Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

Archive for the ‘Spin’ Category

So what did the porn star say?

with 15 comments

Cllr. Potts’ “personal friend” Mercedes Ashley didn’t seem very aware of who he is!

I was intrigued and curious, after all how many of our South Tyneside councillors count porn stars amongst their “personal friends?

From The Shields Gazette

“I have not encouraged former porn stars to contact my ward colleagues.

“I asked a personal friend, who is a former adult entertainment professional, to e-mail Coun Jeff Milburn congratulating him on his victory.

“I do not in any way judge people by what they do for a living.”

I thought it worthwhile having a little discussion of my own with Cllr. Potts “friend”,  it took a while to track down an email address, but here is the exchange:

Whats his twitter handle?

Mercedes Ashley
(your adult film star & friend)


FYI: All emails are answered by Mercedes Ashley personally. I am my own webmaster.
I am the designer of my own site and I maintain it all myself.

-----Original Message-----
From: Curly <>
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 09:57:48 
To: <>
Subject: David Potts

May I ask how well do you know UK/US foreign exchange dealer and UKIP 
politician David Potts?
He claims you are a personal friend
Have you met him?
Have you spoke with him?
Have you had any contact with him other than via Twitter as one of your 

Doesn’t look as though she knows him that well at all, cannot even think of his name on Twitter! Neither does it appear that Mercedes is a former porn star, her websites give the appearance of giving very current services and activities.

You have to feel a bit sorry for Conservative councillor Jeff Milburn getting his name dragged into this nonsense, I wonder if he actually received any congratulations from the American Adult Entertainment industry?

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

May 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Have I missed out on a tax reduction?

with one comment

Labour’s Iain Malcolm in odd statement

Cllr. Iain Malcolm, Labour’s Leader of South Tyneside District council is quoted today as saying:

“We have been able to reduce council tax year on year since I become leader.”

Has a year been missed out of my life? Have I been in a state of cryogenic suspended animation on another planet? Did they deliberately miss me out?

I have lived in South Shields all of my life, and as far as I can recall during the history of paying council tax on South Tyneside my bill has only ever gone up (or last year stayed the same thanks to the Coalition government), can someone please tell me which year during Iain Malcolm’s leadership that it was reduced?

Every time that South Tyneside Council had a “consultation exercise” on its website about council taxes I was offered a choice of four different levels of increases, never once was I offered the choice of a freeze or a reduction.

Has the “dear Leader” been terribly misquoted or has he become temporarily deluded into thinking he has become a tax cutting Tory after successfully squeezing the council’s budget?


add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

January 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

South Tyneside’s five month election campaign!

with 2 comments

John Anglin and Johnny Morris

Long lost cousins?

No – honestly, it isn’t until May next year.

Surely this must go down as the longest election campaign in South Tyneside’s history, however the Labour Party is already out of the blocks and up and running!

Former Mayor John Anglin has announced in a letter to residents of the Beacon and Bents ward in South Shields that he’ll be contesting the seat that he so recently vacated in order to make a lengthy overseas trip, and being a bit mischievous I noticed a distinct similarity between Mr. Anglin and former BBC children’s’ TV presenter Johnny Morris. The man from “Animal Magic” might easily have been a long lost cousin of John Anglin, don’t you think? More than likely Morris ignored the best advice ever given to showmen, “never work with children or monkeys animals”, and Anglin must surely be contemplating this advice too as he attempts to retake the seat for Labour. It is not yet known whether or not South Shields’ most controversial and outspoken councillor, Ahmed Khan, has decided that he wishes to defend the seat in May 2012.

Also out and about in the Fellgate and Hedworth ward was another new Labour candidate Alan Smith – no not this one –  with council leader Iain Malcolm and Cllr. Bill Brady. They were there to say things to the effect that Labour does NOT forget about those wards that elect opposition councillors! Sounds quite funny really when the perception is quite the opposite, as I’m sure Cllr. Steve Harrison and his fellow independents will attest.

