Zombies Over-run Beestonia? / Tracks of their Tears.

There’s been a couple of meetings of late, handily scheduled against each other, that I missed due to other commitments. One was the NHS debate ran by campaign group 38 Degrees. I have a report from someone who could attend pending, but a word of warning: whatever the conclusions of the meeting, do not expect Soubry to listen to them.

Why? Well, she is a protegé, through serving under him in her last role, of that human-shaped ball of quivering idiocy, of Simon Burns MP. Burns is one of those characters who look like a Spitting Image puppet of himself, and is a pretty despicable chap. You may remember him from his wish to implement a two-tier system at Westminster, where MPs could jump queues at cafes, bars etc. Our political elite managed to rally against this intense pomposity, and it was not implemented, but was a fascinating insight into his self-importance. He also derided the Speaker, John Bercow, as ‘a stupid sanctimonious dwarf’ :


A bit of a nob, then.

It gets worse, and you may spot a parallel with Soubry’s inaction in responding to any correspondence that dares express a different view than her:


Nice. I’d call him an odious prick, but I’m not one to sink to his level of personal insult.

Did this inform Soubry’s attitude to the postal workers; to the constituents who have asked her to explain her utter loyalty to the Government despite local opposition (especially, tellingly, on health); and her refusal to engage with myself, or respondents to her column in The Beeston Express, on issues that really do matter here? She is, after all, Broxtowe’s voice in Westminster. Or, more accurately, Broxtowe’s voice in Westminster via Mapperley and once it has been ran by the Whip’s office and checked carefully and screened for anything that might offend Cameron and act detrimentally against any promotion/ parachute to Rushcliffe.

Maybe that’s unfair. For not the first time on Beestonia, we will open channels to our MP with a right of reply. Will you listen to the views of your constituents Anna, or will you just label them leftists/ trolls/misogynists, and throw clumsy legal notices at them? I await, with no particular breath baited, your response.


Mind you, her new boss is Jeremy ‘Hunt’ Hunt. Frying pan, fire?


Oh, and just out of interest, the glossy newsletter you circulated recently seemed to be printed in Birmingham. Surely a local printer could have done the job: we are about to enter a triple-dip recession , after all? Local firms would have loved that commission. I know, as a small time publisher, you have to watch the pennies, but if I , and indeed The Lib Dems, can kick out a publication printed in NG9, surely you can?


The second meeting is much more local than our MP: Chilwell Road, precisely.

Looks like due to a phenomenal cock-up by NET, the specialist machine that will lay and set the tracks for the tram is four metres too wide for the road. Thus, rather than run a switched one-way system across the road, the whole road needs to be shut for up to 12 months. Completely. No cars, no bikes, no buses, and possibly more importantly, no delivery vehicles. These are ALL independents that could be wiped out: a lot of their trade comes, simply, through being able to see their specialism while driving, or being driven, by their shops.

I talked to a local Councillor today to see what could be done, and they did provide some ideas:

  • A free bus service that hops round Beeston, and is integrated to periodically pass through Chilwell Road to give shoppers greater access.
  • Increased working hours from 8am-8pm to get the work done faster.
  • A delivery hub set up at Bartons, that would thus allow access to suppliers and goods coming away from the closed off area.

Are the businesses convinced? I have yet to receive the report from one such trader who attended the meeting, but it doesn’t look like it’s convinced them. Despite a pot of around £2 million in compensation payments to them (where each business is paid 80% of their accountable year-on-year losses, issued quarterly), I will be finding out myself tomorrow.

When I’m asked my opinions on the tram, or the redevelopment of the Square, I fall back on a simple line that Beeston is bein thrown into the air right now: how it lands is key. It’s not hard to draw an opinion out of Beestonians when it comes to the tram, but I still want to hear you, especially those that offer new light and don’t just peddle the dull YES THE TRAM IS GREAT / NO THE TRAM IS CRAP please. A bit of nuance could make a real difference. I await your response

Beestonia Becomes Dead Famous; Get Together, Beeston!

