BIG PIC­TURE

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

SUC­CESS IN LET­TER AP­PEAL

I WOULD like to thank the Ex­press for help­ing me re­unite a Christ­mas card and fam­ily photo from Aus­tralia with the right fam­ily in Mac­cles­field.

For the past four or five years I have re­ceived a Christ­mas let­ter from the Davis fam­ily in New South Wales, Aus­tralia, in­cor­rectly posted to my ad­dress on Brock­le­hurst Av­enue.

It has been ad­dressed to Mr and Mrs Stephen Shaw, but I have had no way of for­ward­ing it on to the cor­rect ad­dress.

This year it has a beau­ti­ful fam­ily pho­to­graph and a news­let­ter of all the year’s events.

I wrote to the Ex­press to try and find the fam­ily.

The pa­per pub­lished my let­ter and Mr Shaw then came to my house after see­ing the let­ter.

I was so pleased to be able to re­unite the pic­ture and card with the fam­ily.

It was a happy end­ing and I want to thank the Ex­press for help­ing find the Shaw fam­ily. Ellen Poole Brock­le­hurst Av­enue Hurds­field

PUT TWEETS IN CON­TEXT

FOL­LOW­ING all the ex­cite­ment around the leader of Cheshire East Coun­cil, Michael Jones’s, so-called tweet­ing I wanted to share my thoughts to give that story some con­text.

Michael Jones isn’t ev­ery­one’s cup of tea, in that he cuts a big fig­ure in lo­cal pol­i­tics and en­joys the cut and thrust of po­lit­i­cal de­bate.

The tweet­ing story is be­ing pushed for elec­toral pur­poses and dis­tracts from Cheshire East’s achieve­ments un­der Michael Jones’s lead­er­ship.

Let me re­mind you of the things started or start­ing dur­ing Michael Jones’s ten­ure that will have last­ing im­pact long after he has gone.

• CEC played a lead­ing role in a na­tional task­force to se­cure the fu­ture of Alder­ley Park, likely to pro­duce 5,000 jobs in the next 10 years

• Cheshire East has one of the big­gest road and rail in­fra­struc­ture pro­grammes out­side of a ma­jor city with £800 mil­lion of pub­lic in­vest­ment an­nounced

• Our business case for an HS2 Su­per­hub sta­tion is sup­ported by Prof David Hig­gins and has been rec­om­mended to gov­ern­ment. That is likely to cre­ate 64,000 jobs across the wider area

• Plan­ning per­mis­sion achieved for the re­gen­er­a­tion of Mac­cles­field town cen­tre which will bring a new cin­ema, new restau­rants and new shops

• 400-500 new sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy jobs which in­cludes a new HQ for the Wa­ters Cor­po­ra­tion which was opened by the Chan­cel­lor last year

• Cre­ation of ‘Fairer Power’, a new en­ergy sup­ply company to ad­dress fuel poverty for Cheshire res­i­dents by pro­vid­ing cheaper en­ergy based on sin­gle tar­iffs in each area so lev­el­ling the play­ing field

• Fastest roll-out of broad­band de­liv­ery in the UK with 97 per cent cov­er­age by next March

• Nine per cent growth in the vis­i­tor econ­omy last year beat­ing ev­ery other area in the north west

• Backed /se­cured £800 mil­lion in­vest­ment in Bent­ley to pro­duce the new SUV model in Crewe and a fur­ther £40 mil­lion in­vest­ment in new re­search and de­vel­op­ment

• I’ll not men­tion four years of coun­cil tax freeze.

If of­fi­cers have tweeted on be­half of Michael Jones or any­one else, that’s wrong; but for good­ness sake let’s de­velop a proper and well rounded per­spec­tive on the mat­ter! David Mar­ren Cheshire East Coun­cil­lor

TWIT­TER­GATE RAISES IS­SUES

LAST week it was re­ported that Cheshire East Coun­cil staff have been writ­ing tweets at­tack­ing po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents of the Con­ser­va­tive leader of Cheshire East Coun­cil, Coun Michael Jones, on his per­sonal Twit­ter ac­count.

