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Tony Allen

Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE!

Sun 11 Sep 2011

By Tony Allen

NEWSPAPERS GONE

So the News of the World has gone. I wonder how many people really miss it. In a way for it to have been the best selling Sunday paper perhaps shows what sort of nation we have become. When news about soaps and scandals involving their actors becomes viewed as important and titillating then what is that really telling us?

The greater loss in my mind is the daily copy of the Herald Express, a successful and well read paper covering primarily Torbay, Teignbridge and the South Hams. The writing has been on the wall for years I suppose. Firstly becoming an evening paper printed overnight and delivered in the morning! Then moving printing to Weymouth. Now it’s reduced to a fat weekly edition on Thursdays. Coverage of local events, sports and news will, in my view, all suffer. I remember when they produced a Saturday evening special football edition with all the local results, but of course TV and the internet changed all that. The Express & Echo and Plymouth Herald look next in line.

NORWEGIAN TRAGEDY

As some of you will know, I have family attachments to Sweden, and am quite familiar with the Nordic way of life. So it was with great horror and disbelief that I heard the news about the bombing and massacre of young people in Norway in July. This is so non-Scandinavian.

The kingdom of Norway is a well established democracy (but did you know that it used to be Swedish until 1905?) with a great land mass and a very small population. I’m sure almost every part of the country lost someone in this tragedy, or knows someone who did. They will never be able to get over this. It is a sharp lesson to all of us, even here in rural Devon, when we hear individuals and groups preaching hatred of foreigners and other ethnic groups, just how close to home this sort of thing can get. As we feel the sorrow of this terrible tragedy in a country that shares ties and history with us, in a way we can feel that we’re all Norwegians now.

SAVING THE CHEQUE

Well, you may be interested to know the Lib Dem MP for Solihull (Lorely Burt) has successfully led the campaign to save the cheque. This was against the weight of the will of the Payments Council (surprise, surprise, a body funded by the banks) and was backed by a massive petition delivered by MPs to Downing Street, and the backing of influential bodies such as Which? magazine (for the Consumers Association), among others.

Cheques are vital in an area such as ours, being used by clubs and charities, small traders and businesses, and those without access to the internet, especially the more elderly and infirm members of our community. This is a great victory for common sense and people power, and, whether you like politics being mentioned or not, I believe it’s a good example of what the Lib Dems are doing in government to help ordinary folk like you and me. What we require now is for the banks to reinstate the cheque guarantee card (withdrawn on 30 June this year) to make paying by cheque risk free to shops and those providing the local goods and services we need like plumbing, window cleaning, garden maintenance and the like. The arrogance of the banks (whom we as citizens have saved through our taxes during these times of financial crisis) in ignoring services their customers want, is really amazing and very out of touch.   

SPECIAL CONSTABLES

With my Neighbourhood Watch hat on, I recently responded to a request by Devon & Cornwall police to NHW groups in south Devon about whether we would find the recruitment of special constables of value to our communities. With the backing of Bovey Tracey Town Council, I’m discussing this with the police. I’m pleased to say that, if we were to be successful in gaining a special constable for this area, it would have no impact on the composition of the current excellent neighbourhood policing team. Also, with the plans to reduce the current level of CCTV cover, this would give us more police presence on the streets, which is what most of us seem to want. I’ll let you know if we have any success with this. In an earlier article, I asked whether you preferred more police on the street or&&

POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONERS

The story changes on this, as the House of Lords has rejected the legislation for elected police commissioners, elections for which were scheduled to take place, at considerable public cost, next May. Instead, the proposals to appoint a Commissioner by a panel similar to present Police Authoities, which together would form a Police Commission, were put forward by the Lords. These proposals have been welcomed by the Association of Police Authorities, and many in different political parties, addressing many concerns of the public about political interference in the policing system, and putting unchecked power in the hands of one person. The Home Secretary wants to reverse this decision. However, in my view the phone hacking scandal surrounding News International and the Metropolitan Police, and the influence of the former on politicians in the highest positions, only helps to back the view that elected political Police & Crime Commissioners are not the answer to impartial governance of the police service. What do you think? 

METAL THEFT

You may have read or heard about an increase in the theft of metal from factories, depots, public buildings, church roofs (an old favourite!), farm equipment, vehicles, and street signs. Even roads have been dug up to remove BT underground copper cabling. This is all due to the high price of some metals in the current economic climate. Very recently, thieves stripping the roof of the Palace Theatre in Paignton were spotted, and thanks to a 999 call were arrested with the stolen metal in their vehicles in nearby Goodrington. So whether you’re in a NHW scheme or not, if you see or hear something strange going on, day or night, that could be the theft of metal from a property or site, please call the police on 999 straight away.

BOVEY YOUNG CITIZEN AWARD

The council’s working party has begun planning for this, with an initial commitment to run the awards annually for the four years until the next council elections. Because of the early deadline for these articles in this magazine, I can’t yet say much more than this, except it will be aimed at young people aged 18 and under. We will be putting together a programme to promote the award through various means, including making local organisations aware of it, and probably leafleting homes and businesses. The criteria for making nominations will be explained, as will be the timescales and judging process. The award will cover the whole of the Bovey Tracey parish, which of course includes Heathfield.

 

Tony Allen is a Bovey Tracey Town Councillor & Leader of the Bovey NHW Forum

 



Other columns by Tony Allen

TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” - Tue 9 Nov 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” GETTING INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL - Mon 2 Aug 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BOVEY THANKS VOLUNTEERS & “LIFELINE” SHOPS - Mon 14 Jun 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BREATHS OF FRESH AIR ALL AROUND - Tue 7 Jul 2020
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” COMMUNITY COHESION………………… - Tue 11 Feb 2020
CLIMATE ACTION: WHERE DO YOU START?.......... - Mon 2 Dec 2019
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN OUR LOCAL COUNCILS…? - Thu 1 Aug 2019
BOVEY TRACEY ACHIEVES “PLASTIC FREE” STATUS........... - Fri 3 May 2019
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
COMMUNITY MATTERS - “PLASTIC FREE BOVEY”, RARE PRAISE, ELECTIONS - Thu 8 Nov 2018
Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
GOOD NEWS, SPECULATION, AND MORE GOOD NEWS - Thu 5 Jan 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security in the current Economic Climate - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records  Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - are you being conned? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help? - Wed 4 Nov 2009


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