Guaranteed 100% Royal Baby Mentioned.

Oh my. How weird life works.

Earlier this way I wrote a piece about general things with a title that promised no royal baby mention. I’m a sort of republican; as in I don’t like the fact that we are subjects, not citizens; it’s a perpetuation of the class system, etc. Though I think it’s a diversionary argument in many ways. True power lies in the ever-swelling plutocracy, the true enemy. Etc, etc.

Even had an argument about it earlier. ‘It’s great for tourism!’ they demanded ‘Paris gets more tourists than London’ I responded, and went on to explain the tired joke I have as ready for such situations that involves improving the tourist take in the UK  that involves guillotines and baskets.

So of course, life conspires to bite my arse. My genius Assistant Editor / designer on The Beestonian, Tamar Feast, sent me a message on Tuesday night reckoning that the new Royal Baby (I’m using caps here, not sure why) that the shawl she was wrapped in was one made by Hurts, the tiny shawl factory that abuts Barton House on Chilwell Road.

I was cautious, checking with other journos who told me that they’d made suppositions as such, but been told right bark, wrong tree. Tamar, however, kept robust despite my caution. And she was right. It was a shawl from Hurts. Blimey. We really are the centre of the universe.

And if she doesn’t mind, I’m going to wallow in the glory she has on scooping te ENTIRE WORLD on this one. Ta, TF!


Guaranteed 100% Royal-Baby Free.

After all the excitement of last week – not only did Hollywood descend on Chilwell but my partner got her PhD so now refuses to be called ‘Lady Beestonia; ‘I have a REAL title now’ she explained –  it’s back to routine Beestonia.

I’m joking of course; there is no such thing as routine Beestonia. Living in the hub of the universe, as we do, life is never quiet. Thus, a few things to get through rather than a rambling single piece. Where to start? I’m still star struck, so let’s talk film.

Beeston Film Club 4: I return to running the Beestonian Film Club @ Cafe Roya tonight, and we have a corker of a show. We have a horror theme, and as such will be serving up the bloodiest bloody marys known to man. We also have some great shorts to play beforehand, and they’ll be popcorn, lollies and veggie hotdogs to buy. We’ve also done some experimenting with the air con and should avoid the heat of previous nights. If you’d like to come along, drop me a message at to prebook, or turn up after 7pm at Cafe Roya to be admitted on a first come, first served basis. See you there!

Don’t Push Me, Cos I’m Close To The Hedge: My latest article for The Nottingham Post was published on Friday, and could be read here. And before you write in, I do know it’s Full Metal Jacket.

Oxjam Line-up: Along with the other Oxjam coordinators, I spent  yesterday listening to the 50+ acts who have volunteered for this October’s Oxjam: and was mightily impressed with the high quality of volunteers. After a huge amount of debate, barbecued food and post-it notes we’ve finally got a programme sorted. Keep your eyes peeled in Mid -August for when we officially announce it.

Soubz vs Bone: It’s another of those rare times I feel a shred of sympathy for our Right Honourable Member. The Government’s u-turn on cigarette plain-packaging is painful to Anna: she was very keen to see the necessary legislation to pass, but alas. This has led the right-wing, led by noxious homophobe Peter Bone MP bleating ‘if she thought this (the u-turn) was wrong, she would resign.

It reminds me of when Batshit Mad Mel Philips wrote one of her utterly crazy-in-the-coconut pieces laying into Soubz . It brings into focus that although Soubz is a nightmare at best -watching her backing up Jeremy ‘Cough’ Hunt at the Keogh inquiry statement was cringeworthy and hatefully cynical – but every now and then one is forced to realise that there is a lot worse out there. The far-right in this country, be it on the westminster benches or the columns of the shittier newspapers, hate Soubz and her perceived moderation. Perhaps if the party drifts further towards swivel-eyed loon territory, Soubz could do the noble thing and cross the floor (well, shuffle up the benches a bit) to the Lib Dems. I’m sure our local Lib Dems would be willing to accommodate her.

