Wednesday, 26 December 2007


December: NO2ID announces a new form of non-violent direct action: pre-emptive resistance. The NO2ID Pledge – – is a way of declaring to your friends and neighbours (tell everyone!) that you will not cooperate with any further government seizure of your personal information. If enough people publicly declare they will not cooperate, government seizure of personal identity will become impossible. You can do something positive now. Make it your New Year’s Revolution!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Tories and Labour Vote for More Councillors’ Allowances

Liberal Democrat councillors at North Yorkshire County Council today were alone in opposing more allowances for councillors.
The Tory-run council voted at its meeting today to start paying allowances to two “Member Champions”. Previously these “Champions” have never been paid.
From next year the Council’s “Champion for Older Persons” and the “Champion for Young Persons” will each receive £4,518 per year. This is in addition to their basic allowance of £8,772.
Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Bill Hoult (from Knaresborough) said:
“Once again Tory and Labour councillors combined to vote to use Council Tax payers’ money on a barmy idea. Councillors are elected to serve all the people in their own wards and we object to the Tory leadership trying to appoint “placemen” who will interfere with the role they were elected to do”

Tory Lack of Courage Over Post Offices

Liberal Democrat councillors at North Yorkshire County Council accused the ruling Conservatives of a lack of courage over post office closures.
The Post Office has proposed closure of 22 post offices in the county, with a further 18 becoming "outreach" offices, offering much more limited services.
In February 2007 the Lib Dems proposed a motion which would have committed the Council to opposing any further closures of post offices in North Yorkshire.
However, Tory and Labour councillors let the Government off the hook by supporting a Conservative amendment which watered down the motion to say that the Council "opposes any further closures without alternative appropriate provision being made."
Lib Dem County councillor Rob Broadley commenting on these proposals, which Liberal Democrats have been warning people about, said:
"These closures will be a disaster for many communities, especially for elderly and vulnerable residents who rely on their local post offices for essential services. In my County Division of Whitby/Streonshalh we have already lost one in Fishburn Park, with Helredale earmarked for closure.
When the Conservatives were last in Government, 3,500 post offices closed. Labour have already closed 4,000, and another 2,500 are set to close.
Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill is now asking people to make their voice heard and object to the closures. But if he had spoken up more effectively for our communities in the first place we might not be in this situation now."
Print this news story.

New Liberal Democrat Leader

New Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg MP today promised to give a voice to the people of Whitby who feel ignored by politicians.

Setting out his priorities after being elected as party leader on December 18th, Nick Clegg said:

“I am greatly honoured to have been chosen by my fellow party members to be the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“Throughout Whitby and Scarborough Liberal Democrats are already working hard to reach out to local people and listen to their concerns. In my leadership I will be taking that spirit nationwide, moving beyond party politics and making liberalism connect with the millions of people who share our values.

"Labour and the Conservatives have failed Britain's families. I will lead my party to change politics, and change Britain, for the better. Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to giving the people of Whitby and Scarborough a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives, by shifting power away from Westminster and back to local communities.

"I will fight for a fair deal for Britain’s families, campaign tirelessly to cut crime, and improve our NHS so it delivers the care people need."

Commenting County and Borough councillor Rob Broadley said:

“Nick Clegg is going to be a great leader. Labour and the Conservatives share so many policies. The time has come for a politician who will speak up for real people and local communities - like ours in Whitby."

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Millions at Risk

As one of the many innocent victims of this outrageous calamity, can we really trust ANY Government or its Agencies with our personal Data and identities? I believe the answer is a resounding NO!

