Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

Terminal boredom

with 10 comments

Thoughts of closing up the shop

I must admit that over the past few months I have had serious thoughts about closing this Corner Shop but leaving the shutters up so you can see what is in here, I’ve also had thoughts of closing the shop down and having it completely demolished, removed, and airbrushed from history. I think that many of these thoughts were linked to occasional depression, the full time search for work, the fumblings of a coalition government struggling to come to terms with itself and the awful state of the economy, and South Tyneside Labour Party’s mind numbing policy of doing nothing at all to upset anyone and towing the line with spending restrictions – after all they knew in advance what was coming and they also knew that the consequences of a Labour victory at the last general election would have been exactly as they are now, severe spending restrictions.

They wore the Tory cloak provided by the Blair/Brown administrations and dared not take any major directional changes, they are total conformists to the point of being pragmatists, but at least the result will  be a small relief this year for council tax payers, something which perhaps may not have happened if Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling were still sitting in Downing Street. However a couple of things sparked my amusement following the reception of some emails this week, both revolving around the inability of the opposition groups on South Tyneside Council to consider their own policies in advance of the May local elections and their unwillingness to forego personal attacks in exchange for discussing policy positions which might benefit us all. During Thursday’s council meeting which set the budget for the coming municipal year I hear that one councillor was far more concerned about what had gone on in this blog three years ago and proceeded to mistakenly harangue a fellow member with references to the opinions of a certain teal lady within South Shields town hall, and another was more concerned at the attempts to find and legally punish the writer of another political blog in the area. All this on an afternoon when they ought to have been proposing measures to raise revenue, reduce spending whilst protecting front line services, and pre planning the local council’s proposals for the next two or three years.

I have said and repeated often enough, that South Tyneside has the council it deserves, not by virtue of the Labour Party but because of the quality, or lack of, the opposition members! Yet once again there are very few reports of a well put together alternative strategy from any of the opposition parties to help us get through very tough economic times. It is all well and good attacking Labour’s record in government, which lamentable though it was, at least provided opportunities for any sixth form student to analyse in five minutes and tear it apart in even less, but politicians even at a local level have a responsibility to provide a little bit more than negative attacks, they need to offer us some firm alternative positions and positively promote the benefits that they would offer if they have any hope of picking up additional seats.

As electors we also have a responsibility to participate in this process by gathering as much information as possible, digesting it, and making an informed decision based upon past history, current policy initiatives, and future prospects, we need to know firmly in our own minds how we would like South Shields, Jarrow, Hebburn Cleadon and the Boldons to develop over the next ten years and be able to see a clear path towards those aspirations. Only then should we confidently make a decision about supporting candidate A or candidate B, or C. Our decisions should not be based upon personal unfounded allegations or attacks, but upon the policies announced by the candidate’s backers or party.

Unfortunately, some of the opposition in South Tyneside will be stirring up very murky waters as they return to type and rally round the type of blog referred to by Mr. Hughes in his report, it is active again and churning out rehashes of old material, expect to see the same or very similar attacks and language used in election material between now and May! Another opposition party is now inaudible, it has gone quiet, and relies on hand outs from it’s London central HQ to get its message across, this is simply not good enough, local councillors ought to be capable of espousing their policies in local forums without recourse to press releases, it will be interesting to see how the Conservatives approach the local elections in May. Will they field a full team, will some wards not have the choice of voting Conservative?

Much the same could be said of the Liberal Democrats, whose leader in South Tyneside Cllr. Joe Abbot is seriously out of kilter with Deputy PM Nick Clegg, will they have the heart to field more than a handful of candidates outside of their Hebburn stronghold?

