Cherwell elections – what’s the choice?

We have a by-election in Cherwell District Council, following the shock resignation of Nigel Randall who had represented Adderbury & Milton when this was a single member ward from 2012 to 2016.   I have discussed Nigel’s decision to resign the seat and his Conservative Party membership in an earlier Blog.   In this Blog, I will look at the candidates.  There are four and I list them in alphabetical order:

Sue Christie

Sue Christie

Sue Christie (Labour) – a solicitor by profession and, until recently, a legal officer employed by Cherwell District Council. Married to John Christie, a Labour Oxfordshire County Councillor and another retired council officer. She has also worked in a legal practice and in the voluntary sector.  Politically, I would put her on the Jeremy Corby spectrum or at least well to the left of Labour.   She lives in Barford which is close to but outside the Adderbury, Bloxham & Bodicote ward.

 

Naomi Kanetsuka

Naomi Kanetsuka

Naomi Isobel Kanetsuka (Green) – has been and may still be an undergraduate in psychology at Oxford Brookes University. Her address is registered at Quarry Close, Bloxham, within the ward and sharing the address with Ceri Fielding who may have a medical background and seems unconnected with Green politics.  Not sure she has ever had a proper job but wait to be proved wrong.  You can trust the Green Party to put up a candidate with an easily memorable name!

 

Andrew McHugh

Andrew McHugh

Andrew McHugh (Conservative) – has a military background, followed by working on overseas healthcare development and, most recently, a practice manager in a Banbury GP surgery.  Makes a lot of the Horton Hospital which will, no doubt, enhance his ratings but I fear is a lost cause. Lives in Epwell which is a bit of a drive from the ward.  I suppose I am disappointed there was no one from Adderbury to take on the challenge and am unclear who selected him to stand and who were the other candidates?  No-one from Adderbury?  He needs to say where he stands on housing development in the villages around Banbury.

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas (Liberal) – lives in Meadow View, Adderbury so an obvious replacement for Nigel Randall were he not a wet and leftie Liberal and a bit invisible as well. Add to that, he claims to have been an Adderbury Parish Councillor at the same time I was their County Councillor but I do not remember ever seeing him at a meeting.  I think he was busy working in London where he still works.  It is just as well the Liberal Party has died a death and I think the photograph they have chosen for him demonstrates their expectation of success!

Those are the runners and riders!  Not a lot of doubt about the result.  Three lefties and a Conservative in three Conservative villages and a hamlet!   I just hope Andrew McHugh takes the job seriously and listens to the villagers he represents about the appalling housing developments in terms of scale and style that have been imposed on Adderbury, Bloxham and Bodicote.

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Cherwell elections – where’s the logic?

Nigel Randall

Nigel Randall

I am completely baffled to read Nigel Randall’s open letter in Adderbury Contact where he explains his reason for resigning as a District Councillor just 95 days after he was re-elected and with 1,364 days of his term still to run.  Nigel had represented Adderbury & Milton since 7 May 2012, taking over from Rick Atkinson who was District Councillor for Adderbury & Milton from 2008 to 2012.  Before him, John Harper was the local member from 2000 to 2008.

Like his predecessors, John Harper and Rick Atkinson, not to mention the redoubtable Aline Griffiths before them, they all represented the village of Adderbury and the hamlet of Milton on Cherwell District Council.  However, before the 2006 elections, the Local Government Boundary Commission gave Cherwell an ultimatum.  They had to accept:

  • three-member wards across the council or
  • change from elections in thirds to one-up elections every four years.

The Conservative ruling group elected to go for three-member wards.  This was a decision supported by the town members but not by the rural ones but the latter were out-voted.  As a result, we have a new Cherwell ward comprising Adderbury, Bloxham & Bodicote and not to forget little Milton although it does not feature in the ward name!  In the 2016 all out election, Nigel Randall, Christine Heath and Michael Bishop were duly elected. They are all Conservatives as are the vast majority of Cherwell councillors.  It so happens that Nigel lives in  Adderbury, Christine lives in Bloxham and Mike lives in Bodicote so the imposition of a three-member ward offered a simple solution with the resident member representing the relevant parish and with Adderbury including Milton under its wing.

Now, if Nigel had thought the new arrangement was a nonsense – and I think it is, he could have chosen not to stand for election in May 2016 but he clearly did not think so and chose to put up for election.

We now find that, 95 days later, he decides to stand down citing the Conservative Party’s decision to Brexit.  Well, what nonsense!  The Conservative government, led by David Cameron and George Osborne, did their best to bully and browbeat the nation into voting to Remain.  The nation thought better – and I was one of them – and voted to Leave and thank goodness we did, despite the doom-sayers.  So, for Nigel Randall to quit his recently-won Conservative council seat and the Conservative Party seems to me to be somewhat disingenuous.  It was the nation as a whole that voted to leave and that included a good number of Labour voters, possibly including Jeremy Corbyn!  I really do not understand your reasoning Nigel. I am sorry for this because we have shared council surgeries in the Black Boy when I was still a County Councillor and continued to meet there after I stood down – you with a coca cola and me with a pint!

The outcome of Nigel’s resignation is that the electors of Adderbury, Bloxham, Bodicote and Milton need to be leafleted and canvassed and polling stations in all four locations will open on polling day to find a replacement for Nigel who always and only represented Adderbury & Milton.  What a nonsense!

Nevertheless, some good may come out of Nigel’s decision.  He has stated his desire to continue to be active in the community.  While he was a District Councillor, he consistently declined to take up the Cherwell place on the Adderbury Library Friends Charity. Now that he has more time on his hands, I hope he might be willing to join us?

