We’ve had a swathe of young writers guest on here before and after the election: to a hugely positive response from the readership. Makes my retirement less depressing, as I know that whatever space I leave will be filled, over time, many times over by young writers perhaps not as jaded as myself.

Sophie’s piece on her school elections was, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite excellent. Great comments came through, with one exception: a Tory troll who tweets under a series of fake names sent in a particularly nasty and misogynistic comment which I blocked. The woman in question, who forgot to block her IP address, is also someone who, when not out campaigning with the Conservatives, believes that the UK is ruled by a secret Jewish Cabal and that ‘chemtrails’ are being sprayed from planes to keep us subservient. We’re not talking a genius here. As the ruler of that Jewish cabal, I’ll ensure my planes target your house more thoroughly, Ms S.

The incisive, witty and myth-busting Andrew Tucker’s piece on how young voters are perceived was also a real winner, Andrew has been inspired, since the piece was published, to go and set up his own blog, Millennial Radical which I hope you’ll like.

Tom Roberts, who reported on the hustings for me, was a real find: I just happened to sit a couple of seats down from him at the first hustings, and chatting afterwards he asked if he could write for me. He writes his take on what went wrong, below.

Finally, just a few things to give a mention to before I hand over to Tom: OXJAM Beeston is hosting a fundraiser on May 27th at the White Lion: a fun-packed music quiz (which I think I might be compering) with entry and tapas a staggeringly cheap £3 a head. More details on Facebook: click here.

The White Lion –which is rapidly morphing from pub to arts venue – will be playing  host to Open Studios on May 30-31st, further cementing Beeston’s burgeoning reputation as a place of creative excellence.

There will also be a Civic Society hosted event at The White Lion ( I know! I swear I don’t work for them!) this Saturday morning where Council Officer John Delaney will be on hand to answer questions about Beeston’s future development. Kicks off at 10.30am.

That’s me done then. I have a couple more days at work then I’m swapping Gonzo for Gozo and escaping Beeston for a few days. Don’t worry, the Conservatives have promised to keep it in safe hands (despite not a single one getting elected in Beeston – the ‘Rant Room surge’ flopped magnificently in the areas where the tram actually comes through), and they have kept their promises to protect Stapleford’s Field Farm and call for a Judicial review into the process. Anything less, after all , would make them cynical liars.

Over to Tom Roberts: 

Where did it all go wrong?

Yesterday I was writing a piece about how this would be the first social media election. Everything I saw seemed to indicate this would be the first election to be fought on twitter and facebook and I maintain that to be true. I just may have over-estimated their importance.

By all metrics Labour were doing so well. They had more people on the ground than anyone else, better voter engagement and even the Milifans. So why did it all fall apart? The short, and probably over simplistic answer, is Scotland. In the final days of the campaign Scotland eclipsed all other issues and became an albatross around Ed’s neck and perhaps we shouldn’t be as surprised by the result as we were.

The loss of their Scottish heartland was a blow but it was one that Labour could have weathered. It was not the loss but instead the narrative built up around it that cost Labour this election. For weeks the gutter press and the gutter party (Tory) have screamed about the “dangers” of Scottish MPs and amongst all the negative campaigning that had failed this small tit-bit took off. Polls by the Independent showed that 1 in 4 voters in Middle England were swayed by the thought of Labour kowtowed to Sturgeon; admittedly polls have proven mostly useless at this Election with the “neck and neck race” anything but, but it’s a useful starting point.

So with voters in Middle England wavering it was up to Labour to mitigate the fear and in this they found their greatest enemy had become more dangerous. The SNP in Scotland began to promote a narrative, a vicious and largely untrue narrative, that Labour needed help to be honest and stick to its principles. “A vote for SNP is a vote for a Labour Government” was the somewhat perplexing cry and suddenly Ed had a war on two fronts.

He wasn’t conservative enough for England and wasn’t left wing enough for Scotland, his base had shifted into a precarious centre left space and it was hard to counter everything. And so the propaganda train rumbled on, the gutter press promoted the idea that Labour needed the SNP and the Scottish gutter press promoted the idea that Labour NEEDED the SNP. They were simultaneously weak and easily led by Sturgeon and dishonest enough to need an SNP shaped moral compass. It’s all rather depressing.

So who is the biggest loser here: the temptation is to say Labour but honestly it’s hard to be sure at this point. The union will suffer, following the vicious attacks on Scottish MPs  by their English colleague in recent weeks and if there was ever a time and a place for federalism this may be the moment. The SNP may be the big winner in numbers but will likely suffer due to association. They’re in a difficult position and it’s inevitable their supporters will realise they A) aren’t actually the lefties they claim to be and B) Aren’t able to command power on a national level. The electorate are obviously screwed. Perhaps worst of all though is the vindication of this sort of campaigning, that being divisive and aggressive works.


Gutted. Utterly gutted. Fatigued after just a couple of hours sleep, disappointed, shocked and depressed. Not the night I has planned.

Still, someone is happy:


Says it all, in many ways. Soubry and Hopkins are similar people: people who thrive on division, hate, and mistaking impolite loudness for some sort of character.

What happened? Well, it really seems it was The Sun Wot Won It. And The Times. And The Mail. And The Telegraph. And, FFS, The Independent.  They realised that Labours plans to make non-doms pay their fair share would attack their proprietors, so accordingly launched an attack on Miliband that  was spiteful, borderline anti-semitic (‘ooh look: a “North London Intellectual” eating a bacon sandwich’) and utterly nasty. Fearing attacks on their own newspapers, and the opening up of the media to much needed plurality would damage their influence.

The BBC, realising that the Charter will soon be reviewed and the license fee discussed, became incredibly fearful and toed the Tory line accordingly. Thus, an open letter direct from CCHQ, purportedly from ‘small business owners, which was later found to be largely false, leads the news one night. The next, a similar letter from leading NHS doctors calling for an end to Cameron’s piece-meal  privatisation doesn’t even get a mention.

It’s hard when you get so immersed in politics to realise that other people have only a passive interest. It is important to bear this in mind when you look at the result. I don’t believe the people who voted Tory are evil, venal, and intent on ruining the NHS. I think they were scared by the press, by the relentless on-slaught of fear and paranoia directed at them.

They saw a narrative of Labour bollocking up the economy and the Tories saving it. It’s become virtually embedded. The truth of course, is much more nuanced: we had a global financial crisis. The UK was on the road to recovery in 2010, and was seriously set back by austerity (stripping us of our AAA credit standard). It has limped back into life not as a result of Tory policy, but despite. The only signs of recovery emerged after the austerity programme was temporarily scaled back.

This is nothing short of a coup against the public. the theft of public services – things WE built, WE own, that work for US are being transferred over to faceless corporations where the only concern is profit. The NHS, the BBC are next in line, The Royal Mail gone. You can forget much need nationalisation of railways. Richard Branson needs a new island.

The public voted out of fear, not hate. They are not evil, not selfish, merely were force-fed a false narrative.

What next I wrote this earlier, after 20 hours of solid blogging, just before I snatched a couple of hours sleep:

Stay positive. It looks like we will have a lame-duck government exposed massively to its own back-bench idiots. Labour will lick it’s wounds, realise that pushing austerity-lite is no vote winner and discovery its opposition fire again. A bright, strong leader to stand again a PM who will fight for every vote.

This is 1992 again. Let’s make sure we get 1997 again.

