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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Time Is Running Out for the Hythe-Southampton Ferry


Campaigner Andrew Pope

Employees of the Hythe Ferry are still worried about their jobs, with the 90-day consultation period for redundancies hanging over them.

And the users of the Ferry, whether from the Southampton side of Southampton Water or the Waterside side, are still unsure whether the service will continue.

Meanwhile, congestion and air quality declines on Southampton's roads because the Ferry service is failing our area.

From our meetings and conversations with residents and other interested parties, it appears that the Hythe Pier Train and Ferry Action Group, under the current self-appointed leadership, is incorrectly named.

As previously posted here, and gathering a lot of attention from residents of Southampton and the Waterside (we know the website stats!), it appears that this Action Group is not interested in Southampton, despite the fact that it is the Hythe to Southampton Ferry.

Campaigner Denise Wyatt
Why would this be?

Because it appears to us and others that under the current leadership, the Hythe "Action Group" is not really interested in the Hythe Ferry.

It only seems to be interested in the Hythe Pier. Surely this can't be true. But if it is then it needs to be renamed to the "Hythe Pier Action Group", surely?

Strangely, one of the self-appointed leaders even accused us Southampton campaigners of "bluster".

Meanwhile, we experienced and genuine campaigners to save the Hythe to Southampton Ferry and the Pier have been busy trying to save both the Pier and the Ferry.

Since our last update, we have met and had discussions with businesses, including a potential operator. We've been in touch with several councils involved in the future of the Ferry and especially regarding its landing on the Southampton side of Southampton Water.

We also note Mr Willcock's letter this week in the Daily Echo. We agree with him. Time is running out for the Hythe Ferry and the situation is serious.

The "Action Group" does want to save the Ferry, doesn't it, or is it really only interested in the Hythe Pier? Why is it dithering?

We've got breaking news for them too.

This week, a group of Southampton residents called Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier, has submitted an application to list Hythe Pier as an Asset of Community Value, which would give the Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier extra legal rights to bid on the Pier, if it is put up for sale.

This group was organised by Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt, with assistance from other campaigners. Perhaps it will be Southampton residents that prove to be the saviours of Hythe Pier.

We will continue to deliver substantially on our campaigns, while the leadership of the "Action Group" continues to dither and only gives the image of doing something.

If you want to join us in our campaigns, Contact Us.

Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

Founders, Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier

Monday, 12 December 2016

Football Needs Change

The Campaign for Reform in Football

With today's BBC headlines on the English Football Association (The FA), Independent Councillor Andrew Pope has made a statement on the website of the Campaign for Reform in Football, which he was involved in founding.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Children at Risk - Labour or Tory, Same Old Story

Our latest "Redbridge Rally" newsletter

It takes us Independents to raise the failures that both Labour and Conservative parties have failed to address.

Just as with the scandal of the Arts Complex millions, supported by Labour and the Conservatives, the two-party system has failed the City of Southampton for too long.

Whilst the Arts Complex drains public funds, children are being put at risk and care centres for the elderly have been closed.

Whether it is Labour or Tory, it's the same old story.

We are very grateful to the Southern Daily Echo for two articles on child safety that they have recently published:


Independent Councillor Andrew Pope is quoted in both articles, saying:

"After many years, there continue to be very serious problems with the council's Children's Services. Neither the Conservatives, nor Labour, have addressed these problems and children continue to be put at risk by the council's failures."

and

"Independent Redbridge ward representative Councillor Andrew Pope claimed the high staff turnover meant that increasing numbers of “inexperienced” social workers who are making “incorrect” assessments resulting in more children going into care. He said: “They still have issues with recruitment and retention. Something drastic has got to happen. They have to bring Ofsted back here.”

We have thanked the journalist Maxwell Kusi-Obodum for writing the articles and wished him well in his new job after leaving the Echo.

It was Councillor Pope who asked the Echo to cover this crisis in the safeguarding of children and families, after uncovering serious problems with the way Southampton City Council is failing to deal with child safety over a long period of time.

Councillor Pope was dealing with cases where families had come to him to complain of how the Council had failed to protect children and families. And when he raised these issues with officers of the Council, the response was appalling. That is, when he could actually get a response!

One family is quoted on the thousands of "Redbridge Rally" leaflets that Independents have delivered across Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush (above):
"This Council is a risk to children and their families. For months, officers of the Council ignored us. The child ended up in hospital. OFSTED need to come back! Andrew and Denise fought for us to better protect the child. Labour is failing families."
Councillor Pope and Independent campaigner Denise Wyatt consistently raised serious concerns about child safety in Southampton. But like this family, they were ignored or given misleading information.

Andrew and Denise tried to get an answer to the question as to why there was double the national average of "children looked after" in Southampton. Since 2015, answers have not been forthcoming from the Leader of the Council Labour Councillor Simon Letts, the Director of Children Services (now departed), senior social workers and the Labour Councillor Eamonn Keogh whose job is to scrutinise the Labour Council on children and families.

Yes, that's right, a Labour Councillor was appointed by the Labour Party to scrutinise a Labour Council - what a shameful conflict of interest! No wonder the Council is in such a state.

