Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Damned if you
and damned
if you don’t

When Bostonians were a lone voice in the debate on immigration we were branded as racist.
Now that we have been shown to share the majority view post-Brexit, it would appear that the goalposts have been moved.
Writing in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph beneath the headline “Too many Leavers were on benefits and had too little to lose,” columnist Juliet Samuel offered these bon mots 


What a fine and balanced picture she paints of Boston.
You can share your views with Ms Samuel on her Twitter page @CitySamuel
We note that her followers include our local MP Matt Warman – whom we hope will consider having a quiet word in the ear of his former colleague.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

It’s our de-light
on a murky night –
unless we foot the bill

We mentioned last week the ceaseless official determination by Boston Borough Council to degrade life for the residents of the town centre through its illegal abuse of the tax raising powers of its town centre committee B-Take – but let’s not forget that our 19 parish councils are suffering as well.
Another cunning plan to save money set out in its “transformation” programme is to dump bills elsewhere – thus transforming the borough into a scruffy, neglected place where the leaders get the credit for kow-towing to their bosses in Whitehall – and the rest of us pay the price.
Worst Street is devolving the charges for footpath lighting and grass cutting on the parishes – with the edict that if they don’t pay, they stumble around in the dark behind a barricade of weeds.
Some “choice” eh?
As is so often the case when Worst Street writes the rules, the penmanship isn’t always joined up as it should be.
One concerned reader from Wyberton has been in touch to say that there are at least 30 lamps of the old pebbled concrete type that are on their last legs – and that the metal ones are not much better either.
“If the parishes are to take on the lighting it should be handed over in a fit state, and not need replacing for some considerable time.”
We imagine that many other parishes feel the same.
In Wyberton there’s also the matter of the Quadrant development – although it sounds to be getting less magnificent over time.
We hear that Chestnut homes are to start a residents group to deal with all aspects of grass and lighting – but that now, only 50 houses are being planned for completion every year.
We’re also told that the South East Lincolnshire Plan has red-lined the entire west side of A16 Quadrant development for houses – when  it was supposed to be a mix of housing, commercial, a supermarket, a hotel and garage.
As far as grass cutting is concerned, we are told: “Parishes have no equipment, so will have to pay contractors.
“At present Wyberton has only been given a price to cut one piece of grassed area, Cuckoo Land.
“It is usually cut once or twice a week depending on growth. The quote we were given is to only have it cut four times, which is ridiculous, and the price isn’t much better either, at  £659.
“More to the point it’s council owned land and they get the rent for it. Admittedly it goes back to the allotment holders – so should they pay, or take it on themselves? “Little thought as usual seems to have gone into this, and certainly not much discussion.”
Now there’s a surprise!

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Friday, 17 June 2016

OK, so we said that we weren’t blogging today – but when Boston Borough Council hands you a Friday Funny on a plate, what can you do?
The above appeared not only in the Boston Daily Beano – now inflicted on “thousands” of readers who can’t be bothered to unsubscribe – but on the Worst Street website as well.
Whilst we’ve inserted an enlarged comic cut in the top picture – here’s a standalone version so that you can see that the writer not only has problems with history, but maths as well.

“One of Doreen's earliest memories is going to the Lincolnshire Show with her parents when guests of honour were Queen Elizabeth I and King George VI” says the waffle.
Run that by us again, please.
We think it means that the guests were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
This was how she was referred to as the Queen Consort – although her official title was "HRH the Duchess of York" after their marriage.
When George VI died, her role became Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother – mainly to avoid becoming muddled with her daughter, our present Queen Elizabeth II.
So, who on earth was the Queen Elizabeth I who pitched up at the Lincolnshire Show – in the days when it toured the county.
Step forward the apparently little-known Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn who reigned from the age of 23 in 1558 until her death in 1603.
Still not sure?
Think “the Virgin Queen” the defeat of the Spanish Armada (“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king and of a king of England too …”)
Getting warmer?
If not, you’re as bad as Worst Street and up there with the legendary team of  W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman – whose famous history spoof  “1066 and All That” appeared in 1930.
Perhaps Worst Street’s historical ignorance explains why they have the non-relationship with the Pilgrim Fathers so badly around the civic neck!

