Tuesday, 23 December 2014

What has an Anchovy, Mobile, Mini skirt and Christmas got in Common?

I learnt many years ago to keep an open mind about everything, and I'd like to think that the lesson shows itself in the way I am open to new ideas, people, their behaviour and beliefs by listening, learning and acting accordingly.

I learnt this valuable lesson from the above ingredients in my title because i was so adamant about how I felt about them, at the time. Let me explain:

Anchovies - I loathed these with a passion when I was a child, in fact even as a teenager. My father loved them and I thought he was seriously mad. Not only do I adore them now but if I fancy them, I have to go to the supermarket and get some in the very next shop.

Mobile phones - I remember in the late 90's getting a phone call from a mobile salesman and I said
'I do not have a mobile phone, never wanted a mobile phone and will never want a mobile phone'. Yeah, exactly!

Mini skirts - I have fallen in and out of love for these things since I was 14, vowing never to wear them again once I reached my 30's thinking they looked cheap, only to find myself wearing them again literally a few months later, and then going off them again. Suffice to say there comes an age when you just can't wear them but I still love them!

And so it is with Christmas. When i was a single parent, I had several years of waking up on my own, without even my son, on christmas day - such is the nature of split families, But at least in my story I got to be with him from 11am onwards when I would pick him up from his father's and take him to my family.

Christmas really exaggerates how one feels when one is without a partner and for many years I dreaded and hated it. I just used to make the most of it and knew that so many people were much worse off than I was,  I would dwell on such loneliness of others, which only added to my feelings that Christmas wasn't what it was cut out to be.In fact was an expensive way to feel miserable and stressed!

Then I met my second hubby and although it became a far more magical time, it took me several years to grow to love it again, because I couldn't shake off the feeling that so many lonely people must be feeling as i used to, at that time.

Now that I have grandchildren, I love Christmas and made the conscious decision that I would enjoy it without any feelings of guilt. I'd spent my lonely times and that is life but it is up to each of us to make the most of our lovely family times, relishing the children while they are young enough to believe in Father Christmas..

Christmas is about hope and as I have said, past poisons can become present medicines so never lose faith and hope that your year will be a better one or an even better one!

I rarely say Never now..

Christmas is the time for reflection, gratitude and giving.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wind Turbine Success for Ipswich Residents!

I'm pleased to report that councillors at Babergh agreed with the officers recommendations and refused permission for PfR to build a huge wind turbine on the site overlooking SW Ipswich at Pannington.

Despite the fact the many people support renewable energy, I think most would agree that the site needs to be appropriate. I love seeing them blowing majestically in the sea - but on land where the nearest house would be just a few hundred meters away it is not in the right context.

I attended the meeting in Hadleigh on behalf of my residents in StokePpark - the only Ipswich borough councillor to do so other than Andrew Caan who was there as an Ipswich Spy reporter alongside Ben.
They will report on this much better than I can, as they have filmed the whole meeting and will no doubt print a full report.

So to my residents in Stoke Park who voted overwhelmingly against this, in a survey from Ben Gummer MP and myself, and helped to change the outcome -


Friday, 12 December 2014

Local Plan consultation - Drop In dates

I did ask at executive that we were as pro-active as possible on the consultation - this is a good start but needs to attract.

If you can make some of the dates below, please do try to attend the drop-ins

A further round of public consultation started today on the new Local Plan for Ipswich.
The Local Plan will set the framework for how Ipswich is set to develop in the future – so if you want to find out more about proposed sites for housing and employment, as well as plans to protect and enhance Ipswich’s assets, this is your opportunity.
The Local Plan is made up of two documents – the Core Strategy and Site Allocations.
The Borough Council has doubled the length of the consultation period to 12 weeks as it wants to gather as many opinions as possible on the documents, which will help to determine how future planning applications are dealt with.
Consultation on draft versions of the two plans took place earlier this year but the Council has now reached the “proposed submission stage”, which means these are the versions of the Core Strategy and Site Allocations documents that it wishes to adopt.
The Council is holding a number of drop-in public sessions during January and February:
·         Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st January (11am- 4pm) at the Town Hall (Pickwick Room);
·         Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th January (11am to 4pm) at Ipswich Sports Club, Henley Road;
·         Wednesday 11th February (3pm – 8pm) at The Meeting Place, Limerick Close;
·         Thursday 12th February (3pm – 8pm) at All Hallows Church Hall, Landseer Close;
·         Friday 13th February (3pm – 8pm) at Colchester Road Baptist Church;
·         Tuesday 17th February (3pm – 8pm) at St Peter’s Church, Stoke Park Drive
·         Friday 20th and Saturday 21st February (11am – 4pm) at the Town Hall (Pickwick Room).
Following the consultation the documents will be submitted to the Planning Inspector next summer with a view to adopting them later in 2015.
All the documents and details of how you can respond can be found at www.ipswich.gov.uk/consultationsThere are also copies at Ipswich libraries, at the Town Hall and in the Council’s offices at Grafton House, Russell Road, IP1 2DE.
All representations must be received by the Council by 5pm on Thursday 5th March 2015.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Most Stupid Comment of the week Award goes to:

.....Ken Livingstone - for this

The last sentence - In actual fact......? Oh, is it now?

