Soubs Dig at Cameron; Beestonia Brush with the News of the World; Losing Nemo; Bramcote MegaDrive.

The recent events concerning phone hacking, bent coppers and dodgy MPs  has led to me rather neglecting Beestonia of late; while I would be normally out on the streets of our fair town sniffing my not inconsiderable snout into the news nooks and crannies, I have instead prostrated myself on my sofa and been main-lining BBC Parliament, BBC News, SKY News and the odd dip into Radios four and five. I’m now an expert of media corporate governance, the ins and out of the Met’s procurement policy and other subjects I like to bellow out at glassy-eyed fellow drinkers in the Crown before they pretend to have to slip away for a just-remembered pressing engagement..

Of course, I’ve found a way to shoe-horn Beestonia into the whole scandal, but that can wait. How good a crisis has this all been for our attention-craving, front-bench-longing Member of Parliament, Anna ‘Mapperley Top’ Soubry?

She didn’t disappoint. Getting her self sat near the equally publicity shy Louise Mensch MP was a good move, and the cameras didn’t take long to pick her out when she gave the House her two-bob on Hackgate. The flow of debate at the time was generally non-partisan: only the LibDems can say that they haven’t been brown-nosing Murdoch since Thatcher first clapped eyes on her Aussie mogul dreamboat. But of course, everything is politics to Anna so we got some shrill finger-pointing:

No party cosied up to the Murdoch press as much as the Labour party (11th July)

Cheers Anna, that was productive. A few days later, when the depth of shit Cameron was in for his close links to Coulson and News International was revealed, this line was patently redundant, so she did what Anna does best, and directly contradict herself, a mere nine days later:

…like many Members, I was struck by the desire on both sides of the House that we work together in the spirit that was properly and well outlined by Chris Bryant, who talked about the need for honesty and courage. (20th July)

Yep honesty is important, as long as you’re not talking about the Royal Mail or your living arrangements.

The best was to come though. She then segued into a bizarre speech about her old employers, ITV, and more specifically, Central News. This threw in the usual dig at the BBC (Tories generally hate it as its good proof, like the NHS, that when we work together without having to chase profit, rather quality, the result is a national institution). She called for investment to be put into ITV to ‘level the playing field’, and restore a dedicated Central News East: as anyone unlucky enough to stumble across ITV local news will have seen, it comes from Birmingham, with stories about burglaries in Shropshire, arsons in Stoke and church fete’s in Dudley. Is this Anna blatantly making sure she has a career to return to should the next election see Dr Palmer retaking the seat? Granted, she did declare an interest, but it was totally irrelevant to the debate and a wee bit self-serving.

However, there’s an interesting angle to this. Central TV’s demise has one factor greater than all others: it’s take over in 1994 by Carlton TV, which proceeded to shut down a lot of its interests, including the Lenton Lane studios that once stood proudly on the Beeston borders: within these walls such epoch-defining programming was made: Blockbusters, Bullseye, Boon, The Price is Right and the sublime Emu’s Pink Windmill. To make shed loads of money for share-holders maximise assets and increase efficiency blah blah blah, we lost our own news room as a result, now having to rely on the BBC and its eternally brilliant East Midland’s Today, which is in no way mentioned so I can put up a picture of the divine Kylie Pentelow.

Mmmm. Anyhow, I digress. Central News East was fatally wounded once Carlton got its grubby mitts on it, not because, as Soubry claimed, the BBC has created a unlevel playing field. And who was Carlton’s Director of Corporate Affairs during the nineties? Why, it’s a small world, as it seems to be her present boss, Mr David Cameron MP. But best not mention anything about this role. His advocacy of an unregulated broadcast market at the time, coupled with Carlton joining forces with BSKYB to form British Digital Broadcasting  in 1997 looks rather grubby right now, and surely he’d quite like people not to know how much in bed he once was with Uncle Rupert.


I have no love for the News of the World, and not just because it was the epitome of scuzzy prurient journalism and un disguised far-right xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic froth-sheet. And not because Mystic Meg once got the lottery numbers wrong in her prediction and cost me a quid. Nope, it goes further.

Many years ago, before I returned to Beeston to reclaim my crown, I was exiled in the hinterlands of the South East, namely the Kentish spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. I was happily employed at the BBC there, but due to the low-wage Auntie provided coupled with house prices that would fall off the end of a standard calculator, I was forced to take work in the towns only club, a pit of horribleness called Da Vinchis due to it being full of artistic polymaths and not the dregs of the town who had to keep drinking past 11pm. Every few weeks, on a Tuesday afternoon, we’d play host to a group of NOTW journos who would be out with the editor and a couple of execs. They’d sit at the bar, bark cockneyisms at each other: ‘You CAHHHNNT! You’re having a GIRRRAFFFE! PONY mate totally PONY’ and other such witticisms they’d cribbed from a Guy Ritchie film to mask their middle class upbringing.

