Friday, 29 June 2012

 Yet another anomaly emerged this week when  people expressed their astonishment that the town managed to find bunting to mark the passage of the Olympic torch, after failing dismally to do so for the Diamond Jubilee. We don’t know about the colours – but in her infamous quote, Councillor Yvonne Gunter said that she wanted to see Boston “a blaze of patriotic red, white and blue.” to mark the Jubilee. “We want to see all areas of the town pulling together to make this a really special time for Boston - it won't happen again so we want everyone to make the most of it."  And what happened? Nothing.  So why was the reverse true where our hosting of the Olympic torch was concerned – and who was it at Worst Street that decided that a heavily commercially sponsored athletics event was more important than our patriotic duty?
We tottered the few yards from No 1 Eye Street to watch the Olympic procession passing by, and to be honest, were frankly a bit disappointed as the sponsors’ vehicles trundled past. They – plus all the other hangers on – made the arrival of the torch something of an anticlimax. What struck us most was the unnecessary "security" - involving around ten police motorcyclists, four police cars and their occupants and who knows how many others on foot.  It seemed to us to be massive overkill – and we could not help but notice that plenty of police officers of all stripes could be mustered for events that are overtime magnets– the Mayoral service at Boston Stump is another example - yet are never seen on the streets or around  the place when you want them. And once again, Boston appears to have missed the boat in terms of coverage. The BBC’s Look North was very generous towards Grimsby, Skegness, and Lincoln, of course - whilst even lowly Ingoldmells and Hogsthorpe got good airtime. Grimsby abseiled the torch down a tower, whilst Skegness hosted a flypast by our local Lancaster bomber. Their imagination and ingenuity was reflected in the coverage. Boston  managed around three seconds, during which a woman did a handstand. And even though the BBC national website hosted a link to that of Boston Borough Council, details of the torch and its route were sadly absent.
Something which probably boosted the publicity allocated to the coast was East Lindsey’s  coincidental SO Festival  comprising  39 local sporting, heritage and cultural events to showcase the district and attract visitors. Whilst East Lindsey District Council was the primary funder, support was also forthcoming from Arts Council England, Centrica, Lincolnshire County Council, and Lincoln University, as well as the European Regional Development Fund.  Last year's festival cost £200,000 and brought in £1,200,000. This year, the organisers hope that the same investment will bring in £1,500,000.  What a shame that our own district council couldn’t have staged something to coincide with this and possibly have lured a few crumbs from the rich man’s table.
Much of this is down to good promotion, and - whilst the latest edition of Lincolnshire County Council’s County News is  currently transitioning between our doormat and wheelie bin – we note how lacklustre it is when it comes to telling the county what’s going on in Boston. The page dedicated to an “essential” guide to what’s on in Lincolnshire between July and September, contains just two events with a Boston connection – one at Holland Fen and the other in Stickney. Of course, this is a countywide list, so we didn’t expect too much. But whatever happened to the’s on diary that was once hosted on the borough council website? It’s vanished – that’s what..
Yesterday, we mentioned the number of senior officers at Boston Borough Council who no longer work full-time for the authority.  Shortly afterwards, we stumbled on this entry on the social networking page  Linkedin …

