Sunday, September 25

Welcome to Boston Eye

After a spat with Boston Borough Council, we were reluctantly forced to revise our blogging arrangements to honour an promise … and we believe in keeping our word – unlike others that we could name.
The page that you are on now is home to Boston Eye’s reports from October 2008 – when it transferred from an even earlier website begun in February 2007 - until September 2011 – and now forms an archive of our 800 postings during that period, which can be searched by using the Blogger search box  on the page - pictured below.

From Monday 5th September, we became New Boston Eye – and moved to:

Please bookmark it and visit us often.
Our e-mail address remains the same.

You can write to us at   Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Sunday, September 4

Out with the old ...
with the new!

Having given our word, we have drawn a line in the sand beneath the Boston Eye blog which began four and a half years ago.
However, in view of the questionable way  that  we were nudged by Boston Borough Council towards an age old promise to cease blogging,  we asked  our readers to decide.
Their  vote was unanimous ...

Carry on -  don't cower down

Among the dozens of of e-mails  we received, it was encouraging to note that more than 20% of serving borough councillors urged us to continue.
So from tomorrow - Monday, 5th September  - we  resume blogging from our new address ...
You will find us at

Please bookmark it and visit us often.
This site will remain as an archive of our previous 800 postings ...
Our e-mail address remains the same.

You can write to us at   and  your e-mails will always be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Saturday, September 3

Our readers
have spoken ... and Boston Eye will soldier on!

