Tag Archives: Bedford Labour Party

Situations Vacant!

27 Nov

Bedford Town and District Council seeks a qualified professional for the position of Town Centre Development Director. Do you have what it takes:

The successful candidate will ideally not live in Bedford, have negligible knowledge of the area other than the quickest ways out and must be prepared to work from home three days per week in order to minimise all contact with Bedford’s terminal but still beating heart. A driving licence would be a good idea because public transport isn’t the best to be honest and the park and ride is a bit of a joke.

Although I've never seen it looking this pretty!

Although I’ve never seen it looking this pretty!

An ability to look down on shopkeepers and traders in a patronising manner would be an advantage although a dismissive approach and overuse of voicemail would suffice. For a town whose motto is “We Never Actually Deliver” you will be adept in moving from one project to another in a deft manner which belies the fact that you’ve not finished the previous biggy off but can blame the more junior members of your team. You will have statistical experience and be capable of over egging the most basic of cases so that 7000 expected visitors through the door is sold as 11,000 for planning applications.

The post comes with a pension plan and you will be eligible to leave after three to four years taking your full pension pot and bung safe in the knowledge that when your abject failure in making any visible improvement to the town becomes headlines you’ll have it banked and be at home in Northamptonshire or wherever.

If you think you fit this description and fancy pulling in circa £127,000 a year then we’d love to hear from you. For an informal off the record chat about the post ring Egbert Donkinson on ext 8753. He’s probably working from home so leave a message.

The closing date was last week as we have someone in mind!


The Labour Lady Vanishes!

20 Nov

A tragedy! After mounting a vigorous campaign against a half soaked Liberal Democrat Mayor the Labour Party Candidate resigns leaving her colleagues including Labour Councillors devastated that their er…vigorous campaigns, their expose’s of the Mayor and his cronies, day in day out there on the stump promising a way out of the financial mess, well it’s all come to naught. Don’t get too excited this isn’t Bedford. Just a bit of me dreaming!

No..what has happened in Bedford though is that Penny Fletcher the Labour Mayoral candidate has resigned after 10 months of following Patrick Hall (Labour wannabe MP for Bedford) and tacky photo opportunities stating family and work commitments as the reason. So with the election looming they’ve got to find some other braveheart to fight their lackluster cause.

The Lady That Vanished!

The Lady That Vanished!

Let’s surmise here. You don’t get elected these days without getting your name about at every opportunity. In Bedford a Mayoral candidate would piggy back on the work and leaflets of local Councillors as they tear vociferously into the activities of the Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson. They’d be in town arguing for a better future. And therein rests a problem in that three of the most senior Labour Councillors are well and truly a part of the Mayors Cabinet, his inner circle and therefore part of the whole decision making process, each and every cut, job loss, and closed service embraced by them. I won’t mention the expenses side of things, the circa £20,000 plus that they get for joining in the sterling work of the Mayor. As for the rest of the Labour Group they appear to have mastered the secret of invisibility!

Penny and Patrick are supporting such a such a blah de blah de ZZZZZZZZZ!

Penny and Patrick are supporting such a such a blah de blah de ZZZZZZZZZ!

So I don’t know if this conundrum had any influence on Penny’s opting out but as far as active high profile campaigning went, well it didn’t. Ian Nicholls who is chair of some Labour forum for something bland and uninspiring has said “Bedford needs a strong Labour voice at its helm to fulfill our ambitions for a fairer more prosperous borough.” Couched words given that for the most part the Labour Group has taken a vow of silence when it comes to the current Mayor. I can only assume that they are so impressed with what he’s achieved and their muted stance is nothing to do with their allowances which as I’ve said before is more than a front line care nurse wiping the dribble from an 84 year old Alzheimer’s sufferer’s mouth earns.

Word from within Borough Hall tells me that the Labour Group rather than opt out of their snuggly coalition (Lib Dem and Labour), refuse their expenses, dig their red flags out and get on with the fight for a Labour Candidate have opted to stay “at one” with the Mayor for the foreseeable future. So over to you, work it out for yourself.

The Bedford Diary..In Which Debs Traverses the Length of Tavistock St!