CALL TO ACTION: SCRAP THE ID SCHEME NOW! With the scandal around the HMRC Child Benefit data breach intensifying, even some sceptical Labour MPs are calling for a (temporary) halt to the ID cards scheme. This is not enough. MPs of all parties should be calling for the immediate and permanent scrapping of the Home Office's 'identity management' programme.Not just the card, not just the database, but also the mass 'data-sharing' that lies at the heart of government ID policy. Please take the time this weekend or sooner to write to your MP via asking that he or she demand an immediate and permanent stop to all development of ID cards and a National Identity Register. If you don't already know his or her position, you can check how your MP voted on the ID cards legislation at polite, be concise and make your points clearly. The following may help you, but please DON'T just cut & paste:Having shown such contempt for personal privacy and security, the government simply cannot be trusted with all the information that the National Identity Register will demand. Fingerprints, and a detailed record of all your ID-verified transactions is data that has NEVER been collected before, counter to some MPs' claims that "we have it all already".The HMRC data scandal clearly demonstrates the fallacy of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear". It is bad enough that the government can't look after families' financial details - if allowed to proceed, in a few short years the Home Office will be leaking or losing people's complete identity records. And the more data it has, the worse it will get.Contrary to government assertion, biometrics WILL NOT secure your official record - but they will make it more valuable to fraudsters and organised crime. If the government really locked your ID record with your fingerprint, it would have to ask you every time that any official wanted to look at your information. This is plainly not the intention - and when breaches do happen, you won't be able to change your fingers like you can an account number.


As one of the unsuspecting victims of this disgraceful fiasco, read the following article and let me know what you think.

Firm searched for missing discs

Police are searching buildings belonging to courier firm TNT in the hunt for the missing computer discs at the centre of a massive political row as it emerged that another six discs have vanished.
Scotland Yard confirmed that the search of the HM Revenue and Customs child benefit office in Washington, Tyne and Wear, from which the discs were sent, was completed without finding any trace of the missing package.
But HMRC said that all the evidence pointed towards the discs - which contain personal details of 25 million child benefit claimants - still being on their premises.
The department also confirmed it was looking for another lost package containing six discs which went missing in the post after being sent on October 10 from a tax credit office in Preston to its Whitehall HQ in London.
These discs held recordings of phone conversations between an individual tax credit claimant and an HMRC helpline, which were despatched through an internal mail system operated by TNT - the same courier service used to send the two child benefit discs from Washington to London last month.
Neither TNT nor Scotland Yard would confirm the locations of premises being searched by police. The company has a depot at Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, not far from HMRC's Washington child benefit offices.
A TNT spokesman said the company was co-operating fully with the police investigation ordered by Chancellor Alistair Darling on November 15, five days after he was informed of the discs' disappearance.
But the company stressed that, as HMRC did not use track-and-trace services for the mailing, there was no way of proving whether or not the package ever entered its system.
"We have been given absolutely no proof either from HMRC or from the police that these discs ever entered the TNT system, let alone that we have mislaid them," said a company spokesman. "HMRC confirmed to us last night that they use two other companies for internal mail."
An HMRC spokesman confirmed that the agency used other courier services, but declined to identify them. The hunt for the missing discs was "wide-ranging and comprehensive" and would look into every aspect of where they could be, he said, adding: "All the evidence points to the fact that these discs are still on our premises."
I will tell you a story on another posting about Data Protection, etc, which you might find interesting - and worrying.

Friday, 23 November 2007

New Footpath planned for Green Lane

Following my requests for a section of footpath needed on Green Lane, (as mentioned in one of my Focuses), North Yorkshire County Council have budgeted for this to be built. Hopefully, permission will be granted for this scheme to go ahead - this has been needed for many years - when people will no longer have to walk on the road, exposing themselves to danger by passing vehicles.

