Monday, 9 March 2020



It took an age to make local government more open and accountable – although even now, Boston Borough Council remains one of the kickers and screamers that regards progress as The Work Of The Devil ...

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But it is a matter of historical record that anyone now has the right report what goes on in their local council chamber – be they bona fide hacks, citizen journalists, bloggers, or merely individual members of good old Joe Public. More to the point, they can use all modern means available to them – including filming meetings on the mobile phones of tablets

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And we’re not kidding about the historic aspect.
This is what the government published as long ago as 6th August 2014.
“In a boost for local democracy and the independent free press, councils in England were brought into the 21st century today after Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, signed a Parliamentary order allowing press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies. This ‘right to report’ updates a law passed by Margaret Thatcher as a backbench MP.
“Following the passage of both primary and secondary legislation, the move opens councils’ digital doors, covering broadcasters, national press, local press, bloggers and hyper-local journalists and the wider public. The new law aims to end active resistance amongst some councils to greater openness. Councils have even called the police to arrest people who tried to report, tweet or film council meetings, or claimed spurious ‘health and safety’ or ‘reputational risks’ to digital reporting.”

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It all happened so long ago, that by now, one might think that Worst Street councillors were used to the possibility that their meanderings might be recorded – however much they might prefer to do their job without involving the general riff-raff.
In fact, if they read their own Constitution, which was updated and approved less than a year ago, they will be in no doubt about the rights of the public.


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So, despite the unambiguous clarity of this, it came as something of a shock to learn that at last week’s full council meeting one councillor – Boston BiGger  and ‘Skirbeck Independent’ Anne Dorrian (pictured on the right at a previous council meeting) – attempted to overturn this hard-won victory for democracy.


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Our local ‘newspapers’ don’t bother to attend council meetings any more – preferring to leave the task to Local Democracy Reporters … journalists funded by the BBC but employed by regional news organisations. But unfortunately, the chap who covers Worst Street was engaged elsewhere that evening.

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Nevertheless, the meeting was admirably covered by local political activist Mike Gilbert – a former Tory councillor and creator of the political party A Blue Revolution  – who attends as many meetings as he can as “a community political sketch writer.”
Your can read his report by clicking here ...

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His report told us: “Councillor Dorrian asked whether Standing Orders of the council could be suspended to prevent the public from recording the meeting.
“The member of the public, a well-known political activist (and) a critic of the Borough, had his mobile trained on the opposition benches.
“The advice was that it was not illegal for the public to record public meetings and there might be legal implications if the council voted to prevent public recording.
“A process would have to be followed alleging wrongdoing with respect of the individual if such a policy were to be implemented.
“Councillor Jonathan Noble suggested that it was ‘transparency’ to allow filming, to which Councillor Dorrian commented that it felt like harassment and intimidation
“Councillor Brian Rush said the borough should do the filming as Lincoln did – only to be told Lincoln no longer did.
“There was little concerted support for this proposal to prevent public filming from independent councillors.”


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What surprised us more than anything was that after the warning of the legal implications of any ban, that the proposal was actually seconded and put to a vote.

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Interestingly, for one who felt harassed and intimidated, the account of the meeting went on to tell us how Ms Dorrian remained unperturbed enough to launch an attack on council leader Paul Skinner  for ignoring a public health issue concerning tooth decay among local children which was not his responsibility, as well as suggesting that as Mr Skinner’s wife and fellow councillor Judith was on a scrutiny committee she would be unable to properly scrutinise the administration and Councillor Mr Skinner as her husband.

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Ms Dorrian was also said to have “responded unflatteringly” to a light-hearted remark by the leader during his grilling on public health in which he reportedly said “that the NHS was not run by him, but he was sure he could run the NHS too.”
The precise words are not available – but we are told that they took the form of a suggestion that Councillor Skinner lacked a reading age compatible with such a job.

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It struck us as odd that Ms Dorrian should hector Councillor Skinner for his lack of action on something outside his remit, when we can see no reason why she couldn’t have looked into the issue herself – and perhaps then raised it in a way that would secure a response from her fellow councillors … possible via an expression of concern to be lodged with the relevant authority. .

