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Elections mired in controversy before they start!

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Vulnerable people attacked by Branley/Khan South Tyneside Independents

I took the above picture in 2008, it depicts one of the service users of the Arts 4 Wellbeing Project in Derby Terrace, South Shields, they are a great bunch of people producing some fine work in the field of the arts, but that is not their main aim, their aim is to help people who have a variety of personal problems arising from ill health, long term incapacity, mental health issues, or stress related illnesses re-establish some self confidence, and by group working in a creative environment integrate and interact more fully with the wider community. These are some of the most vulnerable adults in South Tyneside and this project is an enormous help both to them and to us.

Yet having recently being nominated for recognition in the Community Group section of the  Shields Gazette’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards, and being accessed by other such community support groups, and more importantly having won a huge £46000 grant from The Big Lottery Fund, they find themselves on the receiving end of an unprecedented and unfounded attack from the editor of the South Tyneside Independent Alliance newsletter for the Beacon and Bents ward in South Shields, our old friend Peter Shaw.

Beacon and Bents newsletter

Click to enlarge

The newsletter supporting the candidacy of Jim Hodgson alleges “theft” in a manner which anyone with deep enough pockets would claim is a libel, unfortunately those involved do not have the sort of riches that swill around in the Independent Alliance’s coffers, but they are in no mood to lie down and be trampled upon by the makers of these allegations. The matters referred to happened in earlier times when the project operated under a different name with a different management committee, they were investigated by an auditor and Northumbrian Police, and NO CHARGES have resulted from those investigations! However these attacks from the Branley/Khan alliance have caused great disquiet among service users who fear that the project that they use may be once again forced to scrap and scrape for it’s life.

Shaw makes no mention of the fact that when they were struggling to find sustainable funds that the chairman paid the staff from his own bank account to help with the survival of the arts centre, he makes no mention that the two Mr. Woods regularly paid all of the incidental expenses for the building from their own pockets to help out, he makes no mention that The Big Lottery Fund does not hand out money willy nilly like sweets to children, he makes no mention of the long appraisal and audits carried out by The Big Lottery Fund and the painstaking investigations that they make into the suitability of community groups before deciding to award grants. Oh no, it’s far more important to once again trade in the regular Alliance stock of personal attacks, without any regard at all for the feelings of the hundreds of service users who now worry intensely over the motives of Cllr. Ahmed Khan and their ability to continue to access this much needed service.

Whilst Mr. David Wood, the manager, has  referred Cllr. Khan to the Charity Commission for further details of Arts 4 Wellbeing’s funding, Khan has decided that this isn’t good enough and has piled further pressure upon the group with his emails worded in a perfunctory hard headed business tone which some of the service users regard as “threatening”.

Click the thumbnails below to read Cllr. Khan’s emails


Nobody in their right minds would see this as anything except political and an attack upon opponents of the South Tyneside Independent Alliance (John Wood is standing as Labour’s candidate in the Beacon and Bents ward in the May elections, and David Wood stood as an Independent against Allen Branley in the Westoe by election last September) the trouble is that the majority of the service users are feeling worried, stressed, disturbed and nervous about the future of their arts centre which is just recovering from a shaky period and is re-establishing itself.

There is absolutely no need to hurt vulnerable adults in the way that Khan has in this matter, it is an old issue which only has any relevance at present because a former employee is going to an industrial tribunal following a dismissal during the transitional period. The Khan/Branley Alliance is using the personal futures and feelings of some of the most vulnerable adults as political stick to beat their opponents with – this is NOT good politics.

Just how low can the South Tyneside Independent Alliance stoop , this approach is nothing short of disgraceful and reprehensible!


In another interesting twist to their newsletter, I can recall once being berated by Khan for making use of his images without permission and “breaching copyright” (he didn’t enjoy having the mickey taken out of him) yet his pet dog, editor Peter Shaw feels perfectly happy in stealing images from the Disney Corporation for inclusion in the newsletter. You can bet he didn’t ask for permission before breaching their copyright!

Coming up

A plea to withdraw candidates and a more honest history of the Independent Alliance

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Written by curly

April 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

4 Responses

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  1. I note that Mr Khan states that he has had a number of enquiries about the Management Committee at A4W. Perhaps he would be kind enough to let us see a list of the enquirers, exactly how many there are and exactly what information they really would like to see. Or, will this be shrouded in secrecy just like the affairs of the Indies?


    April 8, 2010 at 11:29 am

  2. Perhaps we should also ask how they qualify to be local residents, what are their occupations, who do they work for, how did they get the job, who do they vote for and why?
    I agree Mr. Trigger, this is nothing more than spin and bluster and a heavy cackhanded overbearing and bullying attempt to bash the disadvantaged just to get at one political opponent.

    It stinks.


    April 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  3. khan is just an awful, horrible big bully (even a judge said so)

    my sister lives at the lawe top and puts his rubbish straight in the bin where it belongs.

    His leaflet contain nothing good just all lies and negative comments.

    Like I said an awful, horrible man.

    when he is next up for election i would gladly deliver leaflets against him


    April 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

  4. That email Khan sent to David Wood was all about ego and power. If I received that email, I would have gave Khan a reply he would never forget. It is with such shame that we have a ” bully” of a councillor who often displays thuggish behaviour…I honestly look foward to Khans election, and can’t wait to see his face when he loses, as I know that is when his time as a councillor will cease for good.

    The Beacon

    May 1, 2011 at 2:50 am

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