Beestonia Strips The Willow; Wants You To Drink Cheap Ale.

Wow. Who knew so many of you were good at shaking a leg and ripping up Barton House’s dance floor?

But that’s exactly what happened. Our second fund-raiser for Oxjam took place on saturday night, and when I turned up to help out I crossed my fingers for 50 people. That should ensure we break even and get some good publicity out for the main event on the 20th October.  Arriving at seven-thirty, the band outnumbered the attendees. Suddenly, the waking-up at 4am in a cold-sweat with a start and a shout of ‘OH GOD THE CEILIDH’ seemed justifiable. I eyed the mountain of beers, ciders and wines we’d provided and involuntarily gulped.

An hour later, I’m pouring with sweat, barking into my Blackberry to my fellow Oxjammer Heather ‘ MORE PEAR CIDER! BUY MORE PEAR CIDER!’ as our workhorse of a fundraiser tore a trolley round Tesco topping up on booze; our original stocks depleted as 120 thirsty dancers descended demanding fuel. The band had already got everyone up and throwing each other round, people were grinning ecstatically and laughing, and, for the first time since we announced the fundraiser, I relaxed. Until he music stopped and the bar was swamped with booze seekers.

Despite working the bar, I had a great night as well, and even treated myself to a beer around midnight when we’d quietened down. I cannot thank all who attended enough, or the band (containing local legend Phil Langran) who gave up their time for free, and were utterly professional at getting arses off seats and onto the floor. At time of writing, we seem to have made well over £500 profit for Oxfam.

Now the biggee: The Oxjam Takeover proper, on the 20th October: more here . Buy a ticket NOW. We still need volunteers, and lots of them, to shepherd people between venues, to sell tickets on the day and suchlike. If you’d like to be part of it in any capacity, email heatheroxjam@gmail.com forthwith. If you run a business and can donate some goods/ stick up a poster; or can help with any promotion whatsoever, please get in touch.

Also, those generous folk at Magpie Brewery gave us a special 3-for-2 deal on the ale: as such I now have a whole  72 pints of Magpie’s best-selling beer (Thieving Rogue 4.5%), which we are willing to sell on for a super cheap £50. Yes, really! It’s ready to tap, and I’ll even deliver it and set it up for you myself. Let me know at mattgoold23@hotmail.com if you fancy it: and yes, the money will go straight into Oxjam’s coffers.

“We Screwed Up” -Guest Post by Tamar Feast.

When a person admits they were wrong it’s a humble thing to witness. Seeing their efforts to put things right helps us believe they are serious about fixing things, too. We then know they’re not just paying lip-service; they’re not ultimately self-serving in their admission.

When Ms Soubry said “we screwed up” she denied us on both counts. Her admission was, supposedly, referring to the government’s failure to properly put across the benefits of the Health and Social Care Bill (H&SCB) to health professionals. Unfortunately, it was not said in relation to the the bill itself. Basically, one could read it as an another insult to health professionals – and the general public – as it infers that, had things been put across ‘differently’, they may have understood, swallowed and accepted it without fuss or complaint. In short, Soubry makes a kind of admission of not dumbing-down duly; of not ‘spinning’ sufficiently,

“As we have acknowledged, we could have done more when the plans were set out initially to explain the benefits for patients,  and encourage the support of health professionals.”

(The Independent, 14 September 2012)

The Government didn’t acknowledge that great exception was made to the H&SCB because it was an abhorrent defacement of the NHS, or accept what health professionals (who were best placed to scrutinise it) were saying about its suggested ‘benefits’ being of benefit only to private companies and the Government, not the NHS and its end users. Neither does Soubry now seem to appreciate that even after the “rare step” of pausing legislation to “hold a listening excercise”, from which ‘improvements’ were supposed to have been made, this support did not happen (in fact it decreased dramatically) but not because of presentation of message. A bad bill put differently is still a bad bill.

In March I wrote to Soubry to express my complete opposition to the H&SCB; my disdain for her assumption that her constituents were incapable of understanding the details and ramifications of it, and disgust for the Government blatantly dismissing and ignoring  the across-the-board healthcare bodies’ warnings of the damage the bill would do to the care and treatment of their patients.  I was not alone. There were many petitions set up, many of which achieved hundreds of thousands of signatures (38 Degrees’ ‘Save The NHS’ petition to the Government weighs-in at over 650,000 signatures; their subsequent petition to the House of Lords, over 170,000).

