. He has no shame.

13 hours ago

waswasere Warren Swaine @

@Nowtas Richard McKenzie here - will need silver bullets.

14 hours ago

»waswasere Warren Swaine

Heading into the council offices to prepare to fend off the forces of evil. Or #rdg labour party as everyone else knows them.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tories and Liberal Democrats on Reading Borough Council Fail their Voters.

This is a picture of the residents of Park Ward before the Council Meeting this evening, where we were bringing the Petition, to ask the Council to support us, Asking two questions, and Park Ward Councillor Jon Hartley was bringing a motion asking the Council to support the residents campaign and be willing if necessary to take legal advice in order to threaten Wokingham with legal action.

As you can see we are all relatively happy and looking forward to a positive meeting. Unfortunately the Tories and the Liberal Democrats combined to thwart the cross party consensus that has been built up and decided to attack members of the Parents group. I am very cross about the meeting, and may have been a little intemperate with my comments in the meeting, so apologise ,in public, if I spoke out of turn.

Petition Presentation.
I presented the petition, and asked the Council to support the more than 600 people who had taken the time to sign it. I asked a simple question, how far was the Tory/Lib Dem Council willing to go in support of parents. Councillor Ralph, lead Councillor for Education, hedged his answer and began to attack the Labour Party, This being despite the all party consensus about the issue that had previously been established.

Questions to Council
This is where it started to really kick off, Karly asked a reasonable question and got a non committal answer. I asked what the Council would do to support the campaign and Cllr Ralph indicated that he would reply to the consultation, but not threaten legal action. He the proceeded to attack me. Very nice, very cowardly, very weak.

Motion to Council
Cllr Jon Hartley had kindly arranged with the Mayor to bring the motion forward so we could hear it at a reasonable time. Jon proposed the motion and Cllr White seconded it. They made clear and cogent arguments as to why RBC should support the motion.

Then something odd happened, instead of Park Ward's Tory Councillor standing up and supporting the motion, which he had had in his hands for nearly 3 weeks, Cllr Ralph stood up and presented a counter Motion which removed any attempt to seek legal advice and which refused to threaten legal action.

And even stranger thing happened,Liberal Democrat Cllr Rebecca Rye, despite saying in an email that she supported parents, stood up and supported Cllr Ralph's weaker motion. In effect she went back on her word and refused to support the parents.

And then something even stranger happened. We were stabbed in the back by the two Tory Councillors who made as if they supported the campaign, that being Park Tory Cllr Hussain and Thames Tory Cllr Balsdon. Balsdon even had the gall to shout at a Green Road resident. Park Tory Hussain, stood up and simply supported his fellow Tories, while trying to soften the blow by soft soaping, myself, Jane and the other parent campaigners.

And then it got worse. The Tories, seemed to enjoy attacking the Parents in the public gallery, and especially me. They seemed to think that the campaign was some kind of political football rather than the cross party and cross community effort that it had been hitherto.

The Lib Dems were even worse. They divided their time between, attacking the parents, attacking the Labour group, attacking the Greens, or was that the Tories who attacked the Greens, I forget now. When they weren't spreading bile about the place they were texting or on Facebook. The two worst offenders were, Cllr Swaine, (Katesgrove), Cllr Daisy Benson ( Redlands). Benson was very rude, because she was actively laughing at the parents..

So the meeting dragged to a close. Balsdon attacking members of the public, Hussain, letting his constituents down, the Lib Dems who promised so much changing their tune and laughing at residents...No change their then.

We fight on.

Winston Churchill had a phrase when things had gone against him, that was Keep Buggering On. That is what we have to do, keep lobbying Reading Borough Council to support its residents, if necessary with legal action, keep lobbying Wokingham Borough Council, who sent a spy to the meeting, and keep responding to the consultation.

At The Council Meeting

Am sitting in the Council chamber. Have just sat down after presenting the Maiden Erlegh petition to council and asking two questions. I was shocked and dismayed that Tory Cllr Ralph tried to dodge any questions about whether the Council will support residents with legal action. I was also shocked to hear him try and blame the Labour Party for the problem and deviated from the cross party work which we have been trying to build up. Very disappointing and very worrying.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Why Get Nervous Lollipoping

This morning started with a lot of excitement, which was good because I had been up late the night before watching the "Dambusters".

Here's a little film of a typical Monday on Crescent Road looks like. Throw in to this traffic idiots on push bikes who ride on the pavement and boys from Reading School who decide to drive through the crossing it all gets a little stimulating.

I mention Reading School, because one of their boys, well bred, supposedly intelligent decided that he would ignore me standing in the middle of the road and cycle at me, at children and at parents all of which were crossing the road. You can get an idea of how busy it was and how difficult it can be to help people across the road. I rang Reading School to discuss this with them, I spoke to the Head's secretary who promised someone would ring me back today, Monday. Unfortunately he couldn't be bothered to call me. As a consequence Reading School gets a dishonourable mention on the blog.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Maiden Erlegh Petition Update

The Funniest Clegg/Student Fee Vid So Far

Poor old Nick Clegg........the vids just keep getting funnier and better produced. If nothing else "Nasty Nick" is letting students get some work experience producing videos...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Gov't trackers - update 14th Oct | YouGov

Gov't trackers - update 14th Oct YouGov

Wouldn't You Like to Go to University

I have recently become a Research Student at Reading University. So I have been taking an interest in the Condems plans for Student Finance. Not amused to find that my fees may double, and then on top of that when Sophie goes to Uni., she may have to pay £7,000 a year just for tuition fees. Could be an interesting couple of years financially.

