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Use Trams On Great Western Way

01 Apr 2015

Posted by Colin James in Open Forum

I have for a long time campaigned to have the traffic lights on the southern routes into Hereford to be turned off becuase from evidence obtained in various formats it has been proved that the traffic certainly flows better when these traffic lights have been off or out of order. They could certainly been made to operate part-time at off peak times 8pm-7am


I have also pondered on how to take some of the pressure from these main roads and after a lot of thought I suggested turning the Great Western Way into a road, then after debates with some other members we came up with an even better idea, use a tram system! Back and forth still allowing room for pedestrains and cyclists.




The GWW in Hereford runs right from the top of Redhill/Newton Farm and could go all the way down through Hunderton and over the river bridge past the rugby club and Sainsburys, continuing down parallel with Edgar Street at the back of the Theatre, continuing past Currys and almost to the back of Dunlem opposite the Leisure Centre. I am not 100% sure where the track ends but I will take a walk this weekend, weather permitting and have a look.


Campaign For Better Transport Website

While trains move lots of people quickly over a long distance and buses move smaller numbers of people, and for shorter journeys, trams are more flexible than trains - because they stop more often - and faster and more reliable than the bus.


Mr Albert Heijn from the Left Bank, I beleive once offered some years ago to fully fund such a project but from my undersatnding the HC refused the idea.


As most of the traffic, according the the HA is 90% for local trips back and forth surely this is an option worth consdering especially as we already have the old railway line available with some work to bring it up to date of course.


Your thoughts on this idea/campaign would be appreciated.

  4,385 Views · 203 Replies ( Last reply by Colin James )


Is democracy dead?

26 Aug 2014

Posted by megilleland in Open Forum

Bearing in mind the welcome opposition councillors' planned coup, regarding the cabinet system next week do we get what we deserve? How are these councillors going to carry us through to the election polls next May? As witnessed on these pages not many councillors engage with us on the many local issues affecting the city and which concern us. Directness and honesty seem to be secondary considerations, often only telling us how bad things are after they have gone t"ts up. Consultations are undertaken and ignored if the results do not fit the planned agenda. How much has and is this costing us?


Nearer to us in the West Midlands last week,  the election for a police commissioner attracted only 1 in 10 registered voters. The vote following the death last month of Bob Jones resulted in a turnout of 10.4%, the lowest recorded since the posts were created two years ago, prompting demands for the process to be reformed.

The cost of the election to the taxpayer has been estimated £3.7m, just under £20 for each vote cast.
Is that the price for democracry today? Quite cheap for those wishing to remain in power.

  1,276 Views · 33 Replies ( Last reply by WirralPC )


"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?" This could h...

07 Apr 2015

Posted by Amanda Martin in Open Forum

It was around midnight when my partner, Julian,  was driving up Berrington Street on his way home after a hard day's carpentry at our Rotherwas workshop, and was stopped by a patrol car. It surprised him: there was nothing wrong with the car and he was well within the speed limit. Two officers approached. The first was officious and discourteous, greeting him with "What's your name?" and asking for vehicle documents.  Those who know Julian will know that he is always calm and composed  and he told me that this was the manner with which he suggested to the officers that before giving his name,  they could give him theirs, along with an explanation for why he had been stopped; he told me that he would have been more than happy to provide details had he been given an explanation and treated with some civility.  The lead officer told Julian that he had full power to stop him and that it was unnecessary for him to give a reason. He did eventually give his name but when Julian reached forward for a pen and paper the officer leaned in, handcuffed him,  ordered him out of the car  and took him to Bath Street police station, ignoring Julian's concerns about leaving our dog in the car in Berrington Street where he remained, initially without an open window and surrounded by drunks and addicts, for around four hours without water. 

At the police station Julian said he saw, for himself, what the ugly underbelly of our police force looks like. On arrival, he was interviewed by the abusive, foul mouthed custody sergeant who responded to Julian's attempt to express concern about the way he was being treated with "I don't give a ****" and he told me he witnessed this same response to others; a lad in the waiting room who was sobbing, distressed and in need of support  was told to keep quiet or he would be put into a cell and would stay there all night. 

