Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Father of five shot dead in Pitsmoor

This is appalling: Taxi driver dies in city shooting (BBC)

I am simply furious that this sort of thing can happen in the city where I live.

From the BBC's description it sounds like he was the innocent victim of a road rage attack! I can't get my head around it if that's true.

My deepest sympathies to his family.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Consultation, Labour style

There is a report on the outcome of the consultation to replace Myers Grove and Wisewood schools with a single school on the Myers Grove site.

Now there never was any secret that parents are against the proposal to close one school and have the other taken over by friends of Tony Blair. So we might wonder what nuances of opposition a consultation exercise might usefully discover. If you are determined to do what parents don't want anyway, it is smug and condescending to go through a consultation exercise - to pretend to be interested in what people think before saying how much cleverer you are.

So let's have a look at what the report on this consultation exercise says:

3.13 The Governors of Wisewood Secondary surveyed the opinion of parents through a letter and ‘tear-off’ slip response. A total of 130 responses were forwarded to us, of which only 1 was broadly in favour of the proposals.
Note the extra qualification "broadly" in favour. At least one person in 130 will sugar coat their objections with "It's a good idea, but...". I expect that counts as being broadly in favour.

4.23 The reaction to the question of whether the Local Authority should submit a bid to run the new school as a Community school was overwhelmingly in favour of a Community school. Most written responses were absolutely categorical about wanting only a Community school whether or not they were opposed to the reorganisation. The debate at the meetings was more sophisticated. People that attended had the opportunity to understand the Trust model in more detail and perhaps gain some reassurance about it (although this was not voiced)....

Perhaps the council has realised that the people of Wisewood do not want their school closed. (Although this has not been voiced.) Good grief. How smug and patronising can you get?

4.27 The Council has listened to a very clear response during the consultation on the issue of bidding for a Community school. At this stage it is proposed to seek the Secretary of State’s consent to enter the competition but this position will be reviewed if there are indications that one or more alternative providers will come forward that will meet the aspirations of the community.

We will do what the people want only as a last resort, if there is absolutely no other choice.

We are told that the new school under these proposals will be able to "develop links to the community" (section 2.6). But the trust and academy models are about breaking links with the community, having unaccountable Tony's cronies guaranteed able to outvote parent and community governors. And the idea that the new school would have better links with the Wisewood community is laughable in the extreme. What planet are these people on?

Printed (hosted) by Published and promoted by Joe Taylor, 28 Pendeen Road, Sheffield S11 7EN on behalf of the Sheffield Liberal Democrat Group.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and may not represent those of or the Sheffield Liberal Democrat Group.