They’d neck flaming Sambucas, salt lemon and lime tequilas, disappear to the toilets for suspiciously long durations and emerge powdered-of-nose, grab and grope any female that was unfortunate enough to come into their considerable orbits and make sure I knew my place by informing how I was born out of wedlock; was several pieces of female genitalia; a piece of male genitalia; and other such terms of endearment. They’d flash their wads of notes like it was the eighties again, get drunker and more abusive, tell anyone walking by who they worked for and why that made them brilliant, fight, vomit and eventually threaten to have my knee-caps blasted off when I’d eventually refuse to serve them and waved the bouncers over.

I’ know that its doubtful these same idiots were still at the NOTW when it shut, and that there were bound to be some absolutely innocent people who had their jobs sacrificed on the altar of Murdoch. But for a paper that has long held that life on the dole means you instantly get a London ten-bedroomed town house and a sack of diamonds at the same time as your P45, I’m not feeling any lumps in my throat. Good riddance, the UK just got marginally less crap.


Wheres the fish gone?

Its disappeared! Anyone chancing into the Rylands via the station bridge of late cannot have failed to notice that the bright tropical fish that adorned the wall of Beeston Business park has gone AWOL. Remember? It looked like this:

Awww, a lovely fish, that must be a lovely company, right? Wrong. Atos are presently employed by the Department of Work and Pensions to assess who deserves disability payments and who doesn’t. And they’ve been extraordinarily crap at doing so, which is excusable of your incompetence didn’t directly harm some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Theres lots of testimonies on the internet to their awfulness, heres just one snippet:

The fine people at  Notts SOS have long been campaigning with other groups, often at the Beeston office. So what does a company with a burgeoning bad image problem do? Improve its methods? Take on more staff/train them up better? Say to the DWP that they’d rather not tainted with this insidious policy?Nah, simply spend millions on a rebrand.

And that’s why the fish has swam. It’ll be replaced in time with the new branding, but until then, I’m sure it’s not regretting flagging up its whereabouts to anyone with a justifiable grudge.


Remember the SEGA Megadrive? How could you not? Those halcyon days when Sonic the Hedgehog was bigger than Justin Bieber, such innocent, pre Playstation days. I’m sure you’d like to revisit them, and see how well your thumbs fare. If only there was some sort of international, long running tournament that does just that. There is? Wow,  but I bet I’d have to travel all the way to London to partake, wouldn’t I? No, because it’s in Bramcote? Are you sure? You are? And when can I drop this conceit of pretending I’m having a conversation with an unseen third-person? Now? Really? Great!

Although it doesn’t actually say so on the website; , it’s being held in Bramcote Memorial Hall, Church Street, Bramcote Village, this Sunday. The Top House pub is just round the corner, but I believe lots of coffee is made available to keep players thumbs suitably manic. For more info, give the organiser, Chris, a call on 07784685890. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT leave him a voice mail.


Beestonia: Hacker Free Since 2009




Due to recent events in the media spotlight, I would first like to make a statement about the journalistic methods employed behind the scenes here at Beestonia Towers. I sincerely swear we have NEVER

  • Used phone taps/ voicemail hacking
  • Hacked emails belonging to persons of interest
  • Paid the local constabulary for tip offs for stories.

No, absolutely not, our journalistic standards are high here, and as such I pledge we will continue to bring you the area’s red-hot info by our tried and trusted methods:

  • Writing up unchecked unverified gossip
  • Drunkenly banging out something that just comes into our heads.
  • Repeating verbatim what a bloke in the pub told us.

Rest assured that we will not sink as low as other media organizations, and Beestonia will continue to apply rigorous journalistic standards to all our stories, unless brown envelopes stuffed with cash are proffered.


Interesting to see Soubs up in the Commons like a amphetamined kangaroo; and my hat is once again doffed to her. She opposes Jeremy Hunt deciding early on BSKYB’s takeover by News Corp, and rightly so. She even pops up again on Newsnight later that evening (man, she must have her own dressing room there by now) and pontificates on media plurality. Very noble, and I shouldn’t be at all cynical. But I’m old, twisted and bitter so of course I am. I cast my mind back to March, when, by proxy, I sent her an email regarding my concerns on media plurality should the buy-up get the nod-through. Her answer then was swift, but remarkably non-committal: this was not something the government should intervene in, and if all was well it should be allowed without hesitation. Laissez-faire capitalistic Conservatism in action. Now that Murdoch’s poisoned claws have been prised from the Commons, attacking the retreating beast is good for any attention seeking, promotion-desiring backbencher. Soubry has excelled here; but I still salute her, even if her motives are less than honourable.


