Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sitting Pretty

Well after a long pause we are back! I had been rather hoping that when i returned the whole isle of grain and the teletubby type ‘toys r us’ siren had been replaced, however this is not the case. Instead we come back to yet more news and more problems, with the CCTV car in the dock and Armed Forces Day its all getting a bit slap dash.

We will be preparing our article about Jack Hopes struggle with Grain LNG and also taking a look into Medway Councils ignorance regarding the Armed Forces covenant.

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Your not worthy of a response

Its an outrage! Simple. Elected councillors simply ‘ignoring’ pleads for help. For our regular readers you will know that we have been following the disgusting treatment of a medway resident and former soldier who is now under the care of the Medway Mental Health team. The way he and his family have been treated is an outright disgrace an not to mention the PACE breaches which have taken place during the process, last week we caught up with the veterans carer and asked if there had been any updates, we were disgusted to hear that the veterans carer had written to Cllr Alan Jarrett on two occasions and had NOT even received a response! We have agreed with the veterans carer that we will publish the letter whilst removing any details that could identify the carer or the veteran.

I write on behalf of Mr **^* ,***, rochester, kent *** ***. My name is ***** ******* i am the registered carer for ****.

**** is facing possible prosecution for what medway council call dishonesty regarding benefits. **** on the advice of the medway CAB completed a housing benefit application and claimed a backdate. There has been a great deal of misinformation and ill advice regarding this matter which seems to have become way out of hand.

I understand that you might not be aware of Mr ****** position so i will take the liberty of informing you to help you to understand the situation better. ***^ is currently under the care of the mental health team and also under the care if combat stress a charity to help suffering soldiers. ***** is diagnosed with a number of illnesses which have had a significant negative impact on his health. ***** currently suffers from the following:

Combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Clinical depression

Social anxiety

Suicidal ideation

It is important to note also that during this period of the investigation his mental stability has become so much worse so much so that he is now not allowed to take part in group therapy because he is volatile and distressed. This impact and choice to prosecute Mr ***** has undone all of the hard work that the mental health team and therapy have done, not to mention the problems this has now caused at home with the children. He has had an increase in medication and a decline in health, myself our children and his parents are desperately worried for **** as he has recently tried to seriously harm himself and end his life. **** is still to date unsure if how or why he is going to be prosecuted, he made it very clear that he couldn’t pay the ADPEN because the officer stated it would have to be pain in full on the day, +*** only income is his disability benefit. **** does not claim the ESA as he is entitled. I appeal to you as head of finance to reconsider the prosecution of ***** and hope that i can appeal to your respectable honorable side for the sake of a loved son, respectable Armed Forces Veteran and father to 3 children. We are a decent honorable family who put a great deal into our community here in medway, i am a ***** ****** and fundraiser and our children raise money for our church, an experience such as this has thrown our house hold into chaos in which myself and our children want there dad back to continue with our lives.

Cllr Jarrett i ask you as an honorable man to halt these proceedings and help us find another way to deal with this before my children and i lose ***^

This letter was sent to Cllr Jarrett on May 24th 2012 and as yet we are informed that the councillor has still failed to even acknowledge receipt of the letter/email. We cannot help but think that this is a disgusting disregard towards a young family in Medway. I invite comments to this article but please be mindful that this is a letter asking for help and a young family are involved.

from us

Cllr Jarrett your blatant dismissal of the plea for help has only demonstrated your need to be in power and NOT to serve your constituents. We invite you publicly to inform us of the reasons you have neglected your responsibility.

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Dear John

Calvo turpuis est nihil comato

For those of you who understand john wards humour im sure his ‘Tit for Tat’ approach to highlighting blogs could do with some real latin.

We would rather not take part in a media based mud slinging match with the old tory ‘dads army’ but we feel we should acknowledge john wards comments, just to be polite.

Our regular readers can be sure that we will now get back to our desks and present some worthwhile arguments.

We would like to thank john for the ‘traffic’ he has sent our way.

Please enjoy john.

Another Bodge

Having the role i have does have many perks, one of which allows me ( and one other here) to mingle with the almighty ones, those being medway Cllrs, over the years we have joined them in celebrating, scrutinising and watching them flap over issues they were desperate not to let out into the public domain. So when things go wrong for cllrs we can pre-empt exactly what will happen, nine times out of ten we have been right!

Back in may this year a few members of our investigation team attended the North Kent Divisional Commanders Awards Ceremony it had been a great night actually especially as we were able to iron out some work issues and also catch up with some old friends such as john burden from Gravesham Borough Council, someone we hold in great esteem. Also in attendance was tracey crouch and Cllr Mike O’Brian, he made it clear during a speech how proud he was of our police officers or [ police offices] as he put it. Interestingly he also referred to the Medway Police and Kent Police separately! Thus inviting questions like;

Do medway have a separate police force?

Of course we know they do not but we thought we would raise it anyway. Cllr Mile O’Brian has always been one to self gratify, looking at Mikes blog you’ll see if there is an opportunity to slip a portrait picture of himself in then he will!

We arent actually to worried about mikes pictures as at least he looks respectable, our concerns lay with the Grain LNG emergency siren that he so proudly took charge of – only to fail quite expectedly!

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We love this picture mike! Its one of those “epic failure moments”.

Of course the special ” we are not legally obliged but we will anyway” approach to erecting this siren was supposed to been seen by the residents as a ” good will ” type gesture from the council, Cllr mike o’brian wanting to make it clear that this is going the extra mile for the residents of grain. Anyone would have thought Cllr O’Brian was counting down to the olympics by the way he publicly announced the opening of the new amazing siren! Unfortunately for mike he forgot to ‘wind it up’ or ‘ put in some batteries’ or what ever you do to make it work!! Upon test day the siren was tested, to our horror it couldnt even be heard in the local school!!!

So for the epic failure Cllr O’Brian we would like to thank you again for your shockingly bad attempt at public safety and congratulate you on making our job easier by publicly making yourself look silly.

Lets hope with all the minds crammed into one room at Gun Wharf that they one day manage to work out a way of purchasing an emergency siren which actually works!!

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Ante Bellum

“He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”

Michel de Montaigne

John ward blog ;serial name dropper, political blagger blogger and waybaloo enthusiast. Please note we would like to say publicly that these comments are aimed at the blog as we cannot say without doubt that the person sharing the above name is actually the author of the blog.

For those of you who really care [ not that many of you do ] john ward blog has shown its hand, keen to advise but not so keen to clearly be proven wrong. Invited to view evidence but quick to decline. We came into this with a ‘tabula rasa’ but it has fast changed due to the shocking amount of deceptive and obstructive techniques in place.

The john ward blog offers a non Sensus communis approach but instead more a De Facto version of policy understanding. The interesting thing about the john ward blog is the ‘claims’ that he and his army of followers including the old boys network know who we are, issuing limp statements and unsupported claims has simply enforced our belief they are no closer than the day we started! If john ward blog and the medway council youth army really new who we were then gun wharf would be in ‘lock down’ by the morning. It would make john blush if he realised he has spoken to at least 2 of our team members in the last 30 days!. Maybe John ward blogs friends in high places should consider how close he is to those who really know where medway council are going. Again john wards blog claims have made him/it laughable.

It could be another 15th march for the self confessed god like blogger who famously blogged;

“I think there is an increasingly strong case for compulsory sterilisation of all those who have a second, (or third, or whatever) child while living off state handouts.”

And yes those comments did lead to his resignation!!

I know john has not had a passport since 1982 – maybe now is the time he headed ‘down under’ wink wink john.

It is important for readers to know that our work is pro bono and we encourage you to continue making up your own mind with regard to the information that we publish.

Ignore the childish arrogant political blogging and remember;

homo homini lupus

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Benefit Overpayments [ profit ]

We have been viewing a document recently, this document is from the Audit Sub Committee regarding benefit overpayments. Now before i start i want you to note something;

There have been current local authority members and past members who have jumped on this quick time, they have tried to tell us that we simply do not understand what the document is saying, however i think it is important at this point not to forget a vital point, which ever way you may read this document it still clearly states 2 very disturbing points, in black and white!

You can view the document for yourself HERE

Back to document, we accept that there may be points that we simply do not understand in this document and we would not argue the point however within this document medway council have identified the following;

Ovepayment recovery, in terms of the cost to the council, is not represented solely by the cash collected from claimants or landlords. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also allows categories of overpayment for subsidy purposes at varying degrees from 0% to 100% e.g. overpayments as a result of claimant error are reimbursed at 40% in addition to any claimant recovery. It is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment.

I would like to draw your attention to the last part of that statement;

” it is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment”

personally i find it disturbing that medway council council even identify that.

Another point raised within this document clearly states;

Why we need a policy
It is essential for Medway Council to demonstrate that it carries out administration and recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments efficiently and effectively.
By doing so the Council:-
• reduces losses to Public Funds;
• provides revenue for the Council;
• helps reduce the loss from overpayments;
• deters fraud and error;
• demonstrates the Council’s commitment to accuracy and provision of a quality
service to its customers as outlined in its Benefits Statement of Intent.

Again we see that medway council have clearly stated;

” provides revenue for the council”

Now we can say that yes this could be ambiguous however it does give rise to questions like;

1. If the council were to overpay benefits on a regular basis would this or could this be seen as a profitable income during these difficult times?

I am so outraged that im almost speechless, medway council can claim an overpayment is the claimants fault, overpay the benefit, receive a 40% subsidy and then keep all overpayment recovered! I think this is a total outrage and must be challenged!!

In times where families are bending over backwards to keep roofs above the heads of their families we find the local authorities can still profit from our loss.
We will be looking more indepth into this situation and meanwhile welcome views of those affiliated with this document.

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Medway Council Housing Shambles

We received information regarding some more housing benefit overpayments and with regard to the lack of professionalism medway council representatives display. Medway council are and always have been known to refer residents to their website to gain understanding of the benefits process and application, they have also [in court] made clear that if a resident requires advice they can simply refer again to the website. This is of course a ludicrous suggestion now that we know that the disclaimer on the website clearly states that medway council accept no responsibility for the information held within the website. An advice page which informs you that if you do not follow their procedures you could end up prosecuted in court and on the other hand medway council cannot even assure you that what they are telling you is correct!!!!!!

We look at a recent case of benefit overpayment, before we go into detail i want to make it clear that there are more families who are in employment claiming Housing benefit than their are those unemployed.

Right before i get on my soap box, These overpayments are becoming rather popular with medway council and they are becoming more ridiculous by the day. We have just been viewing a letter sent by medway council to a resident explaining that SHE is responsible for repaying the overpayment HOWEVER if you were to look on the rear of the benefit overpayment notification it quite clearly state’s;

if payment is made to a landlord– the social security administration act 1997 imposes a duty on landlords to notify the council of any changes in circumstances, which may affect the claimants entitlement to benefit”

The strange thing about this is that it also states the follow;

youare responsible for telling us about a change in circumstances”!

Yes, yes silly i know but what did you really expect, but there is a point to this!
The point being if you did go to the medway council website to get advice regarding a change in circumstances they make absolutely no reference to the comment above [also shown in the photo below].

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[please click on picture to enlarge]

seems to us that medway council are relying on the fact that you will not refer to the conditions on the back of the notices.

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Cllr O’Brian vs Grain Residents

There is a time in everyones life when you cannot sit back anymore and watch while the corporations around you destroy the things you hold so dear, memories of children growing up, the house where your children were born and so on. The Isles of Grain has been home to nearly 2000 residents for many years, the families close nit and children more so. Playing on the grassed area outside your home with nothing to worry about other than “am i close enough to hear mum when she calls me in for dinner” ?

