TheVolume One • Number Three • April 2006FREE!!FREE!!FREE!!FREE!!FREE!!Until we run out of cashand then you’ll haveto pay for it!Do you have a story worth telling or one we can follow up? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org- you don’t have to give your nameWielding the Mighty Sword of Truthwww.devonportcolumn.org.ukDEVONPORTCOLUMNMembers of the public patiently awaitthe outcome of the DRCP“Sack John Williams”closed session“SACK JOHN WILLIAMS”MEETING GOES AHEADUNDER POLICE GUARDA Report by Buffy Overload, the man who ate all the pies at the Welcome HallIn last month’s issue we described indetail how the Devonport RegenerationCommunity Partnership held a lockeddoor ‘Kangaroo Court’ to decide the futureof an elected resident Board member, MrJohn Williams.We could not have imagined thenwhat was about to happen next. Thefollowing DRCP Board meeting held atThe Welcome Hall, Devonport, on 16March, almost defies belief.Secret List of AttendeesThose attending the public meeting inMarch were required, for the first time, toput their names on a list. This requirementwas not because of any fire concerns asno one was required to sign out. No oneelse in the building at the time wasrequired to sign in or out.On entering the hall, members of thepublic were shocked to see four policeofficers guarding the door. A further 6-8police officers were observed at the backof the building, making a total of about12. This did not include SuperintendentStrawbridge who was there as a memberof the DRCP Board.This unexplained and incredibly heavypolice presence at the meeting wasintimidating and totally unwarranted. Toimply the police were there, and in sucha large number, for reasons of publicsafety or public order, was an insult tothe members of public who attended.In our last issue we detailed what tookplace during the previous DRCP Boardmeeting in February. We mentioned thatmembers of the public had takenphotographs and video footage. Therewas absolutely no need for any policeofficer to be at the March Board meeting,let alone about 12.Most are Senior CitizensOver 70 members of the publicattended this public meeting on 16 March.Most of them were Devonport residents,a far higher percentage than the Boardmembers who sat round the table. Mostof the public were senior citizens, many ofthem infirm, who had come to the meetingto show their support for Mr Williams.They were not potential terrorists orhooligans. Their only misdemeanour, afterthe Board members, guarded by police,disappeared downstairs to the basement foralmost an hour, was to eat most of the buffetleft behind in the hall.This heavy police presence at the DRCPBoard meeting raises serious questions. Didall these police officers have nothing betterto do at the time, like fighting crime? Whowill pay for this complete waste of policeresources at a time when they claim to beshort of money and unable to stop drunkenyobs, or maintain necessary policing levels,in other parts of the City?Another £2,000 Tax Payers’ MoneyWastedWe estimate that the level of policingemployed during the operation at the DRCPBoard meeting would have cost over £2,000.Who ordered them to be there, and why?What on Earth had they been told, and bywhom? Can members of the public attendingfuture New Deal for Communities Boardmeetings now expect to see more police onguard, or security checks of handbags andZimmer frames?To some observers the actions ofthe Devon and Cornwall Constabularyat the monthly DRCP Board meetingresembled more the characteristics ofa growing Police State than “Bobbieson the Beat”. There was no explanationor justification for the heavy policepresence. The resident Chair of theDRCP Board should not have allowedthings to go this far, but too often somethings appear to be beyond even hiscontrol.As we commented in our last issue,the myth that the Government’s “NewDeal” project is somehow “communityled” was dispelled a long time ago.At the Board meeting on 16 March,when members of the Board andexecutive eventually emerged fromtheir bunker in the basement of thebuilding, guarded by police, the Chairof the Board hurriedly read through aprepared statement attempting tojustify their decision to get rid of MrWilliams.An Honest Man SackedDRCP got rid of him because hevoiced his concerns at a public meetingabout possible “fiddling” of financialfigures, and they felt he had broughtthem into disrepute. Mr Williams hadapologised verbally for his use ofwords, but he refused to retract hisconcerns about the considerable sumof public money in question, or to signa prepared letter of apology. What arethey afraid of?Disrepute of DRCP BoardThe Column believes that theDRCP Board and executive havebrought themselves into furtherdisrepute by their draconian anddisgraceful action against an electedresident Board member.Mr Williams was not a Boardappointee, but an electedrepresentative, elected onto the DRCBoard by the residents of Devonportto look after their interests in the waythe £49 million of public moneyallocated to Devonport would be spent.In the elections last September hepolled more votes than any othercandidate.Who Do They Think They Are?Whatever the DRCP executive,staff or fellow board members maythink of Mr Williams, they did not havethe authority to get rid of him as anelected representative. Only theDevonport Community who electedhim have that authority.