However there is a point to all of this, and that is that Labour is setting out an early marker that sitting Independent councillors are going to be targeted, and that they see opportunities of retaking seats which have “strayed” from Labour’s grasp in recent years. Make no bones about this, the current Labour leadership in South Tyneside sees a rosy future and believes that it can achieve overwhelming dominance in the council chamber as the Conservative and Lib-Dem brands appear “toxic” to the electorate. This new “Blue” Labour regime probably also sees some dividend coming from the tight budgetary controls imposed upon it by the coalition government, it is quite prepared to undertake the task of reducing council spending in exchange for the freeze in council taxes, they certainly don’t want to rock the boat by introducing proposals that call for increases in taxes when we are finding the economic climate “challenging”. The local Labour Party will be challenging the opposition parties to produce a well informed and costed alternative budget in the first quarter of next year, something  which they have not been adept at doing with any great success in the past few years. It also offers Labour the opportunity of opening a “trap door” for the opposition if they attempt to produce a budget calling for a reduction in council taxes if it is accompanied by even larger spending cuts than those implemented by the ruling Labour group.

Now is the time for those Conservatives, Lib_Dems, Progressive, and non aligned independents in South Tyneside to come together with a united vision of how the borough can progress through 2012 without further affecting economic decline and without burdening the local electorate with additional taxation and service charges, in an effort to appear both sympathetic to the aims of the coalition in reducing the budget deficit and the debt mountain, and appealing to those who wish to see an effective and empathetic alternative to Labour  whilst putting a firm squeeze on the Independent Alliance who have signally failed to prosper as an opposition with a real policy agenda or new ideas.

The long road to May 2012 starts here – today!

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook


with 7 comments

Scottish ConservativesMacFool

Murdo Fraser is the hot favourite to be elected as leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, and as part of his election campaign he is already promising to break away from the party in England and  Wales to form a new party of the right in Scotland, seeing the present associations with the Conservative Party as “toxic”.

He wants the present members of the Conservative Party to vote themselves out of existence and transfer all of their assets to a new party, as yet unnamed, a communal suicide pact such as has never been witnessed before in British politics  – or has it?

Fraser himself has not exactly set the world of Scottish politics alight, in the old North Tayside constituency he has progressively fallen further and further behind the SNP’s John Swinney over the past ten years, but amazingly becomes an MSP through the present regional list system used by Holyrood, and since the resignation of Annabel Goldie has set out on a course to try and reverse the fortunes of the centre right in Scotland. Having seen their representation in Westminster reduced to one seat Fraser sees the burning of the old party and a rebirth from the ashes as the only way out, rather than formulating new and attractive policies that counter the “Independence” argument with a free market alternative to the broadly socialist tendencies of all of his opponents.

There is a very strong traditionalist and Unionist tendency within the Scottish nation that does need to be re-awakened, I personally doubt that a referendum right now about Scottish Independence would be won on behalf of the SNP, there are many constituencies which retain the Shire like nature of their English counterparts, there are strong historical links to economists, historians, and politicians of the three major British parties that suggest that the appeal of the Union is still strong, besides a breakaway would lead to the end of the Lothian Agreement. This alone would force the hand of those without the experience of leadership and governance as much as the taxing problem of raising revenue and setting spending constraints every bit as tight as those felt in England and Wales. These are far more important issues for those of the centre right in Scotland to be concerned about rather than a re-branding exercise under a new banner, in what appears to be an act of appeasement towards the SNP.

Breaking away from the mother party has not been a fruitful exercise in recent history, as numbers of hopeful SDLP MPs found out when they were assimilated into the Liberal Democrats, they lacked the financial muscle to survive after the initial launch funding from some industrialists, and Murdo Fraser is about to run into the same brick wall as Sir Jack Harvie, who leads the Focus on Scotland group, is determined NOT to contribute any funding to Fraser’s breakaway party. Harvie’s group has donated over £1m to the Scottish Conservatives in the past three years, he is reported to have said:

“Focus on Scotland is the vehicle that currently provides the majority funding for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party (SCUP).

