Wednesday, 29 March 2017

UKIP is more relevant than ever now Brexit has started

The UK's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, today hand delivered a letter to Donald Tusk informing him that we are leaving the EU.

Donald Tusk is the President of the European Council. He shouldn't be confused with the other six Presidents, Antonio Tajani who is President of the European Parliament, Joseph Muscat who is President of the Council of the EU (which is different to the European Council), Jean-Claude Juncker who is President of the European Commission, Koen Lenaerts who is President of the EU Court of Justice, Mario Draghi who is President of the European Central Bank or the impressively named Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira who is President of the European Court of Auditors (the body that have refused to sign off the EU's accounts for 21 years because of the level of fraud and incompetence). I'll save you counting - that's 7 presidents, all on the public payroll.

The letter triggers a process of negotiating an orderly exit from the EU and agreements on what our relationship with the EU will look like when we've left. This process can take up to two years but can be cut short by the UK unilaterally or extended with unanimous agreement of EU member states.

If no agreement is reached then we will revert to World Trade Organisation rules which is how most of the world does its trade with the EU. These rules won't, of course, apply to the 80% of our trade that is done with ourselves and will mean no change to the 9% or so of our trade that is done with the rest of the world.

The British government's plan is to adopt the entirety of EU law (known as the Aquis) into domestic law so they are free to amend and repeal it at will. They also plan to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the EU courts and restore parliamentary sovereignty. There is also an intention to agree reciprocal rights for EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa and to preserve the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland which provided free movement between the UK and the Republic long before the EU existed.

There is too much opportunity for the British government to backslide and break its promise to deliver Brexit. With any agreements negotiated with the EU the devil will be in the detail and nobody is better at finding the devil in the detail than UKIP. This is why UKIP is more relevant than ever.

Image result for sir tim barrow brexit letter

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Reported: Fly Tipping

What

Pipes and wood

Where

Dunmaster Way

Reported

22/03/17 22:30

Reference

TBC

Removed

TBC

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Reported: Fly tipping and unauthorised advertising

What

Bed, sofa and furniture

Where

Near 5 Beaconsfield

Reported

22/03/17 16:30

Reference

FT-012380

Removed

23/03/17

What

Hi-fi, suitcase and shopping trolley

Where

Underpass between Dunmaster Way and St James Crescent

Reported

22/03/17 16:30

Reference

FT-012381

Removed

23/03/17


What

Unauthorised advertising on council land

Where

Junction of St James Crescent and Buckingham Crescent

Reported

22/03/17 16:30

Reference

FP-001101

Removed

TBC

Reported: Fly Tipping

What

Fridge and cooker

Where

Near 26 Birchmore

Reported

22/03/17 10:35

Reference

FT-012373

Removed

22/03/17

Reported: Fly Tipping

What

Household waste and furniture

Where

Rear of 94 Beaconsfield

Reported

22/03/17 10:00

Reference

FT-012369

Removed

22/03/17

What

Sofa cushions

Where

Briarwood

Reported

22/03/17 10:00

Reference

FT-012370 & FT-012372

Removed

22/03/17

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Spring clean and maintenance on A442 Eastern Primary

Telford & Wrekin Council have scheduled in a clean up operation and a maintenance programme for the A442 Eastern Primary.

The spring clean will start on 2nd May and run for two weeks. This will involve single lane closures.

Road repairs and maintenance will take place between 3rd and 21st July and will involve overnight road closures.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

I've been busy

I haven't updated this blog for a while but it doesn't mean I haven't been busy!

For the last month I've been trying to get the burnt out wheelie bins cleared from Beaconsfield flats. I have passed on information received to the council for investigation but am yet to hear from the enforcement officer. The land between the flats and the road is - inexplicably - privately owned by someone from another part of Telford who has been instructed to clear the fly tip but hasn't.

I have been attempting to get incorrect signage changed outside Asda at the town centre. There are zebra crossing signs at the crossing point nearest the box road but no zebra crossing. The fact there is no zebra crossing painted on the road is a bit of a giveaway that the signage is wrong but that didn't stop someone walking in front of me deliberately a few weeks ago and then shouting abuse at me because there is a zebra crossing sign!

I have been reporting unauthorised roadside advertising for removal and enforcement (although no enforcement ever seems to take place) for paving companies which have started popping up again. These signs are attached to pallets and propped up against trees where they can be picked up and thrown into the road by kids, drunks or miscellaneous idiots. There are good reasons why roadside advertising is regulated by local authorities and safety is one of them.

I have reported a lot of fly tipping, primarily in Beaconsfield which is one of - if not the - worst places for fly tipping in the borough. As mentioned above I am waiting for the enforcement officer to make contact to talk about how the fly tipping problem can be addressed.