I’m round me mum and dads, for an impromptu Sunday dinner celebrating the fact that Lady Beestonia is now DOCTOR Lady Beestonia, when I realise something is up. I have a quick look at the stats of this blog, which tell me exactly how many people read my guff. Quite a few, since you ask, but only because a Baltic state recently ran a promotional campaign called ‘BE ESTONIA’, and we got loads of their hits. Plus, looking deeper into the google hits that drove traffic here; BBC East Midland’s Kylie Pentalow seems to be a draw, though I’ve only mentioned her once, and in no way in a state of undress various surfers seem to be assuming I’m hosting here. Shame, readers, shame. Not YOU of course, but the others.

Anyhow, I go into a brief panic. The little quibble between our local MP and myself lends one to a certain pricked-up nervousness. I’m not a proper journalist, after all, and I have no material possessions of any value asides from an original Iggy Pop promo and a signed photo of Leslie Grantham so a law suit would hardly strip me of professional integrity or wealth: I’m pretty bereft of either, but still. Would be a bit shit to be proven wrong by our MP cos a bit of personal integrity is all I really have. That and the ability to write a sentence like that without sounding like a total bell-end. And two kittens  which are TECHNICALLY OWNED BY MY PARTNER SO NOT BAILIFF FODDER.

I jest. I’m not scared as such. Soubry is, as a former barrister, is professionally well versed in the law and its complex mechanisms while I, err, once did the photocopying at a Law School. I stand by my arguments against her judgements; as readily and as robustly as I would stand with those I feel correct, should any come along.

It’s with great relief, therefore, that I discover it’s our erstwhile MP, Dr Palmer, who wrote me a guest article recently (see Beestonia passim) who has attracted this attention: his reach is beyond mine. It is, all said, an article that solidified my opinion on a tricky, emotive subject. It’s possibly Nick’s plunge back into national politics: if so, possibly we should salute this, whatever our political stripe. At least he’s engaging, as opposed to the alternatives. If Soubry or the Lib Dems wish to send something, I’ll extend NHS week into the month it’ll become.


I was recently invited to a rather odd thing: a meeting at 7.30am. At a pub.

I’m never one to shy from intrigue, so I drag myself from my duvetwomb and stagger, and yes, I staggered, to the Last Post in Beeston to meet a score (or just shy) of business bods who gathered to say hello to each other over compulsory coffee and breakfast.

It’s something called the Beeston Network, which is a collection of businesses in our town that have started to get together to collectively promote each other’s independence and personalised skillz to YOU, Beestonia. I’m all for this: to me it encourages independence, localism and other stuff that stops us becoming a town which just calls in a generic, multinational  company for every whim or necessity. Keeping it local is what we’re all about, apparently. Though I would argue that being able to call myself a Lord is also a key component.

They are having a get together on Monday, December 3rd, The Last Post, at 7.30am. Pop along. It’s a tenner, but you’ll get a free breakfast, as much coffee as you can glug and the potential to launch your business into the stratosphere.


And I best mention, we’re doing the next issue of The Beestonian on the tram. Yep, we’re sticking our head into the crocodile’s jaws; pointing to the massive elephant’s presence in the room; etcetera, etcetera. Fill my comment box. Fill it good.



Beestonia Breaks Bad News: Wilkinsons Will NOT Return.

Title sez it all, ok? I don’t want the Soubz stuff to drop out of view, and something tells me it won’t. I await her response.

However. I have some very bad news, and best relate it. Remember the Wilkos stuff? I have an update, and it’s a a grim read.

To recap: Wilkos was told 9 years ago that they were likely to have to relocate should the tram be given the green-light Political to and froing bought a lot of uncertainty to this, the Conservatives opposing and blocking even when it became an inevitabilaty, the other parties complicit in using this as a battleground. The development was delayed, and it wasn’t until late December that Wilkos anounced it’s closure.

I was asked, by the BBC, why the campaign I subsequently launched was in support of a chain store. I explained that in no way was I a supporter of the chain, but the shop in question, and the 54 staff who worked there. Read Beestonian passim for more context.

Rumours came through of late that Wilkos, despite a ‘dedicated urge to return’ to Beeston, as well as an utter massive mountain of compensation payments, have decided to forget Beeston.

