08 February 2009 16:13

Dear Councillor Smith

I don’t know if you know, I didn’t, that Local Ombudsmen are usually former senior council officials with an interest in not rocking the boat. I used to work for the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council and the Lord Mayor – I was just a temp but stayed for years as an afternoon job. I know Anne Seex, our Ombudslady, was there when I was there – maybe 1996ish. I don’t think she was an outstanding employee and there were some amazing people there at the time – Euro 96, the Manchester bomb, preparing for the Commonwealth Games etc. Yes, Mr. Parnell’s case has been with the Ombudsman for many years, as has our school on the toxic waste site one, without any progress being made.

Mr. Parnell does not claim any benefits and therefore I believe is not entitled to any Legal Aid. Indeed, he is having to represent himself in the court case (as you know, after the 50 now arrests he is charged with assaulting a council employee with a sneeze with intent to inflict him with a cold – what a waste of taxpayers’ money!) The council has told him they will not allow him to speak to any council officer without a legal representative present. How could he afford one? He has lost his job due to what has happened to him over the last 10 years. The CAB is funded by the Council, as are the local police. He tried to speak to the Chief Constable as he left this week’s full council meeting but a council heavy prevented him from doing so. Maybe the Law Centre in Longsight (presumably not funded by SMBC might be an idea) – thanks for that I will tell Mr. Parnell.

I read the comments of Ms Shoesmith and also felt some sympathy for her. My feeling is we should not all retract into our shells when things go wrong but learn from the mistakes, try not to attach blame and try to make things better next time

The knitted Cllr Goddard, or Listening Dave as we should more correctly call him, would be very cuddly.

I too am not a very good knitter. I stay with scarves basically. I am a bit better at crochet, but am still capable of producing items which cause me great embarrassment.

Yes, I think it would be wiser not to knit in council meetings but to gaze up with rapt attention at Tiddles, Cllr Weldon, Cllr Derbyshire et al and bask in their loving benevolence as they steer the Stockport ship of state ever upwards and onwards to even higher levels of greatness.

Lots of love


Sunday, February 08, 2009 12:37 PM

Subject: RE: Mr Parnell

I thank it was only the Children and Young People’s Division at Haringey that was judged as being OK and I do take your point about Baby P. That point has been raised in various meetings that I have attended. I listened to part of the interview with the ex Director at Haringey yesterday I think her name is Ms Shoesmith, and was interested to hear an alternative point of view from her. In my experience, these matters are never as cut and dried as the media/politicians would like to make out. I think most people who have any responsibility in whatever way for Children’s services experience great worry and concern that something may go wrong with their service. I know I do.

Can I ask whether Mr Parnell has been to the Ombudsman or elsewhere with his complaints? And has he ever asked for legal advice regarding his situation. I realise that legal advice is expensive but there is CAB and the Law Centre in Longsight where they don’t charge.

To me this would seem like the obvious route to take but maybe he already has.

I am trying to imagine a knitted David Goddard. What a scream. I challenge you to do it. I’m sure you could find sufficient stuffing it you tried.

I used to knit a lot although was never very good at it. I have been considering taking it up again recently but it does take up a fair bit of time and I think these days would be expensive. Haven’t completely given up on the idea but I think I wouldn’t be doing it at Council meetings. I think that would go down like a lead balloon both with Members of the Council and with Members of the Public. I can just imagine the story in the local rag.

Ann Smith