Councillor Pope even tried to get an answer at the November 2016 Full Council, from the Cabinet member responsible, Councillor Paul Lewzey. He avoided the question and gave no answer. This was in full view of the Daily Echo journalist Mr Kusi-Obodum, who was astounded at the lack of response - and subsequently wrote the second article mentioned above.

This Labour Council simply does not know why it has this Child Protection Crisis.

From the Daily Echo:

"Cllr Lewzey said that the legacy of the serious case reviews were that the authority and other family agencies were “better” at spotting children at risk needing to be taken into care."

Denise says:


"I was in tears when I heard this Labour Councillor had said such an upsetting thing.

It is shameful that in the Daily Echo this Labour Councillor and the Labour Council seek to blame Southampton's families instead of taking responsibility for their own failures and failing to address years of neglect by the Council."


Andrew says:


"OFSTED need to come back now!
The situation is grave. Child safety issues are amongst the most serious issues that a councillor and campaigners can deal with. We have a duty to protect children and families and to blow the whistle."

We have contacted OFSTED and asked them to come back to Southampton to reassess the Council.

The seriousness of the failures of Southampton City Council, whether under a Labour-run or Conservative-run Council, cannot be overstated.

If you have a child or a family that you feel is being put at risk, please get in touch and we will take the case up for you.

And when the time comes, please vote for more Independent councillors. Independents are the only councillors who put the people of Southampton first, not the political party and not covering up due to the failed two-party system of Labour or Tory.

Independents stand up for you. We will keep fighting for you.

Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

December 2016

Friday, 25 November 2016

UPDATED: Save the Hythe to Southampton Ferry!

The wobbly Pier is matched by the wobbling Action Group

BBC South Today Late Bulletin 24th Nov 2016

"It's very important that the Hythe ferry keeps going because if it doesn't, we're going to have even more traffic and even more air pollution coming through our area."

said Councillor Andrew Pope on BBC South Today on the late bulletin of 24th November.

Andrew has sent the below letter to all cabinet members of the Southampotn City Council. The cabinet is the controlling body that makes decisions for the Council.

Hopefully we will get a useful response.

UPDATE (1st Dec 2016): NO OFFER OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT OR OTHER ASSISTANCE HAS BEEN MADE BY SOUTHAMPTON CITY COUNCIL, despite the urgent situation and my letter below. The only offer has been from the Leader Councillor Simon Letts to meet with any campaign group, an offer which I have indicated to the Leader of the Council that I may take up through my contacts and conversations I've had on the Hythe to Southampton Ferry.

The Leader of the Council has also confirmed that other than Councillor Pope, NO campaign group has contacted him about the Ferry, including those calling themselves the "Hythe Pier and Ferry Action Group". This is despite being challenged to do so by me and other Southampton residents at last week's public meeting in Hythe, at which Cllr Pope was the only Southampton councillor present. This leaves several worrying questions including:

1. Why do they ignore Southampton?

2. Are the "leaders" of that campaign group competent?

3. Do they think that the Hythe Ferry goes around in circles, and doesn't actually ever go to Southampton? It isn't the Hythe to Hythe Ferry!!!!

Those under threat of redundancy on the Ferry, and those who use the Ferry, can't afford to wait to find out.

Meanwhile, we Independent campaigners will continue our campaigning to improve air quality in Southampton and to reduce road traffic congestion.

UPDATE: (7th Dec 2016) We are waiting for more answers from various councils, developers, groups, businesses and people. We also have several meetings planned. Meanwhile, the so-called "Action Group" seems to be foundering on its actions, despite the 90-day redundancy notices still being in force.

What exactly are they doing?

It's all a bit secretive and slow, isn't it?

Tell us what you think via our Contact Us page.

Like the Councillor Andrew Pope page on Facebook or follow the @SaveHytheFerry or @CllrPope Twitter feeds for more on this campaign and all other Independent work.

---

Good Morning,

The Hythe to Southampton Ferry is under threat.

I am concerned about the staff who have been issued a 90-day consultation on redundancies.

I am concerned about the users of the service, both on the Waterside and Southampton sides.

But most directly to the Redbridge ward and the people I represent, I am concerned about the decline and possible extinction of this service.

I hope that you share these concerns.

Yesterday evening, I attended a public meeting in Hythe to organise a campaign to save the Hythe Ferry. It was a packed hall. I was the only Southampton councillor present.

A member of the public from Southampton asked whether the campaign had contacted Southampton City Council. It seemed from the response that they had not.  Do you know of any contact please?

I have offered my support, in person and in writing, and I am writing to you to ask what support the Council will now offer.

I urge you to maximise the effort and funds for a sustainable service.

A few weeks ago, I also asked the Leader and current Cabinet member for Transport for the reasoning behind the cut to the Hythe Ferry subsidy in the 2013 budget, as it was never explained to councillors at the time despite them being whipped to vote for it. I had no response from Cllr Rayment. I did have a half-useful from the Leader.

The Leader was under the impression that the Hampshire subsidy is under threat. It was confirmed at the public meeting by the County Councillor for Hythe, Malcolm Wade, that it is not.

What will Southampton City Council do to ensure that the Hythe Ferry cannot just survive, but to thrive?