Julian's possessions were confiscated and bagged up and he was asked to validate the list with a signature.  He declined to do so as he had no clear idea of how much money he had arrived with or what other possessions he had been carrying.   This, and his other observations that the way he was being dealt with was abusive and unprofessional, appeared to infuriate and frustrate the custody sergeant who directed that he be taken to a cell for a strip search for being unco-operative.  The arresting officer was, in fact,  asked by the custody sergeant to give a reason why Julian had been stopped and replied that he had been "out of place" and had had a misted windscreen, in spite of Julian already having driven from Rotherwas with the heater on when he was stopped.  Julian attempted to interject and was told aggressively to be quiet and "stay out of it. "
Still handcuffed,  Julian was escorted to a cell where his belt and shoes were then removed. He told me he was careful to offer no resistance because of the threatening dynamic and the sense that one or more officers were looking for an excuse to assault him.  After being shown in, Julian was interviewed by the custody sergeant and three other officers including the two who had stopped him.  He describes the atmosphere as "menacing" and the custody sergeant as "out of control" and deploying classic bullying behaviour to compel him to use submissive language.   He told me he was surrounded by the four booted, black clad officers with weapons fully on show and the sergeant clearly in charge. The other officers looked less certain but were taking their lead from him,  although the officer who had originally accompanied the arresting officer was civil and Julian felt he was uncomfortable with the situation.   At the sergeant's direction, the officers began to make a display of gloving-up with jokes and sarcasm accompanying threats to do the strip search. There was nothing in the cell except a mat and no other equipment except the gloves.  At no point did he suggest that he would resist the search but was still telling them calmly that they  were abusing their powers and that their behaviour was unprofessional and unacceptable. The response was:   "How do you want to do this: the hard way or the easy way?".  Julian is quietly articulate and this clearly annoyed them.  He said he felt the sergeant  was wanting him to step over the line.  The intimidation continued as they indicated that he should remove his clothes an article of clothing at a time.  There was no record of offending, no offence to investigate and no purpose to the exercise: the threatened strip search was clearly intended as a punishment for his earlier lack of compliance.  The objective seemed to be to humiliate Julian by compelling him to repeat words or answer as the sergeant directed. By the time he was standing in his vest, trousers and socks, the sergeant had decided that he had shown sufficient compliance to satisfy the purpose of what can only be described as a "beasting".  
After the strip search incident, Julian was taken back to the desk and subjected to further questioning including:  "Would you describe yourself as White British?" Julian responded that he would not. He said the sergeant replied "Let me give you a clue; I would describe myself as White British". Julian said that he replied "Well that is up to you" which annoyed the sergeant further.  Other questions included:  "Do you take drugs?"; "Do you consider yourself an addict?"  "Do you have any mental disorders?"  Julian did not decline to answer the questions but also continued to protest at his treatment.
Julian had, since his arrival,  been remonstrating with officers about the abandonment of our dog and he continued to do so after he had been put back into the cell.   He pointed out that leaving a dog in a locked unventilated car was itself an offence and at some point, an officer went to Berrington St to open a window, making him vulnerable to theft from passers by, many of whom were drunk, anti-social and out of control.  
Julian remain in the cell for around three hours during which he asked for, but was not given, a chance to call me.  Despite having no criminal record and having committed no offence, he was offered a caution. Rejecting the admission of guilt implied in this, he declined and was photographed, DNA sampled charged, refused a chance to see a senior officer to make a complaint and then escorted out and left to walk back to Berrington Street at 4.00am where  the dog was still in the car.  In spite of an officer having visited me with a partial account of events, no mention of the dog was made and it did not occur to me that he would have been abandoned at the site of Julian's arrest. 

Julian will appear before Hereford Magistrates on 23rd April charged with obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty; 

This has been a wake up call for both of us. I'm starting to realise just how naive and complacent the white middle classes can be about these things.  Just asking questions or questioning the right to elicit information can lead you into confrontation with authority and, in this scenario, power is undoubtedly being abused through a lack of proper training, a lack of monitoring, a reluctance to reject unsuitable candidates and a determination by the courts to back prosecutions however spurious and unreasonable. These weren't officers acting professionally in the course of their duty: these were men  using the props of public office to abuse power and dominate. Julian may have done nothing wrong but his non compliance was a challenge and it didn't go unpunished. 

