Balloons go up in
Celebrations a couple of days ago marked the end of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago and with it the end of a hated communist regime based on spying and disruption.
Questions about that regime persist in Germany, even today.
Remarkably, here in Cumbria questions persist about the suspected spying and disruptive activities of a housing organisation, activities that many critical people say has something in common with that hated German regime.
The questions in Germany are about the activities of a government secret police, the Stasi which operated in East Germany on the other side of the Wall.
The questions in Cumbria- in Longtown and Carlisle- are about the activities of the giant Riverside Housing Association, one of the biggest in Britain, owning 50,000 homes.
These questions had to be faced by Dean Butterworth, the Carlisle Riverside boss at his recent Longtown public meeting.
Mr Butterworth called the meeting to explain more about his organisation`s controversial solar heating in the town, installed more than two years ago.
Mr Butterworth brought along an expert to talk about a new report on the solar heating and its dodgy boilers. Then he had to face a storm of his tenants`criticisms about what had followed from the solar panels and the dodgy boilers: ice box tenants` homes and rocketing fuel bills which tenants cannot afford.
Then came another storm of criticism for Mr Butterworth to deal with. It was about the suspected spying and disruptive activities by a man who has previously been referred to as the Man from Riverside.
Mr. Butterworth`s critics recalled that The Man from Riverside along with a colleague (describing himself as an electrician) attended two earlier meetings of the Longtown tenants.
What happened at those two earlier meetings was very baffling.
The Man from Riverside offered to help the tenants to set up a tenants` action group. Then the Man from Riverside wanted the tenants to help him to “clean up Riverside.”
Then the Man from Riverside spoke about £250,000 in grants that he has at his disposal to help tenants` groups.
The electrician colleague of the Man from Riverside talked about “ a scam” involving the solar panels and that he was being disciplined by Riverside for exposing that scam.
A few days later, the Man from Riverside was spotted trailing one of the Longtown tenants` leaders outside an Asda supermarket and then inside the supermarket.
Why the Man from Riverside acted in this menacing and bizarre way is a mystery.
It was almost as big a mystery as the reaction of Mr Butterworth at his meeting during the storm of questions about the Man from Riverside.
Mr Butterworth said he knew nothing about the Man from Riverside.
And when Mr Butterworth was handed the printed visiting card of the Man from Riverside which gave his name, gave his job with a Riverside organisation and gave his address as that of Riverside headquarters in Liverpool, Mr Butterworth still said he knew nothing about him.
Mr Butterworth is a member of the Riverside governing board. He is paid £85,000 a year plus a car to do that job.
Back to Berlin.There they celebrated the 25 years since end of the Berlin Wall with hundreds of balloons.
In Longtown, there are no celebrations. But tenants are wondering about Riverside`s balloon.
Will that go up too?
Will that go up too?