miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
... may be interested to know that she is writing a book based partially on the speech and Q&A she gave us. If you would like a copy you can back the kickstarter here.

The amount being asked for the Kickstarter is symbolic — £1,008 is the fee for UK citizenship *after* you’ve already passed the so-called citizenship test and paid thousands in visas, which Holly has. I've gone for the signed copy, myself.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Yorkshire)
Calderdale Council is currently running a consultation on Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. In the usual way of Calderdale council, they have made plans to do all sorts of things to it, without actually asking any of the people who use it, or the volunteer groups that currently maintain it, and then belatedly realised that if they do stuff people might be upset and so they'd better have a consultation to add a veneer of respectability to their plans.

If nobody answers the consultation, they can pretend nobody objects. Personally, I object. We currently have a nature reserve that is not disturbed by massive footfall. If you build a visitor centre and cycle trails and an adventure park and all that gubbins you suddenly have massively increased footfall, and all the undisturbed critters suddenly get disturbed.

Please, if you have a Calderdale postcode, go and tell them that adding all the crap they are planning to build would spoil an unspoilt habitat for wildlife, and also it would cost money that should be being spent on services they are cutting instead.

Consultation is here: http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/council/consultation/cromwell-bottom/

Thanks.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
So, in case you're wondering what we got up to in Glasgow, here's us speaking from the stage.

Firstly, our lovely PPC for Calder Valley, Alisdair Calder McGregor spoke several times... )

Todmorden's own Ruth Coleman-Taylor spoke twice ) and also filled a good half of the first Today at Conference )

My lovely treasurer Dr Mick Taylor also spoke twice )

Sarah Noble spoke twice too )

Oh yeah... And I spoke agin gender quotas )
miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
So, a couple of years ago Labour pulled out of a stable Lib/Lab coalition on Calderdale council despite the agreement having a year still to run because they thought they could go it alone in a minority administration. Last night that administration was finally toppled, after a series of scandals where the cabinet appointed by the minority administration kept ignoring the will of full council, in a no confidence vote. Labour are screeching about this in very personal terms in every medium that will afford them airspace. Apparently toppling Swifty from his rightful seat of supreme executive power that he gained without even a majority* is a betrayal, and a conspiracy cooked up against Swifty and the rest of Labour by foul evil nasty people.

This only makes sense if you understand one thing: Labour people think anything Labour = objectively, unquestionably good and anything not!Labour = bad. A moral judgement has already been made before any action is ever taken. Tories, of course, are ALWAYS evil, but Lib Dems and Greens can be acceptable; IF and ONLY if we are doing whatever Labour want us to do. As soon as we show any sign of not-supporting Labour in any way they scream that we are BETRAYING them. Because obviously, the fact that we all joined another party doesn't mean we don't support Labour REALLY, it just means we like other coloured shirts or something. And as soon as we become BETRAYERS we are automatically WORSE than the Tories. Tories can't HELP being evil, you see, but we made a CHOICE to be evil by not supporting Labour.

So it was OK for Labour to stab us in the back and kick us out of coalition because Labour are good and Lib Dems are bad.
But it's a BETRAYAL for us to vote against them in a no-con, even after they have stabbed us in the back and kicked us out of coalition, because if we want to be good we should be supporting them, not our own political beliefs.

I would laugh at this sort of "logic" were it not that so many of the electorate accept it unquestioningly :/



*or even a watery tart throwing a sword at him.**
** honestly, if I went round saying I was an emperor just cos some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away***
*** and I'm not even called Dennis.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... has been mostly spent knocking on people's doors and talking to them, or shoving leaflets through people's doors, all in the name of Lib Demmery. I shall be singing Letterboxes with more than the usual amount of fervour at the next Glee Club, especially given my injuries*.

Today I alone I have knocked on doors in five different wards, and travelled through a further three on my way between the various canvass sessions. This chairing lark is not all just signing stuff and telling people to shut up in meetings, you know. And the thing I love most about it? Apart from the stunning landscape I get to look at pretty much everywhere in this borough, the people are so lovely. Even those against us (and such strange people do apparently exist) are uniformly lovely about it. One of the antis called me "flower" and wished me luck today; you don't GET that in many places.

Props to all those from m'team who have been out doorknocking with me, especially Mick who has been doing it every day like a one-man canvassing machine, and our MEP Rebecca Taylor who has been in the area too. Also Abid and Chris, and Ruth and Margareta, and Janet and Mike, and Mat; and last but by no means least, my lovely Calder Valley PPC Alisdair who has been to NEARLY as many sessions as me.

So yeah, I'm knackered, but happy, having basically spent my entire "holiday" working. If you'd have told me ten years ago that this is what I'd be doing now? I'd have laughed in your face.



*I actually found myself mumbling lines from it, especially from the "should be subject to regu-la-a-ations" verse - e.g. as I knelt down to push something through a low one muttering "all at waist height" etc.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
So this news story popped up on my feed this morning. Calderdale Council's Labour cabinet have agreed to spend £680,000 on upgrading the borough's CCTV system.

