A north Norfolk parish council meeting descended into farce when a call was lodged to police and one member was lifted in his chair and carried into the car park for refusing to leave.
Fifty-seven-year-old Kevin Craske remained seated when ordered out of the room by council chairman Tony Serne and described what followed as like being in a scene from the television comedy The Vicar of Dibley.
Just minutes earlier Mr Serne dialled 999 – though police did not deem it an emergency and did not attend.
The bizarre scenes at an extraordinary meeting of Briston Parish Council are the latest twist in a long-running dispute centred on Mr Craske’s wife, Sandra, 53, who has been the clerk of the council for 23 years but is now suspended.
Three councillors, including Ronald Eggleton, 77, who served on the council for 44 years, 15 of them as chairman, have resigned.
Mr Craske, of Providence Place, Briston, near Fakenham, said: “The September 7 meeting was called to discuss the situation with my wife, the clerk.
“I was told I had to leave because I had a prejudicial interest. But procedure was not correctly followed.
“The fourth item on the agenda was ‘to consider a resolution to exclude press and public from the meeting to discuss a confidential employment matter.’ There should have been a fifth item on the agenda, along the lines of ‘to discuss employment matters pertaining to the clerk’ but there was no fifth item and nothing for me to declare an interest in. So there was no valid reason for me to leave the meeting.
“Councillors decided to take the meeting into another room and left me with Mr Serne. I remained in my chair so was unceremoniously lifted up by two councillors and placed in the car park.
“I did not put up a struggle. I was elected on the back of vowing to make sure things are done correctly. When you are talking about potentially sacking someone it is very important things are done correctly.
“The whole situation was farcical and it felt like I was in a scene from The Vicar of Dibley.”
Approached by the EDP, Mr Serne said: “It is perfectly true three councillors have resigned. But apart from these three and councillor Craske, Briston Parish Council is united.
“This is a very complicated and complex situation and it would be wrong to comment further at this time.”
Norfolk Police confirmed they received a 999 call, all parties involved had been spoken to but no further action would be taken.
Mr Craske said he would take up this and other incidents with North Norfolk District Council.
He said Mr Serne acted beyond his authority in suspending Mrs Craske and the suspension was due to a personal issue.
Mrs Craske previously made a formal complaint about Mr Serne’s general conduct though no further action was taken towards him.
The affair began when councillors arriving for a meeting on July 4 were trold by Mr Serne it was being postponed for reasons he was unable to explain.
A few hours before the rescheduled meeting on July 11, Mrs Craske was told by Mr Serne not to work and the council voted to suspend her at a later meeting.
Seven weeks afterwards Mrs Craske received a letter listing things she was alleged to have done – including walking out of a meeting without explanation, posting inappropriate comments about the council and some councillors on Facebook and not including details of expenditure and income on minutes.
Mrs Craske, who is on full pay while suspended and threatening an industrial tribunal if sacked, says she had no conversation with Mr Serne about her conduct and received no warnings. She said: “The problem is mud sticks, and I want to make clear this is not related to any sort of financial fraud.
“I became ill from stress at work a while ago but now I am fine. I’m in a surreal situation and looking in from the outside it feels like I’m watching a sitcom.”
Dorothy Pummell and Duncan Jeary have also resigned as Briston parish councillors, along with Mr Eggleton.
Mr Eggleton said: “In my 44 years on the council I have never seen a situation like this. I am not pleased with the way things are being run and cannot work with the current chairman.
“I think the clerk has not been treated correctly and the situation has dragged on. It should not have gone on this long and the council does not seem to know what it is going to do next.
“I feel that the council is spending too much time on these internal issues and not enough time on the village.”
*The next Briston Parish Council meeting is due to take place at The Copeman Centre at 7pm on Monday. Mr Craske is planning to attend.
by Tony Barrett
Many of us are led to believe that America’s conflict with Libya started with Gadaffi. History tells us a different story. In 1776 America declared independence, twenty-five years later in 1801 they embarked upon their first war with Libya. The first American war against Libya was the first war waged by the United States outside of its national boundaries after gaining independence and unification of the country, this war was known as “The Barbary War”.
