StandUp4Shepton

RSS

After a rest - expect great things from the editorial board of STANDUP4SHEPTON. We have not gone away and we have not been intimidated! Too many emails of support have been received to make us want to do anything other than continue to constructively criticize the blockers - the lazy councillors who want to turn up only to stop anything that might upset their cozy, narrow, selfish, tiny world.

- StandUp4Shepton

Can you mention the town council a.g.m please. I think it's tomorrow night. With more publicity I'm sure more people would attend. Thanks

Anonymous

Shepton Mallet Town Council AGM tonight at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Mendip on Cannards Grave Road. Open to all! The first hour is critical since Portfolios will be dished out and that can make all the difference to the town. If the usual reactive and lazy councillors get all their old jobs nothing will change and nothing will get done. See your councillors in “action”!! Force them to act for the community, not themselves.

Now that the dust has settled after the local elections - where are we?

Some say…. the local Dibley press has lost the plot and and got all hypocritically hot under the collar. For the past two weeks its “Editorial” has been about the alleged appalling behaviour of local politicians. 

It’s curious that the “editor” was neither interested in nor exercised by the cant of MP for Bridgwater Ian Liddle-Grainger’s Mogg the Blog (which set the pace and vitriolic tone throughout the Somerset blogosphere’s political reporting) for not taking any prisoners.

Little-Brainer’s rants and numerous targets have been and still are Chief Constable Colin Port, and Lana Jones (former CEO of SCC). No editorials or hand wringing from Ollie-the-editor in that instance.

Don’t shoot the messenger! And certainly don’t step on our blue suede shoes.

Ollie - tu petes plus haut que ton cul.

Re-post from Streetzuup

English Law is made a laughing stock
Re-post from speedqueenie:

Sunday Herald Front Page Reveals Identity Of Super-injunction Protected Footballer
It’s almost become farcical now hasn’t it? Footballer cheats on wife and then gets super-injunction to prevent his identity being disclosed by the media. Users of social networking sites turn on footballer for having the audacity to try and keep his identity a secret and scream his name from the rooftops, footballer takes out lawsuit to try and get details of every member of the social networking site who has disclosed his identity… bored yet?!
Well, Scottish newspaper, The Sunday Herald has gone one better today by printing a barely disguised photograph on the player who allegedly had an affair with ex Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas, on it’s front page.
In its editorial explaining the move, the Sunday Herald said it named the sportsman being linked to the injunction on Twitter because it was “unsustainable” for newspapers to be prevented from sharing information which is easily available on the internet.
It said: “We should point out immediately that we are not accusing the footballer concerned of any misdeed. Whether the allegations against him are true or not has no relevance to this debate.
 ”The issue is one of freedom of information and of a growing argument in favour of more restrictive privacy laws.”
Richard Walker, editor of the Sunday Herald, said: “It seems to us a ludicrous situation where we are supposed to keep from our readers the identity of someone who anybody can find out on the internet at the click of a mouse, and in fact many people have already done so.”
He added that he had taken extensive legal advice and was not expecting any legal consequences because the injunction was not valid in Scotland - only in England.
His paper, he said, was not published, distributed or sold in England.

English Law is made a laughing stock

Re-post from speedqueenie:

Sunday Herald Front Page Reveals Identity Of Super-injunction Protected Footballer

It’s almost become farcical now hasn’t it? Footballer cheats on wife and then gets super-injunction to prevent his identity being disclosed by the media. Users of social networking sites turn on footballer for having the audacity to try and keep his identity a secret and scream his name from the rooftops, footballer takes out lawsuit to try and get details of every member of the social networking site who has disclosed his identity… bored yet?!

Well, Scottish newspaper, The Sunday Herald has gone one better today by printing a barely disguised photograph on the player who allegedly had an affair with ex Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas, on it’s front page.

In its editorial explaining the move, the Sunday Herald said it named the sportsman being linked to the injunction on Twitter because it was “unsustainable” for newspapers to be prevented from sharing information which is easily available on the internet.

It said: “We should point out immediately that we are not accusing the footballer concerned of any misdeed. Whether the allegations against him are true or not has no relevance to this debate.