Recently The Devonport Column wasinterested to see a large two page spread inthe Evening Herald dated 22nd March 2006on the subject of a little understoodorganisation called ‘Common Purpose’.As CP purports to be a charity that runseducational programmes for ‘leaders’, TheDevonport Column feels that the wider publicshould be rather wiser to some of thecharacteristics of this dubious organisation,including the special courses run forschoolchildren. Just what are these coursesfor vulnerable children about?In the interests of the truth, TheDevonport Column certainly thinks that thePlymouth public would like to know just howmuch public money is being squandered onCommon Purpose, which by its ownadmission in the Herald article, cannotquantify the benefits of the so-called‘leadership courses’.Quote: “And do they (the CommonPurpose Leaders) really all make adifference? Where’s the proof?” unquote.To which the answer from CommonPurpose is, quote: “It is not one of thosethings that is easy to quantify”, unquote. TheCommon Purpose spokesman goes on to saythat a Common Purpose survey of trainees’satisfaction reveals that 75% feel enriched.The Column notes that this positivesurvey result comes from a Common Purposesurvey, not an independent one. Let’s stickwith the expenditure of hard earned publicmoney to be ‘enriched’.Money thrown away by the Leader of theCouncilThe first point is that Common Purposecourses cost money – a lot of money. Andoverwhelmingly you as the taxpayer foot thebill for courses conducted by people in thepublic sector. Just to take a few examples -Plymouth City Council, (£millions in the redand having recently thrown away anotherchunk of your money on costs associated withan unnecessary court battle over taxilicences), has spent up to £100,000 of yourmoney on Common Purpose training.Charged at some £3,950 plus VAT(£4,500), courses can be as much £9,500plus VAT.Posing proudly for the Heraldphotographer Tudor Evans - New Labour -appears happy for Plymouth City Council tospend an estimated £100,000 of taxpayersmoney on a course from which the benefits“are not easy to quantify”. So whilst SeatonPool is closed and vital social support servicesand amenities are shut down, there is moneyto burn on becoming a Common Purpose‘leader’.Plymouth City Council squanders£100,000 on “Common” PurposeLetter toLetter toLetter toLetter toLetter tothe Editorthe Editorthe Editorthe Editorthe EditorSir,I realise the contents of my letterdo not specifically apply toDevonport but I do feel it is of directrelevance in light of the lies, deceitand propaganda that the people ofPlymouth face and you are exposingin your newspaper.As the readers of your finenewspaper will be aware there is verylittle news in the public domain thatis anti EU. For example, the BBC andITV television news seemingly onlyever provide ‘good’ news storiesinvolving the EU. Likewise, theprinted news is almost entirelypositive.The heavily biased attitude of themedia in general is well known andwas brought home to me in particularfor Channel 5 news on Saturday 25thMarch 2006 at the UKIP South WestRally at Exeter University when I wastold by a member of the publicattending the rally that her nephew,who works for Channel 5 News, saidthat all stories that are anti-EU are tobe discarded.Hence, the public are never affordeda balanced view of the EuropeanProject. Only lies and skewedpropaganda in favour of the EU.In fact, very similar to that whichthe people of Plymouth face from itsown council when they are told liesand propaganda about such bodies asthe Devonport RegenerationCommunity Partnership ashighlighted in your newspaper.It is indicative of the trouble weare in as a nation when the populacecan only rely on the truth that ispublished in a newspaper such as theDevonport Column, a privateenterprise from patriotic subjects thatdo not have a vested interest.I sincerely hope you never reachthe stage where you discard newsbecause it is true.Sincerely,Laurence Keegan (UKIP)P.S. Visit ukip-plymouth.org.uk formore truth.funny little organisation called Common Purpose. You taxpayershave been paying thousands of pounds for it, but nobody told youuntil The Column came along. Suspicious? We are! Read on.I’d also like to thank Readers for the letters and othermaterial sent, particularly information on wrongdoing in the