Parent Hood / Temple News.

Great news in The Nottingham Post on Saturday:

Tim and Sally are a lovely couple, and I’ve been very lucky to have got to know them well over the last few months. Tim has been a key player in getting the Beestonian Film Club up and running, as well as penning (quilling?) a column for The Beestonian, Bow Selector.

After the Post put the story on the front cover, they’ve been deluged with phone calls from national publications, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went international too. It’s silly season in the press right now, so a story as good as this is perfect. Tim, Sally, that little foetus swimming around is possibly going to be this year’s Essex Lion.

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A visit to the Hindu Temple on Friday. Regular readers might both remember the story from early last year, where after some pretty bigoted nastiness at a CAT meeting we ran a campaign from this site to send welcome cards to the Temple to say that although the bigots at the meeting shouted loud, the vast majority of Beeston, tolerant, multicultural, open-minded folk, could shout louder. Loads of you sent cards, and when the temple opened that April it was a joyous, colourful experience.

Things were indeed rosy for a while, and their windows remained unsmashed until February of this year when a side window was put through. In quick succession, two other windows were attacked. The police were handed CCTV, but this was inconclusive, and no arrests were made.

Most of the community around the temple’s location on West Crescent were incredibly positive about it’s existence. As well as being used for religious purposes, the large hall at the rear of the temple has hosted yoga sessions, South Indian dance classes and various other communit activities. The hall doesn’t charge, though a donation is always welcome. What was nce a derelict, decaying building had been transformed into a thriving community resource, and an incredibly beautiful one at that.

Yet sometimes, that isn’t enough to placate some people.

On the day the temple opened, I chatted briefly to some locals who were annoyed at the Temple’s existence. They demanded to know what gave the Temple visitors a right to park in the Temple carpark, drive down the street, or walk by their house. I asked them if they’d been in. They looked at me like they were nuns being shepherded into a brothel. They chuntered off, and once out of earshot of the pair of police who were on hand, unleashed a slew of pretty nasty racist remarks.

Complaints of the most petty nature were made to the Temple attendees over the next few months, always from a small group of people. They demanded a fence be put up to enclose the whole Temple, when the Temple organisers pointed out that Hinduism is a welcome, open religion and a fence would be against it’s principals, they complained about the Temple attendees cars creating harmful fumes. The Temple organisers offered to have their cars checked for illegal exhaust discharges, as they were pretty sure their vehicles were low-emission. This wasn’t taken up by the complainants, but they’d found a new source of angst: they could see vehicles in the Temple car park from their window. Even more heinously, a skip was visible from their window on Christmas Day, entirely ruining their festive season.

These constant complaints are tantamout to harrasment, and it doesn’t take a leap of logic to see what the onmi-limbed elephant in the room is here. If the Temple had been turned into a Salvation Army Meeting Place, a Jehovah Witness Kingdown Hall or a Quaker Friendship House I don’t think the complaints and barrage of ire would be quite the same.

Paddy Tipping, Notts Police and Crime Comissioner turned up later, and was given a tour of the place. He was effusive about the good community relations that the Temple has engendered, but was keen to discover more about the harrasment and vandalism, and if they were connected.  I admitted I was unwilling to make a certain judgement on a definate connection.

‘C’mon!’ said Paddy ‘You’re the journalist!’

‘Yes’ I replied ‘And you’re the politician. So why have you asked the journo question and I responded with a politician’s answer?’ Much mirth.

Maybe you had to be there. And if you were, you might have also been offered the fantastic food they provide to worshippers and non-Hindu visitors: incredible South Indian grub. Myself, Paddy and his lovely partner Catherine all nommed down on dhaal, spicy curry and a ghee-tastic side that so beats the last two meals I’ve had in religious places: a communian wafer at a Catholic church; and a Penguin bar served with sweet milky tea when  interviewing a vicar about the hot-topic of campanology. None contained cardoman. If I was to choose a religion on taste alone, I’d willingly eschew beef for the delights of polytheistic sub-continental worship.

The Temple is a wonderful addition to Beeston. Get down there when you can. More info here: http://www.nottinghamamman.org/

SUCCESS!!!!