I doubt if Julian's treatment is an isolated case and we would like it fully investigated,  ideally culminating in a full apology, charges dropped,  the expulsion of the custody sergeant involved from West Mercia Police and disciplinary action with follow up training for the other officers involved.  I am inviting others in Hereford with independent accounts that can be corroborated, to come forward. 

Meanwhile,  out canvassing yesterday, I got chatting to a former police officer who told me he'd left the police because prominent, influential men were avoiding prosecution for serious offences due to their Freemasonry connections. 

I think we have some work to do here.  

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Hereford Train Services

13 Jan 2015

Posted by megilleland in Open Forum
Monday 12 January 2015 in Hereford Times News by Bill Tanner

Service now handling 3.5 million passenger journeys faces review
WITH over 3.5 million journeys now taken on the rail link between Hereford and Shrewsbury, a users group is long overdue.
Now, such a group has arrived in the guise of the Marches Rail Users Alliance (MRUA).
And MRUA has wasted little time in signalling its intentions.
This week, ahead of a review of Arriva Trains Wales as the operating franchise, MRUA has identified four key issues with the line that it is “keen to discuss” with Arriva, the Department for Transport and the Welsh Assembly.
They are:
1. Provision of an hourly stopping train between Hereford and Shrewsbury
At present, says MRUA, the pattern is irregular with a “considerable imbalance” at certain times of the day.
Examples are cited as a gap from Church Stretton to Shrewsbury between 1504 and 1655 and another between 0938 and 1138 southbound from Craven Arms to Hereford. 
MRUA wants an hourly stopping train interspersed with faster limited stop services.
2. Capacity Management
Members of MRUA’s constituent groups find increasing overcrowding on certain trains.
MRUA wants most trains to be made up of three cars with additional capacity to meet the heavier passenger flows.
3. Connections
MRUA has picked up on frustration at apparent poor connections at Hereford (for the Worcester line), Shrewsbury (for Wolverhampton and Birmingham) and Newport (for London and the West).
Passengers at smaller stations are said to face waiting areas that are “very basic” and a cafe at Hereford that closes at 18.00 when the station is still busy.
4. Integration for onward travel
MRUA says this could be improved at most stations at modest cost and in some cases may be deterring travel.
Cited as examples of scope for improvement are: pedestrian approaches at Hereford and Ludlow, car parking at Leominster and  bus service information generally.
MRUA represents an alliance of the Rail User groups along the high capacity rail link between Hereford and Shrewsbury, which has a population of 200,000 living within easy distance of six stations.
Current rail use is high with over 3.5 million trips made into or out of Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Church Stretton and Shrewsbury and passenger numbers have increased because of  early improvements by Arriva Trains Wales.
But MRUA says the service provided has not kept up with this growth.
MRUA chairman Professor Leslie Lumsdon said: "Given the continued annual fare rises, we deserve better. It is important for passengers to make their views known to the train operating company and others responsible for delivering our rail service. These views can be fed through to the companies interested in bidding for the Wales and Borders franchise in 2018."
Responses to the issues raised by MRUA can be put to its secretary Ian Slater, at [email protected] or Prof Lumsdon at [email protected] or 01584 877588.


Are the lifts operating yet on the station. I was last told they would be working by the end of June 2014, but the scaffold bridge is still in place.

  705 Views · 15 Replies ( Last reply by Roger )


Singing Like a Canary

10 Apr 2015

Posted by Maverick in Open Forum

In February 2014 a Unison Rep approaches Senior Managers with a number of long standing unaddressed issues from members which included health and safety and training for disabled staff.

The Rep is employed by Herefordshire Council

In response the Rep also disabled is asked to attend an Occupational Health (OH) referral to ascertain if the Rep is 'Capable of fulfilling the requirements of their role'.

If there were capability issues regarding the TU Rep why weren't they being performance managed? Why is Senior Managers response to a complaint about Health and Safety and Training to send the Rep to OH, asking if they are capable of fulfilling the requirements of their role?

The Rep refuses and lodges a grievance against the Senior Manager for victimisation, which is sent to the Director Geoff Hughes. Geoff Hughes hands the Grievance to the Senior Manager who is the subject of the complaint.

