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Wednesday, 30 June 2010



Well the Festival is almost over; unfortunately I haven’t had time to attend many events. However I did manage to get to the Merry Monk on Sunday night. It was a comedy evening and Andy Watson was half way through his act. This event was not listed on the back of the festival programme and I almost missed it

At last years’ festival we had two very able comics; unfortunately the audience was not appreciative. The stand ups tried every trick in the book. They didn’t know the Oakham audience and were struggling to find something to get locals to laugh at. The poor comics bombed on everything – and they were funny and very very good.

They tried celebrity culture – nothing, nada. They tried political culture, MPs expenses and you’d have thought that would have touched a cord, particularly in Oakham: nothing, nada. They tried environmental issues – nothing, nada. Having thrown out all their prepared scripts, which had a roaring crowd of people rolling in the aisles with paralytic laughter elsewhere, and bombed only in Oakham, they finally gave up in exasperation.

‘Tell me,’ one of the comedians said, ‘is this the sort of town where everyone is doing everyone else?’ Were they asking if we are inbred? I rather thought they were. Surprised? There are no buses out of Oakham at all on Sundays. Trains don’t run to Peterborough until 12.45 pm on a Sunday either. The last bus from Peterborough leaves at 4.40 on a weekday. Oakham is an anthropologists dream town – an inward looking tribal culture of uncivilised political elitism rules here. The police are in the pockets of local Councillors who may ignore the law with impunity and punish those who criticise the ruling elite, whilst they sit on and influence the Police Joint Action Group. In fact Cllr Dewis was able to assure us, at a recent Town Council meeting, that membership of the Police Joint Action Group was ‘by invitation only.’ What did Cllr Dewis mean? Was he saying that the whole system is so well organised that the police will not tolerate unknown representatives on the Police Joint Action Group? What a pretty state we have got ourselves into. Anyway back to comedy.

At last years’ festival, as I’ve already said, we had two very able stand up comics. The audience were seated in the garden of the Merry Monk, a small group of about four adults and two children came in and took front seats on the garden bench immediately in front of the ‘stage.’ The comic began warning the parents that their children’s vocabulary might widen considerably during the acts. Mum took this as an invitation to interact with the comics. She said that her little darlings were clever and already had a wide vocabulary, presumably having had glowing reports from literacy hour, and that her children’s dreams were fascinating. Oh dear!

Eventually the language became slightly bluer and Mum left. You could almost see the relief on the stand up comic’s face. Immediately two couples arrived and took the spare seats on the bench. Two stunning blonde girls and a couple of so-so men; the comic immediately alighted on his new material with glee.

When he’d asked: ‘Is this the sort of town where everyone is doing everyone else?’ I’d laughed like a drain. The comic had pointed at me and said: ‘Thank you for your honesty madam.’ This got a laugh and finally they knew they had to focus on the introspective citizens of Oakham, rather than on any wider political or cultural issues.

The couple on the right were milked for a few gentle laughs. The leggy blonde girls made their way out to the ladies loo to adjust their go-to-bed hairstyles and lipstick. Turning to the second male the comic gently asked: ‘And where did you two meet?’ The deadpan answer came winging back: ‘At the bar two minutes ago.’

‘Pity,’ said the comic, ‘you make a lovely couple. Why aren’t you a couple?’ The man in the audience answered: ‘My missus wouldn’t like it and to be honest mate I’ve already been there.’ A riot of laughter ensued. ‘Oh so you know each other?’ ‘Yes we’ve known each other a long time.’ The laughter began to die down. However, the man in the audience, slightly disconcerted by the unexplained hilarity which his perfectly straight remarks had attracted, felt he needed someone else in the camp into which he’d painted himself added: ‘And so’s my friend Adrian at the back.’ He pointed his thumb behind him.

The poor girl wandered back into the garden of the Merry Monk completely oblivious to the fact that she had been the butt of the first really good joke of the evening. Her escort was clearly disconcerted that his quite factual explanation of his relationship with the girl had created so much laughter. The comic in mock embarrassment cringed in front of the microphone: ‘I don’t know where to put myself.’ Any prepared material was thrown out and he concentrated for the rest of the evening on audience interaction. You couldn’t write this sort of material, it was gold dust. When all else fails concentrate on the audience.

The comedy circuit is a small world. When Andy Watson let it be known that he was coming to Oakham he probably received commiserations. Oakham is a now a notorious graveyard for stand up comics. Andy was told to forget his prepared material and focus down on the audience. Bad advice. We had four Aussie cricketing teachers from Brisbane in the audience. Andy Watson had a nervous laugh, which became increasingly worse and irritating as his act hit rock bottom. The Aussie teachers became vociferously abusive. The visiting Antipodeans were expecting a stand up comic with some prepared material they could relate to. Dissonance of cultures erupted in Andy Watson leaving the stage early. His counselling bill will probably exceed the small payment he accrued by a factor of ten.

Justified criticism of the ruling elite is never tolerated in Oakham. Martin Brookes has blogged a letter from Joy Everitt, Chairman of the Festival Committee, saying that she cannot accept Cllr Brookes as a Council representative on the Festival Committee. What, you may ask, did Martin Brookes do to start a whispering campaign against him?

