Monday, 31 July 2017


Last week’s Boston Eye made much mention of Central Park – soon to be a dumping ground for tons of sand as one of the many beach days now staged in almost every large town in the county.
Central Park is now the domain of the lamentable Boston Town Centre Area Committee – BTAC-ky as it is unpopularly nicknamed.
According to Boston Borough Council – and who could not believe every word it says – “Boston Big Local will again fund this year's event and it will be supported by partner agencies … Mayflower Housing, Boston Children's Centre, Transported Arts and Boston United in the Community.”
This is exactly what we were told last year except for a line to say that the event was “delivered” by Boston Borough Council.
We hope that this will not see a repeat of last year, when well after the event, the council’s accounts showed that it splashed out £5,150 from the revenue budget for the “construction of beach in park” plus £700 to hire four donkeys for two days and £500 for bouncy castle hire – with the last two appearing under the unlikely heading “sports development.”

***

We still aren’t entirely clear about the affiliations of Boston Big Local – which has £1 million of lottery money to blow over ten years allegedly to benefit  the town’s poorest wards …  most of which are in the town centre – although the  money is being spread over a much broader area and often for the benefit of visitors rather than residents.
Then there is the matter of the ground rules under which the Big Local is supposed to operate.
We were told at the organisation’s inception: “It’s not about your local authority, the government or a national organisation telling you what to do.
“It’s not about individual groups fixing their favourite problem without talking to a wide range of different people who live and work in the community.”
This was underlined by a member of the South Lincolnshire Community Voluntary Service at the time as well.
 “There’s no government arm in Boston involved in any of this. It is totally community led ...”
“This money will not be dictated by Boston Borough Council; it will not be dictated by the CVS.  It will be totally dictated by the local community. We are absolutely there to galvanise this community into action. It is their say where this money is spent”

***

So far, so unambiguous – yet the group admits quite openly “Boston Big Local has developed a fruitful partnership with Boston Borough Council. The council has been very positive and supportive of resident priorities and bringing added value to Boston Big Local’s investment.”
Big Local in return tells us that it “supports projects in Central Park as part of our commitment to improving local amenities and open spaces in the Boston Big Local area.
“To help improve and increase play opportunities, we sponsored a basketball hoop in the park which was funded in Year 1 of the Boston Big Local plan.
“More recently, the Croquet Club was awarded £500 of funding from Boston Big Local to repair the perimeter fencing at the club.”
This is all very well, but it does seem that the “fruitful” partnership is one of golden apples for the benefit of Boston Borough Council and BTAC-ky  – who are the unquestionable owners and managers of Central Park.
Big Local also sponsors much of Boston in Bloom including provision of planters which were once the responsibility of Worst Street – although we understand that the council allows Boston in Bloom the use of its bank account for the organisation’s accounting and payment purposes.

***

 

Another future event in Central Park is an open-air cinema.
Friday 25th August will see the screening of Mary Poppins with Despicable Me being shown the following night. 
Ironically, given the Worst Street attitude to drinking in the park, the event will include a licensed bar – which is made even more fickle as the films being shown are both aimed at children.
We’ve mentioned before the agility with which Worst Street bends the rules for its own benefit – note the impending German beer festival in October … an event practically dedicated to getting paralytic.
Not so in Woodhall Spa – where the rules are there to be obeyed.
A couple of weeks before the Boston event, the Kinema in the Woods is showing Dirty Dancing in the grounds of Jubilee Park Swimming Pool, but makes it clear that whilst visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic, “alcohol is not permitted due to the Jubilee Park's licence.”
How much more sensible would it have been had Boston Borough Council followed that example, which would have underlined the rules that apply in Central Park.
One other thing …
As we are well aware, Worst Street is not top of the list when it comes to forward planning …
Information from the Kinema screening for 12th August tells us “the doors will open at 8.45pm. The film will start at approximately 9.15pm depending on light levels...”
No such foresight here in Boston … where the publicity blurb tells us “gates open 6.30pm. Film from 7.30pm.”
Sunset in Boston on Friday 25th August is 8.05pm – thirty five minutes after the show begins.
If it’s a bright summer evening, then the film may be a little difficult to see – and we just hope that the layout will not finds the audience facing west into the setting sun …

***

One event that appears to be progressing swimmingly is the citizen-driven plan to provide something memorable for Christmas lighting in Boston this year.
The group has met its target of raising £10,000 which means that matched funding will be forthcoming from BTAC-ky – despite what we heard about vague attempts to wriggle out of the promise.
But it seems that the jobsworths are still determined to have their day.
Part of the planning includes attaching lights and motifs on the street lamps around the Market Place – which happened almost every year until winter 2015.
But Lincolnshire County Council has now told the organisers that they cannot use the lamp standards because of concerns over their structural safety.
Now, the organisers have asked  why in previous years were the installations allowed but not this year; were permissions not sought in previous years – and if not why not?
And the big question being asked is: “Have the conditions of the lamp standards deteriorated so quickly since 2015?
“If so should the council consider closing the Market Place until safety checks can be carried out?”

