United we stand or divided we fall

Since I fist started taking a more active role in the community, I have had a lot of positive feedback. What I have not had much of is negative feedback, which to be honest surprised me at first.

It didn’t take long though before I started to hear rumours circulating that had a negative tone to them. My position was that I did not want to respond to it, and that it was childish. However after the most recent allegations, I feel I should publicly retort.

It started at the very first meeting when I suggested that I did not want to be seen as a leader of this group, and instead wanted each and every person to have an equal say. I said that since I had spent a lot of time and effort to start this off, I would like to see it managed in a fully democratic way. I said that I would like to run the group by consensus, and that positions such as chairing a meeting could be rotated amongst anyone who wanted to give it a try. I asked for consensus on this, and we achieved it. No one felt so strongly against this that they wanted to bloc it, which they did have the chance to do.

However not everyone was happy with the decision. Some people felt that a group should have a voted in chair person and that it should be run in a more closed and traditional way, as apposed to the completely open way I suggested. The people who felt most strongly about this were the people who have been involved in a previous residents association. I am told that this residents association was dispended due to lack of interest (because the group was not addressing peoples concerns, or even listening to them), and because some one was fiddling the money. The objection seems to boil down to the fact that as a group we want to give people their own say, while the objectors want to represent the people, and peruse their own agenda (as it is alleged to have been in the past).

The first rumour that we heard after this meeting was that some people were going to set up a separate group to compete with ours, with the intention of pushing us out. I was unsure at first how to deal with such a petty issue, but I decided in the end that it didn’t matter. If another group wanted to establish them selves based around different principles that was fine. Especially as any action they take in the community towards improving our situation is a positive action, and works towards our objectives.

Last week we received a leaflet for tea party. My initial reaction was surprise that I had not already heard about it, and that it had been distributed with MVMP’s leaflet. I was also glad that someone else was putting on an activity. What I did notice though was the entry fee. All the plans I have for activities are free, and I wondered where the money raised was going.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the event, but obviously other people did, and what I heard back has disturbed me a little. Apparently a discussion was started regarding funding, and it was pointed out that our fund rising activities could have been better supported in the community, considering we are raising the funds for children’s activities. I am told the response was “what do you expect when it is run by a load of smack heads”.

Now I consciously try not got get involved in conflicts. It is my opinion, that we should be putting our diffrences aside and working together for all our benefit. However, in this case I feel I need to set the record straight.

While our group operates without a hierarchy, I am the person that runs this site, does all the printing, distributes the leaflets, books the community centre, currently facilitates the meetings and much more. I also am not, nor have I ever been a heroin user. Furthermore, I have not witnessed any one at any of our meetings clearly under the influence of heroin.


If a heroin user was to turn up to our meetings, we would welcome them the same as we would welcome any other member of the community. If they live in the area, any contribution they make to the community has the same value as a non heroin user. The same goes for all drugs. We do not condone nor encourage their use, but we do encourage every member of the community to become involved.

With this in mind. I would love to see at our meetings drug users who have the inclination and the time to attend the meetings. Who are taking an interest in the community. In my mind they are a far more important demographic than the people who would spread unfounded rumours, and do everything in their power to undermine people attempting to do good in their community simply because they are not in sole control of the group.


11 Responses to “United we stand or divided we fall”

  1. 1 taz
    November 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    greetings fellow residents, i also had a very successful halloween, much of it being down to some of you visiting my humble abode on chesterfield rd north. i have not been to recent meetings nor shall i attend future meetings. i have been threatened with an injunction by MDC. basically it’s a “gagging order”. but i will continue to voice my objections and concerns about the handling of our “situation” in the mining village of pleasley hill. i was also visited by the police regarding comments i made on facebook. fear not good people of pleasley, i broke no law nor was any law intended to be broken. but the powers that be did’nt like what i posted. ask yourselves this, where did the polce get their police the information? who tipped them off? did this person/persons alert MDC first? do these people have your best interests at heart? with every revelation that has come to light over the last few months, i have been proved right, i’ve been saying the same thing for years. who listened? what i cannot stomach are the lies which have been our staple diet for years. anarchists and “the man” make strange bed fellows, be careful in whom you place your trust. i look forward to my next visit from the SD.

  2. 2 taz
    November 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    greetings once again people, i have been contacted this evening by mr. jones, privately via facebook (of all places) in the interests of transparency, all comments and correspondence should be made through this blog. in doing so, no false or malicious allegations can be made without scrutiny. don’t you just wish MDC would operate in this way?