Regards,

Councillor Andrew Pope
Independent Councillor for Redbridge ward
Southampton City Council

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Scandal of the Southampton Arts Complex

Southampton New Arts Complex
- STILL under construction!
It takes us Independents to shine a light on this scandal, and thanks to the Daily Echo, it is front page news.

We've written on this blog before about the scandal of the Southampton New Arts Complex (SNAC), a project that is massively over-time and over-budget.

We've heard from Southampton residents who are appalled that the Labour-run Council is putting millions into this failing project, whilst basic Council services are failing across the City.

In less than two years, the taxpayer bill has gone up twice, in £2 million chunks, from £12 million to £16 million. 

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope has asked how this has been allowed to happen by the Labour-controlled Council, but has not got full and frank answers from Labour councillors who've voted through these millions, or the Southampton Cultural Development Trust who were supposed to raise funds for the project.

Now the Daily Echo is reporting that the Government is bailing out the project, sinking even more of YOUR public money into this White Elephant, whilst basic services are being cut in YOUR area!

Independent campaigner Denise Wyatt says:

"The Labour Council has the wrong priorities. Roads and pavements are full of holes. Bins are missed. Grass is not cut. Weeds take over. Care centres are closed. Land is sold off. Children and vulnerable adults are unsafe. Traffic is chaos. Why?"

What do you think of the Arts Complex?


What do you think of the services that the Labour-run Council is providing?


Contact us and tell us.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Thanks! Join Us!

We've just had the biggest month on this Blog since it was created.




Andrew and Denise say:

"We would like to thank everyone for coming here, for getting in touch and spending your time here. 
Please keep coming back. 
Please keep spreading the word that Independents fight on the issues that matter to you. 
Please Vote Independent in Hampshire whenever there are elections.
And if you care passionately about our work, contact us and join us to make Hampshire a better place to live and work."

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Improve our Parks and Heritage - Don't Cut Them!

Redbridge Wharf Park looking out over Southampton Water

An Extract from our 2015 Redbridge Rally Leaflet

For over a year now, Independent Councillor Andrew Pope has been working to protect the heritage in the Old Redbridge / Redbridge Village part of the Redbridge ward, and working to improve it.

When researching the heritage of the area, Andrew discovered in 2015 that the two old bridges at Redbridge, next to the newer road bridges, were being neglected by both Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council.

The eastern bridge at Redbridge (Anchor pub on right)

These bridges are grade-II listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments. The site of the bridges is chock full of history, as is Redbridge Village itself. But it has been neglected for too long.

The neglect may have been because they are on the boundary between the two council's land. There may have been other reasons too, like successive Labour and Tory administrations of Southampton City Council cutting the number of staff working on conservation to its absolute bare bones.

So Andrew took the initiative and spoke with officers of both councils.

Over the past year, Andrew has worked with Hampshire County Council to produce plans for improving the site. These plans are now being put into action, and works were occurring on site today when we visited with Network Rail.

Andrew has also spoken with the Angling Trust and the Police about illegal fishing on the site.

Today, Andrew and his Redbridge Independents colleague Denise Wyatt, met with Network Rail, SCAPPS and CoSS to discuss Network Rail's plans for putting sidings at Redbridge Wharf Park.

Redbridge Wharf Park
The Council Has Let the Park Deteriorate


This was the second site meeting, and Network Rail's plans are being blocked by Andrew's objections to their plans to take away some of the Park. SCAPPS and CoSS have also objected.

Andrew and Denise have pledged to protect Redbridge's parks, so unless Network Rail provide an alternative site to mitigate the removal of part of Redbridge Wharf Park, we will continue to object to their proposal.

Andrew suggested months ago that improving the Redbridge bridges and opening them up to the public, as well as improving what remains of the Park, may be suitable mitigation. But Network Rail were not initially keen on his suggestion. They claimed a footbridge would cost too much, and cited other "reasons" why it couldn't be done.

However, at today's meeting, under pressure from Andrew and Denise working with SCAPPs and CoSS, there was some movement from Network Rail. Network Rail confirmed that they will be contributing to a scheme. They agreed to come up with revised plans "as soon as possible".

So we await Network Rail's updated plans, with details of how they will provide suitable parks for local residents to enjoy.

In addition, we do not believe that residents next to the proposed sidings are properly aware of the proposals. We believe that they would object to the noise and light pollution, especially if it was 24-hour.

So we also await answers to our questions from Network Rail.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Updated: Stop the Violence!


Above is the letter on the recent violence towards buses and taxis in Redbridge. It was printed in the Daily Echo on 27th September 2016.

The original text is below for your convenience:

"I am disappointed to hear of mindless violence from a tiny minority towards buses, taxis and people in the Redbridge ward of Southampton that I am proud to represent and live in.
This has happened before and with the community's help, we have dealt with it before.
I met with the bus companies and Police on Friday. 
I told them that I won't stand for a tiny minority ruining life for the majority of residents in our wonderful area. I told them that I would wholeheartedly assist to stop the culprits.
You should notice an increased Police presence in the area, and on buses. It is extremely important that residents work together with me as their local councillor, the bus companies and the Police. 
If you have any information, please tell Redbridge Independents via our Hampshire Red blog (http://hampshirered.blogspot.com), tell the Police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ or on 0800 555 111.
Thanks,Councillor Andrew PopeMillbrook, Redbridge and Maybush Independents"
Hampshire Police have posted this on their website.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Employers Must Pay A Living Wage



In Hampshire and across England, we are campaigning with the English Futures Party for all employers to pay the minimum of the Real Living Wage - £8.25 per hour, to all staff over 18.