I was going to join the Greens after this election. I voted Labour but thought as the Greens reflect my views most closely, I would go to them.

Instead, I will be joining Labour later today. I want to be part of restoring that party to a proper opposition, a true force against the horrors of this gerontocracy, this plutocracy, this place where the tax-dodging press barons use hate and fear to command narratives.

We have five years of hard work ahead. Public services will be slashed. The poor, the disabled, the voiceless will be further demonised and brutalised. The rich will get richer.

But if those vile fuckers try and touch our NHS, bite their scaly, thieving hands. The war isn’t lost. its just beginning.

I stand by it, now I’ve had a rest. I’d add that we have hope in the next generation. That sounds like a cheesy Whitney Houston cover, but true. The young, raised in times of calm and prosperity during the Blair years, had little to be political about. Iraq probably lost a chunk of sympathy for Labour. The tuition fee hikes lost an even greater chunk for the Lib Dems -evidenced in the wipeout last night.

Yet we live in a gerontocracy now. The older generation have a hugely disproportionate effect on the vote due to the fact they actually vote. The youth now have to stop this. While pensions are ring-fenced, they will be denied benefits, forced into zero-hour contract jobs. If they choose to get an education, they have to take on board huge, uncertain debt to do so. Their freedom of movement will be curtailed as the UK retreats from Europe. They can never dream of owning their own house: keeping the housing market in a state of artificial over-heating is key to keeping the older generation happy and asset rich. The ladder is firmly kicked away.

Anyone who read the fantastic piece by Andre Tucker I hosted earlier this week will see  that there is growing anger, a burgeoning sense of being victimised. The Tories, governing alone, will be the sole target of this anger. In a party whose core membership is well into it’s late 60’s, with little replenishment from the other end of the generation scale, winning a  majority could be paradoxically the most dangerous thing for the Tories to have done.

Keep the faith. That is the most important thing. This is no Thatcheresque landslide. Only a million votes separate the Tories from Labour. Add in the SNP, the Greens and Plaid, and a strong anti-Tory majority is seen. Our crazy FPTP voting system masks this. But it’s clearly there in vote share.

Fight on.

End of this blog? In the main, yes. I’m worn out. Over the last three weeks alone I’ve written more than 40,000 words. That’s the size of an average novel. I’m also tired of the legal threats (never carried out, but worrying), the threats of violence, the negativity daring to speak out against the status quo engenders. And I’m fed up with people saying to me ‘Oh, you wrote about politics. I thought you were meant to be neutral’, as if for the last seven years I’ve scrupulously written mere transcriptions of events, with no attendent commentary. IT’S A BLOG. IT IS A PLACE WHERE I PUBLISH MY THOUGHTS, MY OPINIONS, MY ANGLE ON LIFE. HAVE YOU ACTUALLY TRIED READING IT???

I have, and I think this is where they get confused, remained totally independent throughout. Not a penny, not a favour, not even a single pint has been garnered off a political party for writing this. I’ve done it alone for the best part of a decade, with the only intention of making sure some light is shed on places that politicians would prefer remain murky. I’ve had my share of scoops, scandals and shenanigans. I’ve met dozens of politicans en-route. Generally ok people. Some utterly lovely. Some utter charisma voids (Clegg, David MIliband). Some nasty careerists. Our newly reelected. Mainly, they’re just people though. I have a grudging respect for anyone who chooses to dedicate their career to such a bizarre way of life.

I have a couple of good submissions to print up on politics, then that will be it.

I’m off on holiday next week, somewhere hot, for a few days of decompressing. When I return, I’ll have a clearer picture of what to do. Right now, I want to dedicate my time to the things that really matter to me. My wife, who I have seen far too little of late. My work on the UNESCO City of Literature bid, which I truly think could be a massive boost for our city. OXJAM, which in it’s fifth year of existence goes strength to strength, and unites this town where others try to divide, The Beestonian, which we’re expanding from next issue and continues to attract excellent writing and ideas from Beestonians all over: our Facebook page keeps surging in Likes, now close to 2,250. The Film Club at Cafe Roya, which has been having a wonderful run of form of late: raising money for local charities, showcasing young filmmakers, giving the town a place to catch film that would most likely pass them by.

I also have a follow up to the Beestonian film to get scripted and filmed, which is shaping up into quite a project.

I will still use this space to write my thoughts on, you can read them if you like. Local politics may stray into stuff, but only casually. I want to write about anything I feel. I have an article about how Zeno’s Paradox annoys and influences everything I do kicking around in my head. Definitely niche that one, and I’ll probably never actually finish it (and if you get the joke there, hello, fellow nerd).

I’ve loved doing this. I’m happy to leave on a high in terms of readership, and a low in terms of results. Hope to see you soon, Beestonians.

Matt Goold.


0503 Soubry in with a 5k majority. My god. Stunned. Fatigued.

I’m off to sleep now. Gutted, Utterly.

I’m going to write a post mortem at one point. But feel ruined now. Broxtowe, you’ve made a huge mistake. I’m sorry. The next five years will see our services ruined. Our towns split and turned against each other.

Vile,vile woman.

Regroup. Recover. Build. Demand a new narrative. This is not a defeat, it is a start of the new fight. Night all.,

0503 I’m about to go to bed, but a tiny consolation prize: Esther Mcvey lost in Wirral West!

0500 They’re mounting the satge.

0459 Magnanimous tories mocking the losing Labour team at the count.

0455 Clegg holds. Out of his main job later, though.

0448 Declaration imminent. Sht shit shit.

0446 By an increased majority, well over a thousand, apparently. Gutted.

0441 Bad news from the count…another source telling me it’s Soubry.

0438 A real shocker here: Vince Cable out.

0435 Boris Johnson takes his safe seat. No shocker there. Rumour is Esther Mcvey is struggling in Wirral. Recount taking place.

0425 Mixed fortunes for UKIP: Carswell retains Clacton, but they narrowly lose in Thurrock.

0414 A message from my mole:

Just checking spolit papers, nearly there!! Still not looking good.

0411 Two Lib Dem scalps: Lynne Featherstone and Simon Hughes both lose seats to Labour. Utter Lib Dem evisceration.

Some joy for Peter Tatchell, I imagine.

0407 Bad news from Erewash: Tory hold. Should have been an early take: no incumbent. More bad news for Broxtowe, it seems.

0354 Exciting news from Thanet South (Farage’s desired seat): it looks like a very close battle that has led to a recount…between Labour and the Tories. Farage third place. UKIP over?

0349 Soubry has arrived: goes straight over to Steve Carr. Symbolic.

0347: First ministerial scalp: Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, out.

0339 Labour gain from Galloway in Bradford, it seems, and Rupa Huq, the Labour candidate in Ealin, takes off Labour.

0337 Labour gains against Lib Dems: good news but not going to be enough. Lost the number one target seat.

0334 One of my favourite MPs, Labour’s Sarah Champion, retains seat in Rotherham.

0329 I’m actually blogging from bed right now. That’s dedication. Or laziness. Palmer has arrived at count.

0325 UKIP look set to take third place in Broxtowe. Lost deposit last time round.

0318 SKY News are expecting up to THREE recounts. Can they make this any more tense?

0307: Brox result now expected at 5.30am! Good job I just made myself a coffee. Bad news it’s decaff.

0303: and there’s more

74% turnout. Not many Lib Dems left.

Bizarre that Watts is in Beeston tonight when he’s the candidate in Skegness? Bit of a slap in the face for Lincolnshire Lib Dems, if they exist.

