Archive for the 'North East' Category

07
May
09

pigs set to gather at Iain Malcolm’s trough on saturday

After a hectic few days Mr Monkey is back in the swing of things.

Next Tuesday the people of South Tyneside will know the names of all the councillors that have either been bought off with paid positions and whose silence and obedience has been guaranteed for another year. 

Last year the then newly crowned council leader, Iain Malcolm broke with tradition and made a few more enemies within his own ranks by giving paid positions to a handful of opposition councillors all of whom gladly took anything that was on offer as long as it was paid.

Councillor Iain Malcolm’s motives were two fold – to prevent the opposition from uniting and to exert his dominance over the Jarrow Labour party by rubbing their faces in it- apparently he’s always promised his inner circle that when he grabs power he would put an end to the Jarrow Labour party and shut Jarrow town hall.

Mr Monkey reckons Saturday’s Labour group meeting will be a lively affair as many loyal party members are angry that they have either not been offered a paid position or that they have not been given what they want. This chimp has heard that resentment is growing and that if councillor Malcolm gives any paid positions to opposition councillors this will be seen as a slap in the face by some and will re-open many of the old wounds.

Followers of the local political scene will have noticed that Iain Malcolm’s leadership style has revived the old A and B team split between Jarrow and South Shields and that the infighting began within days of him taking the leadership last May.

The most recent example of this split is the sudden and dramatic departure of senior councillor and cabinet member Tom Hanson who resigned from his lucarative position in the cabinet less than 2 weeks before the new cabinet was announced. CLICK HERE.

'Saturday's gathering of the pigs round Iain Malcolm's trough promises to be a lively affair'

'Saturday's gathering of the pigs round Iain Malcolm's trough promises to be a lively affair'

It seems that once the news leaked out, councillor Malcolm was furious and has ordered an investigation into how this sensitive information got into the public domain. He’s also tried to silence councillor Hanson by threatening to remove him from the Integrated Transport Authority which is a well paid postion and gives him free travel.

Councillor Hanson now refuses to comment on the matter publicly but privately he’s telling everyone that he’s been treated very badly and has been “shit on”. He’s also telling peopel that if councillor Malcolm insists on trying to break up the Jarrow Labour party he will reveal what he knows about councillor Malcolm, his leadership style and what the real agenda in the town hall is.

Mr Monkey can’t wait for Saturday and is looking forward to witnessing Iain Malcolm’s pigletts fighting over who gets what from his trough and it will be interesting to see how many people levae the meeting with a bloody nose.

27
Apr
09

twat of the week

'Twat of the Week .. again'

'Twat of the Week .. again'

There’s only one contender for the Twat of the Week award and that’s Papa John Szymanski, the Labour party lackey who moonlights as the editor of the Shields Gazette Malcolm Fanzine.

According to this post CLICK HERE he did’nt take kindly to being told the truth about his unhealthy relationship with Labour council leader, Iain Malcolm, aka Miss Piggy. 

Papa John ignored his own senior management, preferring instead to seek the advice of alleged election fraudster councillor Iain Malcolm. Apparently he told him to use the council’s code of conduct to lodge a formal complaint against the author of the article.

Unfortunately Papa John didn’t think of the consequences of his actions and in his desperation to stop any criticism he’s allowed the Shields Gazette to become the biggest joke in the North East, whilst at the same time he has become a figure of ridicule within his profession.

Congratulations Mr Szymanski with poor judgement like this, you deserve the titleTwat of the Week and perhaps it’s time your other employer, Johnston Press took decisive action against you.

22
Apr
09

exclusive: Editor of the Gazette desperately tries to silence his critics

Yesterday Mr Monkey revealed that editor of the Shields Gazette and chair of the Northern region of the Society of Editors, John Szymanski had complained to council leader Iain Malcolm about the contents of a newsletter that criticised the Gazette’s less then healthy relationship with the ruling Labour group. CLICK HERE.

This chimp can now confirm that Mr Szymanski has brought his profession into disrepute by attempting to silence his critics. Unfortunately his actions have made a mockery out of his so called commitment to free-speech and has raised some serious questions about his integrity and judgement as well as his suitability to continue as a editor of the once proud Shields Gazette.