***


We can’t remember how many times we have mentioned the re-writing of history as far as the Pilgrim Fathers’ story is concerned.
Boston seems to genuinely believe that the town played an important role in all of this – something that the historical record shows clearly to be untrue.
Nevertheless by the time of the 400th anniversary of the Fathers’ arrival in the New World millions of pounds will have been poured into marking the occasion – and still it doesn't seem to be enough.
A recent application by Plymouth's Mayflower team asked for a £4.7 million grant from the lottery fund, which would have contributed towards the cost of a network connecting Plymouth with Dartmouth, Southampton, Southwark, Southend, Harwich, Lincoln, Scrooby, Babworth, Gainsborough, Boston, Austerfield and Doncaster.
Despite a reputation for wasting money by the cartload, the lottery people turned the idea down – although the bidders say that they are still committed to making the trail a reality.
We ran the proposed marathon through a route planned which outline a 1,000 mile jaunt between nowhere much and nowhere in particular – and quite who would want to undertake it is anyone’s guess.
But given the planners’ determination to make this pointless marathon a reality, we wonder how long before it will be before some wiseguy on BTAC-ky suggests that Worst Street chips in a few thousand or so.
Not that there appears to be any shortage of cash. Last month the Arts Council for England committed £16 million – £4 million a year – to arts organisations in Plymouth between 2018 to 2022 to deliver “stunning” heritage, cultural programming and arts projects that will form a key part of the city’s Mayflower 400 calendar.
And last year, the partnership received £500,000 from the chancellor, which has been used to develop the international marketing, a new website, itineraries and "new visitor product" nationally.

***

We note with interest that a crowdfunding appeal is to be launched to try to raise £1,000 to hold a teenage market in Boston next year.
The Worst Street website informs us: “The idea was originally suggested by the council's Prosperous Boston Task and Finish Group which has been looking at ways to make Boston better for residents and visitors.”
Yes, we remember the Preposterous Boston group – a self-appointed band that mouthed off for a while and then fell strangely silent.
But to put the record straight … Preposterous Boston did not originally suggest the idea.
It was first mentioned in March last year in none other than Boston Eye, when we reported: “Not that long ago a teenage market was started in Kettering with support from the borough council and was so successful that it is now being copied in other areas – Sleaford will be hosting its second such market in May with 16 traders and the same number of performers.”
At that time Prosperous Boston was discussing plans to combine the Wednesday markets in Wide Bargate – and free up the great stone desert as an “events space” with one or two events a week during the summer to attract visitors.

***

Since we started our mini campaign for better local news coverage of Boston, we have lost count of the number of times we have pasted the hashtag #notabostonstory on links posted under the Boston Target Twitter banner.
Apparently the term for this is clickbait.
A link is offered purporting to be to a local story and it is only once the site is visited that it is found to have nothing to do with the area at all.



But by then the site owners have the benefit of the traffic generated by the visit which helps boost the popularity statistics which in turn are used to govern advertising charges.
It’s certainly profitable for the publisher involved – but not for the cheated reader.
We have followed links to stories in Grimsby, and even out of the county in Nottinghamshire or Norfolk – and often under coy headline such as “We bet that hurt …” or “Heartbreaking…”
The Target feed is linked to that of Lincolnshire Live – which is part of the Lincolnshire Echo group.
It also offers a site called In Your Area which claims to offer local news related to your postcode. But when we entered ours, the “local” content on offer soon petered out.
The site promotion material tells us: “Lincolnshire Live is powered by the reporting team behind the Lincolnshire Echo, Target Series and Retford Times.
“We’ve been at the heart of our communities since 1893 and our mission is the same now as it’s always been – to be a fresh voice covering all the stories that matter to you from across our great county.
“From in-depth news to what’s on information and exclusive sports stories, our website is brought to you by people who are passionate about Lincolnshire and what this area has to offer.”
It sounds good, and it would be all right if it made clear that the stories were countywide – and not fobbing us off with the suggestion that they are local to us.
To its credit, the Boston Sub-Standard declines to mislead its readers in this shoddy way and offers mainly Boston stories on its Twitter feed.
Our only other source of so-called news is the Boston Borough Council Bulletin which collates items from its website once a week into good news pabulum almost entirely irrelevant to Boston Borough Council which is therefore neither use nor ornament.

***


Finally that sign that the silly season has arrived again has come with an item in the Boston Sub-Standard promoting CCTV pictures released by Worst Street to try to identify people caught littering, spitting, urinating and fly-tipping in the town.
The Standard tells us that men were all captured on the council’s CCTV system and the authority would like to know who they are and where they live so it can speak to them.
“It forms part of the council’s Name and Shame campaign.”
We encounter this every year when news is hard to find – and of course, one thing it is not is a “name and shame” campaign, since no-one is ever named, and as far as we know has never been shamed either.
Attempts at catching these people might also have had more chance of success had Worst Street not been so backward in coming forward.   The offenders pictured were snapped on April 17th   May 24th and 28th and June 12th.


***

And talking of silly seasons, Worst Street goes a bit quiet at this time of year – more so than usual – so we'll take a break as well, and be back in mid-August.


