Monday, 21 February 2011

Can you participate? Cancer Patient and Carers Partnership Group

The Cancer Patient & Carers’ Partnership Group has been established since February 2006, and serves the borough of Ashton, Leigh & Wigan.

The group is open to participation from anyone with an interest in improving and developing the provision of cancer services in the local area or within Greater Manchester.

National statistics state that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime, and the group is eager to recruit new members.

Many people are affected by cancer, not only the person diagnosed but also close relatives, friends and neighbours.

With a population of approximately 310,000 Ashton, Leigh and Wigan has a significant number of patients suffering from the four main cancers - breast, bowel, lung and prostate – as well as the less common types of cancer.
‘CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?’ The group meets monthly to work in partnership with professionals to discuss improvements and developments in the provision of cancer services. Your views are needed to improve, develop and expand services for the people who live in your community.

If you would like more information please contact:

Val Gough

Ashton Leigh and Wigan Community Healthcare.

The provider arm of NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan

Chandler House,

Worsley Mesnes Health Centre,

Poolstock Lane,



Tel: 01942 481578

Fax: 01942 481494

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A new word

I have heard that young people now use a new verb - to clegg. It means to say one thing and do totally the opposite.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Big Society - Big Con

I see David Cameron is trying to relaunch his idea of the Big Society. I think the fact that he has to re-launch it in the short time after the last general election speaks volumes.

Clearly he should start by telling his own party what it is because judging from their comments they have no idea. A former Cabinet Member recently asked an interviewer not to ask him to explain the Big Society because he had no idea what it was, describing it as a lead balloon. Tory MP Mark Reckless said that most Tory MPs had no idea how to explain it on the doorstep at the last election and another Tory MP said that it was example of the party’s leadership trying to be too clever by half.

I have my own theory how it came about. In 1997 the Tories were soundly beaten by Labour and for the next thirteen years did not look like they would be in Government – in fact they are only in Government now because of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Their polls told them that one of the reasons people did not vote for them was because they were perceived to be the nasty party. So in the thirteen years that they were not in power they had to come up with some more fluffy voter friendly policies and the Big Society was one of them. It sounded good and had the added advantage of countering Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement that there was no such thing as society. Unfortunately like all good political sound bites it is exactly that – a sound bite with no substance.

The problem with the Big Society was that it was launched at the same time as the Coalition Government were making the most draconian cuts to local services ever. David Cameron’s much vaunted project is being undermined by these cuts which are in fact destroying volunteering.

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless - dubbed recently as the mother of the Big Society after serving 40 years at the top of the voluntary sector - was recently a big supporter of the concept when it was first announced last year but now has changed her mind. She told the Times newspaper that the Government had failed to provide tangible opportunities to do more in their communities. In some cases massive cuts imposed on local councils had actually taken them away.In an interview with the Times she said –‘ Does one hand know what the other is doing? ‘

Dame Elisabeth also makes the very valid point that once you close a library there is nowhere for a volunteer to help because very few people want to be in charge of running the library. Most people want to feel there is an expert on the premises. They are quite happy to issue and re-shelve books but taking the final responsibility is more than most people want to do.

The majority of people questioned about the Big Society in a recent poll said they thought it was just a Government ploy to hide the effects of the cuts and that it would not work.

If the Big Society is just about people volunteering more I really don’t think that Ashton needs any advice from David Cameron. In this town we have five residents groups, various sports and leisure clubs, the Brownies, Guides and Scouts , the Boys Brigade, football and rugby teams catering for all ages, mother and toddler groups and a community centre. All these are run by hundreds of individuals who are giving up their time for no pay and who are making Ashton a better place to live in.

In short the idea of the Big Society will end up in the dustbin of previous political initiatives where it will join John Major’s Back to Basics and the Cones Hotline

Monday, 7 February 2011

You couldn't make it up

Hindley Green Councillor Bob Brierley has left the Independent group. He now calls himself an Independent Independent.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Campaign against unfair cuts

I have copied below an article from the Manchester Evening News opposing the unfair Condem Government's cuts in the North West.If you agree that these cuts are grossly unfair there is a petition you can sign on the front of the M.E.N or online.

I wonder if our local paper the Wigan Evening Post is considering a similar campaign.

The M.E.N. today calls on the people of Greater Manchester to stand up against unfair spending cuts.

We revealed how our region is bearing the brunt of massive reductions in council grants – while rich southern shires escape relatively unscathed.

Vital services to vulnerable communities will be slashed and thousands of jobs lost.

Today, we team up with senior politicians to demand the government gives us our fair share.

We are calling on communities across the region to sign the biggest petition Greater Manchester has ever seen.

Comment: How can the cuts be deemed fair?

Manchester council, which is suffering a massive £110m budget cut, will this week launch the petition. Other town halls have already lent their support – and pledged to follow suit.

Council % cut
Manchester 21
Rochdale 20.5
Salford 19.6
Oldham 18.9
Bolton 18.3
Wigan 17.3
Bury 16.6
Tameside 16.5
Trafford 15.6
Stockport 13.8

The table shows the percentage cut in central government grant over the next two years.

The M.E.N. is backing the petition because of the scale of the injustice facing our councils.

Over the next two years, councils nationally will lose an average 15.2 per cent of their grants.

But NINE of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester are losing more.

Only Stockport has done better than the average – and then only just – while affluent regions face much smaller losses.

The cuts will lead to nearly 6,000 job losses, despite Greater Manchester having some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country. Salford will have to lose 800 staff, Rochdale 300, Oldham 800, and Bolton 1,500.

Cash-strapped Bury council will lose 184 jobs, while Stockport and Trafford will lose 250 and 150.

The petition will be launched in Manchester after a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Jim Battle, deputy leader of the council, said: “It will be the biggest petition that Manchester has ever seen. It will be online and in shopping centres.

“We will be going into streets, communities and churches to encourage people to stand up and fight for Manchester.”

Many town hall leaders across the region say they will introduce similar motions.

John Merry, leader of Salford, said: “It is important for everyone, regardless of political persuasion, to stand up against these unfair cuts which hit people in our area harder than anywhere else.”

Tameside’s leader Kieran Quinn said: “It’s something that we absolutely support and we will make enquiries to have a similar motion in our council.”

But Tory-led Trafford Council, which has to shed £15.2m by 2013, say they will not support the motion. Leader Matt Colledge said: “It isn’t something we would put our names to. We are concentrating on finding solutions to the problem.”

How can the cuts be deemed fair?