“This funding arrangement would most certainly not apply to Mr Fraser’s breakaway party.”

“For having scandalised SCUP (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party) by word and deed they would surely have no place within SCUP in the future!”

In other words any new re-branded party could immediately be scuppered!

Some MSPs see a name change as “radical” as the party continues to sink in Scotland, one in the BBC report even goes so far as to say:

“We haven’t even been treading water, we’ve been slowly sinking, there is a desperate need for a radical new agenda.”

My own view is that like some football teams in a very bad run of form, falling down the pyramid with successive relegations, the Scottish Tories have developed a losing mentality, and the reason that they are unable to even tread water is that many of their members don’t want to get their feet wet these days. We see the same tendency in areas of Tyneside after so many years of banging doors to garner just a few votes! What they need is an injection of confidence and youth, a set of modern policies openly formulated in a very transparent manner where party members feel as though they are part of the team playing for each other and not just for the manager or the board. A set of policies tailored to suit Scottish needs should not be a great issue for them, the Scottish Conservatives have always had their own identity and constitution within the broader party and they have produced some heavyweight politicians in recent decades to send to Westminster such as Teddy Taylor,  Michael Forsyth, and  Malcolm Rifkind.

The great lesson that members should remind Murdo Fraser of is this, re-branding simply has not worked in the past, it did not work for Labour’s “Gang of Four” and the SDLP, and David Cameron’s exercise in re-branding his party as “the heir to Blair” failed to win an outright election victory as recently as last year! It is ideals, ideas, and policies which meet modern aspirations that win elections not slogans and badges!

Mr. Fraser can sleep easy in his bed, despite the threatened lack of funds, he still has the whole hearted support of a South Tyneside man steeped in the history of recent Scottish politics, our very own “virtual councillor”.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

September 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hacked off by “The Torygraph”?

with one comment

Gilligan guns for Sovereign Strategy

Andrew Gilligan, the former BBC journalist who was at the genesis of the Blair/Campbell “sexed up document” story, had a right good go at Sovereign Strategy the lobbying company headed by former South Tyneside councillor and MEP Alan Donnelly and current council leader Iain Malcolm in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. In a curious article he exposed many of Sovereign Strategy’s tactics in raising cash and then passing on amounts of it to the Labour Party nationally and locally, the main two points of his piece are that (a) the lobbyist is working with the Hacked Off campaign to keep the phone hacking story in the news, and (b) that News International don’t like the firm and he repeats a whole string of allegations made by The Times and The Sunday Times over recent years.

I am just curious as to what Gillligan was hoping to prove or achieve:  so long as we have the type of democracy which involves close links between the press and politicians we will always have professional lobbying firms, and pressure groups working around the fringes or deep within the heart of politics beavering away at ensuring certain issues of interest are prominent in the minds of politicians. Presently, we expect and hope that the relationships between journalists of News International and leading politicians, from all parties, are kept under the closest possible scrutiny until Parliament and the courts have all reached the end of their deliberations. I assume that Gilligan also wants to see full transparency amongst those trading blows during this process, but there will be many other groups and companies similarly involved in gaining privileged access to government ministers who will fall below the radar, and some of these will undoubtedly be supporters and financiers of the Conservative Party.

I just wonder what the effect of articles such as this will be on the revenues of lobbying companies now being bleached by the sunlight, as businesses in the north-east discover that £5000 fees paid to the North-East Economic Forum, which is a very useful body for gathering opinion and strategic regeneration ideas,  is drip fed to the Labour Party to the tune of £160000 over the past nine years, with an additional £41000 personally coming from Alan Donnelly?