At last years festival he took a picture of the then Mayor, Jan Fillingham, drinking in Cutts Close as she watched a band playing. Her party’s deck chairs were prominently placed centre stage in front of the bandstand. Martin Brookes took a picture of Jan Fillingham, Sue Tyers and friends with empty bottles and glasses at their feet. He also took a picture of the prominently displayed notice in Cutts Close saying that Cutts Close is a ‘designated area’ and the police have the right to stop drinkers consuming alcohol in the environs and vicinity of Cutts Close. He also displayed a local newspaper cutting in which Cllr Jan Fillingham, who has not attended Council meetings for six months, boasted that she had been part of the Council initiative to stop alcohol consumption in Cutts Close. He had merely been exercising his right to free speech and pointing out the hypocrisy of local Councillors on his Flickr’ account.

What happened? The local Council were involved in complaining to Flickr’ and got his account closed down. When Martin Brookes opened a blog instead, the Council wrote to him saying they were considering banning him from using the library facilities due to the nature of his blogs. Presumably they have tried to close down his blog and failed. A vendetta of extraordinary proportions has ensued. Unfortunately the police always refuse to take action against local Councillors and their friends and appear to do the bidding of local Councillors instead. I am told that leading citizens were allowed to continue drinking in Cutts Close this year during the ‘Churches Together’ event, yet a sober man drinking a beer was escorted off to pour his beer away. Such double standards are indicative of a tyrannical one party State. If the law applies it should apply to all. Not it seems in Oakham.

Oh yes, the answer to my riddle - previous post:

ANSWER: A Totalitarian Society is a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralised control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed.

One of the first casualties of a Totalitarian State is a sense of humour. When the ruling elite drink with impunity in Cutts Close and run a vendetta of such uncivilised proportions against a local Councillor outside their little cosy coterie, (Martin Brookes demands that Standing Orders are adhered to in Town Council meetings and proper procedures followed) we are no longer on the slippery road. We have embraced totalitarianism. I rather think that no more comics of any stature will be coming to Oakham. Sadly Oakham has become the graveyard of comedians and democracy.

Riddle me ree

Well riddle me riddle me riddle me ree
What is the definition of a totalitarian society?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Do the Police serve the Council or the Community?

The Nettle bouquet goes to Oakham Police and Inspector Johnny Monks - well done guys!

I have just received the following email from Martin Brookes:

"Standards Complaint Charles Haworth

Mr Haworth abused his position as a councillor he used his possition to influence the police and along with ex Cllr Beech asked the police to issue a stage one harrasment order against me.

I feel this is due to the amendment of the which now show Cllr Haworth obstructed me at a previous meeting.

Cllr Howarth is able to influence the police because of his connection with JAG

I of course exercised my right to refuse acceptance of the notices."

If true this is outrageous. Can anyone recommend a decent out of area human rights lawyer prepared to work pro bono - this tyranny is so out of hand that it beats the comedy evening at the Merry Monk last night.

Considering Jim Harrison's posts about Martin Brookes this smacks of double standards of such an order that it beggars belief anyone at all can justify it.

See Rutlandshire blog:

Friday, 25 June 2010


Cllr Mark Woodcock
Deputy Mayor
Victoria Hall

By Hand – not to be posted by mail 25 June 2010.

Dear Cllr Woodcock

You asked Martin Brookes if I would write you a letter regarding what I said at the Parks and Recreation Council meeting on Wednesday of this week. I can confirm that I asked the following question:

'I have been told in the strictest confidence that Cllr Joyce Lucas told a member of the public that Cllr Brookes was a paedophile at the opening of Royce's recreation ground. I hope this is not true?'

I can also confirm that the member of the public who told me this was able to confirm her allegation to Martin Brookes.

Cllr Brookes has repeatedly complained to the police about the victimisation, homophobia and bullying he has received at the hands of Councillors, their associates and friends and ex Councillors. Absolutely nothing whatever has been done.

Indeed I complained about offensive material published using my name on a Flickr’ account – two bare men’s behinds in full colour and some rather insulting text aimed at Martin Brookes. The police chose not to let me know who had published this material because it was not offensive enough to investigate. It did seem to be someone with connections to the local Council, yet the police were unwilling to ascertain who the offender was. However, when I wrote a letter to Councillors on the back of a photocopy of this material and Martin Brookes posted my letter in a Council notice board, he was arrested for publishing offensive material. I now begin to wonder whether my confidence in the police force has been dented due to the fact that Councillors Lucas, Haworth and Dewis sit on the Police Joint Action Group and so protect those who indulge in this sort of behaviour. I enclose a copy of that material and shall not post this letter because I believe that using the Royal Mail to let you have a copy could result in my prosecution. However no one will ever be prosecuted for posting this on the internet. Do you now detect a smidgeon of double standards?

I refer you to the posting on the Rutland Chat Forum and repeated endlessly by 'Dotty':

"Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them."

Are these allegations of paedophilia designed to ensure that Martin Brookes is killed? Might that be an offence of conspiracy to kill? I rather think it might.

I would also ask what has been done about Cllr Alf Dewis’ wholly unacceptable suggestion that membership of the Police Joint Action Group is ‘by invitation only.’

The Council should further consider the following false allegations against Councillor Brookes and take immediate steps to stop this destructive and potentially dangerous campaign of misinformation. People have been killed for being suspected paedophiles and I can absolutely assure you that, having taught paedophiles, Martin Brookes shows absolutely no signs of being a potential sexual offender.

