I think I’m going to make this blog more honest and rename it ‘Reasons Why I Never Get Round To Updating Beestonia‘, cos that’s seemingly how I have to start every post. I do have my excuses though, so let me fumble in my pocket before proffering the blog version of a ‘why Matt has not been to school for ages’ parent forged-signature sicknote.
First is simply time. As I hurtle through my thirties the pace picks up as I realise time is running out, and I still haven’t done loads of things. So when I’m not sleeping, working at my proper job or editing The Beestonian (more on this later), I’m doing all the things I MUST do before I’m too old. Using the time I have to guarantee that my death-bed, when it beckons me to lie upon it, will be a place to swim in fond memory of a life well lived. Yep, I’ve being doing that. And playing a lot of Angry Birds.
Mainly playing lots of Angry Birds. Bastard egg-stealing pigs. When will they learn?
Anyhow, I will now sit at my screen and give you a glimpse into the doings and adventures of Lord Beestonia over the last month. I’m going to write a new post everyday for the next few days on different subjects, but what shall we start with? You seem to like the politics, so lets have a crack at that then.
Full Council Meeting: September 7th. A tip off lures me to attend the evening Broxtowe Council Meeting, a couple of the more pugilistic Councillors tip me off there could be a bit of a scrap to witness concerning Conservative objections to the Lib/Lab partnership’s planning consultation. But this particular thorny issue is lopped off before it can get juicy, and adjourned, and then its all gets a bit weird. Let us take two statements that are so uncontroversial its hard to believe they could offer political vantage points. Both are statements that unite rather than polarise, and should be made to the Council and met with a brief flurry of raised hands and a muttered groan of ‘Ayes’ :
- The recent riots were a bad thing
- Climate change exists and is also a bad thing.
This is Broxtowe however, and things are seldom so simple.
The riots debate starts, and it’s good natured to begin. The Tories condemn the rioters, praise the police, and say that it might be something to do with the concept of ‘Broken Britain’, whatever that means. Labour throw a few speeches in, condemn the rioters, praise the police and say that it might be something to do with the effects of Austerity Britain.
So far, so predictable. Then the Lib Dems stand up. Or rather, a Lib Dem, Cllr. Steve Carr, and delivers a speech that certainly woke up those in the chamber dozing off.
I don’t have a full transcript, sadly, as I was too busy wondering why it is that the Lib Dems in Broxtowe (I’m looking at you, Cllr. Watts) can betray the idea that the Lib Dems are mild-mannered, uncontroversial folk who are never happier than at a school fete. When I mentioned this quirk to a senior politician I was indulging in some email correspondence with recently, he pointed out that not being part of the political ‘dual-hemisphere’ establishment means they see themselves as outside the unspoken yet entrenched rules of play. I don’t condemn or condone this, but it does make things a hell of a lot more interesting on occasion.
Carr’s targets were not the Tories for knee-jerk, reactionary politics, a target that put clear blue water between themselves and their coalition politics on the national scene. No, the knife was reserved for their local political partners, Broxtowe Labour; in particular the left of the party.
His argument ran that by supporting more militant causes on the left, less centrist Labour councillors condoned the violence. Evidence for this was proffered with quotes from the forum at Notts SOS, and national sites opposed to austerity and the cuts. Notorious unreconstructed anarchist Ian Bone was conflated with local councillors, and with an ire previously unsuspected in Cllr. Carr. He then launched a rebuttal to those who posited that the removal of EMA played some part in the disaffected angry nature of youth, with the rather ill-thought out description of the allowance-which I know from personal experience kept a couple of friend’s kids in college- was generally squandered on booze and pizzas.
The reaction was just as vehement. Councillors Marshall and Oates, who I assume the tirade was directed at, were itching to speak to defend themselves, but it was Cllr. Barber (Lab) who ultimately caught the Mayor’s eye:”I never have heard such a diatribe of drivel!’ thundered Steve B at Steve, and a particular vicious slanging match ensued, rising in volume to such an extent the Mayor had to thump her gavel down half a dozen times before some peace returned.
What do I think? It would be daft of me to proffer an opinion without declaring many interests: I’ve aligned with Notts SOS in the past. It’s a broad church. They don’t have a rigid party line, more a central premise, that the austerity cuts are too harsh and swingeing. I do not doubt that if the Tories hadn’t been forced into a coalition the Lib Dems would be involved in this. As it is, they are getting a kicking for supporting education cuts, so are rather tender right now. There are other reasons I could mention, and Cllr. Carr sent me a comprehensive email after the meeting detailing his argument which did contain some points I can’t disagree with….but I can see the next few years of partnership at this local level being so rocky the coalition at a national level will look like a Mills and Boon-esque love affair in comparison. Will we see floor-crossings, defections, torn loyalties? William Hill already have my money on that.
Still, it made for great political scrapping, and made me feel sparky that such passion could be thrown about in local politics. It would prove to be short-lived. EDIT: Minutes after I publish this, I read that Cllr. Carr has resigned the whip. If anyone wants next saturdays lottery numbers, postcard to usual address please.
Debate moved on to Climate Change. A consensus seemed to descend, before a Conservative Councillor (I will add her name when I figure out who) made a short, snappy speech on why Climate Change was bunk and a scientific conspiracy theory concocted to steal money through taxes off good honest people like herself.
It’s what scientists do, you see. I know a fair few, and its a NIGHTMARE trying to get them to talk to me about any research in developing new antibiotics to combat super-bugs; fight cancer; or simply work out the wonders of nature as they are far too busy cackling at how they have this new great idea to get an extra bit of funding by nicking off to Antarctica, melting the icecaps with hand-held blowtorches then pretending it’s something to do with pumping loads of greenhouse gases into the air. They really are the limit, I tell you. Tricksters in white coats. It’s hilarious, one recently explained that despite the fact Global warming is demonstrable with even the most basic grasp of science, and the effects are observable right now, it’s just him and his mates having a lark! Bless!
Enough facetiousness, Beestonia. She seemed of the James Delingpole school of thought, where most (scientifically ignorant) far-righters, from the American Tea-Party to the European Nationalists linger; a collective we can describe as the ‘Bat-shit Crazies’.
Yet ignorance does not observe party-lines, and after a cracking speech by Grahame Harvey (Cons.) describing climate change deniers as ‘members of the Flat-Earth Society’, a Labour member managed to defy science himself by simultaneously standing-up while shooting himself in the foot.
Charlie Robb, for it was he, doesn’t believe in climate change, not because of some previously discussed conspiracy. Nope. Cllr. Robb doesn’t believe in it because ‘If ice decreases in volume when it melts, how can they be rising sea levels?’ . Please ensure you have enough paracetamol to hand before you start face-palming yourself too hard.
The motion, that the Government provide more support for local authorities who wish to take steps against climate change, was thus not passed unanimously, having the aforementioned Labour councillor and a depressing FIVE tories oppose it. It’s hardly a result that matters much in the great scale of things, but if this is indicative of the world as a whole, Beeston will have a ocean-lapping beach very soon.
Tomorrow: Beestonia does some charity and bangs on about it.