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston



Monday, 24 July 2017


In recent days the papers have been full of Prime Minister “Daisy” May’s first year in office – a milestone marked by a smaller Commons majority and diminished authority twelve months on...
Meanwhile, in Boston, 16th July marked around 100 days since Councillor Michael Cooper was declared the new leader of Boston Borough Council – another of those terms in power that is often reviewed.
In much the same way that Daisy has invented the reverse Pavane – taking one step forward and two back – so Boston’s new leader appears to have overseen a tsunami of inactivity.
Only once has he raised his head above the parapet to launch a waffle attack about the gravity of the position and the challenge it presents and pledging “a gritty determination to make life here better for everyone.”
That was on 1st June – and the same stirring stuff was appeared as “Michael’s Notes” in the give-away magazine Simply Boston July issue with the promise of future monthly columns on the “important topics” in and around Boston.
A similar column “written” by former leader Peter Bedford also appeared in the magazine until his departure – but was nothing more than a repeat of his monthly column from one of our local “newspapers” …  and often well out of date.
Aside from that rather predictable entrée, we are still awaiting a main course of some sort.
Nothing appears to have changed in Worst Street.
The same old tired names and faces are running the show with the same lack of imagination and flair, and we have to say that we are starting to doubt that a new leader will be any sort of new broom – despite a specific promise not to sweep any “challenges” under the carpet.

***

The leadership issue is also one to have exercised our new contributor  The Sorcerer – who writes: “I wonder just how switched on the new Leader of the Conservative group really is now that he has at last winkled Pete (the Pill) Bedford, out of the True Blue Corner that he had occupied for longer than he deserved?
“The question ‘he’ needs to engage, is whether this was all his own idea, or whether someone, or something, instigated this long-awaited political tremor?
“I wouldn't mind wagering that a couple of long-serving ‘Pete’s Patsies’ will very soon conveniently ‘choose’ to ‘call it a day’ as well.
“Neither should the origins of the ‘Pill's'’ tenure ever be ignored.
“Surely no one could fail to recal, how much cajoling was done by ‘Mr Moneybags’ Richard Harbord, as he strived to convince Pete the Pill to take the reins of leadership!
“I think I am right in suggesting that a major part of this man's engagement brief was to dig back into his vast ‘professional experience’ with a view to introducing some suitable candidates, whom he might consider capable of taking over his Interim Chief Executive role.
“Some suggested that if Boston as a council moved with urgency given Mr Harbord’s contractual arrangements, we might even have been blessed for a short while with two –  yes two – Chief Executives … one very experienced and one very promising!
“But then the sceptic in me began to stir, and I began to wonder if this ‘interim chief’ had already begun to engage in a bit of kingmaking, himself.
“Because I have for a very long time been uncomfortable with the narrowness of the applicant scope which was being used to fill the position.
“It again, is only an opinion, but one cannot help but wonder if the financial qualification, and specification had not been sensitively ‘redesigned’ to satisfy single candidacy! 
“Or am I being too suspicious?”

***

Sweeping things under the carpet – as mentioned earlier – is a long standing accusation of ours where Worst Street is concerned.
And just as bad is the withholding of information to which the taxpaying public is entitled.
Agreed, the punters are allowed to attend most council committee meetings – unless there’s something that the powers that b’aint really want kept secret – but very few do.
It doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested – more likely it’s none too easy to get to a meeting in time after a hard day’s work … or to take time off for a daytime committees, which pose no problems for our largely retired councillors, or those whose only job it is.
But Wednesday’s meeting of the free-spending, money wasting BTAC-ky is breaking new ground by dealing with the agenda entirely through verbal reports.
The business includes policing issues, an update on Christmas in Boston, a report on the use of the Market Place by the Chief Executive and another from the BTAC-ky open spaces sub group.
However, if you want to know what they have to say, you have to be there … or remain in the dark for a month until the minutes are published – unless our local “newspapers” cover the meeting, which is unlikely.

***

Mention of Central Park reminds us of the new art deco garden created to mark the centenary of the land being acquired from its owner in 1919 – another jam tomorrow anniversary.


These arches cost £11,500, with £10,000 coming from Boston Big Local and Boston Borough Council paying the rest – and whilst it’s a lot of money, the outcome is an attractive addition to the park.
But if the location looks familiar to you, then it should. 
Only five years ago it was opened as a lasting legacy to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and was set in a Victorian themed garden built by BTAC-ky at a cost of at least £10,000.
However, BTAC-ky – motto Quod cito acquiritur cito perit (Easy come, Easy go) –  failed to take some important things into account.
Shortly after its original opening in June, 2012, it was damaged by two youngsters climbing on the upper tiers of the fountain and had to be taken away to be repaired.
In November, 2012, it was damaged again, only hours after being reinstalled with a new steel structure and concrete reinforcements to make it ‘strengthened and toughened’ –  with a total repair bill of £2,000.
Then last year after “continuing vandalism” the fountain was removed and the base used for a planter – and now it has vanished entirely.
Another glittering example of how Worst Street treats our money as if it were confetti.