In actual fact? - He's measured all of this has he? He has correlated all the things that happened 30 years ago to all the things that have happened today? I'd love to see how he has done this. Priceless.

I must admit - at first I was angry at this dreadful statement about a past Prime Minster who had to take over a dreadfully drab, awful, poor country being brought to it's knees by the unions. Especially as she is no longer here to defend herself. It's quite vile in my opinion.

He has no idea, like the rest of us what would've happened had she not come into power and put the unions in their place - but most of us can take a good guess.

Then I had a good chuckle - Socialists are masters at blaming anything that's remotely blue, anything and anyone but themselves. Where Tories see opportunities and look for solutions, socialists see only the problems and someone else to solve it for them.

My loathing of socialism is no big secret and I try to take away the politics from the person but Ken is just one of the most unlikeable left wing politicians in my time.

This is the real truth:

The Trouble with the Westminster Left is that they’ve never forgiven Margaret Thatcher for becoming the first female Prime Minister. They will never have that accolade and no-one can ever take it away from her. She didn't need feminism to bang on, on her behalf - she was formidable, passionate and one of the last who truly cared about the country and it's people, whether you agreed with her or not. And they hate this.

Her achievements are well recognised, her legacy a great one – she rescued this country and was one of the best Prime Ministers ever.

Message to Ken Livingstone – Mrs T has achieved more in the last year, since her death, than you ever will. Retire from talking and enjoy yourself...

Monday, 1 December 2014

HMS Quorn freedom march through Ipswich town centre

Ipswich welcomed the commanding officer and crew of HMS Quorn as up to 2,000 people cheered and waved flags during a special freedom march and parade.


The Royal Navy warship is affiliated to Ipswich and was granted the Freedom of Entry to the Borough in 2011. On Sunday, the ship's company "exercised their right" to march through the town, led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. Cadets and the Royal British Legion also assisted.


The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Bill Quinton, welcomed Lt Cdr Stuart Yates to the Cornhill and then inspected the crew of the mine hunter before they marched through the town centre, cheered on by a crowd who stopped their Christmas shopping to enjoy the stirring spectacle.


The freedom march was the culmination of a five-day visit to Ipswich by HMS Quorn. 

And it was fab!





Friday, 28 November 2014

David Cameron on Immigration - Have Your Say

Herewith from Official sources

We have always been an open nation, welcoming those who want to make a contribution and build a decent life for themselves and their families.

But people have understandably become frustrated.

They want Government to have control over the numbers of people coming here and the circumstances in which they come. And yet in recent years, it has become clear that successive Governments have lacked that control.

So my objective is simple: to make our immigration system fairer, and reduce the current exceptionally high level of migration from within the EU into the UK.

First, we want to create the toughest system in the EU for dealing with abuse of free movement. This includes stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back.

Second, EU migrants should have a job offer before they come here - and UK taxpayers will not support them if they don't. And if an EU jobseeker has not found work within six months, they will be required to leave.

Third, we want to reduce the number of EU workers coming to the UK - so in the future, they won't get benefits or social housing from Britain unless they have been here for at least four years.

This is an issue which matters to the British people, and to our future in the European Union.

If I am elected as Prime Minister in May, I will negotiate to reform the European Union, and Britain's relationship with it. This issue of free movement will be a key part of that negotiation.

If I succeed, I will campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU. If we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.

I want to know what you think about this important issue. Please leave a comment here and have your say.


New Waterfront Gym and Meet the Author of a new Ipswich History book

Ipswich’s newest gym – and the first on the town’s Waterfront –will be officially opened next week.

The doors of Profiles Waterfront Gym are already open and Borough Council sports bosses are inviting people to drop in and look around.


The gym, the fifth in the Profiles “family”, offers great value and no minimum contract or joining fees that tie you in. Dedicated staff members are on hand to help you get and stay fit. 


The gym offers top of the range Pulse equipment, including the latest Cirrus smart consoles and software that will create your very own training and entertainment programme.


The Profiles team is raring to go and would love to give you a guided tour and chat about your fitness needs. So, get along to Athena Hall on University Avenue, near to University Campus Suffolk’s (UCS) James Hehir Building.


