Friday, 1 May 2015

Lancaster's First Age Comics gets set to celebrate Free Comic Book Day



Lancaster's very own comics shop, First Age Comics, will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day tomorrow (Saturday 2nd May, 10.00am - 5.00pm) by getting free comics! With 50 titles available to choose from, there’s a story for everyone to enjoy!

Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops around the world give away comic books absolutely free.

This year's FREE comics include: 2000ADBob's Burgers, Bongo Fun For All, Boom Studios 10th Anniversary, Dark Circle, Fight Club 2/Goon, Divergence, Doctor Who, Pokemon, Savage Dragon, Secret Wars, Spongebob Squarepants, Transformers and many, many more.

First Age Comics will have a number of cosplayers in attendance, FREE Pic 'N Mix and plenty of comics celebration going on.

Come along and check out what comics have to offer!

More information on the First Age Comics Free Comic Book Day Facebook event Page


The Fix Is In: Lancaster Guardian Backs Tories in General Election



(Updated 3/5/2015): The Lancaster Guardian's apparent backing for the Conservatives on their front page lead this week (which, we imagine, may be repeated in some form in the Visitor next week) might dismay other local political parties, but it should come as no surprise.

That its apparent support is, on closer inspection, an "advertorial" produced by the Conservatives, not the newspaper's staff, does not diminish the impact it will have - and call into question the paper's impartiality - or at least its judgement, given that other political parties suggesting a similar paid promotion for their agenda were turned away.

In a Facebook post, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate Cat Smith revealed she had asked the Guardian about placing such an advertisement - which we understand cost the Tories £9000 - but was told it was the paper's policy not to allow political parties to buy it.

Owners Johnston Press - who have made savage cuts to editorial staffing levels across many of their newspapers in the face of declining sales, regularly reported by press sites such as HoldTheFrontPage - are a classic example of the kind of business the Tories are keen to support.

It should also come as no surprise to anyone to learn that Johnston Press PLC have previously been financial contributors to the Conservative Party, although bizarrely, in other parts of the country, Johnston Press editorial staff have tried to maintain their impartiality.

Johnston Press operates 13 paid-for daily newspapers across the UK, 195 paid-for weekly newspapers, 40 free titles, ten lifestyle magazines and 198 local news and e-commerce websites. It reported a pre-tax loss of £23.9m last year, but underlying profits rose from £54m to £55.5m.

In recent years the company has hyped stories of "economic recovery", but in its style of management only a tiny minority has received any benefits.

For the majority, staffing levels have been drastically cut in response to declining sales as tastes in news reading have changed in favour of the internet. From 2007 to 2012, Tribune notes that the company's annual reports reveal that the number of full-time journalists fell by 44 per cent from 2,774 to 1,558. And yet just this week, the national Guardian reported that last year’s remuneration for the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post publisher’s chief executive Ashley Highfield was more than three times that of the previous year - a £1.65 million pay package.


Such reports have provoked strong reaction from staff and the Press Gazette reports that fewer than half of Johnston Press’s employees (48.9 per cent) would recommend the company “as a good place to work”, according to an internal staff survey. (It's no wonder some sacked journalists in Scarborough have gone off to set up a rival paper in response to their treatment).

Locally over the past few years, the company has scaled back its news gathering operations, closing its offices in Lancaster and Morecambe and relocating to a non-descript building on the White Lund Industrial Estate

Despite the hard work of the staff remaining, whose dedication in the face of such shoddy treatment should be admired, the Lancaster Guardian's news coverage has, sadly, declined, reduced for many articles to re-writing press releases from public and private sources and replaced by "user generated content".

The number of pages featuring self-promoting articles by a wide variety of local people, from Tory MPs to local business people - has markedly increased.

And the cuts to its already-hampered news gathering continue. Last November, to illustrate just one cost-saving measure, Johnston Press announced a range of job cuts for photographers across its local sites, following similar moves to cut photographers in the South.

The National Union of Journalists reported that staff in the North West were told that the photographic department will be turning into a mostly freelance operation with only three photographers remaining across Wigan, Preston and Blackpool, affecting The Gazette in Blackpool, Preston’s Lancashire Evening Post and the Wigan Evening Post.