***


Now that BTAC-ky has overcome its shyness at pouring our taxes down the nearest drain, it has really grasped the bit between its gums.
A number of events planned for Central Park involve private companies, which means that they are ticket only, and therefore unlikely to be cheap – perhaps even beyond the pockets of many local low wage earners in some cases.
Nonetheless, it was disappointing to read a suggested remedy by Labour group leader (the rest of his group comprises his deputy) – Paul Gleeson.
A local “newspaper” reported his reservations on the price of tickets.
He said: “You can see why it has to be a ticketed event but I would hope we would be able to ensure ticket prices weren’t prohibitive.”
He said he would like to see tickets within the price-range of the ‘average resident of Boston’ and called on BTAC to look towards helping off-set the costs of the event.
Bad call, Councillor Gleeson.
Where does a subsidy like this stop?
Before it was cancelled, the party attracted many thousands of visitors – but of course it was free.
As a for instance, say that someone estimates that 10,000 people would attend this year’s proposed party over two days and that tickets were being priced at £10 each. If councillors felt that a fiver was be nearer the mark, this would demand a BTAC-ky subsidy of £50,000 which aside from being outrageous would open the door to subsidy claims by any other private groups hired to stage events in the park in the future.
Not a good idea, however well-intentioned the proposal.

***


Still with Central Park life we raised an Eyebrow at a recent item on the Boston sub-Standard which appeared in untimely fashion ahead of next week’s two day the Beach Comes to Boston event.
Beneath the headline “Sandpits full of bugs that cause stomach upsets,” the report warned: “Sand play pits harbour the emerging superbug C. diff that causes stomach upsets and diarrhoea and in rare cases damages the gut, a new study found.
“More than half of all sandpits for children and pets tested were swarming with the bacteria Clostridium Difficile, also known as C. diff …
“… C. Diff causes watery diarrhoea, painful tummy cramps, nausea, dehydration, a fever and a loss of appetite and weight. Serious infections may require surgery to remove a damaged section of the bowel.
“The latest finding was over double the amount of found (sic) in soil in public parks, gardens, playgrounds and other locations around Cardiff in 1996 where it was found in a fifth of samples.”
Should we be worried, given that the Central Park event is really nothing more than a giant sand pit for use by all and sundry?
Well, the research was published in the journal “Zoonoses (yes, really!) and Public Health” by Professor José Blanco of the Complutense University of Madrid, and was based on tests of 20 pairs of recreational sandboxes for children and dogs in different playgrounds in that city.
Not only was it not what you might call exhaustive, it was completely irrelevant to Boston, and nothing more than a pointless piece to fill space on the Standard website.
But for the timing ahead of the Central Park event it was most unfortunate, although we are sure it was entirely co-incidental.

***

Most local authorities make use of the internet as a way to improve their services – but we wonder whether Worst Street has entirely got the knack.
We recently tried to buy a garden waste collection sticker for our spare brown bin – a facility offered online.
We wanted to buy a second sticker for a spare bin for the service we were promised would remain forever free and which would cost £15 – but after we went through the rigmarole of ordering one were told it would cost £30 – the “forever free” cost of the first bin licence.
We queried this and learned that: “The system that records your request is an external forms package and has no knowledge of your property record, we are able to take your payment for an additional service over the phone or in person at the Municipal Buildings only.”
OK then, the ‘phone it would be, and we rang the dedicated number to order our sticker.
At this point a mystifying answering system took over to inform us that we were second in the queue and could expect to wait 40 seconds to get through to a real person.
At least that amount of time elapsed before we got another message telling us exactly the same thing.
After an identical wait we were only 30 seconds away from an answer – but then slipped back to 40, at which point we decided to try later.
This time we got through straightaway, and placed our order, which was charged against our debit card the next day.
This took place on a Monday – well ahead of the our next collection day on the Thursday of the following week … nine working days later.
When the day dawned we still had no sticker, but a polite note put on the second bin explaining the problem received a positive responsive.
Earlier this year saw the farce when people received shedloads of stickers on top of the one that they ordered – which was brushed off as “purely human error, compounded by a complicated computerised process.”
It seems as if there is still some way to go with this aspect of the Worst Street “service.”

***

Finally, we hear that New Perspectives, a Nottingham-based touring theatre company, plans to mount a production called Boston Stories – to be told by residents, and then made into a short film and a large-scale theatre production.
Apparently the aim is to tell audiences what it is like to be a Bostonian – and the idea took off at a meal in a Boston restaurant where guests included a Lithuanian community leader, a police officer, a Portuguese shopkeeper, and an IT specialist.
People shared stories that had shaped their lives and the community in which they live and were recorded and to form the basis of the film, and drama.
This has the dead hand of do-gooderness about it from the outset – and we can be fairly sure what the message of the production is likely to be.
We are polishing our lorgnettes in anticipation.





You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston



Monday, 17 July 2017



The re-writing of history continues with the hapless band of  non-local dissenters briefly imprisoned in Boston 13 years before the Pilgrim Fathers – none of who came from Boston either – being elevated to the sainted ranks of the first great pioneer settlers to the New World.
Starting the ball rolling was our MP Matt Warman, who really ought to know better.
In a debate on Brexit of all things, he followed the maiden speech of Plymouth MP Luke Pollard by saying: “We have a shared interest in the voyage of the Mayflower, on which I look forward to working together. I like to think of Boston as where it started. Some people would say that Plymouth was merely a stop on the way across the Atlantic …”
Almost certainly, Mr Warman will be among the VIPs invited to America in 2020 for these celebrations – so fostering and promoting these historic delusions cannot go amiss.
Which councillors will be doing to same before long, we wonder?