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Yes, with no concession to subtlety and modesty, Soubz announces in her latest newsletter that she is the new Beeston Boudicca and is galloping towards a meeting with Jon Collins astride a steed with bladed fetlock.  Here, she will battle for a better deal with the City Council for victims of the tramworks.

Admirable, of course. Yet her positioning as the saviour of the tram demands closer examination.

Her position on the tram has had more cheap flip flops than Jonathan James.  But I don’t want to talk about the tram here. It’s tough enough talking about anything in Beeston right now: football, theology, the Norwegian leather industry, without the conversation turning into one about the bloody tram.

Anna announced this victory while absolutely failing to mention that she had refused another meeting. On confirmation that he would be her opponent in 2015, erstwhile MP  invited  incumbent MP to a public debate about the NHS.

She refused, in a rather bizarre response. I’ve printed it in full below. But the upshot is, she refused. Cos she’s too busy. Which rather makes the statement ‘I’ll be the voice of Broxtowe in Westminster rather than the voice of Westminster in Broxtowe’ a tad disingenuous.

Dwell on that for a second, then let’s move on to the next corker.

Given your commitment to positive politics (which I share), I am sure you would agree that we should encourage our supporters not to edit our respective Wikipedia entries to paint us in the worst possible light. In my case, even my photograph!

That’s a rather strong accusation. I haven’t seen any controversial changes on Anna’s Wiki page over the years, but if someone has changed stuff I’d vouch it wasn’t Palmer’s ‘supporters’ that muck around with it: she’s a public figure, people twat around with Wiki pages cos it’s OPEN TO DO JUST THAT AND IT GETS TAKEN DOWN WHEN IT IS NOTICED. If you want to look at the shitness of internet manipulation, Anna may consider the modus operandi of one of her donors, David Wilson, of PR wankers Bell Pottinger.

He boasts of setting up false promotional blogs and negative social media fake attack dogs to devalue arguments against her government’s policies.  The Tories love Bell Pottinger, and they very well might be to the party what tax-dodging Lord Ashcroft was to their 2010 campaign. Why? Well, the Tories are getting a bit old.

Not just old, but few. All political parties are haemorraghing members as politics seems intent on serving a decree absolute on the public. The Tories have been the worst hit here: there average members age is around 67, and are falling rapidly through what HR managers would describe as ‘natural wastage’. As such, they simply won’t have the legwork come the run up to 2015 to go knocking on doors, canvassing, and drumming up support. This was evident in the County elections. I only spotted one tory doing the rounds : the hyperactive Eric Kerry, who nevertheless lost his seats.

So the dark arts come into play. I’ve had my own share of this: somebody who regularly comments on anything I writ about Soubz telling me not to, someone who uses a different name and email address each time but doesn’t bother covering their IP address. Or their style of writing. Then there is Broxtowe Blue  ,the self-proclaimed ‘Home of sensible comment in Broxtowe’ , that posts once every few months and is still so slackly moderated that comments I’ve made in response to attacks on Beestonia have still yet to be put up. Slack moderation or an application of Soubzlogic?

The Tories will throw money into Broxtowe, despite Anna’s centre-right position being out of favour with the Crosbyesque UKIP triangulating dog-whistle far-right posturing presently dominating the blue corner. She’s a scalp, more so if she gets shifted up in the expected September reshuffle (Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport? I’m not the only one who thinks this might be the case: worth a tenner at a bookies. Not Ladbrokes).

So watch now as Soubz tries to soften her image, not talk too much about the particular evils her party are inviting upon the poor of this country and pretend to be a community saviour. This community, as opposed to the one she lives in.

Don’t expect engagement on subjects she doesn’t agree with. Don’t expect debate on stuff she has firmly made up her mind on. ‘Unusually free speech’ only works in one direction when it comes to Anna.

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Even when I was on my hols in Sussex a while ago, I find anti-Soubry feeling. Lady B and I meet a local couple for a drink, and as well as finding the female half of the couple is the lead singer on one of my favourite albums of all time, he reveals he worked with Soubz back in the 80’s at Lenton Lane studios. I won’t repeat the stuff he told me,  but it sounded remarkably similar to other reports on her: intransigence, a foul temper and a wrath visited upon those who hold opposing opinions. Soubzlogic predates her political and legal career, it seems.

