Sightseers could be banned from taking snaps of North landmarks and uploading them to social media sites if proposals in Europe get the go-ahead… or maybe not – UKIP circulating scare stories again.
The law would change what is known in the UK as the ‘freedom of panorama’ exemption that lets people to take use photos of modern buildings and artworks such as Gateshead’s The Angel of the North or Bottle of Notes in Middlesbrough how they like.
Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East, said the law would be an attack on the country’s freedoms but his opponents accuse him of scaremongering over EU proposals.
He said: “This would end up being another example of unintended consequences which so often happens when the EU passes laws.
“It is idiotic and would mean that visitors would not be able to snap views of the Angel of the North and other famous works and use them commercially if they so wanted.
“This attempt to restrict the freedom of panorama, by allies of the Lib Dems in Brussels, strikes at the root of our liberties. It will destroy an explicit British freedom guaranteed in our copyright legislation for over 100 years.
“Art and photography are valuable because of their intrinsic freedom. Freedom is constantly undermined by the European Union as we have seen time and time again.”
Lib Dem councillor Greg Stone said the amendment has no connection to his party in Europe and accused the MEP of creating “scare stories”.
He said: “This proposal has had nothing whatsoever to do with the Liberal Democrats or the ALDE bloc of EU Liberal parties and it is frankly pretty desperate stuff from a party that trades exclusively on Euro myths and scare stories.”
Hotel chain Premier Inn advertised six jobs at a jobs fair in Middlesbrough today – and more than 500 people applied in under five hours.
Operations manager Mark Goldby said the level of interest for the vacancies at hotels around the North-east was “amazing“.
“We have literally received more applications than we can count.
“People have really made the effort today with their CVs and how they’ve dressed for the day as well – we’ve been very impressed.”
More people in South Tyneside are at risk of losing the roof over their heads than anywhere else in the North East, alarming new statistics reveal.
The figures, from the housing charity Shelter, reveal that more than 350 people in the region have faced the threat of eviction every week over the last year.
The charity also identified ‘home threat hotspots’ – where people are most likely to face the risk of losing their home.
South Tyneside topped that list with as many as one in every 103 homeowners and people living in the private rented sector under threat of eviction, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (one in 112), Hartlepool (one in 114) and Middlesbrough (one in 123).
Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald has entered the debate about the party’s future following its devastating General Election defeat.
The race to replace former leader Ed Miliband is under way, with MPs and commentators having their say on where Labour went wrong.
Mr McDonald, who increased his own majority last week, concedes his party failed to win the trust of the public, but says it would be wrong to revive New Labour policies of the late 1990s and 2000s.
Contributing to the Labour List website, he wrote:
“One of the underlying assumptions of New Labour was that we could focus our attention on Conservative voters outside of our traditional heartlands because our core vote had ‘nowhere else to go’.
“Between 1997 and 2010 this strategy lost Labour 5 million voters, many of who simply stopped voting, and our wipe-out in Scotland and the UKIP surge in the North of England and Wales have demonstrated that much of our core vote now have somewhere else to go and have already gone.”
Mr McDonald rejected suggestions Labour had developed an “anti-business” stance.
“While it is certainly true that Labour must devise a strategy for the whole of the country, the suggestion that we somehow turned our back on business is misguided,” he wrote.
“We want business to succeed for the simple reason that it is the businesses, the entrepreneurs and the people who work in their businesses who create the prosperity needed for a fairer society.”
The Middlesbrough MP wrote that his party “owed it to all” who needed a Labour government to have a “frank discussion” about its future.
“What went wrong and the solutions to the challenges faced by the party warrant frank discussion and bold thinking, not simply a call to return to the politics of the mid-1990s.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 14 May 2015
Right-wing graffiti daubed on a shop wall has been turned into peaceful paintings by a Middlesbrough family.
Members of the Amanat family were shocked to discover the letters BNP daubed in yellow paint on the side of the shop they’ve run for about 15 years, Leinster News in Leinster Road, Gresham.
But with a few brush strokes of their own, the family has transformed the crude scrawl into a flower and a butterfly.
And while the British National Party slogan went ignored, shoppers and passers-by have given the new version the thumbs-up.
Student Shaz Amanat and her brother Nav decided to take the artistic stand.
Shaz, 19, said she first saw the graffiti as she headed for Middlesbrough’s Macmillan Sixth Form, where she is studying pyschology, biology, georgraphy and IT.
“It’s difficult to say how I felt, really – disheartened, I suppose. It was such a shock to see it
.“It was up for a couple of days because we didn’t have time to clear it off but then when I was on the Saturday shift with my brother, we decided to do something creative with it.”
Grabbing a pot of white paint, Shaz and Nav, 25, got to work.