    • November 3, 2009 at 9:18 am

      Hi Taz,

      I am quite happy to keep any discussion open and public if that is what you want. I contacted you privately because you said some things that confuse me a little, and because you said you are under a gagging order. While I wouldn’t expect you to brake that, I was hoping you could clarify some of the things you said.

      I was aware that something had happened with you, as you had spoken to a mutual friend of ours who had told me only that you had had a visit from the police for something you posted on facebook. I did not see what you posted, as I do not use facebook that much. I chose to contact you there because the email address I have for you is in your wife’s name, and I was not sure if it would be appropriate to contact you through her.

      When I first read your post on this thread I did not know what to think. Especially because you had said you were under a gagging order. With this in mind it seemed odd for you to make a public post about it.

      There was one sentence that confused me a little at the end:

      “Anarchists and “the man” make strange bed fellows, be careful in whom you place your trust.”

      It confused me because I did not know what or who you mean by that. Then I remembered that on my facebook profile I list my political views as Anarchy. In this context re-reading your post, I wondered if you are referring to me when you say:

      “Ask yourselves this, where did the police get their information? Who tipped them off? Did this person/persons alert MDC first? Do these people have your best interests at heart?”

      It’s the implication, that you may think I had something to do with you being questioned by the police. Considering all the work I have tried to do in the community of late, and my political beliefs, I can’t help but wonder if you are referring to me. If you are referring to me, are you suggesting I am in some way colluding with MDC?

      It may well be that I have read too much in to your post, and you are in fact referring to someone else. If this is the case, then I apologise for sticking my nose in, even though you did kind of bring me in to it by posting it on this blog. If you are however referring to me, I just wonder where this has come from?

  3. 4 taz
    November 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    what i mean by a gagging order is not that i’m legally bound, but it is the threat of an injunction. in a nutshell, it is MDC bully boy tactics to shut me up. as to who it was that alerted MDC to what i said facebook, the list of possibilities is very small. questions have been asked; no answers given. if there is nothing to hide, why the secrecy? as stated earlier some of what i’ve been saying for years and constantly denied, has actually turned out to be true. how many more things have i said that also will turn out eventually to be fact? you are yourelf part of the secrecy and denying the truth to the people of this village. do not forget that pleasley hill is not just the the mining villge in which we live, but also the more affluent parts of the ward. read into that what you will.

  4. November 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Taz,

    I am all for freedom of speech, and certainly believe that government, especially local government should be accountable, honest and willing to answer questions no matter how tough the questions are. I also totally understand your frustration with MDC. I too have had times where they simply give out the wrong information, or appear to be un-helpful. In particular I will never forget my experience when I tried to rent an allotment from them for the first time.

    Obviously I don’t know all the details of your situation, but I can sympathise with the fact you have been pressing MDC for information much longer than I have. I also understand why MDC might not be willing to divulge certain details whether I agree with them or not.

    What I can say with absolute certainty is that I personally have not knowingly lied to or mislead anyone regarding the situation in our area. If I have got facts mixed up all I can do is put my hands in the air and say sorry, but I can’t understand why you think that I am part of some secrecy? Far from it. I have passed along every bit of information I have been able to get. And If I have not, it has not been done intentionally. Nor do I understand where you are coming from when you say I am “denying the truth from the people of this village”. Again, if I have done this un-knowingly, I apologise. But it has never been my intention to do so.

    As I have not known you that long, I am also unsure as to what you refer when you say you have been proved right. I am sure you have. I know as well as you that things have been said and then denied later. That there are inconsistencies between the words and actions of MDC.

    To be honest, I am still not sure if you are accusing me of something or simply using this blog as a place to publicly vent. But I can say with no uncertainty that all I have done this last few months is try to provide the means for the people to represent them selves. It is this principle around which the group was formed and constituted. And to prevent anyone including me from taking advantage of any power, any role that I am currently doing can easily be taken over by another member of the community. The fact is that I have tried to be as open and as transparent with this as I can from the beginning. If I am not being, I am more than open to suggestions. But if you are accusing me of being some sort of MDC stooge, of lying to people, or of somehow trying to get you in trouble, I can only plead my innocence. If it is the case though, I would like to know exactly what I am accused of so that I can defend my self properly.

    I am also well aware of the fact that Pleasley Hill ward consists of more than just the three streets our group covers. However, it was these three streets that had no representation of them selves, and are directly affected by the re-development. Also, due to the topology of the area, there seems to be a clear divide between these three streets and the rest of the ward. It is also worth baring in mind that parts of the ward already had their own groups. New England way would be an example of that.