When a Grievance is lodged against a Senior Manager why is the Senior Manager handed the Grievance in its entirety? Do employees who are not Senior Managers and subject of a grievance receive a full copy of a written Grievance against them?

The Unison Branch Secretary refuses to represent the TU rep in the Grievance because Geoff Hughes and the Senior Manager are both in the Union.

According to the Unison Representation Guide Book. In a grievance hearing, a member who is a manager whose decision gave rise to the grievance, cannot expect representation when they simply carry out their functions as a Manager. So why does the Branch Secretary refuse a request to represent his TU Rep?

Unison ask the Rep to attend a meeting with the Branch Secretary and Unisons Area manager.

Why is Unisons area Organiser called into this dispute? Why is the Grievance not handled locally and what's the real reason for the Branch Secretary's refusal to assist a TU Rep?

The Branch Secretary makes his excuses and leaves the meeting.

Was the Branch Secretary distancing himself from what the Rep was about to be told because he is an employee of the Council? He was the one told about the threat. Would a threat still have been issued if Geoff Hughes hadn't handed the Grievance to the Senior Manager but instead followed the correct procedure? Did the Senior Manager after being handed the Grievance issue a threat to Unison?

The Area Manager informs the TU Rep that in response to the Grievance, the Branch Secretary has been told that if the Unison Rep doesn't drop the Grievance against the Senior Manager they will look for all the information they can find to threaten their employment and even if there is nothing to find they will make it up!

How would Herefordshire Council find evidence about an employee to threaten their employment? Start searching through their emails, as a TU Rep the systems would contain emails from Union members. Would they invoke Ripa and start following the Rep and record their movements? If there's nothing to find what sort of fabricated evidence would they create? How far would they go? It would need to be gross misconduct to threaten employment. Would Herefordshire Council really fabricate gross misconduct charges?

The TU Rep agrees under protest but only when told that Unison will insist that any threat against its TU Rep is withdrawn stating Unison will not tolerate a TU Rep being threatened.

Why does a Unison Area Organiser persuade a member of staff who is a TU Rep to drop a legitimate complaint against a Senior Manager? If a threat of this nature is made against a TU Rep and Unison back down are they really serving the best interests of their members and would a threat of this nature be a threat against the Union as a whole?

A meeting is held with a Senior Manager from the Council but there is no mention of the threat which surprises the TU Rep. During the meeting, Unisons Area Manager advises Herefordshire Council that 'Unison' will be lodging an ET1 with Acas to safeguard the TU Reps position in case the issues remain unresolved.

Why is there no request to withdraw the threat against the TU Rep? Why did the Area Organiser inform the Senior Manager at that meeting that Unison would be lodging the complaint with Acas?

The TU rep lodges the Complaint with Acas. The actions discussed at the meeting are confirmed via email.

Why did the Area Organiser not question the list of Actions from the meeting when he received them? They clearly state 'Unison' will be lodging a complaint through Acas. Was it all part of some elaborate plan?

UNISON then distance themselves from the complaint and deny any knowledge of the threat against the rep. They ignore requests, to participate in a tribunal.

Why did Unison inform Senior Managers they would be lodging a complaint with Acas for the Victimisation of a TU Rep and then deny knowledge of the threat? Did Senior Managers make the threat or not?

A complaint is lodged with Unison and copied to Dave Prentice and Lucia McKeever. Unison attack the Rep and find no case to answer. Unison do not ask the TU rep for any information or speak with them prior to finding no case to answer.

Why do Dave Prentice and Lucia McKeever appear to be sanctioning this appalling behaviour by their inaction? Why did investigating officers fail to speak to the Rep before completing the investigation?

The TU Rep informs Unison the meeting was taped and asks why the investigation was completed without asking for any evidence or asking any questions. The email responses from the investigating officers are aggressive and accusatory.

Why did investigating officers not speak to the TU Rep prior to making a decision on the complaint? More importantly why were they attacking the Rep in email correspondence?

The TU rep then made a complaint to Members Services about the inappropriate way the complaint is investigated. Members Service refuse to investigate until they receive copies of the tapes.

