Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So you've been accused of witchcraft...?

Herewith for your delectation, a flow chart that sets out your options should you be accused of witchcraft, taken from the Summer 2012 edition is Lapham's Quarterly magazine.

Just on a point of interest though, Malleus Malificarum (Hammer of the Witches) is a treatise on the prosecution of witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman. Here
in England we hanged our witches, we didn't burn them... the Scots did though... You can't say I never post anything useful!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Volunteers needed for Loose Ends soup kitchen, Newbury

Further to my Food Bank post here, I'd just like to add that the charity I referred to in the Morton Hall at the Baptist Church in Newbury is currently seeking volunteers for their Drop In Centre called Loose Ends. They provide a hot meal, groceries to take away, toiletries, showers and clean clothes for homeless or inadequately housed people in the Newbury area.
Newbury Baptist Church, Cheap Street 
"At the moment the doors are open for 4 sessions a week. A home cooked soup is provided on Mondays between 12:30pm and 1:30pm, a freshly cooked breakfast on Wednesdays and Fridays between 9:30am and 11:00am and on Sundays a cooked lunch between 2:00pm and 3:30pm. Volunteers are needed to arrive 45 minutes before the start of their session. 
Another new trend is the number of young people coming through the doors. They are either living rough, or what is known as 'invisible homeless' ie constantly on the move from one 'friends' door to another's. So many of these people are the product of broken homes and failed 'care' systems, and a surprising number are ex-service personnel. Most of them have histories that move one to tears and have suffered terribly either physically or mentally or both. The majority have an alcohol or drug problem, or both, and most of them are known to the police. 
If you are interested in getting involved, but don't feel this role is for you, then there are other equally important ways to support LOOSE ENDS i.e. collecting supplies of food/clothes/ toiletries, doing the regular shopping or fund-raising."
I don't attend this church and I'm not currently a volunteer, but having mentioned this work several weeks ago, it seemed important to help publicise their search for volunteers.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Newbury Flood Alleviation

Blocked drain in Berkeley Road
 I can't believe the election literature the parties are putting out for the this tiny little ward by-election for Newbury Town Council tomorrow. It is a glorified parish council FFS!

We've seen rather gross "dog whistle politics" in a  town council election leaflet. Immigration? How wrong is that? Purleese!

They're trying to tell us that it's the river that will flood us but we know that it's the blocked drains 'wot dun it' last time in 2007 and they haven't been cleared since. I have a FOI request in, but hey.

It is entirely testament to the point that we are making about the parties failing the people. I certainly don't mean to have a go at the Tories at the expense of the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are the ones who've been presiding over the Town Council's fiasco - they've had control!

There are 23 seats on the Town Council. It was 12 Lib Dems to 11 Tories, until two Lib Dems couldn't be arsed anymore and caused this election, the Lib Dems had control. Now they're all fighting over it.

The irony is that if you vote for me and Dave Yates, you have a unique opportunity here tomorrow to make a real difference. If we are elected neither of these parties will hold sway unopposed. We can hold them to account on every vote.

Please don't give your vote to any of these numpties! Vote for me and Dave!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Newbury Charter Market

Victoria and Sophie on the Apolitical campaign trail in Newbury
Charter market today with Eilish Cooling.

I wrote the following letter to the Newbury Weekly News on 8th April, the Editor didn’t publish it for reasons best known herself… but I thought I’d share it here.

Charter Market why wait?

Dear Editor,

The Charter Market is shrinking. Some traders will pack up soon for good and they do not want their children following them into third generation businesses. The supermarkets and on-line shopping have rendered the traditional market obsolete.

However, talking to the traders on Saturday, I was delighted to find that there is a great sense of buzz and hope which is being frustrated by excessive customer parking charges and a lack of acceptance by the Town Council that the dynamic of the town has shifted north away from the Market Square.

I talked to Michelle and Jessie. Michelle makes and sells handcrafted jewellery. She had been allocated a pitch facing the Hatchet. It was her second visit to Newbury and was very downhearted to have taken just £8 that morning.

Jessie has had her cupcake stall for about a year and a half. When her pitch was moved from Nat West to Bartholomew Street her takings doubled, and she was able to buy a shop in Swindon, but her Newbury stall is the powerhouse of her business.

Both enterprising young women are offering unique handmade products which sell themselves - if only the customer can see them! There is footfall at the top end of Bartholomew Street but Northbrook Street was positively awash with shoppers in the sunshine. There is already planning permission for 6 pitches in Northbrook Street – why are they not let?

I went back to tell Michelle of Jessie’s story and Michelle’s going to stick with it in the hopes that we can make Newbury Town Council wake up and make those pitches available – sooner rather than later.


Charlie Farrow
Apolitical Candidate for Victoria Ward
Berkeley Road

(We like cupcakes!)