We have been here before though, the same arguments get used year after year, as each successive May approaches I wonder if anything really changes at all, and this inevitably leads to my boredom about local political matters, however, I still retain a great love for South Shields and the surrounding area, I still want to promote it and the benefits of living on Tyneside, I still find daily ways of showing us off to the world, and still have aspirations that we can build a better local economy based on tourism, hospitality, service, and the growth of small and medium enterprises. I still believe that there are sufficient local people with fresh ideas, strategies, and plans to move us forward and at least catch up with our counterpart authorities in Tyne and Wear. It is to those people that I appeal to get involved either in business or in local political activity, without your important input our local party political scene will continue to bore people to tears and the resurrection and regeneration of the region will go ahead without South Tyneside.

Do we really want to be left behind by an authority which is not challenged by capable and creative opposition?

So, for now, the Shop remains open and looking forward to your ideas, information, and positive thoughts.

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10 Responses

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  1. Agree with you in some respects. I cannot believe that scores of people posted comments about your admittedly unfortunate brush with the Police, yet there is a deafening blogging silence when you raise topics of local political, economic and social interest. It would be a welcome move if local political blogging got out of the gutter and developed a forum for the exchange of apolitical ideas for promoting and improving South Tyneside.


    February 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

    • I see Mr Malcolm was whinging in the Journal today about the possible loss of revenue from the business rates by firms holding the LAs to blackmail. maybe it’s a good thing that this might start to erode the status quo with STC.

      lets face it local government in STC is far from satisfactory. events in the middle east have proved that if there is enough will anything is possible. Perhaps we need our own revolution


      February 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  2. He was not alone, other regional politicians have expressed concern about these proposalsregarding business rates.Even constructive, creative Conservative politicians cannot make a silk purse out of the proverbial sow’s ear.


    February 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  3. its clear the private sector is going to drive growth, some parts of the region have been facilitating this already like Teesside and North Tyneside. STC on the otherhand have done absolutely nothing and are trying to sell us the same old regeneration schemes.


    February 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    • How would you prefer to help seedling start up businesses, and would you provide more space for them?
      The last thing we want to see is a drift away from South Tyneside of potential entrepreneurs as a result of high marginal local taxation.
      Here’s the link to the article that you referred too, it is odd that businesses pay rates/taxes but have no direct input into how those taxes are levied, they are as much part of our communities as the rest of us, and they provide the jobs and security that we yearn for.


      February 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

  4. Tourism raises its head again as part of your future strategy to develop the Borough. Do you seriously think that the locals will ever buy into South Shields being more than a day visitor attraction ?
    A quality 4 star hotel anywhere on the Foreshore (my preferred site is still Gypsies Green)must be a first step although the council seems to be pushing Harton Staithes as its preferred hotel location – surely for a different clientele; why not both ?
    Newcastle / Gateshead seem to have cornered the market locally for hotels so considerable effort will be needed to secure a developer for either site.
    Do the officers in the council have the ability and will to deliver ?


    February 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    • Gypsies Green would still be my preferred choice too and I think that an additional hotel is a must! I’d even be bold enough to think of developing on the Dragon if the National Trust were prepared to allow football pitches on Gypsies Lea as an alternative.
      I still think that more could be done in the South Marine Park too to provide additional indoor facilities, such as a complete railway station with waiting rooms, static museum type displays, and the Tourist Information Office, allow a franchisee to operate from there as competition to Minchellas for instance.


      February 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

  5. I’ve thought forv a long time that a light railway between the foreshore and Sunderland running along the route of the old Marsden Rattler is a key part of a tourism strategy.

    one thing will help STC is the removal of parking charges in the town. I know people who drive to sunderland and park for free rather than pay the charges in STC.

    I have had the misfortune of working in STC and really there is little if any innovation or real vision in the organisation.


    March 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

  6. Keep going this is generating some good ideas.Hopefully, Curly will reconsider and keep the blog going. Shields sea front needs to be promoted, and a hotel/conference would assist as would a coastal light railway.


    March 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

  7. I actually had Butlins interested in looking at the gypsies green site, but could not get anubody remotely interested in discusing it in STC


    March 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

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