0300 Home, and a flurry of info from my mole at the count:

Looking more favorable in Beeston Central: around 4:1 for Palmer. Still not looking good, nationally. Watts (Lib Dem councillor) looking sad, may not be a councillor tomorrow. Should lose deposit in national. No Palmer or Soubry still. Verifying over., count starts shortly.

0243: Contemplating home, and bed…though will try and keep awake to the Soubry result.

Ah, am off home. Will try and continue when home.

0239: Daftest tweet of the night comes in, with a guy saying

For someone that is non-political you have a strong hatred of an MP that has actually worked for the local area and listened

I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been writing politics for seven bloody years. Nice of him to notice.

0228: Schadenfreude update:  Lib Dem deposit loss now £7,500

0220: My mole at the count reports that Soubry ahead on all tables. And Douglas Alexander scalped in Paisley: by a 20 year old student. Biggest casualty of the night. This is looking like carnage.

0216: We could see several party leaders out of work tomorrow: Miliband, Farage and Clegg. Is this a record in UK politics?

0214: Scotland showing HUGE swings to the SNP  from Labour. Possible clean sweep minus one seat?

0157: BBC now talking about a Tory Majority. Christ. Anyone fancy moving to Scotland?

0154: Guy at the party I’m at ‘Can we switch to a channel that Labour are winning?’

0150: Nuneaton hasn’t gone Labour. Very bad news: unable to turn a 2.3% swing. This is upsetting. Nice backdrop though.

They actually LOST 3%. I am so glad I’m packing this in. It’s painful.

0122: Still not good news: Battersea reflects BBC Exit Poll.

0111: Sadiq Khan, Labour, Tooting, increases his majority slightly in a Tory target.

0104: My mole at the count replies that they have seen just ONE vote for the Justice for Men and Boys Party.

0102: No sign of Soubry or Palmer at the count yet. Verification expected to finish at 2am, so we might get a result faster than expected.

0053: George Galloway looks out. Respect!

0042: Some encouraging news for Labour: huge turn outs in strong Labour territory:


0052: worryingly, the Swindon result matched the exit poll. Ouch.

0039: Swindon: Labour needed to overturn a 7% majority: didn’t do it. Not good news.

0031: A real interesting seat will be announced in half an hour or so. Nuneaton is a marginal, similar to Broxtowe, that Labour are targeting. They need a much bigger swing: 4.6% , than Broxtowe’s 0.7%. If it goes, we can relax a bit more. If it doesn’t, and the Tories increase their vote share, then worry.

0019: A lull in the evening as results don’t come in... so conversation has turned to the Wakefield rhubarb triangle. Then Jeremy Vine bounds on, claiming Soubry will hold…

0012 : This has amused me: 


Midnight: I still believe the BBC Exit Poll is an outlier. Not in line with other polls. Delusional?

23.44 BBC analysis: Gedling and Nottingham South will be Conservative gains.

23.42 Another Twitter account reveling in schadenfreude : schaud

23.28 Another North East heartland Labour stronghold: the Tory is called Bob Dhillon: polls below UKIP. LIb Dems poll under a 1,000, and behind the Greens. Clear Labour hold.

23.24 Some more hat-food promises being made at the count, according to the Nottingham Post:

“But Liberal Democrats in Broxtowe have laughed at the suggestion their party would get only 10 seats nationally – a loss of 47.

Steve Carr, a candidate for the party in Beeston, said: “I’ve got a great big sombrero and I’ll eat it if that’s true.” “

We’ll hold him to that…

23.17 Second result, again, a very safe seat, so hard to extrapolate much. A hold for Labour, but with a 5% increase in vote – much in line with  the last few months of polling. Surprise seems to be how much UKIP has eaten into the Tory vote in the North: not the Labour as Farage predicted.

23.12 Tweet of the night has just come in:


22.58 Another ray of light: the YouGov exit poll paints a much more optimistic picture, with vote share 34% for both parties.

Electoral calculus, who conducted the most accurate exit poll in 2010, is predicting a much closer result:

  • CON: 280
  • LAB: 274
  • LIB DEM: 21
  • SNP: 52

22.50 Sunderland South in: Lib Dems wipeout. Labour clear win. Not a surprise. Increase in vote share? Greens have outpolled the Lib Dems. UKIP second place. Some hope: that’s a 5% increase on 2010 for Labour. Lib Dem loss of deposit.

22.37 We’re up for the night now: I’m at a house just up the road from the count. We won’t know how accurate the exit poll is until we start getting results where they matter: places such as Nuneaton. The Lib Dem collapse in the poll looks odd: totally against the last few months of polling. Farage might have won, at the expense of Mark Reckless. SNP have near total-dominance of Scotland. Nick Clegg is gone: definitely as the leader of the Lib Dems, likely as an MP altogether.

Some hope comes in the utter jump in this poll from the hundreds done over the last few months. I can’t see the Greens get a second seat.  A gripping night ensues.

22.11 If the exit polls are accurate (they were pretty accurate in 2010) then the Tories are going to GAIN seats. Soubry will probably be safe therefore. This has put a worrying edge on the evening. I’m off to an Election Party: will be blogging live from there.

Lib Dems look like they are in real trouble: Clegg very likely to have lost his seat:Blimey. 47 seats lost.  I’ll be gone for a bit now while I travel to, and set up, at the party.


Tories: 316 Labour: 239 Lib Dem: 10 SNP: 58 Ukip: 2


We’re off in a bit. Here’s a pic from The Nottingham Post’s Political Chap, Alex Britton, of the Pearson Centre awaiting the boxes of ballot papers….


21.16: Desperation in the Soubry camp. My mole there says

… a frantic race is on to drag out every last voter. Though we’re lacking much manpower, and legs are tired! Weather put some off

The Labour camp are more upbeat, reporting record turn-out at some Beeston polling stations. On my cycle round Chilwell, Attenborough and Beeston earlier the amount of red rosettes outweighed blue massively…and I didn’t see a single yellow one.

Soubry has been spamming her mailing list throughout the day in what is becoming to look like desperation. She  has 90% of the national press, millions of campaign cash and the nasty Lynton Crosby running her campaign…and it’s being beaten by old fashioned, on the ground foot-soldiers from the red team.

21.07: Jeez Louise! We haven’t even really got started on the meat of this blog, and we’ve already had nearly 2,000 hits off 718 separate readers. That’s 5.14138817481 Soubry majorities read by 1.84575835476  Soubry majorities worth of people.

21.00 We’re into the last hour of voting now. Not voted? THEN STOP READING THIS BLOODY BLOG AND GET YOUR LAZY ARSE DOWN TO A POLLING STATION.

There I feel better now.



20.07 Earlier, I saw the first frog ever in my new pond. Just now, I found a lottery scratchcard in an old notepad and, on scraping off the silver, won £15. Are the gods smiling on me today? Will Soubry be off back to Mapperley in a few hours?

20.02: Tweet of the day so far: Can you do better? Send in your best spots! (cheers to David for use).


20.00: I’ll be clocking onto the night shift properly around 11pm. Between then and now, we’ll get the first exit polls come out, which might give a general indication of the pattern we’ll see develop later.

I’ll be with you through the night (which makes me sound a bit like a nerdy Barry White) guiding you through the results, and how they apply here. The first results in, from constituencies in Sunderland where the Labour support is so strong they don’t count the result, merely weigh it, will be due in earlier. They won’t be very indicative, but Nuneaton  a key marginal will declare at 1am and likely to show how far Labour have managed to encroach into the Tory vote. If it swings to Labour, things look very bleak for Soubry.