"Morale is at rock bottom in Johnston Press, yet further cuts have been announced," commented the NUJ's Johnston Press group chapel at the time. "Our members are shocked by further photographic redundancies, a move which is likely to hit the quality of newspapers and websites we produce, lead to further declining readership and harm the long-term prospects of the company."

He was also scathing about the company's drive to fill its newspaper's pages with "user generated content".

"Alarmingly, Johnston Press management believes that more 'user generated content' is the way forward. They ignore the fact that this requires more work from editorial teams in processing submitted material, which is often of a sub-standard quality and not suitable for publication."

Virtual-Lancaster is a community-based, volunteer run web site with none of the even now limited resources of Lancaster Guardian. Our readers kind donations of information, imagery and even the occasional PayPal donation are welcomed, but we are aware of our own news gathering imitations.

(Your contributions, subject to possible editing, are always welcomed).

We would not offer support to any party who, in terms of their proposals for surveillance, are a threat to journalistic freedom and, indeed, free speech – the Tories for example even making controversial demands on journalists wanting to cover their election campaign in 2015. 

Among others, the Milton Keynes Advertiser hit out what it has called a ‘Big Brother-style’ media accreditation policy that it reported was to be implemented by the Tories ahead of the forthcoming election campaign. The Tories demanded reporters' and photographers' personal details in advance, including their home addresses, and passport and driving licence numbers.

Update 3rd May 2015We've been told that editorial staff at various Johnston Press titles across the UK are considerably miffed by this wraparound, which has featured on many of their papers, but their objections were ignored. Judging from the larger pile of unsold Lancaster Guardians in local newsagents that we've seen, we think it's backfired here in terms of sales, and some commentators have even declared they are now boycotting the paper.

Web Links


Tribune: Hold the front page – democracy is under threat

Renewal: The New Politics of Media Ownership

National Union of Journalists: Johnston Press news items

Johnston Press: Official Web Site

Lancaster Guardian: Official Site

TUC invite Lancaster to May Day March and Rally tomorrow



Lancastrians will be celebrating International Workers Day with our traditional May Day Parade and Rally tomorrow, Saturday 2 May 2015.

Organised by Lancaster and Morecambe TUC this annual event is inclusive and attracts participants from all walks of life, across political parties and campaigns, to walk side by side in solidarity.
(Even the police are usually well represented, often bringing a superbly mounted escort on horses decked out in bright, daffodil-yellow livery.)

This year the TUC's themes are:

  • No to Austerity
  • Defend the Fire Service
  • Restore NHS Budgets
  • Stop Benefits Sanctions

Groups and individuals are also very welcome to march in solidarity under their own banners.

The Parade will assemble from 11.30am in Dalton Square, Lancaster and will set off at 12 noon to march with music around and through Lancaster City Centre. At 1pm it will return to Dalton Square to Rally. The assembly will be addressed by speakers from a range of parties and local, national and international campaigns.

International Workers' Day, also known as Labor Day in the US, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every year on May Day, 1 May, which also coincides with the Celtic spring festival. In Lancaster we celebrate it with a Parade on the closest Saturday.

This Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. The fact that working people in the UK now have the right to rest, and to have time for recreation and their families, is thanks to the trades union movement.


Thursday, 30 April 2015

New 'Sing Your Heart Out Cancer Choir' starts in May

A new singing group is being launched in Lancaster for people who have cancer or who have had experience of the disease.

The ‘Sing Your Heart Out Cancer Choir’ aims to give people a break from the stresses of cancer and have fun in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The choir, a joint venture involving community development charity n-compass North West, Lancaster Breast Cancer Unit, CancerCare and the Lancaster based Macmillan breast care specialist nurses will be launched on Monday 11 May, in the upstairs room at The Borough, in Lancaster's Dalton Square, from 2pm to 4pm. The karaoke led meetings will be held every fortnight after that until Christmas.

Sally Richardson, community development officer from n-compass North West said: ‘This group is for people with cancer and their carers who may feel low, isolated and alone. We know that singing improves low moods and enables people to forget their worries for a while and leaves them feeling uplifted and energised.

‘And there are real benefits to singing your heart out with people who understand what you are going through.

‘We offer a warm welcome and there are no auditions or solos and you don’t have to be able to sing! I know I can’t,’ added Sally.

The sessions are free although donations are welcome. Refreshments are available from The Borough to purchase. There will also be information about help available in the area from local cancer charities and n-compass North West.

For further information, contact Sally Richardson on 01253 362140, or email srichardson@ncompassnorthwest.co.uk

Consultation on Lancaster transport plan extended to 22 May

Lancashire County Council is giving people more time to have their say on a new transport plan for Lancaster which could see travel in the district transformed over coming decades. Consultation on the draft document was due to close on Thursday 7 May but has now been extended to Friday 22 May.

The District of Lancaster Highways and Transport Draft Masterplan contains a range of proposals to be developed by 2031. It sets out options for major changes to highways, public transport and walking and cycling facilities to create conditions for economic growth and prepare for predicted increases in traffic.

Some are changes that people have been seeking for over 20 years - but were consistently stonewalled by the County Council, which was adamant that all local traffic problems could only be solved by building the Heysham Link Road - despite widespread local opposition.  Now that the demands of Peel Ports, chief lobbyists for the Link, have been met (for the time being) the County Council is finally turning its attention to the real transport needs of the local economy.

You can download the draft Masterplan from Lancashire County Council's website here and respond via an online questionnaire here, or write in with your views to:
Lancaster Highways and Transport Masterplan, Environment Directorate, Room C4, County Hall, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 0LD.

The county council is consulting on the principles of the proposals contained within the masterplan, many of which will need further work to identify their viability and options for funding and delivery. Responses will inform the contents of the final document.

Proposals in the draft masterplan include:

  • To greatly reduce traffic in the centre of Lancaster, with much greater use of sustainable transport such as park-and-ride buses and cycling.
  • Relocating J33 of the M6 to access the A6 between Galgate and Lancaster University to serve the south of the city and allow a new approach to traffic management in Lancaster.
  • To develop proposals for better connections to Morecambe, and measures to make Morecambe and Carnforth more attractive places for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • A district-wide cycling and walking strategy to make walking and cycling safe and convenient for an increasing number of local journeys.
  • A study of the business case for better rail connections to Morecambe and around the whole bay area, taking into account connections to Cumbria, particularly from Carnforth.

Marcus Hudson, head of planning at Lancashire County Council, said: "There has been a lot of interest in the options to improve transport put forward in the masterplan, and some people have asked us to give them more time to respond.

"We realise that the proposals are very wide-ranging and are more than happy to extend the consultation as we want to consider all views and reflect them in the final document."

For further information please contact: Mike Warren on 01772 533537
mike.warren@lancashire.gov.uk


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for 29th April to 7th May 2015

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

A time of change at the cinema screen with four films lost and five new releases. The new films bring action and adventure with Big Game (12A), drama with Far from the Madding Crowd (12A), two doses of family animation with The Hero of Colour City (U) and Two by Two (U) and finally horror with Unfriended (15).

Films that are lost include A little Chaos; Divergent Series: Insurgent; Get Hard and The Theory of Everything. In addition the following films will soon be disappearing from our screens Child 44; John Wick; Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and The DUFF.

A film that has returned to the screen after an absence is the excellent Birdman showing at the Vue for one night only.

This is a good time for adventure. Fast cars in Fast and Furious 7 and superhero action with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Also the dramas Child 44 and John Wick are worth a trip to the cinema. Finally the classic Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (The final cut) is a must for followers of Science fiction.

As always family entertainment is well represented with the remake of Cinderella and the comedy Shaun the Sheep.

The Dukes are continuing with their David Lynch season, showing The Elephant Man and later this week Blue Velvet. Also they offer a free glass of champagne with the showing of Moulin Rouge and a free slice of cake with The Breakfast Club.

The only area where the weeks program is weak is culture with Royal Opera House: La Fille Mal Gardee being the sole representative in this category.

Reviews

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Paul Bettany
This is the eleventh film in the franchise and the movie starts where 'The Avengers' finished. Following a raid on a Hydra outpost, Stark (Downey) and Banner (Ruffalo) complete Stark's defense program to protect the earth using an artificial intelligence. However the latter, Ultron (Spader) strives for human destruction. Ultron attacks the avengers and develops a plan to end humanity. Following the battle the avengers start to fight among themselves. However Stark creates a new being, Vision (Bettany) who aids the avengers in their final confrontation with Ultron. This is a very fast acting movie, louder and bigger than its predecessors with complicated plot and titanic special effects. The movie has received good reviews and will delight anyone who enjoyed previous Avenger movies.

Birdman
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Lindsay Duncan, Edward Norton, Michael Keaton, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifiankis, Emma Stone.
Subtitled 'The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance' this is the story of washed up actor Riggan Thomas (Keaton) once famous for playing a movie superhero Birdman. However once he left the franchise his career never recovered. Thus he is making a last ditch attempt to revive his fortunes by directing and acting in a play at the St James theatre on Broadway. The play is not going well and Riggan is plagued by his inner voice (manifest at the character Birdman), by quarrels with his actors and arguments with his family. The film appears to be shot as a single, cut free. sequence and it contains surreal, 'over the top' interludes. This is a dark comedy,a flight of fancy, about a self absorbed man. The acting is superb (especially Keaton) and the whole a quirky must see movie that could be the film of 2015. If you can only see one movie, this is the one.

Child 44
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman
The film is based on Tom Rob Smiths novel of 2008 and is set in Soviet Russia in the 1950s. Leo Demidov (Hardy) is an agent of the secret police. However he refuses to denounce his wife Raisa (Rapace) as a traitor so he and his wife are exiled to Volsk, a provincial Russian outpost. Here Demidov, with his superior General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), works to track down a serial killer who is attacking young boys. However the investigation is hampered by the official position that within the Soviet Union there are no such things as murderers. The film could have been a very decent thriller and it benefits from strong action. However it is let down somewhat by the thick Russian accents adopted by the actors and lack of development of some of the characters. The movie was banned within Russia for portraying the county as Mordor.

Cinderella
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden
Disney's re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Cinderella (James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) following the death of her father. The film sticks very close to Disney's 1950 animated musical. Cinderella is rather 'sickly sweet' but this is offset by the malevolence of the character of Lady Tremaine. The movie has some comedy action and a good selection of special effects. There is nothing in here to offend and the movie will be loved by all.

Fast and Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham
Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Walker) and the rest of their associates return to the USA where they hope to find peace. However Deckard Shaw (Statham) is the latest villain after Don and the team as he seeks revenge for the death of his brother. The film is thus a sequel to the 2013 Fast and Furious 6 and it involves even more car chases and madcap action. The film suffered from the death of the actor Paul Walker during filming but this does not detract from the frenzied action. A worthy successor to this popular franchise.

John Wick
Director: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Bridget Moynahan, Alfie Allen
John Wick (Reeves) used to be an assassin, but he left that world behind when he got married. Unfortunately his wife Helen (Moynahan) died from an illness but she bequeathed him a beagle puppy as a gift. Wick subsequently met members of a Russian gang at a garage forecourt and they tried to buy his car. He refused so the gang followed him home where they beat him, killed the dog and took the car. The rest of the film is the violent and action packed consequences as Wick seeks revenge. The film has a rather comic book feel and it posits a mysterious underworld of mobsters and assassins in which Wick must operate. Reeves gives an excellent performance to make this a very entertaining film in which there are no heros.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Director: Andy Fickman
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez
Paul Blart (James) is a Mall Cop who takes a vacation with his teenage daughter Maya (Rodriguez) before she starts college. They go to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo. Though Blart is mocked by the Casino security staff, he uncovers an attempted theft and goes after the thieves. The film is a sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop which was released in 2009 and became something of a surprise box office hit. The movie is an example of that rather rare genre, a true family comedy that succeeds in entertaining young and old.

The DUFF
Director: Ari Sandel
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Mae Whitman, Skyler Samuels, Bianca Santos, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Kody Keplinger. Bianca (Whitman) is a high school senior who, at a party, finds that she has been given the label the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her more popular friends Jess (Samuels) and Casey (Santos). She takes steps to challenge this designation by helping the star of the school football team Wesley (Amell) with his academic work in return for his helping her to re-invent herself. Yet she must face her nemesis, the mean label maker Madison Morgan (Thorne). This is an entertaining comedy albeit with some sexual references and crude language.