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Our former blog is archived at: 
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

We mentioned on Monday the slow but relentless efforts being made by Worst Street to create a two-tier class system in Boston – with the poorest losing out.
We cited B-TAKE – the Boston Town Area Committee – which is illegally surcharging its taxpayers to create a £250,000 kitty to fund the pipe dreams of the Prosperous Boston Group and underwrite charges once met by central funds … and which is also now paying £35,000 for this year’s Christmas lights.
Quite how the slush fund will be wasted is unknown, as Preposterous Boston wrongly thinks that its meetings should be secret – a and without minutes being taken or made public.
We also mentioned Boston Big Local – which again is supposedly restricted as far as the area where it should spend money is concerned – but which is lavishing thousands all over the place.
Now, enter what looks like another contributor to dividing the community – Boston Town Team.
At the weekend, it staged a knees-up for the Queen’s 90th birthday, which included a traditional street party in the Market Place.
However, local “newspapers” reported that the event was for “invited guests” only – although “members of the public” were welcome but had to bring their own chairs and grub.
We take “members of the public” to mean us – the riff-raff, the common herd, the rank and file … with the emphasis on the rank.
A Town Team spokesman said: “We want to bring everyone together to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday …”
Dare we suggest that a ticket-only bash for a handpicked elite is probably not the best way to do it.
We’ve wondered about the Town Team for a while – and our worries were confirmed by the structure of their board.
There are thirteen members – of whom six have posh titles.
After the chairman, there are vice chairmen for Facilities, Events, Marketing, Promoting inward investment and Data collection.
So many sheriffs – so few cowboys.
Finally, given the recent ranting about Christmas in Boston, we think it’s timely to clear up a couple of misconceptions promoted by Worst Street.
The report to B-TAKE begging for money included the claim that the council “will continue to provide the town Christmas tree …”
We have always thought that the tree has been donated for donkey’s years – most recently by the Port of Boston and before that Finnforest.
And, we are told:  “The Borough Council will be again working with Transported to provide an ‘Illuminate’ and Christmas event in the Market Place on 24th November.”
Why so early?
Because “Illuminate”– now in its second year – marks Thanksgiving Day in America … which is nothing to do with Christmas.
Worst Street has selected the date as a prelude to celebrate in 2020 the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock ... an event that has nothing to do with Boston – but which promises the great and the good some future freebies.
An upside of the US Thanksgiving celebrations is the “pardoning of the turkey” by the American President. Perhaps Boston Borough Council should.ask forgiveness as well.
All this talk of committees brings us to a couple of quotes … ironically from a famous comedian and a celebrated economist  respectively…
A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours ~ Milton Berle
Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything ~ J K Galbraith
No blogs for the rest of the week – tomorrow’s a hospital day, followed by recovery time.

You can write to us at  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: 
We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

That’s ruff!
Website slip leads
Worst Street astray!

As any fule kno, nothing is too much trouble for Boston Borough Council when it comes to helping out the people who pay its taxes.
Perhaps co-incidentally, perhaps by design, a recent nothing-to-do-with-Worst-Street entry on the borough’s Twitter page advertised for couples from Lincoln and Scunthorpe to take part in Channel 4’s “Couples come dine with me.”
Apparently, the perfect partnerships host the best dinner parties in town – and to win £1,000, three pairs have to stage three dinner parties over three nights.
Obviously they have to come up with something a little different – and at the same time that the borough was publicising this piece of irrelevance, it was also offering an interesting idea on its website.
Our top of the page picture is an edited highlight of the original shown below (click to enlarge.)

The environmental health page offers two items in its “news” section … “If you should find a stray … Are you sure that's safe to eat?”
Somehow, hot dogs will never be the same – but perhaps there are plans afoot in Worst Street for a town twinning link with China.  

You can write to us at  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: 