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Having suggested that, we note that action does not appear to be a song suit among the Skirbeck Independents.
Their dedicated website makes no end of promises – but has remained stagnant for almost nine months since Ms Dorrian became the last contributor with a “snippet” of what she had done since the 9th May elections which emerged as little more than a slagging off of anyone whose initial weren’t A.D.

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We would hope that any future plans to curtail the right of the public to record council meetings if they wish to will fail as they quite rightly should.
But we are worried to hear that the idea seems to have gained some sort of currency with talk of a ‘working group’ to look into the idea further.

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No one likes the idea that councillors should feel intimidated; but time has shown that most of them are able to give as good as they get, and if not, then they need to man up.
Sorry, person up.

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Minutes of meetings these days are patchy and selective when compared with first-hand accounts by people not associated with Worst Street who attend – and nothing should be done to try to diminish the part that the electors play in their local government ... however much councillors and officers might like the idea.

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And we suggest that Mike Gilbert keeps a firm grip on his quill at the next meeting he attends  in case someone tries to make him hand it in for the duration, or worse still, infect it with Pasteurella multocida!

You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Monday, 10 February 2020



A couple of weeks ago we were treated to the show biz spectacle known as the BAFTAS.
And not to be outdone, Worst Street last week staged its own version – a less than glittering event which must surely come to be known as the DAFTAS

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Had Boston Borough Council taken an unlikely leap in open and transparent communication and webcast last week’s ‘extraordinary’ council meeting to appoint a new leader, it would surely have ranked as a video nasty by all accounts.

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It was a single agenda item meeting which we would have thought called for calm and rational debate – no doubt with the hope that it would be conducted with the common-sense and level headedness that such a rare event should merit.

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But it was not to be.
According to the two separate accounts that we read – and which largely agreed with each other – attendees at the meeting witnessed bad-tempered, disrespectful, undemocratic and unpleasant behaviour from many councillors … some of whom had clearly come armed to the teeth with their copies of the Oxford Book of Political and Other Abuse.

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The meeting was called following the resignation of former leader Aaron Spencer who – after just six months on the gilded Worst Street throne – was offered the choice to quit or be ousted by a humiliating vote of no confidence.

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Apparently, bloody but unbowed, he sought support to be re-elected as an ‘Independent’ leader – and, indeed, six opposition councillors signed a demand for the rarely-convened extraordinary meeting to vote for a new top dog (or bitch, let’s not be guilty of sexism).

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Ahead of last Monday’s meeting, the Conservative group demonstrated some uncharacteristic speed in decision-making and elected Councillor Paul Skinner as their leader – and nominating him to spearhead the council as a hole at last week’s meeting which would see him become the fourth leader of the council in just under four years, and the second in around six months.

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Accounts of the meeting have been widely circulated, but it interesting to note that veteran councillor Alison Austin summed it up neatly with a major criticism of the Conservatives, whose recent behaviour, she said, had “done more to damage the reputation of this council than for several decades.
She reiterated the seven Nolan principles or public life – which were issued a quarter of a century ago this year.
These call for: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

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Not only are these principles a little past their sell-by date in today’s public life – but a number of them have been sadly lacking at Worst Street for some time now … and it’s worth remembering that all that is expected of our councillors is that they attend a minimum of just two meetings a year.
They don’t even have to dirty their hands dealing with the voters who elected them and who pay their allowances if they don’t want to – and one sad omission from the list (as was clearly demonstrated last Monday night) was that of respect.

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Whilst the Tories were roundly condemned for their political execution of Councillor Spencer, the man himself sent apologies for his absence from the meeting.

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And even though a group of non-Tories had forced the meeting, not a single name was offered during the meeting as a nominee for leader, other than Councillor Skinner.


One former councillor – Mike Gilbert, who is a one-time cabinet member and now runs his own political party reported on Facebook: “This was not a good meeting.
“It was bad-tempered, fractious and for the political groups and parties a return to the old ways of doing business.”

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Another former councillor who attended, Helen Staples, commented on social media: “I have never been in a more hostile environment as the council chamber was last night.”