 ”The issue is one of freedom of information and of a growing argument in favour of more restrictive privacy laws.”

Richard Walker, editor of the Sunday Herald, said: “It seems to us a ludicrous situation where we are supposed to keep from our readers the identity of someone who anybody can find out on the internet at the click of a mouse, and in fact many people have already done so.”

He added that he had taken extensive legal advice and was not expecting any legal consequences because the injunction was not valid in Scotland - only in England.

His paper, he said, was not published, distributed or sold in England.

Privitization that fiddles the figures

Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre - cherry picks patients and has been paid for failure

__________________________

£6.9m NHS funding lost; private enteprise paid by public services to fail; allowed to “cherry-pick”. Why?

Welcome to the bizarre and unsettling world of private enterprise versus the NHS.

It won’t surprise you that the NHS gets itself stitched-up.

Mid-Somerset’s commercial Treatment Centre built in Shepton Mallet was set up in 2005 and has had its income guaranteed for the past 5 years from NHS funding.  This private unit has lost the NHS £6.9m because it was paid but did not complete its side of the bargain by doing the required number of operations.

Being paid for failure is not what we should accept in the brand-spanking world of private medicine.

There are consistent suggestions that this private treatment centre “cherry picks” its patients. In other words, it chooses those patients it regards as most likely to recover quickly and cause them least expense.  The NHS hospitals in Somerset such as Yeovil and Musgrove have to take every patient and can’t turn anyone away - and frequently do not get paid for work undertaken.

Transport links to this hospital in Shepton are poor - made all the worse by the extensive new cuts in bus services by the car-owning geniuses in Somerset County Council.  In fact some say the hospital was built in the wrong place - even more so now that public transport has been axed before 6pm every weekday with no buses at all on the weekend.

Managers at the Treatment Centre are currently paying lip-service to their transport problems by running a pilot bus scheme that would only benefit patients living within 15 minutes of the centre.  The cuts in public bus services will make access even harder for everybody else.

Mid-Somerset newspapers have run a well-informed article on the £7m lost in “phantom operations”. -  

The centre, which takes patients from across Somerset, is run by private healthcare firm UK Specialist Hospitals, and was part of a Government initiative to slash waiting lists for procedures such as hip replacements.

The Department of Health agreed to pay UK Specialist Hospitals £118.4 million between 2005 and 2010 for operations performed at the Shepton treatment centre. However, the value of the operations carried out was only £111.5 million – leaving a £6.9 million overspend.

Under the original contract the NHS paid upfront for an agreed number of operations to encourage private healthcare firms to bid for contracts. Taxpayers paid almost £12 million for NHS operations that were never carried out, at privately run treatment centres in the South West.”

At a time when the NHS is under threat by the Conservative party to introduce competition with reluctant GPs having to allocate and spend funding in future we should all be asking important questions.  Like how come almost £7m was taken from the NHS, and why a commercial, for-profit company should be allowed to “cherry-pick” patients?

The team of contributors to this blog will ask questions and investigate this further and keep you informed as the story unfolds.  At the very least our well-loved NHS hospitals and services need a level playing field.  This smacks of a money-wasting stitch-up!

The Treatment Centre is just minutes from the Mendip Council Offices.  So maybe some of our newly elected Mendip councillors (and any awake old-timers) will lift their eyes from broken pavements, dog-poo and how to make further unnecessary cuts - and dig deeper to find out what this story is all about?

Local GPs and NHS managers must know.  It would be helpful if they could (anonymously if necessary) tell us what this is about.

A new contract has just been let by (the soon to be disbanded) Somerset PCT.  Does the new contract ensure that this waste of public money does not happen again and better still, is reversed?  We need to know.