City.Seems to us that Plymouth is a rotten borough under New Labour,but since the national New Labour team are rotten, who’ssurprised? Many thanks for the ‘police fax’ copied to us – brilliantwork, Mr Holmes. Sorry we didn’t have space to print it, but we’llbe following up the content!In the next edition a look at our National Marine Fishtankand the £ millions pumped in, whilst we cannot provide care forour old people, give free dental treatment, or run Seaton Pool!Well done Tudor and the local Blair Babes.God Bless, Ed.Dear Readers,Thank you for picking up The Column. I’m sure you will enjoyit, and if so please pass it on, and tell all your friends. You mayhave noticed that we’ve jumped a month to get the edition out atthe start of the month rather than towards the end. So don’t worry –you haven’t missed one.As to be expected the Column is packed with hard hittingstories which we feel the public need to know about. Our local papersare OK but somehow they just don’t seem to print the facts down atground level. We do, and we’re telling it like it is.Stories cover more unsavoury treatment of Mr Williams bythe Devonport Regeneration Community Partnership and a shockingtale of police overkill at a DRCP public meeting. We also expose aDevonport Column April EditionWho else is spending public money oncourses with no tangible benefits to thetaxpayer?The Government Office of the South West– a major quango and baby of Two JagsPrescott - admits to spending over £60,000on Common Purpose. Nice of the taxpayerto provide the cash. Prescott’s own Office ofthe Deputy Prime Minister has also expendedsome £80,000 of your money.Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, which isdesperately short of cash to police our streets,has spent over £57,000. It may well be moreas detailed police figures on expenditure seema little vague.The South West of England RegionalDevelopment Agency – over £30,050.Defence Logistics (effectively the Ministry ofDefence) - over £36,000. These figures arethe tip of the iceberg.Secret Meetings and Questions of ProbityAs if the wanton expenditure of publicmoney for no tangible benefit is not badenough, Common Purpose has someadditional and rather worrying sides to it.Common Purpose encourages and facilitatesmeetings under the ‘so-called’ ChathamHouse Rules. These rules allow CommonPurpose individuals from both the public andprivate sector to meet behind closed doors,with no formal public agendas or minutes.And as if this is not highly questionablewhere public money is concerned, individualsattending these secret meetings are alsoencouraged to reveal information which isthen not directly attributable to them. Havewe got the situation therefore where CommonPurpose leaders with responsibility forawarding public money, are meeting in secretwith private sector people who would love toget their hands on public money and assets?Are you concerned? The Column is.Particularly when Common Purpose meetingshave in fact taken place at key strategicdevelopment sites such as Plymouth Dome,Mount Wise and Devonport.Failure to declareUnlike the Freemasons, who are obligedto declare their membership, the names ofCommon Purpose ‘graduates’ are not declaredto the general public. This is insidious when,for example, even the legal department ofPlymouth City Council is Common Purposeled.Charity or ‘Cult’?Perhaps even more worrying than the lossof public money and questions of probity isthe fact that Common Purpose appears tohave some very strange objectives – includingcreating a new, better society under selectedCommon Purpose leaders, and the selectionand ‘grooming’ of children to create futureleaders. Spooky? Read more in the nextDevonport Column.
As reported in The Devonport Columnleading article on our front page, Devonportpeople attending the DevonportRegeneration Community Partnership boardmeeting to ‘sack’ Mr John Williams for tellingthe truth about errors in financial figureswithin the organisation were upset andintimidated by the presence of no fewer thanTWELVE police officers in protective gear.Incredible though it may sound, theseofficers were posted in the meeting roomitself, outside the door, on lower floors andoutside the Welcome Hall building. IfSuperintendent Peter Strawbridge, who is aDEVONPORT PEOPLE SHOCKED BY MAJORPOLICE OPERATION AT PUBLIC MEETINGDRCP Board member himself, is included,the total number of officers rises toTHIRTEEN! The Devonport Column findsthis massive police presence extraordinary,since the general public numbered some 70,and was made up mainly of senior citizens,mature people and the infirm.We ask how Devon and CornwallConstabulary could justify deploying theseofficers, when the police claim to be short ofmoney, unable to stop riots of drunkenyouths in other parts of the City, and indeeddeny other wards, such as Eggbuckland, thenecessary