Shaz said: “We just wanted to make a statement to show it’s not acceptable. Someone told me it’s happened on another building too, which is sad to hear.”
Shaz’s mum Zoe said:
“They are all really nice around here, we all know each other.
“I was shocked when I saw the latters – I just thought ‘which idiot did that?’ But people like it now – they say we should leave it as it is.”
Nav, an IT analyst, admits he originally just wanted to cover it up so his girlfriend didn’t have to see it.
“I found a tin of white paint we’ve probably had for years, but I didn’t put too much thought into it. I think Shaz was more hurt by it and it was her idea to paint a flower.
“No-one mentioned anything when it just said BNP but since we’ve changed it, we’ve had people taking photos and coming into the shop, even if they’re not buying anything, to say they love it. Facebook has been going crazy too.
“I don’t want people to think it’s a bad area around here because it isn’t – we’ve never had any trouble.
“And it’s my dad’s shop at the end of the day, so it’s his decision what do do with it. But if it’s sending out a good message, maybe we can leave it in place for a while.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 13 May 2015
Campaigners from across the North-East will travel to London to join anti-austerity protesters next month.
Coachloads of campaigners are expected to make their way from the region to a national demonstration against austerity measures, called by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
The #EndAusterityNow demonstration is being staged in reaction to the election of the Conservatives and their austerity proposals.
A spokesman said:
“The Tories are back in, this time with a majority.
“They plan many more savage cuts, causing misery for millions.
“We are organising and demonstrating to stop them.
“We demand an alternative to austerity and to policies that only benefit those at the top.
“We’ll be assembling the demonstration in the heart of the City of London right on the doorstep of the people who created the crisis to demand that they should pay for it and not the majority who had nothing to do with it.”
Coaches will leave the North-East from Hartlepool and Middlesbrough on Saturday, June 20, returning the same evening.
Seats are £30 waged or £20 unwaged.
For more information or to book a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source – Northern Echo, 12 May 2015
Activists who occupied a well-known Trade Union building are claiming the direct action was a success.
A dozen members of the Teesside Anarchist Network, Teesside Solidarity and various individuals occupied the Trade Union-owned Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Centre on Marton Road, Middlesbrough on Friday.
The activists said the building was neglected and dilapidated and should be renovated and put to good use for various activities like a clothing bank, advice centre, creche and bookshop.
Cleveland Police were called and the anarchists and socialists agreed to leave after Cleveland Trades Council representatives agreed to meet with them to discuss how the building could be better used.
A statement by Teesside Anarchist Network said: “Direct action gets the goods.”
Bob Stephenson, secretary of Cleveland Trades Council, said:
“Those people do not have any connection with us or our centre. They said they were trying to support us but their actions have done more harm than good. They gained access by booking a room under an other name.”
Protestors “occupied” a Middlesbrough trade union building as part of a May Day protest against its underuse.
Members of the Teesside Anarchist Network held a peaceful protest at the Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Centre, on Marton Road, Middlesbrough.
The network said the building has been neglected, the top floor is inaccessible and rain pours in through the roof. Protestors say the building is currently not used to its full potential, but they have so far failed to get a positive response from trustees.
A statement from the Teesside Anarchist Network said:
“This is a real tragedy and a far cry from what was envisaged by the local workers whose contributions paid for the centre.
“The centre could and should be brought back to life; think of the things that could be happening there. It could so easily be used to house facilities such as a clothing bank, advice centre, healthy eating project, creche, a bookshop.
“It should be open to all the groups in Middlesbrough who are struggling in the aftermath of the bankers’ crisis and austerity.”
The protest began at MIMA at 4pm, and made its way to the centre on Marton Road. A police van was later seen outside the premises during the occupation.
A statement on the Teesside Anarchist Network’s Facebook page tonight read:
“Trustees of Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Resource Centre have agreed to our demand to meet with us within seven days to discuss renovation of the centre as a viable project.”
> Good for them !
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 02 May 2015
As the election looms ever closer another political row has broken out – with the Middlesbrough Labour Party now reported to both the police and the Electoral Commission.
Three Labour councillor candidates – including the leader of Middlesbrough Labour Party Charlie Rooney – have been reported for the alleged publishing of a false statement about Independent mayoral candidate Andy Preston.
Mr Preston has been reported to the police and Electoral Commission regarding putting his parents’ Middlesbrough address on his nomination form.
The latest complaints regard Labour councillor candidates for Longlands and Beechwood Charlie Rooney, Jacinta Skipp and Theresa Higgins and a political leaflet that has been circulated across the Saltersgill area of Middlesbrough.