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope, also Leader of the English Futures Party says:


"The Real Living Wage is £8.25 per hour. It is much higher than the National Minimum Wage.
Paying the Real Living Wage to all over 18s removes confusion about the different grades of minimum wage for different ages. 
The Real Living Wage is also higher than sacked Tory Chancellor George Osborne's botched National Living Wage, which isn't a living wage at all but another confusing grade to the minimum wage.
If you are an adult and doing the job, you should be treated as an adult and paid as an adult, not as a child as some employers seem to want to."
The news comes as Councillor Pope was quoted in the national media (Daily Mail) and local media in Southampton (Daily Echo), as he has asked HMRC to investigate Southampton FC on the minimum wage. Andrew told the Daily Echo:

“I have been campaigning to improve staff pay in football for years, because the pay gap couldn't be bigger between players, agents and staff. 
Football clubs need to set an example to other employers in the area. Other employers have been "named and shamed" by HMRC as flouting the minimum wage, as reported by the Daily Echo. I have reported Southampton FC because I believe I have evidence to warrant an investigation by HMRC. 
With such large sums of money sloshing around at football clubs, it appears to be what Lord Alan Sugar has referred to as the ‘Prune Juice Effect’ with the money going straight through the clubs from TV deals and into the pockets of players and agents. 
This is wrong. 
They can prove they care about their staff by paying a decent wage, the Real Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation, to all staff. This is only £8.25 per hour, a lot less than players like Charlie Austin get, for sure!”

Councillor Pope has also spoken with some of the local Hampshire companies who were "named and shamed" by HMRC for paying below the minimum wage. They told him that they were now compliant and had made an "honest mistake". HMRC listed almost 200 companies across the country.

Blackpool FC and Brighton and Hove Albion FC were exposed in HMRC's list, and we have reason to believe that other professional football clubs are flouting the minimum wage.

Join us to campaign for better pay, better job satisfaction and better job security.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bonkers Strikes Back!

Southern Electric dug AROUND the car!


We posted recently about a car that appeared to have been abandoned in a Redbridge street. And a utility company had dug AROUND the car, because the owner had allegedly refused to move it.

You loved it! It went viral!

Here is an update from Councillor Andrew Pope:

"I was told by an officer of the Council that the car was not there when another officer visited. But I visited the site this week and it was still there. I checked with one of the residents who said she had not noticed that it had been moved.
"There were no signs of it having been moved either, as very old leaves remained on the front and back windscreens. I have asked again for the vehicle to be investigated.
"And I can confirm that the utility company was Southern Electric. That company and I have had a few ding-dongs over the years, as shown on this blog!" 

What do you think of this?

Do you think it shows how inefficient the Council can be?

Do you think Southern Electric should be made to re-instate the road, particularly as it in an area with a lot of listed buildings?

And do you think Southern Electric should have been allowed to move the vehicle, against the will of the owner?

Contact us and tell us what you think.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Bonkers?

A road in Redbridge, Southampton

You may have seen some pretty bonkers things on our roads. But how about this?

We Independents were contacted by Redbridge residents in relation to a parked car that appeared to have been abandoned, because it had been left in the same location for a long time.

A utility company had apparently asked the owner to move it, but the owner had refused.

So the utility company dug around the car, instead of digging in a straight line!

We later reported the "abandoned" vehicle to officers of Southampton City Council, who duly investigated.

But in between the short time of reporting it and the officers visiting the site, it had been moved.

Contact us to tell us - What do you think of this? Is it bonkers, or did the utility company do the right thing?

This is one of the more unusual pieces of work that we've had this month!

All the best,
Andrew and Denise

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Southampton and Portsmouth To Join? We need a Referendum!


The controversial Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
Image: By XrysD - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10131879
Do you want Southampton to join with Portsmouth? Yesterday's Daily Echo reported an amusing mistake on a French airport's view of Southampton and Portsmouth.

This is what Labour and Tory politicians want to happen. And they're doing it without involving the people who live in the two cities that are separated by twenty-odd miles and some would say, other things.

But so-called “English Devolution” has largely been conducted without the say of English citizens.

Locally here on the South Coast, the vast majority of people haven't even heard of the "Solent Devolution Deal".

Yet self-appointed "leaders" of Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council have carried it on, behind the scenes.

And a sham consultation is being conducted.

Thankfully, people on the Isle of Wight have fought back - forcing the Council to agree to a referendum on any deal.

But in Southampton and Portsmouth, the "leaders" haven't agreed to a referendum - yet.

Independents in Southampton, including Councillor Andrew Pope, have been pushing for one ever since devolution was mentioned.

And now Portsmouth campaigner Blair Breton has created two petitions to enable citizens to have their say, and not allow devolution to be about politicians stitching it up for other politicians. Already, over 200 people have signed up.

One petition is aimed at local councils and the other petition is aimed at Government.

This is a cross-party campaign, and a campaign for Independents too, because it is so important.