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Monday, 13 June 2016

We mentioned last week the deliberate running down of facilities by successive Boston Borough Councils – and now we’re seeing the same thing happening to the borough’s poorer wards.
Who’s the culprit?
Step forward Boston’s Town Area Committee – B-TAC for short. We used to call it B-TACky– but it now merits a new title to describe its recently re-written role.
Our suggestion is B-TAKE – and here’s why …
As with Boston Borough Council as a hole, B-TAKE has a constitution – defined as “a set of political principles by which a state or organization is governed.”
But apparently this is not the case in Worst Street.
The constitutional rules governing the way B-TAKE’s income is spent were set out years ago in an easy-to-follow summary – although members apparently have difficulty coping with the wording.
Two key paragraphs are worthy of note.
The first reads: “The purpose of a Special Area Expense Account of course is to … provide services in part of its area which elsewhere in the borough would be the responsibility of a parish or town council.”
And the second says: “Obviously the only items which can legally be charged are items provided exclusively or mainly for its residents.  If the wider population use facilities they are properly subject to the council-wide council tax.”
Notwithstanding this, earlier this year B-TAKE increased council tax for its 13,000 despite being predicted to end the year with reserves of around £50,000.
Apparently the idea is to try to improve the availability of toilets in the town centre by accumulating a slush fund for the secretive Prosperous Boston Committee – 60% of whose members serve on BTAC – to help deliver some non-statutory services.
The first of these turns out to be the funding of this year’s Christmas lights – which Worst Street ignored to the point where it was too late to seek alternatives – and which has now been “rescued” by B-TAKE to the tune of £35,000.
One reason for this is that when portfolio funding was allocated for this year all areas bar one were allocated a budget.
The odd man out was the town centre – whose portfolio holder was assigned a negative budget of £286,000 – and who led the Christmas lights begging list alongside the well-funded Leisure Services portfolio holder.
So B-TAKE is now spending on borough-wide projects that benefit visitors as well – money which should  come from Worst Street’s central kitty.
To make matters worse,  Boston Big Local – which received £1m to improve specifically named  deprived wards –  is also spending well beyond its geographical remit, so the residents affected lose out not once but twice.
The party distribution of B-TAKE’s 14 member is: UKIP: 7. Conservative: 4 (or 5 if you include one so-called “independent.”)  and Labour: 2.
Whilst we expected the “independent” and Labour to snuggle up to the Tories, we are disappointed that UKIP  is following suit.
Should any members wish to re-think their connivabnce with the ruling group to the impediment of the people they claim to represent, B-TAKE’s constitution and terms of reference can be found here 
Footnote:  “He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own.”  ― Aesop

Friday, 10 June 2016

The grass is not only
greener in Boston –
the river is bluer as well!
We end the week with news of two members of our local great and good – MP Matt Warman, and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Mr Warman hit the headlines in the Boston off-Target with his fulsome praise for the latest Boston Borough Council stunt to improve the town’s fortunes.
In exchange for a ten per-cent off price concession, businesses will get a free advert in a new brochure “to shout about the best the area has to offer.”
Mr Warman declared this idea to be a “fantastic initiative” by Boston Borough Council – presumably not realising that it’s been done at least once before when the hapless and hopeless Business “Improvement” District unsuccessfully tried a similar stunt.
"There's a bright future for Boston that's plain for anyone who sees the real town beyond the naysayers,” he added … before banging on about promoting our heritage to get more visitors.
Whilst we are sure that he ranks us among the “naysayers,” it is also true that Mr Warman is a "yaysayer" – one note samba for good news.
Everywhere he goes, and everything he sees is always “incredible” or “marvellous” – which we have to say after a while wears a little thin.
The need for Worst Street’s latest cunning plan has come about because successive Boston Borough Councils have let the place run down – the debasement of the Assembly Rooms is an extreme example.
Now that the horse has bolted, Worst Street is trying to close the stable door – with Mr Warman helping to push.
A couple of asides that made us smile …
  • The off-Target photo (above) depicts an unfeasibly Bahamian blue River Witham – so in the interests of accuracy, we have inserted a photo showing what the real colour of the water is …
  • Meanwhile, Oldrids is offering free refreshments to coach drivers to encourage them to stay longer. What could sound more like a throwback to days when servants were sent to the back entrance for a crust of stale bread!   

On now to our new Police and Crime Commissioner.
When Marc Jones was campaigning, he made it clear he wanted to appoint a deputy – who has turned out to be his good political mate Stuart Tweedale, as no other candidates appear to have been in the running.
The only hurdle between this ambition and its achievement was the Police and Crime Panel – one of whose jobs is to vet the suitability of such appointments. The committee weighed  the PCC's fellow Tory Lincolnshire County Councillor Tweedale in the balance and found him wanting…
“The Panel recognised that the candidate has a range of experience, knowledge and skills but at the hearing did not demonstrate how he could transfer these to the role of the Deputy PCC …" it reported.
“… the candidate did not demonstrate an understanding of the principle of personal independence required to undertake the role as described by the PCC …”
Plenty more fish in the sea, you might think – especially as the proposed £18,000  a year cannot demand much by way of commitment.
Not so.
Wet-behind-the-ears PCC Jones told the experienced committee members to stick their heads up a bear’s bum because it was only due to“restrictions within the legislation” that they failed to bend their knee to his wishes – and went ahead with the appointment.
As least trust-me Marc’s predecessor waited until his feet were beneath the table before cocking it up.
But Jones is flying his true (Blue) colours from the outset.
We await “regrettable” cuts to the police budget....