Opening hours of the new gym, which is a partnership between Ipswich Borough Council and UCS, are:

Weekdays: 07am to 10pm

Weekends and Bank Holidays: 8am to 5pm.
Meet the Author
A new book highlighting important, historic and quirky events in Ipswich’s history is now on sale at Ipswich Tourist Information Centre and author Rachel Field will be signing copies there on Saturday  6th December.
“The Ipswich Book of Days” takes us through the years day by day - giving eccentric, amusing and important events facts about one of England’s most historic towns.

Topics include social, political, religious, industrial, military and sporting history. A great book for dipping into, it is packed with fun facts that you will want to share with friends and family. Find out …

* How Ipswich discouraged strangers and rogue traders in 1478;

* About the first motorised road accident in 1898; 

* Who invaded England from the banks of the Orwell in 1326;

* How Henry II was amused by his minstrel, Roland de Fartere.
Rachel Field grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Ipswich. “The Ipswich Book of Days” is available from the Tourist Information Centre (TIC), priced £9.99. Ms Field will be signing copies of her book on 6th December from 11am to 2pm.

Further information:
TIC Manager David Stainer, tel: 01473 258070

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Party Political Broadcast at Council for Ipswich Labour

Well, we wait months for a full council meeting in order to ask questions and discuss important papers and what do we get from the huge beached whale that is the Labour group but opportunist party political posturing by the leader of the council.

Never one to let his ego take second place to proper democracy, we Conservatives had to put up with Councillor Ellesmere blowing his own trumpet completely out of context of the discussions.

Relying on old jokes and becoming even more predictable, he used every opportunity NOT to answer our questions, instead immediately switching to anything that suited his one and only mission - to become Ipswich's next MP.

I think he will always have an opening as a stand up comedian should he choose to do Ipswich a favour and have a change of career.

Our questions were good valid ones, some of them were asked on behalf of residents and yet still they think it funny to respond in a most offensive way. Cllr Smart was one of the exceptions last night and in fact gave some good responses. On car parking free on a Sunday, which a resident brought up, I think I probably agree with his sentiment that we have to balance the income as well as make it attractive.

Cllr Bryony read out a very bland and uninteresting answer at treble the speed on my question regarding the large loss made at this years beer festival. I've asked for it in writing because I missed most of it and want to dissect it, but I don't hold much hope that it actually answered my concern of how we will learn from the mistakes.

Councillor Ellesmere continues to avoid any answers - he doesn't so much as move the goalposts as to change to a completely different game to one where there is only one player. Me, me, me.

Having complained to the Mayor - who did absolutely nothing about the long ramble, I feel that the people of Ipswich deserve better for money.

Councillor Cook continues to be on a mission to see if I can keep up with the detail, often just spewing accusations of 'illegal' when everything I've put forward has been looked over by our legal department. I think this just proves they believe people are stupid and will take as gospel all their little soundbites.

Councillor Jones, although patronising, at least answered the questions in a thorough and passionate way but didn't answer my questions about how we are going to proactively engage the public on the Local Plan. What's the point of extending the consultation to 12 weeks if the public don't even know it's there. Invisible in week 1 will be invisible in week 12.

The rest of the group - and it is massive, do not stand up to speak on anything unless it is to second a paper or thank someone - I am starting to think they have been instructed by Ellesmere not to do so in case they put their foot in it OR they do not have the confidence to voice an opinion. They never used to be like this. Which is why en masse they remind me of a motionless beached whale.

This is probably my harshest summary of the full council meeting but I'm afraid it needs to be said.

With regard to the apprenticeship pay rises for Ipswich Borough Councils, this administration proves again they do not respect taxpayers money and do not care about businesses in our town.

Retention of apprenticeships is not about money - it's about team comradery, enjoyment of the job, prospects. Young people are delighted to be awarded an apprenticeship and for us to award 40% above the national minimum wage is unnecessary, costing a further £64k of taxpayers money.

Apprenticeships have doubled under this government and this is down to anything but the money. By making IBC more attractive than private companies, is not so much about competition but a path to the death of apprenticeships, if companies cannot afford to take them on.

They cost a lot of money, time and energy and it has to be a win/win situation. It can even be years before the full benefits are paid back to the company and there has to be an attractive proposal to both parties.

I also don't understand why we haven't filled all our vacancies - again another question I asked that went unanswered. Ipswich companies are inundated with requests for apprenticeships, some even offering to work for nothing just to get the experience! Does that sound like people are motivated just by money?

I've had many businesses say that if they had to pay more than they currently do, they would not take on an apprentice and that would be a crying shame.

I think paying all 3 years of an apprenticeship scheme at the minimum wage is a perfectly acceptable situation and I know the business world would agree with me, in the main.

The living wage is for another time, but I also think that is the road to less jobs, and unnecessary pressure on those companies who don't apply it.

But as I've already said - Labour love public and hate private enterprise.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Freedom March Ipswich - HMS Quorn

I love these events, welcoming our heroes into our town - wild horses won't keep me away!

