Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Huge pay rise for Labour Council leader - New Poll

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Council have condemned a proposal to raise the pay of the Council’s Labour leader by 33.8%.

The recommendation to raise the Leader’s special responsibility allowance from £12,550 to £19,710 comes in a report from the Independent Remuneration Panel, to be discussed by the Council on 2 March.

But local Liberal Democrats are horrified by the proposal to increase allowances so much during a recession.

At a time when people are losing jobs, struggling to pay bills and the country is in the deepest recession for 60 years, we should not be even considering giving the Leader of the Council such a massive pay boost.

If Labour vote this recommendation through next week it will be highly insensitive and a slap in the face to hard-working families in our borough.

It is also particularly galling that the Labour leader himself was such a critic of increases in Councillors’ allowances when in opposition and now in control he wants to almost double his own special allowance.

Reading the report it is clear that this was more than a recommendation from the Independent Panel. It was, in fact, requested by the Labour leader himself and his colleagues on the cabinet.

The Independent Remuneration Panel is recommending a rise in the basic allowance (paid to all Council members) from £9,290 to £9,520 (roughly in line with inflation). But should the Labour Leader be allowed to almost double his special allowance? Please see our new poll on the right.

Friday, 13 February 2009

More or Bore 3

Posted by Chris:
My third and final More or Bore column has appeared in the Evening Gazette today:
THERE was quite a fuss last week when Gordon Brown met with visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao because the Union flag was displayed upside down. It was pointed out that when flown upside down on a ship this is a sign of distress. So maybe it was appropriate at this time of recession.
There is just as much fuss when the Yorkshire rose is displayed the wrong way round. Football clubs are the worst offenders. Doncaster Rovers, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United all include the white rose in their club badge but only Doncaster displays it the correct way round.
Actually, there is no official way to display the rose but tradition dictates that in the North and West Ridings there should be two sepals (points) at the top and one at the bottom to form a 'Y' for Yorkshire. In Lancashire the red rose flag is displayed the other way round. Legend has it that leading families in the East Riding supported the Duke of Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses so the rose is displayed point upwards, the Lancashire way.
The Yorkshire Ridings Society has obtained a stock of the newly registered Yorkshire flag. Details can be found on our web-site www.yorkshire ridings.org
For years I wondered why fish and chips did not taste as good to me as they did when I was growing up in Harrogate. It was only in recent years that I realised why. I never specified the type of fish. In the West Riding you simply asked for one of each and round here you ask for fish and chips. For some strange reason in Leeds and the surrounding area chip shops mainly serve haddock but on the east coast and Sheffield it is cod. Why is this?
When my wife Glynis and I started to go fishing at Woodlands Lakes in Carlton Miniott or at the Oaks in Sessay we used to stop for fish and chips in Thirsk on the way back. These always seem to taste better to me and it was then I noticed that it was haddock not cod.
Glynis has become quite skilled at fishing but will only go if there are decent facilities. That is something we are short of in this area. She always seems to catch bigger fish than me. Her personal bests for chub, carp and bream are better than mine, though I hold the family record for the biggest perch, almost four pounds caught on the Swale.
We have had a number of trips to the famous Royalty Fishery at Christ Church in recent years attempting to capture some of the legendary specimen barbel. So far we have failed to net one over a pound but Glynis caught a chub of five pounds last year. Even if we don't catch anything it is always a nice day out, especially if the day ends with fish and chips.
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Friday, 6 February 2009

More or Bore 2

My second More or Bore column has appeared in the Evening Gazette tonight. Thank you to those who voted last week for more...
CHRIS Abbott, chairman of the Yorkshire Ridings Society and a member of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, returns for a second week.
I WAS born in Harrogate and as I reached my teenage years Don Revie’s Leeds United team were just beginning to come good. By the time I attended my first match aged 14 they were the top side in Yorkshire.
My grandad was a lifelong supporter of the club and that season they reached the FA Cup final for the first time.
To sit and watch it with him in his living room was just as exciting as it was at Wembley in later years when I stood with my father and brothers cheering ourselves hoarse.
I had watched my first game at Elland Road on March 14, 1965. Leeds United beat Burnley 5-1, with big Jack Charlton scoring two of the goals.
I was hooked and throughout the rest of the 1960s and early Seventies I hardly missed a match.
We were proud of our status as the best team in Yorkshire and United fans loved to let people know about it.
We did not come across Middlesbrough much, if at all, during those years and our chief North-east rivals were Sunderland. In recent years, Leeds United’s bid to buy back the glory years has sent us spiralling into the third division. Since then Middlesbrough have been the top Yorkshire side, that is until Hull City began its first ever season in the top flight, though they seem to be on the slide of late.
With a five million population, the same size as Scotland and twice the size of Wales, the bragging rights to being Yorkshire’s No 1 side are not insignificant and far exceed that of being the best in the North-east. It is the perfect response to the Mackems’ tag that Middlesbrough is just "a small town in Yorkshire".
Why is it then that Boro have not promoted themselves as Yorkshire’s No 1? I suspect two main reasons are:
1. Boro’s fan base stretches across the Tees into Durham and the powers that be at the club prefer to refer to the area as Teesside.
2. The confusion caused by frequent changes in local government administration.
Middlesbrough is still south of the River Tees and is on Teesside but Teesside is not a county. Our real county still remains as the North Riding of Yorkshire. This has nothing to do with local government and is quite separate. We still have a North Riding County Football Association.
The Ridings of Yorkshire were not abolished by local government changes. Neither the Parliamentary Act of 1974 nor 1992 had any effect on them. Governments, legal experts and many other reputable bodies all agree.
Where would cricket be if we no longer had our real counties? The answer is to accept that England’s 39 geographic counties still legally remain for all cultural, ceremonial, sporting and postal purposes.
When Boro overtake Hull, as I know they soon will, they can say, without fear of contradiction, they are Yorkshire’s No 1.
you can vote more or bore by clicking here.