The News of World (what’s black and white and dead all over?) isn’t the only newspaper to meet its demise this month: the Long Eaton Recorder bit the dust last week, without anyone really noticing. It’s mildly sad, though I have no idea how the hell it kept going so long when it’s news content is so minimal and watery even hamsters would complain at it’s uselessness when they found their cages lined with it. I used to deliver the bastard, 1p a paper, back in the late eighties. A penny a paper is fine if you’re doing a row of garden-less terraces, but I did the huge-pathed houses that crowd round the Jaguar in Stapleford/ Bramcote.

Once, a passer-by offered me 15p for a single copy. I accepted, as they always gave me too many issues, and then received a letter from the delivery agent telling me that I was docked a pound from that weeks £2.22 wage packet as I’d ‘illegally tendered the newspaper to a checking agent’. I was gutted, but still took delivery of two more weeks worth of issues which I took up the council tip on Bramcote Park and made into a very satisfactory fire. RIP, Recorder, you tight sods.


At the time, I also did an afternoon knocking out the Nottingham Evening Post (now the Nottingham Post, politicians who still keep mis-naming it in newsletters), which paid the handsome wage of £2.57 for five days delivery, although I was allowed to pick my own ten-pee mixes from the newsagent I worked from, which often led to such crazy criminality  as eleven pence worth of sweets dropping into the white paper bags.

So I felt totally at ease meeting my almost-colleagues for a drink a week ago. I am apparently read at the Post by some of the journalists, which is nice. We bump into each other at events, and they always look so well groomed, professional and bang out rapid shorthand while I stand by them in my chocolate brown shabby suit scribbling in my notepad what looks like shorthand, but is actually my illegible handwriting. I meet one for a pint, except this is the evening that follows the afternoon Murray got kicked out of Wimbledon. I watch it on telly, and am introduced to Pimms as I do. Never had it before, and I sip away trying to remember where I remembered the taste from. Then it comes to me. Some Pimms flavoured biscuits I had a few years back. I thus, in the name of investigative inquisition, neck it, and head out, staggering somewhat.

I won’t name them, as it was a social meet, not a talk-shop thing. But I am like a nerdy fanboy when a journalist turns up and I know his surname despite only being offered his forename. I’d seen his by-line, you see.

‘How do you know that? ‘ asks he.

‘He’s the one man who reads the paper’ says his colleague.

I let out a nervous laugh and hope it’s not true: despite it’s often bewilderingly annoying news agenda; and a letters page that resembles the wastepaper bin of a psychiatric secure unit, I am very fond of the Post, and I’m a flag-waver for the Beeston Express. Without them what do we have? The Topper? Jeez.


I’m looking at a few things regarding the local hot news story de jour: the A453. The Post have thrown their weight behind the campaign to have it widened, as have Notts County Council who have ‘found’ £20m down the back of Kay Cutts’s  sofa to help grease the wheels of this no doubt worthy venture. I’ve received a few bits of information through email which seem to see their are darker forces at work…any input is gratefully received.


An email drops into my inbox from Cllr. Barber asking ‘WSould you like a atory that involves a Minister of State, The Secret Service and Beeston Wetherspoons?’ Of course I would, so he sends me this, which I’ll post up unedited…over to Steve:

Peter Hain has always had a soft spot for Broxtowe. When he was Northern Ireland Secretary, Nick Palmer was our MP and I worked for Nick, he kept us up to speed on the final stages of the Northern Ireland Peace Accord which resulted in the acclaimed “end to the troubles” on 26 March 2007.
At that time we were in the midst of a Borough election campaign and Peter was at first persuaded to announce the deal in the New Venture Club. However, Tony Blair stepped in and denied us that scoop for the Rylands saying that he had to first announce it to Parliament, but he could come here a week later.
So on a damp and miserable April evening we were instructed to meet Peter Hain’s convoy on Wollaton Road. Four armoured vehicles, dark shaded security men with bulging pockets. They’d already “swept” the New Venture club, examined escape routes but we had an hour and a half to kill. Peter really wanted pie, chips and a pint, which pub? This was the high security bit – no-one knew where. I suggested the Last Post, Wetherspoons pub and Peter jumped at the prospect; “just clear it with these blokes”. I was offered a lift in the lead car so with radio’s blaring, men talking into their lapels, dark shades and tinted glass (it was pitch dark by now) we set off in a tight convoy at 5mph; not drawing any attention of course. The radio blared and by Sainsbury’s entrance we got the all clear “all units are now within 90 seconds of the Last Post”. Screeching to a halt on Foster Ave the security men leaped out, opened Peter’s door and bundled him past the smokers and in the door. By chance there were two large empty tables next to the Ladies toilets. MI5 grabbed the nearest the door and we were ordered on to the other.
We learned a great deal about Northern Ireland politics which makes anything dished out here look like a vicars’ tea party and how Peter had decided to unite Ian Paisley and Martin MCGuiness by providing a common enemy. He was that person by insisting on a huge increase in water rates, graffiti abounded making him to be a re-incarnation of the devil. He held (a copy of) the historic document signed by Paisley & McGuiness asking him to vacate his office as they were now jointly taking over, a victory for all.
The meeting was a resounding success with an elderly gentleman speaking on how his life had been plagued by the troubles, he’d effectively been exiled to Beeston for 30 years and now at last, having lost family, he could return.
Nick chaired the meeting which as Peter said was easy as he had a man with a machine gun standing by to keep order.

Soubry versus Anonymous; Bea-stonia.

Anna’s latest email drops into my inbox, and she is not full of summer joy. Nope,she’s livid, prompted to write due to some ‘nasty and untrue’ stories about her in the press. Worry not, she’s not taken umbrage to my profile on her from a few weeks past, but rather a recent piece (well, not so recent, I’m still without Broadband so have to write this on parchment with an inked emu feather before tying it to a carrier pigeon who flies to a morse coder who taps it out to  man with a BT Online account) that featured in that paragon of hate-journalism, The Mail on Sunday. A veteran Tory MP stuck up an article within the paper’s fetid pages, hiding behind an ‘Anonymous’ by-line, criticising the new intake of Conservative MP for being ‘cliquey…with ‘born to rule’ attitudes’ as well as Cameron sycophants, careerists and toadies. I suppose this is in contrast to the red-cheeked, belly-bloated, porto-drenched grandees that spent the last thirteen years moulding grooves into the opposition benches with their over-sized arses. And who particularly attracts the fire-and-brimstone of this furious Tory:why, its our Anna, who he singles out as a perfect example of the vulgarity of the 2010 intake. I quote:

“From the day Anna arrived in Parliament, her zealous enthusiasm for every dot and comma of Cameron’s Tory modernisation programme has been painfully obvious. A female MP told me rather harshly it doesn’t help that Anna ‘looks as if she is sucking on a lemon’.Anna seemed to blame Mark for effectively putting Tory MPs on the spot in a Commons vote on banning animals in circuses. Mark is passionate about animal welfare. But Cameron couldn’t stomach the thought of a backbencher having influence over Government policy, even one as minor as circus animals – though a ban has 92 per cent public support. The word went out from No 10: ‘Kill Mark.’ Perhaps it is sheer coincidence that Anna is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, who is a close personal friend of Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin and was also a long-serving whip  prior to becoming a Minister.”

That’s got to hurt. Leaving aside the bizarre reaction Cameron had towards the issue of circus animals (why lay down a three-line whip and throw threats towards dissenters and job offers to line-toers, and oppose a non-political, hugely populist piece of legislation: is he secretly the bastard son of P.T.Barnum?), Anna’s evidently trod on a few (Hush Puppied?) toes. Could Ken Clarke, now being roundly savaged by the Murdoch press for displaying some rare pragmatic good sense, coming to realise Anna is no mere protegé, but a Macbeth? I dug around on a couple of prominent Conservative blogs  – I really suffer for you lot, I hope you realise – to try and see what the rumours were saying, but alas rumours are all to be found.Yet Anna’s ambition, coupled with her slender majority, must make the safe-seat of Rushcliffe look like a juicy prize, if only the incumbent can be persuaded to slope off to spend more time with his money.

Anna was quick to deny these allegations, claiming she was always against the use of animals in circuses, and supported the ban, and would immediately adopt an elephant who would accompany her everywhere like a faithful sheepdog (some parts of the last sentence may not be wholly accurate). However, she didn’t deny the main charge of colluding with the whips to harass the supporters of the ban. But holding one opinion in politics is no barrier to acting on the opposite. All it takes is the whiff of a front-bench role, and the chance of a new home on the Melton Road…


Which reminds me, I can confirm with some confidence that Anna STILL hasn’t moved to Broxtowe, as she promised to do during the 2010 election campaign.


One last bit of Anna: as I’ve mentioned before, she seems to really have found her niche in the Commons, specializing in tricky criminal law issues. But where did she get so wised up on the intricacies of sentencing and prisoner rights? Years serving at the bar, maybe? Nah, she was on the case years before that (warning: engage cringe muscles first)