It would be interesting to hear either Alan Donnelly’s or Iain Malcolm’s opinion on Gilligan’s surgical excisions into their business. Are they well and truly Hacked Off?

:: :: :: Digg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRank ::

Written by curly

July 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

A horror story (teller)

with 4 comments

Careful Cllr. Malcolm, you might scare the kids!

My guess is that Cllr. Iain Malcolm leader of South Tyneside Council has a good nose for the public mood and understands when we are just about fed up with reading about phone hacking journalists,  penny plundering policemen, and Joe McElderry! (Get in there early by the way). In readiness for what remains of the South Tyneside Summer Festival he is donning his metaphorical costume of the story teller to enthrall us with tales of more shock and horror!

There’s nothing like a good thriller to keep the crowd on your side and worry the living daylights out of the kids! It all reminds me of the shock horror budget cuts of £35m which turned into a net growth in expenditure of £700000. I somehow fancy that this “cut” of £35m was not the difference between last year’s and this year’s expenditure, but the difference between what we have and what he would have wished to have. You might also remember the story of Jarrow constituency disappearing off the map, another one to frighten the poor folks up the river from South Shields, this one emanated from Liverpool University and NOT from any firm Boundaries Commission proposals. Hence we come to this week’s horror story, a good firm evidence based piece confirmed by official government statistics……err……..not quite.

Coun Malcolm’s concerns are based on new findings from Sigoma, a specialist interest group for municipal authorities.

Oh, another academic project, not something that the government has actually officially announced. There is a caveat however, for those who like to pay closer attention to the story:

The Government may put support in place to subsidise poorer authorities……..

Eric Pickles added:

“none would be worse off”

I guess the whole idea of this piece of “localism” is to get councils like South Tyneside to be innovative, creative, and imaginative in attracting and keeping local businesses within their areas, one particular facet of local government that will become far more important in the medium term future if and when the economy starts to show any significant growth. However, the Eurozone debt crisis may throw a huge spanner in the works and restrict credit even further as Britain gets dragged deeper into the business of bailing out other countries which followed the Gordon Brown economic model.

Cllr. Malcolm might like to consider, via his lobbying company, pressuring the government to change the rules about rates and levies on ports so that a definable rate can be charged upon them according to the value of land or property occupied within a local authority area. At present, for instance, the Port of Tyne pays a unified business rate to the Department of Transport which is then redistributed amongst a number of councils, wouldn’t it be better if that rate came directly to South Tyneside for the business that the port transacts in this borough?

It would make a better success story than the horror fiction that Cllr. Malcolm prefers to propagate. Can we get back to evidence and fact based reporting Iain?

:: :: :: Digg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRank ::

Written by curly

July 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

“Rocky” Cameron rolls with the punches

with 3 comments

PM emerges bruised from the debate but not battered.

Haven’t done a “pea roast” for a while so I thought I’d throw a couple in today.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been doing a gargantuan research into the analytics of this blog which has now been running for six and a half years, a lot has changed over that time in terms of readership and demographics along with a huge increase in the amount of blogging, micro blogging, social networking,  and the platforms which carry such content. Suffice to say that this blog either needs to keep up with the pace of change or close completely in advance of a new offering. There certainly will be changes over the coming months, the first of which will be a total overhaul of the sidebar links, many of which are now dead, followed by a complete alteration to the style sheet and template. Sorry it has taken so much of my time but it has been a necessary journey.

I managed to catch the first hour and a half of yesterdays debate in the House of Commons and the Prime Minister’s statement about the phone hacking affair, a debate in which he was seen to come out fighting and defended himself reasonably well against MPs lined up to beat him into submission. This was no “humble pie” moment, but a tough fight, Cameron had his back against the ropes and had to take on all comers, he was expecting a heavyweight onslaught from Ed Miliband but the Opposition Leader appeared to have lost some weight, or focus, and only managed to pepper “Call me Dave” with middleweight shots to the midriff, however it was enough to strengthen the nerve of his corner who sent in wave after wave of bruisers to rough up the PM. Cameron didn’t hide away, he stood in the ring for what seemed like 38 rounds and after the fight was roundly applauded by his supporters, including what looked like a 13 year old schoolboy journalist Daniel Knowles.