PLEASE SIGN BOTH PETITIONS!

The Government petition is located at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165665

The Council petition is located at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solent-devolution-the-people-not-politicians-must-decide

You can also respond to the “consultations” here. Sadly their deadline is 18th September 2016, as it was decided to hold most of the "consultation" over the summer holidays - how odd? Some would suggest they don't really want to listen to you!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

VICTORY? The EU's TTIP is dead?



News sources such as Breitbart are reporting that the EU-USA trade deal TTIP is dead. The Guardian are also reporting it. But is it really dead? President Obama didn't seem to know at the G20, as he referred to talks continuing.

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope says:
"I've been a vocal critic of TTIP for years, campaigning locally, nationally and internationally via MEPs.
So I'm delighted if it is indeed dead, but it is important to remember that in any post-Brexit trade deals, that the many negative aspects of the TTIP are not repeated in those trade deals."
What do you think should be in our new trade deals?

What do you think should not be in those deals?

And when do you think is the right time to trigger Article 50?



Thursday, 1 September 2016

Labour Splits Deepen Even More



The Labour Party is even more split than it was before.

The Labour Rose is even more out-of-date and decrepit than it has been for decades.

Labour is split in Parliament.

Labour is split in local areas and in local Labour parties.

It seems to be operating two parties in the same party - those for Corbyn and in Momentum and those against Corbyn.

All the while it should be running our City. But it isn't. 

For example, the recent Lottery decision to not award children's health funding to Southampton City Council due to fears over poor leadership. We Independents have been criticising the lack of leadership by Labour for some time. Now the Independent Lottery assessors have agreed.

But the problems are much more widespread.

Basic Council services are failing, and Labour is scared to address these failings because they place themselves and their Party above the people of Southampton - the very people they are supposed to represent. Those people that Corbyn claims that Labour protects - but they don't. In Swansea, Labour openly admits its failures but rallies for Corbyn!

Labour in Southampton doesn't do what Corbyn claims. As we pointed out, in Southampton, instead of taking responsibility for their own failures, Labour continues to blame the Tories. What a cop out!

Now the Daily Echo has a photo showing 17 Labour members clearly supporting Owen Smith for Labour Leader. Or rather, 17 people plus people who are either out of shot or hiding behind other people. Why would they hide? Is it because they are ashamed of Labour's failures?

Let's not forget that Owen Smith wants a second Brexit referendum, ignoring the democratic will of the people to Leave the EU. And it was Corbyn that advocated triggering Article 50 immediately after the vote - then changing his mind. How can anybody trust the Labour Party, no matter which "Leader" they choose?

Labour members are choosing between potential disaster and proven failure.

And no matter who they choose, it won't mean they will win the next General Election.

And no matter who they choose, it won't end their splits nationally or locally.

Added to the existing further splits, is yet another list (*below) of Southampton councillors supporting Owen Smith for Labour Leader.

Which other Labour councillors and which other Labour members support the other part of the two parties in one (Corbyn versus Smith)? 

What will the other Labour councillors and members do when Corbyn wins again, as is widely predicted?

Instead of in-fighting, they should be running our City. Do you agree? 

What have you, your family and your area been affected by failings of the Labour Council in Southampton? Please get in touch and tell us!

This is why we say that you are better off with Independents who work on the issues that matter to you, not party politics.

Contact us to work with you to win for you, your area and your family.

Best wishes
Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

*The below list is taken from the LabourList updated list.

CllrChristopher HammondSouthampton
CllrDarren PaffeySouthampton
CllrDavid FurnellSouthampton
CllrHannah CoombsSouthampton
CllrJacqui RaymentSouthampton
CllrJohn JordanSouthampton
CllrJohn NoonSouthampton
CllrLee WhitbreadSouthampton
CllrSarah BogleSouthampton
CllrSharon MintoffSouthampton
CllrSue BlatchfordSouthampton

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Update: Southern Health CEO AND Chair Both Go!






Update (19th Sept 2016): We've just heard that the new Chair Tim Smart has gone too. He was only appointed a few months ago! More to follow.

---

We've just received the below statement from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Our actions on this issue are documented here on this website.

Councillor Andrew Pope said:

"Her resignation was too long in coming. But she should have been removed anyway. I gave every opportunity for her to be removed, and for expressions of no confidence to be made. 
But the NHS system and the Labour and Tory parties sought to cover up the failings for too long. It shows how the NHS is run is very sick indeed, and that party politics has no place in the NHS. 
Ms Percy's resignation will not change how Southern Health is run. Much more fundamantal changes are needed. And hearing that she is still hanging around does not bode well for those changes to be made."

Campaigner Denise Wyatt said:

"This smacks of a backroom stitch-up that is not in the interests of patients.
It is shocking that Ms Percy survived for so long. The NHS is not being governed in the interests of patients. It is being governed in the interest of paid civil servants and quangocrats. Massive change is needed, and now. "

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Statements from Katrina Percy and Tim Smart  


Dear Member,

Please be advised that Katrina Percy has decided to step down from her position as Chief Executive Officer of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The following statements have today been issued to the media:


Katrina Percy said;

“On 30 June Tim Smart announced the outcome of his review into Southern Health. I was pleased to have his endorsement and support to carry on in my role as Chief Executive and I have been humbled by the overwhelming support from staff and other colleagues.