New Bus Shelter at East Whitby School

Following 2 years of requests for a bus shelter at East Whitby School, Rob has been told that it should be in place before the end of this financial year, which might be as late as next March. I was disappointed that it would not be built in time for this winter, with students and young children having to wait for their buses in a very exposed area outside the school. I hope this will be welcomed by all those who rely on buses to get them to college and work at Scarborough.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Back again following huge problems with the blogg, viruses etc.
Trying to catch up with events is going to take some time, especially as I am working away for the time being. I will be dealing with enquiries remotely from work, and personally when I get home.
Does anyone out there believe we will be having a snap General Election soon? Will Gordon risk his future to get the country's support following Tony's departure? Will he call our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan?
Closer to home, will Whitby get the marina finished and at what cost? Political shennanigans where councillors are all trying to claim credit for coming to Whitby's rescue! Sometimes I get embarassed just watching it all unfold. The town council is getting worse - I reckon for what it's worth, we could do away with it! It's nothing but a talking shop, especially now that unitary council is not going to happen.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Virus hits web browser

Sorry to all out there for not posting for a month - my web browser was hit by a virus, and I could not get onto the internet at all. Back in business!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

North Yorks MPs Stage Anti-Unitary Protest

Last week, North Yorkshire MPs, including our own Robert Goodwill staged a protest outside the Houses of Parliament to show their opposition to a North Yorkshire Unitary Council. In an interview on Yorkshire Coast Radio, Mr Goodwill said that under a unitary council the Yorkshire Coast would not be classed a priority for tourism, and that as a result jobs would be lost. How he arrived at that conclusion is a mystery to me, and is simply scare-mongering. He simply does not want to upset his councillors down in Scarborough, the majority of whom want to keep Scarborough Borough Council as the status quo. He also said that having fewer councillors would mean a less democratic structure and accountability - which is nonsense. Currently, each county division in Whitby has a single county councillor, so people should get to know them quite easily and who is accountable. Under a unitary council these would increase to two councillors for each division, with an average electorate of around 4,000 - how can this be less democratic? Robert Goodwill represents our constituency of over 100,000 people; would he be prepared to share it with another MP to make it more democratic for us? I do not think so. As for Jim Dillon, chief executive of SBC, all he's bothered about is his own job and nobody else's. People whose jobs are to clean our streets and collect our rubbish are not at risk - but senior officers are, and that is why they are against a unitary council.

Losing Your Liberty?

TAKING LIBERTIES - at a cinema near YOU
On June 8th, a new film charting the erosion of basic rights and freedoms since 1997 will hit cinemas across the country. NO2ID were involved in this thought-provoking feature-length examination of this government's attack on civil liberties from early in its production, and our briefings on the ID scheme have been used as the basis for some stunning animation sequences and a hard-hitting section on ID cards*. Viewers are encouraged to join the NO2ID campaign at the end of the film.At present, 'Taking Liberties' has only limited distribution - details at We encourage you to see the film and take friends along too, and if it isn't showing in a cinema near you to write to the manager and ask him/her to screen it. We've lobbied MPs and peers, but in this case every successful letter will help bring this powerful and timely message to a wider audience. The 'Taking Liberties' production team tell us that at least two cinemas have agreed to screen the film in the last week or so, purely as a result of being written to. You *can* make a difference.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Rob to hold surgeries at Whitby Library

As from the 1st June I will be holding a surgery at the library, where people can just 'drop in' by to discuss a problem or for advice. I will be there from 12 noon to 1.30 to begin with, just to see how things go. Hopefully the Whitby Gazette will print something to advertise the fact that people can come and speak to me in person and discuss things in private.

Another job done!

Here's me checking out work on the verges of Helredale Road. They look a lot better than they used to - although the grass hasn't come through yet!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

New Labour - New Tories?

While I disagree with a lot of what the Conservatives and Labour represent, the most objectionable is the lack of straight-talking, honesty and integrity from councillors. I'll give you a couple of examples from recent county and borough meetings, which people have a right to know who says what, and which way they vote. During a debate on the council tax at Scarborough Town Hall, the Labour group leader Eric Broadbent said his group could not support the 3.7% increase in council tax as proposed by the Council Leader, Cllr Tom Fox. I then pointed out to the council that the previous week at County Hall Cllr Broadbent and his Labour group would not support the Liberal Democrats' motion to reduce the proposed increase of council tax from 4.9% down to 3.7%, yet went on to give their support to the Tories to out-vote us! At last week's county council meeting to elect a new Chairman of the council, again the Labour group supported the conservative nomination, and not the LibDems. This sort of thing goes on all the time' and if Labour voters could only see this, they certainly would think twice about voting for them again. You can listen to what went on in the last couple of county meetings, as they were recorded for a pilot scheme to regularly record meetings for the public to listen to. These were introduced as a result of a LibDem proposal for openness in council. Just click on the NYCC on the left to get to the home page, click on 'Council and Democracy' and follow the links to 'Listen to'.