Unfriended
Director: Levan Gabriadze
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jacob Wysocki, Shelly Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman
This was initially released under the title Cybernatural. The movie is based in California, though the set of the film is the screen of the computer of Blaire Lily (Hennig). Blaire's friend Laura Barns (Sossaman) committed suicide a year earlier after a video was released on the Internet which shamed her. Now Blair and her set of friends find themselves being stalked on Skype and other social media by an unknown figure who starts to reveal the dark secrets of the group of friends. This is a teen horror movie that will appeal to a generation whose social life revolves around social media. The film has its share of frights and setting the movie on a computer screen is breaking new ground for the horror genre. 

Wanted sex offender last seen in Morecambe




Updated 28/4/15: The police tell us that Mr Foster has been found and arrested on suspicion of breaching a sex offenders order and is currently in police custody. 


************************************

Police are appealing for help to trace a missing sex offender 
from West Yorkshire, most recently seen in Morecambe.

Keith Alexander Foster, who also goes by the name Kirstie, 60, is wanted for breaching his notification requirements by not informing police of his current address.

He was originally convicted at Lancaster Magistrates Court on 11th September 2013 for possession of indecent images of children. He received a conditional discharge but was made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order following his conviction.

Foster is described as 5ft 2ins, slim build, short grey unkempt hair and speaks with a North West accent. He often wears female clothing.

DS 1666 Alan Acheson from the West Dangerous and Sexual Offenders Unit said: “We take any breach of notification requirements very seriously and I would urge anyone with information on where Foster might be to get in contact with us.

“I would also urge Keith himself, if he sees this appeal, to hand himself in to the police.”

Foster is thought to have links to the Lancashire, Cumbria and West Yorkshire areas but was last spotted in Morecambe on Tuesday 14th April 2015.

Anyone with information about Foster’s whereabouts should contact police on 101.

Labour Shadow Health Minister pledges support for local hospital trust

Shadow Secretary for Health Andy Burnham outside the RLI
with local Labour candidates Cat Smith and Amina Lone and supporters

Less than a week after local parliamentary candidates received the local 38 Degrees petition to stop NHS privatisation and to allow the NHS adequate funding, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Health, Andy Burnham, visited Lancaster and Morecambe today on a General Election campaign stop, setting out Labour’s  plan for local NHS services in the Morecambe Bay Trust.

In Lancaster he was joined by Cat Smith, Labour's local parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, outside the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) where he made five pledges to help improve the hospital:
  1.     Recognise the special circumstances of Morecambe Bay Trust in relation to funding
  2.     Work with our brilliant NHS staff to make the Royal Lancaster Infirmary a better hospital
  3.     More doctors and nurses for the RLI
  4.     Guarantee a GP appointment in 48 hours across the Morecambe Bay
  5.     Repeal the Tory Health Act that opened up our NHS services to privatisation
As we have reported previously, Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust is caught in a financial trap. It is committed to special measures imposed following a series of inspection failures, which mean extra costs. At the same time it must reduce overall expenditure to meet budget targets, whilst simultaneously reorganising to meet the demands of new commissioning structures imposed by the Health Act.

Cat Smith said, "It's fantastic that after years of work from Labour candidates like myself and Amina Lone in Morecambe, as well John Woodcock MP in Barrow, we've got a pledge from the Labour Party that Morecambe Bay's special circumstances will be recognised under a Labour government when it comes to funding.  We have fantastic NHS staff locally, but the current funding doesn't meet local need or recognise the challenging geography of the Trust.

"It was a pleasure to introduce Andy Burnham to staff from the Infirmary so they could share their experiences too."

Andy Burnham, Labour's Shadow Health Minister, said:

“Five years ago, David Cameron stood on a promise to protect the NHS. He has broken that promise and the NHS as we know it can’t survive five more years of the Tories. They pushed through a damaging reorganisation without the consent of the public and the NHS has gone downhill ever since. Thursday 7th May is shaping up to be David Cameron's day of reckoning on the NHS.

“In 2010, Cameron said he would cut the deficit, not the NHS. He is on course to create a large deficit in the NHS. It is scandalous that he spent £3 billion on a reorganisation that has left the NHS worse off. Hospitals are now trapped in a financial vicious circle with bills for agency staff running out of control and staff failing to keep pace with demand.