***

Next to rally round were our local luvvies from Transported who virtually depend on their pay cheque by clinging on to the Pilgrim Fathers coat-tails.
So they were especially vocal at the last meeting of BTAC-ky – where they successfully rattled their begging bowl for £5,000 for a dog-hanging called “Pilgrim Roots” as part of the run-up to Mayflower 2020 in which Boston celebrates American Thanksgiving Day instead of Christmas.
Possibly the only sensible person in the chamber – Mayor Brian Rush – raised the not unreasonable question about what is often seen as a tenuous connection … but was banging his head against a brick wall.
Nick Jones, from Transported, said the group wanted to set up celebrations for that event as well.
“It’s not just the end of the story that’s important. We feel passionate that the most important thing is where people came from, what motivated them and what role they played.”
He said it was hoped that by taking part it would raise the profile of the town. “We are part of the whole story and we will try our best to be clear and explicit about that.”

***

Mr Warman’s wishful musings brought a prompt response from one Bostonian, who commented: “I remember very well being taught in primary school, here in Boston, that Mayflower had no connection to Boston.
“One would've thought that an MP who tries to give the impression that he has strong links to Boston would know this too?”
Hear, hear.

***

What makes this so pathetic is the way that half the businesses in the town seem to have adopted the sobriquet Mayflower or Pilgrim for no real reason – but perhaps it indicates a way forward when it comes to re-writing history and beefing up the Boston story.
For example, it’s not generally known that – due to a misunderstanding over definitions – the successful team that conquered Mount Everest in 1952 trained at Willoughby Hills, on the outskirts of Boston.
The brains behind the expedition foolishly believed that the word hill meant exactly that – and by the time the mountaineers had reached Boston it was too late to turn back and so a life-sized replica of Everest was built at Willoughby Hills from miles of 4x2 timbers draped with canvas.


And another piece of Boston’s hitherto secret history – and yet another blow for Plymouth, which seems to want to hog all the publicity – is that Sir Francis Drake was not bowling on Plymouth Hoe when the alert about the Spanish Armada was received.
In fact he was playing a game at Boston Indoor Bowls Club, more than 300 miles away, when the alarm was raised, and it took some nifty seamanship to navigate from Boston to reach Plymouth in time.
Whilst the delay played no adverse role in the subsequent battle, Drake’s ship – the Golden Hind – was renamed the Golden Behind for some years afterwards.

***

Our last blog commented on the way Boston Borough Council was slapping itself on the back because other local authorities were seeking the secret of the way it doles out criminal records to beat taxpayers into obeying its demands
We cited the recent changes which make it illegal to walk your dog without carrying a back for its droppings, and parking in a way that makes life difficult for Worst Street's bin collection “freighters.”
Our remarks angered reader Alec, who e-mailed to say: “I'm a dog walker and there is nothing more frustating than stepping in dog poo; children cycle and walk in it, so stop slagging off the council for being hard on people that let dogs poo everywhere. 
“And as an ex-emergency service driver I understand the problems of the bin men having a difficult time through inconsiderate residents and motorists.
“In this namby-pamby world people don't give a toss – it’s the all right Jack brigade.
“Hammer them with fines – there again how many would pay them?
“Stop blaming the council for these cretins.”
Whilst we share some of Alec’s sentiments, the point we were seeking to make was one of criticism about an authority which whenever it encounters a problem seeks to solve it by making it illegal locally and criminalising offenders through the courts for something that would not be similarly dealt with elsewhere.
This is the very thin end of a potentially dangerous wedge – especially as we don’t regard Worst Street as the most considerate or stable judge of wrongdoing.

***

Mention of our MP Matt Warman earlier reminded us that he was the subject of a recent e-mail from a new insider commentator who dubs himself The Sorcerer, and who writes:
“Isn't it remarkable to read that Matt Warman is now going to actively pursue funding for a Boston Bypass? Well I never – I can’t imagine who will have given him such an idea after years of good councillors beseeching that now political 'cast aside' Peter Bedford, to lobby his one-time boss in Lincolnshire County Council for a bypass for Boston.
“Relief, distributor road, or anything at all – even a circular country lane – would have been better than what this borough has had to endure for sixty years or so.
“But he stayed faithful to his Tory Duty, and barefacedly refused to admit there was any truth in the suspicion that we were being hog washed, and we never really needed one.
“Everybody should know by now that spouting support for a Bypass has guaranteed one Conservative after another the ticket to win a seat in Boston whether that be Borough, County, or dare I say even now … Parliament!
“But beware, and do not swallow this same old vote catching rubbish...
“Matty  has been coached no doubt by local blueys, who know that any talk of a Bypass is a vote catcher!
“However, that is all it will be; talk.
“Just look back at how many times the 'Project' has played a major part in the  political shenanigans of Boston, even before the farmers friend, RA, recruited his band of brethren to block what was considered as the best chance we might have ever had to put Boston on the map so to speak! 
“So here is the latest catch. Don't fall for it again ...but who on earth are we going to vote for this time?
“Maybe another 'Self Interest Party.’
“If so, let it not be the daft heads of UKIP again. Please, please. 