Labour PPC News: It seems that the local Labour party have shortlisted their candidates for PPC, and after a series of hustings and votes, we’ll know who will be standing . I’ve been posting articles in support of various candidates, and recently received one from Atul Joshi, but haven’t had a chance to put it up, apologies for that. Usual rules: opinions of the guest writer may not necessarily mine; I don’t endorse a candidate as I’m not a member of the Labour Party; etc. over to Atul:


At a time when voters accuse career politicians of self-interest and lacking in real world experience, I will deliver credibility in straight talking language that Broxtowe voters understand. Given Broxtowe’s marginal voting history, we need to ensure that we regain the seat, not just for the next election term, but for the long-term with an MP that will be seen on the local streets for years to come. Broxtowe needs a straightforward, reliable and sincere MP at Westminster who will represent the views of their constituents instead of just toeing the Party line. Broxtowe needs an MP who is dynamic and can fundraise for the Party – we cannot forget that Anna Soubry received Lord Ashcroft’s funding last time and there is a strong possibility of more funding. My commercial experience will help to promote economic regeneration in Broxtowe. We need more investment; more businesses need to move their operations into Broxtowe and more small businesses are needed to enhance our high streets.


Coming from a family which has left-wing beliefs, socialism has been instilled in me from an early age. My mother and father have both worked in the public sector most of their lives. My father has been the Inland Revenue Staff Federation Chairman. In 2001 I moved my business to Beeston, investing and creating many jobs. As a local employer, I understand the wants, needs and daily sacrifices of Broxtowe families. Having stood for council twice in Broxtowe, I have devoted years to campaigning in each and every area of the constituency. Being a local resident, born and brought up in Nottingham, I will be spending every week campaigning on the streets of Broxtowe – it will be a tough campaign but I am ready for the challenge. Atul Joshi.


Beestonia and Beckinsale. And Walliams. And Michael BLOODY Sheen. And a famous director…

I tell you. Bloody typical. You spend ages waiting for a celebrity to visit Chilwell Road, and then LOADS of them arrive all at once.


It’s the hottest day of the year, and at 1pm, not far off the hottest time of day on the hottest day of the year. I’m running. Not in shorts and other running gear, no, I’m laden down by my notepad-stuffed manbag, full length trews, a proper shirt and brogues. My face has gone a shade of beetroot. Late.

I get to College House. There’s a huge crowd, but I get through to the security barrier: ‘I’m late, dead late’ I tell the bouncer ‘Please send a message in to Alan, or anyone on the Blue Plaque committee, please, they’re expecting me’. A sceptical eyebrow is raised, and they go inside to check my story. I pant and wring out my sweat-sodden hair.

‘You’re on the list. Come on in’ and i’m whisked into Hollywood Babylon. On Chilwell Road.

Bit of back story. In Issue 19 of The Beestonian, Christian Fox and I wrote a little piece about Richard Beckinsale, pronouncing him one of our illustrious Bestonians. At the end, I mentioned we might be seeing a blue plaque in his honour. End of story, so I thought.

I bump into local author, Alan Dance, in The Crown, last Thursday. I’ve become friends of Alan of late after reading his novel, Narrow Marsh, and commissioning an article from him for the Beestonian. Think I know a fair bit about Beeston? Alan has forgot more than I’ll ever know. He’s an authority, a wonderful source of info. He’s Beestopedia. The Encyclopedia Beestonia. And a great bloke to have a pint with.

He asks me to swear secrecy, then tells me that Hollywood superstar Kate Beckinsale has agreed to unveil a blue plaque in honour of her late father, the brilliant aforementioned Richard. I get an invite, and promise to get along. Which I do, but due to an email screw-up on my behalf only find out where and when it is at the last moment. Hence the unenviable sight of a flustered, sweaty overdressed local journo hyperventilating up Meadow Lane at 1pm.

I arrive, almost kiss Alan with relief, then hit the (non-alcoholic) bar to get rehydrated. As I wait for my iced Schloer, a familar figure stands in a beautiful white suit beside me. ‘Hi’ I say, and I’m about to ask ‘What brings you here?’ when I realise I’m next to Michael Sheen, possibly Britain’s most interesting and versatile actor, who has pulled off uncanny portrayals of Tony Blair,  Brian Clough, and many, many more. I’ve long worshipped him. One of my greatest regrets is turning down extra work on The Damned United cos I couldn’t be arsed to trek to Derby where it was being filmed.

michael sheen 1

Despite the nineteen gallons of Schloer (it’s great! like wine, but you stay upright!) I’ve knocked back, my mouth goes dry. We have a brief chat, and I note he’s in brogues. I congratulate him on this, and he gamely allows a photo:

sheen beestonia brogues

I then mention The Beestonian, and show him a copy. ‘I’ll take one for the train’ he tells me. Later, I catch up with him again and get this shot:

Michael Sheen Beestonian

I’m just filling up on complimentary samosas and satay when I turn to see David Walliams leaning over behind me. I assume I’m still sunstricken, so put this down to a hallucination. He then makes that ‘WoooerrrrrRRRRR!’ noise he does, and I relaise that after just talking to the bloke who portrayed Kenneth Williams in the excellent Fantabulosa, the modern day version of that wonderful purveyor of Polari is behind me. With Kate Beckinsale. ‘The mango chutneys lovely’ I tell them, to grateful nods, though they don’t take up my recommendation, yet Walliams sets about the Schloer like a man possessed.

walliams beckinsale drinking

He even poses for a pic with me, doing my best impression of a sweaty Pac-Man:

walliams and me

Then we’re out to a crowd of flashlights and cameras, to unveil the plaque. The College House Harmonies choir, a group of tiny kids with absurdly talented voices, sing a song that makes Judy Loe, Richard Beckinsale’s widow and Kate’s mum, cry. Even I confess to being a bit wet round the eyes, though as I don’t have eyebrows and it was baking hot, that’s more to do with my particular physiognomy. Still, very beautiful.

Speeches follow, from Kate (who has dashed back especially from filming in Bulgaria to be here) , Judy Loe, Broxtowe’s Mayor Iris White, and friends of Richard. It’s utterly lovely, a really great tribute. Richard Beckinsale always came across as a genuinely lovely man, through Alan in Rising Damp, or Godber in Porridge, and I think that wasn’t far from his real self. An old school friend explains ‘He got a report from school saying ‘Richard will never succeed if he continually strives to try and entertain people’. He proved them wrong there’.

kate b judy loe plaque

Kate goes off to do a load of press stuff, so I chat to the bloke next to me. He’s immaculately attired, with a disarming charming American accent ‘I’m Kate’s husband’ he tells me ‘oh yes!’ I reply, and wrack my brains. He is some sort of movie mogul, I remember that, so I tell him ‘Real Hollywood weather in Beeston today, isn’t it?’ . To my great relief, he laughs ‘Yeah, but more stars per square yard’. I laugh back. Awkward silence. ‘So. Business good?’ I ask. ”Always good, but good to take a break’ he replies. I nod in agreement, inappropriately ‘C’mon,  throw me a bone here. What do moguls do? How do you mogul? You look rich, obviously mogulling pays well.’I ask none of these questions, instead saying ‘I’m a local magazine editor. Can you hold this and smile?’ He obliges:

Len Wiseman

When I get home I google him. He is Len Wiseman, director of one of the Die Hard film Live Free or Die Hard and the Total Recall remake, with Colin Farrell replacing Arnie. Bizarrely, due to heat-induced insomnia, I sat up last night and re-read the story by Philip K Dick that the film is based on. Utterly coincidentally. PKD would have been proud.

A great day, and a fitting memorial to the much missed Beckinsale. The kids loved Walliams, surrounding him when they got the chance. Judy Loe was charming, and gave me a hug when I gave her a copy of the Beestonian , as did his best friend from school. I met some great people – Beestonians, not Hollywood types. Members of the Blue Plaque committee, members of the Civic Society and the History Society, particularly Alan Dance, Dr Peter Robinson and the lovely old lady who, when I asked her name after she told me she was an avid reader ‘Cameron, my dear, I’m afraid. Though I swear no connection in anything but name’.

First, the Carnival. Then this. Immensely overjoyed to be a Beestonian right now.

richard beckinsale


Carnival: Schorchio! / The Most Fashionable Thing To Come Out Of Beeston Since Sir Paul Smith / Soubs Can Seriously Damage Your Health Service / BeeFree Beeston.

Beeston carnival has come and gone, and what a day. The evening before, I helped set up a large tent  in Broadgate Park (which was made unbearable to my fellow tent-builders as I made relentless ‘Marquee Smith’ jokes. But that’s British People in Hot Weather for you).

The morning itself , we squelched across the tacky melting tarmac that pools like uncooked black treacle flapjacks along Chilwell High Road, the temperature already in the high thirties. I remember walking this way en route to March’s Street Party. It snowed then. I pop into the printers to pick up some mags and t-shirts (more of which later) and finally collapsed into the relative cool of our shady Oxjam /The Beestonian gazebo. Broadgate Park was packed already, and in the best mood I’ve ever seen the carnival. Hottest day of year (so far) and the carnival is on. Too fantastic.

We had a great day meeting people, signing up people for Oxjam, chatting about the mag (and being presented with a couple of excellent submissions: thanks so much!), drinking loads of Capri Sun and even a bout of ad-hoc stewarding. The day passed in a drowsy heat shimmer, excellent music by the ever excellent Emma Bladon Jones and others; loads of kids in  our Oxjam marquee joining in the music workshop: huge thanks to all who helped with that, particularly local music heroes Steve Benford and Ian Beestin.

Pack down at five pm, slow walk to The Crown and then lashings of ale – nowt like a diuretic after a day dehydrated – and some utterly gorgeous Malaysian food. A fine day, Beeston shone. Nice one, Beeston.


As I mentioned before, we now have an official The Beestonian t-shirt: and it’s great. Available in any colour as long as it’s white, it has front and back prints designed by our top-notch illustrator and general feline fan, Lottie. Here’s a gimpy looking guy modelling one:

the beestonian t-shirt

They are available now for just £7.50 a pop, or £10 if you want it posting to you. All profits are plowed back into the magazine, which needs as much money as possible since we’re expanding rapidly right now (12 pages!). Drop an email to me at for one. Or two. Or 20. 20 would be good. Available in medium and large, though we’re planning other sizes soon.


Soubz on the front bench today, in full of snarly mood as Jeremy ‘Cough’ Hunt tried to – brace your sides, clear the aisles – tried to show the Tories as the true defenders of the NHS. A nasty sight, and as it looks like Hunt lied in the run up to the recent hospital trust report, and has infuriated the report’s author, Keogh, with leaking and scaremongering, he could soon be in a very tricky position.

If he goes, could Soubz step in? It’s not a mad thought. It is, however, a scary one.

Much has been made recently about Soubz and her cronies u-turn on cigarette packaging, and the Lynton Crosby conflict of interest. What hasn’t been discussed so much is Anna’s own conflict of interest. Her political mentor/ hero Ken Clarke who plays on the whole cuddly, jazz-loving, Hush Puppy-sporting image to deflect from what he really is: a mouthpiece and spinner for Big Tobacco; a flogger of fags to kids in third-world country. He formally left British American Tobacco in 2008, yet is it likely he applied his considerable political bulk upon Soubz to kick the idea away? Back it goes on the Soubz back-burner, along with the Eric Pickles decision on Field Farm, which is still stuck in Limbo three months on.


We recently reported on Soubz and badgers: she is pro-cull so we amended the Broxtowe coat of arms as such:

badger3We apologise for the lack of thoroughness in the image, however. As the Tories refuse to listen to reason, and 30+ peer-reviewed intensive studies implicating the use of neonicotinoids in the rapid decline in bee populations, DEFRA under the stewardship of MP Owen Paterson is doing everything it can to ignore an EU wide ban and keep using them. Then, as with so many things, pretending it isn’t anything to do with protecting the  profits of big business.

As such, the new crest:

badger4Expect new legislation banning bears to be announced soon.


Hurrah for High Summer! We have a heatwave underway, a British Wimbledon winner, the Ashes down the road at Trent Bridge and tomorrow is the wonderful Beeston Carnival. Even better, The Beestonian and Oxjam are joining forces to bring you a stall, some music and some surprises. You lucky, lucky people.

Over to Heather, Oxjam Beeston head-honcho:

Oxjam Beeston have teamed up with the national project ‘Our Big Gig’ and local charity Mindset to support the institution that is the Beeston Carnival. On Saturday 13th July there will be a wealth of entertainment in Beeston showcasing lots and lots of local talent.
There’ll be some cracking music in Broadgate Park from 1.30pm, including Samzee, The Meerkats, Emma Bladen Jones, Difference Being and Calm Man Band, 
Excitingly there will also be an OxJam Music Workshop in the lower field at Broadgate  – its a real chance to have a go at making music with local celebrity musicians!!! They’re targeted at kids or adults and will take place at 1pm, 2pm or 3pm. Musicians also welcome to join the Jam session – it will be a blast!
We’ll also have an Oxjam / Beestonian stall so come and say hello!!!
Full programme can be found here:


Come a long and sign up to volunteer for the main event / fundraisers, throw a few coins into our bucket and enjot the music: poor Emma Bladon Jones will be playing FOUR gigs that day (she’ll be down the Crown in the evening) and as Beeston’s hottest new talent (with Joe Barber, who shes actually collaberating with right now) you’ll thank me for reminding you to see her.

We’ll also be selling the utterly exclusive The Beestonian t-shirts; these are strictly limited edition, with a great design from our perennial illustrator, Lottie (Queen of all things feline). Printed both back and front, they’ll be the most fashionable thing to come out of Beeston since Sir Paul Smith set up shop.

Want one? Preorder on our Facebook page, and we’ll do our best to ensure you get one. They are a snip at £7.50. Unable to make it? We’ll send one over for a tenner (to cover P+P). Overseas? Drop me a line at and we’ll sort something out for you.

Right, I’m off to erect a marquee in the searing heat: look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Parachutin’ Soubz / Level Playing Field / Soubz and the Masters of the Dark Arts.

The hypocrisy, the sheer hypocrisy. Soubz 2015  party machine is in full flow now, and she’s decided to go on the offensive.

Her last newsletter – y’know, that newsletter that she kicked my name (and other dissenters) off the distribution list before it started to become a story and she swiftly reinstated us – claims the following:

My party doesn’t engage in parachuting in candidates

Strange that, as the official OED definition of this context of ‘parachute’ is

2.appoint or be appointed in an emergency or from outside the existing hierarchy: [with object]:the former Conservative minister was controversially parachuted into the safe seat

But y’know, that’s because the OED is ran by a secret leftist cabal comprising Dr Johnson, Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth*, if one applies Soubzlogic.

So Soubz was not parachuted? Erm, yes she was. She initially, in 2005, contested Gedling. Beaten by Vernon Coker, she appealed to Conservative HQ for another crack as an a-listed candidate. They decided to give her another chance: and in she drifted. She will point out she is ‘a Nottinghamshire lass’; growing up in the more rural parts of the county. Yet Broxtowe was never her first choice, and her laughable assurance that ‘she is committed to the people of Broxtowe’ rings very hollow when she still lives outside the Borough, three and a half years after promising to move here.

Quite coincidentally, for the first time in her tenure as MP, she is now claiming she has found a place in Giltbrook she might move to. This announcement comes at the same time as her announcement shes staying to fight 2015. Strange that. Watch her move there in the next few months and then stand on a ‘I live in the Borough, me’ ticket. Shameless, cynical.

Anna. You WERE parachuted. There were candidates in Broxtowe who live here, have served as councillors and would have quite like to have done so as an MP. Sadly, you stopped that happening by standing after your Gedling upset. You were not, are not, and never will be a Broxtownian. You are a Westminsterite. A careerist, nothing more, nothing less. May I also suggest that you just rent that Giltbrook place? Keep your options open….


I have a copy of an email sent to Anna below from Simon Cross, challenging Anna to fight the 2015 on a level playing field, and not accept funding from tax-avoiders such as Lord Ashcroft. The Tories are attacking Labour’s links to the unions: y’know, the people who set up the Labour Party, while accepting money from corporate interests, tax-dodgers and a whole wealth of scummy types. I’d prefer to see a party funded by millions of nurses, firefighters and cleaners than one funded by CEOs of companies with vested corporate interests. Over to Simon:

Dear Anna,

it’s a bit rich to complain about the Labour Party ‘stuffing selection meetings with union paymasters’, which is patently incorrect. Perhaps you might like to inform your email list about where your Broxtowe 2015 election campaign money is coming from?

Prior to the last General Election a report in the Independent newspaper (27 February 2010) identifies the notorious Lord Ashcroft as the bankroll for Conservative candidates especially in marginal seats. The report also notes the following:

“Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs in marginal constituencies have been increasingly alarmed by the amount of money the Conservatives are lavishing on winning these crucial contests that could decide who governs Britain for the next five years. That money is being directed into local Tory associations by a small unit based in Conservative Central Office, headed by a billionaire Tory peer who is notoriously shy about declaring whether or not he pay taxes in the UK.”

Can you confirm that your Broxtowe campaign money is being bankrolled by a fat-cat financier who on his web site says “His heart is in Belize” since this is where he resides for tax avoidance purposes. Your (purported) complaints about trade union paymasters are disingenuous to say the least.

Can you confirm if Lord Ashcroft or some other fat-cat tax avoider will be funding your election campaign in Broxtowe? There is a public interest in knowing this information. How much money will you be spending on your campaign and from when will your spending begin?

Why not declare that you will fight the next election on an agreed amount of money with your Labour challenger. We Brits pride ourselves on the notion of a fair fight and I’m sure all your constituents will rally to the idea that you will guarantee to spend no more than any other sensible candidate.

I shall try to place a version of this email on the Beestonia blog and I look forward to a reply.

Simon Cross, Beeston.


Who does fund Soubry, then? Who else slips her cash?


People such as the chap above. His name is David Wilson.


She is estimated to have received just shy of £100,000 in private donations since 2007. One of these, gifting Anna £2,000 in the run-up to the 2010 election is a chap called David Wilson. Not the housebuilder, but the Joint Managing Director of nasty PR company Bell Pottinger. This is a firm that were secretly filmed boasting that they could boost the reputation of oppressive regimes such as Uzbekistan (a brutal dictatorship responsible for killings, human rights violations and child labour) and Sri Lanka (whose massacre of the Tamils has caused widespread alarm and described as a ‘hidden genocide’), as well as boasting of getting direct access to (Former Number 10 spinner) Steve Hilton, Cameron, Osborne and many others.

David Wilson also claimed he could set up ‘third party blogs that appeared independent, seeded with keywords that would push them up Google rankings, as well as many other ‘dark arts’.

Have a peek here:

Of course, I’m sure the donation (and similar ones to other East Midlands MPs) is entirely above board and merely a philanthropic gesture with no strings attached and no expectations behind it. Yet I’d rather know a politician was funded by a roadsweeper, a teacher, a police constable than odious pricks like Mr Wilson.







*oddly, Gyles claims he  is a direct descendant of Jeremiah Brandreth, aka ‘The Nottingham Captain’ and one of the instigators of The Pentrach Rising of 1817. The rebellious gene has not made it down to Gyles though, who is a persistant yet not deadly annoyance: the human embodiment of gout.

Labour’s PPC: The battle warms up / Guest Post by Cllr. Steve Barber: In Support of Nick Palmer.

The battle for PPC heats up. A look over at stalking horse Nick McDonald’s endorsments make interesting reading.  No surprises with Milan Radulovic, who still bears a grudge against Palmer; or Head of the City Council Jon Collins, presently a colleague of NM. Nttm East MP Chris Leslie also endorses: again, city connections. Cllr. Andy Cooper, Kimberley, is a surprise. though I think his endorsement would have gone to Greg Marshall if he’d known he was standing.

 Palmer also has an impressive roster: Paddy Tipping; Richard Lea (secretary of Broxtowe UNISON); Cllr. Janet and David Patrick (the Patricks being very central to Beeston Labour; their home is effectively Palmer’s boarding house duting campaign forays), County Cllr. Kate Foale; Cllr. Richard Robinson; Cllr. Steve Barber – more on him later- and many grass-roots activists ont he local Labour scene.

Greg Marshall is impressing, picking up votes from those pleased with his anti-academy work, and his long-term opposition to the cuts. He’s definately swinging the argument to the left, which is no bad thing when Labour in Westminster presently seem so supine to Osbornomics. I met with Andy Cooper yesterday who told me ‘We just need a good battle. It’s healthy’. Palmer agrees, telling me ‘It’s like the American Primaries: it’s good for sharpening our message’.

Indeed. Palmer is still the strongest candidate, but, as in the 2010 Labour Leadership election, these things are far from certain.

Other candidates will hopefully soon be laying out their cases here. Atul Joshi is running what looks like an energetic campaign, and has promised a piece, so will host once recieved.

In the meantime, Steve Barber has wrote the following in support of Palmer’s reelection:

I have worked for MPs for over 8 years and it’s true to say that I have never known the job to be as stressful as it is now. This is entirely due to the misery caused by poverty, lack of opportunities and the constant wearing down of the poor and northern working class by a London based government run by clueless public schoolboys. In the 5 years I worked for Nick I recall two constituents who felt so hopeless they considered ending it all; now I get two suicide threats each week and sooner or later one of them is sadly going to carry it out; I dread that happening.


I’ll be frank now – it’s up to you to stop this. We must replace the Westminster Government in 22 months’ time. Broxtowe is a super marginal and Labour must win it. We are now at the selection stage when we decide who, with our support, will win or lose it. My experience tells me that only one person can be confident of winning it; Nick Palmer. He has campaigned and built up a huge amount of respect, not to mention his 6,000+ email list over the last 20 years. He comes with a package of thousands of votes which simply will not transfer to anyone else To expect another candidate to be able to gain the respect he has justifiably won over 20 years in just over 20 months is to a great deal. Why should we risk it?


Sorry to be so blunt but how would we all feel if in May 2015 our candidate didn’t get Broxtowe and the nation had to contend with another 5 years of this dreadful government? Being super-marginal and a history of being safe Tory we do not have the luxury of playing it any other way playing to win.


And if you’re reading this and care about what’s happening but don’t think of yourself as a party person, isn’t it time to join Labour and help in the coming 22 months to get the change we so desperately need? We don’t agree about everything and you don’t need to either – but isn’t it the side you’d rather be on? See !


Marshalling The Opposition: Guest Post by Simon Cross.

We now know Soubz is the Tory choice for 2015, but what about the other parties? The Lib Dems tell me they are not selecting until 2014, but it won’t be Watts, who has decided to put his aspirations on hold after failing to stand as PPC in Chesterfield. His campaign video is viewable here. Former Labour activist Sarah Brown, perhaps? Certanly be a fitting gift for her floor crossing.

Labour’s selection is underway, and as mentioned before, is a sensitive subject. I still feel it’s going to be Palmer, though I’ve received some messages telling me how misguided that assumption is, assuring me it’s a lot closer than expected. Thus, I’m giving all candidates an opportunity to present their case here.

The first is from Simon Cross, on behalf of Greg Marshall. If the other candidates want to send me their pieces in, I’ll get them hosted. I must state I do not personally endorse ANY candidate, and as I’m not a member of Labour, or any political party, it would be wrong for me to state a preference. I merely want to provide a forum. Over to Simon Cross:

Marshall(ing) the Opposition to Palmer


When Nick Palmer lost his seat by just shy of 400 votes in the 2010 General it was a fair bet we expected him to return and face Soubry in 2015. He underlined his determination by taking out adverts in the Beeston Express to encourage locals to join the party and support him in this endeavour. But it hasn’t worked out quite like he had hoped as the Labour Party now embarks on its process to select a parliamentary candidate to contest Broxtowe.


Nick’s loyalty to the Blair leadership (don’t mention the war or his soon to be godfather role in the Murdoch dynasty) over 13 years is well documented and has rendered this otherwise thoroughly decent chap vulnerable to a challenge for his right to return as his party’s standard-bearer. Constituents have long memories and those who feel betrayed and let down by the now discredited New Labour model are seeking a more credible candidate whose actions and campaigns speak as loud as their rhetoric … the race to be anointed Broxtowe’s Labour candidate has become less predictable.


So who could become the main challenger? Enter (stage left) Beeston born and bred left wing Councillor Greg Marshall, a politician never known to duck a challenge and who perhaps unusually – given his strong campaigning political proclivities- speaks fluent common sense. The good Alderman Marshall, of Beeston West parish and a governor at his alma mater Chilwell Comp, is the son of the ex-union convenor at Plessey works. He is also standing on a platform in clear opposition to the drift and malaise that characterizes much political debate – especially in how the economic crisis should be tackled.


Cllr Marshall’s distinctive espousal of an anti-austerity message and searing critique of NHS ‘reform’/butchery (i.e. privatization), academisation of schools and attacks on the welfare state has provided clear red water between him and his principal rival Nick Palmer who started off as the frontrunner. It has shaken up what at first seemed a predictable contest that also draws in parachutists from West Bridgford, Bulwell and even the Wirral. With Cllr Marchall’s hat now in the ring Labour politics in Broxtowe has become truly local and seriously interesting. As they say, watch this space …


Simon Cross 29 June 2013

Soubry vs. Palmer: Round Two?

I was going to post up a guest piece today regarding Labour’s selection for PPC, but news broke earlier that means it’ll have to wait. Soz, Simon.

Soubz has announced that she WILL stand in the 2015 election. This is a huge game changer, and will make the next few months hugely interesting, much more so than if they’d parachuted in some A-lister former wonk who’d never stepped outside Milbank, let alone London.

So will it be a straight rematch of 2010? Well, that’s a delicate question. Most people I’ve talked to about this seem to think Labour would be mad not to stand Palmer; he carries a great deal of votes that transcend tribalism. His one-nation inclusivity casework and ability to engage even when constituents diametrically opposed his various stances when in power pushes Soubry’s exclusivity (see Beestonia passim, I’ve not got space to list it all) into a harsh light, not to mention her priggish claim that she got into politics to ‘fight lefties’. Hardly a centralist, floating-voter wooing statement.

The most likely candidate to scupper Palmer is Nick McDonald. Supported by Broxtowe Council head-honcho Milan Radulovic, he’s a city councillor with a lot of clout in regional Labour. He’s secured UNISON’s backing despite regional branches seeming to prefer Palmer: Such an endorsement should not be taken with a pinch of salt.

Yet I feel he’s a non-runner with the electorate, too pro, too Jon Collins, too..well, careerist. I’ve not chatted to him yet, but from what (meagre) research I’ve done I can’t identify the charismatic spark with which he’ll hope to ignite the fire in every voters belly. I’m more than willing for McDonald or his supporters to prove me wrong; but if he gets elected by the local branches; or through an NEC over-rule, Labour could be taking a blunderbuss to their tootsies.

Atol Joshi and Greg Marshall could also cause some waves, more on both in future posts, as they need closer examination before I make sweeping predictions and assumptions. They’re both very keen to present their respective cases however, so I doubt I’ll need to apply tooth comb investigative journalism to get an idea of their positions.

On a more glib level, their is a starry attraction to the thought of a Soubz/ Palmer rematch. It lends a narrative to the campaign; in the same way rematches do in sport. For a blogger whose first campaign coverage was the 2010 GE, it’s manna from heaven.

I’m not a Labour member, I best stress that, so to endorse one candidate over another would be disingenuous. It would also be awkward, as in that over the years I’ve written on local politicians I’ve come to know, and on various levels, actually like, right across the political spectrum. (Well, not right across the spectrum: if a BNP idiot proffered his or her hand to shake I’d only respond if I said hand had spent some quality time between my buttocks beforehand).

Yet I will say that I expect; and will be mildly excited, to spend the next 22 months covering, the re-run of 2010. Palmer vs. Soubz, 2015? It’s the Big Daddy/ Giant Haystacks bout for us political nerds.

Cakey Heaven / Tram Hell

First: a huge thank to all who came to the Beeston Bake-Off as competitiors, volunteers or just fans of cake. We had a great day, witnessed some fantastic bake skillz and raised just shy of £500. Thanks also to the Red Arrows who flew over our opening ceremony precisely at the moment Deputy Mayor Stan Heptinstall cut the ribbon and pronounced the Bake-Off open. I can’t remember booking them, but thanks anyway.


News in from TramLand, formally Chilwell Road, that the works are several weeks behind, and that fumes kicked up by machinery has forced businesses to close. Not good news at all: and as such Simon Barton of Barton’s has lost faith the tram liaision group and penned us this statement:

If we have so far seen the best that can be done by all influential parties to enable the High Road Chilwell/Chilwell Road area to function satisfactorily until the reopening of the road to through traffic, then the best is simply not good enough. Fair play to those currently involved and giving up their time and energy, but to me things seem bad and getting worse, rather than adequate and getting better.

Local people and businesses have so far shown enormous tolerance. But the tolerance so far was achieved by the claims that genuine and meaningful support would be shown to existing residents and businesses by the tram promotors and constructors in return.

We have seen among other things, genuinely pretty branding of our existing Chilwell ‘village’ type community, satisfactory levels of parking to replace the lost ‘on street’ spaces, and a little white empty bus too (a bit like an ambulance I think when I see it, which may be appropriate). But in truth we are not seeing nearly enough people.

Having attended the Tram Liaison group meetings at Broxtowe Borough Council so far, I know of no radical plan that is being discussed beyond persisting with current measures to stop the dramatic decline in visitors (and therefore revenue for businesses) that I detect now coming to the area.

In the absence of a radical plan, if one simply extrapolates from how things were before road closure until now, and multiply the period by 4 (we are a quarter of the way through the claimed construction period) I say the area could well already be in crisis. It is just that people may not want to admit it for making matters even worse, even quicker.

I understand that it is the case that if businesses close they will not be eligible for compensation, saving rather than costing Nottingham City Council money. I cannot believe that this is unnoticed by those with access to the purse strings for compensation.

But my point would be that 20,000 plus people in the town area, and say 500 businesses, should not be tolerating the devastation being brought down on us by what is, when all said and done, just another business, without putting our case in return. We like them have a right to be treated fairly.

I believe there is a always a radical plan available that would much improve any situation, but the chance of finding one and it becoming reality are doubled if two significant parties work toward the same aim separately , in this case I mean the tram liaison group on one hand and my Company on the other.

I’m sure that they, like me, would appreciate support for anything sensible that can be come up with in the future from this hopefully low point on our trajectory back to the sort of community we want to live and work in.

In my mind everyone needs to be looking and demanding that from say October, when the construction work moves to the Chilwell end of the road, that things are ready to propel us forward positively and differently from that date.