Since then I have reflected on the effect the ongoing personal media attention has had on staff and patients and have come to the conclusion that this has made my role untenable. I have therefore come to the difficult decision to step down from my role as Chief Executive after nine years. I am delighted to be taking on an alternative role, providing strategic advice to local GP leaders as they work with others to transform the way in which health services are delivered across Hampshire, and I feel that now is the right time to take on that new challenge.
I know, and understand, that many will say I should have stepped down sooner given the very public concerns which have been raised in the past months. I stayed on as I firmly believed it was my responsibility to oversee the necessary improvements and to continue the ground breaking work we have begun with GPs to transform care for our patients.

I would like to thank all of our staff for their unstinting daily support and dedication to delivering the best possible care for all those we look after. I wish everyone at the Trust, and everyone who has supported it, especially over the past year, all the best.”


Tim Smart said;

“Katrina Percy has informed me of her decision to step down from her position as Chief Executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Katrina has come to the conclusion that, due to the significant focus on her as an individual, it is in the best interests of the Trust, patients and staff for her to step down. I have agreed, on the basis that her position has become untenable because of ongoing personal media attention. Katrina has taken up the offer to work local GP leaders providing strategic advice on the transformation of local health services. There is vital work that needs to be done for which she is ideally suited.

Katrina has shown great resilience, devoting herself to the patients and staff of Southern Health since it was created in 2011. In addition, the recently completed independent board capability review found Katrina to be well suited to lead the Trust forward.

Katrina has ensured that Southern Health is now working more closely with other health and care organisations in the region to provide more joined up care, so more people receive support at the right time and place. Katrina leaves the Trust financially sound and well-positioned to create a new form of multispecialty community provider in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I wish Katrina every success in her future endeavours, and thank her for her years of service.

I am an advocate of clinicians leading NHS organisations, so I am delighted that Julie Dawes, who joined the Trust in May this year as Director of Nursing and Quality, will be stepping up in the interim as Chief Executive Officer. She will be supported as and when required by Dr Matthew Patrick, Chief Executive Officer, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Jon Allen, Non-Executive Director and former Director of Nursing at Oxford Health. It is important that patients and our staff have confidence that Southern Health’s future is in safe hands.”




Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Membership Office|, Tatchbury Mount, Calmore, Hampshire, SO40 2RZ | 023 8087 4253 | ftmembership@southernhealth.nhs.uk


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Brexit Must Halt Mass Immigration


During the EU Referendum campaign, we campaigned for Brexit.

We did this because we listened to the views of people across Hampshire.

They told us they wanted to vote for Brexit.

And they told us why:

"Immigration"

"too many immigrants"

"immigration is too much"

"we don't mind people coming here, but it is too many".

And they voted to Leave in their droves.

They turned up to vote, unlike in most local council elections where turnout is under half what it was in the EU Referendum.

They saw the effect of mass immigration on their daily lives.

For example, Southampton's schools have been impacted by an increased birth rate brought in largely due to mass immigration.

Southampton City Council had to expand the number of school places in 2012. I was at the Scrutiny meeting where councillors were asking questions about it. I particularly wanted to know whether there was any truth to the claim that immigration was putting pressure on the schools.

And the evidence that was provided by Council officers was clear.

Roll forward to 2016, and I asked Council officers for an update.

The pressure had not been alleviated and the percentage of school places taken by immigrants had gone up while school places taken by British nationals had gone down.

This should be no surprise - successive governments, whether Labour, Tory or Coalition, had failed to control mass immigration.

This is just one example - public services across local government and national government have been put under strain.

Brexit must halt mass immigration and the Government must control immigration to sustainable numbers.

That is what people voted for on 23rd June.

Now it is the Government's job to deliver.

Best wishes,
Councillor Andrew Pope


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Latest: Yes, Labour HAS Betrayed Redbridge

The Field at the corner of Test Lane / Gover Road
The Labour Council has betrayed Redbridge

Towards the end of last week, we blogged that the Labour Council was about to finalise the deal for the Test Lane / Gover Road development.

We had asked to be updated by Council officers as soon as the planning permission was finalised. That didn't happen when it should have.

However, we have now confirmed that sadly the planning permission has been issued. It can be viewed here.









Residents we've heard from since this decision are rightly outraged and disgusted.

Local campaigner Denise Wyatt said:


"At last week's public meeting, residents raised so many concerns that have still not been addressed. 
Last week's public meeting at the Ship Inn, Old Redbridge

It is a disgrace that the Labour Council has ignored residents concerns, and has pressed on regardless."

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope said:

"Residents should never forget the answer to these three questions. 
Question 1. Who owns the Gover Road/Test Lane Field land?  

Question 2. Who gave planning permission to build 24-hour warehousing? 

Question 3. Who is selling the land to an offshore company? 

Answer: The Labour-controlled Southampton City Council!"

Following last week's public meeting and queries from Redbridge residents, Councillor Pope sent the following e-mail to Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and Deputy Leader of the Council.