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So – unquestionably a rival to the BAFTAs, Worst Street’s DAFTAs would be incomplete without their awards.
And here are the ones that we have identified: based on the reports of the meeting

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Best farce – The entire meeting.

Worst performance – awarded jointly to Councillors Brian Rush and Anne Dorrian.

Best supporting actor – the Mayor for trying to bail out his Tory colleagues – to the extent that some observers thought that he had gone too far and lost sight of the impartial role that goes with the job.

Absent friends – Aaron Spencer for leaving an empty seat

It’ll be alright on the night incorporating the ‘Let them eat Cake’ award – Councillor Jonathan Noble for the quote: “We are the Conservatives, we are the ruling group, if we wish to change our leader we will do so."

It’ll be alright on the night award (after all the shouting) award – Councillor Paul Skinner, who without any opposition to his nomination only managed 16 votes, with seven against – leaving another six abstentions and one apology.

Not getting it quite right award: Councillor Stephen Woodliffe for saying that outside of the borough "people are laughing at us". They’ve laughing at you inside the borough as well!

Best winner’s speech – no award made.

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And the award for Unintentional Irony goes to the Local Government Association which came to Boston last September as part of a ‘Corporate Peer Challenge’ and subsequently reported:
“The new Leader has brought energy, enthusiasm and a collaborative approach, while leading from the front (e.g. staff briefings, visibly leading the growth agenda, and cross-party engagement).
“This has engendered tangible goodwill towards the new administration, with staff and many councillors enthused by his ambition for Boston and willingness to engage. The focus should now be on clearly defining the political vision, through an adopted Corporate Plan, to capitalise on the momentum and to strengthen political and managerial Leadership.”

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There is no question that the Tory administration could have handled this whole business better.
The former leader played the part, but we think in the long run allowed the image to overshadow the reality of what the task required and which led to his downfall.
And we doubt the sincerity of some of those opposition councillors who have heaped praise on his head since his departure, whose bottom line seem to have used approbation as a bludgeon with which to beat the leadership.

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Now that the poisoned chalice has been passed to Councillor Skinner, he faces the problem on trying to reunite the baying rabble that attended last week’s meeting.
Whatever he does will fall on stony ground we fear, as there are so many now in opposition who are keener to see yet another leader fail rather than succeed – no matter what they claim.

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A two-pronged attack needs to be made to address the problems faced in Boston.
The first is short-term and is to clean up the whole town in a literal sense – not just by removing litter ... and certainly not by trumpeting the penalising of half a dozen people a week for dropping their fag ends in the street.  
The drabness of the town centre needs an urgent makeover, with some eye-catching ideas to make it more attractive.
And while we’re about it, can we bring back the market?

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Longer term – well, there’s the PE21 project which is not exactly scintillating but might at least see an eyesore or two demolished and a poor, run-down area of town improved.
But this is jam in twenty years’ time, not even tomorrow – and it ignores the problem known as West Street, which borders one side of the scheme.

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Councillor Skinner has notionally slimmed his cabinet down by conflating his job as leader with his existing portfolio for regulatory services.
But as we remarked last week – the unreliability of WorstWeb, the borough website, often raises more question than it answers.
Depending where you look, we either have a portfolio holder for finance, or we don’t.

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But we think that Councillor Skinner needs to do more. The cabinet needs a spring clean as not all its members are pulling their weight in our humble opinion. The only drawback with that lies in the question “where do you find the people with the right skills and quality?”
The Tory group has pretty well exhausted all the possible choices. And the opposition – for all its mouthings-off would struggle to find suitable candidates as well.


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What worries us more than anything is the fear that after all the recent upheavals and unpleasantness that we have seen we will still be on the receiving end of the same old sour-tasting mixture as before.

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So – we’ve had the DAFTAs.
What next, we wonder?
The Boscars?

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A final word about council tax.
As we’ve already mentioned, Worst Street wants another 2.05%  – which we expect to be hyped as the act of a generous council seeking to spare our bank balance … even though the small print is packed with padding that will take far more from us, notably a minimum 50% increase in the cost of collecting our garden waste.
Lincolnshire County Council has come up with a proposed rise of 1.5%, plus an additional 2% for adult social care which will add £45 to the cost of an average Band D property.

