Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tally Ho! James Gray To Stand Again, Despite Local Tory Opposition

The North Wiltshire MP (like the gift that keeps on giving) has promised to stand again for his seat in the next general election.

Despite the actions of the North Wiltshire Conservative Association to oust him, it looks like it will be up to the residents of that area to have their own go. Mr Gray did say he would mend any "bridges".

Considering members of the association wanted him off the bridge entirely, it'll be up to the voters to push him over the edge and into the water.

Swindon Centric Says ; Well, good luck Mr Gray. If you want to go green, go gray? Doesn't have the nicest of rings to it.

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 30

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . But can he afford that kind of expense?

9 . Leeks are hugely underrated.

8 . It was a long dark tunnel, what can I say?

7 . Californication is the new Desperate Housewives.

6 . He just wants to help the police.

5 . Who goes hang gliding these days, not me.

4 . I knew he was going to trip up, like when something falls off a checkout belt, you can see it happening.

3 . A fanta and a packet of wotsits is not the way to start the day.

2 . When it's sunny, it still feels mild.

And the top ten overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is.

1 . I've spent all my money on lead paint covered toys for Christmas, ho ho ho.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Get on the bus and get listening!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Swindon's Stale Air ; What We Already Knew

Jonathon Porritt, the straight talking environmentalist was in Swindon yesterday, telling the Borough Council that it's not doing things sustainable enough.

This is rather shocking to local residents after the comment by Francis Maude recently that Swindon's authority is an all singing all dancing "model". Mr Porritt added that the council has to "make it work for people and the environment".

Swindon Centric Says ; Lets hope a vast improvement in the track record of refuse and recycling collection happens which would make things "work" for the environment and the people who have to live in it.

James Gray Survives Deselection ; Sir Humphrey Gets Scheming

MP for North Wiltshire, James Gray, survived a deselection bid by the local Conservative Association last night. 181 voted in his favour and 104 against.

This is the same MP who recently refused to say how many staff he employed in his office. Indeed, he didn't say "no comment", he said "it's none of your business".

We did debate whether or not to run this story since we didn't get any verbal confirmation from Mr Gray that he approved.

Swindon Centric Says ; But we don't really mind what he says, it's none of his business what we cover anyway.

Police Urge Town-Wide Unleading Of Pencils After Precious Metals Thefts

Wiltshire Police have urged residents to be on their guard after a dramatic increase in the number of metal thefts across Swindon.

"Clearly, these people know who they are and we urge anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously, carrying lead sheeting on board buses, for example, to get in touch." That comment from Matthew Picket, Medium Level Inspector for Precious Metals and Counterfeit Confectionery.

There are early signs that the crackdown has begun, three men were arrested on Friday afternoon. They aroused attention as they tried to carry a seventeen foot long steel ingot along Princes Street.

Swindon Centric Says ; Lead inside school pencils is to be removed and stored in a secure, undisclosed location until World metal prices begin to fall. Rumours that the Borough Council is to use the recovered lead to line a nuclear bunker underneath the Civic Offices have not been dismissed this hour.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Swindon Borough Council : Contradictions In Education Since 1997

A public forum at the Link Centre recently was parents 'last chance' to voice objections to the cutting of funding for bussing pupils from West Swindon to Ridgeway and Bradon Forest Secondary Schools.

The Borough Council is claiming surplus places at Greendown School, in West Swindon, will mean spending £500,000 for no reason on transport to schools out of the area.

However, as Bradon Forest headteacher Len Spiers said, the council is advocating breaking one of the fundamental commandments of modern education, choice in where to send your child. "Transport has been provided for the last 45 years. The consultation document is misleading as it indicates the transport was only provided because there has been a lack of secondary places in the area."

Swindon Centric Says ; It was 'dropped in' that there are currently 200 surplus places at Greendown, then why is discussion of this only taking place now? How can the Council say that sending all West Swindon pupils to Greendown will give parents and pupils choice in education. Plus, what will Bradon Forest and Ridgeway do with the vast school facilities they now have once all the West Swindon pupils go to Greendown?

This 'consultation' sounds ominiously like that which happened in West Swindon a few years ago, we all know how the Council didn't listen and indeed misled local residents and parents then.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 29

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Lets get straight to it here.

9. Nice to meet you all.

8. When he said "with all due respect" I knew we'd started arguing.

7. Thanks mate.

6. I like to bite it in half then suck off the chocolate.

5. The court date is just before Christmas, should be rather merry.

4. No more Starbucks for me, it's all about detox.

3. They're running later for all the suicidal Christmas shoppers.

2. Obesity here I come.

And the number one overheard phrase from Swindon's buses for last week is...

1. Roadworks, they're installing that long promised missile defence shield for the town. There's a missile silo directly underneath Fleming Way.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Get on the bus and get listening!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...But Not A Penny To Teach

But in the other council area, the Education Department, Swindon can't be too pleased with the amount of money it has to spend.

Swindon has been allocated £300 less per pupil to spend on education provision than the national average. Although the amount of money is going up each year until 2010, it still means we are in the twenty worst funded councils in the nation.

Swindon Centric Says ; Does the Council still have the money it promised to parents was available for school rebuilding several years ago?