Friday, 18 May 2007

MPs vote to keep information from us

What do you think of today's decision by MPs to keep information from us? This surely is not going to get through the Lords? We should all write to our MPs (I have already), to show our disgust at such a move. Take a read of this, and follow link.

LIB DEM MPs fail in FREEDOM OF INFORMATION battle as controversial bill passes
An attempt by Liberal Democrat MPs and others to defeat a Bill which seeks to exempt MPs and Peers from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, was defeated by an alliance of Conservative and Labour MPs today. The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, a private member's bill, introduced by David Maclean, a Conservative MP, passed its third reading shortly before 2.30pm and will now pass to the House of Lords, where it is likely to face a tough time. Yesterday Menzies Campbell wrote to Gordon Brown calling on him to publicly oppose the bill. Sir Menzies also wrote to Liberal Democrat members urging them to lobby their MP against the bill.
This has been a shameful day for the House of Commons - MPs should set an example of open government, not apply it to everybody but ourselves. David Maclean’s Bill and the way it has got through the Commons will clearly diminish respect for Parliament. But the battle will go on and hopefully the Lords will deliver us from this terrible mistake. I hope the public will make their views very clear to the MPs who supported the Bill and to the next Prime Minister that this is absolutely the wrong direction for open, accountable government. (Hughes) [Report on today’s debate] [Release - Campbell letter]
Click here to read the debate on Hansard and see who voted which way. In the first division those voting 'Aye' were voting to curtail debate and speed the Bill through.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

New Mayor and Deputy for Whitby

First, my apologies for late update on the blogg!
Tonight, 15 May Whitby Town Council elected its new Mayor and his Deputy, Councillors Steve Smith and Terry Jenison. I was proposed for deputy - but could not even get a seconder! Am I disliked so much? What did I do wrong? Speak out too much? Not enough? The coming year is going to be quite interesting. Hopefully more people will turn up for meetings to see what actually goes on there and what is said, and by whom! Oh! Woe is me! Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!

Monday, 7 May 2007

All change at Town Hall?

No doubt you will have read or heard about the loss of overall control at Scarborough Town Hall. Will this be good or bad news for the Borough? Only time will tell. Can 23 Conservatives work with a couple of Greens to administer the running of our services? After all, their new slogan is 'Vote Blue, Go Green' ! Later in the week the public will get to know that the offer of power sharing was declined by our increased Liberal Democrat group, following an inaugural meeting of newly-elected councillors yesterday, 6 May. For information to those out there who think anyone can be 'bought' with offers of cabinet places, well think again! In the past, so-called 'Independents' have crossed the floor after being given places in the cabinet, and in so doing have given overall control to the Conservatives. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) will do so again. Personally, had we joined in a power-sharing deal I was to be offered a place in the cabinet with Portfolio for Harbours, a position I did not accept 3 years' ago by the previous Leader of the Council. It is a position I would have been pleased to accept had we been more successful at the Ballot Box! Ce la Vie!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

How was Democracy for you Today?