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Some interesting rumblings from Bartons. It’s hosting  the Oxjam Celidh, and is a venue for the Takeover (cheap advance tickets available here, they’re selling fast so get yours now). That’s not all though: looks like there will be a small programme of interesting events with an amusing theme running alongside the charity events. I’m under embargo right now, but i’ll be able to tell you soon…

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The Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya is taking a break until September, where we’ll be relaunching with an enhanced idea: each night will involve a specially cooked meal to complement the film, all for one price. We’ll be kicking off with a Persian film, with gorgeous Persian food. Tickets will be available soon: if you’re interested I can get your name down early. Drop an email to thebeestonian@gmail.com and I’ll email you the moment we have all the details ready.

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The Soubz reply in full:

Congratulations on your selection as the Labour Party candidate for the 2015 General Election. It must have been difficult to wait over three years before being reselected so no doubt you are much relieved.

As you can imagine my diary is extremely busy and pressing constituency matters must take priority. Accordingly all my spare time is currently devoted to the forthcoming Public Inquiry into Broxtowe Borough Council’s Core Strategy, the forthcoming inquest into the death of John McGrath, the public consultation on HS2 and continuing problems for traders and residents affected by the tram works.

I too look forward to a fair and pleasant campaign; you will recall how you apologised to me at the 2010 count for some of your tactics during that campaign and I very much hope you will not find the same need at the 2015 count.

To that end it might be helpful if you check out my biography which has been on my web site since 2006 though it has obviously been updated and is available at http://www.annasoubry.org.uk . So for example you refer to my “personal interest in health matters” which of course is a longstanding interest given my family’s history of service within the NHS, but I wasn’t sure if you also know that I am the Minister for Public Health so have a Government role as well as a keen personal interest.

Given your commitment to positive politics (which I share), I am sure you would agree that we should encourage our supporters not to edit our respective Wikipedia entries to paint us in the worst possible light. In my case, even my photograph!

As the MP I have been able to reflect on the run up to the May 2015 election and the various hustings and “public debates”. I well recall that, however well attended, generally, very few people at any event were undecided how to vote; the overwhelming majority were activists or supporters of a particular candidate.

The next General Election is still some way off and, of course, not all the candidates have been selected, but my thoughts, at this stage, are to spend my time talking to constituents on the doorstep rather than spend it at hustings or debates speaking mainly to the already committed.

If you chose to forward this email or quote from it, I think it would be in keeping with your spirit of fairness if you include my email in full so all my comments are seen in context.

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Soubicca / Barton Returns?/ Film Clubber News

World’s Most Tardy Scoop: Palmer Vs Soubry: Official / Local Coffee Shops to Become Has-Beans?

I’ve just spent the longest time out of Beeston for years, sort of by accident. Lady Beestonia and I attended a wedding in Dover (more on that in a sec), then decided to take a few days of recuperation in her dad’s caravan in a place called Winchelsea Beach; a beautifully quiet, shingly village between Rye and Hastings.  I have a bit of a thing for the Sussex coast, twenty years ago I hitched down there en route to Brighton but got a bit lost and ended up in Pevensey, a small village near Eastbourne. Night was coming in and traffic light, so I pitched my tent in a campsite aiming to move in the morning. Yet on waking, I was so taken by the view, the stillness, the empty and dog-shit free beaches. I ended up staying a lot longer, before deciding I best get to Brighton, yet on doing so kicked myself I’d left a little bucolic utopia for the gaudy fleshpit that is Skidrow-on Sea. The journey there is a story in itself, the final leg in a car with three call-girls and their madam,but I’ll leave that for now.

Similarly, within a few hours of exploring the locale, with it’s shimmering chalk cliffs to the West and vast shingle and rock pool nature reserve to the East I was smitten, and we duly changed our train tickets at great expense and time to prolong our stay. I’m now a sort of mahogony colour, have remembered why I used to love cycling, and can now pay over £3.50 for a pint without bursting into explosive rage beforehand.

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Yet taking the finger off Beeston’s pulse is never wise. While Winchelsea Bay greatest controversy over the last 20 years was the ice cream van’s switch from soft scoopt to Mister Whippy, Beeston never stops. So I’ll try and whip through stuff you may have missed over the last ten days while I was busy eating fish and chips on Camber Sands.

