Back in 1987, I was a 13 year old with little to do. My daily paper round gave me £2.25 a week to spend, so it had to be severely eked. So myself and a group of other friends, with similar financial constrictions, took to walking several miles to Trowell services on the M1 for our kicks.
This isn’t as bizarre as it sounds. The walk itself took us across fields and farmland, then a posh estate in Trowell where we’d invariably see a pheasant – exotic fauna for us; and on arrival the double delights of Outrun and Space Harrier in the arcade would be a 10 pence a time treat. We’d then stand on the bridge that joined the South and Northbound stop offs, playing games guessing car colours and suchlike. We’d then buy some Trebor Softfruits (which, like Red Kite are today, were a thing that gradually made their way North from that confection cosmopolitan that was London). We’d walk home, see if their were any new rope swings up Hemlock Hill, and consider it a day well spent.
One day, while walking down the long road that separates Wollaton from Trowell, en route to the Services, we noticed a wooden stake snapped in half, and the attached blue placard smashed up. VOTE JIM LESTER CONSERVATIVE FOR BROXTOWE it read. A few yards down, the same thing, this one ignominiously floating into a drainage ditch. Every few dozen yards, another.
I was dimly aware there was an election on back then. I was dimly aware I had gone off the Conservatives earlier that year, and had now decided to support the middle party with those two Davids. They seemed nice. My mum even went as far as sticking bright yellow posters in our windows, pledging allegiance to the Alliance party.
I didn’t know who Jim Lester was. But I felt a bit sorry for him, splintered, smashed, soaked in ditch water. As we walked further down the road, we came across the culprits, two lads from school, David and Craig, who were busy stomping on a freshly uprooted stake. Both were kids forever in trouble, always challenging the teachers, but actually rather charismatic in their naughtiness.
‘What yer doing?’ I asked
‘Smashing all of these up’ they rather needlessly replied
‘Oh. Not a fan of the Conservatives, then?’
A blank look.
‘The Conservatives. You’re smashing their stuff up. Don’t you like them?’
‘ Dunno. We did a load of red ones in Stapleford last night as well’.
We continued, pockets full of change that we’d use to pretend to drive an open top red car down an impossibly glamorous American road, as David and Craig carried on their nihilistic mission.
Why am I telling you this? I was reminded of it earlier this week, after I saw the doctored picture of Soubry on a garden stake, and subsequent reports on other vandalism of Tory posters. Who did it? I don’t know, but possibly pranksters who hate all parties; or just love a bit of mischief like David and Craig. Yet Soubry and her Salicrous Crumb Cllr. Richard Jackson seem to know.
They seem rather sure that the vandalism was caused by Labour, solely as the party have their main office in Attenborough. Yet the only part of Beeston where Anna has any type of popularity is in Attenborough as well; so it’s hardly a surprise.
It is also against election rules to make false claims against your opponent. If Anna feels it fine to make severe allegations of this kind in public, then I hope she has the strength of conviction to report it to the police. Otherwise it looks a little malicious.
It’s also incredibly arrogant, and typifies Soubzlogic (see Beestonia passim) to assume that just because someone did this it must be Labour, rather than someone who, well, just doesn’t like you. But in Anna’s world, there is no nuance, just black and white. Glorious Conservatives, evil baby-eating Labour. Maybe, just maybe, she should take her own advice…
More misrepresentation from an increasingly desperate Tory campaign is the latest round of leaflets. They continually plough the negative furrow with an interesting omission: Nick Palmer. Instead, anyone who came here not knowing the candidates would be rather confused by this contrast. Palmer is conspicuous by his absence. It’s clear why though. Soubry knows that on a personal popularity level, Palmer is seen as much more affable, much more diligent and much more involved in local issues. So the contrast must be avoided: so instead a bizarre bit of scaremongering fills the void (more debt? The Tories have more than doubled our national debt. More taxes? The Bedroom Tax and the VAT rise were both nasty, punitive taxes. Chaos in a coalition with UKIP? Oh the irony!).
It appears that with less than a fortnight to go, Soubz has ran out of ideas: a mix of Lynton Crosby and Josef Stalin takes over instead.
I heard something rather worrying from the guy I sent to cover the Beeston Express Hustings on Thursday. Tom, for it is he, is a guy I got chatting to at the first hustings, who went on to send a thorough and balanced review in, hence me asking him again. I have no idea of his personal politics or little else as yet, but thought he’s make a fresh voice on here, rather than just have me barking on for the duration.
Yet it seems that his presence at the hustings really annoyed a UKIP fan. As he explains:
One of the most spirited moments in the debate was a question I asked about the boats in the Mediterranean. Frank Dunne offered a rhetoric heavy but policy light response in which he mentioned that the conservatives refusing to provide Aid to Libya 4 years ago and instead insisting on regime change was the cause. The representative of the School challenged him on this, pointing out that UKIP policy was to cut foreign aid. He denied that so I pointed out I’d read the manifesto and quoted the actual figures (a £9bn cut or 86%) At this point the man next to me lent over and said “so what, have you seen what other countries are giving?” I said “I haven’t but we are currently contributing in line with UN guidelines” He started to rant about germany and the man in front turned round to shush us. I nodded and turned away. He then lent in next to my ear and whispered “After this you and me go outside and I’ll knock your fuckin’ head off.” Being wholly british I just said “pardon.” He got louder and said “You pardon me again mate I’ll do it…” at that point the chair told us to be quiet and he shut up.
This is, of course, unacceptable. The guy was tall, bald and bespectacled. Do you know who he is? And is UKIP policy so weak they have to threaten violence when those uncomfortable ‘facts’ come up?