Thursday, 22 November 2012

GFH Capital have at last signed a deal for Leeds United but want Ken Bates to stay on as President

I recognise that Ken Bates played an important role in saving Leeds United and has given the club a solid foundation. In other ways, however, he has been a public relations disaster and would, in my opinion, make a totally unsuitable club President.

You only have to read his comments reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post to see that he would be a nightmare as President. The club has just announced that GFH Capital have signed a deal for the club and all he can contribute is a rant about liars, chancers and conmen.

The club President should be a local figurehead that has the respect and approval of the supporters. I was hoping the chants of "Bates out" would now end but it looks like they are set to continue indefinitely.

Mr Bates will, in fact, remain as Chairman until the end of the season and then become club President.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Lib Dem launches Middlesbrough jobs plan

Urgent action is needed to turn around Middlesbrough's jobs crisis, according a local employment expert.

Launching his official 'jobs plan' for the town today, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate George Selmer said Middlesbrough had been neglected by Labour for decades and needed a strong voice representing the area in Westminster.

Speaking outside the Corporation Road Jobcentre, where he and Ian Swales MP met local jobseekers, George said:
George jobcentre
"Unemployment in Middlesbrough is among the highest in the country. The town needs an MP who can turn that around.
"For too long, Labour have been happy to accept second best for this area. Their neglect and complacency is shocking.
"I've spent my career getting unemployed people back to work. I know how to fix Middlesbrough's jobs problem.
"You only have to look next door to see the positive 
George and Ian jobcentre

George Selmer works to help unemployed people back to work

impact a Lib Dem MP can make. While youth unemployment is rising in Middlesbrough, it has fallen by 6% in Redcar." 

Redcar MP Ian Swales added,

"While Labour are still pining over the loss of One North East - a Tynside-focused quango that consistently overlooked Teesside - George is concentrating on the solutions that will help people here in Middlesbrough.
"That means a focus on apprenticeships, and securing Regional Growth Funding for local businesses. "It means banging the drum for Teesside in Westminster to help attract new jobs and encourage existing firms to expand.
"Tackling unemployment is the number one challenge facing Middlesbrough's next MP. Local voters should back the man with a plan."

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I voted against Rex Hunt's request for Whitby to twin with Port Stanley

A reference in the Evening Gazette today about reporter Mike Morgan's telephone conversation with Sir Rex Hunt shortly before the 1982 Argentinian invasion of the Falklands brought back memories of my own involvement in what I think were the events which led to Mike Morgan making the call.

Mike (pictured right) was then a reporter on the Whitby Gazette and I was a member of Whitby Town Council.

I think Mike was prompted to make the call to His Excellency Mr Rex Hunt, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Falkland Islands and dependencies in response to a letter Mr Hunt (who had yet to be knighted) had sent to Whitby Town Council expressing his concern about the Tory Government's cost cutting measure to remove the British warship that was protecting the islands. He suggested a town twinning arrangement between Whitby and Falkland Islands capital Port Stanley due to the fact that both towns had whale bone arches. He felt it would help to maintain links with Great Britain.

All the members of the Town Council were delighted to form a twinning arrangement with Port Stanley except for me. I felt it was a pointless exercise as it was so far away and it was not possible for exchange visits to take place. 

The twinning arrangement went ahead and a ceremony took place in the Pannett Art Gallery in Whitby in August 1981. I am pretty sure that Rex Hunt himself actually attended this. Whitby Town Council could always do a good ceremony and the food was always nice.

Little did I know that some months after voting against the twinning arrangement Argentina would invade the Falklands, Rex Hunt would become a hero and pictures of the sign Port Stanley twinned with Whitby would be seen all over the world.

The decision to twin with Port Stanley turned out to be a very astute decision indeed and one that I got wrong. It did as Sir Rex Hunt said it would. It helped to strengthen the links between Great Britain and the Falkland Islands.

Whitby went on to twin with a number of faraway towns which had links with Captain Cook:

Anchorage, Alaska, USA 
Cooktown, Australia 
East Fremantle, Australia 
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, USA 
Nuku’alofa, Tonga 
Porirua, Whitby, New Zealand 
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands 
West Wylong, Australia 
Whitby, Ontario, Canada 
Whitilanga, New Zealand 

I remember one Town Councillor piping up in support of twinning with Nuku'alofa: "The Queen of Tonga looked so lovely at the Coronation in 1953." 

I wanted the town to twin with a European town where exchange visits could take place. An editorial in the Whitby Gazette actually supported this too. I still think the town should have gone in for a different type of arrangement with these places so that those who like meeting people could enjoy the benefits that town twinning brings. It became quite a curiosity that Whitby was twinned with such faraway places and that in itself has earned the town a lot of publicity. 

Sir Rex Hunt who was born in Redcar and attended Sir William Turner's School, flew Spitfires in the RAF before a career in the diplomatic service. He retired as Governor of the Falkland Islands in 1985 and settled in Stockton, where he died aged 86.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Lib Dems demand answers on BMX track at Eston

Liberal Democrats in the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland are asking when the problems with the BMX track at Eston will be dealt with.

The track has cost £90,000 to build but has had to be repaired four times already due to subsidence.

The Director of Biketrack (specialist track designers) has said that parts of the course are so dangerous they need demolishing altogether.

Liberal Democrat Leisure Spokesman, Cllr Josh Mason (pictured), questioned the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Tourism.
Cllr Mason said:
“A BMX track is a great facility for young people.
“But I am very concerned it cannot be used due to design problems.
“Local people have a right to know why the Council has handled this so badly, and why they turned down free expert advice from specialist architects.
“This is another example of the Labour Council not getting the basics right, and wasting public money in the process."