policing levels. Presumably,faced with an angry group of pensioners andthe infirm (complete with walking frames),who were keen to know where and how theirexcessive Council Taxes are being spent,Supt Strawbridge feared for his safety!Calculated at an estimated £45 per hourper police officer (for salary and inclusivecosts), the total cost of this police operationto the public purse was a minimum of£2,160, covering four hours for theoperation. Of course, this expenditure is inaddition to huge extra sums of money whichThe Editor writes:Devonport people already have to pay forproper policing in the Devonport area. TheDevonport Bobbies on the Beat Schemealready sucks more than £300,000 per yearout of the Devonport Regeneration Fundtrough.Despite demands from the DevonportCommunity for explanations as to the needfor the excessive and threatening policepresence at the meeting, no convincingreason was provided by Supt Strawbridgeor the DRCP Board.Nevertheless, keen to assist their ‘not sofriendly’ officers of the law, a number of localpeople checked for Al-Qaedarepresentatives in the meeting room. Butthere appeared no immediate terrorist threatto explain the number of officers. So whatwas the cause for this fascist display byDevon and Cornwall Constabulary? Anumber of local people have becomeinterested in the increasing moves of MrTony ‘New Labour’ Blair to create a policestate. Indeed, the City of Plymouth isalready being divided into new policedistricts, similar to ‘military control areas’.Coupled with this, police forces across theUK are now being forced into EuropeanUnion police regions.The Column would also point out thatBritish Subjects can now be taken fromtheir homes by the European police forunlimited detention in another EU country.We advise readers to also be aware thatthe EUROPOL (European Police) Head-quarters are in the old wartime GestapoHQ in The Hague, Holland. !"#$%&&()*+The Lib Dem Deputy Leader in the LondonBorough of Haringey is meeting up withPlymouth Lib Dem Councillor Lee Finn tomake a presentation on the 8th May 2006 tothe Houses of Parliament regarding the non-accountability of NDC Funds.Liberal Democrat Councillor, WayneHoban, who has been looking into theseallegations since being contacted by localresidents concerned about the way in whichthe £50 million NDC project is beingmanaged, has asked both The Bridge NDCDirector of Programme and Haringey Councilto provide him with copies of the auditedaccounts and auditor’s notes for the 5 yearperiod (2001 / 2005) that the project has beenrunning, but has been informed that they arenot available. He has also informed Cllr LeeFinn that as with John Williams, two membersof the Board in Haringey were dismissed forquestioning the financial records of theorganisation. A petition signed by over 600residents in support of the dismissed membersand calling for an independent investigationDevonport People’s DRCP ConcernsMirrored by Haringey NDC Probehas been sent to the Deputy Prime MinisterJohn Prescott. The two dismissed membersare now engaged in a Judicial Review legalchallenge.Cllr Hoban states: “It is incredible that this£50 million project should not have AnnualAudited Accounts which can be inspected toensure that the money is being spentappropriately. This shows that the concernsexpressed by residents and the localcommunity about the way in which this multi-million pound project has been managed todate are well founded, and require immediateaction. In view of the non-availability ofaudited accounts for the first 5 years of theproject, nothing less than an independentforensic auditor’s investigation of The BridgeNDC accounts will do.”Cllr Lee Finn has stated: “The situation inHaringey is a mirror of what has beenhappening here in Plymouth with one of themain conduits of NDC money being theDRCP. Both myself and members of thepublic for some time now have requested tosee audited accounts only to find none exist.Considering it is a sum exceeding £100million involved in the two NDC schemes,not withstanding another £50 million in SRBmoney here in Plymouth, it is imperative asno audited accounts exist that those chargedwith managing the schemes are made toaccount for every penny spent in order thatthe public can see how and where their taxesare going.I fully support Cllr Hoban and will befurnishing him with the evidence I havecollated here in Plymouth. We will thenpresent the file together with Mr Goffin’s(John Williams’s representative) dossier tothe Houses of Parliament. We hope then thatpressure will be brought to bear atParliamentary level that will lead to anindependent forensic examination of bothAuthorities’ accounts. This is the only way Ibelieve the public will get the answers thatthey rightly want, namely, ‘exactly where hasall the money has gone and to whom?’”