Posted on ex Councillor Jim Harrison’s blog on 7th June 2010:

"Monday, 7 June 2010
CRB Check This Councillor
How can it be right that an Oakham Town Councillor puts on display pornographic images in an official Oakham Town Council notice board, is subsequently arrested and is then seen taking photographs at Royce Playing fields where there are children present when the new equipment was officially opened. Should a man who obviously has a penchant for displaying pornographic images on a public notice board be allowed anywhere near children? I THINK NOT! As a councillor he may be visiting other establishments where there are children present AND THAT CANNOT BE RIGHT. Perhaps he ought to undergo a CRB check before being allowed anywhere near children again. He certainly needs to be watched very closely.

Posted by Jim at 22:39 1 comments"

I enclose copies of what was published on the Rutland Chat Forum about Martin Brookes and the offensive material published in my name on Flickr’.

When Martin Brookes complained about Jim Harrison some time ago he received an apology and was persuaded to withdraw his complaint to the Standards Committee. Since then ex Cllr Harrison ’s blog has become infinitely worse and the false allegations that Martin Brookes is not fit to be around children is extremely dangerous. Martin Brookes does not take pictures of children when out photographing and he does not try to approach children in any way. However these false and criminal allegations are gaining currency.

I further refer you to boys riding past on the bicycles shouting 'paedo' at Martin Brookes - which I have witnessed. Where are these children getting their information?

I repeat my question at the Council meeting on 23rd June 2010.

'I have been told in the strictest confidence that Cllr Joyce L told a member of the public that Cllr Brookes was a paedophile at the opening of Royce's recreation ground. I hope this is not true.?’

All Councillor Lucas needs to do is to write me a letter saying she never said any such thing and condemning those who have made these allegations. I will then publish her denial on my blog.

Yours sincerely

Helen Pender
Sunday, 18 April 2010
A Lonely Figure (Picture of Martin Brookes and posted by Jim Harrison on his website)

Brookes cutting a lonely figure on Saturday morning (17th April 2010) as he stood outside the Victoria Halls hoping some poor unsuspecting soul would speak to him during his surgery. Didn't even see his puppet master turn up to speak to him, how sad is that.

To all who wish to know the real reason why I resigned as an Oakham Town Councillor see the original letter sent to the Chair printed below

Dear Chair

On Wednesday 17th February 2010 a new councillor will be sitting in the Council Chamber. Allegedly, this new councillor has made repeated personal attacks on various members of this council including myself either verbally or on his web based sites. You will know about this more than any of us as you have had to put up with alleged constant harrassment from this man to the point it made you ill and threatened to ruin what should have been one of the highlights of you being an Oakham Town Councillor.

He has also allegedly attacked the credibility of the Oakham Town Council on numerous occasions and made accusations that the Oakham Town Council was conspiring against him. Similarly, he has allegedly done the same to RCC and also made personal attacks on some members of that council as well.

I fail to understand why a man who appears to hate the Oakham Town Council and some of its members so much would want to be a member of that council.

I am unable to sit around a table with this man and discuss policy matters and other matters appertaining to the town and so on a matter of principle feel that the only course of action open to me is to regrettfully resign my post as an Oakham Town Councillor.

Jim Harrison

16th February 2010

WELL CAN HE EXPLAIN THE FOLLOWING - COPIED FROM THE RUTLAND CHAT FORUM ON 5/6 JANUARY 2010? Jim Harrison’s resignation letter from the Council - see above. 35 posts like this posted in less than 24 hours on the Rutland Chat Forum – January 5th and 6th 2010. ‘Ruddles’ confirmed to me that ‘lardboy’ is Cllr Charles Haworth. I wonder which one Jim Harrison is? Could you be C B Jim old chum? Am told C B stands for Carpet Burns - just the sort of amoral sicko humour the Rutland Chat Forum regularly indulged in.

Copied from Chat Forum on Wednesday, 6 January, 2010 13:22
Rutland Chat forum posts on 5/6 January 2010.

Cllr ****** *******
by C.B. on Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:00 pm
I've heard that ****** ******* is to stand as an Oakham Town Councillor. Fecking hell,
Ave yer seen his post on Flickr bout hate and things. If not check this out:


and he wants to be a fecking councillor
Growing old is compulsory, Growing up is optional

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:44 pm
Well that's normal. Not.

That is very disturbing, there's a lot of anger there.

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by lardboy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:59 pm
What's all them initials stand for, I wonder? Is it really possible for anyone to hate so many people/organisations at once and still be the innnocent "victim"?

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by R45PUT1N on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:02 pm
There's an RK, an R, a R4 and an LB which are pretty obviously some of our members, but who/what the feck is KT, B and RCF???
Question EVERYTHING...

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by lardboy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:03 pm
I think RCF = Rutland Chat Forum, as to the others, feck knows!

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:05 pm
Innocent victim my a*se.

I'd say RCF = Rutland Chat Forum.

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by lardboy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:11 pm
Now, now folks, let's not give up on RCF so easily - IT'S COMPETITION TIME for the best acronym! Ummmm, here' mine:


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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by ruddles on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:26 pm

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:31 pm

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by ruddles on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:06 pm

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:10 pm

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:34 pm

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by lardboy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:41 pm

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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by Dotty on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:50 pm

Some people are still alive only because it is illegal to kill them.