During the Crusades (1095-1295), Muslim pirates operating from bases in North Africa had plundered ships carrying Crusaders and pilgrims and sold many Christians into slavery. By the sixteenth century, Hapsburg Spain and the Ottoman Turks were pitted in a struggle for supremacy in the Mediterranean. Piracy, which for both Christians and Muslims was a dimension of the conflict between the opposing powers, lured adventurers from around the Mediterranean to the Maghribi coastal towns and islands. Among them was Khair ad Din, called Barbarossa, who in 1510 seized Algiers on the pretext of defending it from the Spaniards. The term “Barbary” derives from Barbarosa [“red beard”].
The four Barbary States of North Africa are today known as Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli (Libya) had plundered sea borne commerce for centuries. Surviving by blackmail, they received great sums of money, ships, and arms yearly from foreign powers in return for allowing the foreigners to trade in African ports and sail unmolested through the Barbary waters. They demanded tribute money, if the ruling houses of Europe refused to pay their ships were seized, the crews held for ransom or sold into slavery. Needless to say the houses of Europe preferred to pay this tribute, rather than suffer the consequences, this arrangement was more of a marriage of convenience, than one of love.
By the end of the 18th Century the effectiveness of Tripoli’s Pirates had long since deteriorated, but their reputation alone was enough to prompt European maritime states to pay the tribute extorted by the Barbary rulers to ensure safe passage of their shipping through Tripolitanian waters. Barbary pirates seized American merchant ships, no longer covered by British protection, in the years after United States independence, and American crews were enslaved. In 1799 the United States agreed to pay $18,000 a year in return for a promise that Tripoli-based pirates would not molest American ships. Similar agreements were made at the time with the rulers of Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis.
In May 1801, the United States refused to succumb to the increasing demands of the Ruler of Tripoli; in return, he declared war against the States. While Tripoli was not a strong power and little effort was necessary to watch and blockade it, the fear was that the other Barbary powers would join against the United States. The United States sent naval squadrons into the Mediterranean under the slogan of “Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute!” Under the leadership of Commodores Richard Dale and Edward Preble, the Navy blockaded the enemy coast, bombarded his shore fortresses, and engaged in close, bitterly contested gunboat actions. This conflict was not only America’s first foreign war; it was also its first attempt at “regime change” As the Marines aim was to put an ally upon the throne in Tripoli.
This first war ended in 1805 however between this time and 1815 there were several conflicts between the different Barbary rulers and America. In 1815 James Madison the then president of the United States declared victory over the Barbary Pirates.
“Madison ordered a ten ship naval expedition against the Barbary Pirate regimes of North Africa and threaten them with ‘serious disaster’ if they did not agree to a ‘Just and Lasting Peace’ The Arab leaders agreed.”
On December 5 1815 Madison began his annual message to congress with unrestrained boasts about the first war the United States had won abroad, the first war it had fought in the Middle East. Coincidently we may do well to recognise that this is the only War it has ever won outright in the Middle East. Exactly 200 years after the USAs’ first attempt at regime change in the Middle East They entered Iraq and Afghanistan, to force a change of leadership. Could 2011 eventually see the end to Americas 210 year old Arab grudge?
Click on image to read…
by one Charles S.Chaplin
by Tony Barrett
Conservative: OED definition;
1. Averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.
2. Favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.
Placing good and Higher Education out of the reach of those that are not part of the ruling elite, or the economically powerful, is a step backward. During the Victorian era good and Higher Education was not for the masses, eventually through reform and investment a high standard of ‘free’ education was made available to us ‘the masses’ (Today this free education is still available, however if the Conservatives have their way it soon, will become a right of the past, and we will witness the education system reverting back to where it was 100 years ago.)
During the 1960s many a new University and campus sprung up to accommodate the mass influx of new students eager to exploit this newfound right of ‘free Education for all’, this decade also saw rapid and radical change, we were now better educated therefore felt able to challenge our masters, through education and attaining knowledge, we the masses had grown in confidence and become powerful.
‘It is this power that the ruling elite fear
In 2012 we will see Universities in England begin to charge up to £9000:00 for fees, Politicians have expressed their amazement that all universities are going to charge the full amount, whilst still believing that social mobility is still high on the agenda.
‘It beggars belief that those in charge of our country can not equate that withdrawal of central funding to Universities will result in said institutions having to raise their fees substantially in order to provide and deliver the best service’
This can only lead to Good and Higher Education only being available for the wealthy. The Tories have wanted to “change and rationalise” the education system since as far back as 1984, if not before.