The letter that Shepton Mallet ConservaJournal found too long to print

The Mid Somerset Series newspapers last week found acres of space for their cronies and pals in the Tory Party - and broke its own self-imposed “purdah” on election day with the following splash featuring a grinning rosetted John Parham with a Tory MEP:


However the same editor just couldn’t quite manage to fit in all of the one single group letter that was sent in to thank helpers and the community for their support throughout a campaign that resulted in the Lib Dems being the only party or group that increased its representation in the local wards.  (See letter below)

Meanwhile the Tories were given trumpeting headlines and extensive space on the letters page. Even their losing District Council candidate was generously given both greater prominence and 50% more space than the short and still cauterized Lib Dem letter.  Derek Marvin’s rambling bid to get hold of the Planning Portfolio sits beside John Parham’s extensive rambling thoughts when all he did was keep the Tory hold on one seat on District and County with a reduced majority. The significant breakthrough was the increase in Lib Dem numbers on the Town Council - yet the Mid Somerset Series saw fit to print in all editions - lines like:

"The wiping out of a credible Liberal Democrat opposition…"

"…the losing Lib Dem councillor in Shepton Mallet"

Yet the breakthrough achieved last July when Garfield Kennedy won in Shepton West was maintained when Sue Cook took over on May 5th in an election where these candidates campaigned shoulder to shoulder.  If anyone deserves the chance to serve her community then Sue Cook is that person.  The very idea that it was some sort of “nasty response by a few Tory candidates that saw a Lib Dem elected” is very offensive and hopelessly out of touch with the community that the Mid Somerset Series papers profess to serve.

THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER THAT THEY COULDN’T FIND THE SPACE TO PRINT:

The Lib Dem team in Shepton and Pilton would like to thank all their supporters who voted for them in last week’s election and those who joined our campaign assisting with canvassing, stakeboards and the distribution of information leaflets.  All of us as candidates appreciated the opportunity of meeting people on the doorstep and welcomed the suggestions offered for how to improve the town and villages.

Bucking the national trend, here in Shepton and in the Croscombe & Pilton Ward, the Lib Dem team held our recent gains and even expanded our popular support.  Those of us who have been privileged to be elected now look forward to working pro-actively with other Councillors and members of the community to maintain and improve services.

As our new District Councillor, Sue Cook will be working hard to effectively represent all of Shepton and looks forward to the new challenges ahead.  As campaigners and councillors, all of us are committed to working together for a better Shepton.

Chantal Allison, Bob Champion, Sue Cook, Garfield Kennedy, Martin Lovell, Robin Scott, Neil Shearn, Richard Varley and Sarah Yong

One missed by the Shepton Mallet Conservajournal
Submitted by JamesM

One missed by the Shepton Mallet Conservajournal

Submitted by JamesM

Lib Dems say “Thanks”

Election Count at the Bath and West Showground

OPEN LETTER TO ALL RESIDENTS OF SHEPTON, BOWLISH, PILTON & CROSCOMBE

The Lib Dem team in Shepton and Pilton would like to thank all their supporters who voted for them in last week’s election and those who joined our campaign assisting with canvassing, stakeboards and the distribution of information leaflets.  All of us as candidates appreciated the opportunity of meeting people on the doorstep and welcomed the suggestions offered for how to improve the town and villages.

Bucking the national trend, here in Shepton and in the Croscombe & Pilton Ward, the Lib Dem team held our recent gains and even expanded our popular support.  Those of us who have been privileged to be elected now look forward to working pro-actively with other Councillors and members of the community to maintain and improve services.

As our new District Councillor, Sue Cook will be working hard to effectively represent all of Shepton and looks forward to the new challenges ahead.  As campaigners and councillors, all of us are committed to working together for a better Shepton.

Chantal Allison, Bob Champion, Sue Cook, Garfield Kennedy, Martin Lovell, Robin Scott, Neil Shearn, Richard Varley and Sarah Yong

Posted by the Shepton and Pilton Branch of the Lib Dems

Highlights from the election count at the Bath and West Showground on the night of 5th-6th May

All photographs by Sorcha Kennedy

May 7

Whatever happened to your election campaign? The Lib Dems were destroyed especially Garfield Kennedy. The excuse used by Claire Hudson was drearily expected, and really sounds like it will be the ongoing excuse for all future disasters, rather than sour grapes.

Anonymous

This site is principally for Shepton Mallet so accepting that the Lib Dems got a bloody nose this week nationally and lost seats on Mendip District Council, the picture in Shepton is not the same.

