Lady Beestonia? / Nice Guy Eddie Izzard / Hustings tonight!

Today was meant to be a day off. A guest post on here to spare me writing anything, a day doing little before going off to the I Love Beeston Awards this evening in my capacity as a judge. A lie down in the garden, perhaps. A bit more research

Yeah, might, y'know, not accept this one...

Yeah, might, y’know, not accept this one…

into tadpoles, maybe. But no. Daftly, just before I went to bed, I checked my email.

First surprise is BBC Radio 4 heavy news programme The World Tonight, who get in touch regarding a venue for a forthcoming election special they’ll be hosting from Beeston. We are the World, it seems.

Then I noticed that something I had written on a whim about the Justice For Men and Boys party had caused a bit of a stir with their leader, Mike Buchanan. He sent through a comment (see last article) deeming me, in an unimprovable Alan Partridge choice of words ‘A blithering idiot’.

Over on his website, he wrote an angry post about Beestonia, tellingly assuming I was female. One of his followers backed buchanananananaanananahim up on this, now labelling the writing here as the work of ‘a precocious schoolgirl’. Well, unlike some Tory activists I’m not one to go online pretending to be a 13 year old girl. And I have man parts in my pants. I imagine Buchanan and his rabid horde of misogynistic mules must think I’m a traitor to the male gender, a man who, well, quite likes women, and holds the radically absurd view that women are people too.

20150423_125516Someone who really loves to blur the gender lines – ‘Womens’ clothes? They’re not womens’ clothes, they’re MY clothes, I paid for them’ – is Eddie Izzard, multiple marathon man; polyglot comedian and, perhaps, Mayor of London one day. As I finally decided to go to bed, an email pops up telling me that Izzard would be in Beeston later that day (it was well past midnight by then). Blimey. Election madness in full force: celebrities descending on our town isn’t a common thing (oh wait, it is actually) .

So, at midday I’m in the rather strange position of standing next to comic legend Eddie Izzard; who’s also bought along Tom

Foxy, the Hallams, and some wannabe strawberry sellers.

Foxy, the Hallams, and some wannabe strawberry sellers.

Watson MP: the guy who faced down Murdoch in the phone-hacking scandal, and as such a bit of a hero of mine: Murdoch bears deep grudges, and is nastily attacking Labour, the SNP and Miliband relentlessly through his scummy newspapers for daring question his control over the British news agenda. Somehow, we’re talking about strawberries. Loads of telly cameras jostle along the High Road as the pair, here to support Nick Palmer, visit Chimera, Hallams, Iguazu and other shops, as well as chatting to random passers-by (one lady hugs Izzard ‘You’re my first famous person’ she cries. Another says ‘I’m much more excited to meet Tom Watson’, to which Izzard pulls a mock-petulant pout).

elbi izzard

Elbi at The Bean with Mr I.

They then head to The Bean, where the star struck staff come out for a picture (‘anything to get that bloody Soubry out’ one tells me), and then we get to do a quick interview. I explain to Tom Watson that I’m not in anyway incorporated to Murdoch through my publishing ‘Ah good. They don’t seem to want to talk to me anymore’, and Izzard is quite charming, commenting on the Gallic nature of my t-shirt ‘Good and French’. I’ll upload the audio when I get a minute. izzardstrwbs

We were Izzard’s 50th stop off this election (And Tom Watson is somewhere in the seventies). Quite an incredible work-rate, but he is passionate to see Labour win ‘It’s just a question of beestonianfairness. I’ve done well for myself in life, but I struggled when younger, and that never leaves you. I want to do what I can with what I’ve got to help others. And that’s what Labour does’. He was delighted by the turn out of activists ‘This is what we do best. We have the people. The Conservatives just have the money’. He repeated his intention to stand for election, either as MP or as London Mayor, in a few years time. Insert your own ‘London doesn’t need another comedian’ joke here…

20150423_133957 (1)This was no show-up, smile at the cameras then head off thing either. He really talked to people. When he stopped to chat to a guy ambling by called Rob (a self-confessed, recovering Lib Dem voter in 2010) he waved off the Labour Party staff trying to move him on and really got into a discussion, finished, as is inevitable these days, with a group selfie.