A Freedom March through Ipswich will add to the festive bustle of the town centre later this month when HMS Quorn pays an official visit.

The Royal Navy warship has been affiliated to Ipswich for five years and received the Freedom of the Borough in 2011. Now, the crew will exercise its right to march through the town centre in a spectacle of sound and colour.

Captain and 45-strong crew of the Hunt class minesweeper will be welcomed to Ipswich by the Mayor, Councillor Bill Quinton, who will inspect the ship’s company on the Cornhill.

Details of the visit will be released by the Royal Navy over the next few days.

The Mayor said: “It is always a proud occasion for Ipswich to officiate at any event to honour our Armed Services and HMS Quorn is particularly close to our hearts. I am sure many, many residents and visitors will take a break from their Christmas shopping to cheer the crew as they parade through the town centre. Let us show our Royal Navy friends what a real Ipswich welcome looks and sounds like.”

During the visit, HMS Quorn will be open to organised tours of the public and the crew will be taking part in community sports events to build on the close relationship with the town. More details will be released closer to the time of the visit.

HMS Quorn is the third Royal Navy ship to carry the name – the first served in the First World War, while the second was a destroyer sunk in the Second World War. The current ship was launched in 1988.

Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035

Monday, 10 November 2014

Latest Stoke Park Ipswich Leaflet

Our latest Conservative In Touch for the Stoke Park area has been delivered today to relevant areas:

Fountains Road
Annbrook Road
Cambridge Drive area

There's some information about 20s plenty and a new activity centre, which I instigated following comments from residents about the difficulty of travelling to a community centre from the Cambridge drive area. So hopefully now, with one situated on the doorstep, it will be well attended.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Executive and The Local Plan consultation

Last night at the executive we voted to send The Core Strategy and Site Allocation Policy out for consultation.

This is an interesting, well written report that is important to our town and has already seen a consultation.

However it is massive and unless people are pointed in the right direction and helped to dissect it all, it will not be on the top of peoples agenda.

This final consultation will be over 12 weeks and I asked if we were going to send out to schools and focus groups as well as public meetings.

The reply was not what I expected and apparently we already consult very well (not sure Ravenswood residents and others would agree with this) and my request was all but swept aside.

See more here in Ipswich Spy's report


However I was quite pleased that councillor Jones apologised genuinely afterwards for being patronising, when I asked for proactive consultation. I don't think she knows she's doing it actually and, as I rather like her, it was immediately accepted.

Councillor Smart showed his agreement ie 'has some sympathy' with my request for schools to be involved, which then made councillor Jones give a vague undertaking that this could be looked at with e-mails being sent out to various schools.

After close of business, Councillor Jones also said she likes me being on executive as it made everyone up their game. This was in fact the reason I accepted the position because I wanted to up my game as leader of the Conservative group.

So despite a bit of tetchiness during the meeting there was actually some mutual respect and appreciation shown afterwards.

We are, after all, just trying to do a good job for the town, even if we disagree on many aspects of the 'How we do it'.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

First female pilot to be honoured in her home town Ipswich

This is the type of announcement that causes me internal conflict!
On the one hand this is a worthy individual and her statue an exciting addition to our collection of sculptors but on the other hand I find £60,000 rather a large some to raise via public appeal. 
I think this is a contender for some Lottery money. However feel free to say that the money is a drop in the ocean and you would be willing to stick your hand in your pocket to contribute. I can honestly say I wouldn't. I prefer giving to real live people that need it today. 
But hey, don't let me spoil this lovely announcement - I'm still proud of her.

An appeal is to be launched to commission a statue of Ipswich-born aviator Edith Maud Cook in her home town of Ipswich.

Edith Maud Cook was an adventurous young woman, born to a modest family in 1878. An experienced balloonist and parachutist, she undertook her first flight at the controls of an aeroplane when she flew a tiny Bleriot XI at Pau Airfield in southern France, in January 1910,  and, in doing so, became Britain’s first female pilot.

Suffolk Aviation Heritage Group, which is leading the project, has commissioned some sketches by Suffolk aviation artist Geoff Pleasance of how the statue could look and is exhibiting these at Ipswich Borough Council’s Tourist Information Centre, in St Stephen’s Church. The exhibition, which is on until Christmas, gives the public an early opportunity to comment on the ideas. 

The project to honour Edith Cook in her home town began in 2007 and last year outline planning consent was granted for a statue to be erected in Fore Street, in sight of her birth place. The statue is to be produced in bronze by renowned Suffolk sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, the man behind Ipswich's Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson statues.

It is hoped that the costs of around £60,000 can be raised via public appeal.