It seems that Mr Szymanski took exception to the following statement published in the spring edition of the Independent newsletter for Westoe: 

WITH ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY why is our local rag not full of accounts of all the questions, discussion and debate raised by the Independent Alliance? It has been suggested that the Gazette has become part of the Malcolm Fanzine Cavalcade. Since Cllr Iain Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and took on the role publicly that he has always had, leader of the Council, the editor of the Gazette is seen more often at the jollies previously mentioned than the Mayor! The Alliance has no need to depend upon the Gazette for reporting its activities, we can do it ourselves. As you know we distribute newsletters four times a year, produce special leaflets for specific issues e.g. Gypsies Green and the disappearing ballot boxes, knock on doors and talk to people throughout the year and hold public meetings. Never the less, it is sad to think that free press is not that free and has been bought for an onion baghee from the buffet! 

 … apparently the truth hurts.

A source close to Iain Malcolm has confirmed that he alerted Mr Szymanski to the article who in turn was so incensed by the critiscim he faced that he contacted the council leader to see if there was anything he could do about it. Councillor Malcolm told him there was nothing he could do officially and that the best course of action would be for him to make a formal complaint to the local Standard’s Board. Councillor Malcolm explained the process in more detail and even told him which sections to quote in his complaint.

Mr Monkey can now reveal that John Szymanski has complained to the Standard’s Board about councillor Jane Branley whose name was on the newsletter and that following a confidential report to a sub committee the matter will now be investigated further.

What councillor Malcolm didn’t tell John Szymanski was that when a complaint is made to the Standard’s Board the person who the complaint is lodged against is told who made the complaint. Poor Mr Szymanski thought he was making an anonymous complaint and that no one would find out about it, least of all councillor Branley and especially his own staff – nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr Szymanski’s desperation to silence his critics and his willingness to please his paymaster has back fired and he has been labelled a hypocrite with no integrity. He’s also become the laughing stock of his profession – but worse is to come.

Mr Monkey will be contacting senior managers staff at Johnston Press in Edinburgh and will be sending hard copies of this post to every member of the Society of Editors and not just in the North East.

Mr Monkey has also learned that a further 20,000 newsletters containing the same article have been distributed in Hebburn South, Whiteleas, Biddick and All Saints, Horsley Hill and Whitburn and Marsden - apparently there’s more to follow.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how Mr Szymanski is going to explain this latest in a long line of gaffes to his senior managers? 

09
Mar
09

gazette watch

Bloggers will have noticed that the local snooze paper has become the official voice of the borough’s Labour run council and that it’s editor Mr Dumpy, aka Papa John Szymanski has handed over editorial control to his paymaster council leader Iain Malcolm.

This has been a gradual process and at first Papa John paid lip service to his profession by at least appearing to be reporting things from a neutral perspective and even appeared to occasionally challenge the shit churned out by the Minister of Propaganda, Linda Fothergill, aka the council’s Head of Communications.

Miss Piggy, aka councillor Iain Malcolm, quickly realised how easy it was to manipulate Mr Dumpy – all he had to do was make him feel loved, invite him to council functions and make sure the fat bastard could stuff his face with free sausagee rolls – and the Gazette was his to control.

But over the last month Mr Monkey has noticed that Papa John Szymanski appears to have handed over editorial control to the local Labour party and they in turn seem to publish whatever they want with little or no involvement from the paper’s journalists, especially the so called council reporter Paul Myles Kelly.

Mr Monkey thought he’d test this theory by comparing the council’s latest press release about a possible reduction in council rents with Paul Myles Kelly’s article. CLICK HERE.

Housing Minister set to give away £175 million but Ed Malcolm wants the credit'

Housing Minister set to give away £175 million but Ed Malcolm wants the credit'

This chimp was astounded by the results and proves beyond doubt that Papa John Szymanski is nothing more than Miss Piggy’s plaything and that the Gazette is just another propaganda tool for the local Labour run council.

Judge for yourself – below is the press release issued by the council

COUNCIL RECONSIDERS RENTS FOLLOWING GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Council tenants in South Tyneside could be set for a reduction in next year’s rent increase after the Government announced a new package of financial support for local authorities.

South Tyneside Council has already agreed a 6.84 per cent rise in rents for 2009/10, in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring guidelines.

But the Council is now reconsidering that figure following today’s Government decision to slash its average guideline rent increase for 2009/10 from 6.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

The Government is providing up to £175 million to local authorities in England in an effort to encourage councils to reduce the amount tenants would have to pay for the coming year.

