Conservatives depose Pate and elect new leader for Shropshire Council

Just a week ago, Malcolm Pate, the leader of Shropshire Council until the 4 May elections, was confident of being re-elected as leader of the Conservative group on Shropshire Council. The Conservative leader is always voted in as leader of the council. Now, the Conservative group have ousted Pate and replaced him by Shrewsbury councillor, Peter Nutting.

Only a week ago, Malcolm Pate used an interview on BBC Radio Shropshire to boast of his confidence in seeing off any “superegos” that might challenge him. His task, he told the interviewers, was to get “the council out of the mire it was in when I took over 15 months ago.”  His belief that he had the backing of his Tory colleagues has proved to be wrong.

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Did you have problems voting on 4 May? Let me know

I have received several disturbing reports about people being denied the opportunity to vote at the Shropshire Council unitary elections on 4 May.

One report is of a postal vote denied, even though the voter had used the same details since 2009. I have more reports of people being asked for evidence of identity at one polling station. Some people, I hear, were turned away before casting their vote. There is no requirement for a polling card or proof of identity at a polling station.

Before I make a formal complaint about this, I need more details. Please contact me if you have been affected. Your response will be anonymous. 01584 874029 andy@andybodders.co.uk

Protecting your computer against ransomware and why you need to

I am aware that several people who read this blog and my newsletter are running rather ancient computers. Many feel there is no need to upgrade, don’t have the cash to upgrade or don’t want the hassle of learning a new operating system. The ongoing cyberattack shows that this may be unwise, particularly if you are using Windows XP, and many people still are.

To the best of my recollection, this is my first article on computer viruses nearly 30 years (more on that below). Computers are better protected than then. But the threat is greater than ever.

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Underinvestment is link between attacks on NHS computers and unexpected Ludlow home birth

At the time I write this, there are predictions that the attack on NHS and many other computers in organisations worldwide will get worse. The ransomware is exploiting a specific vulnerability in computer operating systems. In the NHS, that vulnerability is chronic lack of investment.

In a seemingly unrelated event last weekend, maternity campaigner Alison Hiles gave birth at her east Ludlow home after Ludlow Maternity Unit was closed at short notice. But the reason that the doors of the maternity unit were shut was yet again the chronic lack of investment in the NHS.

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£30m needed for computers and buildings to get Shropshire Council “out of the mire” says leader hopeful

Ten days ago, the Shropshire Star broke the news that the Conservative administration is preparing to spend £7.5 million on refurbishing its central offices at Shirehall. The tender document for consultants to advise on this work has been published but councillors have yet to see any details. Papers for Thursday’s council reveal that costs of replacing its defunct computer systems have grown by £1.7 million to more than £23 million. That’s more than £30 million on computers and buildings at a time when we are told there is a shortage of money to keep leisure, arts and youth facilities going. Campaigners have accused the council of double standards in finding money for Shirehall but not for repairing diving boards at The Quarry swimming pool. Certainly, this is a “mire” created by the Conservative administation that has rule Shirehall for 8 years,

But first, after the recent elections, the council must elect a new leader.

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