So a success for David Cameron, but Ed Miliband is not too unhappy either. The Parliamentary Labour Party seems satisfied enough with the few hits he has landed over the past fortnight. In fact, I just spotted him in Strangers’ Bar with (I think) David Miliband with a broad grin on his face. So both leaders are going into recess as secure as they could reasonably hope to be. Everyone’s a winner – everyone but Rupert Murdoch anyway.

The South Shields MP David Miliband must have been pleased, nobody mentioned his partying with the Murdochs!

The party, held two weekends ago, reveals the extent of the couple’s connections on both sides of the Commons.

As a jazz band played in the landscaped gardens of the £6  million property, Mr Freud, who was wearing leather trousers, greeted guests, including Education Secretary Michael Gove and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. They drank champagne in the company of former Labour Cabinet Ministers Peter Mandelson, David Miliband, James Purnell and Douglas Alexander.

He’d also be pleased in knowing that news of his other work for US corporations was well and truly buried by yesterday’s cream pie bun fight as he continues treading the path created by his mentor Tony Blair.

However it was good to be reminded by the PM that the vast majority of the phone hacking outrages happened some years ago whilst Blair, Brown, and Miliband were running the ship on to the rocks, as we recalled Rebekah Brooks statement the previous day that she’d been invited to Downing Street about six times a year by the last Prime Minister but so far not once by Cameron. The PM also got in a great right hook at Ed Miliband by reminding him that since Coulson is no longer in government employ, the only person with an ex News International hack working for them is the Leader of the Opposition!

As a “judgement day” fight it lived up to it’s billing, the referee had a great deal of work to do much of it in keeping the baying hoards quiet, some just wished that Bercow could manage to be a little more even handed and hush the Labour benches too. Miliband the middleweight could be judged to be both effective and dangerous in the opening rounds but he soon ran out of steam, the fact that he still has a former News International employee working in his corner will not have helped, but fortunately his troops ensured that Cameron took a number of body blows particularly about those conversations hinged around the BSkyB takeover, he kept ducking and diving to evade the shots whether they were “inappropriate” or not! One wonders why his corner men did not give him a better briefing on Labour’s tactic for this manoeuvre,  surely it would have been far better for him to tell the ringside spectators that yes it was inevitable that people came to him and discussed the proposed deal, that’s just what we expect major companies to do with Prime Ministers, but actually I listened and fobbed them off, I told them I have no say in the matter, go and see Jeremy Hunt instead! Instead he stood there trying to parry the blows to the ribs round after round after round until with the final shot he just let out an anguished sigh! It was an unedifying end to a long fight.

Many will judge this fight as a draw and look forward to a rematch after the summer recess, Cameron’s judgement is still under question today and he needs to reveal the name of the company employed to vet Coulson on behalf of the Conservative Party when in Opposition, Miliband needs to get on with publishing the long list of contacts between himself and executives on News Corporation and News International, he also needs to consider if he should continue employing former Times man Tom Baldwin. Cameron scored his best shots by reminding the House that the priority now is to clean up the mess and revarnish the reputation of British journalism (for surely the phone hacking scandal can not be exclusive to News International), and to weed out those corrupt police officers who have been allegedly prepared to take bribes in return for information. He was adamant that the police investigation and the judicial enquiry must be allowed to go wherever the evidence leads them.