There’s a lot to read today.
We were overwhelmed by the quantity of e-mails we received following yesterday’s blog – and the tremendous support and generous comments expressed in them.
Universally, they implored us to continue writing in some shape or form, and given the depth of feeling expressed, that is what we plan to do.
We will honour our promise to cease blogging as Boston Eye, which me made because we felt that if our identity became widely known, our credibility would suffer – as we were nothing more than an individual – a local David aiming his slingshot at the well armoured and confident Goliath known as Boston Borough Council, but sadly without the success of the original.
But the bottom line is that it doesn’t seem to matter – because over the years our blog appears to have gathered credibility and a reputation which makes it something that our readers do not want to lose.
We thank them for this, and will carry on from a new address – which honours our promise – even though it was enforced through what we consider less than honourable means.
Our new address will be   and our e-mail will remain the same.
We wrote earlier about the e-mails we have received – and publish extracts from some of them below.
Interestingly a surprising number came from Boston Borough councillors – though as you might expect, they did not include any Conservative members!
Councillor Richard Leggott ,a veteran Independent, wrote to say: “Not that I have ever interpreted your column as pure opposition, but one of the things I do remember from history lessons, many moons ago, is that, in government, the opposition is just as important as the administration.
“A good partnership is not necessarily one that agrees wholeheartedly on everything.
“Yes, I feel you are now part of the local government 'partnership'.
“Under whatever label/ format you find acceptable please continue your good work on behalf of the people of Boston.”
His colleague Councillor Brian Rush, added: “It is a very sad day politically for Boston, if the Eye stands by its decision to cease blogging because someone sets out to “out” the authors.”
Another Independent, Councillor Carol Taylor, told us: “If it wasn't for Boston Eye, I would be bumbling along hoping that I could make a difference for the people of Boston. I no longer bumble because I have received a tremendous education from Boston Eye. The blog has given me information which whet my appetite and then encouraged me to delve further. This has now increased my knowledge base of events, lack of events, political gaffes, the council's sleeping timetable, who dunnit? who could have dunnit but didn't, and to highlight some wonderful sensitive egos. I am always on guard, however, because should I do anything that is not in the public's interest, you would be down on me like a ton of bricks ( provided from Market Place restoration!) and quite rightly so.
“You have created a blog for the people of Boston and, as you say, readers are increasing in numbers, so why give it up? Four and a half years of building up an information and critical appraisal site sprinkled with a bit of satire, laced with conscience pricking, topped with humour but the icing on the cake is FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”
Labour Councillor Paul Gleeson wrote to say: “I for one will regret the passing of your blog, whilst you will not be surprised to learn I did not agree with all that you wrote. I think my world view is somewhat different. I did, you may be surprised to learn, agree with a lot of what you wrote and all your articles were well written with good research.
“Maybe because I have never seen myself as being part of the great and the good, or even considered it a healthy thing to aspire to, I never felt threatened if your blog tweaked my or my party’s nose or even hit us with a big stick. It is only when our thoughts and assumptions are challenged can we ensure that we develop robust cogent policies. One of the issues of being in a political party is that it is full of people who share your beliefs. Whilst that can give you great strength, it is too easy to convince yourselves that your policy is self-evidently correct, it is only when people with a different (albeit wrong !) world view challenge it, will any flaws be revealed.
“I hope you will reconsider, you can’t leave  the only daily blog in town, what will we have to live up to?”
Darron Abbott, himself a vociferous campaigner on behalf of Boston and its businesses and a Conservative candidate at last May’s elections, wrote: “I believe is a very dark day in the political history of my town, if indeed it is the last day that Boston Eye publish their blog.
“You may think this sounds a bit dramatic, but I genuinely believe something will be lost. Over the period that Boston Eye has been published, I have learnt a great of what has been happening here in Boston, that the powers that be have tried to keep quiet - or just the fact that I have not had the time or resources to research myself.
“As regular readers will be aware, the blog has allowed me to voice my opinions publicly and, yes, has helped force other parties to take notice, I will be disappointed to lose this facility as Boston Eye have always been prepared to go where the local press have been frightened to go.
“It appears that the author of Boston Eye’s identity has been known for some time. Up to recently this anonymity has been respected as it served its purposes, but now these same people seek to close down the rights of others.
“One person in particular is Councillor Singleton-McGuire, who up to the election in May openly welcomed Boston Eye’s criticism of the BBI and boasted of his submissions to it. It now seems however he and his administration have taken power and received the same scrutiny he feels that the blog is no longer serves his needs.
“As a Conservative candidate at the elections in May, I will now go on record, in how disappointed I am that the administration has taken the course of action they have.
“Whilst I understand the author of Boston Eye feels creditability will be lost, I urge the team to continue to uncover and inform us of that is going on in Boston.”
Other comments sent in just the past 24 hours include:
• “Please continue in some form, as I've only recently discovered  your blog, and it seems the only forum that is holding the local authorities to account.”
• "Boston Eye is a beacon of light illuminating the sometimes strange and murky goings on within our once proud borough, but as an obviously honourable person, unlike most of our politicians, I must respect whatever decision you eventually make - but in the earnest hope that you will continue to give voice to sense, reason, sanity and above all the truth regardless of the poison of political correctness that has so corroded our way of life in this town and indeed the whole country. Obviously the PC brigade are totally unable to handle any meaningful discourse on any subject whatsoever as theirs is the only permitted view in the local and national media. As such Boston Eye with its wide range of views must have been a target for destruction from the word go. “We need the likes of Boston Eye to give an alternative and truthful view of events. Please in some way carry on your freedom of speech/thought blog.”
• “I appreciate that in order to keep to your word, the Boston Eye column may now have to cease. “There's more real analysis of local interest in your column than in all the so-called 'local media' combined. “Accordingly, I would urge you to at least consider the possibility of carrying on in some alternate way. “There continues to be a strong need for your kind of independent commentary.”
• "As a daily reader and past contributor please keep up the blogging - it is a medium that is well-informed and represents and puts to the fore the concerns and views of Boston’s public! Who else would do it if not Boston Eye!!???
• " ‘If you don't have this freedom of the press, then all these little fellows are weaselling around and doing their monkey business and they never get caught. " - Harold R. Medina US lawyer, teacher and judge. An apposite quote, n'est-ce pas? And who is going to tell the citizens of Boston if there's any weaselling going on in Worst Street if Boston Eye is silenced? Local newspapers reproduce the council-speak that is fed to them. Boston Eye uncovers the stories behind the stories, and explains the facts in a way that everyone can understand. Long may they continue to do so”

Whew! What can we say – except see you next week.
And thanks.