The Council’s Lead Member Resources, Councillor Ed Malcolm, said: “This is welcome news from the Government. Both the Council and the Board of South Tyneside Homes wrote to the Government at the turn of the year to express our concerns that their average guideline rent increase was above what most people could afford at this difficult time, and we have been pressing the Government to rethink its position. We are delighted that the Government has listened to our calls, and responded.

“We are keen to provide real help now for Council tenants. I have instructed officers to assess the revised position following this afternoon’s announcement with a view to making recommendations that will ensure that Council tenants can benefit. We are aware that tenants have already received letters outlining next year’s rent increase, and will be contacting them again as soon as we are in a position to do so.”

The Council’s existing rent increase of 6.84 per cent was agreed in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring policy. This policy aims to bring the amount council tenants pay into line with people living in properties managed by other registered social landlords, such as housing associations.

As Council rents in South Tyneside are historically low, rent increases are often slightly higher than the Government’s guideline in order to close the gap with rents charged by other landlords.

Any change to the increase in rents for 2009/10 would have to be agreed by full Council.

Now compare this to the article below that appeared in the The Labour Gazetteer, formerly known as the Shields Gazette. The differences between the 2 articles have been highlighted in red and amount to a change of title, the addition of 8 words and the removal of 2 others.

TENANTS IN LINE FOR RENT CUTS

COUNCIL house tenants in South Tyneside could be set for a major reduction in next year’s rent increase after the Government announced a new package of financial support for local authorities.

South Tyneside Council had already agreed a 6.84 per cent rise in rents for 2009/10, in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring guidelines.

But the council is now reconsidering that figure after today’s Government decision to slash its average guideline rent increase for 2009/10 from 6.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

The Government is providing up to £175m to local authorities in England in an effort to encourage councils to reduce the amount tenants would have to pay for the coming year.

The council’s lead member for resources, Coun Ed Malcolm, said: “This is welcome news from the Government.

“Both the council and the board of South Tyneside Homes wrote to the Government at the turn of the year to express our concerns that their average guideline rent increase was above what most people could afford at this difficult time.

“We have been pressing the Government to rethink its position, and we are delighted the Government has listened to our calls, and responded.

“We are keen to provide real help now for council tenants.

“I have instructed officers to assess the revised position after this announcement, with a view to making recommendations that will ensure that council tenants can benefit.

“We are aware that tenants have already received letters outlining next year’s rent increase, and will be contacting them again as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
 
The council’s existing rent increase of 6.84 per cent was agreed in accordance with the Government’s rent restructuring policy.
 
This policy aims to bring the amount council tenants pay into line with people living in properties managed by other registered social landlords, such as housing associations.

As council rents in South Tyneside are historically low, rent increases are often slightly higher than the Government’s guideline in order to close the gap with rents charged by other landlords.

Any change to the increase in rents for 2009/10 would have to be agreed by full council, at a meeting on March 26.
Well done Paul Myles Kelly, another worthwhile piece of investigative journalism worthy of your profession the Gazette.
20
Feb
09

Twat of the week

'Casanova shares the Twat of The Week award with the Audit Commission'

'Casanova shares the Twat of The Week award with the Audit Commission'

This week Mr Monkey has taken the unusual step of splitting the The Twat of The Week award between two worthy winners - councillor Michael Clare and the Audit Commission

Bloggers will know that South Tyneside Council loves picking up worthless awards and accolades and then force feeding the public a diet of shit by telling us all how good they are.

Apparently council services are regularly audited by the Audit Commission so that government can check on performance and value for money.

Some people believe the Audit Commission is a toothless wonder that’s in the pocket of government and reguarly fails to detect poor financial management and bad practise.

Here in South Tyneside, it was the Audit Commission who failed to spot an £11 million plus black hole in the council finances and then couldn’t explain why they had signed off the council’s accounts.

Today Mr Monkey has learned that this inept organisation has revealed that South Tyneside has among the ‘best pavements’ in the region and the second best in North East England.

Mr Monkey reckons the inspectors that visited the borough must have been blind. Either that or The Dominatrix, aka Irene Lucas the chief executive of South Tyneside Council stage managed the visit?