Money, Money Everywhere...

On some rare financial good news for Swindon, the Council has said it has collected vast oodles of cash from town centre developers for many new public features.

Upgrading the Oasis and Link leisure centres goes with a new central art gallery as primary places that the cash is to be spent.

What doesn't inspire much confidence is the quote from the Council's Director of Planning & Regeneration, David Potter, " We haven't got a site for it and we aren't too sure exactly what we would want. But we are looking at what the most appropriate way of housing the council's art collection is, what the running costs would be and what the usage levels will be."

So that'd be a building with four walls and a roof then? Genius.

Considering that the regeneration of the town centre has been on the cards for nearly a decade, it's bizzare and pretty worrying that the Director for Planning & Regeneration is so vague on the biggest project within his remit!

Swindon Centric Says ; Is this a backdoor way of the Council admitting that they are not going to close the Link and Oasis and rebuild them? Or is this money simply a stopgap measure? Would the Borough Council, care to clarify?

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 28

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . He said we were on the road to recovery.

9 . If they're late they'll just miss out the last few stops before town and run nearly empty.

8 . That kiddie looks like Chucky.

7 . Do I pack gloves or my bikini, I wish he'd tell me.

6 . Yes, yes, I got your cheese.

5 . If you're going to whistle can you at least do it in tune please.

4 . Did you see CSI last night, that woman's head flew off like a missile.

3 . I don't give a monkey's toss who's my secret santa.

2 . Oh look, it's a double-decker, I can't compete with that.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week?

1 . Why have you not got a poppy yet, there's no excuse.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Old Town Development Policy On It's Way ; After All The Development

The town's council has just decided to table an idea for improved shopping in Old Town.

Proposals include the desire for specialist and independent shops and a better balance between night and day trading.

As welcome as all this is, since Old Town has always had a posher image than the rest of Swindon, it's a bit late. Most of the building work in Old Town has already happened. Flats, flats and more flats and little else.

Swindon Centric Says ; The fostering of a varied Old Town seems to be at odds with recent events. Namely the near cancellation of the Swindon Mela and the Council relative indifference to this, arguments about jazz, the closure of the Goddard Arms, the shutting of Wood Street and the feet dragging about the abandoned Locarno.

Old Town should be a showcase, so get your act together Swindon Borough Council.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bath Uni Lectures Swindon About Sustainability

In something really unremarkable, a scientist has pointed out something obvious to Swindonians.

Professor Geoffrey Hammond, of that old chestnut Bath University, has found that Swindon produces ten times the pollution that it can cope with. Exactly what 'cope with' means in terms of statistics is pretty vague. The surrounding Wiltshire countryside produces far less pollution. Probably because it's, you know, countryside.

Swindon Centric Says ; It doesn't take a scientist to tell Swindon that it produces more pollution than the surrounding countryside. But it certainly was interesting to be told this by a Bath University Professor, the same University that used to insist that building their own campus on green land on the edge of our town would be good for Swindon.

Where were you then Mr Hammond?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Politicial Paradox Exists ; Tories Confirm Hole In Reality

We're pretty use to rather daft statements by local politicians on local issues and national politicians on national issues. But occasionally there is a bizzare crossover between the two.

Ladies and gentlemen of Swindon, let me introduce you to Mr Francis Maude MP who visited Swindon recently and proclaimed the following.

"Swindon is a model in many ways because there is a real commitment to people doing things differently and a lot of good practice that others would do well to follow," said the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office. He also lavished further praise on Council Leader Roderick Bluh.

Swindon Centric Says ; We'd very much like Mr Maude to clarify exactly how "doing things differently" translates into "good practise"? Collection of household waste and recycling on different days than those that residents are informed of by the council, is that an example? Or perhaps the failure to predict and provide primary and secondary school provision in the town?

And does Mr Maude call Swindon a "model" council because of it's need to shed 200 jobs because it is so efficent?

Perhaps in a total Tory run World the ideal situation would be mass local government cuts? But we don't live in that World, or indeed the same reality Mr Maude seems to with his outlandish claims about our council.

Stay on the medication Francis.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 27

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10 . I had an omelette, I've fine.

9 . Christmas shopping gave me a real workout.

8 . They're figs, I've got the urge for a purge.

7 . She fools you from behind.

6 . Blow on my hands would you?

5 . He's less fun than a lift full of mime artists.

4 . Wonder if the value of my kitchen bottle of olive oil is above $100?

3 . Let the wind howl, that's what I say.

2 . Fan-bloody-tastic.

And the top ten overheard phrase on Swindon's buses last week?

1 . Called me a 'living legend', I thought you had to be dead to be a legend ; she's not planning anything is she?

Overheard something we've missed? Then email us at or leave a comment and your phrase could make it onto next week's list!

Swindon's Art ; Murals For Our Town Please

Following our interactive user interface (an online poll) we can reveal the majority of those taking part wanted a new programme of murals for Swindon.

85% of those thought a new set of murals, made famous by the efforts of local hero Ken White, was what the town needed.

Swindon Centric Says ; Perhaps the building of a town centre university will give Swindon's art community bigger and better lobbying power to push for a scheme like this.