Against the trend, here in Shepton and Croscombe & Pilton, the Lib Dems have held their ground and expanded their popular support.

The Lib Dems have held the gain from last year’s Shepton West by-election (with the community-spirited campaigner Sue Cook taking Garfield Kennedy’s place in Mendip).  Sue and Garfield ran their campaign together and were separated by a handful of votes with Garfield coming in a very close third.  We suspect that Garfield Kennedy will not be feeling in the least destroyed.

The Lib Dems here now have both Sue and Garfield on the Town Council where the Tories and Labour have both lost a seat.

Regrettably we have replaced one Tory with another at County, but we have voted to expand the Lib Dem group on the Town Council, and support for the Lib Dems in Croscombe and Pilton has shot up.  The real sadness is that we, the voters, have registered our discontent by shooting ourselves in both feet. 

Our communities will suffer terribly in the years ahead since the now expanded and freshly emboldened Tory group in Mendip and the existing lot in Somerset CC will plough on without restraint as insensitively as ever.

May 7

Legal Challenge to Library Closures

Public Interest Lawyers have issued two judicial review claims at the High Court on behalf of clients in Gloucestershire and Somerset challenging councils’ decisions to slash library budgets and close highly valued regional libraries.

Libraries to be closed are located in some of the most economically deprived areas of the country.

  • Gloucestershire County Council have decided to withdraw funding from 10 libraries, and every one of their mobile library services.
  • Somerset are shutting the doors on 11 of theirs, as well as axing 4 of the 6 mobile library routes.

Understandably, local residents are doing all they can to stop the councils pulling the plug, and instructed Public Interest Lawyers to launch a legal challenge to these damaging cuts.

There are three grounds to the legal challenge.

  1. Firstly, that the councils are in breach of their obligation under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide an “efficient and comprehensive library service‟.
  2. Secondly, the councils have not paid due regard to their equality duties. The harmful effect that the closure of many fixed libraries and all the mobile libraries would have on the vulnerable members of society cannot be overstated.
  3. Thirdly, our clients argue that the consultation process carried out by the councils was
    insufficient, and the results were ignored. Somerset consulted for only a month, over the Christmas period, and Gloucestershire‟s consultation process was actually still on-going when they made their decision on libraries.

One of the claimants, Rebecca Hird, commented that

“it is a disgrace that the library is being closed. Watchet is a small town, and there are very few local amenities remaining since the Council closed the youth centres.”

Speaking today, Phil Shiner said

“Councils have a very clear and specific statutory duty to provide a comprehensive library service. That is a duty owed by Councils, not the Big Society. Taxpayers are entitled to expect compliance. Libraries are a lifeline for the disenfranchised.”

For more information please contact Daniel Carey or Leigh Webber on 0121 515 5069 or leigh.webber@publicinterestlawyers.co.uk

Submitted by the Friends of Somerset Libraries

May 7

Benefit Reform Not Fit For Purpose

Benefit reform will leave sick and disabled people trapped on the dole

Objections to welfare reform are economic as well as moral.

The last Government scrapped Incapacity Benefit (IB) and replaced it with a tougher Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Claimants are eligible for ESA if they are determined by a computerised test called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to have a limited capability for work. The system has been roundly criticised, and the validity of its conclusions are in doubt. The system, introduced in 2007, would mean that one million of the (then) 2.71 million IB caseload would be judged fit for work and denied ESA.

The Department for Work and Pensions knew about the potential problems with ESA before it was implemented. It also knew what worked in terms of supporting people facing disability barriers into employment where possible, and caseload reduction. But the present Government’s economic policy reflects a desire to enfeeble the welfare state, and the stated aim of deficit reduction provides cover for this intention. As such, it has piloted new measures which further toughen up the criteria for the WCA with the intention of finding 350,000 more people fit for work. It has also introduced the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 which will put a one-year time limit on ESA for some claimants, a change intended to move a further 300,000 off ESA.