This chimp reckons there’s no way the inspectors would have reached this conclusion by wandering round the streets of Horsley Hill, Biddick Hall, Jarrow, Hebburn, Whiteleas or Simonside and Rekendyke.

But what’s really depressing about this latest ‘award’ con is that councillor Michael Clare actually believes the shite being spewed out by the council’s press office.

Cum on Casanova (more of this later) everyone except the fuckwits in the cabinet and chief executive’s office knows that the borough’s pavements are in a terrible state – just ask the council’s insurance company who are increasingly being asked to pick up the tab when people sue!

19
Feb
09

April Fool

'Mr Dumpy the sauasge roll loving cretin'

'Mr Dumpy the sausage roll loving cretin'

When Mr Monkey read this shite CLICK HERE about the editor of the Gazette, Papa John Szymanski, aka Mr Dumpy, the first thing he did was check the date; it wasn’t April 1st was it?

Mr Monkey’s not sure what the region’s editors were thinking of when they ‘appointed’ this sausage roll loving cretin as the chair of the Northern region of the Society of Editors, although he’s now been told by an insider working for the Trinity Mirror group that Papa John was the only twat to put himself forward. 

No wonder the sour faced cunt with five chins got the job!

Apparently when Papa John accepted the post he was given a ceremonial miner’s lamp so he can find his way further up Iain Malcolm’s arse and he promptly embarrassed himself by trying to eat it – he thought it was some kind of novelty sausage roll.

During his acceptance speech, Papa John read out a statement from his paymaster Iain Malcolm said,

“I am honoured to accept this position in what is a challenging time for the media. A free Press is essential to any democracy and I will strive to ensure the Society does its utmost to protect the freedom of all sectors of the media to report on behalf of the public.”

What he meant to say was,

“I am honoured to accept this position on behalf of my paymaster councillor Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council in what is a challenging time for him as the 2010 elections approach. The Press must be at the beck and call of it’s paymasters and democracy means nothing unless we do as we are told. I will strive to ensure the Society does its utmost to protect Labour in the North East and will ensure all sectors of the media only report the news our paymasters want us to as we cannot afford to tell the public the truth”.

Mr Monkey has been told that the Society recognises the universal right to freedom of expression, the importance of the vitality of the news media in a democratic society, and the promotion of Press and broadcasting freedom and the public right to know.

But all this is about to change under the leadership of Iain Malcolm Mr Dumpy, aka Papa John Szymanski especially if the Gazette is anything to go by.

16
Feb
09

EXCLUSIVE: North East Traffic News From Mr Monkey

On Saturday Mr Monkey revealed that Johnston Press, the owners of the Gazette, had signed a deal with the UK Highways Agency to allow 323 of it’s websites to broadcast real time traffic news but it seems the people of South Tyneside are set to miss out.

Apparently the Gazette is unlikely to be adding this feature to its website because of question marks over the long term future of Britain’s oldest provincial newspaper - so this chimp thought he’d come to their rescue.

From today bloggers will by able to get up to the minute North East traffic news on Mr Monkey’s Blog by clicking on Latest Traffic News link on the side bar directly above the link to the Shields Gazette.

13
Feb
09

Miliband Set To Cheat on Colmans

South Shields stay away MP David Miliband the self confessed potato head whose renowned for his love of chips is widely believed to be planning a surprise visit to Westerhope this weekend to taste the best chips in the North East.

Readers of this blog will know that ‘Chips’ Miliband has a cosy relationship with Colmans fish and chip shop on Ocean Road. Apparently it’s down to the batter and has nothing to do with the owner, Richard Ord’s generosity towards the local Labour party.

"and the chips ain't bad too"

"and the chips ain't bad too"

It seems that Mr Miliband’s love of chips has got the better of him and he’s planning a sneaky trip to Gormans @ Westerhope – sorry David but your secret is out. 

This family-run fish and chip shop on Redburn industrial estate, Westerhope, Newcastle, beat thousands of contenders to win an award for the standard of its chips and has been named the North East’s Perfect Portion winner during National Chip Week.

Unlike Colmans recent award, where Richard Ord had to charm a panel of judges, Gormans award was based on what the public think.

With praise like this it’s no wonder ‘Chips’ Miliband has been tempted to cheat on Colmans.

07
Feb
09

Is It Worth Advertising In The Gazette?