1950: Most enigmatic sign seen around the country today:

photo (1)

(cheers to Colin for the tip).

1941: Voting done. ‘Don’t vote for him!’ the teller outside says, pointing at the incumbent councillor, Eric Kerry. I’m about to reply ‘I won’t be’ when she points at the blue rosette and says ‘vote for me instead’. An interesting bit of late campaigning, there.

Into town, and a tour of a few of the polling stations. Tellers from all parties inform me that after a slow start, numbers are really picking up. This is due to two factors: good weather and people knocking off work. If one wants to get into the minutiae of voting, these both benefit Labour. Retired voters, who can stroll up to the polling station at any time, are more likely to vote Conservative, while people of working age are more Labour inclined.

It still amazes me that we vote on a weekday. Surely to improve turnout, a weekend day?

1706: I’m off to vote, and have a look round Beeston. Keep sending stuff over, and while you’re there, please take a second to sign this: whoever wins in Broxtowe, we want them to address the unfair local government settlement – the worst in the country – that Broxtowe received under the stewardship of Anna Soubry:

We’ll be presenting it to the winner of the election, whoever that might be.

15.52 Of all the days it could happen: Chief Executive of Broxtowe Borough Council Ruth Hyde reports a bizarre occurrence:


14.50 You may have missed this: an edition of the BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight, recorded in Beeston and Stapleford (which is described as ‘a little village’. Sorry, neighbours!). A good conversation with some folk musicians, and perhaps one of the most bizarre interviews ever with a UKIP voter, Neil Humphry, who got rid of his parrot because of the threat of HS2 (‘ obviously, we’ve had to take the strategic move and get him rehoused today…’). Bonkers. (skip to about 17 minutes in for the full piece)

1448PM: Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun, has come out for Soubry. Of course he has. She too has led a spiteful, negative campaign just like his paper. Murdoch and Soubry are made for each other…

1410PM: What are the polls saying? The national mood is tighter than ever before, with most pollsters showing a tie. Although more people say they will vote Labour, most polls weight down several points to reflect the sad fact that Labour voters are more likely to say they’ll vote, than actually vote. You have another variable  factored in: Silent Tories. Many Tories simply don’t like admitting the fact they vote Conservative, so refuse to tell pollsters. Why? Well, guess away. This also may see UKIP poll better than the dulled expectations after a limp campaign: though tactical voting may see this factor wiped out. The pollsters simply don’t know. The problem with psephology is the irrationality of the public: people are chaotic creatures who simply won’t behave in ways rationality wishes – a factor that makes economics such a indefinite science.

Locally, Soubry’s vote dropped nine points from 39 to 30 within months of taking office. It has stagnated there, suggesting the anti-Labour swing voter have left her en masse. In constituency polling a year ago, Labour were 14 points ahead. This fell to a lead of 9 points in August, but with Soubry not gaining whatsoever. UKIP and the Greens were the benefactors instead, but it’s likely that the support for these parties have wavered since: while the Greens are robust, with the much-vaunted surge giving them a filip this year;  UKIP support peaked in Autumn and has been in slow decline since.

ash croft

You want a prediction? Do I look like Mystic Meg? Well, nationally, I have no idea. Locally, I cautiously think Palmer will get it, perhaps with a four-figure majority. The ground-war Labour have waged here has been huge: and Palmer has wisely put himself front and centre. The Tories have tried to muster troops, but the problem of finding candidates has exposed some fundamental problems with their campaign. A senior Tory strategist has told me that resources that were previously ear-marked for Soubry have been diverted to Loughborough and Nicky Morgan, a far bigger scalp than our own minister. I haven’t seen local canvassing results, but the confidence in the Labour camp seems genuine. Soubry’s last few media appearances have sounded resigned, valedictory; as if she knows that it is over. Although this could be a savvy move to try and appeal to the sympathetic voter with an underdog appeal.

We’re 14 hours away from finding out.

13.30PM: A reader sends me an email, which he’s agreed to let me publish. A former Tory , on why he’ll be changing the habit of a lifetime and voting Labour:

Good morning.
So sorry to read that you are going into retirement. I found your blog a few years ago and have kept me “entertained” and informed ever since.
Myself – I am/was a conservative, a child of the 70’s swept along by “Maggie’s dream” only to find out that the bar stewards were in it for themselves. I try to support our local Foodbank with food donations a few times a year. For me, that is the biggest yard-stick to how our society has re-evolved back to Victorian times.
I still find voting a challenging action, as I still retain some conservative values, but with a bigger social awareness.
But I know one thing – Nick Palmer was a great constituency MP last-time, we discussed many issues over email and he always respected my views and my stance that I could never vote for him as he was “Labour”.
Today I take the “never” back. He will get my vote today, and I hope we see the last of Soubry.
Best wishes – Tim “Ry Lander” J

12.40 PM: A Labour candidate tells me he is disgruntled by the weather, as he’s outside all day. ‘Things can only get wetter’, he tells me.

12.30PM: Hallams in Beeston are getting in on the election fever: hallamshallams2

 12 NOON: It’s here! I’ve had a countdown clock on this  blog for 5 years, and finally it says TODAY. The polls are open, the tellers are telling, the vote counters stretching their fingers over what could be a very long night.

I will be writing throughout the day, for an estimated 16 hours. Don’t expect an update every minute – I do have a real job to be getting on with – but I’ll be posting the odd snippet and news as it comes in.

You won’t get a separate notification every time I post: that would be spamming you immensely. Instead, I will be using this page alone to give you a running commentary. Keep it on your browser, and ‘refresh’ here and there to check updates. If you follow me on Twitter, I’ll be updating on there when I can’t get to my laptop, check out @beeestonia for that.

I’m off to vote now. Who for? Well, I probably won’t surprise you on that one. While not, as rumours persist, in the pay of Labour, they will get my vote today. This is more on the strength of the candidate, the inclusive, caring hard-working Nick Palmer, rather than the Labour Party, that I still have some issues with.

I considered Green: and on meeting with their David Kirwan on a few occasions, including a Cafe Roya Film Club he gave a moving speech at about his life with HIV Aids + LGBTQ rights, and he has impressed me as a candidate. I won’t be voting for him, however, but I hope with all my heart he goes on to play a part in Broxtowe politics over the coming years.

As some of you may know, I have a couple of family standing here: my wife in Beeston North and my mother in Bramcote, for Labour and the Tories respectively. While I haven’t talked to, or wish to talk to, my mother, I wish her well, even though she stands for a party that espouses everything I abhor. My wife is the most kind, dedicated, bright and utterly selfless person I have ever met (the last pretty essential for being married to me), and I hope she does well. If she doesn’t get elected, then I’d publicly like to state that I am immensely proud of her, and the way she has been getting up at dawn every morning and collapsing in after dark, dedicating herself so thoroughly to the cause ( and spending a chunk of the hours between helping to

Don't call her Lady Beestonia... her title is real and worked for...

Don’t call her Lady Beestonia… her title is real and worked for…

design cancer-busting drugs). I met her a couple of months after the last election, and she has been the best thing to ever happen to me; and a huge support in keeping this blog, and all the crazy things it has led to, tootling along with support, advice and not minding when I wake up at 3am shouting ‘I HAVE TO WRITE’ and disappear into my office for several hours. Ellie Turpin, thank you. Love you to bits.

Smushiness over. Resume your usual seating position.

Right, I’m off to vote. It’s chucking it down with rain, but sod it. We have a Soubry to remove.


Much has been made of the apparent apathy of first time voters. In an election where they have been effectively written out of the manifestos, Andrew Tucker gives us some insight in this remarkably perceptive piece:

andrew tuckjer

Hello! My name’s Andrew Tucker, Beeston/Nottingham/Broxtowe born and bred, I’m a first year undergrad in English at KCL, singer in an unsigned band (IVORYSERFS) and in the grand scheme of British society I am nobody yet. In fact, few

IVORY SERFS in action.

IVORY SERFS in action.

people my age are seemingly important. Yet. If you keep reading you’ll begin to spot a theme here and I hope I don’t bludgeon you around the head with it too heavily. Maybe a sharp written poke to the navel will suffice. Regardless, Suzanne Moore in The Guardian has bemoaned the lack of truly ‘youthful’ voices in the election and I felt I had to write something, as I have both a: some opinions and b: the means to write them down, which seem to be the two prerequisites of having a voice, and, if you pay attention only to traditional media, more than anyone under around twenty-five has done. I’ll try to rein myself in but I feel strongly about this. I hope you’ll forgive any deranged lapses into incoherency if they’re tempered by strong feelings. I’ll try to keep it together:

I am twenty years old. This generation – my generation – is getting a short shrift. We have been grandly misperceived, grossly underestimated and grotesquely patronised for far too long. They say a week is a long time in politics. If we subscribe to this idiom, it stands that five years is an aeon. This May’s election will deliver five years’ worth of new voters to the ballot boxes, not that you’ll have heard about it.

What kind of voters are these, you ask? We certainly don’t hear much about them, not enough to build a mental profile beyond the typical face-glued-to-phone image, at any rate. Are these new voters just the precocious few who manage to clamber out of the pool of ignorance that common parlance would have all youngsters flailing in?

Perhaps it’s all true. Perhaps while the real grown-ups bicker over The Deficit, we’re the demographic mired in our attention-deficits; perhaps while the Natural Leaders of the country decide who does and does not get to eat in food bank Britain, we take needlessly beatified pictures of meals and share them on Instagram to inspire jealousy. Yes, after all, perhaps we’re all just self-obsessed. I’ve certainly spoken to a few people of my age who, faced with a political status quo that chooses to present itself opaquely – to cover itself with a custodial veil – choose unhelpfully to withdraw into themselves, saying (I paraphrase for brevity’s sake): ‘why would we engage with politics when it doesn’t engage with us?’.

Politicians know older people vote. That’s why so many policies in this year’s manifestos pander to them, often at the expense of younger people, as our voting levels dwindle.This is, fairly or not, why politics doesn’t engage with us. As I know, as many like me know, however, it’s our generation that has to make the first move in this societal eco-system. Not everyone my age understands that, but it doesn’t make them apathetic – at least, not in the way they’re painted. You see, apathy has two causes: the first is lack of concern, care, interest – this is how we, the youth vote, are frequently tarnished. The second form of apathy, however, is the inner supposition that one has no faculty to influence the outcome of external events. Well I posit this: the prevailing meme held about us by those in their advancing years is in essence a category error. Those of us that refrain to vote do so not because they don’t care but because they care and feel they are without power to act on this care.

Can you blame them? In 2010, when I was fourteen, many who are now about to vote for the first time cleggleswitnessed something that even we knew was unprecedented. It seems difficult to even conceptualise ‘Cleggmania’ now, as we see that deflated avatar of ‘change’ make gesticulations of emptiness to a base of nobody. Mania hints at what it was though – after the inaugural British TV debate, the Lib Dems’ polling shot up astronomically. He was literally (literally in the original sense) an overnight sensation. A Guardian headline soon after read: ‘Nick Clegg – the British Obama?’

Imagine the baby-faced first-time voters then. In the shadow of a Great Recession and given a supposedly binary choice between the withered, wrinkled, idealistically hollow Labour Party and, er… the Tories. Suddenly the Lib Dems’ incredibly progressive manifesto and Clegg’s apparently fresh buoyancy were intoxicating to a great many young people; inspiring, worth investing hope in. My past equivalents –the electoral virgins of five years ago – were jubilant and voted for the Lib Dems in their droves.

Everyone saw what happened next. We knew we’d be at university with a new tuition fee of nine grand a year, leaving many of us with over £50,000 of debt post-university. It affected my generation more than anyone perhaps yet knows. Most were too young to protest, but we looked on: first time voters bought into idealism and left short-changed. All it did was confirm in many young people’s heads two things: our leaders are dishonest, British democracy is not for you.

Five years on now and another party has captured the hearts of young people more than any other. The Greens have made waves and are in many ways the embodiment of the sensitive, concerned millennial with their attitudes regarding social equality, environmental prioritisation and confronting vested interests. I personally won’t be voting for them for reasons I won’t detail, but they do have my unashamed support (and hey, older folk, you’re not excluded. Remember when the energy companies used to be a national asset?).

The ‘Green Surge’, as it’s quickly come to be known (polls put them on 11% this January) has happened greensurgeonly with the aid of new forms of media, social sites like Facebook being an imperative pillar. Yet there is a perception that information disseminated via social media is by definition inherently of a diminished standard and politically ineffective – just juvenilia for adolescent minds so they can convince themselves they’re playing a part in democracy, while actually knowing nothing about the world.

Well, we certainly have a different perspective on the world around us, at least. When we’re middle-aged in, say, 2045, we will have to live with the imploding or imploded ecological and economic systems our preceding generations have gifted us, (along with the admittedly numerous positive institutions), as our inheritance. Yet when I talk to older people they often categorise support for the Greens as naïve idealism for the political illiterates. They say: ‘Yes, but when you’re older…’

I want to ask them this in return: how easy is it distinguish between the achievement of maturity – i.e. realising that a vast positive societal overhaul is silly and unreachable, settling down and proselytising instead about self-interest, voting in subtly different shades rather than boldly different hues – and, simply, losing the fire in one’s belly?

Even if the older crowd has given up on progress – and I’m far from sure that they all have – well, we have plenty of fire left. What has been mistaken for a mountain of political apathy is in actuality a dormant dragon, a colossal curled hydra possessing the sheer kinetic energy required to sweep away thirty-six years of neoliberal wastage. If you’ll pardon the melodramatic metaphor.

So: we might seem mute to you now, but that’s in part because our ideas are quickly shot down as naiveté Russell Brandand in part because we have no purchase in traditional media. We might seem disengaged and uncaring, and some of us are, but for logical reasons. That can and will change in the years to come. We might even watch Russell Brand’s Youtube channel, but we’re not star-struck morons who take him as an information-age Che Guevara. We’re capable of parsing what’s useful and what isn’t. We take his prompts about TTIP but, if comments below his series are anything to go by, we’ll sure as hell be ignoring his calls not to vote.

So: watch out. We may be vulnerable to impulses of instant gratification; we’re also the first generation that grew up with all the information in the world at our instant beck-and-call. We may seem detached, aloof and disconnected from the world; remember that we’re the first generation raised with the ability to communicate, convey ideas and spread our points of view in the blink of an eye. We’re prematurely cynical but we’re full of hope. And we’re about to be enfranchised.