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Posts: 834
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Re: Cllr Martian Borrocks
by lardboy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:11 pm

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Town Council meeting 23 June 2010 at 7 pm

In the Chair tonight will be the redoubtable Cllr Joyce Lucas who so ably chaired the Tesco Council meeting on 26th May, which impressed all residents attending. One comment after that meeting was: 'It was better than the Vicar of Dibley' - that from Mr Kevin O'Brien. How well observed Mr O'Brien! It was certainly a most memorable evening.

If there's nothing much on television tonight this meeting might be worth a visit too. It is after all festival week and I can't see any comedy evenings listed elsewhere on the programme.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Start of British Armed Forces Week

At ten thirty this morning - outside Oakham Library - a flag was raised with all the ceremony which the military manage to do so well. It was all a little confusing. As the flag was raised the C O of North Luffenham saluted. So did some of the other ranks, however some did not. Couldn't quite work out what the military etiquette was. The flag stayed folded, there was too little wind to unfurl it.

The Commanding Officer at Cottesmore gave a worthy address after the flag was raised.

When the flag finally shrugged out of its folds one could see this was not a Union Flag but in fact half a Union Flag, beneath the horizontal red line of St George. were the words:

British Armed Forces
Show Your Support

Couldn't work out whether, since it wasn't a Union Flag, it actually deserved a salute from the C O at North Luffenham or not. At the risk of being a 'Colonel Blimp' I mentioned that it appeared the salute had been given to a bit of bunting. Quite whether the O Rs should have been saluting was something I'm not qualified to give an opinion on, but perhaps communications are a bit poor to the O Rs. Not surprising really since I gathered that the Lord Lieutenant, Officers, Mayor and other senior people were off for refreshments at the Castle whilst the Other Ranks were left out in the cold. Glad to see that the Commanding Officer of the cadets at Oakham School very politely side stepped his invitation to the Castle. At least there are some who are politically educated in Oakham.

How very odd too that we were there to honour the military who have lost their lives in a politically questionable war, yet those representing the Other Ranks, who represent the majority of the 300 who have died in this questionable war in Afghanistan and many more who have died in Iraq, were not honoured enough to be included in the official reception.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Oakham Town Council co-options - 16th June 2010

Present: Cllrs Joyce Lucas; Charles Haworth; Alf Dewis; George Swiffin; Alan Walters; Martin Brookes and Chairman and Mayor – Sharon Spencer.

Candidates in order of interview: Linda Grey; Helen Pender; Tor Clarke and Fiona Arnold.

The following Councillors cast two votes each in favour of Mrs Linda Grey and Tor Clarke: Cllrs Alf Dewis; Charles Haworth; Joyce Lucas; George Swiffin; Alan Walters.

When told of the vote by the Chairman, Sharon Spencer, she also said that Martin Brookes and she did not vote since they each knew one of the candidates. This prompted me to ask if I was sleeping with (openly gay) Cllr Brookes, since Linda Grey had admitted to me two weeks earlier that she was a friend of both Alf Dewis and Joyce Lucas. In fact I hear from Martin’s blog that she also admitted this as she was introduced at her interview. However Joyce Lucas wisely shut her up.

Oakham is a town of 10,000 people, a very small community. It is unlikely that the five Councillors who voted did not know at least one of the candidates. What cloistered lives these five must lead.

By a happy coincidence the five Councillors, who did vote, roared in unison like unanimous lions in favour of Linda Grey and Tor Clarke.

Martin’s comment to me after the meeting was that I had not pulled my punches when telling the Council of its failings. This was the only opportunity I would get to be heard and it is important to make the most of opportunities when they arise. The Town Clerk said that everyone else was interviewed for a quarter of an hour. My interview lasted half an hour.

Cllr Dewis listened as I told the meeting that Plato believed that Tyranny and Anarchy replaced democracy when democracy fails. However I am not sure he is capable of understanding the depths to which he is bringing this Council by riding rough shod over Standing Orders.

The public were ejected when the five Parish Councillors voted. Martin Brookes had proposed, I am told by other members of the public, that the public be excluded for the discussion. Needless to say, since it was proposed by Cllr Martin Brookes, no one would second his proposal. A few seconds later Cllr Dewis suggested the public be excluded. No one seconded his proposal either, but it was put to the vote and carried. One shakes ones head in despair at this point. You can’t surely have a motion to exclude the public, which receives no support, and then revive exactly the same motion again, which again receives no seconder, and then put the motion to the vote.

Oh yes you can, but only on Oakham Parish Council where Standing Orders don’t apply. It seems my small opportunity to educate Cllr Dewis had fallen on deaf ears. Heigh Ho! Why can’t I learn that casting pearls before swine is always a vain exercise?

As we left the building Martin was locked out of the Council Chamber and office. It became clear that some Councillors were holding an informal discussion from which they wished to exclude Martin Brookes. Quelle suprise?

The outcome was predictable (see Martin Brookes’ blog posted before the meeting). Martin expressed great regret that he hadn’t placed a bet with William Hill as he left the Council Chamber. I couldn’t help thinking that if he had he might have been arrested and charged with fraud.

