90 per cent proof

The Gazette printed the letter about the Trust, alongside a couple of others. Strange to be on the same side as arch-Tory Barbara Cussons (actually, as I'm not sure she knows what sie she's on, this may not be true). In common with usual practice, the subs failed completely to proof the page, with the result that the last paragraph got completely mangled. ONe just can't get the staff. Quite how someone manages to mangle the text in a letter sent by e-mail where all one has to do is cut and paste is beyond me.

The Trust--some questions

1) Given that the new Natural England body only becomes effective from 1 October 2006, why the precipitate rush to form a trust? Natural England has yet to make clear its level of support for either trusts or council-owned natural land. 2) Councillor Hawkesworth needs to spell out precisely what extra funding would become available if a Trust was formed. Would this funding only become available if the Trust had significant private sector involvement? 3) Under the suggested terms of any trust: How would the trustees be selected? Would Trustees be elected by Ilkley rate-payers? Would the rate-payers of Ilkley have any say in the Trust's composition? Would the Trust be intended to have control over access and use of the moor--ie. could it potentially allow the re-introduction of shooting? Would the Trust have control over the properties on the Moor--Silver Well, White Wells, etc? 4) Given that the recent proposals for hiving off the public buildings of Ilkley to a private body collapsed under accusations of corruption, should public concern over similar privatization of the moor not be taken more seriously, rather than being treated with disdain by COuncillor Hawkesworth? Let us not forget that Ilkley Moor was bought for the people of Ilkley by the Local Board in June 1893. Since that time we have collectively owned it. This land is our land, and it should not lightly be handed over to a group of unelected individuals over whom we have no control. (and from where does the 'this land is our land quote come? Probably the first use of a diggers slogan with regard to Ilkers)

Taken on trust

More on the trust idea from the minutes of Bradford council (it's a cached google version of a pdf). Given that the management document suggests that 5K is all that is spent on the moor by Bradford (which sort of makes the management document unattainable), the notion of the trust is to allow an independent body to apply for more funding. Of course, with the very generous precept IPC organizes for itself, there is a pot of money ready and waiting to improve the environment. Those opposed seem to be suggesting that all the moor needs is more brass, which is true. But its unlikely to be increased by Bradford. Better by far to return it to local control. Before going forwards, though, would the trust consist of the usual busybodies? Would there be elections (after all, according the the Middelton settlement, we all own the moor)? Would the people of Ilkley have a say in what happens, or would it be like everything else, and decided in the tory club and the golf club (Ilkley, not Ben Rhydding), or in the gated community on OWler Park Road? But if one of the ideas is considered, selling off Silver Well Cottage, I know at least two people who might be very interested.

The moor the merri...uhhr

(you know you should give up blogging when you re-use post titles for the third time). Fraser tells me there's a meeting of the Parish COuncil to dicsuss the plan for the future management of the Moor, June 5th, 7-30. Be there or, as I shall be, be somewhere else. The management plan is available here -- I don't yet have an opinion, except I don't want a trust with no pasaran in charge.

Fantastic idea

From the people who brought you theyworkforyou, comes hear from your MP. Ever wondered what Ann Cryer does between elections? Wonder why she doesn't show her face in Ilkley except at the Remembrance Day commemorations? Wonder why she keeps making stupidly racist statements? Then add your name and e-mail to the list, wait for another nineteen constituents to join and then an e-mail gets sent to Ann suggesting she might like to talk to some of her constituents. Mind, given the trouble me and Yorkie had in getting in touch with her, I wonder which e-mail address it will go to?

Licensed to shrill

Okay, it's not a great headline, but it's ben a long day.

Information received suggests one or two of our local councillors are conducting something of a Vendetta against our local hostelries. At a festval event on Friday, one councillor was heard exclaiming 'one down, three to go' over the news of the failure of The Crescent to extend its licensing hours. Good to see the Council on the side of local business and all that. Will it make an iota of difference to the level of anti-social behaviour in town? Course not. But Mr. Smith thinks different.

White Flight

Nice quote from our beloved leader of the council, Funky Gibbons. Referring to the arrival of 20 travellers on to East Holmes Fields, he sayeth...

Ilkley is...a wonderful place for the local ratepayers to enjoy. And many residents feel that having paid considerably for the privilege of such community that it should be as unspoiled as possible

So there you go. We've paid our money, and that means we don't have to suffer gyppos, niggers or pakis in our town. That sort of thing's for people paying less council tax.

No excuses

Sometime in March this year, it was decided to do some work on the streets around town. Obviously, the decision was taken because there was a pile of money left at FY year end, and nobody really knew what to do with it.

So they decided to tuck in a road here, put some chicanes over there, generally fuck up the nice flow of traffic. And, yes, the general busybodies in town had a word or two. And the Gusset listened. Because, without busybodies, the Gusset has nothing to report.

So, what's the result three months later? Well, the good news is that we finally have something approaching a pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Brook Street. The town's busiest intersection. Only, it's not really a pedestrian crossing, because no-one without 20/20 vision can actually see to the other side of the road to see whether the little man is green or red (and weren't they a t'riffic band? Sixteen ways, what a song. But I digress)

Elsewhere, around the Town Hall, we have those wonderful new stones that councils insist on putting everywhere, only now sticking out into the road and meaning that every rainfall, the pavement turns into an icerink (never mind they've covered the drains up) and pensioners fly towards the traffic, breaking hips left, right and centre.

But the piece de piss has been the work on the Brook Street and Station Road zebra crossings. After three months we have narrow, not complete, confusing for motorists, dangerous for pedestrians, crossings. The pavements aren't done properly (just count how many slabs are broken already). They appear to be in the wrong place. They're still not finished. No-one knows where the crossings actually are. There will be more deaths because of the re-arrangement.

All in all, it's a total fucking disaster.

And who is responsible? Step forward Councillor Hawkesworth. Well done. Another triumph for local government. Another total waste of money. Next time 'something really must be done', why not just fuck off to the Seychelles like we'd expect? Like the man said, government is too important to be left to plutocratic ladies-who-lunch (or, just to be not-sexist, gentlemen-who-dine).