The dormant dragon looks asleep; maybe it is asleep. But perhaps its eyes are merely closed in meditation, perhaps it’s been quietly taking everything in, mulling it over, realising its incredible potency, testing its ideas. And when it gets up, well then…Andrew Tucker


One day left!

Tempus Fugit. The pitch has risen to shrieking now, as the campaigns reach their climax. The national press, which is ran by a bunch of non-doms, bigots and tax-shirkers, is in full force. Anything goes. So desperate are they to keep Miliband miliout, even that old scare-mongering classic, the Evil Jews, has been employed by The Sun, who keep blasting away on the ‘North London Intellectual, eh? Eh? Eating bacon? Eh? EH?’ dog whistle till they are Tory-blue in the face.

Even The Independent, once the bastion of centrist journalism, has come out in a tortuously written editorial for the coalition (not explicitly the Tories, I best add). Why? Is there any connection with the fact it’s proprietors, the father and son duo Alexander and Ebgeny Lebedev, Russian Oligarchs who are desperate to cosy up to Boris Johnson: even flying him out to their palace in Italy’s Umbrian hills. The newsroom at the Indy are unsurprisingly livid at being forced to take this line. Traditional media’s takes another lurch towards the void of outright propaganda.

The polls hold strong though. Whether this is the result of the way social media has become as important as print since the last election, or just that people can see through these attacks and smears for what they are, I don’t know. The misjudgment the Tories have made is that the public aren’t like them, they aren’t bullies, they aren’t nasty, Christ, they don’t even find chasing foxes around on horses and ripping cubs from vixens wombs appealing, the weirdos! The Tories have a huge problem in that they can’t win elections anymore: their last majority was 1992. Their core membership is dying off, and not being repopulated from the young. These nasty attacks further alienate themselves from the electorate.

Here in Broxtowe, desperation takes other guises. A flood of claims gush on a torrent of leaflets, and it looks like some people haven’t let truth stand in the way of a claim.

Politicians lie: that’s a given. Yet it’s a little known fact that during election time, it’s illegal to do so. Not against regulations: illegal, a criminal matter. I’ve been hearing of several cases where the police have been called in. Over in Stapleford, a group of Lib Dems pretending to not be Lib Dems have formed a party called ‘Stapleford Alliance’, and after not correctly including imprints on their posters, seem to have committed offence. My sources in Stapleford inform me that the police are already involved.

Closer to home, a prominent Lib Dem is falsely claiming in his leaflets that his wife is a sitting councillor. This is demonstrably untrue, and he too looks like having his collar felt soon. The Lib Dems themselves have been hit by a Tory smear, David Watts reporting in his newsletter today that he has seen

a leaflet this week from the Tories containing a very strong and nasty attack against me personally. Let me assure you that it is a lie. (It’s also a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act but I won’t get bogged down with that at the moment.) What they are purporting to quote was a comment on an internal council email (so they are riding a coach and horses through the councillors code of conduct by doing that as well)

It looks like the police are going to be having a busy week once the dust has settled.


Soubry HATES tactical voting, and makes great huffs about voting for the party you believe in. Except when it suits her, ofukip course. Unfortunately, UKIP can’t stand the Soubz, after she bollocked Farage on Question Time, and claimed on tv that Farage was a man who enjoyed having a finger up his arse.


Anna Soubry decided that rather than chat policy on Twitter, she’d talk about my family. I’m not quite sure to what end, but it’s very odd and quite unsavoury. Seems to have sunk like a stone with the electorate as well, with people responding in disgust at her. Frothing Tory activist (and partner of Broxtowe Tory leader, Richard Jackson) waded in, claiming somethign about ‘threatening to sue me’. Could this be the last time I hear that before I retire from politics? Or would any other Tories like to wade in to take the accolade? Maybe make it look official, a solicitors letter or something? Possibly sue me for ‘liable’ (thanks for that, Steve Carr)? You have just a couple of days left, or I retire after seven years of writing without a single threat being carried out, or a single word retracted. Perhaps best to stick to endorsing the bullying of ‘frail ladies’, Sally. Softer targets.


Anna stuck out her final communique today, and included a  rather interesting list of why you should vote for Anna. I’ve made a few notes:

1. I give a straight answer to a straight question, have worked hard as your MP and have got things done. You certainly do. You told the Royal Mail to ‘fuck off’ when they asked you not to sell them off to Osborne and Cables mates. You called a constituent a ‘liar’ in public. There are numerous times when serious issues put to you have been either

(Soubry later admitted that she had failed to reply, but refused to retract the insult)

(Soubry later admitted that she had failed to reply, but refused to retract the insult)

outright ignored, or responded to with a terse email refusing to help / stock response. You have got little done here. A couple of PR heavy cases, but loads ignored, or done with such a half-heart you might not have bothered. You have, however, ‘got things done’ in the Conservative Party: sacrificing proper constituency representation for a nice ministerial job and the perks that come with that.

2. I have and will continue to campaign to defend our Green Belt land.


Broxtowe Coat of Arms before Anna took power…

Demonstrably untrue: although creating a lot of bluster about this, you were pro selling off the nation’s forests, and a recent independent legal case found that your challenge to Broxtowe Borough Council was utterly groundless, and that the plans they had made did the least amount of harm. The government that foisted these plans on Broxtowe? Err, the one you’re part of Anna. Your meetings with Eric Pickles, how come you left empty handed? Any connection to the promotion you got soon after? Or the rumours of your elevation to the House of Lords? Your defence of Toton’s greenbelt is amazingly duplicitous: rather than save the greenbelt, you want it to be saved so a huge industrial

...and five years on. Bears! Beware!

…and five years on. Bears! Beware!

estate serving HS2 can be built instead. Maybe they’ll paint the chimneys green. Your voting record on green issues, such as voting for the failed badger cull; and voting against joining with Europe in banning bee-killing neonictonids is also telling. Green you ain’t.

3. I have stood up for residents, commuters and businesses badly affected by the tram works and I have won compensation for traders. Demonstrable bollocks. The County Council Tories, endorsed by Anna, rejected a compensation scheme for those affected by the tram in a 2008 motion. When the Council changed to Labour, she demanded that they pay up: despite the fact that, errr, they already were setting up a scheme. Anna probably has got the issue on the table a couple of times, after all that’s what she’s paid to do, but her actual usefulness compared to her claims is striking.

4. I am a passionate supporter of our great town centres and want to continue the job of rejuvenating them. Again, bollocks, at least in Beeston. She has refused to attend any of the Beeston Continuum / Civic Society public meetings on the future of the town, where she could have been of genuine help. Instead, she moaned about them from the sidelines, claiming she ‘wasn’t invited’ to meetings. Public meetings. Clue in the name Anna. Open to the public. I know it demeans you to think of yourself as one of us, but technically, you are. Instead, she has chosen to use the Ranting Rooms to talk osborneabout Beeston: the same rooms that don’t take dissent, and rip apart anyone who steps out of line, banning them then wallowing in a group hate once they can’t answer back. A group that has done more to try and divide this town than a tram line could ever do. Unsurprisingly, she recruited a bunch of her paper candidates from here, including that lovely chap who was reported to the police for threatening to bring a rifle to a council meeting. Anna hates Broxtowe. That’s why she only moved here when she absolutely had to…despite promising us it was the first thing she’d do when elected.