20 Oct

Tavistock Street doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations. During Tudor times, the butchers did their slaughtering in Butcher Row or the Shambles (roughly where St Pauls Square is now). They were told to clear away the “inwards and entrails” daily, but it was only taken as far as Offal Lane – the old name for Tavistock Street. Cynics would say that it’s been downhill ever since.   You sometimes hear people say that it is “letting the side down” – like a child caught picking its nose at a wedding – but Bedford isn’t exactly top drawer in the first place. Still our local leaders crave respectability – a sign of insecurity?

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Leading north from the town centre, Tavistock Street is on the A6, therefore the first part of Bedford that a lot of visitors get to see. Maybe that’s why the local dignitaries are worried about the impression it gives – never mind that locals like me are happy with it just as it is, thank you very much. A conservation area, Tavistock Street has many interesting early Victorian buildings, mixed with infill of varying degrees of sympathy with the older stock.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Starting at the town end, on the left we see the high wall of the northern boundary of Bedford Prison. Outsiders are often shocked to hear that Bedford has a fully-functioning category B prison in its centre, but the locals hardly give it a thought. When the site was chosen for the first prison building over 200 years ago, this was on the edge of the town – and like everywhere else, the population grew, the town expanded and the prison was swallowed up.  Famous inmates include James Hanratty, and for all you fans of Big Brother (I know you’re out there) Jade Goody’s father. On the other side, tucked behind much older buildings, a 1970’s multi-storey car park widely derided as a white elephant since it was built. Situated just that little bit too far from the shops, in the days when all on-road parking was free; it has never been well used so is regarded as a money loser. The area immediately to the north was demolished in the early 1970’s. Comprising streets of two up two downs thrown up in the mid-19th century without foundations, these houses were not missed. Older readers might remember the scene in Some Mothers do ‘ave em, when Frank moves house, shuts the door for the last time and the house collapses in on itself. That was reportedly filmed there.  

Further up, a YMCA built a few years ago to replace a defunct petrol station. Another reason to view Tavistock Street with suspicion – it’s full of young people, and as we all know young people are always up to no good. Does any other country fear and dislike its young people as much as the British? Just a thought.

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The main reason for the less than salubrious reputation is because it houses the towns one sex, I mean “Private” shop. On the ground floor of a fine three story terrace, on the corner of a square whose houses would fetch millions in London; it strikes an incongruous note. Time was, you could always rely on seeing a man scurrying out, head down and with a parcel under his arm. The internet has put paid to all that – I can’t remember the last time I saw someone entering or leaving the building, but still it limps on. For a short time there was another sex shop across the road, much larger and with a bold fascia that left the onlooker with no doubt as to what lay inside. A sign boasted that the premises had a discrete rear entrance for the faint-hearted, but it wasn’t enough to save it. Finally, the sauna and massage parlour above a fried chicken take away. From the decrepit state of the window frames, it looks like it’s not exactly making money hand over fist either.

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry...

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry…

This ex-sex shop is now an Indian restaurant, the other industry Tavistock Street is well known for.   Rusholme in Manchester is well known for its curry mile, and Tavistock Street in Bedford could be said to have its very own curry quarter mile. Doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, but a marketing opportunity has been missed there.

One of the local councillors is quite sniffy about the area, recently stating that the signs above the convenience stores and Indian restaurants are “garish”, implying that they needed toning down. Of course they are, they’re supposed to be – they’re trying to attract customers. What did she want, a tasteful makeover with National Trust colours? Another example of the tendency these days to want everything gentrified, tidied up, dare I say looking middle class.

Near the top is a forgotten about side street I sometimes wander along when I feel like trying to recreate the past – Tavistock place. Now mainly used to access a health centre car park and old peoples’ flats, it has a handful of modest recent low-rise housing, Victorian lock-ups and an interesting old terrace of five houses, which have back doors but no front doors. I once tried to have a good look through the window of the one without net curtains as discretely as possible and got yelled at, which serves me right I suppose. Tavistock Place was also the site of Bedford’s last doss house, closed in the mid 1950’s.

We've become so lazy we are re-using old photo's from two years back!

We’ve become so lazy we are re-using old photo’s from two years back!