Rumours that Soubry has spent the afternoon negotiating a price to get The Chuckle Brothers to accompany her to Costa Coffee are entirely made up.


Bizarre day, but I have deep suspicions that we have weirder to come. Keep tuned to Beestonia for all oddities, including a bit of a scandal involving a naughty bit of misappropriation of funds…. Also, College House plays host to the second Beeston Hustings tonight. I have heard that Soubry isn’t bothering turning up, due to not liking Beeston Express editor Sheila, who is hosting the hustings. From 7pm. We have our guest reporter Tom to cover the event: but let us know how it goes!


Some very interesting stuff has cropped up since I last wrote, and which, if I have time, I’ll tap out later between running round Beeston this afternoon after a famous person, and the I Love Beeston Awards later this evening, which I helped to judge.

For now, the excellent Robert Howard (you may remember him for the exceptional stylised maps he designed for Beeston) has submitted a guest piece, and it’s a corker. He’s also offered me some tadpoles. Politics and ponds. My two current obsessions collide… Over to Rob:

What the manifestos don’t say
The aim of this contribution is to encourage you to think about what the political parties standing in Broxtowe are not telling you, then you can ask the candidates for answers and to share their replies with Matt and this blog.
You know the saying: ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’. So it is with both the general election and Broxtowe Borough Council elections, except politicians, like accountants, civil servants, historians, the media and the NHS to name just a few, play the same game with words — they lie by omission — which is why they don’t like being asked questions they are not prepared for.
Writing in the latest issue of the Beeston Express, David Watts, a Liberal Democrat, says ‘(LibDems) are putting equal emphasis on the local elections… We’ve done this because we are committed to the area’. The truth is a little different. LibDems are so ‘committed’ as to be fielding only twenty-seven candidates and none at all in six wards. This cannot, by any measure, be described as an ‘equal emphasis on the the local elections’. Nowhere do they tell Broxtowe voters this, nor do they apologise.
Knowing this whilst attending the hustings meeting at Beeston Parish Church made me want to gag every time the Liberal parliamentary candidate opened his mouth. How can you profess ‘to care about Broxtowe’ when you put up very few candidates? The same applies to the Greens and UKIP.
The National Pensioners Convention ( have published on their website a useful ‘summary of manifesto pledges’. In the absence of a party pledge in relation to a particular policy area, NPC have kindly included the phrase ‘No comment’. I suspect it will come as no surprise to learn that 44 (37%) out of 119 policy boxes contain the words ‘no comment’.
No-go policies appear to include the not long abolished retail price index (RPI), universal benefits, progressive taxation, dental care, the ever-upward state pension age and buses (the latter far more important to most public transport users in Broxtowe than the tram, HS2 or railways) or museum charges. I could go on, but I want you to compile your own list of omissions.
If Nick Palmer wins Broxtowe and the Labour Party the borough council, it will be because they have worked year in, year out, in every ward. None of the other political parties have, as witnessed by their failure to contest every council seat and every ward. At the end of day this is why I will be voting Labour on 7 May. I also want Scotland to elect enough SNP MPs to stop Labour drifting any further to right (which, Matt, is why the SNP will play a part in how England votes).
The Tories have just spent five years in bed with the Liberals (for that is what they are — the ‘Democrat’ tag comes from the days when they got into bed with renegade right-wing Labour politicians), so it is difficult to understand why Labour having to rely on SNP backing to govern is any different?
I will end with some words from a old Beestonian friend now living in Edinburgh:
SNP still has a lot of support up here as you can imagine. Jim Murphy isn’t really making much headway for Scottish Labour that is my feeling. Nicola Sturgeon is very popular – especially after Salmond. She’s hard working and sensible and passionate. 
Despite my feelings about the referendum and rampant nationalism(!), due to the lack of good policies in the current Labour party, I can see why the SNP would be a force for good in Westminster. However, people need to understand the SNP will never give up on independence and they will play dirty if need be. Very dirty!
The Tories are indeed offending folk up here even more than usual. Is this deliberate or just arrogance? And they offend me all the time! I hate their latest housing policy, selling off more social housing etc. It’s awful, does nothing to address the real problem and focuses on the individual, not what is best for the community, for society. 
I have no objection to coalition – providing Tories are not part of it!
Robert Howard