Why won't members services investigate why the original officers failed to conduct a comprehensive investigation? The complaint to members services is about a failure to investigate the original complaint, are copies of tapes necessary to ascertain why the investigation into the original complaint wasn't completed appropriately? Are they back tracking here and missing the point?

Members services request copies of the tapes. The Rep explains they are part of Tribunal proceedings and can not be disclosed until after the hearing.

The complaint to members service is about the conduct of the investigating officers why do they need evidence of the original complaint before they can ascertain if those officers acted inappropriately when investigating the original complaint?

Members services refuse to investigate the two officers responsible for the haphazard investigation.

Why are Members Services condoning the unprofessional behaviour of their officers?

TU rep requests refund of Union fees because Unison not only failed to appropriately represent the member but they also perpetuated and frustrated the entire situation. Remunaration of the Tribunal Fee is also requested since it was Unison who stated they would be lodging the complaint.

If the TU Rep was refused appropriate representation for which their monthly subscription should cover why are Unison ignoring requests to return those monthly fees and the cost for lodging the ET1?

Request ignored.

Why are Unison behaving as if they are paid by the employer?

Case closed!

Should Herefordshire Council investigate the behaviour of its officers and find out if one or more of its officers was threatening an employee to abandon their employment rights? Is the behaviour of Council Senior Officers of Public interest? The Public fund their wages, would they condone this type of behaviour from Senior Managers in positions of power? If their Officers are innocent wouldn't they want an investigation to show that?

Finally what response or actions would the public expect from Herefordshire Councils Senior officers who knew about the threat? For example Bill Norman, Council Leader Anthony Johnson or the Chief Executive Alistair Neil?

How difficult it is to speak with Jesse Norman your local MP?

What part do Herefordshire Council play in this saga?

  2,045 Views · 43 Replies ( Last reply by WirralPC )


Gripe at me!! - potential councillor seeks overvi...

14 Apr 2015

Posted by Sebastian Hope in Open Forum

hi all


rather than hi-jack the general election thread which was threatening to happen as i chat with people, i thought it might be better to open a new thread where people can just post their issues so i can see what needs addressing should i be elected and what i can recommend in the mean time. please post the location and problem (and try not to start debates!!) 


i have already had 1 problem from bobby47, dogging in general around the city, and specifically near his home


have a nice day :)


Sebastian Hope - County Council Candidate for Holmer Ward

  756 Views · 26 Replies ( Last reply by flamboyant )


Herefordshire Council Elections 2015

03 Apr 2015

Posted by dippyhippy in Open Forum

A Herefordshire Council planner, Ange Tyler, has given up her job to stand as an Independent candidate in the Aylestone ward. Full story over at Hereford Times.


Tim Price is to stand as an Independent in Whitecross.


Amanda Martin is standing for IOC in Widemarsh.


Anybody know of any more.....??!

  3,412 Views · 129 Replies ( Last reply by dippyhippy )


New Black Bins, Max 4 Bags a Fortnight - f*** Off

04 Aug 2014

Posted by Biomech in Open Forum

In the Hereford Times this week(?) there's a piece on the new black bins that will be delivered and a picture of some **** councillor.

It states - and is corroborated on the council website*, that these black wheelie bins must;


Not exceed 4 black bags

Each black bag to not exceed 15kg

Each bag should not exceed 410 x 760 x 915mm


Are you having a f+">:** laugh? Can we get some councillor's input on this please? Maybe the bellend in the paper who thinks this is a good idea.

4 black bags per FORTNIGHT, some families have that per week, this is absolutely ridiculous.


And let me guess, if we exceed the "limits" you'll leave the rubbish on our doorstep with a note, leaving it for 4 weeks just to refuse it again because now it's double.


I tell you what, my rubbish goes in my bin, I pay you pricks to collect it, if you refuse to collect it, I'll be making missed rubbish calls to get you back out and that's going to start to cost you a hell of a lot more.


Also, as I never had response to this before, explain to me what's going to happen as central government are planning to make fortnightly collections illegal. 