Cllr Rayment was the only Labour councillor to attend (the two Redbridge Labour councillors McEwing and Whitbread and the Labour Leader Simon Letts were all not there although they were invited by the Redbridge Residents Association):

"Councillor Rayment,

At last night's public meeting, you stated to the public and media present that it was too late for this development to be stopped.

Please forward the advice you relied upon, from which officer or councillor it came, and when this advice was provided."
 to which Councillor Rayment's reply was simply:

"No
Cllr Jacqui Rayment
Deputy Leader
Cabinet Member Environment & Transport"

This suggests that Cllr Rayment misled around 130 members of the public and the media present.

If she did mislead the public, this would not be the first time. In 2013, an Independent Investigation stated:

"In respect of Councillor Jacqui Rayment, the investigator found that she failed to comply with The Nolan Principles of Public Life relating to Openness and Honesty, and the guidance as to mutual respect and courtesy between members and Officers set out in the Council’s Member / Officer Protocol. "

As Deputy Leader, Cllr Rayment did not resign then. But Former Leader Richard Williams did, following similar criticism.

At the public meeting, as reported by the Daily Echo, Councillor Pope stopped short of calling for Cllr Rayment to resign.

But now Cllr Pope has been forced to Cllr Rayment asking her to resign for misleading the public, or for the Leader Councillor Simon Letts to sack her.


Denise and Andrew say:
"We fight for you. 
We are the only effective opposition in Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush. 
Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems and UKIP have been absent in campaigning against Test Lane. And residents will never forget that it is a Labour Council that is doing this.
We stand up for you. 
We campaign on the issues that matter to local people. 
We put people before party politics. 
We will continue to fight for you. 
That is why we ask residents to join with us Independents in holding the Council to account."


Monday, 1 August 2016

Thank You! Please Contact Us!

We've just had the second-most popular month on this blog - ever!




It seems that people are very interested in the issues that affect them locally - MUCH more than what is going on in the failed party politics in Westminster.

Andrew and Denise would like to thank all of our regular, and all of our new readers.

If you have an idea, or any other feedback, please Contact Us at the details on the left of the website.

That is:

By email: apopedwyatt@gmail.com

By phone: 07580715687

or on Twitter: @CllrPope @DeniseWyatt48

or on Facebook: @CllrPope or Councillor Andrew Pope

All the best,
Andrew and Denise

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Split Labour and Tory Parties Must Go



We Independents have posted on the problems of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.

Both parties are outdated relics of the past Capitalist-Labour view of the world favoured by Jeremy Corbyn and other Marxists.

Both parties can't handle the modern world of politics, where the English people have delivered the verdict that the majority of MPs are out-of-touch with their constituents' views. The Brexit vote proved it.

Our outdated electoral system also needs to be overhauled.

Both Labour and Tories need to be replaced by Independents - which is pretty much what Southampton's neighbours on the Isle of Wight did, much to the surprise of Labour and Tories.

Why should they be replaced?

Because here in Southampton, no matter who has been "in control" of the Council, it is the people of Southampton that have suffered.

For example, just look at the latest project that is over time, over budget, and a hideous white elephant, the Arts Complex.

You don't have to look much further to find its predecessor, another white elephant, the Sea City Museum - both massive sinks for taxpayers money - YOUR money, whilst hundreds if not thousands of Council jobs and your public services are cut.

Maybe you wouldn't mind so much if you got a reduction in Council Tax, but despite all this waste and all these cuts, YOU PAY MORE COUNCIL TAX!

Southampton Labour is totally irresponsible as it is in chaos. As we've pointed out, the splits go down to City ward level, with councillor against councillor and member against member in their leadership battle.

BUT ALSO

the Southampton Tories are in chaos. Their local "opposition" to Labour has been found wanting. It's almost as if they didn't want to win control of the Council in the 2016 local elections!

Although the Tories bragged about how they were going to win control, they couldn't get rid of this failing Labour Council, hanging on by a majority of just two councillors.

Look at what happened when the Tories were last "in control" - strikes on the Itchen Bridge, bin bags rotting on the streets, social workers leaving the Council in their droves, vulnerable children and adults put at risk... and so on...

And despite being "in control" for four years, Labour hasn't fixed the vast majority of the problems facing Southampton City Council.

Would you agree that whether it's Labour or Tory - it's the same old story?

If you do, they should be replaced.

Meanwhile, the Labour in-fighting gets worse, even worse than we've already documented here...

Over the last day, we have learned that the Southampton Test Labour Party (for the west of Southampton), have backed Jeremy Corbyn to remain as Leader.

Last year, they were split on whether to back Jeremy Corbyn or Andy Burnham, who has subsequently given up wanting to become Leader and wants to become an elected Mayor instead of an MP.

The vote was 64 votes to 54 votes in favour of Corbyn. If this is repeated across the country, then Corbyn will remain Leader of the Labour Party - much to the dismay of Owen Smith supporters and the vast majority of Labour MPs.

Does this mean that Alan Whitehead, Southampton Test Labour MP, is at odds with his own Southampton Labour Party? He resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet as part of what is called the "Labour Coup", undermining Dear Leader Corbyn. Labour Council Leader Councillor Simon Letts also called for Corbyn to go.