"Don't waste your money"

"Don't waste your money"

The credit crunch has got many local businesses thinking about value for money and cost savings especially when it comes to advertising.

Mr Monkey has been carrying out some research in to how effective newspaper advertising really is. There’s a theory that the more local a newspaper the less effective the advertising because local people already know about businesses in their area and in most cases readers simply skip over the ad pages without paying any attention to them – in effect they ignore what they already know.

The advent of the internet has enabled thousands of businesses to market themselves to a worldwide audience at very little cost. In today’s digital world businesses can establish an on-line presence for just a few pounds and can potentially reach an audience of billions. Unlike newspapers where you have to pay for an advert everytme it appears, a web presence, once established is as permanent as you want it to be - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and everyday of the year – now that’s got to be value for money.

With this type of competition to content with it’s no wonder newspapers are struggling to keep both their readers and advertisers. Virtually every newspaper is rapidly losing it’s readership, circulation figures are plummeting and advertising revenues are falling.

A closer examination of the circulation figures reveals a very different picture to the one newspaper advertising staff try to portray. Potential advertisers are told how successful newspaper advertising is and how many people an ad will reach but as with most things, especially at the Gazette everything is not what it seems.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations provides circulation, distribution and attendance data for ABC certified newspapers including the Gazette, the Sunderland Echo, the Chronicle and the Journal. This information is available on-line free of charge at http://www.abc.org.uk/cgi-bin/gen5?runprog=nav/abc&noc=y and makes interesting reading.

The figures reveal that all the region’s publications are losing readers but it also shows that the Shields Gazette is very much the poor relation when it comes to sales.

The latest daily sales figures available are for the period  December 2007 to June 2008 and are:

  • The Chronicle – 71, 878
  • The Sunderland Echo – 41,153
  • The Journal – 34,370
  • The Shields Gazette – 18,152

Based on these industry approved figures it seems advertising in the Shields Gazette is a waste of money so the next time you get a telephone call from their sweet talking sales staff think long and hard before you part with your money.

Industry predictions are that newspaper sales will continue to fall and it’s widely expected that the Gazette will reveal that it’s readership has fallen to around 15,000 the next time their figures are published.

At this rate of decline, Papa John Szymanski will go down in history as the last editor of the country’s oldest provincial newspaper and the man who was responsible for the death of the Gazette. 

Still Papa John could always return to his roots by joining some worthless magazine and Mr Monkey reckons he knows exactly which one – South Tyneside council’s ON VIEW – because anyone stupid enough to buy the Gazette will recognise the similarities.

04
Feb
09

Sub Editors Jobs To Go

It seems the owners of the Shields Gazette,  Johnston Press are continuing to push through thier controversial centralisation agenda in an effort to drive down costs and reduce the number of staff employed on individual titles.

This time Johnston Press is targeting sub-editing and picture desk management at its North West titles – with the potential loss of 12 jobs.

The North West is the third area, after the Midlands and Northern Ireland, where Johnston Press has announced centralisation. Staff were told last Thursday, and meetings were ongoing on Friday. The plans – subject to consultation – would see sub-editing at Chorley, Garstang, Burnley and Wigan moving to Preston, home of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the loss of four jobs.

Sub-editing in Lancaster and Morecambe would move to Blackpool, with six jobs lost but three created, giving a net loss of three.

Five picture desk editors from the region would have to apply for two jobs in Preston, and two photographer roles would also go, bringing the total job losses to 12. Titles affected would include the Burnley Express, the Chorley Guardian, and Morecambe’s The Visitor.

Johnston Press has recently announced centralisation in the Midlands, with 49 potential job losses, and Northern Ireland, with 11 job losses. In the Midlands, the National Union of Journalists is proposing an alternative restructuring. In Northern Ireland, staff at the Derry Journal have balloted for strike action.

When the centralising plans were announced, Johnston Press’s chief operating officer Danny Cammiade said, “Johnston Press is a newspaper group that bases itself on its localness.”

Unfortunately this will come as no comfort to the sub editors at the Gazette who are likely to lose their jobs when the centralisation programme reaches the North East later this year and perhaps now’s the time to look elsewhere.

Mr Monkey has heard that STCentral TV, South Tyneside’s rapidly growing internet TV channel is expanding it’s news operation and is currently recruiting experienced journalists, especially those with knowledge of sub editing – so what are you waiting for?




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