  7,645 Views · 175 Replies ( Last reply by Aylestone Voice )


Countdown to General Election 7th May 2015

28 Dec 2014

Posted by megilleland in Open Forum
An important year for all concerned. Let's hope that it turns out better this time round - I have had enough of this government's inflicted misery. Only 65% of the electorate voted with 36.1% of them voting Conservative, 29% voting Lib Dem, 23% voting and 11.9% voting for others.
Any ideas on which way this years election is going to pan out? I imagine we will be told all the usual lies leading up to the general election and find ourselves, back where we started, in the mire again. No change for the plebs.
An interesting article in The Mail on Sunday by Sir Roy Strong looking ahead to what 2015 has in store. Found I agreed with a lot he said.
A distinguished commentator's brilliant analysis of what the New Year has in store: Our longest serving monarch? Meltdown for the ruling class? Historian and author SIR ROY STRONG says: Roll on, 2015!
The Queen will become Britain's longest-serving monarch on September 9, surpassing the reign of her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria
Next year sees a milestone in British history. On September 9, our present monarch will have reigned longer than her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, making her the longest serving in our history. 
Like Victoria, Elizabeth II has come in old age to be a hugely venerated figure. The majority of the population cannot remember a time without her. Indeed, most Britons will have been born during her reign.
And yet there remains the fact that we are at the close of the second Elizabethan age. Students of history will tell you that the final years of any era are characterised by uncertainty. 
Certainly, the modus operandi of the House of Windsor – a style that was set by Edward VII and has continued pretty much unaltered ever since – will eventually have to change to meet the challenges of a new generation and a new century.
We are unlikely to witness that change in 2015, because we are fortunate in having a monarch who seems set for more years of being both happy and glorious. But putting that piece of good news to one side, few people will deny that there is a general malaise in society, a feeling of unease, dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
I don’t think that in all my 80 years (I will be that age next August) I have registered such an all-pervading sense of the lack of direction. Who are we and where are we going? We no longer seem to know.
In my lifetime there was the clear and optimistic post-war vision of the 1940s and 1950s in the Welfare State after the deprivation of the war. It gave the population free healthcare and access to the talented, by means of grants and scholarships, to higher education.
Then came the ‘you’ve never had it so good’ era of Harold Macmillan, which lifted the material living standards of the average citizen to undreamed of heights. After the ghastly, turbulent blip of the 1970s came the Thatcherite vision of a free enterprise society, rewarding energy and hard work by banishing the chains of state ownership and bureaucracy.
Yet David Cameron’s initial concept of the ‘Big Society’ vanished down the tubes pretty quickly, to be followed by his somewhat dispiriting ‘We’re all in this together’. And indeed so we are, but it seems with no sign of ever getting out of it.
The General Election in May is certainly going to be one of, if not the, landmark elections since 1945.
Until now, the various parties presented visions as to where we were heading, ones which the different constituent parts of the island could share – whether urban or rural, north or south. Alas, with the advent of the campaign for Scottish independence, any hope of such united aspirations is vanishing fast.
The irony is that the initial loss of the vote for independence, which was thought to be the last word on the topic, has in fact turned out to be the exact reverse. In many ways it has intensified the campaign and brought retribution on the Labour Party north of the border.
We forget that the Union is only 300 years old and wasn’t popular then. Scotland has a separate legal system and national church among a litany of other institutions that spell separation rather than togetherness.
And then where does the monarchy fit into this new scheme of things? Strictly speaking, the Queen is Elizabeth I of Scotland and II of England; an adjustment to her formal title should have been made in 1998, the year of devolution. We seem to have forgotten that the monarchy, seen from afar, is to the majority of the Scots a remote, south of England institution.
If the end result of the devolution vote is that the Scottish Labour Party goes under, it will only add to a scenario of the dissolution of the existing political configurations.
In the case of the somewhat goofy Ed Miliband, he will discover it really is true (as one commentator wrote recently) that his party now represents a section of society that no longer exists.
In the case of the Conservatives, there will be losses to Ukip and who knows what fissures in the case of the Liberal Democrats. But do not worry. British history tells us that every so often there’s a meltdown to meet the needs of a new era – 2015 could be one of those moments. Roll on, I say.
What all of this also reflects is the public’s total disillusionment with the political class. They are seen as a self-perpetuating oligarchy who make politics their career and who rarely have any experience of a workshop floor. They are now cast as a self-seeking, righteous clique whose last desire is to reform itself.
The so-called reform of the House of Lords remains an unresolved constitutional mess. No one either has achieved the redrawing of the constituency boundaries, which is another scandal. And all of that we owe to political in-fighting with never a thought for the wider public, which ostensibly our MPs serve.