Tavistock Street has many thriving businesses, some of which have been there for decades, not bad going for an area supposed to be poor and dangerous, full of the young and ethnic minorities and crime and people who keep irregular hours. I’ve walked down it at least twice a day for the last eighteen years, and see a completely different place to the one referred to by the scaremongers in trembling tones. Where else would you see the last workman’s café in Bedford (first picture) next door to a large Georgian house containing a solicitor, then two elderly cottages? Hands off, I say!


Editors chance to add something so I feel as if I’ve contributed something!


And another piece of Bedford’s past revealed thanks to Debs who is very often Out and About! By the way Jade Goody’s dad walked out of Bedford Prison unlike James Hanratty who was carried out having been dead close on four years. After being hanged (April 1962) he was interred near the wall, dug up a few years later as they wanted to start an allotment then taken to his Aunt’s grave near Watford.  Despite sufficient evidence that a Peter Alphon was the real dastardly A6 villain shoddily stored DNA evidence that wouldn’t be admissible today has to date prevented Hanratty from being pardoned. For further light entertaining reading, nice with a cuppa and Hob Nobs* try “Who Killed Hanratty” by Paul Foot!


*other biscuits may available.


Situations Vacant…

30 Aug

Good Evening! As the “more regular” scribe of Bedford Bypass I usually require a script or at least a contribution, something of a direction before I turn the PC into Bypass mode and start typing. But not tonight! So with no particular idea of how this blog will end…or for matter take shape..here goes!

I have a sister. I met her when I was 28. Ms Manners is the only person to communicate directly. She’s a few years younger than me. Bedford Bypass needs Gill McClinton like a car needs needs insurance. She is my adviser and mentor. We have a pact that I will never press “publish” before she’s reviewed it. Tonight I’m taking a gamble as I’m in a naughty but safe mood!

Take the money while it's there!

Take the money while it’s there!

I have  OCD (undiagnosed) as far as music (CDs) books and related ephemera are concerned. I have plenty of other conditions (diagnosed) that allow me to safely say with certainty that I have OCD (undiagnosed) as far as music in shiny disc form are concerned. To help me deal with this stressful and at times expensive condition I can rely on Piccadilly Records, Recordstore, Rough Trade and others who send me weekly emails showing the wonderful bountiful offerings there for the purchasing thereof. Scummy oooh things without which in my life I would be the the equivalent of something that crawls away from an outside toilet seat when you shine a candle on it at 3am…

I got one this week…a book a by one Ian Curtis titled “This is Permanence” and its screwed me up. Ian Curtis died May 18th 1980 without any knowledge that his name would be ascribed to this book. But that endorphin rush kicked in. Like a junkie waiting for the next time that the needle would touch skin….Curtis was the vocalist in Joy Division. He was far braver than I in that he exited by his own engineering thirty four ago two days after my 18th day of cake and cards and I can remember the exact spot where I was when I heard. My city was monochrome. For many round the Manchester area he was a name in the papers. To a lesser extent he was the vanguard of the Manchester music scene as lead singer with Joy Division who after his death by self asphyxiation (hanging) became New Order, I’ve paced a trench as to whether I buy this weighty tome from Recordstore…….and after deciding some five days after the invite……that I needed book he help me breath…to maintain a heartbeat…….all 200 signed copies are gone….so the OCD gene that has haunted me for 30 odd years and delivered a complex collection of books, film posters, vinyl, and CDs has been thwarted.

He sometimes looks like he's just got out of bed. Come to Bedford!

He sometimes looks like he’s just got out of bed. Come to Bedford!

I have as of today…six nieces and nephews…with no offspring of our own and my own that I am aware of although I stand to be surprised (as my sister was in 1990) …..Back in a bit …The Cure are on the telly…..(this is a live blog….rubbish fretwork Robert,,,,call yourself a guitarist….)  where was I….I’ve written to them all, sent them books, notes, invites to read Bedford Bypass…free limited edition badge and not one of them has bothered to write back saying thanks so at the present moment in time 34 years since Ian Curtis sliced many people apart by what he did it looks my collection of books, CDs and rare vinyl in terms of monetary value are on their way to Greyhound Rescue…..with the exception of “So This is Permanence” as 200 others beat me to it although I bet the unsigned version will be announced soon!