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But as with last year, Lincolnshire Police top the list.

Last Friday, Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones was granted a 4.1% increase in the force’s share of council tax for the coming financial year – which will also see the PCC standing for re-election.

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Quite how he might explain his retreat on promises from year to year would be interesting to hear, although an account of the meeting suggest that it didn't come up.
This was what he said in his report to the Police and Crime panel when spelling out his police precept plans for the current financial year 2019/20.


No doubts there.
Whilst we may struggle to find a rise in double figures for 2019/20 – after that we can breathe easy with a paltry (by comparison) 2%.

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But this is what he told last Friday’s meeting that set the precept for the coming financial year.


Why on earth should we believe that, we ask?

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We have a couple of Pilgrimages to make during the remainder of the month, so our blogging may well be affected.
But rest assured that if it matters, you’ll read about it in Boston Eye.



You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Monday, 3 February 2020


So, tonight sees a special meeting of Boston Borough Council to appoint a new leader after the not entirely unsurprising resignation of former Conservative leader Aaron Spencer a fortnight ago.

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But will we see him back in power after a six-strong cabal used the council’s own rules to demand an extraordinary general meeting to make an appointment – only the second such a meeting has been called in more than four years ... and only the first of those to seek to appoint a leader.


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As we said last week the Tories needed to have their ducks in a row between Councillor Spencer’s fall of a fortnight ago and tonight’s meeting to find another leader – and this is something they did last Tuesday

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We heard that an initial three-horse race whittled itself down to two and that the victor was Councillor Paul Skinner (pictured right).

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Councillor Skinner has been at Worst Street since 2015 and until his elevation this week was cabinet member for regulatory services and previously the town centre.
He is also Lincolnshire County Council’s representative for Boston’s Coastal Division – having served first between 2009 and 2013, and again since 2017.  He is also a member of Fishtoft Parish Council.

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Deputy leader Nigel Welton, who has been acting leader since Councillor Spencer stepped down, was quoted as saying: “I think Paul is an outstanding councillor.
“The depth of experience, knowledge and motivation he will bring to the council will put us in good stead for the future.”
“I’d like to thank Paul for putting himself forward for this honourable post. I will be honoured to serve under him and support him when he goes up for leader next Monday.”

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When his appointment was announced, we e-mailed our congratulations to Councillor Skinner and offered him the opportunity to pass on any comment he would like to share with our readers.
But our message was ignored.
Worrying?
Or worrying?
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In the normal way of things, the next logical step would be for Councillor Skinner to be a shoo-in at tonight’s extraordinary meeting – but not for the first time where Boston Borough Council is concerned, the waters are a little murky.

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Before the events of the last few weeks the Tories had a majority – and throughout most of last week the notoriously unreliable borough website – WorstWeb – informed us that the political composition of the council was: Conservative 16, Bostonian Independents Group 5, Independents 6, Labour 2, Unaligned 1

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But … another page listing councillors by political groups told a different story, with 14 definite Tories, one Tory-aligned Independent,  six ordinary’ independents, five Boston BiGgers, two Labour councillors, and two ‘unspecified’ councillors.

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Of the latter two, one was said to be Councillor Mike Cooper, who quit the Tories after being sacked from the planning committee by Councillor Spencer – but re-joined the fold after Councillor Spencer quit.  
Even so, Worst Street left us wrongly informed for most of last week, and only put matters right just before the weekend.
The other is, of course, tonight’s Man of the Match, Councillor Spencer.

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The ‘current list now shows 15 Tories, one Tory-aligned Independent, six ‘ordinary’ independents, five Boston BiGgers, two Labour councillors, and one ‘unspecified’ councillor

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The secret six – whom we believe to be the five members of the Bostonian Independents Group and Councillor Spencer – clearly had a candidate in mind when they called for tonight’s meeting … which followed a rallying cry by the former leader asking for enough support to re-instate him as an Independent leader of the council.