Edith went on to make many more flights during the first half of 1910, before her death in a parachuting accident in July of that year, aged just 31 years. Her achievements, both as a highly experienced balloon parachutist and a pioneering aviator, were largely forgotten for almost a century.

The project is supported by the Ipswich Women's Festival Group, which included Edith on their Ipswich Women's History Trail. Copies of the trail are available at the Tourist Information Centre, priced at 75p.

Further information:
David Stainer, Tourist Information Centre Manager, tel: 01473 258070, david.stainer@ipswich.gov.uk

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Good Luck Giles - I Know Who I Want Steering The Ship

Much is made of Nigel Farage's disposition and the way he portrays himself as 'one of the lads'.

People talk about how he has a pint in his hand and goes to the pub, like it's akin to a first class degree in relationships. Whoopee - Cameron goes to the pub too but he doesn't use it as a badge that says 'I'm normal'!

When I get on a plane, I don't want to be greeted by a pilot who's 'one of the lads' and gives you a wink as you enter his den. I don't want to listen to an incoherent accent that I might not understand when it comes to any emergency instructions.

No, I want a composed, poised, confident, well educated, well spoken, well trained experienced pilot who focuses on the destination and when things go wrong he or she knows exactly what to do in a calm and effective way, making decisions that could save lives.

If people want Nigel Farage they'd better know what he would do when it comes to landing in a storm, with one wing dipped downwards and the other upwards requiring an emergency re-take off feet from the ground of Luton, whilst passengers are screaming that we're all going to die. (Sorry, just reliving a dreadful experience - but gratitude to a wonderful pilot who didn't speak for 15 minutes while he focused on saving all our lives).

I don't want a captain of a ship who decides he is 'one of the boys' by doing a sail-by to salute onlookers in an endeavour to impress the ladies, resulting in hundreds of people dying.

I just don't want 'one of the boys'. I don't need someone who shows us he drinks, burps and calls everyone else a politician when he is the biggest one of all, an MEP, no less and rakes it in more than the next guy.

People have said to me that I'm a 'real' person as a politician and would make a great PM.

No, I wouldn't! I'm far too outspoken, cockney, maverick, passionate (not a bad thing but has to be in small doses - I don't do small doses). Once the novelty wore off, people would be screaming for me to step down. I'd probably end up causing a riot somewhere! I know my limitations.

Be careful what you wish for people of Clacton - I was there Saturday in Wheeley and you were fantastic.

I was invited in for a cup of tea, more times that day than the whole of my canvassing years in Ipswich put together.

And Giles - if you read this - go and see that lady called Joy whose details I gave to the campaign centre in Wheeley. Fantastic woman who needs help and gave me a lovely big hug when I left her house.

I am trusting the people of Clacton to understand what they really are voting for when they vote UKIP - it will not be a UKIP government or even more than a handful of UKIP MPs but you might just let the worst of all scenarios be a reality next year.

Milliband is not even 'one of the boys'. In fact is he even of this planet? Clegg is a nice enough guy but not half as clever as his beautiful wife.

And as much as I love Boris, Theresa May is now looking more of a leader and PM in waiting than he is.

There's only one man who fits the description of the Captain who can steer the ship in the right direction.

Luckily, that's who we've got.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

16 yr olds voting? - Then we need to do this....

The jury is still out for me on whether 16 year olds should be given the vote, although at the moment I veer towards the NO. However I could be persuaded towards a YES if we put in the right framework.

We often hear that if 16 year olds can marry (albeit with parents permission which is a crucial part of the argument towards a NO) and if they can have sex, then they can surely vote.

Well, er, no actually. those two things need to be mutually inclusive but everything else doesn't follow suit.

I remember when I went into a school to discuss whether David Cameron or David Davis should be leader of the Conservative group. this was a debate in a Politics class no less, with 17 year olds.

Some of them concluded that David Cameron was the better looking and younger so they thought he should be.

But then I had another experience in school with 11 year olds. I was delivering a citizenship programme and was left so impressed.
I'd separated the pupils into teams and they had to debate an issue and come up with one vote per team. One young lad had the opposite view to every member of his team and yet failing to persuade them otherwise despite his best efforts, he volunteered to be the representative. When I asked him why he was willing to talk about his team's stance when he so obviously disagreed with them, he said 'Well that's democracy and this is my team so I must let people understand why we came to that conclusion'.

Wow - I was impressed and added 'Welcome to the world of a coalition government' and he got that, no hesitation, no argument, he understood.

But so many 16 year olds have no understanding of the world of politics, instead having a romantic and idealistic view of the world and how things should just be done and done now. So if we are to allow this most cherished of responsibilities we have to also do the following:

1) Make politics compulsory from the age of 14 starting with the history, fundamentals of democracy and where it does and doesn't exist. They should be taught the difference between local and national governments and the different types of taxes plus difference between the elected and those that do the work behind the scenes.