There are clearly ques­tions to an­swer as to why this breach of the rules that coun­cil staff should be party po­lit­i­cally im­par­tial was not stopped.

There is one email which reads “if it all hits the fan from th­ese tweets go­ing out to­mor­row I want it known other than get­ting the con­tent I was not in­volved!”

I am un­sure about whether to praise or crit­i­cise the writer of this email. Should I ad­mire this per­son for putting in writ­ing that what was be­ing done was wrong, or should I crit­i­cise them be­cause they knew it was wrong and did noth­ing to stop it?

There is a clear whistle­blow­ing pro­ce­dure for staff to raise con­cerns within Cheshire East Coun­cil. In the light of the Twit­ter­gate rev­e­la­tions, I will be ask­ing ques­tions about whether those whistle­blow­ing pro­ce­dures are ef­fec­tive.

There are two prob­lems with what has been go­ing on. Firstly, it is clear that the rules that coun­cil staff should be party po­lit­i­cally im­par­tial have been bro­ken.

This will make it more dif­fi­cult for non­Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lors to work with coun­cil staff.

The staff who have been draft­ing tweets at­tack­ing Labour coun­cil­lors are staff who should be sup­port­ing me and work­ing with me as a Cheshire East coun­cil­lor to pro­mote Sand­bach and the good work of Cheshire East Coun­cil on is­sues like play­grounds, refuse col­lec­tion, leisure and ed­u­ca­tion.

Se­condly, the cost to the coun­cil of pay­ing the salaries of staff who ap­pear to have been do­ing work for the Con­ser­va­tive Party is not good value for money for coun­cil tax pay­ers.

Cheshire East Coun­cil must not be, or even ap­pear to be, pay­ing for cam­paign­ing for the Con­ser­va­tives in the run up to the elec­tions in May. Coun Sam Cor­co­ran Labour and Co-oper­a­tive Coun­cil­lor for Sand­bach Heath and East WE must tackle en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems to leave the world fit for our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren to live in.

Grab­bing all the good stuff and leav­ing things in a mess is not fair to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Fair­ness is the ba­sis of green pol­i­tics, and the Green Party stands for both en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial jus­tice.

We be­lieve gov­ern­ment should be for the common good. Gov­ern­ment should pro­vide ser­vices for all and should be fair and ef­fi­cient. We should not waste en­ergy, or sub­sidise low wages from taxes. We should not poi­son the in­sects that pol­li­nate our crops.

We are liv­ing in a time of aus­ter­ity. When that means ef­fi­ciency, fine. But is that what it means, when the rich­est get richer, and the poor­est get poorer?

No-one goes into pol­i­tics to dam­age so­ci­ety. How­ever, the Con­Dem gov­ern­ment is not be­ing fair. They have barely re­duced the yearly deficit which means the bud­get is not bal­anced and we must bor­row more. They have not re­duced the debt.

They tell us that they must bal­ance the books like a house­hold. But a gov­ern­ment is not a house­hold; it em­ploys peo­ple to support the in­fra­struc­ture of the coun­try. Th­ese peo­ple pay in­come tax and VAT, and spend money on goods and ser­vices, sup­port­ing tax-pay­ing busi­nesses.

The taxes re­turn to the gov­ern­ment. The pur­pose of ‘aus­ter­ity’ is to cut gov­ern­ment spend­ing per­ma­nently and it is not be­ing done fairly.

What would a Green gov­ern­ment do dif­fer­ently? We would raise the min­i­mum wage to a liv­ing wage, end­ing poverty pay. We would move to a sys­tem where the high­est earner in a business gets no more than ten times the low­est.

We would invest in a low car­bon econ­omy mak­ing re­new­able en­ergy, pro­duc­ing re­li­able, re­pairable ma­chines, cre­at­ing real jobs and in­vest­ing in a fairer fu­ture.

●● This snowy scene was posted on our flickr page by Irene Lea. Send your pho­tos, as a jpeg im­age, to us at mac­cles­field­ex­press@men­media.co.uk or up­load them to our flickr page at flickr.com/groups/mac­cpics. We’ll print the best ones.

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