A Beestonian Bank Holiday: Continuum + Oxjam news.

With all the recent legal shenaigans kicking off, I’ve not had any time to write about the positive stuff going on right now, and there is loads.

Oxjam 2014 is getting better and better, and we’ve even launched the first ever Beeston Oxjam CD. It’s a thing of beauty, with 19 tracks from local artists. It’s an eclectic showcase of the excellent talent we have round here, and costs just £5, which all goes towards Oxjam and ultimately, Oxjam. It’s easy to get hold of too: just pop into Oxfam in Beeston, or the Hop Pole and purchase your copy. If it doesn’t whet your appetite for the main festival, then throw away your hats cos you’ve got no ears.


We also are linking up with the legendary Johnny Pusztai and The Crown Inn to bring you another bit of Oxjam weirdness. The last weekend of Septmeber sees the Crown celebrate it’s fifth birthday. I’m hoping it goes better for me than the launch, which was ace except I had a bit of an accident afterwards. There will be loads of things going off to mark this anniversary, keep an eye on The Beestonian FB site for more info. One thing I can tell you about though is how Johnny P, several times holder of Britain’s Best Banger award, and Sat Bain’s personal butcher, will be designing an Oxjam sausage, made with beef and chilli jam (Ox-jam, geddit?). We’ll be launching this culinary exclusive on the Saturday, and raising a few quid for Oxjam as we do.

The actual festival on October 18th is looking exciting too. There is a chance our capacity might grow from 800 to 1,500. Still in negotiations, but looking good. We’re also in talks with some very nice people at The University of Nottingham to have them run their Student Welcome event concurrent with Oxjam: bringing town and gown together and having a massive party to celebrate. There is still a ton of organising to do, but it’s coming together very well right now.


Continuum: Some interesting progress over the last few weeks. I recently joined Professor Martyn Poliakoff, members of the Civic Society and Greening Beeston for a visit to Green Street, home of the University Creative Energy Homes. These are seven buildings utilising various cutting-edge concepts in sustainable living, and are a real treat. Looking like a mildly incongruous suburban cul-de-sac, they are living, working experiments, testing ideas that will one day be put into every home, new build or old. The staff who showed us round were fantastic, informative and contagiously enthusiastic.


Afterwards, we had a long chat about their involvement with Beeston. Professor Poliakoff was on great form despite recovered from a nasty bug, and negotiated an idea for the University Department of The Built Environment to run a competition amongst the students to design a building for Beeston that will be so cutting-edge it bleeds the future. This is going to be a long process, and there will be many hurdles to leap before it gets built. Yet we have the tacit backing of Broxtowe Borough Council; very positive noises from the Uni; and lots of enthusiasm from other organisations and agencies that will be crucial to get cracking on an actual physical building. As always, I will keep you updated.

I’m also going to be setting up a Beeston continuum Facebook site that will act as a info point on projects we’re working on. 20140801_174333


Budding singer-songwriters need to get down the Hop Pole soon, and not just to buy the staggeringly ace Oxjam CD. Landlady Karen has just opened entries for the Annual Songwriters Competition, which is always a highlight of the year. Emma Bladon Jones has won it for the past few years, but is being denied a hat-trick by becoming one of the judges instead. Also Simon Cowell-ing it up will be Jimmy Wiggins, and myself. I had great fun last year, although I can’t play or write music, and my recent experiences at singing (I’ve been pulled up on stage by local Johnny Cash tribute band Crazy Heart a few times lately, to belt out my rendition of ‘My Lovely Horse’

Reviews of my singing range from making Yoko one sound like Eartha Kitt, and ‘a fire in a petshop’. Getting someone so unmusical to judge is a weird thing. I mean, you wouldn’t get the celibate Pope proclaiming on sexual matters, would you now?


My latest article in The Nottingham Post, on a super-controversial subject:

Have a cracking bank holiday weekend,even if an Argyle pullover is essential al-fresco wear. There is tons of stuff going off round Beeston, so get out there, eat, drink, pick berries. Tarah!

ShonkyGate: Soubzlogic is GO!

Just back from holiday and so many emails I feel like calling in the NSA and asking if they could filter them for any juicy bits. If you have sent something over, I’ll be donning my workhead (trans: writing with tea rather than wine) on Monday and ploughing through.

While I do that, here is a quick update on my legal travails.

ShonkyGate. I expected a legal letter on my return but nope. My hallway was instead piled with missives from the oddly desperate Richard Branson imploring me to use his broadband, but no more letters by proxy Tories. BrowneJacobson (from now, Bj) have not followed up their initial letter threatening me with action if I didn’t withdraw stuff, and didn’t pay them Soubz partner’ costs. This suggests to me that the whole episode was a regrettable one for BJ, Soubz and Soubz partner Neil. I imagine, with some insight, that BJ were unhappy that this story made the press (The Nottingham Post ran a story; a couple of national publications got interested and did some digging around; my readership here spiked ten-fold). Soubz issued a bizarre quote to the Nottingham Post when contacted, claiming

This is nothing to do with me and should not be anything to do with any of my family’

Well, Neil DaviDson is not technically a member of her family, granted. He is the long term campaign manager for Soubz, guiding her to victory in 2010. He is also someone she described as her ‘partner’ (source, Hansard). Her own blog describes him as her ‘partner’ (source: her own website).

Numerous other sources are available a google search term away. His relationship with crap builders Persimmon are explicit, open, and easily found. All I did was a bit of journalism to suggest that his connection to Persimmon, at the time doing some pretty unpopular things under the government’s localism policy, seemed at odds with Soubry’s donning of the mantle as Champion of the Greenbelt’. Director at shitty builders is a partner with an MP claiming to be….you get the rest.

I could have been less forensic and just pointed out a list of the Conservative’s attitude to all things green, known up top in government as ‘green crap’clashed with the 2010 manifesto promise (in Beeston library, I implore you to take a peek) as the party that allows you to ‘Vote Blue, Get Green’. I could have pointed out how Soubz popularist campaigns always seem to be ran on a frighteningly bizarre, Thatcheresque highly-confrontational line (check out the instances in her newsletter of ‘heated/ frank/ etc discussion’. Handbags rather than handshakes, every time).

I could have mentioned how even architects of the very coalition she sits in expressed worrying thoughts in Parliament about the relationship between Tories and builders – over to erstwhile jailbird Chris Huhne, 2009

“It is a matter of public record that the Conservative party has received substantial political contributions from housebuilding companies that have been active in Hampshire (Persimmon being one of these) , as well as from their owners.

“I am not saying that there is anything so simple or corrupt as a deal – cash for planning permissions – in any of these cases.

“I am merely stating that it is hardly likely that the leading movers and shakers in Britain’s greenfield housing industry would all donate to the Conservative Party if they thought it would block their proposals.

I could have done that, but that’s really not the issue. The real stuff cracking off here is freedom of speech, and Anna’s hatred of it if it’s not her speech being free. I’ve previously named this Soubzlogic, a new brance of rhetoric that is one part Thatcher, one part Stalin and one part ratpoo.

I’ll give two examples. First, let’s look at her latest newsletter. No, not the one with the extremely awkwardly conflated title

Urgent news re BT landlines and the situation in Iraq‏

but the most recent, again bizarrely named ‘it’s warming up!’ (????). After her usual ill-informed ranting on various issues, she decides to put the boot in the poor old Beeston Express, accusing it -irony warning 1 – of ‘political bias’ because she claims -irony warning 2 – it has misrepresented people writing into it’s letters page – and irony EARTHQUAKE – it is partisan as it allows ALL political parties to have a monthly column, rather than just Anna’s monthly splurge of self-congratulation.

In her eyes , the BE has become a sister paper of the Morning Star, and it’s editor an evil press baron pumping out propaganda for personal gain.


Woah, apologies. My irony monitor just exploded.

She also charmingly advised that people instead get their news from the Facebook (closed) Group ‘NET Tram Ranting Room’ because

the problem is there is no alternative community paper to the Beeston Express other than the Rant Room!

Wow. Well, the ranting room is, as it’s name suggests, rather single issue, not exactly a source of info and definitely not a paper. All those years in the media, Anna, all to waste.

The snub on not acknowledging the existence of the purely independent, not-for-profit, community written and produced The Beestonian is unsurprising. Maybe as she doesn’t live round here, and would much prefer to be somewhere else (after failing in Gedling Broxtowe had to do. Ken Clarke still sits firm in Rushcliffe, she very well may have just never seen a copy.