In 1984 a senior Department of Education Officer warned in a report that
“Legislative powers might be necessary to change and rationalise the schools curricula. We are in a period of considerable social change. There may be social unrest, but we can cope with the Toxteths, the Brixtons, the Handsworth, and the Miners. But if we have A Highly Educated and Idle Population, we may possibly anticipate more serious social conflict.”
‘People must be educated to once more know their place’
At this time the Department of Education was under the leadership of Sir Keith Joseph, I find it difficult to think that Sir Keith knew of the contents of that report considering that;
‘In 1984 Sir Keith’s public spending negotiations with his Treasury colleagues resulted in a proposed plan for extra research funding for universities financed through the curtailment of financial support to students who were dependent children of more affluent parents. This plan provoked heated opposition from fellow members of the Cabinet.’ (Cecil Parkinson was his most vocal opposition)
The suggestion that they could cope with the Toxteths etc…. goes to show that Tories have little if no respect for the working classes i.e. the Miners Or the non-white community as the Social Unrest that took place in Toxteth, Handsworth and Brixton were ‘Race Riots’ They however did fear what they named the ‘Highly Educated Idle’. The Tories were extremely aware of the correlation between ‘Knowledge and Power’; they fear the masses becoming highly educated. They saw the working-class and Non-white population as having a low standard of education therefore lacking in knowledge and unable to pose a challenge to their authority, If they did start to challenge then their protests were met with state sponsored violence.
To have knowledge is to have an advantage over those without. It enables those with knowledge to dupe those without, creating leaders (those with power) and those that follow (sheep). They need the masses to follow without question. A highly educated population “If” organised can pose a considerable political threat and challenge. If this highly educated population is idle the political threat becomes greater, as they sit about and plot challenges to the ruling elite.
For over forty years we have seen the slow demise of the Ideology of free education, Even at Primary school education is only free if one is content to let their child get the basic bare minimum out of the education system. It smacks of hypocrisy, those who are pushing forward these reforms and those before them during the 1980s that voted in the changes to funding in Higher Education, were all beneficiaries of a Free Grant system, the ability to claim housing benefit (During Term Time as well as during the Vacations) and the availability of dole during the times that the Universities were on holiday.
‘Universities are fountains of knowledge, from which all those wanting to drink, should be allowed’
The destruction of a fair education system began with the change from a three-tier education system to that of just one option (State Comprehensive Schools). The old system categorised pupils according to ability. The Grammar Schools were the gateways into Universities for pupils from less affluent backgrounds. These Grammar Schools threatened the elite ness of the Higher Education system, meaning that not only would,
‘Public School Boys have to rub shoulders with those they had always seen as beneath them, also knowledge was being opened up to the masses leading to the ruling elite believing their power base was under threat:’
Hence the statement;
‘People must be educated to once more know their place’
What must have really annoyed them was once those from less affluent backgrounds gained entry into Higher Education it was for ‘free’. The ruling class must have been aghast at the thought of giving the masses the tools with which their power and authority could be challenged, “Nam liber”
With the destruction of the Technical Schools and discontinuation of Apprenticeships, saw another attack upon the education system one can only surmise that the reasons for this was to curtail the numbers gaining top qualifications within industry therefore enabling them a better wage, resulting in large sectors of society being able to climb the economic ladder, gaining economic power. Economic power and knowledge make a formidable mix as we climb up the social ladder our norms and values can and do go through change. If I did not go to University and was in the position economically to support my children I would encourage them to enter Higher Education. With the destruction of our education system this form of social mobility is being curtailed.
As long as the ruling elite can deliver a poor education system to the masses it will never fear the masses challenging them. Whilst it changes the funding system for higher education to suit the needs of the wealthy it will not fear its power base being eroded or diluted by a highly educated society. It is all about social control and the need to retain that authority and power amongst their own class.
Anti-fascist prisoner Austen Jackson has now been moved out of Wormwood Scrubbs to HMP Stocken in Rutland.
His new address is:
Stocken Hall Road
For further details on the anti-fascist prisoners keep an eye out here http://antifascistprisonersupportuk.wordpress.com