2) Moving then into further years to understand the difference between the parties, what their values are and how they think they can deliver what people need and want. Showing them where they can learn more about their options. Some will be interested, as I was at 16, and others will not but if the lessons are made exciting and interactive I suspect most will enjoy it.

4) A trip to Westminster to understand how it all happens, with talks by MPs from all parties.

5) There should be interactive software that allows them to decide where money should be spent using the same budget that is held by their local county and borough councils with officers coming in to talk about where the money comes from and the difficulties they face.

6) Leading up to local elections they should discuss the real candidates that are standing, (or did stand if there's no election) take a look at their literature, websites and debate the merits of each one - perhaps even holding a question time with the candidates face to face at a local event just for pupils.

7) They should be taught basic economics as part of the curriculum before the age of 16 and it should form part of a GCSE.

This should continue right up to when they are 18 and perhaps this way, more adults will take an interest.

I know plenty of adults who could do with this education so please let's not unleash those that are not even an adult yet, into making decisions for the rest of us - unless we educate them.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Ipswich Public Meeting on Crime - Meet Your Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolks Police and Crime Commissioner 
invites you to a forthcoming Ipswich public meeting on Monday 13 October at St John’s Church Hall
The meeting is open to anyone who lives or works in Ipswich and who wishes to hear about, or comment on, policing. Both myself and the Chief Constable will be available to take questions.
Tell us your views about policing in your area

Meet with Police & Crime Commissioner,
Tim Passmore
and Chief Constable, Douglas Paxton

Monday 13 October 2014
6.30 - 8.30 pm
St John’s Church, Cauldwell Hall
Road, Ipswich, IP4 4QE

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Money, debt and savings advice - Ipswich Borough Council

A week of action dealing with money skills, debt and loan shark awareness is being organised by Ipswich Borough Council and it's partners.

This is the culmination of a summer-long drive, supported by the Council's South West Area Committee and the National Illegal Money Lending team.
Councillors and Sid the Shark attended open air events and fun days across the town to promote local debt advice through the Ipswich Housing Action Group, Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the loan shark reporting line 0300 555 2222.
Next Monday, 22nd September, will see the promotion of school packs and lessons about keeping our money safe and safer lending and borrowing. Classes will also have the opportunity to take part in a poster design competition. The winner of each age group will have their design enlarged to cover the side of a waste collection vehicle, published and displayed as posters around town.

Other events include:

Tuesday 23rd: Councillors, staff and Eastern Savings and Loan representatives will hold a stall on the Cornhill all day to answer people’s questions and promote available help for money troubles.
Wednesday 24th: The Mayor, Councillor Bill Quinton, will present local organisations with their prize funding in the ‘Your Choice’ competition. The competition was funded from the proceeds of money seized from illegal loan sharks, with additional support from Suffolk County Council. 

Thursday 25th: Councillors from the South West Area Committee will continue the promotion to local residents at shopping precincts in south-west Ipswich.
Issued by the IBC press office, tel: 01473 432035

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Dispelling the Myths about Child Centre closures

It is Ipswich Labour's modus operandi to pick on a subject matter that is the responsibility of Conservative run Suffolk county council and then relentlessly allow mistruths, false facts and disingenuous articles to thrive in their horrible scruffy socialist paper and the media, in the hope it will win them a few more votes.

As the Leader of the Opposition, it is my duty and responsibility to hold them to account and in my short time since taking this position, have been forced to do so several times already.

Here is another one.

NO CENTRES HAVE CLOSED!  yes there it is.

Ormiston has all the old services still operating but most are being delivered remotely - no reduction in service levels

Since the General Election one new centre Ravenswood has opened so in 2010 there were 9 children centres in Ben Gummers constituency and now there are 10

Quayside, Wellington, Hillside, The Willows, Chatterbox, East Ipswich (formerly Ormiston), Hawthorn, Tree House, Wooden House, Ravenswood) -


-          County Council is proposing merging Quayside with Tree House: this is a matter of properties, not staff or services.

       Furthermore Ben Gummer has promised to keep Sure Start provision in this parliament and he has more than done that. Fact.
        Going forward Frank Field will be leading a high level review of early years services in Suffolk, which will help inform how they are delivered in the next parliament.
       So when you read the next bit of literature on this from Labour's scaremongering newspaper, ask a Tory what their side of the story is and as always

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

When it comes to Safeguarding, have we lost the plot?

I'm asking this question, not because I don't think I know the answer. I totally know what I think about Ashya's case and those that have gone before him. It's a purely rhetorical question.

Safeguarding children is a complicated business - we have awful tragic mistakes like Rotherham - which when lessons are learnt, need to be implemented - but why do we always go from one extreme to another?