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Good doggy sense

Our dog Coco

Our dog Coco

A survey by Crufts reveals an interesting statistic and a social consequence that our new PM would do well to remedy.  Crufts report British dogs are getting smaller; not literally but Britons are choosing smaller dogs as pets and Crufts conclude this is because of smaller house sizes and more frenetic life styles.  It seems that Britain has the smallest new housing in Europe.  Having seen the houses developers are building here in Oxfordshire, I am not surprised but I think it is a shocking indictment of government policy or a lack of it. Apparently, there are now no size standards for private housing so developers are squeezing families into ever-smaller homes.

I referred in an earlier blog to new houses in Bodicote. Viewers commented that there was insufficient room in the main bedroom for a bed and a wardrobe and the agents explained the third bedroom was often used as a wardrobe. I think this speaks volumes for the inadequacy of our house building programme.

Milton Road Bloxham

Milton Road
Bloxham

As a nation, people are growing their physical possessions exponentially; many adults work from home for some days, subject to good Broadband and need working space; children need their own space for their hobbies and their friends. We hear that conversation and family meals are in decline and no wonder when there is no room for a dining table and chairs. Garages are often too small for the large sports vehicles people favour these days and, in any case, the garage often contains the freezer, bicycles, tool boxes, holiday cases, skis, discarded toys, ladders and much else for which there is no storage space in the tiny house. In the rush to build houses, we are in danger of building the rabbit hutches of tomorrow and the toll on social history is inevitable.

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PC is destroying our democracy

Comrade Corbyn

Comrade Corbyn

We ought to be proud of our status as the model for parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy but we are in danger of allowing it to fail.  Sir Eric Pickles, a former local government minister, has published a report that highlights a tendency for some ethnic community leaders to apply pressure to vulnerable old and young members of their communities to vote for the choice of their community leaders.  This is apparently made all the easier by the manipulation of postal votes.

I have never doubted this goes on and I have listened to compelling evidence but it is hard to secure evidence that would stand up in court.  This makes Eric Pickles’ report all the more important in challenging what he describes as a PC defensive attitude from the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and local councils.  I am sure this is true and these authorities need to wake up and to defend the democratic rights of their citizens.

We need to remember that the Directly Elected Mayor of Newham, Lutfur Rahman, was found to have perpetrated corrupt election practices and was disbarred from office. Such practices may still be common place in India, Pakistan and many other countries but we should be ashamed that they happened in the UK and we should support their stamping out with the most rigorous methods allowed.

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PC is destroying our community

Comrade Corbyn

Comrade Corbyn

I suspect I am watching too much Channel Four!  It is desperately left wing and plugs the same old equality and anti-austerity messages from the Corbinistas.  They keep on about immigration and seem to find interviewees who can be portrayed as mad, bad or racist or all three.  The reality is that UK citizens are seeing whole local communities changing their nature fundamentally.

Mosques, shops, homes, dress styles in our streets and many other items that make people feel strangers in their own land.  The question we have never resolved and that too many PC journalists are too frightened to ask is “what sort of country do we want?”  Are we happy to see whole areas in our towns and cities occupied almost exclusively by people of a specific ethnicity with shops and other public building reflecting  their life choices and those residents accepting the cultural norms of male primacy and female subservience that is endemic in some racial groups.  Are we happy to see the burka as a dress-style?

I think these questions were partly behind the Brexit decision and I think our politicians have to be honest enough to respond to them.

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PC is destroying our economy

Comrade Corbyn

Comrade Corbyn

When I was involved in the public sector, I got used to seeing job applications that were interminably long, verbose and lacking in basic information.  When you interview someone for a job, you need to get to know them and to understand their motivations and interests.  The first thing that was inevitably missing was their date of birth because this was (PC) ageist!  However, one soon got used to working back from their GCSE results to have a good idea of their age.  Why was age important?  To know they could give us a reasonable time in the job and to ensure they would fit well into the team they were joining.

Maria Miller

Maria Miller

 

However, the process gets worse.  Mrs Maria Miller, a Conservative MP I understand,wants us to start using no-name job applications.  This means each applicant will appear as Xxxxxx Xxxxxx.  What utter nonsense!  Mrs Miller is suggesting that ladies with Moslem names will be rejected for that reason.  I don’t believe it.  Employers want the best person for a job but they need to feel some empathetic relationship with people applying.  To consider a listing with anonymity just feels absolutely awful and too PC for words.

An employer needs to select the best person for a job and this has to include a  good gender balance where there is a predominance of gender in the current area.  It also needs to reflect ethnicity to try to maintain an appropriate balance but the over-riding need has to be skills to match the job specification.

Putting PC targets in the way of deciding a good appointment is just unhelpful.

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The Theresa May Cabinet

Vote LeaveI have made no secret of my support for Andrea Leadsom so my comments on Mrs May’s Cabinet need to be seen in this context:

 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond  Remainer   A safe pair of hands

Foreign Secretary                   Boris Johnson        Leaver         A challenge for him

Home Secretary                      Amber Rudd          Remainer     Bloody rude in EU debate

Defence Secretary                   Michael Fallon       Remainer     Watch him

Brexit Secretary                       David Davies          Leaver         A good job for him and us

International Trade                Liam Fox                 Leaver         A good job for him and us

I have two hopes:

  • That Michael Gove has a job.  I would send him back to run education and to sort out “The Blob”.
  • That Gisela Stuart has a job.  This may be difficult, given she is a Labour MP, but I think we should find a way around that minor problem.
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