You can write to us at  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Friday, September 2

Our Friday miscellany
of the week's
news and events
Today is a day of hail and farewell, as we trot out some of the mixture as before … then bid our readers adieu.
Stop Press entry at foot of page
It’s a point that we’ve made before in discussions about the influx of migrant workers into Boston – but it still needs making. This week’s Boston Standard tells us that almost 2,500 people from overseas registered for national insurance numbers between March 2010 and March this year “to allow them to work in the borough.” Other statistics show that there has not been that number of jobs created  to justify these figures. Therefore, some registrations must be for ancillary purposes - the most common being entitlement to benefits and allowances. Registration helps places like Boston because it influences the borough’s grant from central government, but there is still a huge disparity between the unofficial numbers of those who live in the borough, and official statistics. This is why Boston is always strapped for cash.
Boston Labour Party has a seductive map on its website suggesting a proposed route for the town’s bypass (pictured below, left.). It skips across the A17 and the A52, south to Wyberton, curves north to Fishtoft, Haltoft End and Hill Dyke before heading south again to the point where it started.
In an ideal world it would be just the job. But being the old pedants that we are, we worked out a distance for the route, which came to 15 miles, give or take. The heavily dumbed down plan for the proposed Lincoln eastern bypass – which makes it single rather than dual carriageway – will cost £98m for just 4.88 miles. At today’s prices the Labour route would work out at almost £300 million.  We think we can fairly say: “Forget it, Boston.”
Talking of spending, we noted the pictures in the local papers of a “free” event at the Hussey Tower, where visitors could see demonstrations of traditional brickwork repairs and tour the tatty monument. We’ve mentioned cost  quite a bit in the last couple of days, and wondered  … could this “free” event be the “masterclass in traditional repair” for which Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire received a lottery grant of almost £50,000 a few months ago?
In August we were told there would be seven Boston borough council committee meetings this month. Then the Performance Review committee meeting scheduled for the 8th vanished without explanation, and we believe that another may well follow. This is an interesting departure for our new regime – cancelling meetings without explanation when so much needs doing. Perhaps it is intended as a perverse form of economy.
Boston Borough Council continues its ongoing interest in putting the cart before the horse with this year’s voter registration forms. People who don’t spot the box at the top of the page -  and it doesn’t stick out a mile - will doubtless wade through the forms and fill in all the details before learning that if the information is unchanged, it can all be done on the internet, or by ‘phone. As the form points out – using either of these two methods save the council time and money. Perhaps the information could be made more prominent next time around.
Not only is the Market Place refurbishment taking its toll on local businesses, it’s also going to rain on one of the Boston’s few open air parades. We note that this year’s Battle of Britain Sunday service and parade will be rerouted  through Pescod Square, and that as a result, the saluting base  will be located in the loading bay near WH Smith.  Surely, someone is pulling our leg?  Can’t we sling up a podium big enough for four in a slightly more appropriate and respectful location? It could even be big enough for three, as, whilst we can understand the presence of the Mayor, RAF Coningsby’s Wing Commander Al Seymour, and Boston Team Rector Robin Whitehead, we are somewhat at a loss to see why the council’s “strategic director” needs to be up there with them.
We now have our very own optical illusion as a logo in Boston Borough Council reports. You know what we’re talking about – illustrations where you decide whether a drawing is of an attractive young lady or an old crone.

So how do you see the one above? We guess it’s meant to indicate partnerships and togetherness. But we’re afraid that we see it in a drowning not waving capacity - a long line of people clinging together for dear life to avoid sinking beneath the choppy blood red waters beneath.
Something we’ve mentioned on occasion is the poor quality of the postal service in some parts of Boston – where it seems that posties deliver when they feel like it, rather than being motivated by the accumulation of letters at the sorting office. A reader who complained after a particularly breathtaking piece of Royal Mail incompetence e-mailed us with a possible reason. After repeatedly brushing aside all complaints, Royal Mail's final response declared: "Please be assured that we take letting our customers down seriously ..."