Madonna stays in Bedford Hotel September 2014

Madonna stays in Bedford Hotel September 2014

So I have run out of steam….with so much to say but without the mental agility to deliver. Its usual a physical problem…but you have a picture of the Wipers Times from 1916 which this blog was intended to be about but well, you’ll just have to wait! Savea bit of time and google Wipers Times. Go on! ) Debs  I’ll see you Monday. Snooze time beckons…..

Bye for now….  Gill’s brother….X

Bedford Body Cams: The full facts (more lack of)

28 Jul

We are easily led round Bedford. An article in the local papers a few months back eventually spread to the local TV news. All our “Lollipop” people (School Crossing Patrols) were coming under daily threat and to protect them from total carnage on a daily basis the council that seems obsessed with CCTV and fining people had to equip all the patrol staff with body cams which the telly got wrong and called “hidden cameras”.

"Hidden Cameras" Keep the pole out of the way.

“Hidden Cameras” Keep the pole out of the way.

Now I’ve long sussed out that the local Lib Dem junta know how to manipulate the media and indeed the frightened voter to secure their election timed tick so I placed a Freedom of Information request to establish the actual facts.

Firstly I asked the costs and the Council have confirmed a total of £13,810 and £575 per unit which I work out covers 24 lollipop people. Does this cover the Borough I ask myself?

Secondly I asked the number of incidents involving abuse either threatened or implied between April 13 and June 14! Answer: Information not held as prior to April 14 a comprehensive record of incidents has not been maintained. To confuse this answer they have said that were three incidents in Sept and Oct 13? There have been two incidents since April where a driver failed to stop at a patrol and where the other driver verbally abused a lollipop lady!

Third I asked how many incidents had been deemed so serious as to have been passed onto Bedfordshire Police and again “Information Not Held” although the reply goes on at length to tell me how plod sent a PCSO (sometimes called  Happy Shopper Copper) to give them advice. So on the two key factors that should have been used to secure the funding there’s no supporting evidence yet this thing has been forced through as a vital necessity!

Lastly I asked them for a copy of any training instructions given to the Lollipop people and received a two page flimsy thing which I really do hope is a synopsis as its specifically lacks instructions on how to actually use the things or give clear advice on priorities i.e. getting kids safely across the road rather than becoming a film director and running off down the road. Apparently it costs 26pence per year to charge the body cams and said lollipop people will have to do this at home with recompense being arranged with the staff on an individual basis! What does stand out is that the staff won’t be able to download any images from the body cam and all they can do is wear it with faith that it actually works although quite oddly if it malfunctions they have to report it within 24 hours. How will they know? Figure that one out!

And a poster as well..coming soon to a Lib Dem leaflet near your letter box!

And a poster as well..coming soon to a Lib Dem leaflet near your letter box!

Now its an emotive subject and a clear vote winner. How could anyone possibly object? Well it was one of the actual crossing patrol staff that raised concerns to me about how exactly a camera with practical limitations could hope to capture the required information notwithstanding the fact that this particular patrol crossing guardian has been doing the job for over five years without incident and wasn’t (until earlier today) aware of the very limited number of incidents that have been used to spend £13,810 on stuff that may or may not work.

But from the Mayor’s perspective it got our brave concerned Lib Dem administration in the papers and on the telly at public expense on the flimsiest of figures and you can’t buy that sort of publicity can you. Well actually you can quite easily so long as twats like me don’t start asking questions!

Anarchists on the Streets of Bedford

4 Jul

Just to clarify Bedford Bypass is a blog written by anarchists and with contributions from several good folk open to anarchistist concepts. It isn’t an Anarchist blog as content wise we like to keep people guessing what mighty come next!

We welcome readers from anywhere but we reserve the pleasure of being Bedford centric for much of our output!  The title “Bedford Bypass” came about by accident when “ace” funny magazine Mustard featured a spoof newspaper called Bedford Bypass which we read at exactly the same time as we were trying to come up with a name for the blog! We nearly closed the blog down last August as our mojo had vanished. But we reserved the right to change our mimd. We welcome ideas and contributions, we are all journalists now!

