Guest Post: Nick Palmer’s View On Soubry

I recently asked YOU for your opinions on Soubry’s first year as our MP, and cheers for your responses so far. Anna’s predecessor, Dr Palmer, sent me this and I thought I’d post it straight up: if other politicians from the 2010 election wish to send their review of the first year, please send it in. As always, I will publish complete and unedited: over to Nick:

A fair assessment won’t be expected from me, but I’ll try, though I won’t comment on any aspect of personality.

AS is using her legal experience very well in the Commons – her contributions on legal subjects are thoughtful, interesting and by no means always predictable. She seems to contribute more on these themes than anything else (I also get TheyWorkForYou updates from the MP where I’m currently staying down south, and he ranges much more widely), and that may be a good thing: advice for new MPs (which I ignored) is to specialise and get noticed in a particular field.

Her voting record is entirely loyalist – she used to criticise me for being too loyal and said that by contrast she would be the independent-minded “Broxtowe’s voice in Parliament”, but where I rebelled 30 times she has yet to trouble the whips once. I’d think that’s linked to a reasonable expectation of promotion if she continues to toe the line. She makes life simpler by refusing to sign early day motions on any subject, with the thin excuse that the system for administering them is expensive (it doesn’t get cheaper because she’s not using it): this leaves her free of commitments that might embarrass her later.

Her constituency operation is pretty hit and miss. She doesn’t seem to read her post when it comes in (hence the glitch when she said she’d had no letters from staff opposing postal privatisation) and response times to enquiries vary from almost instant to never. She attends events dutifully, but without obvious enthusiasm. My opinion remains that she’d be a real asset to Westminster if she was a Lords front-bencher on legal issues, giving her the chance to contribute her expertise without the local casework and correspondence that I don’t think she really enjoys. In her current role, though, she’s a solid Conservative MP with some interesting life experience, and I’d be surprised if her party wasn’t quite happy with her.


Einstein, football and a Walk in the Woods…

Hello! Its me again, back from the month long bath in the often murky waters that are  local politics.Many thanks to Samir for writing a smashing article for me while I was away, if hes not too busy I’ll be using him again sometime soon. And if YOU ever feel like writing for Beestonia, get in touch.

Lots of stuff outstanding, so I’ll get straight down to work:


Einstein was a Beestonian

A brilliant piece of info came to me recently, from the University of Nottingham Dr Matt Jones (a former housemate of mine, and a great Beestonian) . Einstein decided to visit the uni in 1930, and gave a guest lecture to a mix of German students and physicists.In German.  Apparently, the German speakers didn’t understand physics, and the physics students didn’t understand German, yet the one German speaking physicist in attendance had the foresight to realise the events importance. He or she persuaded the University to preserve the blackboard Albert used by varnishing it, protecting it history-destroying blackboard erasers. Thank you, that person, because now you can see the Great Physicist’s work for yourself : cop a glance at this:


Einstein, Gandhi, Edwin Starr, Richard Beckinsale, Paul Smith, Shane Meadows…is there a single reader out there still unconvinced by my theory that Beestonia is the centre of the universe???



I’m still up to my neck in the local election and its resultant fall-out to run Beestonia lately, thus my avoidance of political stories here. But still, I can’t let a couple of things go.

Our ever-loved MP Anna Soubry appeared on BBC’s Question Time this thursday, and although I’ve yet to watch it on iPlayer, the inundation of emails, texts and tweets I recieved seem to show she was a bit rubbish. I’ll withold judgment till I watch it, but in the meantime I’d like to ask for your opinions on an article I’m writing regarding her first year as our MP. Let me know what shes done wrong or right, and I’ll take it in account when I get round to typing it up. I don’t want a hatchet job, I want an honest appreciation. Let me know how you feel.


Last bit of politics, I promise. I recently expresed in my other bit of scrawling:  that I was in awe to the young Broxtonians that were so politically enthused they stuck themselves up fo election. So big props to 21-year old James Spencer who decided to stick himself up for the Tories in what proved to be a vain attempt to capture the Wollaton East/ Lenton Abbey ward. Failure provoked him to issue the following statement to the Nottinghan Post

I have a saying for times like this: dont retreat, reload

Nice one James. Just quote Sarah Palin’s most regrettable line which, after the Gabrielle Gifford shooting, destroyed her politcial future. And in a city trying to shake off its gun-crime infamy, a tad stupid.



PERAMBULATIONS: The appropriately named St. Aplefordian Dave Wood has had a great idea. In 1662 Sherwood Forest was perambulated: thats ‘having a slow walk round’ in modern terms and the perambulated wrote down what they saw, what was there etc to create a distinct snapshot of this incredible local asset.

In 2011, the Forest is but a shadow of its former self: it ran down to Beeston when the seventeenth century perambulation occured, and much further south before that. Hemlock and Bramcote woods are still relics of this. Yet Dave is going to trace the ancient footprint of Sherwood, and write about what he sees as he does so. It should be a fascinating trek, directly comparing an era that was obsessed with plague, religious turmoil and Punch and Judy shows (Pepys recorded the first mention of them that year) with 2011, where we are diverted by iPhones, Arab Springs and Blue losing Eurovision.

Whats more, I will be accompanying Dave on a few stages of the perambulation, depending on my availability: its a bloody long way. He needs support, so let him know how good this plan is by visiting and telling him.


FOOTBALL! Fancy a game? Wollaton FC are desperate for new blood for their adult (16+) squad. And yes, this is a Beestonia thing as they play at the Weir Field in the Rylands. The season begins in September, with pre-season training commencing August, so if you’re either looking for a new club, or a total novice who fancies themselves as the new Ryan Giggs (without the superinjunction), give Chris Dilks a call on 07784685890.

Guest Post: A Memorial to Chloe Hayden.

I’m handing over the reins of Beestonia to young Beestonian Samir today. Samir was a friend of Chloe Hayden, the girl whose untimely death led to Beeston Square’s floral tribute: a wonderful, understated and incredibly poignant temporary memorial. Samir, with help from others, arranged a memorial concert. I was due to go and write about it, yet I was already pre-booked to interview David Watts, for my sister site. Thus, I asked Samir if he’d like to report, and, despite being deep in the terror of A-Level revision, was good enough to send me this. A big thank you to the journalistically talented Samir who also furnished this article with photos, and a heartening reminder that despite their often bad reputation, Beestonian youth are truly a special bunch. Over to Samir:

Chloe Hayden, RIP.

When we initially heard about Chloe’s death, the day after it occured, everybody at our college (Chilwell Sixth Form) were  stunned and didn’t really know what to do. Straight away though, Kirsty Rice and Jamie Garton -friends of Chloe- decided they would conduct some sort of celebration for Chloe involving  music. Music was everything for Chloe, an aspiring singer.
When Kirsty and Jamie told me what they were planning on doing, I was reluctant to be a part of it. It was too painful to talk, think or do anything related to the tragedy. She was one of my best friends and we played in gigs throughout Broxtowe, even performing at Beeston Square twice. But I found myself getting increasingly involved as I found that this was a way to keep myself busy and my mind diverted. I had the opportunity to spend  hours in front of the piano, trying to come up with a worthy playlist for the night. Despite the upcoming exams, my teachers were very sympathetic and understanding. There were only a few of us organising a mammoth task (Kirsty, myself and Jamie) with help from Alysha Gomes, Natasha Tate and the teachers at our college.

The Vons

I brought together various young performers (rappers, singers, dancers, instrumentalists) who Chloe was friends with/ had previously performed with. We were aiming for a very personal night, with personal performers and a personal audience. It was only a small theatre, seating around 180.

Kirsty Rice and Alysha Gomes duet.

We practiced various songs for the concert every day after college for weeks. As far as I know, no other celebration evening was being organised for her in the area, so we had to make ours perfect and memorable. One of our songs, played by 8 people, was a modified version of ‘Sweet Disposition‘ by The Temper Trap, which would serve as the finale. Jamie and Jed each wrote a rap verse about Chloe, with Kirsty singing the original chorus.
With primarily acoustic sounds, there was a very profound and organic feel to the whole night. Mr Williams, our head of year -who had known Chloe since the start of secondary school- started the concert with a very emotional acapella of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me‘, followed by my rather melancholic piano solo (made even more mournful by the silent film of Chloe behind me). There were often moments of pin-drop silence in the audience, broken only by a few quiet sobs as they watched slideshows and muted videos of Chloe constantly playing in the background while we performed. But as the night progressed, the mood of the music changed from Adele-style blues to more rock, pop and dance. People cried, but people also smiled and laughed as funny stories were told about her. Technical hitches led to some impromptu comedy, and Mr Williams served as a perfectly hilarious presenter. He was one of the cool teachers back in school.

The rapping Tremor and Sparx

For me, setting up this concert was a way of coming to terms with Chloe’s death, as I was in a sort of denial for a while.  We were told that the night was a kind of closure for some that were still suffering. I hear a rather important person attended (a guy with a large gold-coloured necklace around his neck, maybe the Mayor?); as did Chloe’s mum, older sister and grandma, who were “eternally grateful” for what we had done in Chloe’s memory. There will be now be a ‘Chloe Hayden Award’ presented to a student for contribution to music in the annual school awards evening.
We raised £332, including a £25 donation from the band HarliKings as they sold their EP on the night and provided us with equipment. We’re intending on creating a memorial plaque for her to be put up in the music department, the one place in school where she spent the most time. Perhaps also a flower bush to be grown at our school, and a donation to charity in her name.

Bethan Hay and Hannah Shoreson

A letter sent to me by the Chair of Governors stated that he was very pleased with the way we managed to turn a tragedy into a positive and productive event. Some performers of the night have even been approached by studios and producers that attended. We reunited our year group and old friends for the first time since our Leavers’ Assembly last year. Local musician Richard Bradshaw and myself are working on creating a tribute album for Chloe, using  musicians from the night as well as samples of her own voice. Maybe it will be released on the anniversary of her untimely death in the hope of sounding a positive note on a sad day.

The Finale: "Sweet Disposition"