I have raised concerns about the use of the Lloyds between Coalport and Jackfield as a shortcut by large vans and HGVs. The road is narrow and winding, prone to subsidence and all roads leading from it have HGV restrictions so the drivers will be breaking the law if they continue their journey.

I have reported some more incorrect signage, this one at the roadworks around the council offices. A "one way" sign has been erected on Ironmasters Way opposite Boyd Close which is a cul-de-sac and Ironmasters Way is closed. If Ironmasters Way was one way it would be impossible to get to Boyd Close. Reporting this issue was interesting as Boyd Close doesn't appear on any maps and the Highways people sat in the council offices 200yds away didn't know it existed despite it having a council road sign on it!

Just today I have chased up the burnt out wheelie bin problem (again), reported a fly tip by the island, reported offensive graffiti (swastikas) spray painted on a bus stop in Aqueduct and then spent a couple of hours in a Community & Environment Committee meeting at the parish council this evening.

There are some other things that I have been working on that I can't really discuss at the moment but should be able to report on soon.

Image result for busy meme

Friday, 3 February 2017

Civil parking enforcement in Telford & Wrekin

I am strongly opposed to Telford & Wrekin Council taking on powers to carry out parking enforcement in the borough instead of the police.

The police do respond to complaints about illegal and inappropriate parking and use a common sense approach where they try to educate the drivers before resorting to prosecuting them. I have seen this first hand outside the Windmill School and by the Telford Park School where the police speak to drivers or leave warning letters explaining what they've done wrong and that they will return at a later date and will fine them if they repeat the offence. This approach seems to work as long as the police follow it up.

The council's proposal is to take that responsibility away from the police and hire private parking enforcement officers to fine people instead. The council would get to keep the money to cover costs as well as any profit. Enforcement officers will end up with targets to ensure they are raising enough money which will guarantee abuses of the powers and poor decision making to meet those targets. The police have a duty to enforce parking problems in Telford & Wrekin and that is what they should do.

I don't trust the council with these powers and have fed that back through their parish and town council consultation exercise (not that I expect it to make the slightest difference because the decision will have already been made).


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Is it right to charge double for decaffeinated drinks?

This week I ran out of tea bags at work. This is serious stuff. So I called in at Tesco in Madeley on the way to work to buy some more. I would normally buy tea bags from Aldi but they have decided - for reasons that nobody appears to be able to explain - to "regionally discontinue" their own brand decaffeinated tea bags and not stock any alternatives*.

So I went to Tesco, found the tea aisle and was disappointed to find that they were charging more for PG Tips decaf tea bags compared to the caffeinated version. Not just a few pence but a third extra for a box of 40 and more than double for a box of 160.

I ended up buying a different brand that didn't overcharge for decaf but I was annoyed so I called Tesco customer services to try and find out why. They blamed PG Tips for setting the price higher but assured me they would make sure my feedback got to the right people (yeah, right). So I then called PG Tips and spoke to a very helpful man who sympathised entirely with my complaint as his intolerance of caffeine isn't limited to headaches and shakes but to full blown uncontrollable gastric activity. He checked thoroughly and said that they don't set a recommended price for anything they sell to Tesco and that it is entirely down to Tesco to choose how much they charge. So I'm going to write to Tesco now and see what they've got to say for themselves. I suspect they will make sure my feedback goes to the right people and the price of decaf tea won't change.

The above is a little tongue in cheek but it is something that annoys me. Some people choose to forego caffeine for health reasons, some don't get on particularly well with caffeine and others get quite ill if they consume it. I'm a mixture of the first two - I can drink caffeinated drinks in moderation but not all the time so rather than subject my body to something it doesn't like I drink decaf where possible. But choice is limited and it can be more costly which is a little unfair if you have no choice but to drink decaffeinated drinks. It is difficult to find decaffeinated Coke and Pepsi in Telford despite it being something that those companies make in large quantities. You can't even buy it from the local wholesalers and consequently smaller shops are unable to stock it, even if they're willing to as our local shop here in Brookside was when I asked. Decaf tea and coffee is easier to come by but supermarkets often make you pay extra and if you ask for a decaf tea in many places they look at you like you've asked them for some obscure drink that can only be found on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.

Is it too much to ask that decaf drinks are as freely available and similarly priced to caffeinated versions and that supermarkets don't try and pass the buck when putting a big margin on a product that many people have no choice but to buy?


* Tetley decaf tea bags appeared at Aldi in Madeley after I phoned them up last week to find out why they no longer sold decaf!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Free security marking for bikes

The police will be outside Brookside Central today offering free "CRE Mark" security stickers for bikes.

Head down there with your bike between 10am and noon and they will fit the sticker and register your bike for free so that if it is ever lost or stolen it can be easily identified and traced back to you.