Miliband may think his summer holiday will be a cool breeze but he needs to ensure that Labour’s time in The Sun doesn’t leave him with nasty burn marks, whilst Prime Minister Cameron will head off to the coast still in a sweat, but with a dark cloud continuing to hang over him.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook


with 16 comments

Twitter revelation could help Ryan Giggs

I know we have only briefly skirted around this issue in South Tyneside in the pages of this blog, but I fear that the jubilatory tweets of one of our South Shields councillors may be a little misplaced. His campaign to gain wider publicity for his argument may be gaining ground but the “spin” imparted by respected journalists appears to give the story a new twist.

Following news released in the past week that Twitter (certainly its European division) would be complying with legal based requests for user information, there must have been thousands of concerned users who tweeted Ryan Giggs name, taking a sharp intake of breath. Giggs lawyers may now see a way of gaining some information about who leaked his name on Twitter.

Tony Wang, the company’s head of European operations, warned last week that it would not seek to protect users’ confidential information when legally required to hand it over.

He said the most the company could do was to inform users before it released their details, to give them a chance to challenge the rulings in court.

Both news outlets tie the two stories together linking the Ryan Giggs mass disobedience issue with the Monkey business here in South Tyneside, in one fell swoop/spin the alleged owners of the five Twitter accounts involved here have been tarnished with the broad brush of  law breaking or contempt of court, whilst the plaintiffs are made to look like the good guys.


add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

May 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

The Tweets

with 40 comments

The Birdy Song

Sometimes you just cannot get a bad tune out of your head, can you?

I’ve been whistling this one most of the afternoon in South Shields today. (Not that I want to call attention to myself, you understand).

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

April 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Talking of Shane Warne

with 10 comments

South Shields Labour Party throw a few leg spinners too.

This from a few of the election leaflets being distributed on behalf of Labour in South Shields:

The Tory-led Coalition government have –

  • Imposed £35m worth of cuts on South Tyneside Council with more to come
  • Odd then that the total budget requirement for this year is only £11.7m less than last year and that the net budget requirement is £0.7m higher. Also odd that they don’t disclose that Alistair Darling planned to make cuts just about of the same order as the present government if Labour had won the general election, indeed Darling declared that cuts would have to be harder and deeper than in the Thatcher years.
  • Increased VAT to 20% meaning we all have to pay higher prices for everyday things.
  • Why don’t they mention that Labour’s last Chancellor wanted to introduce two similar rises?(As disclosed by Lord Mandelson)

Your Labour Council will –

  • Improve our town centre – from Ocean Road to King Street and the Market Place.
  • Please don’t laugh, I know you have heard this MANY times before and are still waiting to see it happen! Perhaps they meant replacing a few more paving blocks.
  • Continue to bring down Council Tax by looking at better ways of delivering services – no increase in Council Tax for 2011!
  • This one spun so much it missed the wicket keeper! Seriously can you believe that statement? For a start lets break it down into two pieces, firstly the claim that Labour will continue to bring down Council Tax, the word continue suggests an ongoing process, something which has happened before, is happening now and will happen in the future. Can anyone remember when Labour last did anything except INCREASE Council Tax in South Tyneside? No……neither can I.
  • Secondly the use of the exclamation mark after – no increase in Council Tax for 2011 – suggests that Labour was in some way responsible for this first ever freeze, when we all know they could never be responsible for anything except tax rises. This is the most outrageous use of “spin” I’ve seen for years in this borough. The Council Tax freeze has been imposed on our council by the Conservative led coalition government, and  if our council manages our money well we may find that it is frozen again next year as the grant system rewards prudence.

Finally there is a statement that Labour is (amongst other things)

  • Committed to driving down Council Tax.
  • Well, it beggars belief really, can you recall all of those consultation exercises and public polls that offered you a choice of four levels of council tax rises, but never once offered a freeze or a cut? Can you really believe they are committed to driving down Council Tax in South Tyneside – I cannot!

Don’t be taken in by this spin and please remember on May 5th. that in South Tyneside Council Taxes under Labour have done nothing else except rise inexorably year after year after year. It was a Conservative led government that brought you this year’s tax freeze!

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook