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School funding cuts shouldn't deny children a full and varied education

School funding is being cut - there's little doubt about that.  Funding changes and increased costs mean schools in Reading have less mo...

30 May 2011

Reading Community Carnival - rainy but spirits far from dampened.



The boys and I have just got back from watching the Reading Community Carnival.  Despite the rain there were lots of people along the Oxford Road waiting and watching.  The procession certainly lifted the mood on an otherwise grey and dreary day.  We decided not to go up to Prospect Park but to go home to the warm and watch the Reading v Swansea football match.

It makes me proud to be a resident of Reading to see so many people come together for the Carnival and the football.

(Sorry for the sound quality - I recorded it on my camera)

25 May 2011

The hard work begins

The Mayor has been made, the Deputy elected and leader of the Council in place (despite Tory and Lib Dem heckling and protestation and Cllr Swaines Green goody bag).  Labour are back in control with a manifesto to deliver.  It will be a challenging year as we have to work with the Tory/Lib Dem budget and further cuts from the Tory led Government.  We also need to act quickly to protect our NHS.

Battle Ward councillors will continue working hard for Battle.  Some of the issues we have in progress are:

Fly tipping
Anti-social behaviour
Drug use
Street workers
Parking
The Oxford Road Area Study

Please get in contact if you have any comments or concerns and report any issues so they can be dealt with.  You can reach us by email, phone, through the Council website and, of course, by post.  You can also pop into to our monthly surgeries at Battle Library.

I have also taken on a few more responsibilities this year:

Arts Forum
Transport Management Advisory Panel & DiscretionaryParking Permits Appeal Panel
Internal Overview & Scrutiny Commission
Vice chair of the Labour Group

I am looking forward to the next municipal year, serving the people of Battle Ward and Reading.

The real reason the Tories/LibDems are cross about Mayor

Last year the Tories and Lib Dems got a taste of power and they want more.

Without a Tory or Lib Dem Mayor they are unable to win the vote in the council chamber without support from the Greens.  Why you ask?  Simple. 

In the event of a tie the Mayor gets the deciding vote.  If the Greens abstain from a vote it will be 22 votes to Labour and 22 to the Tory/Lib Dem/Swaine 'coalition'.  The Mayor decides who wins.  With a Labour Mayor, the Labour Group will win.  If it was a Tory or Lib Dem Mayor, the 'coalition' would win.

For there to be a stable administration we need a Labour Mayor.  It is a shame the tradition of deputy becoming Mayor couldn't continue but I am sure, if they were in our position, they would do exactly the same.

19 May 2011

How my garden is growing

It's not all politics and, as things are still uncertain regarding who will form an administration (although Labour looking  likely), I thought I would do a garden update.

I had a lot of work to do this year as the garden was neglected after last years election and my youngest arriving 2 months early.  I weeded, dug in compost and manure, cut the lawn, got the weeds out from between the slabs in the path and refurbished the water feature.  I can now go out there and not feel guilty!

I am growing more fruit and veg than I thought I would:

Veg - peas, courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, salad leaves, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, chillis, radishes, spring onions, french beans & runner beans.
Fruit - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherrys, tayberries, blackberries, rhubarb, apples and nectarine on dwarf trees.

I don't have a big garden so a lot of the veg are in containers and a very clever hanging veg kit.  It's so exciting to see the first shoots of something and I think we will get our first strawberry soon.  I will then have the fun task of preventing the 3 year old from helping himself!

9 May 2011

What will the Greens do?

Last weeks election results left the Greens in an interesting position.

Labour have 22 councillors and 39.9% of the vote.  The Conservatives have 16 councillors and 34.1% of the vote.  The Lib Dems lost all the wards they were defending and have 5 councillors and suspended Lib Dem Cllr Swaine remaining.  The means last years coalition does not have enough councillors to lead the council, their total also being 22 (if Cllr Swaine is included).  The Green now have 2 councillors.

There has been talk of a 'rainbow coalition' consisting of the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Cllr Swaine and the Greens - a total of 24 councillors.  I think this would be a huge mistake.

The Greens won in Park ward with 1585 votes and Labour came a close second with 1213.  The Conservatives came a poor third with 735 votes.  The people of Park have made it clear - if they didn't have a Green councillor they would have a Labour councillor and they don't want much to do with the Conservatives (and even less to do with the Lib Dems with just 123 votes).

If the Greens side with the Lib Dems and Conservatives to form this 'rainbow coalition' I think they would be doing the Labour party in Park ward a huge favour and irreparably damaging their reputation at the same time.

6 May 2011

Congratulations Cllr Chris Maskell and Reading Labour

Well, what a day.  Election time is always stressful and exciting at the same time and never more so at the count at Rivermead.  You can usually get a rough idea as to how the voting has gone when they start separating the votes into parties.  They then count the ballots into 25's then the 25's into 100's and the 100's into 500's.  Once they get to this stage, where the winner has a large lead, you can almost count the ballots and guess the result.

This is what happened in Battle ward today.  The Tory candidate had one 500 and some extras and Cllr Chris Maskell had two 500's and some extras so it was obvious he had won.  The final result was:

Chris Maskell (Labour): 1373
Imraan Ishtiaq (Conservatives): 690
John Oakley (Lib Dems): 230
Alan Lockey (Green): 181
Michael Diamond (Common Sense): 81
Jean-Marie Pascual (Roman): 30

It is an excellent result for Cllr Maskell.  He has worked hard for Battle in the past and will continue to do so.  You can visit his website here.

For the full results you can visit the Reading Borough Council website here.  Reading Labour as a whole had a great day holding all seats and gaining Redlands, Church and Katesgrove.

Congratulations Cllr Chris Maskell and Reading Labour.