***

It was almost impossible to move last week without tripping headlong over stories about Boston’s bid to win a badge again this year in the Britain in Bloom awards.
All around the town, colourful and probably costly displays of flowers have been springing up everywhere – but only along the route which the organisers of Boston’s contribution have created for the judges to follow.
Photos from recent weeks show these plants being decanted from pots and straight into the ground to give the illusion of have been carefully nurtured there for weeks if not months.
And if last’s year is anything to go by, the poor things soon wilt and eventually disappear, having done their job of  suggesting that Boston is a riot of colour and scent throughout the spring and summer months.
Whist we welcome their brief glory, we thought that the original concept of Britain in Bloom was to highlight those communities that went the extra mile to brighten the environment for their residents – as a service, and not to win a medal to brag about..
Now it’s all about grabbing some hardware and attracting tourists, and never mind the people who live here once the judges have been and gone.
To make this even more sickening, Boston will be hosting this year's East Midlands in Bloom awards at Boston Stump on 13th September.
We are already shuddering at the thought of the back-slapping that will ensue if once again, we win a badge.

***

If you don’t believe our comments about the displays being saved for the selected few areas, if the judges had found some time to visit one of Boston’s town centre ghettoes, they would have encountered this


This floral delight has adorned the roadside for years now.
The weeds in it are self-set – and we assume that the drinks cans are perhaps some sort of artistic installation.
Whatever, it is in one of the wards administered by BTAC-ky – which admirably underlines our criticism that the committee penalises and ignores residents in poorer areas to fund lavish showy-offy displays for the benefit of the town centre only.
Doubtless, if ever anyone works out where it is, it will disappear overnight.

***

We mentioned our First Citizen, Councillor Brian Rush earlier – and it appears that his efforts to cut down on the annual mayoral budget of £80,000 a year have been thwarted by greedy freeloaders.
Earlier this month, he staged a Meet the Mayor event at the White Hart Hotel, and decided to foot the bill from his own pocket – rather than dump it on the council taxpayers.
Attendance was subject to pre-booking – but although 45 people asked to come along, 83 turned up.
This perfectly demonstrated the ignorance and selfishness of many of the self-styled great and good of Boston, who presumably thought that turning up unannounced didn’t matter as it was only the taxpaying punters who would have to take the hit.

***

We note that the new Lidl store is developing apace, with a suggestion that it will hopefully open early next year.
You might think that rivals at nearby Tesco would be thinking of ways to get their act together to make themselves more attractive to customers in the threat of competition.
Their best effort to date a branch of Timpson’s on their site – which means that local shoppers now have three similar outlets within a few miles of each other … the other two are in the town centre.
And where has Tesco located this latest arrow in its shopping quiver?
On two of the only four disabled parking spaces closest to the store entrance!

***

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have noticed that we are staging a mini war on the Boston Target for putting every story that appears on its Lincolnshire feed beneath a Boston  banner.
Roughly nine out of every ten reports so branded have nothing to do with Boston – and some come from as far afield as Nottinghamshire and Grimsby.
Every time we spot this feeble attempt to win a few extra visits to its site, we hashtag it #notabostonstory.
Many people have thanked us for saving them wasting their time, and you can tag the stories similarly if you find some that we have missed.
One its Twitter page, the Target declares “The Boston Target is your local weekly newspaper committed to breaking news, building communities and making local matter.”
Recently this has not been the case with the paper – and now it seems that any old news will do on Twitter … just so long as people click on it.
This is an insult to Boston readers which we hope will soon cease.

***

Having said that, we are indebted to the Target/Lincolnshire Echo for this week’s hilarious headline which reads …

.

As many men have discovered to their cost, this sort of thing can happen if you fail to take aim carefully!

***



Finally, the general election may now be just a memory, but do you recall the tacky and somewhat contradictory stunt staged by BBC Radio Lincolnshire at its live open air public debates?
It involved a tumble dryer – the debate's “spin machine” – but as it was used simply as a post-box for written questions "spin" never entered into it.
The machine in question toured the county constituencies, looking shiny and new and presumably bought just for the purpose.
But what happened to it after that?
Recently, a contender in the TV show Robot Wars pitched up at the Lincoln studios with the machine known as Apollo which won the last series and was defending its title.
As a means of demonstrating its prowess the machine demonstrated how far it could hurl and subsequently damage a tumble dryer – which ended up looking like this.


You can see the full scene of pointless destruction by clicking here
We can only imagine that this dryer and the one touted around the election circuit were one and the same, and have to ask whether or not this was a proper way to spend TV licence payers’ money?