I contacted their Head Office, to either confirm or squash these rumours. I’m afraid they confirmed:

Dear Matt


Thank you very much for your email and for the opportunity to provide a response to the points you have raised concerning the closure of the Wilkinson store in Beeston.


Wilkinsons has stated on a number of occasions that the decision to close the Beeston store was only necessary as a direct result of the compulsory purchase order imposed upon the company to make way for the new tram system in the town.  The company said publicly at the time: “We loved being in Beeston and serving our many loyal customers there. Indeed, we were touched by the strength of feeling shown by the local community once it became clear we had no choice other than to close our well-established and highly successful Beeston store”.


As soon as it was confirmed that Wilkinsons would have to make way for the tram, its expert property team began a rigorous search for an alternative site. However, the criteria required for a successful modern retail operation are many and complex. They include finding a site with the optimum size, location, access for deliveries, visibility and so on. To date, regrettably, the company has not been successful in finding such a replacement site in Beeston but local discussions continue.


In spite of the difficulty in finding a new Beeston site, Wilkinsons has forged ahead with new store openings in 2012 with nine new stores opening during the year at Bolton, Bromley, Bicester, Devizes, Washington, Falmouth, Crawley , Pwllheli – and the latest just yesterday (15 November) at Edmonton Green.  As is usual, the locations of any store openings planned for 2013 are currently subject to planning and regulatory issues and announcements will be made when appropriate.


I do hope the above information clarifies our position regarding this issue Matt and thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards


Joanne Lane
Senior Consumer Advisor


Beestonia: Shit Gets Real: An Apology to Soubz, and a Few Questions.

Hello Beestonians, and welcome to the 200th post on the blog. I have an utter glut of stuff to tell you, but it all has to go on hold for a second.

Why? Well, as is the parlance amongst the yoof of today, ‘Shit Just Got Real’. I’ve been running the NHS Week on Beestonia for over a week now: knowing this inconguity would annoy my more OCD readers I decided to wrap it up. I still have a piece apparently incoming from Beeston LibDem Steve Carr, which, as always, I shall print in full. Beestonia is, after all, a sounding board.

Unfortunately, I published something recently regarding the NHS that, a day or so after hosting it, I discovered to be factually fuzzy in some aspects. It was by Dr Eoin Clarke, a health blogger of some note. I was alerted to the original article by a fellow blogger, gave it a read through, thought it was relevant so asked for permission to reblog it. This was given, so I stuck it up.

I was then alerted that there were several factual inaccuracies in the article, and decided to remove it. I dropped the piece from the site and made it unavailable. I then hosted an article by Nick Palmer, and got on with stuff.

Today, I recieved this. Not as an email, not as a letter, not as a phone call; but as a comment on the last piece Dr Nick Palmer guested on:

You have removed an inaccurate and defamatory article about Anna Soubry from your web site which was written by a Dr. Eoin Clarke. He has removed the article from his web site and posted a full and unreserved apology accepting he had published wholly inaccurate figures and had made false allegations against Anna Soubry.

You are aware that Dr. Clarke agreed the apology with Anna’s solicitor but you have not posted Dr. Clarke’s apology on your web site nor apologised for publishing an article which you did not check, which was factually inaccurate and which made false allegations against Anna. Dr Clarke has also agreed to pay the costs of Anna’s solicitors.

Anna Soubry has no desire to engage in legal action against you given that you would have to bear those costs. Recent events have shown, though on a far more serious and damaging level , the need for anyone who publishes allegations against another person to verify them and stay within the law. In the circumstances please would you publish Dr Clarke’s apology which he has agreed with Anna Soubry’s solicitors.

I’d had the frighteners put on me before,  but this, when read through, came with extra pepper. Legal costs. Comparisons with those who accuse others of paedophilia. As I said before, shit got real. I was really busy today, having a set of meetings to try and get myself on my feet after my unexpected loss of job of late. Hardly the sort of stuff you need to put on the back-burner as you attempt to work out a way to avoid slipping into poverty as we approach the third stage of a triple-dip recession.

However, this blog has always had the ethos of honesty, and openess. If something is incorrect, I will correct it. If someone sends something in, I will publish it, apart from three notable examples, two racist, one by a right-wing activist accusing me of having a sexual relationship with a Labour politician (not my type, ducky). Thus, sorry Anna, for hosting an unchecked piece that I removed the moment I saw it might be factually fuzzy.

I’m glad that  I’m on your radar though. So much of my readership doesn’t seem to be. Since you will definately read this piece, may I bend your ear? Cheers. Simple answers, or retractions are all that will be required.

  1. Why did you base your 2010 Electoral Campaign on a strong ‘Local Candidate’ basis, attacking the incumbent for being disengaged with the Broxtowe scene as he lived in Mapperly, and promising stridently that you would move to Broxtowe if elected, then not doing so? I do realise that your partner, Neil, did send me a threatening email telling me to retract this line of questioning as this was due to ‘personal reasons’; but as Nick Palmer moved to, err, opposite your place in Mapperley, as he got married (a fairly personal action, no?) then it was disingenuous and hypocritical to tout for votes on this? Are you here now? If not, when are you likely to be here?
  2. I willingly retract the third-party allegations about your expenses/ income. Will you, in kind, retract the allegation that I am ‘sexist’ as you previously -and rather baffingly-accused me of (see Beestonia passim).
  3. I have, on numerous occasions, solicited your comment on Beeeston issues. While I am far from the ‘voice of Beeston’, I do have an increasing amount of readers from all ages, political stripes and other demographuc angles. You have NEVER responded to them, aside from the odd warning that I should take stuff down. As the most read blog in your constituency, why not interact? I know you’re busy, but obviously not enough to send out threateners.
  4. Will you be staying in Broxtowe come 2015?
  5. Will you reply openly to the article Nick Palmer wrote in the previous post?
  6. Will you promise to be representative to your constituents if they oppose 1) Royal Mail Privatisation 2) NHS ‘reform’? I understand the concept of electoral mandate, but you did, if I remember, promise to be ‘Broxtowe’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Broxtowe” ?

I await your response.

The Beestonia NHS Week: Guest Post from Nick Palmer

The implications of the Government’s NHS changes, and what Labour should do about them: Guest Post by Dr Nick Palmer

Matt has challenged Anna Soubry and me to comment on the Government’s NHS policy. You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m not a fan of them. But I’d like to take the opportunity to say what I think Labour should do differently if we’re elected next time round. Miss Soubry failed to come to defend the Government’s policy at the recent meeting on NHS issues in Beeston, but if she’d like to debate it here or anywhere else I’d be very glad to have a constructive discussion.

Let’s get the obvious partisan point out of the way. David Cameron promised no top-down reform of the NHS. On reaching Number 10, he and his LibDem allies introduced a reform so top-down that it was already being imposed before it got through Parliament and so huge that a senior civil servant commented that it could be seen from space.  Virtually every significant medical organisation opposed the changes, and all were ignored.  As an example of a broken promise it’s up there with tuition fees as a startling example, and I’ve yet to meet anyone, including senior Conservative MPs, who actually thinks it was a good idea: by the end of the process, they were just pushing it through to save face.

OK, OK, you’ve read all that before, enough already. We are where we are. What next?

There are now three main problems:

  1. Secondary health providers (i.e. hospitals) are being required to compete, and are encouraged to improve their funding by expanding provision to paying patients, up to 49% of capacity (typical current level is 10-15%).
  2. Preventative care, a key function of the old Primary Care Trusts, has been stripped out of the obligatory duties of the new Commissioning Groups. This covers things like helping people stop smoking and testing for diabetes. Would you like to see disease prevented rather than tackled after it happens? Good luck – it’s now a local authority duty, and local authority budgets are being cut to the bone.  Perhaps the local authority can persuade the Commissioning Groups to do it anyway, perhaps not.
  3. The payments system is loaded to favour simple operations (which the private sector like to offer) at the expense of complex operations (which are usually only provided by the NHS). When the system was 90% public, this didn’t matter very much. It is now an acute problem. Expect to see more and more private providers offering to fix broken ankles and give you hearing aids, and more and more NHS providers struggling to finance the complex work.

Now if Miss Soubry responds to Beestonia, she will tell you that point 1 isn’t a problem, since the hospital is required to spend its shiny new private income on improving their service. Very true. But suppose you’re a hard-pressed hospital manager trying to meet the rising cost of complex care? You need to raise your inflow of cash from somewhere. What part of your service do you improve with income from more paying patients? Pay to expand a loss-making operating unit? Hardly. Obviously, you build a new wing entirely for paying patients. It’ll pay for itself and more, and you’ve got loads of scope to expand, all the way up to 49% of your hospital. Your bottom line will shine. What a fine manager!

But, hang on, what’s the effect of that on patients? It increases the differential waiting time. In 1997, it was commonplace to have to wait two years for a hip replacement, or two months if you were willing to pay the very same consultant to do it privately. By 2010, the average NHS wait had gone down to two months, and the private edge was reduced to having nicer carpets, posher food and prettier rooms. But now we’re starting to get insurance flyers again saying “Insure now to avoid long NHS waits.” That is going to get steadily worse until the policy changes. That is why, “We face the end of the NHS as we know it” is not a hysterical partisan claim. It’s a sober statement of fact. The end result will be a stark choice when you need care: (a) Pay or (b) Wait.

What should Labour do about it? Well, I wouldn’t scrap the Commissioning Groups. The answer to an unnecessary monster reorganisation isn’t another unnecessary monster reorganisation. I’d do five things:

  1. Scrap the requirement to compete (with all it implies in international competition rules), and replace it with a requirement to cooperate.
  2. Scrap the incentives to expand paid provision.
  3. Put the responsibility for preventive medicine back in the CCG’s mandate.
  4. Make the Secretary of State ultimately responsible for health care again.
  5. Pay for all operations according to cost, without a bias to cheap and easy ones.

None of this needs major new legislation, or massive new funding, or gargantuan reorganisation. It just takes the insidious incentives to private paid-for care out of the system. Oh, and make that six things:

  1. Don’t go back to PFI. Labour did a lot of good for the NHS, but we made mistakes too, and we should learn from mistakes.  The Labour promise in 2015 should be to be better than the Tories and LibDems, and better than we were last time.

The answer to reckless privatisation is intelligent socialism – by which I mean finding ways to provide decent service to people who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. If I’m the Labour candidate next time, that’s part of what I’ll be arguing for.

Over to you, Miss Soubry. You’re a Health Minister, and appear in the press denouncing over-large croissants and the deplorable size of modern cakes. For all I know you might be right about croissants. But are you willing to debate the fundamentals of your Government’s strategy in your own constituency?

Beestonia the Bargee (well LongBoatman, but that’s not alliterative)

It seems that, as with nature with vacuums, stuff abhors me having a quiet life. I lose my job, plan to take a week off to take stock and BOOF!: a stack of stuff comes toppling down on me. I don’t mind: as someone with adult-onset ADHD I’d otherwise have to adopt an addiction to extreme sports or heroin to cope.

Let me list thy reasons: I announced NHS Week on Beestonia last week and suddenly realised there is a lot to say: I’m ashamed to say I’m not that savvy on the subject as it is a complex issue, but as I seem to notice those who are pro reform seem to have vested interests; and those that are anti tend to be motivated by a desire to protect the NHS as a free service (and also tend to be hamstrung by the Hippocratic Oath, as opposed to Adam Smithisms), it’s important to call for a debate here.

Later today, I’ll be hosting an exclusive piece written by our erstwhile MP Dr Nick Palmer (written at extremely short notice, and from Hong Kong-ta!), and then a piece by Beeston Lib Dem Councillor Steve Carr. If anyone else, especially from the Conservative Party, wants to toss their hat in the ring, please send something over: as always, I only edit typos and grammatical errors.

But let’s do the serious stuff later. Today, I rose at an ungodly, pitch-black time to stroll to Beeston Rylands to meet a narrow boat and a BBC journalist. This is what happens when a throwaway tweet to a DJ gets taken up for a feature: let me rewind a wee bit.

There is an ongoing sense of miffedness in Beeston right now at the tramworks, and what they do to predictive arrival times for those commuting to Nottingham, and back again. Let me set out my stall upfront: I’m neutral on the tram itself, so please don’t send in anti/pro-tram vitriol; just like the Wilkos issue, it’s not the issue, ok? Right, let’s continue.

I’m happily unburdened with employment at the moment after my employer decided I was not cut out for my role as forelock-tugging drone, yet I used to commute, and the journey, even on the luxuriant wonder that is a Trent Barton Indigo, was a lottery where the odds of getting to town on time fluctuated wildly depending on what stretch of road was being dug up at the time. Even the journey to the bus-stop was fraught as I had to cross the Meadow Lane/Queens Road junction: chess grandmasters would be flummoxed on occasion on what new configuration of complexity the workmen had implemented that day: seldom was the morning I didn’t misjudge and nearly become significantly splodgier than before.

So what to do? My idea, tweeted into BBC Radio Nottingham, was innocent enough:

This triggered a call from the Beeb: ‘Would I like to see what this would be like?’ Why of course. Sort of at a loose end right now. And so, this morning, I’m up before six am, and had the most tremendous morning puttering down the canal in a state of relaxed sedate smiliness punctuated with bursts of terror every time a mike was put in front of me. A full report will follow in Issue 14 of The Beestonian, out early December, but until then, many many thanks to Andy Whittaker, Laura Forester and BBC Radio Nottingham for being such utterly good sports in taking another of my sporadic ideas and giving me the resources to putting them into practise.

Moving on. Have some found poetry, as discovered on a closed shop on Wollaton Road:

I best mention, as I sweated blood, err, sweat and tears over it, YES! ISSUE 13 OF THE BEESTONIAN IS OUT NOW! Unfortunately, due to our printing presses breaking down, we as yet have a limited run: so far we’ve dropped at The Crown, The Bean, Beeston Library, Belle and Jerome, Metro, The Hop Pole and The Flying Goose: get one while you can, otherwise read it online (soon) here: http://issuu.com/search?q=beestonian&si=0&ps=10&sb=visual&rp=*


Right, that’s about it until I post up further NHS stuff later: I also have a rather upsetting follow-up to a previous story that I’ve reported, once verified, as always, you’ll read it here first.


Beeston the Bargee

Little diversion from normal content, but right now it’s 7am and I’ve already made it to the Marina, for the latest chapter in my weird life as Lord of this esteemed town.

I’m sitting as I type with the BBC and the barge owner, Bob, as we plan to cast off…udpates later

Beestonia: NHS Week.

One of the stranger arguments I noticed while following the No More Page Three team was the one that suggested that somehow there were more important issues to get het-up about; the destruction of the NHS, for instance, thus there campaign was invalid. This is a very odd argument, as to take it to it’s logical conclusion we would all have to be utter polarised idealogues fighting for one entrenched position on a macro level as all others would be invalidated by their triviality. It’s a bogus, self-important stance and one that leads to the dull hectoring of militants on either wing. It’s a form of ideological fascism, where the will must triumph over all else.

The second fallacy of this argument is that they are not exclusive. You can care about both. You can care about neither. You can care about one but not the other. That’s how opinion works.

I care deeply for the NHS, and, although I wasn’t initially convinced, now see that using soft porn to shift papers is a shoddy, out-dated thing. And with that, I can segue nicely into the next part.

We’re just over halfway through the life of this government, unless it implodes soon. The Tories have less than two and half years to go to get as much policy through as possible: polls suggest that come 2015, they could be in for a rout. One of the most precarious seats is that which Soubry occupies. That’s the newly promoted Health Under-Secretary Anna Soubry.

This makes the NHS possibly the most key issue in the consituency right now. Thus, over the next week, I’ll be reporting on campaigns in the area opposed to the top-down changes; showing you some deeply worrying connections our MP has in the Private Sector, and much more. Please send me your thoughts, this is far from a simple issue and I want to encourage debate as well as outright anger. If you support the reforms, please let me know and I will guarantee publication.

Our first piece is sent from Broxtowe Save Our NHS, on their campaign launch:

The Broxtowe Save our NHS campaign was officially launched at a well attended public meeting in Broxtowe on Friday 2 November.

The meeting, attended by over 100 local people and activists, heard how the Health and Social Care
Bill would:

Increase waiting time for complex, life saving treatments
Reduce the quality of care to NHS patients as hospitals treat more private, fee paying patients
Introducing a profit motive to health care providers, driving down quality and leading to abuses like that at Winterbourne View

Nick Palmer, the former Labour MP for Broxtowe who said that, should he be returned to Parliament, he would oppose any further privatisation but not seek to undo the restructuring of the NHS allowed by the Health and Social Care Bill. Setting a standard for others to follow, he said that a future Labour Government should “end the pressure on hospital managers” to open services up
to private patients and introduce a “presumption against private providers” in the commissioning of health services.

Speaking on behalf of Unison members working in Nottingham’s hospitals, Sharon Vasselin gave the meeting an overview of the creeping privatisation of health services over the last 10 years and
sketched out a post-Bill future of increasing private ownership, increasing costs, reducing services and an ‘American’ style health system based on ability to pay.

Anne Pridmore, a disabled user of the Independent Living Fund and Disabled People Against Cuts member, talked about the proposed closure of the ILF and how that would jeopardise the
independence of thousands of disabled ILF users across the UK. Anne also talked about how the privatisation of the NHS will disproportionately affect many of the 10 million disabled people in the UK today.

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Arun Chopra, speaking in a personal capacity, described a publically owned NHS as “a statement of social solidarity” adding, “most people don’t understand the severity of the threat” of privatisation.

In summing up, meeting chair and president of Notts Trades Union Council, Liam Conway said that the campaign should build to the 2015 general election in Broxtowe becoming “a referendum on the
future of the NHS”.

The Broxtowe Save our NHS campaign will be holding an ‘alternative’ Christmas carol singing event on Beeston High Street on Saturday 8 December at 12.00 noon.


A full audio recording of the meeting is available here:

Paul Martin, Trades Council secretary










Update: No More Page 3 Campaign; guest post by Lisa Clarke

We met at 12.30pm in the Last Post not really knowing how many of us there would be. The subject matter is a difficult one and we have had some negative experiences of late when posting things on facebook walls etc. many posted letters to supermarkets who advertise in the Sun asking them to reconsider supporting the publication with their revenue and our hard earned cash and were met with a mixed response. Tesco’s page was an interesting experience. They try and police it and at times rapidly delete clearly inappropriate “Get your t***!” out type comments but strangely leave in place other offensive things such as the suggestion that the letter writer must have inadequate breasts and are therefore jealous of the page 3 girls. One man even wrote a blatantly misogynistic “This is why I hate women” which was left undeleted for several days. With this in mind you can see why, despite the number of supporters, folks are reluctant to go out there and promote this subject actively. I was therefore over the moon when there 9 of us in the pub and we were later joined by 2-3 more. Our group included a mix of men, women and young girls.

This wasn’t a demo as such; there were no banners, no chanting or singing. We simply and politely asked passers by to consider signing the petition and in the most part people were very supportive. People’s reasons for signing are as diverse as the number of signatures and the petition gives space for them to note what their feelings are. One of my favourites was a middle aged gentleman who was very keen to sign and simply wrote the word “Respect” which said so much! Others mentioned children seeing the images, exploitation, and sexism and girls body image. Many simply wrote “I am a woman”. It was great to see the positive responses and the discussions it provoked. With many saying, “Oh yes! I definitely sign that” and “About time too”. There were of course a few Page 3 fans and the one particular man who made it clear he would be keen to see two of our demonstrators in there as models?! Importantly though we came across a group of local female students who have been independently going into local newsagents and asking them to put The Sun newspaper on the top shelf. They knew nothing of the No More Page 3 Campaign and now they do. And that is the biggest hope from yesterday and from the interview I have done on Radio Nottingham this morning and the discussion it has provoked. That the message will spread, that people will sign, tell their friends and discuss this issue and it’s bigger implications far and wide. That is why we gave up our time and why we will do it again.

The anniversary of Page 3 is on Saturday 17th November and if we have enough interest we would love to do a bigger demonstration that day either in Beeston or possibly in Nottingham. Interested? Get in touch.