Sally Keeble – Principles over Pounds

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This week we have heard how Sally Keeble turned down a nice little one thousand pound gift from ex-pm Tony Blair, though not the only one to turn down the money, we would be fooling ourselves if we thought this had anything to do with a principled stance of the ex-pm.

Sally Keeble was elected in 1997 alongside 101 women that were effectionally known as the Blair babes, and throughout Mr.Blairs government a staunch ally, as her voting record shows. She only voted against the Blair government a handful of times. You can find Sally’s voting record here: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Sally_Keeble&mpc=Northampton_North

Her Blairite credentials go even deeper than this, when she started throwing punches at the new PM Gordon Brown, sticking the knife into him only 18 months after he became PM. As we now know there was a legendary feud between Blair and Brown, so it doesn’t take genius to work out which side of the fence she sat on.

Sally voted for the war in Iraq, so it makes no sense for her turning the money down over that, so what other reasons does she have for saying no? Maybe, a political stunt in order to try and distance herself from a government she was in bed with.

It would be unfair of me to not say why Sally Keeble herself told us she turned down the money, it was because:“I actually believe that British Politics, and particularly at election time, should be funded very clearly by British money.”

Her refusal then serves two purposes, it is a rather obvious attempt to distance herself from brand Blair, and a more subtle attempt to appear nationalistic to try and poach some UKIP voters.

So there you have it according to Sally, British elections need to be fought with “British money”, we can assume she only wants British people being members of the Labour party in Northampton, not to mention the Trade Unions, hopefully she will vote against and fight against any donations from multinational corporations to the Labour party (like hell she will).

This is far from being some kind of grand gesture or some kind of principled stance, Tony Blair could keep his money because Sally already has his principles. Hopefully the people of Northampton won’t be fooled by this shameful and spineless ploy, Sally was at the time and still is a shameless Blairite.

[each week I will pick a local news story and cover it with my own opinion, the news article this blog is in relation to can be found here: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Northampton-Labour-candidate-rejects-1-000/story-26138966-detail/story.html ]

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Roade: Double the school, double the problems?

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As it was reported here: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Plans-double-size-Roade-Primary-School-210/story-25728510-detail/story.html#ixzz3MD3eCqBX Roade School is going to double in size from 210 places to 420.

I attended Roade School from 1995-2000 but since then I have had little to do with it outside of attending a planning meeting to get a crossing put outside the shop, so I am not the most knowledgeable on the current state of the school nor its facilities.

However there are some concerns that I have about this development, the roads not only outside the primary school but in the wider infrastructure of Roade already face problems in the morning and evenings, just how much stress are these extra places going to put onto the roads?

The development is of course happening because Roade it self is nearly doubling in size with various housing developments completed or about to commence, which means more people, more cars and more kids.

This is further evident in the fact a large chunk of the money is coming from a Section 106 developer contribution, which for those that don’t know mean developers who are going to build in the area have to provide money to fund a certain project, in this case expanding the school.

While it is of course obvious that if Roade is going to grow then our infrastructure needs to grow with it, there are still pressing concerns that need to be addressed before the building of new houses and more stress is added to the road network.

We need an improvement to the roads in the area, the a508 is struggling to cope with the present traffic, and this is going to add further stress alongside the houses that are being built. That being the case any developers first concern should be sorting out the road network before being able to add more cars to the mix.

On top of this nothing has emerged to replace the services we have lost over the last five to ten years, with Roade expanding we still lack amenities we once enjoyed, which not only enrich our community, they provide valuable job opportunities.

I have been contacted by numerous parents who have children that attend Roade Primary and they have expressed concerns that the vital Bumblee Bees service currently housed at the school is going to be ended due to the development, as there will be a lack of room.

This means that they are doubling the school, while cutting another vital service from the area! Which makes me think, just how are the school going to afford the extra staffing costs and other stresses which this is going to cause?

Under no circumstances should the school be cutting away a vital service to the village, that is lets not forget well used, for any reason what so ever. Those involved and the wider community should not only come together to support this service, we should be looking at how we can ensure its survival.

Under the Localism Act 2011 local communities have certain powers which they can use to take control of their areas, and we should be exploring how we can do this to ensure whatever happens to this village, is in the benefit of the people who live in it. (Information on the Localism Act can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5959/1896534.pdf)

Lets take our community back!