And where, one may ask, are the giants of vision and oratory? Gone, gone, seemingly for ever. What we listen to most of the time are ventriloquists’ dummies articulating what the last focus group told them to say. We live in the golden age of box-ticking and don’t forget it. Whatever else is taught at Eton it cannot include the art of oratory.
Just to add to the fun of the fair, there’s another anniversary in 2015 – the battle of Waterloo, the heroic moment when the Duke of Wellington led the pan-European forces not far from Brussels and in the aftermath of the Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball to a glorious victory over the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. Will we celebrate this? Or will we, as happened on the 300th anniversary of the Union of England and Scotland in 2007, sweep it under the carpet in the interests of togetherness and ever-closer union?
On the horizon in 2017, if the Conservatives return to power, is a referendum as to whether we stay part of the European Union. What is striking, looking back to 1973 when we joined it, is that the longer we are part of the Union, the more unhappy and uneasy we seem to become.
We were certainly part of the Roman Empire but not the Holy Roman Empire or the one of Napoleon. Indeed, the whole of our history has been in the opposite direction, with the defeat of the Spanish Armada, of the armies of both Louis XIV and the French Emperor, not to mention a German Emperor and Hitler.
The polls show a nation divided as to whether to be in or out. Both legislation and decision-making in Brussels seem increasingly to impinge on what has set us apart. Globalisation also threatens the island in another way.
Much that is brewing for the luckless voters next May to think about stems – I suspect – from facts that government knows about, but which we don’t. David Cameron’s sudden concern with immigration and a desire to reach some kind of curbing on the influx would suggest that the true figures of that influx are way in excess of what we are told.
What it spells out to me is that the Government has done a forward projection in what that huge explosion in our population on a tiny island will mean in terms of social provision, education, welfare and benefits as the century progresses.
They have to be added to the cost of providing for an ageing population. We are still up to our eyes in debt and it is taken for granted by all parties that whoever comes to power must cut yet again. None of that bodes well.
There are other divisions which could also fester. It is clear to me that sorting out a resentful England may in the long run be more of a nightmare than sorting out Scotland. Living, as I do, in the shires, I am more than conscious that rural England counts for nothing in the eyes of the political class. 
The Countryside Alliance’s march on London was the biggest demonstration that the city has ever seen since the Chartists in the Victorian period. And yet their demands were ignored. There has been a huge revival of local loyalties in the last couple of decades and a strong revulsion against the dominance of London the city state. 
In the past, when both Lords and Commons was made up of people who came from and had been born and worked in the counties, there was constant interplay. The old hereditary Lords had their hands in the soil of their locality. All gone. When I go to London now I enter a different world aware, on any bus ride, that I am one of the few who speaks English.
How ironic that 2015 also sees the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the Great Charter of 1215 that limited the power of an autocratic and unpopular monarch, marked the beginning of the idea that the people should be consulted and, in the long term, led to parliamentary democracy. I’ve no doubt the anniversary will be marked by an outburst of self-congratulation by our MPs. They should be ones of mourning as to how far they’ve dragged the institution down into disrepute.
Its most famous clause reads: ‘No freeman shall be arrested, or kept in prison… or banished, or in any way brought to ruin… unless by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’ Try telling that to British citizens held without trial as part of the so-called War on Terror.
So 2015 is not going to be an easy year. There’s an absence of ‘bread and circuses’ to take the public’s minds and eyes away from what might be cruel realities. There’s no Royal jubilee, only a second child for the Duchess of Cambridge to cheer us on our way.
Nor is there an equivalent of the Olympics with its apotheosis of our Health Service, which appears to be on its last legs. One bonus is that we are officially at peace after two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which we could afford. Long may that peace last.
Looking back, we are right to feel aggrieved by the political class. They have, in fact, betrayed us. They have perpetually promised things that they could not deliver. When I think of them, a line from the old Book of Common Prayer confession comes to mind: ‘We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us.’
One of their worst crimes has been to spend money which we haven’t got in a perpetual quest to stay in office. I am of the generation that will not have to pay the price for that wanton prodigality. My heart goes out to the next two generations who will have to suffer and meet the bill. That, sadly, will be the story of Britain in the 21st Century.
This disillusionment with politicians and the whole political system has already bred a desire to look elsewhere for leadership. Sooner or later there will be a vacuum to be filled. The figure that fills that space at the moment is the one unfaltering human being who alone has remained true to the oath she swore at her Coronation – the Queen.
As she stands on the threshold of becoming the longest reigning monarch in a thousand years of British history, it is safe to say that she has steadfastly served her people with an old-fashioned sense of duty, service and patriotism which should remain a source of inspiration for each and every one of us – not least our discredited politicians. Long may she reign!