Half of those found fit for work are expected to move onto Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA); 30% will move onto another benefit; 20% will stop claiming altogether. In total, this Government is planning to move nearly one million people into the labour market over the next five years. The number of job vacancies in the first quarter of 2011 was just below 500,000 while nearly 2.5 million people were unemployed (including 1.45 million claiming JSA). When Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith claims there are enough jobs for everybody, he is wrong by a factor of five. On top of this, the number of people thrown off ESA is set to push the JSA claimant count past two million and total unemployment past three million.

Moving people into the labour market at a time when there are no jobs is potentially hugely damaging to the economy. A DWP-commissioned report points out that: “some aspects of the design of the system and the support available were initially designed for conditions of labour market growth”. That is, people moved onto JSA will be trapped there due to the lack of jobs, with all the economic and social problems that entails.

In addition, employers will be aware that nearly half of the unemployment register were previously on Incapacity Benefit, and that many who have been found fit for work by the WCA are not actually capable of full employment. Many involved in economic development and local government are concerned about the possible consequences of flooding the labour market with people whose fitness for work is doubtful.

Further, this Government’s vision of the future economy involves research, innovation, business and entrepreneurship. But Incapacity Benefit claimants tend to be older and less well-qualified than the average working-age person, and less likely to fill these types of posts. Indeed, business will avoid locating in regions with high unemployment due to low demand and dampened economic linkages in those regions.

For example, the many people found fit for work by the WCA and moved onto JSA will see a 14% average cut in their benefits. Given the level of competition for jobs, this means many people will receive a lower income for a long time to come. This income effect is also true for those found fit for work who move onto other benefits, or stop claiming altogether.

Welfare reform could be a good thing if done well. Many of my disability campaigning colleagues are excluded from the labour market despite being phenomenally gifted. Welfare reform should be about supporting those who can to do work that suits them under conditions of their choice. But the Government’s reforms are being carried out in the wrong way, for the wrong reason and at the wrong time. Alongside the moral objections to the current reform of Incapacity Benefit, there is a strong economic argument.

Rhydian Fôn James is a founder of The Broken of Britain campaign and economist.

May 7

Fabulous News! Wells Emporium is coming to town

A second business from Wells is coming to town soon! following Goodfellows. Wells Emporium were heading towards a new location in Cheddar but have decided to join us in Shepton Mallet to make it a destination for interiors, antiques, vintage and artisan. They will have a new name ‘Somerset Antiques and Interiors' and will be located at 2, High Street near Market Place from June.  Launch date to be confirmed.

Businesses and shops of this nature will increase the towns potential to attract more people to Shepton Mallet and the area.

Currently we have the following;

In town
    *  Jo Lucksted Ceramic Artist
    *  No21  Interior Antiques
    *  Woo Hoo Vintage
    *  Nostalgia at No1
    *  One Craft Gallery
    *  Somerset Antiques & Interiors - coming soon!
    *  Great Ostry Picture Framing
    *  The Art Tree
    *  Parkway Antiques
    *  The Shepton Cobbler - Haberdashery, Craft materials

In close proximity to the town
    *  Morris Country Interiors
    *  Kilver Court -No21 Interior Antiques, Saul’s Up-cycled and In The  Woodshed
    *  Pylle Antique Emporium & Gallery
    *  Pennard House Antiques
    *  Bath & West Flea and Antique Markets

We are looking for more businesses! if you wish to join us in this exciting transformation please don’t hesitate to contact info@no21.co.uk about shops and outlets available.

P.S. Attracting similar businesses does not equate to less sales for existing businesses - it will bring more people to the area.

Bridgeman Ltd are currently renovating the building for our new neighbours. We look forward to the arrival of  ‘Somerset Antiques and Interiors’.

For more info click here

Submitted by No21x

May 7

Some of us never had many illusions about the Conservatives, but they have emerged as ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal.

-

Vince Cable

__________________________

Welcome to your new, improved, local Dipstick Council.  Now with 50% more cock-up power.

Submitted by Scrannel

May 2

CONSERVATIVE PARTY CHAIRMAN BARONESS WARSI is slaughtered on live TV when she thrashes around trying to defend First Past the Post and fails to convince on the NO Campaign that she is promoting.

(Source: youtube.com)