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So – do we expect the nomination of Councillor Spencer by a group of ‘independents’ most of whom have previously sworn to demand that anyone who changes his party allegiance resigns and re-fights their seat at a by-election?

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Our instincts tell us that whilst Councillor Spencer may have got enough low-level support to force an extraordinary meeting of the council, when push comes to shove, things may not be alright on the night.

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Not everyone is expected to turn up to the meeting, and that may well include some Tories who are fans of Councillor Spencer, but not bold enough to attend and vote for him for fear of the consequences of going public.

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Then there are others, we are sure, who harbour their own leadership ambitions – and it is not beyond the realms of political possibility that Councillor Spencer might just have been cast in the role of cat’s paw to advance their own agenda. If we were him, we think we’d give the whole thing a miss!

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But if councillors fancy a Tory who – once at least harboured an independent streak – then Councillor Skinner could well be their man.

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Boston’s Eye’s archives found an item way back in August 2012, when Councillor Skinner sought election to Wyberton Parish Council.
Along with the three other candidates he stood as an independent – although the previous year he had tried unsuccessfully to win a seat at Worst Street on the Conservative ticket.

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Way back then we asked him whether this was because a declaration as a Conservative representative might be deemed to be counterproductive to the chance of success – to which he replied: “I believe at parish council level all should work for the benefit of the community. Party politics do not apply.”
He added: “Until I stood in the borough elections nobody knew which political party I favoured.”

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Perhaps embracing those ideas from parish to borough level might help him with the support he needs tonight.
And if he does could we suggest a spring clean of the cabinet as a good starter for ten?

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Whilst we’re not particularly superstitious, we recall some years ago suggesting that a certain former leader seemed to have uncanny ability to put a hex on things.
More than once, whenever he welcomed something or praised its success it seemed that not long afterwards the subject under discussion fell victim to some unexpected disaster.

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So we hope that the following items – one from Facebook and one from Twitter are not examples of a return to those uncanny old days … this time with our MP Matt Warman in the role of doom-monger.


Scarcely had the ink dried on this particular message, than Councillor Spencer was OUT ... both of office and the Conservatives.
Now, the following has appeared ...


After such an endorsement, we hope that Councillor Skinner keeps a weather eye open over his shoulder!

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Worst Street continues to offend in its attempts to wage war on littering and waste dumping.
We highlight some of their slightly off-key efforts last week and here’s another …


 

The item above appears on Worst Street’s Twitter page – and invites us to suspect people who offer to take our waste away.
“Don't be fooled by fly tippers. Someone offering to remove your rubbish cheaply is unlikely to have a licence and YOU will be responsible if your items are found dumped …”
The entry goes on to provide an incomplete link to the relevant website – which is the reason why it doesn’t work.
We can’t quite understand why someone who offers to take your rubbish away cheaply is a crook, as an “Upper Tier” waste carrier licence costs £195 +VAT and is valid for three years.
That works out at just £1.50p a week more than someone who doesn’t have a licence – so we can’t see why a licenced carrier would automatically be so much more expensive … even though the waste might be classed as commercial and attract extra charges.
What annoys us more than anything else is the Worst Street attitude that seeks to criminalise us, and now to suspect  ppeople who may well be perfectly honest for no good reason.




You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Monday, 27 January 2020

Trying to keep track of the to-ing and fro-ing at Worst Street after the resignation of leader Aaron Spencer is like trying to reach the centre of a maze by walking through it backwards and blindfolded.

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In the aftermath of last week’s politicking, Councillor Spencer appeared to be down – but not apparently out.
Following his resignation ahead of last week’s full council meeting after being told that the alternative would be a humiliating vote of no confidence, he fired off an open letter to all members of the council – couched in terms that some might question as a way to win them over.