But the germ that started Bypass off was a rejection of the parliamentary road, the sham democracy we adhere to, the arse that is Bedford Borough Council and a belief that we need to shout and be gobby. But in a nice way. Aware that anarchism has been tainted by vested interests over the last 150 rather than accept the negative image and go somewhere else right from the start we said no…we believe in anarchism and rather than it being an excuse to sit back and grumble being an anarchist means the opposite…don’t wait for things to happen…get stuck in!

It’s not an absence of order, its the absence of heirarchy:

License is doing whatever you like without regard for the consequences!

Freedom is the exercise of choicer with a commitment to face the consequences!    (Frampton)




Support Your Local Buisness’s (unless you are a political party)

16 Apr

It would appear that both the local Labour party and Conservatives have teamed up to give a big “sod off” to local printing companies! That’s one option. The other possible but not very plausible option is that our local printers are so busy that they’ve told our local politicians to “sod off” and go elsewhere! What I’m talking about is that bumph that gets shoved through your door, calendars and those leaflets where “vote for me” types point at stuff on the off chance that the easily impressed and confused will be taken in by their false sincerity!

This Bedford leaflet was printed in Manchester!

This Bedford leaflet was printed in Manchester!

Richard Fuller MP for Bedford who earns more in consultancy work than he does for hanging around parliament (go for it Richard, rake it in then sod off back to the US with the loot when you get kicked out) has opted to have his Bedford related bumph printed in York whilst recent Labour waffle is printed on not very inspiring A4 up in Blackpool. Now it may be that Bedford Labour Group which seems to consist of vague looking people that are either already on or want to get on the expenses bandwagon are supporting the Marxist stratagem of the redistribution of wealth to the areas that need it. And believe you me, we were there last week and Blackpool needs it! But I doubt it and its more likely that they haven’t got the common sense to consider the contradiction in their repeatedly “arping” on about how Bedford needs support, support that can only come from them being voted in whilst quite clearly not giving two hoots in practice!

Someone's at the door mam!

Someone’s at the door mam!

I don’t know about Alistair Burt as missives from him are as rare as sighting of Elvis the solar wind! Here at Bedford Bypass we take a view that most politicians are two faced and they tend to sit on the best one!

And the fun continues!

2 Apr

April Fools were very evident yesterday, the local newspaper had a mocked up picture of a cable car going down the line of river from Bedford, Radio 4 had one about making OAPs generate electricity on little treadmills while they wait for their money but the best one is an oddity as it comes on April 2nd just to catch us out, it’s from Ed Milliband offering to make “everyone matter” as the red rosettes and “we know what you need” smiles emerge from under the stairs for the local elections and people come to pester while you watch telly.

The local media seem to have fallen for this obvious howler as they repeated it so obviously no one’s noticed that the Labour party has for some decades been a convenient “tool” allowing a jaded tory party to have a breather, consolidate itself and then plan the next hijack! A systematic fleecing by which capital continues migrating from the many to the few! April Fools we are! Don’t get me started on the Lib Dems or the Tories!

Bedford Against the Cuts

13 Sep


Just got back from the Bedford Against the Cuts meeting and its a case of Bright Lights on the horizon!

Enough to wallop the cynic in me there’s a range of folk there from education, railway worker, trades council and two pensioners one of whom must be nudging 80. I hope I’m that sharp when and if I hit that ripe old age.
OK, to recap, Bedford Borough Council are forcing through cuts of millions. The devil is in the detail and going off what’s been published so far Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and that lot off New Tricks would be stumped, but seek and you shall find so I’m going back to the paperwork to in search of common denominators, those areas facing cuts that matter to the most.
There’s passion there and that’s what counts. I’m pleased and pleasantly surprised so I’ve signed up.
The next full meeting of Bedford Borough Council is October 19th and this town of ours, if these cuts go ahead will quite literally become a disaster area!

Now a voice has piped up from the other side of the sofa “how will this make Bedford any different from any other town, everywhere is facing cuts” the answer is it won’t but its our town, our services, our people being hit and if we don’t start shouting no one else will.