Polling Day. Did you find your Polling Station, or didn't you bother? Did your vote count? Tomorrow (Friday 4 May), the results of local elections will be made public. How will the outcome compare with Scottish local government elections, who are using the Single Transferable Vote for the first time? Why can't this government (any government) introduce STV in English local elections? Because they are afraid of true Democracy, and the power of the people. Take a peek at :

3 May 2007. An important day for democracy ... and for the electoral reform movement. People in Scotland will be voting today for their local councillors using Single Transferable Vote. A first on the UK mainland. Scottish voters: remember to vote 1,2,3 etc for your choice of councillors, and savour that moment. For a straightforward explanation and animation of how STV works – as a voter and at the count – see

If you have a vote – and, outside of London, almost everywhere else has elections today – use it. We will be closely following all the election counts and results; looking both for examples of democracy flourishing and democracy failing. You can follow our progress throughout the night and during Friday by logging onto our website and blog

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Memory Loss ? - The Gov't will Help You

Are there no limits to this government's proposals to control everyone? If you haven't read my profile, I mention a series of books called 'Left Behind'; this country is not that far away from doing something similar to keep tabs on us all. Look at the few examples pasted here from the No2ID website. Check the website for full details.

Another petition on the Downing Street website (that we certainly hope is a spoof) came to our attention this week. It calls for electronic tagging and entry into the DNA database of all citizens at birth. The proposal points out that some people may try to remove the chip and so proposes that "tags would be inserted in the hippo-campus area of the brain. Removing the tag would result in death or lobotomisation". Amazingly the petition has two signatures - perhaps by people who've already performed the removal procedure! See

A petition has been set up on the 10 Downing Street website calling on the prime minister "to legislate to require all UK Police forces to delete DNA data from persons not convicted of an offence". The Home Office is consulting on plans to massively expand the National DNA Database by taking DNA on arrest (e.g for dropping litter in shopping centres). Read more about the consultation on the GeneWatch website([cid]=551990).

Minister proposes "tagging" for dementia - Kable 19/4/07 Science and technology minister Malcolm Wicks has suggested that tracking technology could help people with Alzheimer's to be more independent. Satellite technology could be used to help people with Alzheimer's and vascular dementia to live independently, Wicks told the Commons Science and Technology Committee. send me any items of interest you encounter - Editor

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Whitby Beach Management Centre Lash-Up

Has anyone out there taken a look at Whitby's 'New Beach Management Centre'? It's taken almost 2 years to complete - and what a sight! The building won't last 5 minutes in a severe storm, especially like the one a couple of months ago. The exposed pipework and wooden cladding are prime targets for vandals, too. It was supposed to be open for Easter, which it wasn't, and the contractor had to draft in more men to make up for lost time (time spent doing nothing for months). More taxpayers money being wasted again - and no doubt more to put things right. Hopefully, I might get some answers at tomorrow's council meeting, 30 April. Take a look at the video link showing storm damage to beach huts.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Government's Number Crunching

Here are a few figures for you to think about (courtesy of No1182) and where our tax pounds go :
  • £15bn cost to pension funds of Gordon Brown's 1997 "raid" up to 2001
  • £20bn cost to pension funds of companies' contributions holidays up to 2001
  • +25% Increase in public investment in science announced by Gordon Brown in the budget
  • -35% Cuts to science funding announced by the DTI in February
  • £2.3bn Initial quote for the NHS IT programme, now estimated at £12.4bn
  • £2.3bn Initial quote for the Olympics, now estimated at £9.3bn

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Leader of Scarborough Borough Council Hits Back

Councillor Tom Fox, leader of SBC hit back at the Chief Executive of NYCC John Marsden through the letters column of Scarborough Evening News on 19 April. In it, Cllr Fox bleats about job losses, lack of investment, poorer local involvement and closure of public buildings. If you remember 1974, when SBC took over the running of this borough, that is what Whitby has experienced without letup. Things are so bad now, that the electorate in East Whitby have to walk, taxi or cadge a lift to their polling station at the Tourist Information Centre. I challenged SBC 4 years ago about this, and again most recently that people, especially the elderly and infirm should not have to go so far simply to exercise their democratic right to vote. The reply (following a personal ticking off from Jim Dillon, SBC's CEO) was they can use postal votes! My response was that most people like to make their mark on a ballot paper in secret, and that a mobile polling station should have been provided. This is a direct result of SBC selling off almost every public building in Whitby, and the sooner we are rid of this Rotten Borough, the better!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Elections, 3 May, 2007

Will your vote count at election time? Will it make a difference, or not? Do you really care? Whatever your answer, you might find some interesting stuff on the Make Votes Count website, a non-political organisation dedicated to electoral reform. If you believe that it's time to change the system it's well worth a look, and sign the online petition while you're there.