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Councillor Spencer wrote: “Now the dust has settled and the true venomous treachery and betrayal of trust from within the Tory group was exposed to me I feel I could no longer lead as a member of that group. So, I took the decision to resign as leader with a very heavy heart, as I really have tried to be a good leader and bring the divide of councillors together. I was basically push [sic] by a small few of the Tory group who for selfish opportunistic reasons decided to make a grap [sic] for power and keep the strangle hold [sic] on the leadership. 
“As I have also stated I wanted us all to work together without divide to make a better boston [sic]. This is what I stand for and truly believe.
“This will not happen if the Tory group are allowed to install a new puppet that I would not be. I urge you as fellow councillors to support me as an independent to lead Boston council again. If you support me there will be a complete shuffle within the cabinet and various positions, giving a true fair and collision [sic] governance for our town and do what’s best for the people of boston [sic] we where [sic] elected for. 
“I sacrificed a full time job offer and only worked 2 months over the Xmas period so I could give 100% to my role . However Nigel and Tom who have wanted to be leader in the past, and mike [sic] who was twisted and showed hatred towards me since my election decided that this gave them a reason for no confidence and when removing mike [sic] from a role because of his total lack of interest at our group meetings the scene was set for the betrayal allowing Tom to run around and obtain some support from a few of you.
“To give Boston the best shot I can ! [sic] I hope you can get behind me and choose me again. This time I can truly lead us all for a better boston [sic].
“Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I will try to call every one of you over the next few days and it will allow me to answer any questions or fears you may have. There will be no lies from my mouth and I hope I can proof [sic] to you that I am the right man. I know I am not as experienced as some of you but I have lots of positive energy to share, and though me I will give your opinion a voice.”

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We don’t know what you make of this – but it was enough to make one Independent take to social media to give Councillor Spencer his backing.


Interestingly, Councillor Hastie is one of those ‘Independents’ who takes the view that if a councillor quits his group they should resign and fight a by-election.
Yes, really.

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We also heard that Councillor Spencer held a meeting last Thursday at which he hoped to rally colleagues to back him as an ‘Independent’ leader.

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Quite how this would work, we don’t know – Councillor Mike Cooper has reunited with the Tory  party after the spat which saw him sacked by Councillor Spencer – and the Conservatives still have a majority.in any case.

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To appoint Councillor Spencer as the ‘Independent’ leader of the council would require some Tories either absenting themselves from future meetings, abstaining from voting, or deliberately voting against their own party.

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Whilst the impression exists that recent events came to a head quite suddenly, we understand that the issues concerning Councillor Spencer arose over time and that he was cautioned by his peers a number of times before push came to shove.

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But one outcome of all this is to have focussed the minds of potential candidates for the Tory leader’s job – with both the current deputy Nigel Welton and planning committee chairman Tom Ashton (whose raising of the sacking of Councillor Cooper brought matters to boiling point) now apparently unwilling to put themselves forward to replace Councillor Spencer.
Who might be left to vie for the job?
Your can make a few guesses yourself, and we think you will agree that the list is not exciting.

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But we won't have long to wait.
An extraordinary meeting of the council has been called for Monday 3rd February at 6-30pm specifically to appoint a new leader of the council.
It has been called by six councillors   one more than the mininum required by the council's constitution   and can be attended by members of the public ... although they are not allowed to speak.
Given what weve been hearing, it seems likely that five of the councillors wanting the meeting represent the entire Bostonian Independents Group  which includes two battle-scarred veterans of previous leadership encounters   while the sixth would have to be Councillor Spencer.


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Extraordinary meetings of Boston Borough Council, are, err, extraordinarily rare. The last one was almost two years ago – on 12th February 2018, when Councillor Brian Rush was mayor.
Then, a motion proposed by Councillor Michael Cooper and seconded by Councillor David Brown declared the council’s “deep concern with the actions of the Mayor in posting offensive and political comments on his Facebook page.”
The motion declared that this had “demeaned the great office that is The Worshipful the Mayor of Boston.”
It went on to say that Councillor Rush had “sullied” the role of First Citizen and champion of the Borough with “petty, political point scoring that is factually incorrect” and called on him to resign with immediate effect.
To hammer the point home, an amendment was moved by Councillor Richard Austin and seconded by Councillor Aaron Spencer demanding that if the Mayor refused to quit, officers should withdraw all administrative support for his activities as Mayor for the rest of his term of office.


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The extraordinary meeting prior to that was at the end of October 2016 – with the happier objective of making a local woman a Freeman of the borough to recognise her years of service to the community.

