Wednesday, 12 December 2007

FA Premier League

Those weasels who represent the FA Premier League will have to get up a lot earlier if they think they are going to catch out Mr. Aardvark!!!
From: Jemma Jones
Sent: 12 December 2007 14:01
Subject: Purchase of back issues

I would like to buy 5 back issues of Up The Arse. I would like one issue from each year ranging 2003 - 2007. Please could you advise me how I go about this.

Many thanks.

Jemma Jones
Trainee Solicitor
Clarion Solicitors
Nice try Jemma!

We know that Britannia Chambers is the address of McCormicks solicitors who have previously worked for the Premier League. Clarion is simply the new name for the firm after the partner buy-out.

Also, if you trawl through your archives I think you’ll find that we were told that we were forbidden from ever emailing you again.

Please note that any further unsolicited emails, regardless of any disclaimer contained within, will be treated as falling within the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) exceptions which allows fair dealing of materials for news reporting. Clarion will of course be given sufficient acknowledgement as being the copyright holder of the work.


Arnold J Aardvark
Editor, Up the Arse!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Girls at Our Best! News Reaches Japan!

From ヴィニール Japan the entire world beginnings to CD it is converted 13 years ago, the first album of vision of the queen existence GIRLS AT OUR BEST of UK Girl's New Wave which for a long time has become the waste board finally recurs in paper jacket specification!

I love babelfish!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

It's All White on the Night

Local desk flying Tory Squadron Leader Willis has been caught praising Ian Smith the apartheid ruler of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe on Political Betting.

Is he for the high jump? Is he hell. You'd have to expel over half the Tory party if holding such views were beyond the pale.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Do as I say...

The council's internal recycling is completely hypocritical.

Residents have to separate waste, yet other than 'clean' paper waste, no recycling is done internally.

Council employees regularly use street recycling facilities, yet any businesses caught doing so will be fined.

And it is official council policy for residents to double bag food waste to avoid maggots. How this can co-exist with a policy to reduce carrier bags is anyone’s guess.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Pizza the Action

The buildings behind my house have been converted illegally into dwellings.

Now my "neighbours" are getting more brazen... on Monday they ordered a takeaway pizza and had it delivered through the locked gates! Of course, with the dark evenings it’s easier to see them as they need to use torches.

No action from the council as yet.

Friday, 9 November 2007

muckspReading 1 Trish 0

She was a little too late if she was trying to stop people finding out about it from muckspReading... approximately 6 hours too late! I had a lot of visitors from RBC in the morning!

From: "Haines, Trish"
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2007 1:43 PM
Subject: Chief Executive post

I want to let you know, before you read it on 'Muckspreading' or hear on the grapevine, that I was recently interviewed for the Chief Executive post at Cambridgeshire County Council. I was not successful, but a political row has blown up in Cambridgeshire about the appointments process, and although the row had nothing to do with me, my name has come into the public arena.

As this information is now in the public domain, please do not feel the need to treat it confidentially.


Chief Executive
Reading Borough Council

ph. 0118 939 ****

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Lie of the Land

The council have replied to a freedom of information request by a friend by sending documents referring to her by her married name. The documents were dated 2005 when she wasn’t married.

If the council is going to lie, they should at least try to do it a little more convincingly!

Reading Borough Council, maker of Berkshire’s finest Porky Pies.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Sending the Issue to Bed

It normally takes me two weeks of weekend and evening work to write my fanzine pages, so imagine my surprise when on Saturday evening I got an email "reminding" me of the Tuesday morning deadline at the printers! Even worse, I'd scheduled a visit to my Mum's on Sunday.

To cut a long story short, 16 pages written in 16 hours. A new record!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Labour Plans

Latest Katesgrove Banner “Highgrove Street Traffic News” arrived today with details of the new one way ‘upgrade’.

Stapled to the flyer are detailed plans for the road layout changes from the RBC Department of Environment. Gareth asked for a copy two months ago and is yet to receive it. It seems to me to be evidence of a deal sorted out behind the scenes by Labour and the Council officers, otherwise, why have we not also recieved a copy.

I also find it odd that the first I hear of it as a local resident is as part of a party political leaflet and not from a council letter inviting comments.

Friday, 19 October 2007

When the Vote Comes In

RBC are planning a cross-check of the Electoral Roll with Council Tax records. It seems a great way of making sure people don’t register to vote by sending out a press release telling people that they are going to be using the register to catch them out.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


Anneliese Dodds is trying that old trick of pretending that she isn't really a Labour party member by putting out a letter to residents distancing herself from her colleagues on the council after they voted for the University's conference centre at the planning committee.

Come on dear, you are either in the party and committed to replacing Trident, for tuition fees and promoting the war in Iraq or you are not.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Weekly Chronic

This interview was spiked by the Editor of the Chronicle becuase he has a tenuous grasp on Libel laws.

1) How did the idea for your Reading based website come about?

The original idea came about when I showed my football fanzine to a few people and one of them thought that a local politics based version would be funny. At the time, despite living in Reading for ten years, I didn’t know enough about the local characters to come up with anything interesting, but I did try writing a few stories under the working title “Reading and Writing”. However, until the rather bogus idea of the one way IDR came along, there really wasn’t enough material. All of a sudden Reading became Comedy Central.

2) What do you do when you're not spreading muck? (something about your job, fanzine and stand for the liberal seat would be good.)

I work for Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) and I moved to Reading in 1994 when my office moved to the town. Almost as quickly they moved back out again and I now work in Staines. The day job involves writing internet based applications.

Until recently my main hobby was writing football gags for the main Arsenal fanzine: “The Gooner” which I’ve been doing since 1990 and editing my own fanzine: “Up The Arse!” (a) which started in 1992.

I run several web sites. My own personal site; one for an obscure 1980s band called ‘Girls At Our Best’; my Arsenal fanzine ‘Up the Arse!which has been running since 1992 and I have to ensure that my cat Matilda keeps her web site up to date.

I have stood in the council elections for the Liberal Democrats twice: in 2004 for Katesgrove and in 2007 in Abbey.

3) Martin Salter has called you a tragic individual. What's the history between the two of you?

There isn’t any history apart from him resorting to name calling. I’ve never met him and I want to know which one of my friends tipped him off by telling him I was a tragic individual who needs to get out more. He has, however, made every effort to set himself up for ridicule: campaigning against Aldermaston (1) whilst backing the replacement of Trident (2); claiming to be against the Iraq war (3) yet missing at all three crucial votes (4); voting for the ban on fox hunting (5) whilst being a keen shooter (6). It’s comedy gold.

4) You wanted to remain anonymous. Why, and how do you feel now that the Post (b) has shopped your identity? Is it harder to run the website?

I always knew that anyone determined enough could work out who wrote the site, the idea that you can remain anonymous on the internet is a fallacy, as my list of visitors to the site proves. Labour, Conservatives, Liberals, Greens and council officials are all regular readers. I was hoping to remain anonymous, not because it was supposed to be a secret, but so that I could continue to poke fun at my fellow Liberals. There’s nothing I can do about it now so in that respect it has made it a little trickier and the site is probably less even handed than I would have liked.

5) Tell us about the e-mail fiasco when you requested Martin salter's correspondence under the freedom of information act.

Martin Salter backed a motion in the House of Commons to exempt MPs from Freedom of Information requests, waving a letter as “evidence” and claiming it was to protect his constituents. Since private correspondence was already covered by the Data Protection Act and MPs have to publish their expenses anyway, it seemed a little odd that he should be quite so animated about it. A little birdie suggested that it was maybe because he didn’t want his correspondence with council officials to be made public. It was a plausible reason but, as he is litigious in such matters and successfully sued fellow MP Rob Wilson for libel, I obviously wanted to check the facts.

I asked the council for copies of emails between Mr. Salter’s office and senior council officials under the Freedom of Information Act. Mindful of Mr. Salter’s stated objections to Freedom of Information, I specifically asked for any personal data covered by the Data Protection Act to be removed. The council sent me the subject and date of twelve emails but not the contents. I also know that he has sent more than twelve emails to them. I have complained to the Information Commissioner and am awaiting their adjudication.

However, I’m not too hopeful that I will ever see these emails because the very day after they “complied” with my request, all senior council officers were warned via an email that they should delete anything they didn’t want released under Freedom of Information. My request for a copy of the email telling council officers to delete emails was met with the response that they couldn’t provide me with it because it had been deleted!

In the meantime, Martin Salter claimed in the local press that he had put in an official complaint to the Information Commissioner with regard to the letters he had waved about in the House of Commons which he claimed the council had released in breach of the Data Protection Act. I asked the Information Commissioner if they had received such a formal complaint and they told me that they hadn’t, although he had sent them a letter telling them that he was going to complain to the council about it.

(a) If the paper doesn’t want to print “Arse!” I’m happy for you to use UTA! I have that problem with the BBC!
(b) The Post didn’t actually shop me, I was anonymous in the original article. It was someone anonymously commenting on GetReading who posted my full name and address in the comments section of the story. I have my suspicions as to who it was.


Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Ye Olde Reddingum Pubs

I was asked to come up with some 12th Century Reading pub names (no don't ask!)... how about:
  • Rat & Plague
  • The Purple Myrtle
  • Pavlov’s Wolf
  • Slug & Turnip

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Reading Festival 2007

Only got a ticket for the Friday this year. Tricky decision, Ash or Razorlight?

In the end I saw: The Horrors, Jimmy Eat World, Maximo Park, Interpol and Ash

Saw Ash at the Isle of Wight and they were good, but here they were great. The complete MFP Greatest Hits set!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

When is a complaint not a complaint?

...when it is made by Martin Salter MP.

I've been contacted by th eInformation Commissioner's Office regarding the "complaint" Martin Salter says he made about Reading Borough Council.

He has done nothing of the sort. There is no complaint at the ICO from Martin Salter MP about RBC. Now why would he lie about that?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Response From a Tragic Individual

He doesn't like it up him!
What a shame Mr. Salter had to resort to a personal attack as his only defence to my Freedom of Information request. What exactly is wrong with holding people accountable to the electorate? No wonder people are turned off politics.
If he had checked before launching his foot-in-mouth attack, he would know that I specifically asked for personal data to be removed. Mr Salter on the other hand was happy to use personal correspondence in the Commons as “evidence”.
How did he know my request was futile? Has seen the “warning” send to Council officers? Also “vexatious” is a rarely used word. I assume hasn’t seen my responses from the council because of the Data Protection Act. We’ll put that one down to a curious coincidence.
And I’m accused of wasting taxpayers’ money by the same person who asked Reading Borough Council to provide the costs of changing Reading to Reading-on-Thames so he could ridicule Rob Wilson? Or do the Council do his work for free?
Perhaps as Labour Party vice chair for the Environment he’d also like to defend the £15m slashed from the Environment Agency and £50m from British Waterways when DEFRA were hit with a £350m fine for Government incompetence before lecturing West Berkshire on how to spend relief money.
And as a supporter of wasting £5bn on ID cards whilst overseeing Reading police officers haemorrhage to the Met, I don’t need lectures from him about wasting taxpayers’ money.
For Martin’s peace of mind, I took his advice and had a lovely day in the New Forest on Saturday. I hope he had just as much fun drowning maggots.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Council Response...


Dear Che,

On behalf of the council may I say we dont give a stuff now leave us alone you leftie we've got a town to run!!!

Head of RBC (interim)

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Freedom of Information

I’ve had a reply to my request for Salter’s emails... they’ve sent just the date, subject and recipient. The one to Chris Smith is missing. I think an official complaint about Reading Borough Council is going in to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Full text of RBC letter:

Dear Mr Swaine
Freedom of Information Act - Request for Information
Thank you for your e-mails of 25th, 30th and 31st May 2007.
You have requested the following information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Copies of e-mails sent by Martin Salter or sent on his behalf by Ann Morgan to Senior Council Officers.
You subsequently clarified that this request covered e-mails sent over the past two financial years, to include Trish Haines, Anita Cacchioli, Kevin Holyer, Chris Smith, Steve Ward, David Elworthy, Bruce Tindall and Sally Swift.
I enclose herewith a schedule of e-mails sent from Martin Salter’s office. Please note that in future we will consider a general request for information of this nature vexatious. We shall require any future request for information to be of specific nature relating to specific information.
Please also note that the attached scheduled only lists e-mails that have been retained by officers. The Information Commissioner has advised all public authorities that they should only retain information for as long as they need to keep it, and should establish clear rules on retention and destruction. In this light the Council considers it good practice to delete e-mails regularly, and as a consequence some of the officers that you have listed had not retained any e-mails from Mr Salter.
If you are unhappy with this response to your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act then you may ask for an internal review under the Council’s complaints procedure. This request should be made in writing to Mr C Brooks, Head of Legal Services, at Reading Borough Council.
If you request such a review, and are not content with its outcome, you then have a right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Yours sincerely

My response:

Thank you for your response to my request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I take exception to you saying that you are classifying further requests from me on this matter as “vexatious” when you quite clearly have not complied with my original request. Dates, titles and subjects do not constitute “copies” of emails.
I would like to know on what grounds you would consider such a further request “vexatious” when, as you are no doubt aware, Mr. Salter has made much public show of his attempts to restrict access to MPs information under the Freedom of Information Act. The question was always “why?” when his cited reason of “personal data” disclosure was and has always been covered by the Data Protection Act. It was brought to my attention that one possible reason was that Mr. Salter was keen to have emails between himself and certain council officers kept private. I am in no position to comment on these allegations without seeing such emails, but to me it is a perfectly legitimate thing to investigate.
From the Information Commissioners web site:
“At the same time, the Commissioner emphasises that authorities should not conclude that a request is vexatious or repeated unless there are sound grounds for such a decision. An authority may well need to defend its decision.”
Which one of the following do you believe a further request from me would come under?
• clearly does not have any serious purpose or value;
• is designed to cause disruption or annoyance;
• has the effect of harassing the public authority; or
• can otherwise fairly be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable.
I am not prepared to outline the exact subject matter or department to a council employee, including yourself, as to be specific in my request would be a breach of the trust of my informant as no doubt a council witch hunt would be instigated to trace the ‘leak’ if a specific department or subject could be identified. I also know that a previous request under the Freedom of Information Act for emails from a councillor to senior officers was upheld as a valid request.
You [RBC] are now telling employees to delete all emails from RBC systems to avoid having to release them under the Act. I hope you are aware that deleting emails from a user’s exchange mailbox does not delete it from the system or any archives taken and could constitute contempt of the act. It is a relatively simple process to restore “deleted” emails from archives which I know that your IT department can do and I suspect your new Email Archiving System will mean it will become even easier. You also no doubt know that it is also a criminal offence to delete data after it has been requested.
I am not sure given your response and the note I’ve seen sent to all council employees to consider deleting emails because of the FOI Act that asking for an internal review from an organisation which is busily deleting the information I am after will mean that I will get anywhere. However, I guess I will have no choice but to go through the official process before I can complain to the Information Commissioner. I shall be taking advice before doing so.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Isle of Wight Festival 2007

To Everyone Who Missed the Isle of Wight Festival: Awwww diddums!

Nice Surprises: Snow Patrol, Melanie C, Paolo Nutini and Amy Winehouse.

Let Downs: The Feeling are late period Genesis in disguise. James Morrison is slightly better than James Blunt - but that's nothing to write home about.

Bloody Brilliant As Expected: Echo & the Bunnymen, Ash, Kasabian, Muse, Fratellis and Keane.

One to watch: The Hedrons (and I only heard them from the campsite!).