“What is clear is that the fragile NHS we now have can't take five more years like the five it has just had. It can't afford the Tories' plan for deeper care cuts in the next Parliament. It urgently needs new leadership and a change of course. Labour has set out a better plan to restore the NHS, rebuild it as a national health and care service and invest £2.5 billion extra a year - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.”



Tuesday, 28 April 2015

David Morris email alleges local groups lied about NHS policy impacts and forged petition signatures

Morecambe & Lunsedale candidates Steve Ogden (UKIP) and Phil Chandler (Green)
receiving the 38 Degrees NHS petition signed by 1,695 residents of the constituency

Lancaster & Fleetwood candidates Chris Coates (Green), Cat Smith (Labour),
Matthew Atkins (UKIP),
Robin Long (Lib Dem) and Eric Ollerenshaw (Conservative) 
receiving the 38 Degrees NHS petition signed by 1,781 residents of the constituency


Morecambe's Conservative parliamentary candidate David Morris has yet again upset his constituents, this time by sending an inflammatory email to a public meeting at Morecambe Town Hall last Friday. His email contained accusations that the organising groups had lied and forged signatures.

Almost all the Parliamentary election candidates from all the major parties were present at events in Lancaster and Morecambe organised by the local 38 Degrees groups to receive petitions signed by local constituents calling for adequate funding for the NHS and an end to NHS privatisation. Morecambe & Lunsedale candidates Amina Lone (Labour) and Matt Severn (Lib Dem) couldn't attend on the night arranged but went out of their way to make separate arrangements to collect their copies of the petition.

Morris: 'I never accept petitions in person'
Those candidates unable to attend sent apologies - with the exception of David Morris who instead sent an email in the abusive style which has become his trademark, and which was read out loud to the meeting. You can see this on video here.
In it he stated that he never received petitions in person, and only accepted through the post those signed exclusively by his own constituents.

Lying?
He went on to state that he had received a number of complaints from 'concerned constituents' that both the 38 Degrees group and also the Unite the Union group who, he said, had a 'Save the NHS campaign', had been 'generally lying' about the impacts of health service privatisation and government health policy.

Forgery?
He also stated that he had 'received complaints about neighbours and friends signing up people on their behalf' and ended by saying ' Please ensure that your campaigners behave in a proper manner when contacting my constituents'.

Request for evidence
Virtual Lancaster has emailed Mr Morris to ask if he will stand by his accusations against 38 Degrees and Unite the Union of  lying and his inference of forgery against 38 Degrees members. We have asked him if he can produce any evidence to substantiate his allegations. We will let you know if we receive any response.

Former Rick Astley backing musician David Morris has a consistent track record of refusing to engage with constituents locally on matters regarding the NHS, despite the local hospital trust having repeatedly failed CQC inspections, being taken under 'special measures' and having recently been the subject of a damning public inquiry.

vacant seat
Making it up
Last September Morris angered locals by claiming that a group calling itself 'No Health Selloff' was fictitious.  He refused to accept any of their invitations. They responded by putting up hundreds of signboards outside their houses across Morecambe (see article and pics).

Later that month a pensioner constituent at his surgery raised the issue of NHS privatisation and Morris walked out of his own surgery claiming that she was 'ambushing' him. He later told the Lancaster Guardian that the hospital pharmacy services were not being privatised and that this was a fictitious campaign by his enemies. In fact the hospital trust had published the tender.

In the same week he launched his re-election campaign with a leaflet on the cover of which he misspelt the name of his constituency as 'Morecame'.

Morris was also the only candidate who refused to attend the Morecambe & Lunesdale Hustings on 14 April. A vacant chair was left symbolically on the platform and, as one person present noted, if ever one picture summed up David Morris' time as MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, this was it.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Club Seeks Support


The original Cecil B. DeMille silent version of The Ten Commandments is being shown on Tuesday 28th April at 8.00pm by Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Club at the Gregson. They'll also showing a short film beforehand.

Everybody welcome.

The Club really need support if they are to continue to show a classic movie every month. They don't make a profit from these screenings but share the cost of the cinema hire between them - but they guarantee that it won't cost you more than £4.00 for a ticket.

The Club are trying to show much loved classics but also more unusual and lesser known films which we feel should be seen by more people but are hard to find anywhere (sometimes even hard to buy on DVD or Blu Ray).

• Check the Club out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/1480997082154381