In it, they state that Mr Preston owns a piece of land on Saltersgill Avenue – the former Gospel Hall site – that they describe as “disgraceful”, suggesting that this shows he treats communities with “utter disdain” and claim that Labour candidate Dave Budd is the best man to be the town’s mayor.
Mr Preston said he has not owned the land since last year.
Cllr Rooney said they have issued a retraction leaflet clarifying Mr Preston no longer owns the land but did so at the time of the complaints to Middlesbrough Council.
The police complaint refers to Electoral Commission guidance stating that “It is an illegal practice to make or publish a false statement of fact about the personal character or conduct of a candidate in order to affect the return of a candidate at an election.”
Under the Representation of the People Act 1983, there are criminal penalties in place for those convicted of making or publishing false statements about election candidates.
Mr Preston said:
“This is getting ridiculous. The smear campaign against me has gone beyond stupid now and I’m getting really angry.
“This is just the latest grubby little instalment of the ongoing campaign to undermine me.
“My genuine advice to all the other candidates is to take a deep breath, come up with some decent ideas for the town and start talking to voters. Basically, they should stop slagging me off and focus on their own campaigns.”
Regarding the police complaint, Mr Preston added:
“A quick internet search would have revealed that I am not the owner of the land, nor have I been for some time.
“The statement that I own the land was not only false but deliberately designed to cost me votes and impact the outcome of the mayoral election – perhaps it already has.
“At a time when I have faced ridiculous and puerile allegations about minor paperwork anomalies, it’s important that this rather more serious matter should be looked into by the police.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said:
“We received an allegation of electoral malpractice. Any information provided to us will be assessed to see what, if any, offence has been committed.”
A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission said it was a criminal matter and would have advised the complainant to report it to the police.
A Labour Party spokesperson said:
“Mr Preston has complained about comments made concerning the state of land on Saltersgill Avenue.
“We have put out a leaflet in the area affected by these repeated blights, providing residents with clear and accurate information.
“We all want a better environment and that means everyone taking responsibility for it. This means businesses, the council and individuals taking responsibility for the properties and land they own and carrying out proper maintenance and not letting the area be spoiled for everyone else.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 27 Apr 2015
A petition against the privatisation of the NHS won the support of hundreds of North people during a day of action.
Campaigners from 38 Degrees took to the streets at Durham Market Place and on Teesside to drum up support for protecting the NHS after the next election.
They are challenging parliamentary candidates to protect the NHS from privatisation.
A petition which has been signed by around 2,000 people in the area will be handed to Durham City candidates in the coming week.
And campaigners delivered a 700-strong ‘Save our NHS’ petition to Middlesbrough parliamentary candidate Andy McDonald on Saturday.
Members of the independent campaign group 38 Degrees have called on parliamentary candidates, if they are elected, to “do everything they can to protect the NHS,” from what the group describes as “funding squeezes, privatisation, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal”.
The message behind the campaign is spelled out on the 38 Degrees website which says:
“The NHS has been part of our lives for 67 years, but now it’s make or break.
“The NHS isn’t getting the cash it needs. And the government is letting money-hungry private companies carve out profits from treating the sick.”
Alan Rose, one of the campaigners, said:
“‘Our NHS has always been there for me and my family when we’ve needed it. But some politicians seem determined to break it up and sell parts off to the highest bidder.
“The thought of my family being cared for by profit-making companies really worries me. It’s not just about campaign promises to spend this or that, it’s about the fundamental values of the NHS. Could we be heading for a two-tier service based on ability to pay?
“What about the massive structural changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act in 2012?”
“I would estimate that we collected around 400 signatures.
“We were so impressed with the number of people who were prepared to stop and talk to us in the cold and rain, because the weather really was awful on the morning.
“This petition is important because there is a great danger to the North East if there is a substantial amount of privatisation of the NHS.
“The 2012 Health and Social Care Act went a long way to dismantling the NHS.”
David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, said:
“We want Durham City’s MP candidates to see that the best way to win votes is to pledge to save the NHS from privatisation and funding freezes.
“Every candidate needs to realise that cutting NHS funding, or handing it over to private companies, is a huge turn off for voters.”
‘Boro’s petition has attracted 792 signitures and was handed to Mr McDonald at the Bottle of Notes by Stella Worton, a 38 Degrees member from Middlesbrough.
David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees said:
“We’re sending a clear message to our local MP candidates – you’re being watched by hundreds us. And we all want you to protect the NHS.
“Politicians can’t sit on the fence about the NHS. If they want our votes, they need to promise to keep the NHS safe from private companies and funding freezes.
“We won’t stand for another five years of the NHS being broken up or squeezed to breaking point.
“Saturday’s petition delivery event is all about the people of Middlesbrough telling our next MPs exactly what we want for our NHS.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 26 Apr 2015