Surely so called experts can tell the difference between loving families, who think they know best for their child - and probably do - to the rumour mill that suggests grooming and abuse has gone on.

This current case is so dreadful that I think everyone involved in getting those poor parents arrested and away from their child, need to be hauled up before a committee to explain their actions.

This reminds me of that poor Italian lady who had her baby taken away but sympathy seems to be far wider this time.

I can't even convince myself that this is for the long term benefit of Ashya - this poor boy could be traumatised for life by being taken away from his parents at a time when he most needs them.

I can remember when I was lost in a market at the age of 5, in the East of London, where I lived. I knew my address but somehow not being able to see my parents left me utterly convinced I would never see them again. I was distraught and I screamed my head off, crying out for my mum and dad, until a policeman found me and took me to a nearby station. The whole thing was an absolute nightmare for me and I can recall every single thing that happened.

But this is nothing compared to what Ashya is going through. This may not be a politically correct stance for a local councillor but I am so incensed by the whole thing that I feel compelled to show my utter disgust. Who are these people? How do they think? What are they achieving? Couldn't it wait until the treatment was confirmed before they decided to arrest the parents? Who would keep a sick child from the immediate family? What is this police state we live in when it comes to children?

As you will know if you've read previous blog posts, I have been helping a father, who has been kept from his daughter for 5 years because of lies from his ex partner. He has been able to prove many of these lies but it appears to have been ignored. I am now coaching him (with my business hat on) totally pro bono to help him deal with the mental anguish of not only the 'living death' he is suffering but because of the injustice of the lies. This is traumatic and now I feel the authorities are scared the child will suffer again if contact is resumed. They believe they have done the right thing but what trauma will this poor girl suffer when she reaches 18 and then finds out that her mother, authorities and anyone else in the court system systematically worked towards the alienation of her father with lies and then more lies, as the goalposts are moved. How will she feel at finding out her natural paternal grandmother, who might not even be alive at this point, was deprived of enjoying her company in her latter years? Why should all these adults suffer because they dare not even allow supervised contact?

However he will remain strong - I will make sure I play my part in that - and he will see his daughter - however long it takes but so many do not have that support. Some grandparents who try to stop their grandchildren from being adopted have been gagged, bullied and controlled by authorities and the family courts when all they want is to take over the reins. This should be an automatic right, in my opinion.

So many men and grandparents are treated so coldly and despicably that they end up crushed, some even committing suicide. Is an adult worth less that a child? I'm not sure I'd answer that easily but I do know we could do things differently.

We just need to find a middle ground and use a bit of common sense, have some compassion for parents and think a little bit more than a short term panicked decision, which is what is happening with Ashya's parents.

The Spanish judge is deciding tomorrow at 11 whether to let the parents out and I hope that he has the humanity and compassion to do what is right.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Wish you were here! Ipswich sells new postcards

A series of new postcards featuring Ipswich’s public art has been produced, with photographs by local photographer and entrepreneur Fran Sibthorpe. 
 The postcards feature statues of three famous people connected with the town: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (Henry VIII’s Chancellor, who was born and grew up in Ipswich), Prince Alexander Obolensky (England rugby player and fighter pilot, who was based at Martlesham Heath during World War Two) and cartoonist Carl Giles (who lived and worked in the area), creator of the famous “Grandma” character.
One of IBCs projects has been to fund the ‘Ipswich 18’ at Ipswich’s Eastern Enterprise Hub, which supports local people with business ideas they need to develop and test out, and Fran was one of the students.
The Eastern Enterprise Hub helps individuals to start and grow businesses through learning programmes that focus on the individual. The EEHub encourages and supports aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life, of all ages, across many disciplines.
Ipswich Tourist Information Centre Manager David Stainer added: "These are the first of several new souvenirs and cards we hope to see produced in the coming months. Sending postcards and taking home souvenirs is an important part of many people's holiday or visit - and also a good way for a destination to be promoted. We intend to involve local artists and businesses to come up with fresh ideas and images to use to help publicise the town.”
The postcards exclusively from the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre in St Stephen’s Church in the town, priced 25p each.
Further information and pictures: 
David Stainer, tel: 01473 432018

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ipswich Conservative News and Action

Normally August would be a quiet time, a month in which to catch one's breath and to reflect.

However, we Ipswich conservative activists have been working several times a week to talk to residents, listen to their problems and views but most of all have been busy holding the labour administration to account.

There are so many decisions they are taking that appear to be riding roughshod over the thinking and wishes of anybody else. I can forgive them for not wanting to indulge their opposition but this is not what I am alluding to here.

Let's take the Ravenswood proposal. Nearly 100 council homes that the local residents are up in arms about - see my last post and yet the language and stance shows they have already made up their minds about this.