5. I have supported the Coalition Government that has laid down the foundations of a sound economy, creating hundreds of jobs locally and a record number of apprenticeships. Another five years will enable us to continue the recovery – so we have the great public services, like the NHS. Again, bollocks. We have an economy that is hugely vulnerable: George Osborne has borrowed more in five years than Labour did in 13, and the National debt is now well past a trillion – up from that they inherited. Growth has been stagnant, compared to strong green shoots in 2010, and the promise to ‘pay down the deficit’ wasn’t honored: only a third of it has been paid back, an appalling record.  As for public services, prepare to see them all but disappear. Broxtowe received the worst local government settlement in the country, and will see horrific cuts on local services. We have people in this country queuing for foodbanks, despite being in work: the standard of living has fell for everyone but the most wealthy. To spare her banker friends responsible for the 2008 financial crash, Soubry has been complicit in the demonisation and rabidly nasty pauperisation of the most vulnerable. We have a society with the greatest among of inequality since before the war.

As for the NHS, it is in intensive care itself right now. The Tories are doing a classic trick to soften it being sold off,

copyright Steve Bell, The Guardian.

copyright Steve Bell, The Guardian.

piecemeal: running it down by starving funding  (not always directly: by cutting local authority funding for social services, the NHS has no choice but to become a glorified care home); then selling off chunks claiming only private money can save it. As a former health minister, Anna will no doubt be soon sitting on the board of one of the profit-driven firms looking to steal what is ours.


Keep the tips, gossip and pics coming in ( as we head deep into the endgame….




I now have my insider at the count, so will be blogging on Thursday from 10pm onwards. The result for Broxtowe will be announced at an estimated 4am, but I’ll be keeping an eye on other interesting local seats such as Erewash (declaring around 3am); Loughborough ( 3am); Gedling (3am); Ashfield (am); before that, with contributions from other bloggers specifically covering these counts. Sherwood, a marginal with an even narrower gap than Broxtowe, declares around 5am, so hopefully I’ll still be up to detail Mark Spencer’s defeat.

I’ll also be giving insights and anything of interest from around the UK, by spending the night / morning glued to a combo of Twitter, the telly and my inbox.

For convenience, rather than write a new blog with every update, I’ll be using one blog post which I will update when news comes in. Have this open on your computer, and hit refresh now and again, and they’ll magically appear. I’ll also post on Twitter @beeestonia – note the triple ‘e’ – when I can.

I’ll actually be at a party just round the corner from the count: I’ll be the nerd in the corner tapping at the keyboard while everyone else parties heartily.

We’re hoping to be able to break the result faster than any other news source, possibly before it is announced on TV.  Our mole will be gauging opinion, making predictions and generally doing what I should be doing if it wasn’t for the fact counts are like war :  interminable boredompunctuated by moments of terror’.

The count for the Borough elections will take place the following morning, with results expected to drib and drab in around early afternoon. I won’t be covering this in much detail – a guys got to sleep, y’know – but will get a summary up at some point, and try and provide an analysis on what this will mean for Broxtowe over the next few years.

Then that’s it. I’ll be moving on from politics and with any luck, Soubry’s awful reign in Broxtowe. Unless there is another bloody election, that is…


Its a strange job, blogging. I’ve been doing it for seven or so years now, with an audience base of zero when I posted my first piece. Blogging back them was just coming out of it’s rather nerdy youth, not helped by it’s awful portmanteau name that makes it sound like a vaguely obscene thing which leaves your clothes in good need of a wash.

Since then, their growth has risen exponentially to the decline of traditional media, with sites such as The Huffington Post, Political Scrapbook and Guido Fawkes becoming hugely influential and challenging the disintegrating ‘old media’.


Me, Christmas Day, 2014

Beestonia is in no way in the league of these big hitters, not even close. We get around 8-10,00 readers a week during times such as elections, which i’m pleased with although it sometimes spooks me. When I was hospitalised over Christmas the subsequent piece, the readership was such that strangers stopped me on the street to ask how my innards were. It was lovely, and thank you for doing so, but I started to feel like a bizarre abdominal flasher, rolling up my top to show my scars at little prompting.

It’s therefore strange that, as the readership here increases, my writings get more read and disseminated, and when I seem to be having a greater effect on the local scene than ever before. I’m quitting.

I’m not quitting altogether. To quote our local anti-conservative literary hero, Lord Byron ‘If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad’. I will continue to write, and still use this place to host it. Politics may make the odd cameo role: as its something that underpins everything else, it would be crazy to studiously exorcise it from each article.

Politics is draining. It’s also the best way to make enemies. I can’t count the amount of times people have tried to sue me, including Soubry and her partner on many occasions – yet not one has ever taken me to court, and I have not backed down on a single word. It’s the thing they hate most in journalism: actually writing the truth.

I’ve had several threats of violence aimed at me for having a view. I’ve had people attack my family, print my address, , threat1make accusations that I work for people I don’t work for, attempt to get me sacked from my freelance work, send false communications in my name, make anonymous sweary phonecalls and much much more. I’m ripped apart by the baying mobs of the Ranting Room, as Soubry and Carr whip up the nasty hounds that populate that place.

Soubry has polluted discourse. She has made Beeston more divided than it has ever been. Issues such as Green belt, the Tram, Beeston’s developmental future, and so on have been hijacked from rational debate into the realms of partisanship. Instead of trying to work together to mitigate against the tram works; to carve Beeston a better future from development; to protect our greenbelt in the most kind way against central government-imposed housing demands, Soubry has tried to split us, to divide and conquer.

She has done whatever she can to carry out this strategy: consort with known local nazis, lie to parliament about our postal

Soubry grimacing as Royal Mail staff deliver a postcard begging her not to vote for privatisation. She voted for privatisation.

Soubry grimacing as Royal Mail staff deliver a postcard begging her not to vote for privatisation. She voted for privatisation.

workers, lie about her support for those affected by the tram (her party voted AGAINST County Council financial support in 2008 budget, a stance she fervently endorsed. She’s slagged off the local paper because it had the temerity to ask other politicians to talk to it.

The Rant Room has been a gift to her. despite it’s abusive nature, it’s way of attacking individuals who dare say something they don’t like, it’s way of banning anyone who steps out of the rigid anti line and tries to introduce rationality, Soubry has used it to her advantage to whip up hate, lay down false narratives, create an atmosphere of division and paranoia.

Beeston is better than this.

This is her miscalculation. She might see us as just the inconvenient thing she has to occasionally acknowledge as she climbs up the ministerial ladder, but we’re better than that. We’re better than her.

By desperately selecting a huge chunk of the ranting room to stand as paper candidates in the locals, she’s alienated a chunk of her core vote: the polite, one-nation Tories, those who aren’t particularly dogmatic, don’t like the appalling tone of rhetoric being spouted on her favourite site and definitely don’t like the way bullying is encouraged.

There are decent Tories. While I will never agree on their politics, I have met many who really do seem to have the best

Nasty, hectoring MP.

Nasty, hectoring MP.

interest of Beeston at heart. I’ve chatted to a couple over the last two weeks who have impressed me with the way they are so unlike Soubry: wanting to work with people should they be elected, not judge as either ‘friend’ or ‘lefty who must be fought’. If they are elected, I hope they continue to act in this way.