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  


We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston


Monday, 26 June 2017

Our piece last week on street drinking and other problems sparked a lot of interest – and most people agreed that the authorities have taken their eyes off these particular balls.
Among the commentators, regular reader Robin e-mailed to say: “Like you, many of us do indeed walk about with our eyes open, and as such we can see on a regular basis what the situation is and what the problems are in our once lovely little market town of Boston.
“It’s been glaringly obvious for a number of years now that our local authorities and senior police do indeed live in an alternative universe, and just seem to undertake a variety of hare-brained ideas and spout umpteen meaningless statements.
“In fact they will do anything as long as they don't have to take any meaningful course of action.
“The police are thin on the ground due to cuts, and there’s not much they can do about that, but it’s now time for them to take action. The laws are all in place only there is a great reluctance to invoke them. All we get from them is an endless stream of Social Worker Speak. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, but I won’t hold my breath.

***

Unsurprisingly, one person who disagreed with widespread public opinion was our newly re-elected MP Matt Warman.
When asked on Twitter for his views on the “alarming situation” on Boston streets and in the parks which was described as “lip service” and “tactics failing miserably” he replied: “I dispute that it's merely lip service, but this will be number one item on my next meeting with Chief Constable and the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.”
We asked what could it be other than lip service when local laws, poster campaigns and the like did nothing.
Back to Mr W: “When the police etc. have spoken to thousands and brought the country's first prosecutions, it's self-evident that some action is being taken.”
We pointed out that the prosecutions he mentioned were of a couple of local indigenous alcoholics, and therefore scarcely the root cause!
But Mr Warman – who always likes the last word – said: “But they were the worst offenders.”
To us, this is missing the point, but when we accused our MP of having no real understanding of the problem he told us “That’s simply untrue; otherwise I wouldn't be raising it with the Chief and PCC, setting up CAP etc. But it is not the only problem we face.”
He added: “More generally, my postbag would disagree with your conclusion: social care, broadband, roads all more...
Boston Eye: ...” broken bottles, overflowing litter bins, sense of fear – are they there as well?”
Matt Warman: “To be fair the vast majority of people go to the council about litter as it is there (sic) domain primarily. Public safety is obviously different.”

***

To us, putting a problem on an agenda is not the same as having an understanding of that problem.
Those of us who live in Boston and walk its pavements on a regular basis know whereof we speak.
An MP who divides his time between London for four days a week and a home in the county but not in the constituency for three, clearly cannot be expected to appreciate what to him are probably the minutiae of local life – especially with such a large area to represent.
But in that case, he should keep a still tongue in a wise head – and stop believing that being an MP means that you are always right.

***

Meanwhile, we received some strong comment about another item we mentioned – litter – from ex-councillor Carol Taylor, who represented the town’s Witham Ward for four years.
“The problems surrounding excess litter in Boston are on-going for the council and other agencies,” she e-mailed.
“It doesn't matter how many litter bins are available, It doesn't matter how often litter bins are emptied and it doesn't matter how many big clean ups there are.
“It is about people having pride in their town – which is missing in Boston.
“I have moved to St Ives in Cornwall, one of the busiest holiday resorts in Great Britain. You won't see much litter here. This is because those living here are so proud of where we live and it gives us all great pleasure to see this town clean and tidy.
“The only excess litter will be as a result of the seagulls that can spot an opening to cause havoc at every opportunity. If we see a bag strewn over the floor, as local residents we all attempt to pick it up and bin it.
“Littering is down to how much pride local residents have in their town, Boston needs to regain that pride ... that is if there ever was any!”

***

Meanwhile, the rot continues to set in.
A local “newspaper” reports that since opening three years ago, the Dame Sarah Swift Park in Kirton has been subjected to numerous attacks from young vandals.
Councillor Claire Rylott is both a Kirton parish councillor and Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for grounds and open spaces
She is quoted as having written to Worst Street to say: “The residents are frightened with regards to youths in there in the evening, and mums with toddlers rarely go in. “We continue to spend money on this park only to find once repaired items continue to be wrecked. I feel our Chair has had enough and is ready to say ‘enough is enough let’s close it down.’”
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said the neighbourhood policing teams “were aware” of the issues.
But if the park closes down, then the vandals have won ... and will soon pick another target.

***

“The residents are frightened …”
That’s a quotation we heard elsewhere this week when the same newspaper reported that  “frightened” and “intimidated” residents of Boston have been taking part in a free self-defence class after streetlights were switched off as part of county council economies.
The sessions started in the Woad Farm area, but are now open to anyone in the borough.
A Boston Community Inspector is quoted as saying he supported any measures which “gave people the reassurance they need” adding: “It’s self-defence so it’s not about planning to fight, but to defend yourself.”
And Lincolnshire County Council which is behind the lighting reductions said: “The evidence suggests that part-night lighting is safe and leaves the majority of road users unaffected’.”
It makes no mention of pavement users.
Why is it though that this happens only in Boston?

***

Meanwhile, Worst Street has taken to its website to remind dog owners of the legal threat they face …
“Failing to clean up after your dog in this borough is now punishable by a fine of £100. In fact failing to be able to demonstrate your intention to clean up – producing a poo bag for instance – is now punishable by a £100 fine.”
And it is also boasting about its other sledgehammer to crack a nut – the threat to fine car owners £2,500 if the park in a way that stops bin lorries getting down a road.