Friday, May 03, 2013

Newbury Town Council By-election Election Literature 2

The Market

The Council seem hellbent on getting rid of the market. They seem to want to turn the town into the next Basingstoke. Who has been consulted on this? The people we speak to don't want the town changed, they want us to stay as a nice little market town.

The traders and shopkeepers tell us they are frustrated by excessive customer parking charges and that the Council has shifted the dynamic of the town north away from the Market Square.Traders who have been allowed pitches in Bartholomew Street have doubled their takings. But most are forced to occupy the retail desert that the Market Square has become. There is planning permission already for six pitches in Northbrook Street.

We will:

  • Activate the 6 Northbrook Street pitches immediately to act as ‘breadcrumbs’ bringing footfall back to the market place.
  • Produce a proper marketing plan to attract a greater diversity of marketers and generate awareness among shoppers and visitors to ensure the long term prosperity of the Market and the small businesses in the town centre.

  • Victoria Park

    The Coalition monopoly has presided complacently over significant loss of amenity in Victoria Park. The playing field and bowling green are out of action. We have cracked paths and cracks in houses. We have no toilets, no fence around the play park and a £24,000 bill for a report into the damage that we can’t see because it’s commercially sensitive!

    We didn't need a hydrogeological report to tell us what's wrong with the park. We know it's the Parkway development that's caused it. For the amount of money they have squandered on reports and prevarication we could have fixed the damage and put up the railings around the toddler play area that parents wanted reinstating.

    Charlie was one of the organisers of the 1500 strong petition to put the fence back around the toddler play area in Victoria Park. The petition was presented in October 2011 but rejected because it’s not current thinking in leisure planning. It would be reconsidered only if there were lots of incidents, due to a lack of a fence! So they’ll act only after preventable disaster has struck! Registered childminders tell us they are prohibited from using unfenced spaces for insurance reasons.There was a fence before the council removed it and installed new equipment, so we weren't asking for anything new, just to keep what we had!
    • We will get started on remedying the damage to the Park without waiting to apportion blame or further prevarication.

    We think it’s about time someone starts demanding answers for the people of Newbury:
    • Investigating why the Town Council has been paying £50,000 annually to West Berks Council for market cleansing which is now being done at virtually no cost through self-cleansing.
    • Looking at why the market hasn’t been managed and marketed more efficiently.
    As Apoliticals we have no party political baggage to prevent us from demanding full and honest disclosure to the people regarding the fiasco in Victoria Park, the politically motivated offloading of services from West Berks onto Newbury Town Council to keep the headline Council Tax rate down, and the poor management of services.

    Information on reverse of leaflet

    Newbury Town Council By-election Election Literature 1

    Charlie Farrow
    I am married to Dave Yates, have lived in Newbury for twenty five years and raised four children here. The two elder ones have good degrees and jobs, the third is still at Newbury College and the youngest at St Barts.

    I’ve been a Marketing Manager in a school and a university and for some of the biggest brands. I’ve been a Governor of Park House and for several years I’ve been an active volunteer member of the Sustainable Newbury Group on Newbury Town Council.

    I was asked by a group of young mums to help them campaign to get the fence put back round the toddler play area in Victoria Park. But we were refused - all 1500 of us!

    I was among the first cohort of Chartered Marketers in the UK and if I can’t get the market thriving again, then nobody can.

    I have a love of the history of Newbury and I’m concerned that its heritage is being squandered with the ever greater needs of 'vanity projects.

    Apolitical means ‘politically neutral, unbiased, non-aligned’.

    'Apolitical' describes a convention of impartiality amongst people active in politics, like the Speaker of the Commons, the Cross-Benchers in the Lords or most parish councillors, who are not subject to the party 'whip' or told what to think by a political party.

    Being Apolitical doesn't mean apathy or lack of interest in democracy or local affairs.

    We believe we should be guided by our electors' wishes, considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, and our consciences. 

    In that order.

    We don’t believe any of the main parties has OUR best interests at heart.

    Dave Yates

    I joined the army age 16 and my role as a Military Surveyor brought me to the School of Military Survey at Hermitage in the early 1980's. I have been in Newbury ever since, first in York Road, and then Berkeley Road where I have lived for over twenty five years. A surveyor by profession and a builder by choice, I am a detail man with an eye for numbers.

    I worked for many years in the piling industry, and have been involved on many
    projects which utilised de-watering systems, similar to that used by Costains, in the construction of the Parkway Development. I, like many others, believe that the damage done to Victoria Park and the buildings around, is entirely the fault of Costains.

    If Charlie and I are elected to the Town Council, I will not consider myself to be bound by the gagging order placed on the Lib-Dems and Conservatives by their masters at West Berkshire Council. I will make known the details of the report commissioned by the Town Council, which has been paid for by you.

    Reverse of leaflet here.