Pin Back Yer Lugholes,Beaky’s Squawking!Beaky’s CaptionCompetition ResultsBeaky the Parrot, who lives at the top of the real Devonport Column, has been keeping his eyes and earsopen to bring you the news other papers dare not print! If you have a story, email it in confidence email@example.comAll you have to do is solve the clues and fill inthe blanks so that each set of three squareshorizontally, vertically and diagonally adds upto £49.2m, Devonport’s ten year RegenerationBudget. Afew clues: (1) You can find out howmany sweets are in the jar by filling a jar withsweets and then emptying it out and countingthe sweets; (2) The Chief Executive’s salary,including NI and pension payments, is likelyto be about £1m over 10 years and he is, ofcourse, worth every penny; (3) It’s probably notgoing to be all that many more than fifty goals.TheNumberof Sweetsin the Jar17.787%variableThe DRCPChiefExecutive’sSalaryDraw your grid, fill it in and email it by 15th April firstname.lastname@example.orgA year’s FREE subscription to Devonport People’sDreams Newsletter to the first correct entry pulledout of the bag! A consolation prize of a free TWOyear subscription to the first reader who can guesswhy we used the funny 17.787% figure to help youfind the correct solution. The Editor told me to putthe ‘variable’ bit in to make it easier. Please note:DRCP staff are not eligible to enter thiscompetition as they already know ALL theanswers.Here’s a selection of captions submittedby readers for last month’s Tony Blair Competition.Our thanks to all who took the timeto send their contributions.Budget Forecast Challenge!Hello, Loyal Readers! Beaky’s nest is so full of news items, scribbled notes and messagesthat he’s thinking of finding some extra accommodation by moving to the Royal WilliamYard at Stonehouse where, according to the local Common Purpose guru, freeaccommodation is being provided courtesy of the South West Regional DevelopmentAgency. It looks as though Beaky’ll have to create a cult first and sign up the SWERDApeople as members before they give him some space, but hey! Beaky’s a “Can Do” parrot!One for You, One for MeNow, if he says it himself, Beaky’s acanny old bird, and when he was toldthat the Plymouth City Council LabourInner Cabinet had been carved up onenight in a Plympton pub, he had hisdoubts. Well, his instincts were right!You don’t go dishing out £28,000 a yearjobs in the public bar. Have a bit ofdecency! The place the dirty deed wasdone was allegedly the much moresalubrious setting of the coffee shop atSafeway (now the new Morrisons) on theBillacombe Roundabout. A slap on thewrist for my first informant and a tick anda gold star for the chap who got it right!2005/06Goals Totalof Argyle’sTop ScorerTake the DRCPSodYouToo“Whew - That Devonport Column Parrotsniffs a bit” Oh! No, I don’t, says Beaky.Oh! Yes, you do, says Ed.“Oh! No! The Bovigate fraud is out!”Evil eyes - evil heart?“Ooops! Do they know I’m working for the EU?”“Psssst! Does anyone know a cheap,dodgy mortgage lender?”“If Cherie had packed my bugle duster,I wouldn’t be depositing my bogies onthe back of my hand.”“Yes. Of course you New Labour girls canhave new waterside apartments. We justneed to move those horrible people whocall themselves Devonport locals out first.”Ripples at Seaton PoolEU Must Be JokingBeaky recently flew over to Europe, asyou do, and was shocked to hear that aFRESH row over ID cards had eruptedafter a leaked Home Office memo showedthat the Government is trying to cover upthe way the scheme is linked to newEuropean Union laws. The memoobtained by The Mail on Sunday revealsthat ID cards are to be launched in 2009as the timing fits in with passport changesin the rest of Europe. Could these cardsbe linked to the emerging EU DevonportBobbies on the Beat Police State? Onhearing the news and conscious of a lowbird seed warning light Beaky featheredhis wings and flapped back to tell theColumn. A new DRCP feasibility study onDevonport ID cards starts shortly !,-.&/0123/45067&89%&,&)/0-%&%:504&%:;2&#<;&&()*.Don’t Miss OurLOCALELECTIONSPECIALin the next edition ofTheDEVONPORTCOLUMNWhen Beaky recently landed on theroof of Seaton Pool he wassurprised to find it in good conditionand perfectly safe. Readers willknow that in trying to justify theclosing of the pool Cllrs Nicky Wildy,Derek Bray, Peter Smith and ChrisMavin said at the March 6th CityCouncil Meeting words to the effectthat the Seaton Pool building wasbecoming unsafe because of theroof. The Devonport Column can,through its overhead reporter, revealhowever, that the Seaton Pool roofand roof beam structure were givena major repair and overhaul,including replacement of beams, inthe mid-1990s, and are still in goodnick. Beaky has eyeballed it all fromclose range and can confirm this.Were these Councillors unaware,misinformed or did someone tell aslight variance of the truth?Squaawwk!