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  1. RT @SenSanders: The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for…

  2. Elevation of love. (thanks #est). I'm feeling it. Hope you do too. https://t.co/lQWT8PRf3S

  3. Secrets are the blood-sugar of Ledbury's Town Council. https://t.co/xaehbQrEoT

  4. The inside story of why #Ledbury's Neighbourhood Plan group was dissolved A Triumph of Stupidity that will cost dear https://t.co/nXKejrfYqn

  5. Thanks Dippy. We're in a struggle with the old guard who want to keep things stitched up for themselves, and a more progressive movement committed to openness, democratic accountability and positive change. It is depressing when you find what you thought were friends and allies swinging in the direction of the most unsavoury and unethical elements in the council. And don't even talk about the blatant bias of the town council office staff in favour of Barnes and his crew. The place feels like a horrible dictatorship. I swear they'd have me and few others done away with if they could. Unbelievable.
  6. Another inglorious night for #Ledbury Town Council - hands over Neighbourhood Plan to consultants and two fingers to the community. Murky.

  7. Anyone vaguely interested in this story can read my blog: www.richhadley.net/ledbury-blog/a-triumph-of-stupidity
  8. Yes 'Uncle Bob' Barnes got a letter last December outlining a very exciting plan for a fantastic sports facility in Ledbury. Uncle didn't think this was relevant to share with the town council (of which he was mayor), the Neighbourhood Plan (of which he was chair), the Sports Federation (of which he is chair) or anybody else, except 'two or three' town councillors. Mmmh. I wonder who they could have been. This proposal was sent to Uncle as the Mayor and he was expressly asked to share it with all interested colleagues... nope: it wouldn't be of any interest to anyone he thought. This proposal was received just about the time the Cricket Club (chairman Rob Yeoman, Deputy Mayor of Ledbury, and vice chair of the Sports Federation) were seeking planning permission for their own building development to help them get their very own new cricket field. Could this alternative plan have meant that planning permission wouldn't have been granted for that proposal, given the potential for a much better plan that would have benefited the whole of Ledbury, not just its cricketers? It's all very confusing.
  9. More austerity & local service cuts, hitting the poorest hardest. Should parish councils like #Ledbury's step in? http://t.co/wdjxZCsjCj

  10. Yes you are right Greenknight. The county does have a higher than average number of older people, partly because of influx of retirees but also because of demographic imbalances - younger people presumably move out of county to get higher paid work. Remember that social care for elderly people is highly means-tested. If you have more than £23 thousand in the bank and/or a high pension income you receive no contribution to social care from the local authority. Those on lower incomes are entitled to pension credit guarantee support but this comes from DWP not HC social services. Fact is we have a lot of old people living in Herefordshire, and as with the rest of the county, these people are disproportionately struggling on low incomes, many in poverty. I think the issue of rich retirees is therefore a red herring. Remember too, that any well-off person is going to be paying more through the Council Tax system by virtue of living in higher banded properties. The problem lies not with old people, but with the iniquitous cuts that are being made to local government.
  11. Herefordshire Council - like most other out of the way local authorities - are in financial meltdown. Another round of cuts this year and next (£20m+) on top of the already £34m we've had since 2010. By 2020 there will be NOTHING left for LA services apart from adult and children's social care. Local communities have a choice: either do without the local services they are used to (eg libraries, grass cutting, public loos etc) or parish/town councils take them over and pay for them out the local precept. The Government is cutting taxes nationally and expecting towns and villages to decide if they want to make up the resulting service shortfall through hyper-local taxes. Yes, we'll be paying twice, but what's the alternative? I've written a blog piece on it if anyone's interested: http://www.richhadley.net/blog/going-for-broke-council-finances Be interested in comments.
  12. Even #Herefordshire's Tories aren't happy with another round of austerity. Now they're really broke, do the tow... http://t.co/E8VUISqdBn

  13. That'll be the Grand Opening of Wiggles in Ledbury, a slimming parlour I believe, that the Mayor ceremoniously launched, replete with Beckham wannabe lookalike, sadly now closed down after just a few months...
  14. Flamboyant and dippyhippy, thank you for support which is very much appreciated. The character assassination has already begun. Barnes' email sent round to all fellow councillors, without a shred of evidence to back it up, said that 'this behaviour is totally unacceptable and unbecoming of a town councillor & and a total disregard for the position you hold... Your actions have brought the entire council into disrepute... I find this report most disturbing and unwelcome, which will leave a stain on my tenure as Mayor.' For something that never happened, strong words eh? To be honest when you are completely trashed in public like this, there's not a great deal more they can say, short of calling me a criminal. Roll on May 7!
  15. And this, for anyone not crippled with boredom by all this stupidity, is what I put on the Hereford Times and Ledbury Reporter web forums: If you value conformity and subservience above free speech and transparency, then my behaviour [at the Council meeting] was out of order. But if you accept that there are moments when it is necessary to break the rules, when all other avenues have been exhausted, in order to tell the truth, then what I did was justified. Anyway, it was not such a great crime, reading out a resignation statement, as is my right, and refusing to be bullied into submission by a ridiculous bunch of buffoons who can't bear to be challenged. There were no procedural grounds whatsoever for the Mayor to silence a member of the public making a contribution at the start of the meeting. It was an outrageous infringement of the rules of conduct and I will be making a complaint to this effect. I was interrupted about a minute into my statement. I had not exceeded the time limit. What the Mayor sought to do was to prevent my referring to the matter of the defamatory and unsubstantiated email that he had circulated about me to all town councillors some weeks back. This was a clear attempt at smearing my reputation, political dirty tricks of the worst kind. The voters of Ledbury deserve to know the calibre of the people who are seeking their votes on 7 May (which doesn't include me). It was a ridiculous waste of everyone’s time to suspend and then adjourn the meeting. Had I been allowed me to make my statement in the normal manner, there would have been no problem to get on with the rest of the business afterwards. I had no intention once I had made my short statement of making any further contribution. What did he expect me to do? He exceeded his powers and acted outside of standing orders. I was also shocked by the barracking and abuse that I was subject to, as well as the menacing behaviour, captured on video, of Cllrs Clive Jupp and Alan Conway which nearly ended up in a fracas. Also, what a complete waste of Police time expecting them to come out to remove an ex-councillor who simply wanted to read out their resignation statement. They can’t bear to hear the truth. This incident is illustrative of the deep vein of anti-democratic, intolerant and dictatorial behaviour of entrenched members of Ledbury Town Council who are unable to let anyone give an alternative view or dissent from their petty and vindictive antics. Bob Barnes’ behaviour, as well as others on Thursday evening was undignified and ugly. The choice is now clear for voters on 7 May: vote for the old faces and have Ledbury hobbled by incompetence, or go for a fresh team and have us make a clean start.
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