Roade, no jobs, no future?

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What has happened to Roade? When I was a child growing up here the majority of people not only lived here, they worked here too, yet by the time I reached working age there was next to no job opportunities.

My grandparents worked in the Factory, my mum and stepdad worked at Walkerpack and much more than providing a stable source of employment for Roade residents, these places were important for creating a sense of community and belonging.

In the coming years Roade is going to almost double in size, yet where will these people work? Roade to me is much more than just an ideal commuting location, it is a community and a community I love.

There is nothing wrong with commuting to work but having to do so means we have less disposable income, as a huge percentage of our pay gets spent on getting to and from work, on buses and on petrol.

Lets face it now all these people moving here, how many will be working within the community? What job opportunities are there for the next generation of Roade residents? The answer to both is of course very few and very little.

You only need to have lived here a relatively short time to see sources of employment for Roade residents diminish, and it is such a shame because with the loss of these places a little bit of Roade is lost with them.

It is time the council both parish and district begin looking at how they can provide job opportunities not only for those who currently live here but for the future too.

For a long time now I have witnessed the decline of the village I love, and I find it sad when I walk around the village and see what we have lost. Roade is our village, it is our community and I do not want to lose another piece of Roade, we need to fight tooth and nail so the council doesn’t forget about us, so that Roade is not left behind!

Why I’m standing for local government, and why you should too

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Lets not beat around the bush things are bad, we feel disconnected from our political masters in Westminster, we feel let down and betrayed by those that proclaim to represent us, we feel we are losing out, we feel powerless, we feel hopeless but most of all we feel like we cannot make a difference. Our money isn’t going as far as it used to, we are struggling to get by, our communities are being stripped of all their character, our lives are being dictated by how much profit this or that corporation is making, at the end of the day we are that tired and stressed out worrying where we are going to get the money for this bill, or the next. Not a day goes by where we do not hear more lies either coming directly from the mouths of politicians or in the media, as they clutch at straws to justify our suffering, while they get to live in luxury. Well enough is enough, things do not have to be this way, we can make a change, we can make a difference, we can take charge of our communities. What is stopping us?

I love my community, It is the place I grew up, it is where I went to school and it is where my family live. In the twenty years of living here, I have seen things change, not for the better but for the worse. We have lost untold amount of employment opportunities, and we have lost untold amount of services, the bank and the cricket ground were the first to go in my memory and more recently we have seen the stain on our landscapes which have come about on the George and Club sites. At the same time of losing all these, we are getting more houses, the majority of which are not affordable, but homes which are there to profit a small amount of individuals. We need to put the community at the heart of these decisions, are decisions being made to benefit the community or are they being made to benefit self interest? I look at the future of our village and I think unless we do something things are going to get worse, that is why I’m standing, not because I want to, but because I need to, we can all moan about how things are going but unless we actively try to change them, what is the point?

The people are the beating heart of any community, I do not want our community spirit to die out and become a shell of itself, if we work together there is no limit to what we can achieve. I am standing because I want to do a new kind of politics, a politics that puts people at the heart of the decision making process, a politics that builds communities from the bottom up, a politics that is engrained in the community, a politics which is there to help not hinder. That is why if I’m elected I will be doing things very differently to our current representatives, who got in unelected at the last election. Ultimately our democracy only works when power rests with the people, everything being in the public domain, the people should have a say in how and what their representative fight on, they should be approachable and accessible, but most importantly our representatives should inspire us to get involved in politics ourselves. This community is ours and its future is our future, what kind of future do we want to build?

The more people that stand on principal and conviction with a desire to improve and help their communities, the healthier our democracy will be. Participation doesn’t begin or end at the ballot box either, there are untold amount of ways to fight for what we want, and fundamentally that is the only way we will ever change things in our favour, if we fight for them. This change has to come from below because there is not the political will for it at the top, the top 1% have the same combined wealth as the bottom 50%, and the only people that know what is best for the community, is that community it self. By having local representatives who live, breath, eat and sleep in their communities, we can begin to effect change at a local level and in the long term we can transfer that to regional and national platforms. Without an active and engaged local level of participation, we have a democracy that does not function, a top heavy regime which implements things not to improve, but to profit. Ultimately who should decide what is best for us, the people who live here, or the people that don’t?