Many Beestonian’s also wrote of their disagreement and  concern to their MP, Ms Soubry. Rather than respond personally, she published an ‘open letter’ which failed to address specific concerns or questions directed at her, and instead brushed these aside in a patronising, vague manner. It was in response to this open letter than I punched out my own missive  I did receive a personal response. However, pro forma and brief to a degree more fitting an invoice, she may as well not’ve bothered.  Indeed, two of the five lines involved were taken up with an invitation to make an appointment at her constituency office to go through my points in more detail. I have yet to do so. My letter was five pages long, sub-headed and clearly laid out. I spent a good couple of hours redrafting it after spending a good couple of hours spitting rather too generally. I think I made my points clear enough and they were not really up for negotiation. Maybe I screwed up, maybe I didn’t explain my furious disappointment well enough. But I think not.

Aside from arguing quite what  mistakes the government have made (there are so many things, it’s hard to keep tabs), I’m sure we’d all like to hear what will be done to ‘make good’ of them.  Surely, when you make a mistake – and know you’ve made a mistake – about something which you purport to care about quite passionately, you put in concerted efforts to make up for it and, if you can, remedy the situation? Ironically, health care professionals who are part of  the ‘misunderstanding’ are implicated in the bill itself, in that they’re expected to implement it. Soubry said in her statement,

“We all know that the NHS needs to change to ensure it can deliver the best possible care for everyone. This is what the public deserve, and it is what our plans are designed to deliver by putting doctors and nurses – the people who best understand patients’ needs – in charge.”   (ibid)

So here we have professional bodies who have extensively expressed disagreement with, concern about and opposition to the H&SCB. These same professional bodies, according to Soubry, have failed to ‘get’ the benefits of the bill. Despite this, they have forced upon them the responsibility for implementing the bill by making the NHS an external competitive market. I’d say that was a screw up on three levels… leading to an inevitable fourth. It strikes me that this further evidences the Government’s (and Tories’ especially) total disregard for the NHS.

Not only do they not heed initial and subsequent crucial notices pinpointing where and how the bill will detrimentally effect patient care, but they put no stock in the exodus en masse of almost all major health professional’s bodies and associations from support of the bill either, and now the new junior health minister has the audacity to say the Government “screwed up” – but only in representing the bill’s benefits.

The Government would say that medical professionals are now beginning to ‘come round’ to the reforms – and are working with them successfully. But what choice do they have? The Bill is passed; it’s made law.  Unlike politicians paying lip service, doctors, nurses and other NHS staff genuinely care – it is their raison d’être – about their patients and charges. To continue to dig their heels in and sabotage matters deliberately would only affect patients further.  They must act elsewhere, at another time, if they want to see the reforms ditched. And they intend to.

Which leads me to the foremost question in my mind – why now? Why admit to some screw up or other now? As I said, the bill is now law, it’s rolling out all over the place. Why this humble, little ‘back-peddle’?

Well, back in March a group of almost 250 GPs/consultants/professors and other NHS professionals formed a revenge pact to put up candidates in the 2015 election to stand against MPs who had backed the H&SCB. They published a letter announcing as much in The Independent. They’re angry.  Very angry. At one point they referred to the bill as an “embarrassment to democracy”. They go on to say,

“These drastic changes fundamentally undermine the founding principles of the NHS and have no democratic mandate from the electorate and were not part of the coalition agreement.

As healthcare professionals, we are appalled that the coalition Government has imposed many of the changes before the bill has even been enacted and then tried to use this as “evidence” that the professions support their reform. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Government has systematically failed to make the case for such radical change to the NHS, which has recently been shown to be one of the most cost effective and highly performing healthcare systems in the world, enjoying its highest ever public satisfaction rates. None of the major healthcare representative organisations and professional associations supports the reforms, and the majority of them would like to see the bill withdrawn. From the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to the British Geriatrics Society, healthcare professionals agree that the reforms will damage and fragment the NHS, widen healthcare inequalities, and worsen patient care in England.” (The Independent on Sunday, Letters, 18 March 2012)

Many doctors who have pledged to stand have no experience in politics.  However, neither do they have experience of running a private business and Managing – yet the government seems happy to expect them to suddenly start doing both, as well as administer care to their patients ( I suppose if an ex-TV presenter can become a junior health minister with very few year’s experience as an MP then anything’s possible!).

The list of potential seats is long. Apart from backing the bill, the main qualifying factor is that a seat is vulnerably marginal. Anna Soubry’s on the list. Having such a paltry majority meant that she was probably one of the first on it. Of course, her so visibly, so vocally, backing the reforms probably doesn’t help either. Add to that her public, patronising dismissal of Dr Clare Gerada on the  BBC Daily Politics Show -“but you’re part time”- and you’ve got a Belisha beacon of a seat for the taking. Plus we have smart, popular, well-liked doctors in Broxtowe. Lots of them (one or two in particular). Soubry claims to have met with most of them. She claims one even “begged” her to get these reforms through. Though, if she knows doctors like she knows postmen this may well be stretching the truth.

Evidently, it’s not entirely cynical to think that Soubry’s said this out of self-interest, or self-preservation. Sensing an absolute trouncing in 2015, it’s no wonder she’s allofasudden set her sights elsewhere. She’s ambitious and knows what she’s doing – and it’s not for the good of the NHS, her constituents or even the Conservative Party. I believe Anna Soubry is a woman of great self-importance. There is style but no substance, and her goals are all her own. She will say what she needs to say to get by at the time and appears to have very little genuine regard for her constituents, wherever they may be (just ask Gedling) or, for that matter, the issue for which she is currently banging on about. If this is not the case, and Soubry believes the opposite is true, then I would suggest she has failed in her job, and failed in representing herself. You could say she has screwed up.   Wherever it is that Soubry wants to go, she’ll probably get there – but she won’t take you with her.

A Clegg To Stand on?

I don’t normally talk too much about the Lib Dems, despite them being Broxtowe’s joint-controllers at a borough level, and having a strong holding in Beeston and Bramcote. It’s nothing personal, yet it’s always more apparent when an issue is easily pegged as left or right. Despite their protestations, the Lib Dems are always seen by voters as the protest, non-bilateral default party.

Yet, post 2010, they are probably the most interesting of all parties. Entering a coalition with the Tories is seen by some as an honourable attempt at stability, others a pragmatic move to get some real legislative power for their policies; and – judging by latest polling, a majority- an act of electoral betrayal.

I offer no opinion, thinking the complexity of the situation is akin to that of a Shakespearian tragedy. Macbeth with yellow ties. I’m more affronted by how they spent two years providing a shit-screen to protect the Tories, but to blame them for taking the blame for something would be infinitely reducing, so I won’t. I will say however that despite my differences with some elements of their policy, I find them, at least on a local level, well-meaning, community-orientated and progressive. Sadly their leader has entered a seemingly Faustian pact which could see them out of power for a long, long time.

So when I was asked ‘Would you like to see Nick Clegg in Nottingham?’ I didn’t hesitate. Who would pass up on the chance to see a real-life Hamlet up-close? I stuck my name down, and decided to social-media my good fortune.

‘Meeting Clegg tomorrow’ , I typed out, on Twitter and Facebook, ‘ What should I ask him?’ It was like drilling into a huge, high pressure shit-well. I could explain this by explaining that my followers on  Twitter and my ‘friends’ on Facebook are of a leftist persuasion, and that is true to an extent, but it would be untrue to suggest that I’m solely a magnet for those in red socks. I’m read more on Twitter by non-Labour than Labour, Facebook also. I imagine that most people I know may have persuasions to a general political stance; but are not party-centric. They are the floating vote, the ultimate treasure of all politicians seeking for where X will mark the spot.

I won’t print them, not without request, , but they were unilaterally angry. Occasionally questioning, but in the main, really pissy. Beeston Councillor Steve Carr (Lib Dem, at least when I last checked) weighed in for the defense, and valiantly fought his corner, ultimately ineffectively. It must be tough. Clegg, in  a YouGov poll published yesterday, is viewed by only 7% of the electorate as being ‘sticks to what he believes in’. 93% of people, thus, see him as disingenuous, or don’t know.

So I trooped along to the Q+A Cleggles was holding, hosted in professional style by The Nottingham Post, who never skimp on their political coverage and power to get together events like this. Boardings proclaiming the DPM’s arrival adorned the secret location (Newton Building, Nottingham Trent University), and I was, by some administrative mistake, ushered into a front-row seat. When I asked why I was sitting there, a man in a suit explained ‘Not a security risk’, which made me even more nervous. One does not like to think that the 140 people behind you ARE deemed more dangerous than you.

Clegg himself? I was there, as close as anyone, and while it seemed at times he was nailing a few myths and showing that he had a passionate relaunch spirit, the overwhelming impressionistic feel is slightly darker beige, moving over beige. Stat-heavy rationalisation over passionate rhetoric? The former might be more important, but while polls (the same YouGov one again, see above) pegs his charisma at a worrying 11%, it’s not going to do anything if he can’t express it with more conviction.

Coming out of the event, I run into Bramcote Councillor David Watts and ask him how it came across.Unsuprisingly, his answer is one word, and loyal:   ‘Well’. This is qualified  with particular mention towards the one policy that might salvage the third-party (still Lib Dems, haven’t checked UKIP’s figures); that of the income tax threshold. ‘Not a head-line grabber, is it?’ I ask.

‘But it’s only because we aren’t getting the press now that we would get in 2015’ he explains. He has a point. Think of the currency ‘I agree with Nick’ gave you in April ’10. Is that the Zimbabwe Dollar of statements?’Wait ’til 2015′, I’m assured.

I point out that the Euro election is closer, as are the Counties. He looks a little crest-fallen by this, and apropos of only a slice of our topic, announces he won’t be standing for the East Midlands in the Euros. Which is a shame, cos  a pugilist like Watts would be wonderful to witness versus a fellow fighter by the name of Jon Collins…

To summarise, Clegg was Clegg. He dazzled by doing the opposite of dazzling, and creating a charisma vacuum. I see a lot of politicians, and they do what they do without recourse to looking flash, but Nick? I’m sure, deep down, he means well, but when he walks on stage and think he’s the bloke in charge of he lectern you know that’s no JFK up there.

Who would save them? ‘Who will be your leader in 2015, Dave?’ I ask Watts

‘Clegg, no doubt’

I do a ‘hmm’ noise.

‘Well, obviously Tim (Farron, Lib Dem Chairman) eventually, but for now, he’s our best’.

The Lib Dems really are tasting power. Sadly, after a few months, it’s the same as Callaghan in the late Seventies or Major in the mid Nineties. Not just on a losing streak, but with the taint that kept Labour in the dark during the Eighties and the Tories buggered from 1994-2008.

Typically, the ‘other ‘ party has taking on the mantle of power and only been poisoned by it. The Lib Dems look finished. However, never underestimate the fickleness of politics. Gordon Brown got cheered at the Paralympics while Gidiot got booed. To paraphrase Donovan, Yellow may indeed be the colour.
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Soubz vs. Dacre? / Cleggles in Town.

Hopefully, this is the last post I’ll be putting up this week about Soubz, but I thought that also after pressing ‘submit’ on Sunday and then, the next day, I dog-sit for my parents in St. Apleford, and do something no un-quasifascistic person should do, and read their tabloid of choice, The Daily Mail.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to start banging on about how awful the Mail is,  while providing revenue-raising traffic to it through links to their fetid site; if you wish to get more insight into any elements of the following, thats your lookout.

It’s no secret that Paul Dacre’s sub-standard bum-roll is, and let’s be unsqueamish here, a tad to the right. It’s no secret that they employ such beacons of integrity as Richard Littlejohn, Samantha Brick and Peter Hitchens (I’m not linking to him. Google him, then just read his brother’s entries. He really could write well, if not entirely sensibly).

So the fact that they have decided to pilliarise Soubz for being a lefty comes as no surprise. They never loved Ken Clarke, possibly for the fact he preferred jazz over Wagner marked him out as a subversive. Hush Puppies? He may as well wear them with red socks embroided with the Cuban flag, as long as Melanie Phillips is concerned.

Mel doesn’t pull her punches. She’s a former socialist who lurches so far right you suspect that she was never ideological, just saw where she could best stake a lucrative claim and went there. Such swings can be explained  in two ways: epiphany or psycopathy. ‘Mad’ Mel, as she’s known elsewhere (and possibly to her family), don’t like our honourable member.

So on Monday, a whole page was given over to how dangerous Soubz is, but not from the basic brief being she’s a Tory MP. No, her faults listed include ‘foul-mouthed’ ‘attention-seeking’ and wearing high-heels. These all were given as the reason why Anna’s opinions were invalid. I’ve been trying to express the same opinion through exposure of her hypocrisy, lack of logic and conflict of interest for a couple of years: apparently I could have saved hours of research by just describing her footwear.

Mad Mel’s attack on the shoes, marital status and vocabulary of Soubz were there to discredit the opinion on assisted suicide Anna has recently expressed. I admitted last post that I supported, on principle, Anna’s opinion. I still do, though with utter openess to a convincing argument otherwise. I’ve recieved a smattering of counter-opinion about this, and it’s been well-written, honest and factually backed-up. I’m still not convinced, but not because I don’t like the counter-opinion, wears Doc Martens and over-uses the term ‘nobhead’.

(Incidentally, I’ve heard Soubz is heavy on the expletives. On at least two occasions she’ described me as the, ahem, C-word. I’d tell you what that word was but a Labour councillor recently gave me a bollocking through it’d use in this blog).

I doubt Phillips, has a focussed vendetta, She reserves vendettas to everyone who isn’t her. People, basically. Yet it’s evident this was a comissoned piece, which means we’re looking at editorial positioning. This isn’t a surprise, a few months ago  I reported on the angst Tory grandees had with the 2010 ‘arriveste’ intake they reported with glee.

This put me in the rather odd position of feeling protective towards Soubz. The Conservatives are teetering towards real red-meat, blue blooded toryism right now, giving power to climate change deniers, homepathy fans, free-market mouth-frothers and unapologetic snobs. Anna might be someone I don’t approve of in many ways, but for a Tory, she’s a moderate in her mentor Clarke’s mode, especially on social issues.

There’s also been an attack from Nadine Dorries, the barking mad back-bencher who hates CallMeDave and the Gidiot for being too left-wing,  a charge she’d probably also level at Mussolini. Dorries was furious at the assisted suicide issue Anna had raised, branding her ‘profoudly ignorant’. Not much sisterhood on the Government benches…

Where was this attack printed? Ah, thats right, The Mail on Sunday.

Anna has an enemy in Paul Dacre, evidentally. Here’s to what should prove to be an interesting few months on the pages of that waste of tree.

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I’m meeting Deputy PM Nick Clegg tomorrow as part of a Nottingham Post organised event. Full report to follow. Have a question for the Greek Tragedy that is the Leader of the LibDems? Let me know before 5pm tomorrow.

I’m not going to blow my own trumpet and claim my last post was 100% accurate, but it was close enough to allow me a little parp on my predictive cornet. Parp.

So  what happened? Cuddly Ken was shifted/neutered into one of those quasi-legislative positions that give no true power but let the government tap into the gravitas and national-treasureness. It’s a win-win for CallMeDave: lurch to the right but keep the non-toxic side of Toryism in the spotlight. Ken issued a statement that had the weary resignation of failed actor Uncle Monty in Withnail and I :

It is the most shattering experience when you  awake and quite reasonable says to yourself:  I will never play The Dane.

So off he shambles, into a holding-pen for the Lords, his one-nation, liberal Conservatism sliding the same way as serve-and-volley tennis; insightful Channel 4 documentaries and the appeal of Premiership football. The Tories are now little more than a less-caffeinated Tea Party, UKIP lite, Ayn Rand with a smiley face. Cameron has realised the only way to have a hope in 2015 is to jack in all attempts at coalition and to serve up red-meat Conservatism, trying to re-engage the core with an agenda of anti-green opinions, private-sector worship and a return to flog ’em, hang ’em Justice policies.

This leaves Anna Soubry in a quandary, one might think. Yes, the left of the party is now deeply unfashionable. Those who helped detoxify he party post 2005 are now effectively redundant until the months running up to the next election. Soubz, however, was elevated; not with any degree of acceleration, but in the right direction. She’s become a PUSS, a junior role that still has significant influence.

And she’s not been slow to get out there: announcing in The Times her support for assisted suicide. It created a big splash; I read an online headline on Saturday morning espousing ‘ANNA SOUBRY: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL YOURSELF’ and suffered an unnerving jolt of paranoia.

To have got the exposure on this, Anna would have required a nod from Number 10. It’s an emotive issue with legislative potential that has been thrown out to the media and public to debate openly. It’s exactly why Junior ministers exist: to suggest policy without making it seem like a government line. If Anna’s new boss,( incredibly it’s Jeremy Hunt;  I give him six months) was to espouse such an opinion it’d be seen as a virtual policy announcement , Cabinet intent. Get a junior to do it: stick your toes in the water rather than leap in fully.

Soubz has a position now that is dual-purpose; her loyalty to Cameron and a 2015 majority are retained through elevation and more profile-boosting media spots, while the Health Secretary (Jeremy Hunt!! Yes! Really!) can call on her to moot stuff that’d he’s not ready to commit to.

I’m with her on the assisted suicide issue: it’s an ethical, rather than political issue and friends seem rougly divided 50/50 on it. Let the debate begin, though I’m sure it’s actually been a pertinent topic since the Tony Nicklinson case reached it’s tragic conclusions.

Three years as an Aunt Sally to gain a safe seat? It’s a good deal for Anna. And if Hunt really messes up Health- and as a self-professed fan of Homeopathy one can’t feel his lack of judgement will be his undoing – who is in the wings waiting for the understudy call-up?

Anna in charge of Health. Makes registering with BUPA seem like a very good idea….

Reshuffle Thoughts.

The Soubz Ascending?

I’ve been steering clear of politics of late; the dog days of recess and the lack of fervour when  equidistant from polls lend one to a torpor: plus, I’ll be looking for  bit of promotion from all political stripes as the Oxjam Beeston Takeover gathers pace, and don’t want to come across as overtly partial; an accusation I’ve received from all hues.

Yet it can not be left unwrote that tomorrow could be quite a major event for us Beestonians/Broxtownians: the Government reshuffle. Our gracious Member could be seeing an elevation to some giddy heights.

Well, so say The Guardian, The Times and The Independent, and possibly the other papers that I don’t get round to read. Each are liberally speculating on CallMeDave’s plans, and Soubz comes in for glowing praise on each. This is triggered  by several factors, namely she’s a centrist loyalist, both traits lending themselves well to an unsteady coalition; she’s proved to be confident in front of the cameras: as one will be after a career news-reading; and she’s untested, a new face with little luggage of previous posts. She’s also female, which, as the Tories haemorrhage female voters, is a real boon.

Yet the political commentators on the nationals lack a more nuanced view: no wonder, as they have to deal with 650 MPs and 775 Lords, not to mention an army of SPADS, spinners and croneys that create the body politic. It’s therefore unlikely they look at Soubz in the context of her tenuous majority, which would be swept away tomorrow if a vote was called. Not just swept away, but give Nick Palmer (for he has thrown his hat in the ring for 2015) a majority comparable to the one he attained in 1997. Theres little currency in elevating a one-term MP, so if we see Anna find a ministerial role tomorrow, we’ll know that the whips have annoited her for the long-game.

I don’t need to remind you of my theory on what this is. Despite protestations that her heart is in Broxtowe, it’s best to remember she took the nomination to PPS pragmatically after failing to win Gedling off Vernon Coaker in 2005. She will continue this anti-clockwise journey through Nottingham’s surrounding boroughs and fetch up in Rushcliffe, as I see little life left in Ken Clarke’s career.

Clarke  has long wethered the intercienary blood-letting of the Post-Thatcher Conservative Party with a degree of mastery that now sees Portillo shilling for the license fee and Heseltine a fading, bitter Baron. He briefly found himself lauded as a double-bonus for the Tories: moderate enough to not taint with the Thatcher toxification, yet senior enough to lend an air of gravitas to Osborne’s office. Once out of office, however, the knifes were out. The 1992 Committee, the UKIP potential defectors, they all saw Ken as a wet, a Euro-traitor, a socialist in blue clothing. His blunders, which if made by any other cabinet member would have been hosed down by spin-doctors before the media could ignite, were left undefended. As the Tories dropped the pre-election hug-a-hoodiness act, Ken’s politics  became as deeply unfashionable in Party ranks as his ubiquitous buff Hush Puppies.

So it will be no surprise that the incumbent moves to the erstwhile this week; and he’ll no doubt be given a promise of a peerage or some form of ceremonial role. His political career is over, at least in the main house. Ken is 72. He will never serve on a cabinet again, and a move to the Lords will be a welcome step compared to the ignominy of back-bench life.

I scarcely need to fill in the rest. A vacancy in Rushcliffe appears, and a Cameroonian favourite with no chance of re-election needs a safe seat. Soubz is a self-confessed admirer of Clarke, so fuses the moderating influence of her mentor with a malleability whips love in  new intake.

I’d still be cautious on what happens though. Soubry’s central plank for re-election should she remain in this borough is her ill-thought out Greenbelt campaign, which – see Beestonia passim – could see people like Neil Davidson of Persimmon and other shoddy builders have carte blanche to concrete over fields.  Her hope of finding a cause to build her 2015 Broxtowe campaign around would be seriously scuppered if she was seen to simultaneously fight against development while green-lighting Cameron’s latest wheeze for growth; the relaxation of the planning laws, before described by various conservation groups as a terrifying destructive proposal.

Cabinet? I doubt it. Minister? Maybe, but junior. I’ll let you know via twitter…follow @beeestonia for updates.