    I would also finally like to say, that it is not exactly in my best interests to fall out with the people of the area. I live here too, and there aren’t many of us as it is. You are clearly intelligent and politically minded, and are not the type of person I would go out of my way to alienate. Your input at the meetings was good and valid, and honestly I am sorry to lose anyone from the group. I really hope we can get to the bottom of this amicably.



  5. 6 taz
    November 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    think back, i asked you a direct question on facebook, you chose not to reply. therefore you are, directly , part of the secrecy surrounding this sordid affair. it is true that there are’nt many of us left and that was and i believe still is policy of MDC. they’ve willingly created a state of apathy here, a state in which that some have given up and moved away without the relocation grant that these people should have been entitled to. think, the less money spent on relocation, the more MDC has to spend elsewhere. let’s remember the independents are mostly business types. what would you do in their position? at the end of the day, you’ve had your money, as have others. what about the rest of us? you have also stated publically that you wish to stay here, (dont think you’ve got a choice on that one, not with another chunk of cash anyway)a great many do not. the major problem with your group is that it is only centered on those that wish to stay, those of us that dont can swivel. imust say though that some may have accused you of being a “smackhead” are misinformed. i know differently. hope the SD are watching, waiting for the next knock on the door.

    • November 3, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      Having checked back through my Facebook messages, there are indeed two messages sent from you that I did not reply too. I would not however say that I chose not to answer you. I can only ask you to accept as an explanation that with working full time, being involved in not just the local group but other national campaigns, and family life, it simply slipped my mind. I did not intentionally withhold information from you. I also feel that it is unfair for you to suggest so on such flimsy evidence. Also it is a bit of a conceptual leap to go from me not replying to you, to actively colluding with MDC against you. With all that said, I will answer the questions now.

      The first question you sent me to which I have not answered was on September 14th: The message was regarding the fact that you were unable to attend the meeting hosted by MVMP, and you wanted to ensure two issues were addressed. The first issue was regarding the two blocks of Hillmoor Street. The issue was raised at the meeting, and I have kept this blog up to date with all the information I have on this issue. This issue is also important to me, as I live in one of these houses. The second issue was regarding asbestos in the roof space of the houses. I openly admit that I did not raise this issue, and that I forgot about it. However please do not place all the onus on me for this, as you also sent your wife along in your stead. The final question on this thread was asking me to clarify if my message was in response to the housing or asbestos issue. It was to the housing issue.

      The second question you sent me to which I have not answered was on September 15th. The message was regarding compensation received for being moved out of Clarence Street. You asked if the cheque I received was from MDC or a third party. The truth is that I can’t remember whose name was on the cheque, but I have since re-established that it was Jill Butterfield at MDC who dealt with our compensation claim. I also felt that the question had been answered in my original message to you in that thread. I will happily re-post that here, with your permission. I also feel that although I have tried to be open with you, to start accusing me of being part of some sort of conspiracy for not answering questions about my personal finances is extremely rude. I am not an elected official, and I am not a public servant.

      I will also respond to the issues you raised in your last post.

      it is true that there are’nt many of us left and that was and i believe still is policy of MDC. they’ve willingly created a state of apathy here, a state in which that some have given up and moved away without the relocation grant that these people should have been entitled to. think, the less money spent on relocation, the more MDC has to spend elsewhere. let’s remember the independents are mostly business types. what would you do in their position?

      I take your point about MDC and money. I am probably almost as suspicious as you regarding private business men running local government. It is no secret that I am no fan of capitalism. As for the relocation grant, or rather the upheaval allowance, there is clearly an issue there. We are trying to get answers on this as you would know if you had come to recent meetings. We have highlighted the inconsistencies in what we have been told about this to the point that they are now listening. MVMP realised at the meeting we had with them two weeks ago that this is not an issue that can be ignored, and that different people have been treated differently. Hopefully we should see progress on this issue when we invite them to our next meeting in two weeks time.

      at the end of the day, you’ve had your money, as have others. what about the rest of us? you have also stated publically that you wish to stay here, (dont think you’ve got a choice on that one, not with another chunk of cash anyway)a great many do not. the major problem with your group is that it is only centered on those that wish to stay, those of us that dont can swivel.