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The business conducted may be poles apart – but the variety and rarity of such meetings underlines their importance of these very special meetings

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Remember, next Mondays meeting is to appoint a leader of the council   not the Conservative group   which presumably will have to get its ducks in a row to appoint their own Number One in double quick time, in the hope and expectation that the winner will also have enough votes on the night to keep control of the council.
If they had three-line whips in local parties then this would be an occasion for one of them.
Hopefully, we'll learn more in the coming week and, if so, will share it with you on the day of the meeting.

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So … is anything else happening in Worst Street other than some rather unseemly jockeying for power and position?

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Yes – and it seems that if it doesn’t involve power it involves money.

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The draft budget for the coming year has just surfaced – with a rise in Worst Street’s share of the council tax being proposed at 2.05%,  just 8p a week more for Band D taxpayers  and we expect it to be touted as the act of a generous council seeking to save our pockets.

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It sounds quite good, but as always, the devil is in the detail.


Whilst we may think that we are getting away with a reasonable increase – we are paying heavily in other areas.
One of these has been well-aired already – the increase in garden waste collection charges.
According to the draft budget the rise will bring in an extra £166,000 next year – although no further increases are listed for the years up to financial year 2024/2025.
But if you’re planning to die in the coming years – then its time to start saving now.
Bereavement charges are set to increase by £31,000 in the year ahead, then rise steadily by proposed increments of an extra £26k a year in 2021/2 and 2022/3, £30k in 2023/4 and another £27k in the final budgeted year of 2024/2025.
That’s a rise of £140,000 between today and April 2024.

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Car parking charges are also set to bring in another £29,000 in the financial year ahead.

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But there’s no limit to the Worst Street imagination when it comes to making money.
It emerged recently that the council had told Boston Woods Trust – which is a registered charity – that from April it must pay to have its bins for litter and dog waste collected from the car parks at its sites.
This has forced the Trust to appeal for at least 100 new members at £20  a year which would cover the shortfall.
If youd like to join, then you can follow the link here   and let them know that you heard about them in Boston Eye.
But we still think that as Worst Street's bin lorries collect in the areas near the woods, the council could make an exception in this particular case.


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To underline the irony of all this, Worst Street last week declared a climate emergency, which included special mention of the importance of tree-planting. 
The Council provides excellent levels of biodiversity and environmental good practice. The Council is accredited in its management of both country parks and delivers a number of tree planting successes across its parks and grounds estates year on year. The Council continues to increase it’s [sic] activity in these areas and wishes to provide and support others to further this agenda.
Ho-Ho.

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But the penny-pinching doesn’t end there, apparently.
People wanting planning application information are now going to have to fork out as well.
We hear that the department no longer prints copies of supporting statements.
And whilst taxpayers  can view them on-screen by arrangement in the municipal buildings – assuming they are able-bodied enough to get there and can find somewhere to park – if they want paper copies they must pay on a sliding scale that starts at 10p for a piece of A4 paper and end at £2.10 for a slab of A1.

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It’s not enough to attack one local charity, by the way – Worst Street has set its sights on others as well.
Until it shut up shop completely – Boston’s Oxfam shop opened at different times to the published hours – and once or twice when we had stuff to drop off, we left it bagged neatly in the doorway.

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Now Boston Borough Council wants it known that doing this is a crime – regardless of the charity involved.


So, in future, it seems that helping others less fortunate may get you nabbed by the crack team the council employs to nick a handful of people who drop fag ends in the name of keeping the borough clean.
Oh. And what will be done about the rolls of bedding and blankets left overnight in shop doorways to stake a claim for our local beggary when they arrive for their day’s business? No-one seems much bothered about them  or so it appears.

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The same message is being sent out to people who leave recyclable items beside collecting banks.


“If you find your local recycling bank is full please do not leave the items next to the bin as this is classed as fly-tipping,” says Worst Street blithely, going on to ask people to let them know about a full bank.
If they kept a more thorough eye on them as they should, this problem wouldn’t arise.
But Worst Street has always loved threatening and criminalising people.


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