Monday, 16 April 2007

N.Y.M.N.P. will 'Choke Whitby'

Traffic chaos in Whitby is something we're all used to - but we're sick of it! And it could get worse - much worse! North Yorks Moors National Park are very much against the proposed 'Park and Ride' site to be located on the Park's edge on the outskirts of Whitby. A planning application is to be submitted, possibly by the end of April on land that does not belong to the council, and which the land owner does not want to sell! It seems that planning officers on the National Park are going to recommend refusal, as they do not want it spoiling the landscape. What will happen to Whitby if this does not go ahead? Where will drivers park? Is it right that another planning authority can dictate what is good for it - but bad for us?

Does your council candidate support IDs?

Local elections are almost upon us. Who is your candidate? What do you want to know from him/her? Well, No2ID has a questionaire for them in issue number 69, dated April 14. Do they support the government's proposed ID card scheme? Well, ask them!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Patients implanted with microchips

Following my last post about technology, a further disturbing development is taking place. Eighteen diabetics have been implanted with microchips to help with emergency treatment. They have agreed to have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags implanted beneath their skin, which emit signals that can be read by a hospital's computer. If the patients arrive unconscious, the chip can be read and their medical records called up. Doctors will then be able to administer the correct treatment, saving time. On the face of it, this sounds sensible, but where will it end? European legislators and campaigners are still concerned about potential privacy violations, and the EU is considering whether the technology should be regulated. If you read my profile, you will see that I mention a series of books called 'Left Behind', where people are forced to have chips implanted in order to buy goods and access services, and failure to comply results in execution. Sound far-fetched? Remember Nazi Germany, when 'undesirables' were marked either with a tattoo, or a badge. Read all about it at :

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Technology erodes Freedom

Experts warn that data gathering and surveillance pose grave threat to liberty. MPs are to launch an enquiry into the Government's growing use of surveillance measures such as CCTV cameras, DNA databases and the proposed ID cards scheme. This is in response to a report from the Information Commissioner's Office that warned the UK risked "sleepwalking into a surveillance society". Meanwhile, the plan for national electronic patient records, at the heart of the NHS National Programme, has also taken a step forward which will see patients' clinical records uploaded to be held on a national database. I have already written to my GP asking him not to transfer my medical records to any database, and if you don't want yours likewise, then visit the No2ID website, where a standard letter can be printed off to send to your very afraid-Big Brother is watching you!!! scroll down page and click on link Inquiry-surveillance

Monday, 9 April 2007

7 in 10 say YES to shake-up!

In Friday's Whitby Gazette it was revealed that an online poll conducted by the paper showed that 70% of people backed the proposed unitary authority, which would see all distict councils including Scarborough scrapped.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Council candidates 'walk in' unopposed!

Yet once again, many people of Whitby will not get to vote for a candidate in the elections in May. In Mayfield Ward for example, your unelected councillors will not have a true mandate from the people, simply because there were no other candidates standing for election. Why is this? Are people so disillusioned with the whole political process, or is it apathy? There are a number of reasons of course, one of which is the electoral system itself. 'First Past The Post' elections are a thing of the past - at least in Ireland and Scotland, where the 'Single Transferable Vote' method of electing candidates will take place in May's local elections. It can't be right that a government (or a council) is returned to power with 37% of the popular vote; areas where safe seats are not contested, and political parties do not bother to canvass simply because they know they are going to win. Proportional Representation is the fairest method, where everyone's vote will count - but don't take my word for it - visit where you can find all you need.