Palmer V. Soubry: It’s on.

I wasn’t at the vote to decide who would be standing as the Labour PCC in 2015, as I was at the aforementioned wedding in Dover, but I did have a couple of insiders there reporting back to me. My plan was to have the result texted to me, then get it on Twitter, FB and here instantly. Unfortunately, that failed to happen.

The first issue was the fact that when in Dover, your mobile phone will assume it’s in France and accordingly switch to a French network. Then a British one, then a French one, before your phone waves a white flag and surrenders. I decide to remedy this by walking from the wedding venue to our hotel, which I have been told ha a better signal range. Unfortunately, this is up a narrow, windy cliff road that I’d earlier been advised to not walk on by a taxi driver. Buoyed by a litre of Pimms, I eschewed this advice and set off.

'Drunk, Madam? Ye, I am, but tomorrow I shall be...clutching my knee and wondering why I have a grass satin on my face'

‘Drunk, Madam? Ye, I am, but tomorrow I shall be…clutching my knee and wondering why I have a grass stain on my face’

The hill would have been hazardous if I’d been walking in proper hiking gear, sober, so doing it a bit drunk, with a load of luggage on my back, and feet shod in gripless brogues got decidedly hairy. I decided to see if a kindly driver would assist my ascent, so turned towards the oncoming traffic, stuck my thumb out, and was promptly glanced on the knee by a car, sent spiralling down the steep embankment and into a ditch, phone flown from my hand and glasses gone.

After an age I managed to recover both, but was disorientated, worried that it was now getting dark, and with my leg burning with pain. I got gradually more lost, until an hour and a half later I found the entrance to the venue and limped in. By this point, I’d forgot all about PCCs and suchlike. Sorry about that.

The upshot is this: Palmer won by a large majority, with Greg Marshall coming in second. As expected really, the other candidates, particularly Greg, were strong and serious but Nick has effectively kept in public view since 2010, consolidating his local popularity with constituents, perhaps even increasing it when put against the Soubz and her application of fingers-in-the-ears Soubzlogic (see Beestonia passim).

We now enter the final 632 days before the next election, and it should be interesting to watch. I will probably split off a sperate election blog from this one in due course: guest writers from all over the political spectrum will be invited to come on board and write commentaries and opinions.

On the subject of Soubz, some good nuggets have come my way from a variety of sources, one, incredibly, from someone I met on holiday. More in the week.

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The precinct is now a pile of rubble, and I hear Wilkos will be razed on the 15th.  Also hearing news of a new development by the station at Beeston Business Park: a hulking Costa Coffee could be setting up shop by the tracks. Just rumour right now, but seems strange when there looks like another Costa is being planned for the tram stop at the Square. Coffee shops ruthlessly swamping the market to drown out small local businesses who don’t have the collateral to compete, thus leaving the path clear for dull homogenous cafes to spring up and siphon the town’s caffeine addiction money to tax havens? Another nail in Beeston’s local retail coffin? I’m become ever more tempted to see if Winchelsea Beach needs a new Laird of the Manor…..

No local bloggers were harmed shortly after this picture was taken. Limbs intact, dignity less so.

No local bloggers were harmed shortly after this picture was taken. Limbs intact, dignity less so.

Beestonia off on hols; Guest Post by Christian Fox: Ldbrokes vs. Young Potential

I’m off on holiday tomorrow to the South Coast – please don’t break Beeston while I’m away- so a few bits to get out, followed by an article by Christian Fox about the shiteness of Ladbrokes and how they have treated the Young Potential charity shop.

Creative Beeston

First then, a new initiative in Beeston. Theres a few business networking groups in Beeston, but as far as I’m aware, nothing exclusively for creatives. Until now. The idea is to create a hub for those who work in creative industries: photographers, writers, designers and so on. I best explain that I’m part of the set-up: there is so much creative talent in Beeston right now I think it would be great to get them together. It doesn’t offically launch until next month but you can sign up now for info and to be kept up to speed: http://www.creativebeeston.co.uk/

Oxjam News

We recieved a record number of acts wanting to play Oxjam in October , so have a fantastic programme sorted for you. We’ll be offically releasing the details mid-month, so keep an eye out. Some real surprises in there for you.