Southampton residents must wonder whether Labour Party members in Southampton Test Labour Party will be holding a vote of no confidence in Alan Whitehead, as could happened with other Labour MPs like short-lived leadership challenger Angela Eagle in Wallasey?

Will Dr Whitehead be deselected as suggested by Comrade Corbyn?

Or will he just quit?

Next week, the Southampton Itchen Labour Party (for the East of Southampton), will vote on whether to back Jeremy Corbyn or Owen Smith to be the Labour Leader. Obviously they have no Labour MP as Rowenna Davis was defeated by Tory Royston Smith.

Davis was selected to follow long-time MP John Denham under Labour's "All Women Shortlist". The latter's Tory Party has no such rules, but despite this the Tories have now had two woman Prime Ministers, with the Labour Party having none. Since her defeat, Davis has all but disappeared from the Southampton political scene.

Now the rebel Labour MPs supporting Owen Smith are reported by the national papers including the Mirror and Telegraph to be so pessimistic about his chances of beating Jeremy Corbyn, that they are plotting to try to take the Labour name with them...

What a mess.

What a rabble.

As local residents have asked us many times...

Why is Labour in-fighting, when our City isn't being looked after by the Labour Council?

It's almost as bad with the Conservatives.

At least the Tories are pretending in public that they are united behind Theresa May. Let's see if the remain "united" if May doesn't deliver the Brexit that the English people voted for, and which the Eurosceptics in the Tory Party (who wanted Leadsom, Gove or Boris as Leader) will want.

If not, May will be toast and there will be another Tory leadership contest.

Both Labour and the Tories must go. Whether it's Labour or Tory, it's the same old story.

And our outdated electoral system, both at a local level and national level, needs an urgent overhaul to make it more democratic and more representative of the English people.

Meanwhile, we Independents will keep fighting on the issues that matter to you.



Friday, 29 July 2016

Southern Health: Unexplained Deaths and Dodgy Connections


Since the end of 2015, Denise and Andrew have worked with other campaigners for real and lasting change at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. You can see our actions on other posts on this website.




Councillor Andrew Pope has once again asked Labour and Conservative councillors on Southampton City Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel to have a vote of no confidence in the Board of Southern Health. For the second time this year, they have refused to even hold the vote.

We and other councillors were appalled when Labour Adult Social Care Cabinet Member Councillor Dave Shields tried to gag councillors from commenting on Southern Health.

We were aghast that Councillor Shields stated in response to a question at Full Council from his Tory opposite Councillor Ivan White, that he thought the new Chair of Southern Health, Tim Smart, would not be a "patsy". This was most peculiar language. So using Cllr Shields' words against him, Andrew asked him who he thought at Southern Health was a patsy? Councillor Shields refused to respond to that question. And Councillor Shields has consistently failed to properly intervene to protect Southampton residents from the neglect of Southern Health.

Why is this? 

Is it because Tim Smart is stated on the May 2016 Declaration of interests for Southern Health, and we quote:

"Member of Labour Party"

Interests must be declared.

And interests must not be abused.

We must be told whether this interest, or other interests, were influential in decision-making.

Now via the BBC this morning, we learn of allegations of connections between Southern Health and Tony Blair's Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell:

"The BBC has also learned Southern Health has access to the services of former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell, after it hired Portland Communications to help with its ongoing problems."
It was also reported by the Press Association via the Daily Echo.

Questions arise:

1. Is this the same Portland Communications that has been accused of causing splits in the Labour Party?

2. Are the Labour connections one reason why Labour councillors in Southampton are silent on the neglect of Southern Health? 

3. Is this why Labour Councillor Paul Lewzey, who sits on the Board (Council) of Governors at Southern Health, refused to back an independent investigation into the failings of Southern Health?

4. And in the light of today's revelations, isn't it interesting that Katrina Percy has not declared any interests. Why? Other people in the declaration of interets have mentioned associations with others. She has mentioned none. 


5. Such revelations also raise questions about the Audit Committee which were checking the decisions made. From the Press Association article:

"The Trust's Audit Committee were aware of the contract development but were satisfied that the market rates had been tested and that for a number of reasons, it was in the best interests of the Trust for their work to continue"

We have asked for the minutes of the Audit Committee. They do not appear to be readily publicly available - but then information on Southern Health is very hard to find. Further, the Terms of Reference of the Committee are not exactly encouraging tough scrutiny. For example, a quorum of two is very low - as low as they can go. This is very worrying.

---

To repeat.

Interests must be declared.

And interests must not be abused.

We need to know the answers and now.

In the meantime, we were saddened to hear that one of the few Southern Health governors to actually work for change, John Lewis Green, has now resigned. We completely understand why he did.

We were heartened by the rebellion of a new Governor, Mr Bell.

There remain many vacancies on the Board of Governors. We know why. They have been treated with contempt by the Trust Board of Southern Health. But many of them simply are not up to the job of holding the Trust Board to account. And when we have tried to "educate" them in their responsibilities, the vast majority have ignored us.

The above questions need to be answered.

Southern Health needs to be broken up.

It is too big.

It is too unwieldy.

It has failed and is continuing to fail the health and wellbeing of so many people.

And the entire Trust Board and (the non-rebel) Council of Governors need to be sacked by the Minister or new elections called for the entire Council. Now.