Or, more obviously, this is Soubzlogic in action. The Beestonian has no political agenda, as it’s mainly written by whoever contributes. Unlike Anna, I don’t judge if they are left wing, right wing or middle, err, thorax before I publish. I know from pub arguments the core of the magazine is a VERY diverse bunch of opinions. I stick out stuff on here from a personal point of view: it really is just me, but the magazine is a true community asset: allowing anyone to submit articles about things they think others may find interesting. Still, as the proto-Soubz that was Thatcher didn’t believe in society, perhaps we just fall out of Anna’s belief system and are thus invisible. Or perhaps it’s Soubzlogic.

What do Tories like to read? We’ll go to the second example to find out.

2. Broxtowe Blue. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, blah blah, but I wish the dolt who set up Broxtowe Blue could try and write their Tory party version of Beestonia with a little more flair, a little less clunky prose, a little less bollocks.

Not read it? You and all but a very few people, apparently. Their lack of readership has led me to view them with amusement, when they labelled me ‘bonkers’ I wore the title as a badge of pride. However, I came across a recent post and thought you’d like to hear more.

The post is titled ‘A Very Labour Hi-jack’ . In summary, it accuses the Beeston and District Civic Society of being exploited by the evil Labour Party by forcing them to hold a meeting under the cover organisation, Beeston Continuum. By not inviting Soubry, we have a ‘political axe to grind’. Etc, etc.

Rather insulting to the Civic Society, who they also describe as, errr, erstwhile. But also insulting to the people who have worked, and are still working very hard, to run an utterly grassroots movement with the Continuum. The hours we’ve spent negotiating with the Uni, the Council, and many others, coming up with ideas to wrestle control of development from top-down imposition and try and create something truly great for Beeston, well, it’s all been a front. Professor Poliakoff is evidently a Soviet cold-war spy! The academics we’re working with at the University are all just quisling left-wing intelligentsia. And I run it all, like a Bolshevik Blofield, from my hollowed out volcano in Beeston Rylands.

Me, earlier.

Me, earlier.

I’ve never been a member of, am not a member of, and cannot foresee myself being a member of any political party. I vote on policy, not party. Unlike Anna, whose slavish devotion to the whip is rather nauseating. Her constituents have therefore seen her sell out the postal workers at Padge Road, and betray the vast majority of her constituents who oppose the selling off of the NHS. For that extra bit of salary ministers receive, she turned her back at us and trumped loudly.

We did have Nick Palmer on the panel. He does attend steering group meetings, but before we set down the whole idea we made sure his inclusion was purely advisory: he has the contacts, the knowledge, the insight into the complex workings of civic planning. To ensure politics would not taint the meetings, we initially had a member of the Lib Dems sit in the meetings to police the meeting.

The article claims, and I’ve heard also from others, that Soubry was miffed at not being invited. A few things to consider here. It’s a public meeting. You don’t get individually invited. Plus, the Civic Society DID invite her just to avoid accusations of NOT inviting her. She obviously knew about this: she posted a notice of the meeting on her newsletter the preceding week.

The idea of keeping a meeting apolitical by inviting a very partisan MP is hilarious Soubzlogic.

it’s also offensive to the Civic Society, and Beestonians as a whole. Despite the chair of the civic society being a Conservative Councillor (the genial Eileen Atherton), we somehow pulled the wool over the eyes. Or maybe they just appreciate what we’re doing for Beeston, and in the spirit of democracy, hosted the meeting. A meeting I hi-jacked by being, errr, asked to host the event. Again, lashings of Soubzlogic.

I would sue them for defamation, yet I’m shy of £1,500+VAT to ask BJ to write a letter by around £1,498+ VAT. So my recourse is to utilise their right-of-reply, aka the comments box. I duly set down the reasons why the article was incorrect, politely requesting that they correct them. Unsurprisingly, the comments were never moderated onto the site, now three weeks after submitting them. I asked them on twitter too…no joy.

I don’t know who writes Broxtowe Blue, but they did have Soubry as one of their first Twitter followers. It also reeks of Soubry through it’s near identical application of Soubzlogic: they can dish it out, but they are utterly chickenshit at taking any dissent. They hear what they want to hear, then smack their hands over their ears when a bit of reality approaches and scream ‘CANT HEAR!! CANT HEAR!! CANT HEAR!!’. Expect more of this approach as the election approaches: Soubz and her team will be desperate to silence anyone against her, and with this being such a high-profile marginal, I expect I will be the target of further attacks.

I will wrap this up with three requests to Broxtowe Blue, asked in the spirit of free speech and open discussion

1. Who is behind the blog? Is it centrally funded / local association funded?
2. Will you publish my rebuttals?
3. Will you agree to an online debate in the near future about free speech?

My breath is not held.