Oh and by the way I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas, as it looks as if 2015 is not going to be a prosperous year for many of us.

  3,932 Views · 114 Replies ( Last reply by Cambo )


ATM Machine In The Old Market?

21 May 2014

Posted by H.Wilson in Edgar Street Grid

I am posting from my mobile and we are currently sat in Costa Coffee, can anyone please tell us where the nearest cash point is because we cannot see one?





  2,038 Views · 29 Replies ( Last reply by Colin James )


How Many Empty Shops In Hereford 2015?

23 Jan 2015

Posted by Colin James in Hereford City

Well we are just over a year on from the last time I did this exercise in this topic (December 2013), so lets see what has changed and see what the differences are...


1.Widemarsh St.jpg

  5,247 Views · 65 Replies ( Last reply by Ubique )


A University for Hereford

16 Mar 2015

Posted by Harry Beynon in Hereford City
Unless I have missed something, there does not appear to have been much mention on Hereford Voice of the new University project.

This project is quite possibly the most positive news the city has had in decades. As Herefordshire is one of only three counties without a University, the initiative is government-backed and will happen! This opens up the prospect of thousands of new students and teaching staff coming to Hereford, boosting spending and stimulating the local economy.

More excitingly, the University plans to take up many of the redundant buildings in the city centre and use them as teaching spaces. So, we could see new life breathed into Maylords Orchards; Chadds; the old Odeon site etc etc.

Please back the new University project - it's great news for Hereford!

  623 Views · 14 Replies ( Last reply by greenknight )


Petition: Reverse Decision To Reduce Grass Cutting

22 May 2014

Posted by Colin James in Open Forum

I have been asked by several people if I would create a petition about the lack of grass/verge cutting in the County due to severe cut backs in Herefordshire Councils budget. 


We the undersigned want Herefordshire Council to REVERSE it's decision to reduce grass cutting frequencies from 7 times a year to just 3 times a year in this years budget. This is a massive reduction of almost 60%!! Yet Herefordshire Council has  increased the Council Tax by almost 2%.
The Old Market shopping centre has recently opened at a cost of over £90 million, which will hopefully attract more people to Hereford and grow our local economy, however, Hereford looks a mess, all the grass and verges are overgrown and this will lead to treble the amount of work required when they eventually get around to it, which is false economy. 
This online petition has been launched in a bid to persuade Herefordshire Council to reverse the decision and restore Hereford back to a more attractive standard.
Why is this important?
We believe that this is a necessary course of action in order to attract investment and economic benefit back to Hereford.
The state of our Herefordshire also discourages potential investors and tourism alike from visiting the County, this is potentially an economic disaster for Hereford.




You Can Sign The Petition HERE

  20,005 Views · 426 Replies ( Last reply by dippyhippy )


Herefordshire Council website

16 Apr 2015

Posted by twowheelsgood in Open Forum

To quote the great bobby47 'It’s a dog. With fleas.'

I need to access it several times a day for my business. The planning section has had endless problems over several years - slow, doesn't work, dead links, false searches, not loading. I log faults regularly - in fairness they are acknowledged and sometimes fixed, but inevitably re-occur.
Today is a new low - the whole site disappeared. Yes, herefordshire.gov.uk just went. Completely. Just a third party log in. How can this possibly happen??!! 
And … it's back. Until the next time. E-government? Seriously?

  105 Views · 1 Replies ( Last reply by Aylestone Voice )

  449 Views · 14 Replies ( Last reply by Gentle Giant )

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