Film Club at Cafe Roya

I’ll be crabbing off Camber Sands come Monday, but Tim Pollard and guest curator Chritopher Frost will be running the film club as usual. Get along there on Monday, doors open at 7pm and films start at 8, Christopher has been itching to show his choices for some time so you’re in for a real treat.

Ladbrokes vs Young Potential: Guest Post from Christian Fox.

A ViTaL Retrospective

 

In May of this year I visited a brand new charity shop opening on Beeston High Street. It was being opened by a really inspiring charity group called Young Potential which had dedicated itself to helping young people with learning disabilities to get much needed support, and to help young people with criminal convictions to gain work experience and find jobs. I was really quite taken with the charity, which I saw as being a direct response to Britain’s current economic crisis which is being used by politicians and local governments to impose ideological cuts designed specifically to alienate, disenfranchise and ultimately harm the future of our young generations and especially those already fraught with difficulties; be it disability, a criminal record, or something else.

 

That first article, which appeared in Issue 19 of the Beestonian, was one of real optimism on both my part and that of Theresa Cullen, founder of Young Potential and day-to-day runner of the charity shop that she had named ViTaL. By a lucky coincidence Theresa was able to get her hands on a donation that almost any charity shop would die for; literally thousands of pounds worth of official Olympic merchandise; clothes and equipment used by games makers and torchbearers; tons of office materials; and the very costumes that were worn for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics (I myself donned a bright frilly yellow dress for a photo that may well haunt me to my deathbed).

 

It should have been a brilliant beginning for this burgeoning charity, and the end really of my story. And they all lived happily ever after…

 

Not quite.

 

The next time I spoke to Theresa in June there had been an unwelcome development. The charity, barely months into its tenancy, was being evicted. Ladbrokes was in talks with the landlords to take over the building as soon as possible. Nothing was set, but Theresa had already been told she was out. Before a deal had even been signed with the landlord, Ladbrokes had already been given a gambling license and planning consent for that premise. It was a done deal.

 

The reason? A little thing called fixed rate betting machines. They have routinely been criticized in the press and labeled more than once ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’. Traditional fruit machines have stakes that tend to vary between one and two pounds a bet, but these machines allow punters to bet up to £100 every twenty seconds. Consider for a second the ramifications of that. It is possible to lose thousands of pounds in just a tiny amount of time.

 

A betting shop is only allowed up to 4 of these machines in any premise, so by no coincidence the number of betting shops has more than quadrupled in some parts of the country. Since 2012 the number of fixed rate betting machines in Britain has doubled from 16 thousand to more than 30 thousand and today they represent more than half of Ladbrokes’ intake.

 

Ladbrokes picked the spot they wanted, ViTal charity shop, not far from their other shop at the other end of the high street, and which just so happened to be opposite a highly frequented pub. The logic of this is as cold and calculated as that of a psychopath.

 

I spoke to Theresa and she was justifiably devastated. What had started off so well, and with such good intentions, had been stolen from her. Can you think of two more polar opposites; a charity designed to get people into work, to help the young and at risk; and a betting shop, whose sole ambition is profit, no better than a leech sucking on an artery.

 

At this point it is pertinent to say that I am not anti-gambling. I don’t do it, but I’m not against it. But I am against large businesses like this bullying out genuinely productive and positive businesses like ViTaL in order to rinse already struggling and hard off people of their money.

 

And now here we are in August. Two days ago ViTaL shut up, possibly for good. Ladbrokes insisted they move out as fast as they could, before revealing that they themselves weren’t’ actually moving in until September. Theresa could have had a whole extra month to find somewhere to go, to rally support and try to get something done about this horrible state of affairs. As it is everything hangs in the balance. There are some potentials for a new premise, but the charity has so little money that it needs to tread softly. Meanwhile Ladbrokes stands triumphant, guarding the empty premise on Beeston High Street, like the bully that it is.

 

It is a travesty that it should end this way for ViTaL, Young Potential and Theresa Cullen. However, with the support of friends, and you, maybe ViTaL will once again find a home on the high street. Find Theresa. Offer her your help if you can, in any way you can, because it would be terrible if the shop was not able to find its feet again, not just for Theresa but for countless young people, who need this community’s support and care now more than ever.

 

Let’s hope this won’t be the end of the story.

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