Naked Chimney Thief in Pemberton

From the BBC news site:

Naked man found wedged in chimney

A naked man found wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in Wigan has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Police officers discovered him trapped in a chimney breast of a Tesco Express store on Ormskirk Road, Pemberton.

… and it goes on…

Read it all here.

I drive past this Tesco’s every day, but even with the most ridiculously early start to work this morning (around 6am) I missed this which happened at 5:30.

Don’t know what I would have expected to see… but I like this take on the story

Well, who would you trust?

So much for painting Osborne as “not a toff”. He’s in it up to his neck.

His weasel words tonight won’t help, either. I notice that in the q&a that the BBC are showing this evening he insists on saying “we never solicited a donation” and “we didn’t ask for the money”. Knowing that the clip would be repeated ad-nauseum he avoids saying “I” which would lose him even more credibilty.

Two years ago, Cameron sacked Bernard Jenkin when he suggested that an Asian Councillor might not be selected as a candidate (which Jenkin denied). Cameron was desperate to show the Tories had changed. So Cameron surely must sack Osborne now, because not only has Osborne shown that he’s an unreconstructed toff, but also that he can’t be trusted to tell the whole truth, that his judgement is flawed and that the Tories are still happy to go for the big foreign donors.

Tories block free swimming for unders 16s

Paul Cotterill reports that the council last night decided to deny under 16’s the right to free swimming in the district’s pools. Despite the fact that the Council could draw from the £40 million that the Government has made available to make this happen.

I know no more than what Paul has written at the moment but I’ll try to get to the bottom of it. I honestly can’t see why a council would decide against this when the cash is there. The only thing I can think of is that the Tories are trying to make some sort of political statement.

Regardless of what argument they might have used last night, there is no good reason for voting against this scheme. This is a reprehensible decision.

I am certain that every one of the Labour Group will have voted to use the Government money for free swimming and that the Tories won it on the back of their thumping majority. I _hope_ that our Labour councillors demanded a recorded vote so we can see if any Tories had the sense to vote in favour of it.

an update 21st October: Paul Cotterill has a couple of updates with the background on this decision by the Tories. Best to check over there for a good analysis of how they try to defend their decision and Paul’s attempts to hold them to account.

Au revoir vista

A late night uninstalling vista and re-installing windows XP. I give up after what must be 18 months of struggle, one new laptop and endless bloody tinkering to try and get it working the way I want.

Would I recommend it to anyone? No. If you can avoid it, do. If you must get it, then stick to a few basic applications and leave it at that.

God willing Windows 7 will be an improvement.

Conservative expenses – what does it tell us?

The prospective Tory parliamentary candidate has made a fuss over the summer about his publishing of expenses. Taking a look at his site it says, amongst other things:

2007/08
Taxable Gross Allowance Received: £7416.57
Charitable Donations through Give As You Earn: £1920.00
Expenses claimed: Nil
Other: Not applicable

Then some stuff about palace garden parties from this year, which I’m guessing is meant to impress…

Some observations: No expenses are claimed, which is fair enough, I don’t think I did over the four years I was in the Council. It’s nothing spectacular. Gross allowance received looks about right for a cabinet member, about £3,000 more than the normal councillor.

However, £1920.00 donated to charities via give as you earn. What’s this about? I don’t see any reason for listing it, except to show what a great bloke he must be for donating a slug of his allowances to charity. This figure would mean a lot more if put in the context of the household income and the household charity donations.

And I can’t help but think of Matthew 6:1-5:

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

This isn’t meant to be an attack on his religious beliefs which I’m sure are strongly held. I’m convinced that he would normally agree with the line in the Bible, but I think that the desire to present himself as a generous chap to the electorate was too much.

Personally, I’m with Matthew on this one. Donations to charity should be a private matter. But now that the figure of £1920 donated to charity is out there, I’d like to know who received it. If he really believes in openness and transparency then he should list both the charities and the amounts they received.

End of the bypass

Haven’t posted in a while, just busy getting on with the day job and trying to make sure that we can get through to the other side of the forthcoming recession.

A lot of interesting things politically over the summer, the most interesting for me being the shelving of the Ormskirk Bypass for another 10 years. Not quite as grim as the local papers put it, the report to the Lancashire Local Committee said that it might be reconsidered as early as 2016 (though it does say that funding would still be unlikely). However, given the projection of traffic in 2012 that the County traffic engineers presented, it is imperative that minds are urgently turned to a viable alternative for Ormskirk.

At the end of the day it comes down to cash available to put any scheme into place, and it must be regrettable that a reported £1.4million was spent putting this new set of plans together. Doubly so, given that the recent speculation, reports and surveys came two years after the government had ranked the scheme in the third quartile of transport projects for the North West, where it remains.

It is admirable that it was believed that force of personality alone might make the bypass happen, but ultimately all that money invested in drawing up the plans and lobbying government was wasted.

That cash would have been better spent on trying to find a viable alternative. I’m no fan of the “road across the park”, but at least it shows that there are alternatives. There are much better minds that mine applying themselves to finding new and novel ways of addressing traffic problems, and that is the kind of thinking that we need in West Lancs. Our local politicians need to be pressing the County Council to start the ball rolling on a new scheme for the town.