We especially liked the line “many thanks for your considerate parking.”
What else can you do when threatened by a bunch of bully boys?

***

As might be expected, Worst Street shows no shame over trying to cow its taxpayers with threats to drag them through the courts – in fact it is bragging about it.
The gloat beneath the headline: “Dog fouling, bin lorry blockers: Council leads the way” – claims that: “Councils in other parts of the country besieged by some of the same problems being tackled here have asked for advice from Boston Borough Council.”
The council, the boast claims, has now enlisted the services of a private enforcement company, 3GS – a band of are ex-military brothers who “will be mounting surveillance in hot-spot areas and after hours, so early morning and after-dark dog walkers can be dealt with. They are equipped to confirm an offender's identity and issue an on-the-spot fine.”
Ex-military chaps who hire themselves out used to be called mercenaries, didn’t they?
We understand that there is no truth in the rumour that interest in Boston’s hard line attitude  has come from overseas in the form of approaches by Kim Jong Il and Robert Mugabe – it seems more likely that Worst Street would seek advice from them.

***

Whilst on the one hand, the council is spending money to go on the attack; it is also saving it in some rather odd quarters.
As the park in Kirton is coming under threat of closure, the playing field in Old Leake is being off-loaded by Worst Street on to the parish council with the intention that it will continue to run it as a playing field.
Worst Street has a long history of selling off the family silver.
It started with the big money items such as Boston Docks and the council housing stock.
Those millions vanished almost as quickly as they came in, and other disposals have followed over time.
Now, it seems that we are heading towards the bottom of the barrel.
The worry is what might be flogged off next.

***

As things lurch from bad to worse, we notice another strange decision.
One of the big problems in the borough has been the fly-tipping of rubbish – ranging from bagsful to lorry loads.
Furniture and fridges are very popular items to dump – but at least the council could once boast a paid for collection service for such bulky items.
But not anymore it seems … 
We wonder what the reason is behind this daft decision – and also how long it will be before Worst Street starts bleating yet again about our roadside drains and ditches becoming open air rubbish tips. …

***

If it seems like only last year that Boston Borough Council was bleating that it could no longer afford to celebrate Christmas – that’s because it was.
Yet it now looks as through more money than ever is to be hurled at this year’s yuletide – and the preposterous Illuminate project to celebrate the total absence of any connection between Boston and the original Pilgrim Fathers, and which marks US Thanksgiving Day on Thursday 23rd November … more than a month before Christmas.
B-TACky – the Boston Town Area Committee … so important that it has its own logo – is being asked at its meeting on Wednesday to stump up thousands of pounds to add to money already earmarked for this year’s Christmas spree.
A report by the “civilian” group of volunteers arranging Christmas lighting lists more £10,000 of hard cash or offers in kind that the group has obtained –  and now wants the £10k that B-TACky promised in matched funding.
Meanwhile, the arty-farty band known as Transported, has put in another bid to Wednesday’s meeting.
It plans to spend £24,000 this November to celebrate the approaching 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers’ arrival in America aboard the Mayflower – which we must again point out is completely unconnected to Boston.
Transported waffles to B-TACky: “Our hope is that BTAC will join with us as key delivery partners … to build the scale and ambition of the Illuminate event, embed it and its impacts in the cultural calendar of the town and ensure local ownership and pride grows as our spectacular festival grows,”
Here’s how the figures look so far …


And in addition to the lantern parade budget, Transported have coordinated a second bid for Arts Council funding towards an £8,000 budget for a “digital commission” to be projected on to Boston Stump as part of this year’s Illuminate.
So as well as an appeal for £5,000 from B-TACky which will simply be rubber stamped, Boston Borough Council is putting in another £2,000, and B-TACky will also be stumping up a further £10 grand. Worst Street is also paying £2,500 for a Christmas tree that we used to get for nothing.
In council terms the cost tops out at almost £20,000 – most of which is an inequitable surcharge on just eight of the borough’s fifteen wards.
In Illuminate terms the cost may be as high as £32,000.
Yo, ho ho!
And whatever became of the Boston Town Team that contributed so much to the debacle that last Christmas became?
Does that still exist?

***


Finally, this week’s award for shooting oneself in the foot goes – surprise, surprise – to Boston Borough Council.


After all that has been said and done to try to make Central Park a better place by banning drinking in public, it seems that the local laws will be suspended for two days to make way for a beer festival.
Oktoberfest will be held in Central Park on Friday October 27th, from 5pm to 10pm, and Saturday, October 28th from noon to 5pm and 6pm to 11pm.
It’s one of a number in the UK mirroring the Munich festival and shows just how easily Worst Street will abandon its moral stance where presumably money is to be made for the civic coffers through hiring out the park.
But the big money will go to the organisers.
The event is for over 18s only, and tickets are £10, £15 or £20 each – plus a 10% booking fee – or you could have a VIP table for ten for £385.
We’re thinking of booking Central Park to stage a two-day  bulky waste disposal fest – provisionally called Park it in the Park – and if the price was right, we are sure that Worst Street would probably allow it. 

***

We're taking a break for a bit   expect us back in the week of  17th  July
  

You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston