Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let the Independent Investigation begin...

In Autumn 2007, my girlfriend and I approached her MP, Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby Mr Robert Goodwill, with the facts and the information that we had about the behaviour of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. The information that we provided him with appertained not only to how the council had behaved under the leadership of the LibDem/Conservative/East Cleveland Independent administration, but under the new Labour administration too.

So concerned was Mr Goodwill about the things that we gave him documented evidence of, he decided to show our film, "Coatham a Common Concern", in the House of Commons, he also agreed to call for an independent investigation into our council because he said that if he did not, then he would be neglecting his duty. By the very fact that an MP from an outside constituency was prepared to do this, it shows the severity of what was happening within OUR council.

We had originally approached Vera Bairds office to show the film in the Commons, but all to no avail. However, when she found out that the film was going to be shown in the House of Commons, she then, through underhanded means, found out which MP was going to show it and promplty threatened him with the speaker of the House Of Commons and stopped both the film from being shown in the House and the independent investigation from being called for.

Not only did Vera Baird threaten Mr Goodwill with the Speaker of the House, she told him that the information and the facts that we had provided him with were not based in reality. When she had stopped everything from coming anywhere near to beginning to be investigated properly, she then called for the council to hold an internal investigation that was to be headed by the now ex-finance officer and at the time, acting Chief Executive, Ray Richardson.

The chances of any such internal investigation taking any serious action about the things that we had exposed and brought to Mr Goodwills attention were non-existant, especially when you take into consideration that members of our group had already called for the council to investigate Colin Moore amongst other things, without investigation, that George Dunning had called for Moores investigation twice without any action being taken and when you consider that Ray Richardson himself had been involved in the wrong doing that had been brought to light and had been featured three times in Private Eye for doing so.

I believe Vera Bairds call for an internal investigation was nothing more than a whitewash, an attempt to aide the council in covering up the actions that they all preferred were not brought into the wider public domain?
Shortly after this whitewash was complete, our Judicial Review was successful in the High Court. An action that was based upon most of the same facts that we had presented to Mr Goodwill with, facts that Vera Baird had told Mr Goodwill were not based in reality? Obviously they were.

In the eighteen months since then Rachel, who is Mr Goodwills constituent aswell as being a business owner of 22 years in Redcar and aswell as being a part of The friends of Coatham Common, and myself and other members of our group, have continued to provide Mr Goodwill with all of the facts about the behaviour of our council including the downgrading of the council after we provided the Audit Commission with the same facts that we provided him with, you know, the ones that Baird said weren't based in reality and including the fact that the council were recently found to have been negligent by the Audit Commission for investing money in Icelandic banks after the warnings had been issued.

Presumably because of these things, because the speaker of the House of Commons told me in a letter that he has no jurisdiction outside the chamber of the House, because Rachel is his constituent and therefore has a right to be represented by her MP, Mr Goodwill is now showing Craig Hornby and the Friends of Coatham Commons' film in the House of Commons on the 5th of May. The first cut of this film was shown in the Coatham Bowl in October 2007. But there have been so many other things that have happened and come to light that the final cut of the film, which is absolute dynamite, is now finally complete.

Something else that has happened is that in the time since the first cut of the film was shown, the Government have passed a bill in parliament which basically encourages communities at grass roots level becoming involved with democratic processes that affect us all.In showing our film in the mother of all parliaments, the seat of democracy in this country, to an invited audience that took us so months to compile, we are taking the Government up on their invitation for communities to get involved and we intend to hold our local authority, who are at best incompetent and our MP who has been made aware of all what has been going on here but done absolutely nothing about, to account.

We will show our film, we will have a voice and we will call for the independent investigation that should have taken place so long ago.When the film has been shown in the commons on the 5th of May and the independent investigation called for, it will then be shown in Coatham Church on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May. We then intend to be take it round venues in the Borough.

The powers that be in Redcar and Cleveland have arrogantly dismissed the public. They have not listened to the thousands of voices who are against this disastrous scheme ( to quote Vera Bairds radio interview ) they have not told the truth to the public. Instead, they have wrongly smeared and castigated people campaigning against this housing scheme in the press and in their own literature and branded them 'liars', 'bullies', 'intimidating', a 'rabble', 'armchair anarchists', 'threatening' and even started an untrue smear campaign that I was a member of the BNP.

They have not listened and they have carried on behaving in the same, terrible, illegal, undemocratic way and in a way that begs more questions than it answers. They have assumed that they are above the law and that all of their actions would go uninvestigated.

I've got news for 'em all.

They were wrong.

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