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Boston buys its
ticket to Dignitas

As you might expect, Boston Borough Council was the last to sign up to proposals for a devolved Greater Lincolnshire, comprising ten district councils and the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership
As always, this jam tomorrow decision fired the starting gun for squeals of glee about how much money this will bring to the area, boosting the economy by £8 billion, creating 29,000 jobs and providing 100,000 new homes.
In a nutshell, Greater Lincolnshire will get £450 million over 30 years to boost economic growth transport, planning and skills.
Be still our beating heart.
It would have been nice if councillors had been more enthusiastic about this crucial “extraordinary” meeting.
Of the 30 elected members, only 18 turned up – and one of them voted against.
So it was left to the usual suspects to persuade us of the amazing deal we were getting.
Leader ‘Nipper’ Bedford said Boston would have its “equal share” and was “the only way we can take Boston forward as part of the combined authority.”
He said the elected mayor would only have tax raising powers for his own office and any salary should not be any more than the highest-paid council leader in Lincolnshire – which is about £35,000.
Independent Conservative Alison Austin was equally gung-ho – but then she always is, unless it means better supermarkets for the town.
“We just cannot lose out on this. We will be the smallest of the ten authorities but the vote of our leader will be equal to the vote of any of those other members representing authorities.”
Can we believe this?
The deal means that SuperLincs will be awarded £15 million a year for 30 years.
An “equal share” of this would be £1.5 million a year – but with three county councils among those trying to grab a slice of the cake, we suspect that the smallest district authority will be a minnow battling it out with sharks.
What is known is that Boston will pay an equal share of the costs of setting up this extra tier of local government – which we understand includes the cost of a referendum … thought to be at least £100,000.
The mayor may well “only” have tax raising powers for his own office, but it represents up to a 2% charge on businesses – many of which are already struggling to keep their heads above water.
And do we really think that the post holder will settle for a puny £35k when colleagues elected in smaller areas are getting twice as much … and more?
Worst Street has been on its death bed for years but simply doesn’t seem able to read the writing on the chart hanging from its foot.
We have an inadequate, low-quality, supine leadership that will guarantee that we will be walked over by our fellow members of this pointless partnership.
For years, Worst Street has been digging its own grave – and has now voted for a JCB to move things along faster.
Full details of the proposals can be found by clicking here if you don’t want the sanitised Worst Street version.

Monday, 6 June 2016

“It ain't no fun if the
homies can't have none ”
― Snoop Dogg

The old adage about waiting an age for a bus – then watching two arrive at the same time was ironically replicated in Boston on Friday.
Not only did fun come to town … it came not once, but twice – although you could have been forgiven for not noticing!
In the Market Place, we had Transported – that merrie band of luvvies funded from our taxes to posture around the place largely for their own entertainment ... this time playing at circuses – whilst beside St Botolph’s Footbridge the BBC had set up one of only forty nationwide events as part of its annual Music Day.
Although a bridge-side destination was intended, we wonder when this was the particular location the Beeb had in mind – as one story doing the rounds is that Worst Street stepped in to distance the musicians from the “circus” so as not to disturb the clowns from Transported.
As the photos which appeared during the day clearly showed, Bostonians were slow off the mark to sample the delights.
But then how were they to know if no-one bothered to tell them?
Lack of publicity could be the problem here.
News of the events appeared on Boston Borough Council’s Twitter pages late in the day and we could find no preview information either.
We also understand that news of the activities took at least one senior Worst Street figure who ought to have been in the know by complete surprise – so what hope was there for the rest of us?
This is not the first time that events have been held in Boston with Worst Street as the nominal host that have played out to an empty house.
Communication is defined as the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
Perhaps it would be Worst Street’s while giving it a try for once – unless the constant bleatings about wanting to attract more visitors is just so much hot air.
To add insult to injury, we hear that Saturday’s market was noticeable by the absence of many stalls – something which is becoming a regular occurrence.
The market is repeatedly boasted of as one of the bells in Boston’s jester’s cap.
But we are not sure what visitors from the coast who sought our market as an escape from an overcast weekend would have made of Saturday’s lacklustre offering.
Arrangements to go somewhere else next time perhaps?