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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Labour Council Isn't Protecting Southampton

Here's my letter published in the Daily Echo today, following the shameful revelation that the Labour Council is paying a fortune to consultants after 3 years of cutting jobs and services:

Reading your front page piece yesterday, I hope you can see at least some of the reasons why I did not want the role of Cabinet Member for Transformation at Southampton City Council.

The Labour-controlled Council is facing huge cuts to Government funding, and as I said in my recent In My View piece, in 3 years it hasn't innovated or provided strategic direction to protect the vulnerable and services. Instead it always blames the Government.

Why is the Council paying out a small fortune to consultants when it is proposing "being realistic" about cutting jobs, and at the same time pays huge salaries to the Chief Executive and senior officers?

Where are the ideas and innovation from them, or from Cabinet members, in order to protect the vulnerable and services?

Or is it really the case as Cllr Hammond said:

"we don’t have the experience of large-scale challenges like this"

Then why are the Cabinet members, officers and the Leader in place, if they don't have the experience? It's their job to innovate - wasn't the Labour Council elected to do this?

The Southampton people deserve better.

Councillor Andrew Pope
Independent Councillor for Redbridge

Another Pub Protected - The Second in a Year!

VICTORY! Andrew Pope Protects the Fleur de Lys Pub at Pilley - and Celebrates With Locals!

Our campaign with local residents to get the Fleur de Lys pub officially recognised as a community pub, at the heart of the area, has been successful. 

This means that the local community will have a right to bid to own and run the pub, if it is put up for sale. It also gives the pub protection in planning law. Andrew Pope said:

"We already knew that this pub has been a key part of the Pilley and Boldre community for many years, with customers coming from near and far."

"New Forest District Council has now officially recognised this, following the petition that we asked local people and people across Hampshire to sign."

Fellow campaigner Denise Wyatt said:

"This pub can now stay at the heart of the local community for many years to come, and we will be organising a celebration at the pub soon."

"We would like to thank everyone who supported our campaign, including pub campaigner Toby Perkins MP (pictured above) and most importantly all local residents in Pilley and Boldre. It is their pub, after all."

Friday, 5 June 2015

I'm STILL opposing TTIP - are your MEPs?

I have pushed back on TTIP in several ways, campaigning locally, nationally and in Europe.

Today I was emailed by Going to Work from the TUC.

They've produced an email campaining tool for TTIP, making it easy for people to hold their MEPs to account.

Here is the email I sent to the 10 MEPs in the South East. Feel free to re-use it - I believe it's an enhancement on their suggested email text. The first two paragraphs are my additions.

I remain very concerned about TTIP, and the weasel words and obfuscation used by MEPs to try to hide their actions and inactions. I've been in touch with several, and their officers, this week. The complexity of the EU enables them to hide - but if European citizens hold them to account, they cannot hide.

To their credit, some MEPs are trying to engage with citizens over TTIP - long may that continue. But they need to make the EU clearer to voters, otherwise with the complexity of the EU, this enables the enemies of the EU to misrepresent what is happening - and the voters to make up their minds based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

And that might lead to Britain leaving the EU (Brexit)...

Best wishes,


Suggested email text:

TTIP is a microcosm of all that is

wrong with the EU - secret,

unaccountable, remote and over-

complicated. These things mean that

UK voters don't trust the EU, and

don't understand it, even more than

they do already.


ISDS and privatisation. Don't hide

behind bureaucracy and complexity

of the EU, like some MEPs have

tried to this week - and then blame

others for misrepresenting their

actions and inaction.

When you vote in June on the

European Parliament resolution on

the Transatlantic Trade and

Investment Partnership (TTIP),

please make sure it protects the

people you represent.

This is a crucial opportunity for

the European Parliament to hold the

European Commission to account and

make clear that they must negotiate

trade deals in the public interest,

not for private profit. TTIP poses

significant threats to democratic

decision-making, public services,

and the rights of working people,

consumers and the environment.

Please support a resolution on TTIP

that requires the Commission to:

defend workers’ rights; protect

public services; remove ISDS and

special courts for foreign

investors; and maintain all

regulatory protections for workers,

consumers and the environment.

I look forward to your confirmation

that you will support these

objectives in the forthcoming vote.