We note that the controversial Roll of Achievement that was once so prominently displayed has disappeared from the home page of Boston Borough’s Council’s website.  It is still lurking in the bowels of the borough’s computer – but must be searched for to be read. The roll was always somewhat anomalous – listing some people and not others, and in obvious conflict with other parts of the site listing notable Bostonians. The space on the website has been taken by a Leader’s Message – which we take to be the ruling group’s paean of self praise for their first 100 days. We admit a frisson of fear as we read a line by Councillor Peter Bedford which declared: “My aim is to take this authority back to where it was in the past ….”  Fortunately, he added the words “-  a council well thought of and respected throughout the East Midlands.”   Although we consider the first half of the statement to be more likely, we trust that the aim  expressed in the latter will be as true as that of William Tell.
The leader also goes on to say: "Talks are starting with our neighbouring authorities about possible joint working schemes, helping each other to save money and get the best value we can for you all." We hope that he is not thinking of a reunion with the South Holland/East Lindsey partnership, with which the borough was on the brink of forming an alliance when financial problems forced its withdrawal. At the time, it was said that if Boston decided at a later date that it wanted to join the club, it would be at whatever the going rate was. The item below, from the Rotten Boroughs feature in this week's Private Eye, suggests that the price might be high, given the apparent absence of interest from anyone else in the year since the operation started.

Whilst it is always praiseworthy to support our local services, a line has to be drawn somewhere.  In the letters page of this week’s Boston Target, the “Letter of the Week” was headed “Care at the Pilgrim was just exemplary.”  It referred to the stay of an elderly relative in our controversial local hospital, and added: “We can honestly say that she could not have received better care anywhere.” Think about it. You can honestly say no such thing - unless the person in question has received treatment in every hospital in the country, and you had compared them all.
Ahead of our last item, we note that the Boston Standard’s weekly sales have slumped again – according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation released yesterday.  In the first six months of 2011 they averaged 8,395 copies a week  - down 10.8% and among only 14% of papers showing a double-digit drop in circulation. Just when we were getting close …
Finally, the late Harold Wilson wasn’t kidding when he said that a week is a long time in politics.  After the recent e-mail that we mentioned in which the writer decided to remind us where we lived and cautioned us to watch what we wrote, our enquiries have established that our nom de plume is no longer what it was. We promised on more than one occasion that we would end our efforts to call the council to account if  we were “outed” - and decency dictates that we keep our word.  It has been our pleasure to write so many tens of thousands of words and to be read by an increasingly large readership over the past four and a half years. We had hoped that repeatedly sending a message to the "great and the good" might create an appreciation of their unique position and that they might use it to benefit voters. But in many instances this has not proved to be the case. We are sure that there are many in Worst Street will now breathe a sigh of relief, slap themselves on the back and go about their usual business of running a not very good council not very well, happy in the knowledge that no one will now take them to task - which we suspect is what this is really all about.  To misquote Harold Wilson: the weak are a long time in politics. Having said that, we are also pleased to have made many fine acquaintances within and without the council. One has already suggested that if enough people respond, we should reconsider our decision, and continue blogging – but obviously not under our present name. We are willing to give it a try, and if you would like to see some sort of blog continue, then please e-mail us. We have a target response figure in mind – but as we have said so many times before … we won’t be holding our breath.
But in the meantime, please keep checking our site for news …

STOP PRESS: We have already received a number of letters and comments regarding the above item, which will reproduced on the blog page tomorrow. In general, they are supportive of Boston Eye continuing on some shape or form, but more views would be welcomed before we take a final decision. We look forward to hearing from you.

You can write to us at Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.