Lest we forget, at the last Council meeting Cllr Alf Dewis assured us that he, Cllr Lucas and Cllr Haworth would serve on the Police Joint Action Group, since membership of this group is in future to be ‘by invitation only.’

My congratulations go to Tor Clarke and Linda Grey along with my fervent hopes that they might bring some sanity to this Council. Chris Hilton, Martin Brookes and I raised our glasses in a toast to Oakham Town Council in the Hornblower afterwards. No doubt there will be a celebratory dinner for Lions and their spouses too in the very near future … so perhaps collective sanity on Oakham Town Council is a vain hope.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Oakham Town Council is 'dysfunctional'

I am told by Martin Brookes that Oakham Town Council have been found to be dysfunctional - well it certainly took long enough. The penny does seem to have finally dropped. I am on my way to the Council Offices to find out if I can get a copy of the findings. However Martin Brookes has published the following paragraph on his blog:

"This case taken together with other assessed cases involving many members of Oakham Town Council indicates an inter-relatonship of cases so serious or complex that they could not be handled locally; investigating the complaints requires substantial amounts of evidence beyond that available from the authority's documents, its members or officers; There is substantial governance dysfunction in the authority."

I'll just repeat that:

"There is substantial governance dysfunction in the authority."

Hooray - it took a long time to come to the right conclusion. Perhaps with the justice of Bloody Sunday finally being brought into some sort of transparent light we are undergoing a sea change in the democratic processes in this country. Yes that was worth M£192 and the 41 complaints that Helen Briggs complained that the Standards Committee had received about Oakham Town Council are at last reaping results. Army dysfunctions and Oakham Parish Council dysfunctions do not come cheap when they happen, but they are worth the expenditure expended to investigate them and bring the sorry failures to light.

I, along with Fiona Arold, Linda Grey and Tor Clarke are attending a meeting at Oakham Town Council tonight. They are interviewing four people to be co-opted to two places on the Town Council. I don't have a cat in hell's chance of being selected, but this finding will make the interview process a great deal easier - at last parish Councillors on the Town Council may be in a position to understand why they should be encouraged to question their own behaviour.

Oddly the meeting will be public at 7.45 whilst they discuss which of the four candidates to choose. Should be fun!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Report of Oakham Town Council Meeting 7th June 2010


I must confess to a great deal of confusion. Bullying of Martin Brookes was somewhat muted.


This meeting was attended by a member of the Standards Committee for the second time – so Councillors were on their best behaviour.

So, one would think that the rules and regulations would be scrupulously followed too – wouldn’t one?

Cllr Jan Fillingham, not having attended a Council meeting since 16 December (although her rather florid signature is also absent from the attendance register on that date – this is said to be an ‘oversight’) was item number 1 ii on the agenda viz:

1. Ii To approve the absence of Cllr Mrs Jan Fillingham since December 16th 2009 from meetings of the Council and its Committees on the grounds of ill health.

Oddly at the Annual meeting on 12th May we had been told that Mrs Fillingham had now recovered. Does this illness come and go? Or do members of the Council suffer from terminal amnesia?

We had been told by Cllr Haworth, via email, that Cllr Fillingham’s tired and emotional state at Remembrance Sunday Service last November was due to her medication. Yet Cllr Fillingham in her Annual report says that she was diagnosed in January 2010. Do Councillors need a calendar of events and a prompt in the wings to remind them what they have asserted? I had seen Cllr Fillingham looking her usual impeccably turned out self in the High Street as I emerged with my bag full of medication the previous week and luckily I was able to remind Councillors of the announcement of her recovery on 12th May.

Ex Councillor Kelly attended and had clearly failed to understand the terms of the ‘six months’ rule.’ He asked why Councillors, who gave their apologies religiously at every meeting for longer than six months, were thought to be in danger of losing their seats. Although I am told Cllr Kelly does read my blog (see 26 May Six Months’ Rule blog) he clearly failed to understand it. I will just refer him back to: LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – Section 85 and recommend that he finds someone with either a level of reasonable literacy or intellectual ability to translate this into a monosyllabic explanation.

No one seems to understand the idea that if one cannot carry out one's duties as a Councillor for longer than six months there should be some code of honour to suggest that one should allow the electors to be properly represented. However that idea goes against the more prevalent idea of an exclusive club of like minded people supporting one another through thick and thin. The code of Omerta till rules among this coterie of Councillors.

Under Item 3 Cllr Dewis stood up and asked why Cllr Brookes had failed to ascertain the situation on the boards around the bandstand. At the last meeting Cllr Brookes had asked that the boards around the bandstand be preserved. The Chairman, Cllr Haworth, then suggested that Cllr Brookes have precisely one week, whilst banned from visiting the Town Clerk to ascertain whether a friend of the Town Clerk might be in a position to take these boards. Clrr Brookes explained at the last meeting that he could not do this, particularly since Cllr Dewis and Haworth had banned him from talking or communicating with the Town Clerk. It was finally decided that the Town Clerk would carry out the research on what to do with these boards. However Cllr Dewis never lets the facts get in the way of a dig at Cllr Brookes and was happy to indulge in total amnesia about what had been decided at the last meeting.

Perhaps we should have the water tested at Victoria Hall. A worrying amount of amnesia seems far too prevalent amongst Councillors.

Item 11 – REPRESENTATIVES TO OUTSIDE BODIES raised some eyebrows amongst the three members of the public observing the Council meeting. At first it began to look as though Cllr Brookes would not be allowed to serve on any of these Committees. Cllr Brookes proposed himself to the first five committees and received absolutely no seconder whatsoever. It all began to look a little like the vendetta it is. Item 11(v) needed three members as trustees of the Victoria Hall. Cllr Fillingham and Cllr Dodds are on this committee.

The Town Clerk In his eagerness to ensure Cllr Dewis was voted onto this committee ruled rather oddly that he would only take one nomination at a time. The correct procedure would have been to accept all nominations and then had an election. But why would Oakham Town Council want to deviate into the territory of correct procedures? Instead Richard White said: ‘Uh one at a time please.’ So ruling that Cllr Dewis would be voted onto the board of Trustees and further nominations made after he had been voted in. Cllr Dodds said she would like to continue to serve as a trustee of the Victoria Hall and was duly voted in. Cllr Haworth, eager to ensure that Cllr Brookes was edged out immediately proposed himself. So instead of having to vote for four candidates for three positions, members were asked to elect Cllrs Dewis and Dodds and then have a vote between two candidates for one position. Highly irregular and rather against Standing Orders, but never mind we don’t seem to take much notice of regulations on OTC.

Remember the Standards Committee representative sitting in the public seats? As I said Councillors were on their best behaviour. This then begs the question: Are Councillors so politically ignorant as to fail to understand their highly irregular behaviour? Or did they think that the three members of the public attending the meeting would be so thick that they wouldn’t understand this finesse? Furthermore did they think that a member of the Standards Committee would be able to overlook this irregularity? I rather think they are or did. Hence my confusion – I simply can’t decide whether the Council and the Town Clerk are irremedially politically ill educated or whether they think others are even thicker than they are and won’t notice these sorts of irregularities. Would someone please let me know?

Under 11 (vi) Cllr Lucas refused to serve on the Oakham Festival Committee, reasoning that this Committee met on a Wednesday and this often clashed with Town Council meetings. Having spotted the Standards Committee representative in the public seats a small confab took place and, if only to ensure that Cllr Brookes was not edged out of every committee, he was voted onto the Festival Committee. I rather think the Wednesday clash and the prospect of Cllr Brookes being unable to attend one meeting or the other might have recommended him for the position.

But ... it gets worse! Item 11 (ix): Police Joint Action Group. Cllr Dewis stood up and, in his usual confident manner, assured the meeting that elections were no longer valid since the police wanted representation on this committee to be ‘by invitation only.’

It beggared belief. In what Universe do the police decide which Councillors oversee their activities on the Joint Action Group? The face of the Standards Officer was a picture, my chin hit the floor with a bump. Eyeing the consternation in the public seats the Town Clerk said he would come back to the meeting on the situation and let us know. Why didn’t the Town Clerk have the training, common sense or insight to know that this is entirely unacceptable and say so? Why didn't any other Councillor tell us how odd this assertion was? Code of Omerta ... again?

I rather think this constitutes proof positive that this little club of Councillors are well past their sell by date. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman made no effort to rule Cllr Dewis out of order when he asserted that he, Cllr Lucas and Cllr Haworth were those invited to serve on this committee ‘by invitation’ – although we only have Cllr Dewis’ word on this. Surely this cosy little coterie, or tyrannical triumvirate, should all be ruled off the Police Joint Action Group? One cannot have Councillors believing that democracy, police oversight and elections may be over ruled by a tyrranical police force eager to ensure that those prepared to sing from their hymn sheet should serve on the Joint Action Group, surely??????????

Cllr Brookes, with an eye on the accounts, then begged the question as to why the Town Council had approved expenditure of only £38.00 for signage to the new public loos, yet he now saw that we had paid around £125.40. He also asked why the Churches together had said they did not need electricity at the bandstand, yet used electricity. Cllr Brookes on both points said that the Council had approved expenditure or authorised use of the bandstand on certain terms and those terms were overturned with no reference back to the Council. Other Councillors treated Cllr Brookes as if he were a trouble maker. Cllr Dodds said that one shouldn’t worry about a trivial matter like a small amount of electricity – ‘the important thing was did people enjoy theirselves.’!!! The Town Clerk in his usual effort to evade the truth read from a previous bill to show that 38p’s worth of electricity had been used. However this bill did not cover the period Cllr Brookes was referring to, which the Town Clerk failed to acknowledge and Cllr Brookes had to point out this attempt at a finesse on the truth. Luckily the man from Standards understood why Cllr Brookes had asked these questions.

Is it too much to hope that RCC finally realise what a shower this Council is and call for it to be abolished? At the very least we deserve a full procedural audit – surely?

Finally could I ask the press to desist from making broadcasts or printing items on Oakham Town Council without doing their own independent newsgathering. If the radio station can't be bothered to send a reporter to the meetings and the local paper can't be bothered to send anyone other than Jim Harrison, who has a rather poisonous axe to grind, then they should not make inaccurate broadcasts. News gathering does not mean gleaning poisonous gossip from Cllrs Haworth, Lucas, Dewis, ex Councillor Jim Harrison et al and then publishing their scurrilous stories. Journalism demands a bit more effort. Without a free press (or the fifth estate if you will) we are enslaved to the tyrants who would trample democracy into an early grave.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Town Council meeting 9 June at 7pm Victoria Hall

There was no need to blog the last meeting - especially since so many turned up to hear about or talk to the Town Council about Tescos.

Comments have found their way about town without my tuppence worth adding to the mess that is the Town Council. At last local residents were able to see the proceedings and see for themselves what happens at these 'events.' I think they did more than I could ever do to undermine themselves and show their total lack of understanding of what and how proceedings should be conducted at that meeting.

If residents would like to attend another meeting, if only for entertainment value, then do come along to the Victoria Hall tonight at 7 pm. As a student of cold war Soviet Russia remarked to me after the last meeting - 'the way this Council is conducted is a copy of what the Soviets used to do. The Town Council, like the Soviets, don't take any notice of standing orders or the law.'

So I feel if I want to live in a democracy it is my duty to observe the 'democratic' process at work. I would be delighted to be joined on the public benches by other residents too.


Public rally - hear eyewitness accounts from the Mavi Marmara

Released hostages have returned home to give accounts of Monday's attack that differ greatly from that pushed by Israel in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Contrary to Israel 's claim that its soldiers acted in self-defence, witnesses have described how the Israelis shot to kill, with at least four activists being intentionally shot in the head. It has emerged that the truth behind Israel 's claim that activists on the boat were armed is that some passengers desperately tried to defend themselves with whatever was to hand after the Israelis began firing live rounds. Witnesses also described how the injured were denied medical treatment for several hours, as Israeli soldiers ignored pleas for help.

Come to a public rally to hear first-hand what actually happened aboard the Mavi Marmara and beyond. The meeting will feature several activists from the flotilla.

7pm on Wednesday 9th June in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square . (nearest tube: Holborn).

My comment:

The atrocity committed by Israel deserves international condemnation. Unfortunately our politicians, of all parties, are soft peddaling on this one and it seems Israel may eventually be allowed to investigate its own atrocity.

What happened on the Mavi Mara, seems to any disinterested independent observer is that the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) soldiers arrived toting guns and shooting to kill. When those on the boat turned to 'boat things' to defend themselves they were accused of terrorism and some MPs in this country have been happy to peddle that story.

Defending ones self with 'boat things' in international waters against gun toting soldiers who have boarded illegally is not yet a terrorist offence ... or is it?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Israeli attack on Gaza peace flotilla

The nettle bouquet has to go outside Oakham today. Special award to the Israeli Government for attacking the Gaza Peace Flotilla, then lying through their teeth about what happened. Have the Israeli's been taking lessons from Alf Dewis et al?

Having kept up with news of this peace flotilla by email, the press appear to have ignored the situation until the Israeli's killed several peace activists. I received the following email from the ONLY DEMOCRACY on Sunday, the day before the Israeli's sent Special Forces brutally aboard a Turkish ship of the peace flotilla. This atrocity committeed by the IDF deserved condemnation, however the press appears full of apologists prepared to excuse this Israeli act of piracy in International waters. The real situation in Gaza is clearly illustrated by this writter. This is worth sharing with you - a powerfully written piece by an Israeli:

** An Open Letter by Jeff Halper to the Israeli Jewish Public: Support
the Gaza Flotilla -

By Jeff Halper

If we were not Israeli Jews, if the nine ships bringing 800 peace-makers
from 40 countries would be sailing with humanitarian aid to an imprisoned
population of a million and a half to, say, Haiti, the flotilla now on
its way to Gaza would be hailed as a monumental event. The government of
Israel would donate another 50 tons of food and materials and a brigade
of army volunteers from the “rescue corps.” But we are Israelis, and
the fact that such an operation is being launched against a siege we
imposed on a civilian population three years ago – actually, the
blockade goes back to the late 1980s – should cause us all to reflect
upon how we and our country have arrived at this sorry state – how the
“light unto the nations” has become one of the most oppressive states
on earth, subject to international protests like this one.

The flotilla is sailing with a number of messages. First and foremost, to
the government of Israel: "Lift the siege on Gaza!" The siege is
absolutely illegal in international law, and for those of us who believe
that the rule of law and human rights is the only recipe for a better
world, it is incumbent upon us to join the flotilla's call to lift the
siege. Civilians cannot be the object of military and political attacks,
as is the case in Gaza (which the Goldstone Report roundly criticized),
nor can they be collectively punished for the policies of their political
leaders. The very idea that people can be brought to their knees and
forced to accept being permanently controlled and dominated, which is the
thrust of Israeli policy, is both unconscionable and counter-productive.
As the situation in Gaza shows, it has only stiffened resistance to the

And then there is the urgency of the flotilla's second message,
"Addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza!" In a policy
frightening reminiscent of other dark regimes in which Jews suffered from
controlled malnutrition, our government has imposed a regime of
counting calories on the Gaza population“ imposing a minimal
dietary regime on a million and a half people who receive as little as
850 calories a day, less than half the recommended daily intake. (Dov
Weisglass, Sharon's Chief of Staff, made a joke out of this. It's
like a meeting with a dietitian, he said. We need to make the
Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death. Instant coffee,
fresh meat, rice, beans, spices, honey, chocolate, jam, bananas,
coriander and pasta, among many others, are considered by Israel
luxury foods for Palestinians. All this might be funny if it
weren't for the fact that, according to the World Health Organization,
more than 10% of Gazan children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Two-thirds of the Gazan population face hunger on a daily basis.

Gaza is today an unreconstructed war-zone. Israel long ago destroyed the
sewage system, so that people have drowned in periodic floods of sewage
that have engulfed whole communities. Raw sewage flowing into the
Mediterranean has polluted the only waters in which Palestinians are
allowed to fish“ the Israeli navy fires on fishermen who attempt to
reach cleaner waters more than three miles out. Having destroyed Gaza's
only power station, much of the area suffers from blackouts, and Israel
prevents adequate amounts of fuel from entering, with severe effects on
hospitals. Gazans also have nowhere to live. More than 2,400 homes were
destroyed in the invasion of last year and Israel, by prohibiting the
import of raw materials, has prevented their being rebuilt. Thus the
flotilla is bringing to Gaza 10,000 tons of humanitarian materials:
temporary shelters, playgrounds for children, cement, steel and other
construction materials, medical equipment and medicines and school
supplies“ a drop in the bucket of which is actually needed. The list
alone is an indictment of our policies.

We Israeli Jews live in a managed information environment in which
reality is carefully framed for us. Our government's explanation for
everything it does is "security," and we accept that almost without
question. But we have to understand a basic fact of life: four million
Palestinians live under a cruel Occupation that we have nurtured for the
past 43 years and which has deprived them of their fundamental rights
(such as electing their own political leaders), robbed them of their land
and homes (Israeli governments have demolished some 24,000 Palestinian
homes in the Occupied Territories since 1967), reduced them to
impoverishment and has led, in the case of Gaza, to their literal

Why do I have to repeat facts that seem so self-evident, that everyone
knows? Because, though every informed person abroad knows these things,
we Israeli Jews don't and we don't care. Most Israelis know far
less about what our government is doing in our name, in Gaza and
elsewhere in the Occupied Territories, than the activists on the Free
Gaza ships. We seldom if ever use the term "occupation" in our
everyday speech (in fact, our government denied the very existence of an
occupation), and we minimize the impact that our settlements, our
separate roads, the Wall, hundreds of checkpoints and other facets of the
Occupation have upon the political process, which we no longer believe
in. Living in a prosperous "bubble," we do not see Palestinian
suffering, only ourselves as "victims." (And so our Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman characterizes the Gaza flotillas as "violent
propaganda" against Israel, as if we have nothing to do with conditions
of life in Gaza or the very fact of occupation.) But this is not
reality. For the Palestinians there is no minimizing their suffering or
their yearning for freedom. Why, with our history, is it so difficult for
us to understand resistance to oppression?

And so the third message of the flotilla is directed towards us: "Take
responsibility for your government's policies!" When I entered Gaza
on the first Free Gaza boats in August, 2008, I issued an appeal to the
Israeli public to stand in solidarity with us. I argued that ordinary
people have often played key roles in history, particularly in situations
like this where world governments, who should end the siege, shirk their
responsibilities. We must resist the self-serving and disempowering
statements of our political leaders who would have us believe that there
is no solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, that there is "no
partner for peace," that we are doomed to perpetual war and, therefore,
we must become permanent oppressors. The Palestinians are not our
enemies; our own political leaders are. The very fact that I, an Israeli
Jew, was welcomed by the people of Gaza makes that very point, and it is
the message they asked me to convey to you. But they also insist on their
rights: self-determination.

We of the Israeli peace camp refuse to be enemies with our Palestinian
neighbors. We recognize that as the infinitely stronger party in the
conflict, we Israelis must accept responsibility for our failed and
oppressive policies.

In the meantime, the flotilla to Gaza has already succeeded. If the
Israeli government allows the ships into Gaza, the power of the will have
prevailed once more. If it chooses to stop the flotilla, it will only
highlight the existence of the illegal and inhumane siege and bolster
international efforts to end it. In both cases Israel loses the battle
for legitimacy in the international community. This is the beauty of
non-violent direct action. It is only a matter of time before it will be
forced to relinquish control over the Palestinians and their lands.

Let us, Israeli Jews who aspire to become an integral part of this region
rather than a foreign implant at war with its inhabitants, begin to take
our fate in our own hands. We must side with the people of Gaza and the
activists on the boats against the unjust and immoral policies of our own
government. This is what the good people of the flotilla are trying to
tell us, what people all over the world are trying to tell us: unless we
take responsibility for our actions and end this terrible conflict with
the Palestinians, we will not remain here. And unless we find a way to a
just peace rather than stand on the side of occupation, oppression and
injustice, we may delay that day by force, but our society will not
survive. For our sakes as well as the people of Gaza, let us, the Israeli
Jewish public, board the boats to end the siege of Gaza.

Watch live streaming video from insaniyardim at

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* More Recent Articles

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- Gaza Border Opened after 72 days

Further news also available on the following URL links:

Israeli intervention

http://english. aljazeera. net/
live news coverage of flotilla

http://blogs. aljazeera. net/imperium
excellent analysys of flotilla event from best journalyst and international releations professor of al-jazeera.

http://www.presstv. com/detail. aspx?id=128555