£680,000.

SIX HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND POUNDS.

This is the same Labour cabinet who threaten community centres with closure, and when anyone complains bleat about ConDem cuts and wring their hands ruefully. Community centres, which, lets not forget, actually address the root causes of crime and ASB, unlike CCTV which just allows the police to sometimes have the evidence to prosecute after the fact.

Now, to be fair, only about a quarter of a million of this £680,000 is coming from some unnamed slush fund that none of the rest of us know anything about, and which could have been spent on more worthwhile things; the rest of it is going to be borrowed. On unspecified terms. Because we all know how GREAT Labour are at negotiating favourable contract terms for loans. Calderdale Royal hospital's PFI deal is a shining example of their skill in that regard.

And then there's the contract for the actual provision. Which is going to Virgin Media. We don't know why, or what terms they were offered the contract, or how they tendered for it. We don't know if there are are any performance clauses in the contract so the council will be able to get out of it if it all goes mammaries-skyward. But I'm sure we can trust the Labour party to have thought of all this, right? They totally haven't got a track record of dodgy contracts which tie the hands of their successors at all levels of government at all...

I really am quite angry about this, as you can probably tell.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Bravo George)
It's not often you'll see me post to my blog officially in my capacity as chair of the local Lib Dems - mostly because I know it's not something that most of my readership is interested in - but today I'm making an exception to that.

First, a little background. Calderdale council is currently run under a cabinet system by a minority Labour administration. There has been frustration among all the OTHER councillors (Lib Dem, Tory and Independent alike) about the levels of secrecy and lack of transparency this entails for some time. This has recently come to a head over the proposed council budget, agreed by Labour councillors in secret among themselves without any consultation whatsoever with the rest of the councillors.

Now the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted the phrase "minority administration" in that previous paragraph. You see, the thing is, if everyone else bands together, there's more of us than there are of Labour. Which has led to this: http://calderdalelibdems.focusteam.org/2014/02/19/agreement-reached-on-budget-changes/

My Council Group is a diverse bunch of people, all of whom are fierce intellects and Liberals. As you might expect, sometimes this leads to debate, and even disagreement. But with this? With this there has been mature and rational discussion, negotiation, fact-finding, costing, checking and double-checking, and ultimately a proposal reached which both we and the Tories can agree to. There were some initial proposals which we made that the Tories didn't like, and some that they made which we didn't like. But both groups sat down like reasonable human beings and worked something out.

This is how things are MEANT to work, and I am immensely proud that my team have achieved this. Well done guys and girls, and especially my negiotiation team headed by our group leader Janet Battye. Really well done.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
One of the more disturbing things to come out of the Calderdale Council cabinet meeting on Monday night was that they are apprently planning to sell off the Pellon Network Centre. So while money can be found for pay rises for council officers, and for iPads for councillors, and for the long-debated strip of land hubwards of Sto Kerrig Halifax library plans, there's no money left to keep open a much needed community resource in a deprived area of the borough.

Now I could use this for political point-scoring. I could say "see, this is how Labour prioritise things! I bet they try to blame it on ConDem cuts!" and other such things. But frankly that would be cheap, and would miss the point. The point is that the centre is well-used*, has had a bucketload of public and private cash poured into it**, and is a valuable community asset which it would be senseless to flog off for short term gain.

James Baker, councillor for the ward in which the centre is situated, has set up a website with a petition which I'd be grateful if you would sign. This is a Lib Dem campaign because James is a Lib Dem, but I'd like to think it's more important than what colour your rosette is.





*Youth services operate out of the centre, it is also home to a jobs club, a computer club, an art club and a Saturday morning club with fun activities for parents and children.
**Action Halifax allocated £112k of European money and some more from the Single Regeneration Budget, the Council added another £70k as match funding, private money came in from Pennine Housing, the Community Foundation (£10k of Jennifer Pearson's money via the Stephen Pearson Memorial Fund) and others. Total costs came to about £250k of public and private money.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
... the lovely Alisdair Calder McGregor.

(You can find him on Twitter, linked in, blog, LDV articles, G+)

alisdairrailway

You'd vote for that, amirite? I totally would :)

Hustings was a lot of fun last night. Questions to candidates were very broad ranging (some of them longer winded than others LOL) and the turnout was not bad, to say what horrible cold miserable Halifaxness we had to endure to get to it.

On the evidence of last night, Alisdair is going to make a bloody awesome candidate. Pretty much everything he said in answers to questions was clear and succint. No rambling off on tangents. Lots of useful political points. And peppered with big meaty doses of Liberalism. Definitely a parliamentary candidate I can get behind. Which is handy, really, because he's already started dishing out orders to me...

I'm not going to make a secret of the fact that I wanted Alisdair to win this from the beginning - it'd be hard to with my imprint on the bottom of all of his literature - but I do want to say that had Janet won we'd still have a great candidate. So commiserations to Janet.

And forward to 2015. I guess there's going to be a lot more leaflet designing for ME.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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