The issue for me is one of common sense - In a few years time those new homes may very well have been bought by the tenants under the right to buy which will mean we will lose an asset, and the tenant will have bought at a huge discount, whereas putting funds into shared ownership or the Help to Buy supports people in owning their own home from the beginning. But then that would be more inspiring and empowering, wouldn't it?!

Developers have been put off in the past by the Labour administration's insistence on things like 35% social housing to be included, which means that Labour now use under-building as an excuse to grow their share of the vote with large council developments. The public meeting showed that others disagree with them and would prefer to see help in other ways, alongside building a few council houses but peppered around the town. This way integration doesn't have to wait for tenants to buy their house.

Before that we had the call in on Argyle street concerning the Bangladeshi Support Centre. This has caused many problems within the community because it seems that Cllr Ellesmere was dealing with only one part of the group whereas another part of the group was also hoping to benefit from the site - I won't go into too much detail here - and had no knowledge of what the Labour administration were doing.

This means that Cllr Ellesmere is having to rethink the whole idea - something that wouldn't have been necessary if he had opened up the lease to all, using a competitive process. The whole point of my call in was because of my concern about fairness and openness but I didn't expect my case to be proved immediately afterwards. It was because of the publicity brought by the call in that other parts of the Bangladeshi community were made aware.
This has caused hurt to a wonderful group of people and that is why I have left them to it. It is far better for there to be a win/win situation rather than have even more newspaper articles. I will not be giving out any press releases on this subject and just hope that Cllr Ellesmere does the right thing.

Overview and Scrutiny (who agreed to look at this as part of my request at the call in) can ensure that this never happens again.

On a lighter note, we had a stall at the Ipswich maritime festival for all 3 days of the event and covered by conservative councillors and activists. We gave out Ben's newsletters, surveys and balloons. My own grandson proudly took one of the balloons but burst it within an hour, which brought a few tears so I made sure it was replaced the next day. I went again but this time with my whole family on the Sunday, which gave me much joy as I watched my grandchildren having a great time at the children's fun fair and making clay pots to take home to paint. It was a great event - and I never went near the beer tent!

Last but not least, I have instigated a new regular community activity for Stoke park in the Cambridge drive area. A resident brought up something that had been bothering me for quite a while, pertaining to that one part of my ward, which was a lack of a community centre. I asked an IBC community development officer to look at providing some activities at the Chantry Gym Centre on Birkfield drive and to cut a long story short, I will be seeking funds at the next Area Committee meeting, which I know will be supported by my fellow stoke park councillors. This will pay for the hire of the room, for a year, and we hope to bring in a variety of leisure activities for those that live nearby - crafts, pilates, tea dances, film evenings and perhaps a lunch. Look out for the flyers and posters which will be advertising it soon.

The northern fringe was an important paper at the last executive and you can see the film of the meeting courtesy of Ipswich Spy. However I will blog in more detail about this when it is brought to the next full council meeting 17th September. Ben Gummer spoke at the executive as we are concerned about the masterplan and infrastructure - so watch this space.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Ravenswood Newsletter - New Homes

I have been asked to post the following information from a newsletter on behalf of those campaigning against the building of new council homes on Ravenswood.

I am not on the planning committee, nor was I at the recent meeting, which by all accounts was quite volatile but I give it here -
Details of joining in the campaign is included.

The Ravenswood Action Group met at the Golden Hind on the 6th of August. Thank you for attending, signing the petition, objection letters and putting forward your views.

Unfortunately this is not enough. More needs to be done in order to STOP the IBC from using your money to build a Council Estate on your doorstep and not allowing you a say in the matter.

Attend our next meeting:

This will be a very short meeting(30-45mins) held on Monday the 18th of August at The Raven pub at 19h30.

We will be registering members of the RAG, Ravenswood Action Group and agreeing a constitution. Committee members will be appointed.

We will also be collecting money towards our legal fund. It’s important to remember that we are forced to pay approximately £150-£200 on council tax every month, and we get refuse removal and not a lot more for it. The infuriating thing is that our taxes fund the social housing project in question yet we cannot demand the mixed tenure we were promised by the council. The Ravenswood Action Group is asking for £100 per household contribution towards our legal fund(any excess will be returned back to individuals by the solicitors). 

This £100 could be the best investment you’ve made if it prevents the 5% drop in Ravenswood house values predicted by local estate agents, it could save you up to £9700.




Start Petitioning

We’re hoping that 40 RAG members can each get a minumum of 50 signatures from any Ipswich Resident. This includes colleagues, friends, family etc. The only requirement is that they reside within the borough. Its useful remembering that you can get every adult member of a household to sign.


Katherine Whyte and Amanda Crampton will be co-ordinating the petitions and will be happy to answer your queries. Their email addresses are:



Kindly email n.kazi@me.com if you are able to attend the next meeting at The Raven Pub at 19h30 on Monday the 18th of August