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Could someone please explain …?
A visitor to  Wednesday night’s final meeting of Boston Borough Council’s immigration task and finish group tells us: “It went quite well, and the chairman made a point of understanding that due to the lateness in forwarding questions, that if we had any problems answering we could have time to send them in. The visiting professor (Gary Craig) made some very valid points, but alas, his visit was only a short one as he had to catch a train at 7.30 pm. It was by far the busiest meeting yet and even a few attendees were given a chance to have a say - so quite refreshing. Alas, it will be September before the findings of the meetings will be put together in a report we were told, So that time scale may not go down to well with those who may vote for the march to go forward at next week’s meeting.”   
Another view of the professor’s offering to the meeting was less charitable. Independent Councillor Carol Taylor records in her blog   "I was not impressed.  Firstly he informed us that he could only stay an hour because he had a train to catch, which questions whether he really understood just how important this meeting was to us. Secondly, he didn't really tell me anything that I didn't already have some knowledge; he was, however, able to execute his delivery more eloquently. Thirdly, at times I felt he was patronising when he said ‘where would we get our take aways from’  if we got rid of non-English people?  Pretty grim, I thought, coming from an eminent professor. He did tell us, though, that his book had come out one month ago …” And one other reader told us: "Professor Craig stated Boston has only 5,000 immigrants, including 15 Lithuanians. I would like to know where he got that figure from, as I believe the general consensus is that we have at least five times that amount. Is there any evidence or proof of numbers available?
Despite last week’s  reminder that the moment is now long gone, Boston’s Business "Improvement" District persists in telling visitors to its website “we believe we have as good a chance as any in being successful” with its  entry to win one of the initial  Portas Pilot prizes of £100,000 for each of 12 towns wanting to improve themselves.  The results were announced almost three week ago, and Boston's bid was a failure.We know that the BID is a snail-like organisation, but do wish – especially given its name – that it could be just a bit more businesslike. Two opportunities to brighten  local businesses with floral  hanging baskets –  in time for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic torch procession have now been missed.  At this rate, when the flowers arrive, there will be no-one to see them because we’ll all will be on holiday.
Meanwhile, we read that the BID is having a second go at staging a £10,000  free music festival in Central Park ... on July 21st. The first  Boston Beat was cancelled at the eleventh hour  last September at the request of Boston Council - due to the temporary relocation of the market to the park area. We questioned the first time round the value of spending so much money on an event that  includes a beer tent, as we cannot see what benefit it will bring to local business. Not only that, it seems an expensive way to showcase local bands.   Despite the fact that the 21st July event is just three weeks away, we have seen no publicity for it. Given the recent debacle involving the concert planned by Boston Town Football Club –  it is to be hoped that all the appropriate applications and paperwork have been sent in. If not, we hope that Boston BID hasn't paid up front ...
Given the importance of the post of a Lincolnshire Police Commissioner  - for which elections are to be held in November -  we feel that more information should be available by now. This week saw an announcement by Mervyn Barrett from Spalding – whoreceived an OBE in 1999 for services to the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders – that he intended to stand. Several names more local to Boston have appeared in the past few months – and the most up to date list we could find was the one below ...

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However, with just four months to go to the election, isn’t it time that we were given a definitive list of who is standing and  - if they are political party candidates, who they are representing. People need time to make up their minds and gather information. If not, they won’t bother to vote, and  the usual  accusations of apathy will be heard yet again.
We note a report in the local “newspapers” this week that a Boston doctor told the council’s immigration inquiry that the arrival of large numbers of immigrants has not put any significant strain on health services. In so doing he was following the politically correct script already trotted out by witnesses such as the police, educationalists, trade unionists, etc etc. Meanwhile, at least one local surgery is currently displaying notices apologising for the difficulty in booking appointments, explaining that they are not allowed to close their lists, and promising to appoint an additional GP as soon as possible. Where on earth are all the extra people are coming from, we wonder? Having said that, we note that the doctor who made the claim recently told newspaper readers that when he was young, his most prized possession was my comfort blanket called Claude.Enough said.
Finally, whilst we have every sympathy with the victims of the flooding in other parts of the county which have caused such devastation in the past week or so, we also have to confess a sense of schadenfreude as – yet again – torrential rain and bad weather has left Boston and the surrounding areas unscathed. This has been the case for some years now, as unexpected flooding has brought chaos to areas of the country previously considered immune.  Meanwhile,  Boston - the number one flood risk area in the country according to all the official definitions –  has more than adequate protection measures in place. Hopefully, someone within the ranks of the borough’s great and good will ensure that the Environment Agency has taken this news on board – and shared it with the British Association of Insurers.

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  1. AnonymousJune 29, 2012

    Mmmm....what exactly is this Professor a professor of??? It most certainly is NOT adding up!!!

    5000 it most certainly is not and anyone who believes this ludicrously low estimate is as dim and shortsighted as this 'expert' seems to be.

    You only have to walk round the town, visit schools, DOCTORS SURGERIES etc to feel the extent to which we have been invaded. You can sometimes walk all the way round town and hear not one other english voice.

    As for this stupid doctor who claims that there has been no effect on services he deserves to be struck off. Waiting times have gone up massively. Very often the only way you can get to see a doctor is to sit and wait which means taking unkown time off work. Not very practical when people are already struggling for jobs and money.

    Denying the strains this migration has put on our country is serving no purpose other than keeping the PC brigade happy. It does not serve the local community well or that of the migrant communities. If we are stuggling for things like appointments then they must also be.

    Try asking the people in the know on these subjects.....thats right.....the people who live here. 'Prof' has no right to a say on our town as he doesn't have the first clue what its like to live here. Its becoming an uncomfortable place to be - not only for the locals but for the migrants also.

  2. A great many people certainly seemed to enjoy the Olympic Flame passing through the town, but Boston Eyes concern regarding police numbers and the cost involved raises a very pertinent point. The answer to the numbers was given away on Radio Lincoln by a senior rank officer who somewhat proudly informed us, that all told some "400" officers were involved in the days enterprise,with many of them being from the Met. I am certainly no financial expert, but taking the days pay of 400 officers plus all the associated costs involved would seem to add up to an enormous amount of money, I just wonder who is paying the tab?.