More amused to see that the Lib Dems., who had campaigned against student fees at the General Election, have changed their minds and now support it. Amused, actually I lie, livid.

So am happy to pass on this video made by the NUS pointing out Nick Cleggs duplicity.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

If you tolerate this- Your Campaign Will be Next

Tuesday 19th October will show whether the new Condem administration is really willing to support its residents or not.

The meeting will be dominated by the Maiden Erlegh catchment issue. I am going to present the petition to the Council and ask the Condems to support Park's residents. There will be a number of  questions from residents about the issue and then Labour Park Councillor will bring a motion to the Council that will bind it to support the campaign with legal action.

This is a vital moment for the campaign. It appears that Cllr Mark Ralph is wobbling in his support and is not willing to spend the money to bring in the lawyers.

Cllr Hartley's motion says:

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Harvest Festival on Cemetery Junction

Today was Harvest Festival at my Church, Wycliffe Baptist Church, Cemetery Junction. The video above is of part of the service. ( The dreadful male voice you can hear is mine, sorry).This year the Harvest was celebrated in the style of the Jewish Celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles, where the people brought water to pour on to the alter and branches to wave.

I often have issues with church, I am not sure how supportive Church members really are of Christians involved in politics, and especialy Labour politics, however it was uplifting and challenging to think about all that, we as a community have been through this year and the blessings we have received. At least I found it so. We spent some time reading the 10 Commandments, which is a challenge to all of us, and me especially. At the end of each commandment we were reminded that there is the opportunity for forgiveness when we break the commandments, see John 3:16 in the Bible for further details. 

I put the 10 commandments here for your information, it is a Sunday after all.

1. "You shall have no other gods before me.

2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3. "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

4."Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5. "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

6. "You shall not murder.

7. "You shall not commit adultery.

8. "You shall not steal.

9. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Saturday, 9 October 2010

A Long Week Lollipoping

Ok can you spot the deliberate mistake in this photo?

Its not the car, its not Bali's shop, its not the Newsagents, its the sign. This is the sign that says no right hand turn at the junction of Crescent Road and Wokingham Road. It has been banged out of true by drivers who have illegally turned right, where the right hand turn is banned.

This sign has summed up some of the problems which face your Alfred Sutton Lollipop man on an average day.

Every morning I face, people who illegally turn left from the Wokingham Road in to Crescent Road. The curb has been set to make this difficult and indeed they often ground on the curb and have to reverse back in to the traffic to make the turn. They at least try to look sheepish as they come around the corner.

On the other hand there are those who make the illegal right turn, this week I even saw a Reading Borough Council dustcart make this turn. 

I am there to help people across the road, amazingly a large number of drivers appear to want to speed up when they see me walk in to the road. At least twice I have had to call out to parents and children to make sure that they don't step in to the road because I wasn't sure that the car, infront of which I was standing, didn't appear to want to stop.

Occassionally I get tradesmen who park up to get sandwiches at the sandwich shop and dump their vehicle in front of the school. Last week a trademan did this and gave me a lot of verbal when I asked him to move. Fortunately when I called his boss he took it very seriously and said he would discipline his driver. I was very impressed at the boss's attitude.

So in to this mix add rain and fog this week and the fact that a number of parents seem to encourage their children to run in to the middle of the road. I had the situation this week where a father was running late and dropped his child infront of the school, on the opposite side of the road. He then told his child to run to school. The poor child aged 7 or 8 did as he was asked and ran straight infront of a car. Luckily the approaching driver had his wits about him and stopped in time, after I had shouted  a warning.

I went to discuss the issue with the Father, who after all just encouraged his son to commit suicide, and the Father had the gall to ask me to open one of the car's passenger doors, on the road side, as it had child locks and the other child couldn't get out of the car. All I can say is that I was flabbergasted.

Friday, 1 October 2010

When Did Reading Borough Council Know About the Maiden Erlegh Consultation?

Questions have been asked about when Reading Borough Council knew that Wokingham Borough Council were going to propose changes to the Maiden Erlegh Catchment Area.

Jon Hartley, Labour Councillor; Park Ward, has asked Reading Officers to confirm when they were aware of the changes. They confirm that Wokingham advised them in June that changes to the catchment area were proposed. While not for now, as we are where we are, however this date asks questions of Tory Councillor Mark Ralph's commitment to Reading's residents as this would have been one of the first things across his desk in coming to his role as Lead Councillor for education.

The officer's full response to Jon's question is attached below for your information.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Wright, Anna
Date: 30 September 2010 13:35

Subject: RE: Reading Borough Council involvement in Wokingham's

Designated Area Review

To: "Hartley, JonX">

Dear Jon

I have consulted with colleagues and can clarify that we were invited to

an initial meeting at Wokingham to discuss their review on 26 March

2010. Noone from Reading went to that meeting as it was billed as a set

up meeting covering terms of reference etc. The papers were circulated,

but no proposals for change were contained in them and the meeting just

covered background information.

The next meeting officers attended was on 13 May 2010 when the over

subscription criteria were discussed and the focus was on Wokingham town

centre schools in the main, in particular Holt and Forest.

The meeting concerning designated areas for all Wokingham secondary

schools was held on 10 June 2010 and at this meeting we first learned

Wokingham's plans for changing the DA of Maiden Erlegh.

Best wishes




Anna Wright

Director of Education and Children's Services

Reading Borough Council