The days where you could allow your children to run through the long grass fields shouting and screaming without upsetting the neighbors, letting your children dig in the dirt for that illusive old 1 pence piece they so innocently know as ‘treasure’! After all thats why the residents of Grain live where they do, residents who simply want a relatively quiet life, giving their children the very freedoms many of us enjoyed on a daily basis.

Reality

In reality the residents of Grain are facing a lifetime of heavily laden commercial traffic polluting the beautiful countryside air, noise pollution which would make anyone believe they were under a commercial flight path but more worryingly the residents of Grain are facing the grim reality of a liquified gas explosion which could have a catastrophic outcome to every man women and child in Grain. With the constant daily worry of this occurrence the residents of grain cannot help but worry for safety of their loved ones.

Appeal

Residents of the isle of grain soon realized that medway council didn’t value the concern of the grain residents, having taken part in resident meetings the council came away upholding the position that they have ‘done enough’, meanwhile grain residents left with no more answers, one resident said ” we are fuming, they seem to have no regard for our concerns, if this is how medway council treat people dealing with the daily risk of a catastrophic explosion how do they treat people who have complaints about anti social behavior!

After all lets not forget that the reduction of “anti-social behavior” is seen as a government target for local authorities BUT the safety of 1700 residents is no more important than the price of coffee in the gun wharf canteen.

A large opposition has been maintained against medway council and LNG grain however they seem to be missing they residents points, they accept if they have to live so close to Grain LNG then at least make sure that every single effort is made to reassure the residents and their children that they can be safe in their homes. We have heard some [quiet frankly] ridiculous comments from Cllr O’brian like;

“get your children to run to the nearest building”

Commenting like this simply re-enforces the fact that medway council and HSE are more concerned about the logistical plans and expansion plans of Grain LNG. In a letter from Paul Johnson of the National Grid to Chris Butler the principle planner of Medway council the national grid projects manager challenges part of its conditions held within the planning (Hazardous substances) Act 1990, National grid explain that due to having the opportunity to purchase (although not compulsory but as good as ) Harvest cottage they are in a position to simply destroy the building and therefor eliminating the need to insert a “trip system” as required by the SIL2 uk standards. In this document we read that the trip system commissioned by the company had NOT been accredited and had NOT met minimum safety standards as required. Further more, evidence shows that two of these detection systems are in place in the pipeline corridor and both were capable of detecting low temperatures, this in turn would send a critical alarm notification to an operator who in medway councils OWN WORDS should be able to respond rapidly!

So even if national grid/grain LNG didn’t make a compulsory purchase of harvest cottage we find it very convenient that the cottage came up for sale thus eliminating the need for the very expensive trip system which didn’t pass the standards for accreditation.

We are left with a number of concerns which medway council view as un important, with just the one road into Grain we cant help but worry about the access route for emergency vehicles, the road already struggles with traffic if there is any sign of hold up. Medway council take the view that they have no case to answer with regard to this, we are concerned that if an explosion was to occur how would the emergency services reach Grain in a reasonable time if this road becomes laden with industrial traffic?

We also look at the responses from Cllr O’brian regarding our responsibility to educate our children, this as i except is something we as parents should do however this raises issues regarding children with learning difficulties and other disabilities. Whilst i agree that many children with disabilities would be understanding of such instructions we must remember that some would not, maybe some would not understand the seriousness of the siren sounding. We also give regard to the elderly residents and less mobile residents who may not have the ability to simply run inside.

We have taken a view that medway council Cllrs for the Isle Of Grain have shown a disregard for residents of Grain and also a lack of regard for the quality of family life that many of these residents had chosen, this begs a question;

If the pipeline corridor ran directly through Grain domestic area would the National Grid have magically purchased all of the private dwellings in its path? It appears that the one cottage (harvest) cottage which once stood caused caused for restrictions and conditions to be put in place, harvest cottage managed to easily to disappear to the delight of Grain LNG.