Shhh: The Rolling Stones set (especially from halfway through) was actually quite good - but don't quote me on that. They may be lazy blues boys in their dotage, but 'Sympathy for the Devil' is still as good as it ever was. Primal Scream must really be pissed off they're still touring.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Mark Thomas

The only looney leftie left in town is appearing at South Street.

As part of his show he has a prize of a demo outside the Houses of Parliament. These are my entries:

1) The Martin Salter MPs’ Expenses Protection Demo?
“Save Our Expenses From Scrutiny”, “Say No, To Publishing Constituents’ Letters Unless It’s In My Interest.”

2) People of Happisburgh Say YES to More Landfill Demo“What Do We Want? Landfill”, “When do we want it? NOW”, “Where do we want it? Down on the beach, between our houses and the shoreline, before our village is washed away”.

3) Apathy Party Demand More Representation on Local Councils Demo With up to 63% of the vote on most council, the electorate is obviously being ignored. "What Do We Want? Whatever! When Do We Want It? Am I Bovvered?"

I’m sure I can come up with a few more.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Normality Returns

Gareth was on the Politics Show after winning in Katesgrove. Anneliese 'Who She?' Dodds for some reason was also on there. Must have been nice for her to be let out of the Singleton-White's attic for the day. She can't stop nodding. Most bizarre!

But getting back to the real world, it was off to the Emirates for Arsenal v Chelsea. Cashley Hole somehow managed to fake an injury so that he would miss the game. How convenient!

Friday, 4 May 2007

He's Only Gone An' Bleedin' Dun It

I'm definitely not used to this! It's usually a demoralised crash after the local elections. Two months of slog with nothing to show for it and then we win two wards in one go! And that’s despite the bussing in of South Oxfordshire activists and a phone bank blitz.

Shame about my result in Abbey though. Can't win everything!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Hills Are Alive...

The local elections are beginning to take their toll! I've delivered Alpine Street three times, 'Good Mornings', 'Knock Ups' and late 'Knock Ups'.

Had a delightful chat with Gul Khan at the polling station this morning as we were both on the early bird shift at Katesgrove School. He didn't apologise for the war in Iraq and still claimed that the one way IDR was better than sliced bread. I have my suspicion that he liked the idea because it would put £1 on the cost of some taxi journeys from the station!

However, I'd like to thank him for the cup of tea. It was f-f-f-f-f-f-freezing!

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Election Fight Night

It appears that there has been some fisticuffs at the mosque involving the Tory candidate for Park ward. I have had a report from someone who said he was a few metres away and it appears:

1) Mr. Hussain "was asking for it" (in my informant's words not mine).
2) According to him, Mr. Salter and assorted Labour councillors went down to the mosque yesterday to "sort out the story for the police".

Friday, 27 April 2007

By Far The Greatest Team

Don Howe's nephew reckons that Reading can be bigger than Arsenal. The Evening Post have been running a poll 'Can Reading be bigger than Arsenal?' I've voted several times for Yes!!!

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Wow! My web site for Leeds post-punk band Girls At Our Best! has just got an email from the lead guitarist of the afore mentioned band.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Up The Duff

Pete Ruhemann that is.

Mr. Lovelock commenting on the high number of teenage pregancies in Reading tells the press that he has no idea how it is happening. Someone please tell him!

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Election Fever

I'm standing as a candidate in Abbey ward this year. Gareth Epps is taking on Gul Khan in Katesgrove.

Now we all want to see a good clean fight don't we boys and girls!

Saturday, 24 March 2007


Some of you may know that I've been writting a satirical football fanzine for the last 13 years. Anyway, after the demise of my JaneSpotting site I've decided to try my hand at a few local stories in my fanzine style.

It has no connection with the Liberal Democrats and relies on those old fashioned fair-use get out clauses of parody and satire.

Monday, 8 January 2007


Unbelievable advice from BBC's Watchdog programme that it is better to buy tickets from touts on the streets rather than ticket agencies.

Not only are these people usually thugs (try selling a ticket at face value in front of a venue if you want to find that out) but many who bought tickets from them for Razorlight in Reading found that they were forgeries.