      As I have said, we are chasing the compensation issue. As for not representing the people that don’t want to stay in the area you are right. You are right for a very simple reason, and that is that we do not represent anyone. We provide an opportunity for people to represent themselves. I can’t be blamed if the people in this situation do not want to come to the meetings (even though this is not the case). All meetings remain open to anyone who wishes to join in. I also feel that you are wrong. We have addressed issues that effect people in this situation. I am sorry that action has not come as fast as you might like, but please remember, I am giving up what little spare time I have to do this, it is not my job. But as an example, we have perused information for home-owners and tenants alike. Just look back through this blog and I am sure you will find something for everyone. And finally on this point I must indicate the nature of this group. It is not our intention to set up a group that will simply dissipate when everyone has gone. That would be pointless. Therefore it is only natural that people with an interest in remaining in the area would take an interest in improving the area. For some people it is about improvements for the future, for some people it is about improvements now. This is why we are working so hard to put on activities. But again, for you to say that our sentiment towards this group of people is that they can “swivel” is sensationalist, inaccurate and unwarranted.

      imust say though that some may have accused you of being a “smackhead” are misinformed. i know differently.

      Thank you for publicly stating that. I am quite frankly fed up of being targeted by people simply for having the audacity to try and improve the area that I live in. I am amazed I have become such a target, simply for being as open and as honest as I can, for putting aside all pre-conceptions, and trying to help everyone equally.

  6. 8 taz
    November 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    there is no equality here. i stand solidly by everything i have said previously. and you still have chosen not to answer the question i asked of you on facebook. i warned you when you first started this group that MDC will move at its own pace and the direction it choses. since egginton is MVMP that is even more true. dont kid yourself that you’re making a difference. MDC is allowing you to do what it wants you to do to give it respectability; nothing more. notice the lack of comments on this blog. nobody gives a shit apart from that poor bugger whose marriage went down the pan. that is apathy, that is why MDC/MVMP will do as they damn please.

    • November 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm

      So what do you want me to say?

      I’m sorry but I am at a loss regarding this question I have not answered, so please ask me again so that I understand. It was you after all that wanted to have this conversation in the open. So it seems reasonable that this question should be in the public domain too. Perhaps while you are demanding that I answer your questions, you could think about answering some of the ones I have asked you?

      Are you suggesting that I should just give up? That it is pointless? How do you know if you do not try? What is the alternative? Sit around and let them do what they want? If you are so against their plans why are you advocating that it is pointless to try and influence them? Why are you attacking me over this for trying to get involved and change things the way you want? Why not work with me?

      And apathy? I’m sorry but I must not forget that people come to each meeting. That people have put in a good deal of time and effort to put on activities. That people continue to ask questions of MDC and MVMP and put pressure on. That there is the possibility that people are working against us. And that you have spent so much time to make your points not just today but to MDC. These do not sound like the symptoms of apathy to me. This housing thing is still in early days. And there is still loads of time for people power, especially if timed right. But not if we are arguing amongst ourselves.

      All your comments are about housing. Please don’t forget the other things we are doing. It’s not just about housing, it is about addressing the bigger picture. But I understand why you don’t care about this, as you just want to get out of the area. So don’t belittle the work people are doing in other areas, just because the housing situation doesn’t satisfy you

      So what do you want me to say Taz? All I can do is try. Because to me it is better that, than sitting around complaining about it. I am not a professional at this. I have not done this before, it is new to me, and I have been at it for 6 months. All I have tried to do is bring people together because we are stronger that way.

      So what do you want from me?

  7. 10 lorna
    November 3, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    My husband, Chris (Taz), did not send me to the meeting, I am surprised that you think that I am ordered to do anything. I went to the meeting as I, myself, wanted to hear what these people from the MVMP had to say, I heard what they said and to be honest it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. I was there with my mother, who I am sure you know. I spoke to our mutual friend at that meeting about the asbestos in the roof, I am am very surprised that he never mentioned it. I was born here and although my family moved away for a spell, I have been a resident in my home for over 10 years and seen the place go down the drain. It is a sorry affair when a decent neighbourhood does this but it is hardly surprising. The council was on about plans to “redevelop” Pleasley when I was a tennager and I am now in my early 30’s so do we really believe that it will happen in the time frame they have given, I for one do not.


    • November 3, 2009 at 11:08 pm

      I apologise for misunderstanding the message Taz sent me on face book:

      i wont be there tonight but i’m sending the wife. why is it that 2 blocks of hillmoor are staying up? you cajn ask this though,” what will the developer do with the hazardous materials when demolishing these houses?

      I am all for equality in all forms, and would hate to think you were oppressed in any way. I am glad you feel you have to stick up for your self, but it was Taz who said he was sending you to the meeting, not me. So please direct your accusations of sexism in the correct direction.

      As for our friend not mentioning the asbestos very often, you would have to ask him why it is not at the forefront of his mind.

      And I am glad you agree that the area is in decline. Why don’t you want to do anything about it? You clearly think MDC won’t do anything, but I don’t understand why you are against residents?

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