We call into question the motives and actions of the Cllrs and Medway council and encourage residents to continue to press for answers, meanwhile our investigators will be looking at each phase and measure put in place with the aim of challenging these disproportionate measures. If you would like to know more about this please take the time to visit the grain residents opposition website where you can view in depth the unprofessional manner which medway council and its ‘agents’ have conducted themselves.

To view more stories please click HERE

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Big Brother Is Watching

The Government will today announce legislation which will lead to a huge expansion of surveillance powers of communications on the internet and mobile phones.

The Communications and Data Bill will allow the police and security services to keep track of who is calling whom on mobile phones, the email addresses of all correspondents, and the personal IDs of people chatting on social networking sites.

The bill is likely to provoke huge controversy and has already been attacked by privacy and civil liberty campaigners.

They have noted that its controversial publication comes on the day that much of the media is focussed on David Cameron’s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry.

The new powers are seen by the government, the police and the security services as essential to keep pace with innovations on the internet.

These have allowed organised criminals and terrorists to evade traditional methods of phone interception and monitoring.

Communications Service Providers will have to store communications data, possibly to specially fitted “black boxes” – funded by the taxpayer.

Mobile phone operators will also be expected to provide the duration of calls, the time of day they were made and the location of the caller to police.

No warrant would be required for these surveillance operations, which would need to be authorised by a “senior officer”, Whitehall sources said.

“There would have to be a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to trigger this sort of data collection,” an official said.

“And there will be no collection of data in real time,” the official added. Local authorities will be excluded from collecting data.

A warrant, issued by the Home Secretary, would be needed to access the content of communications.

Oversight of the surveillance is likely to be a major issue. Britain is already the most snooped upon country in the world by Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV).

The London borough of Wandsworth has more CCTV cameras than the cities of Johannesburg, Paris and Boston – combined, recent research has shown.

Officials said that judicial oversight of surveillance was not possible because “there simply aren’t enough magistrates”.

“If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear,” said one.

Civil liberties campaigners and many MPs are uncomfortable with the expanded powers.

To read more of this Sky News article please go to the sky news website by clicking HERE [Opens New Page]

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Disclaimer Or Fob Off?

Ive decided that today i should write about something which has never occurred to me personally, only through conversation did i think more of this.

It was about two weeks ago when we (mick and i) went to the home of our veteran who is being harassed by medway council over the benefit overpayments. In discussion we were talking about any steps he or his carer had taken to ensure they were doing the correct thing and letting the relevant agencies know about any change in circumstance. The veteran was in the middle of explaining how he used the medway council website as a form of advice until They came across the disclaimer.

Given the fact that most people rely on the local authority website for advice and guidance we were horrified to learn that medway council publicly advertise that they [ medway council ] accept no responsibility for the information on their website!

Extract From Medway Council Website

“Medway Council is committed to the highest standard of information and every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information. However, Medway Council gives no warranty as to the accuracy of the information on this web site and accepts no liability for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on such information.”

Mick and i in the process of investigating this matter listened to our veteran as he explain that as a disclaimer was in place he could not or felt as though he could not follow guidance from the medway council website. I find it absurd that a local authority who continually instruct residents to use the local authority website as a means of clarification also accept NO responsibility for the information held within those pages. Our blog/website does contain controversial articles however i would never dream of not taking responsibility of those articles.

How could medway council seriously expect a resident to follow guidelines if medway council cannot confirm if they are correct!! I think that this simply demonstrates that medway council seem to have this paranoia so far set it that they are just waiting for residents to bite them back.

This i have to say is unreasonable to say the least, medway council expect medway residents to follow guidelines in order to correctly file information, if that resident does not complete the correct steps he or she could find themselves in court facing prosecution. It is a disgrace how medway council can issue instructions yet be held responsible if they turn out to be incorrect.

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