Yet until then, Soubry, in line with the vast majority of the press, continue to spout nastiness, fear paranoia. Building on the central theme of Orwell’s 1984, they know that whoever controls the history, controls the future. False narratives develop. Here’s a few:

  • The 2008 Financial crash was caused by Labour profligacy / immigarion pressures / the poor. The truth: there was a worldwide financial crash caused by the bankers that now do everything to prop up the Tories so they can be shielded from blame.
  • Immigration is draining our resources, hurting the NHS and causing the housing crisis: The truth: immigration  has a net financial benefit for Britain, in both cash and soft-power. While I was in hospital, the only immigrants I saw were the ones who changed my dressings, operated on me, cleaned the ward floor and propped up the system. The NHS is in need of money, not ‘protection’ from immigrants. The housing crisis is a result of the baby boomers being propped up by successive governments who have created an economy that is asset rich, cash light, thus denying anyone born after the Sixties to struggle to ever own a home.
  • The tram is an evil Labour project to divide a town: The Truth: its a central government infrastructure project to relieve the growing congestion across the A52 corridor,  greenlit by the Tories and had Soubry as an avid backer until she flip-flopped massively when she thought it might win her votes.
  • A Leftish Coalition of Green, Labour and SNP will bring down Britain: The most likely thing to bring down Britain as a union is a right wing coalition, one that alienates Scotland for having the balls to vote for what it wanted; a coalition that would take in the homophobic, religious nuts of the DUP and the frothing idiots of UKIP – whose call for a referendum on EU membership will allow Scotland to leave the UK to preserve it’s place in the EU.
  • AUSTERITY IS NECESSARY TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT: The Truth: any economist will tell you that austerity doesn’t create growth, but stifles it. Our national debt is now much, much higher than it was in 2010, and the deficit that the Tories promised to eliminate is still there. It has shrank by a third, however: this only began 2 years ago when some of the austerity measures were LIFTED. The austerity programme is little more than to sell what is ours: Royal Mail, The NHS etc; to private companies and individuals, who return the favour with lavish donations to Cameron and co.

I write to challenge these narratives, with the tiny bit of influence I have. But to do so makes you a target for every bit of spite and malice the right can throw. Yet why do they not challenge the REAL problem of political discourse in this country. As I pointed out on Facebook earlier today:

On Thursday, Rupert Murdoch wants you to vote Conservatives. Rupert Murdoch, a man who doesn’t pay a penny in Uk tax, hacks dead children’s phones and has done more to pollute public discourse than anyone before him.
On Thursday, Lord Rothmere (owner of The Mail) wants you to vote Conservative. Lord Rothmere, a man who doesn’t pay a penny of tax in the UK (he lives here, but registered as a non-dom), and uses his titles to spread hate, fear, paranoia with a slice of xenophobia, misogony and homophobia.
On Thursday, The Barclay Brothers, owners of The Telegraph, want you to vote Conservative. The Barclays, who don’t pay a penny in uk tax (they live as exiles in the Channel Isles). The Barclays, who use their newspaper to further their businesses and threaten any journalist who suggests printing actual news might be preferable.
On Thursday, Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Star, wants you to vote Conservative. Desmond , who made his name, and still runs, a huge empire of pornography channels; a bilionaire who avoidss tax by channeling his cash out of the UK, gets his papers to write purposely racist false stories to whip up hate and has some seriously worrying connections to organised crime.

Why do you think they want you to vote Conservative? Why are they whipping up fear, forcing down your neck a false narrative on everything from immigration to the economy? Do they care about you?

We need to rid ourselves of the Tories, and their pernicious backers, this Thursday. Broxtowe – Britain – deserves better.

I hope that someone has the will to pick up where I left off. If they want help setting up, and how to manage a site:  please get in touch. It’s vital we have alternative voices fighting against the lies of austerity. But for me, I’m planning on a good, long lie down after the election, and see if there is any traction in my idea for a novel based around a man and his love of amphibians.


Next up is David Watts. Watts is a regular to these pages his less-than-honest, aggressive style matches his football allegiance to Leeds United perfectly; and similarly makes for good copy.

His political career now looks over, after reaching a high in 2010 when he proclaimed himself the other horse in a two horse race to be the next MP for Broxtowe. Privately, it seems Lib Dem Central Office had briefed him to get 20%, which he failed to do. Still, he persisted with the lie that he was in with a chance, and ushered in the dreadful rein of Soubz as a result. 

He then went to stand in Newark in a by-election, where he was briefed to not lose his deposit. He lost his deposit, and racked up the worst post-war Lib Dem by-election result in history.

Rumour that Watts is standing in Skeggy for the ice cream have not yet been substantiated.

Rumour that Watts is standing in Skeggy for the ice cream have not yet been substantiated.racked up the prestigious title of ‘Worst Post-war Performance of a Liberal Candidate’. I think a medal was struck. He also failed in taking a seat at the County elections, despite assuring me in an interview a week before it was ‘in the bag’.

He’s now on an equally pointless mission up in Skegness fighting to take the seat there, against a UKIP battle. Again, it’s looking likely that he will lose another £500 in deposit money for the Lib Dems.

His career locally, as Borough councillor for Bramcote, looks perilously close to being over: with the popular, avuncular Stan Heptinstall retiring, Watts is hugely exposed: he narrowly scraped the seat in 2011. Desperation makes desperate men do desperate things, and Watts, not a gent too attached to the truth, has lashed out at me. With the Lib Dems best hope for a glimmer of hope on Thursday snubbed out in neighbouring Ashfield with the resignation of Jason Zadrozney after he was arrested on allegations relating to child sex abuse, they are now in utter disarray, and it shows.

Let’s get some back-story here. Over the last few weeks, I had a few bits of correspondence sent over with people asking if the Bramcote Today website was ran by a political party. I didn’t think so, as I’ve always found it a pretty useful thing to read and, while it does post up political stuff, it’s third party hosting of politicians newsletters, rather than editorial. 

However, several posts directly from one of the editors, on the subject of the SNP (who, last time I checked, aren’t standing candidates here) drew that into question. Utterly nothing to do with Bramcote, they were clearly a case of editorial being influenced by political bias.

They also refused to host comments made by Independent Stapleford Councillor Richard MacRae that criticised David Watts: on the rather bizarre grounds that Watts might sue. This is an inversion of editorial code, the presumption of guilt before a comment is hosted.

Again, I don’t have a problem with that. Be political all you want, if that’s your choice. I am, after all, and biased to the left. I am, however, independent, running this site entirely from my own pocket. Not so Bramcote Today.

A chunk of their funding comes from Lib Dem councillors, via what is known as the County Divisional fund. This is a dollop

of cash given to each County Councillor to spend on community projects: charities, youth initiatives, etc. As it is taxpayer money, these funds cannot be allocated for anything with a party political bent. This would be gross misappropriation. 

I don’t think there is a grand conspiracy, more a misunderstanding of the rules. I have corresponded with the editors that run Bramcote Today, and they have written back explaining that editorial independence is very important to them, etc. They didn’t answer why recent editorials were running lines that favour the Lib Dems.

There are many precedents here. The ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column in Private Eye has many cases of all parties misappropriating funds to campaign, with the Lib Dems perhaps the most frequently highlighted. It would be a shame if Bramcote Today was hijacked, either wittingly or unwittingly, by a party line consistent with elements of their funding. A great community resource would be tainted.

Yet David Watts was FURIOUS I even questioned this. He launched attacks on me not by emailing me to discuss it rationally, but by using a mix of piss, vinegar and misinformation to make his case. He lied about my political motivation – calling me a ‘Labour Party Activist’ -without a shred of the irony that being called a person that  parties over policies by a BLOODY POLITICIAN – and when I asked him to refute the claims, he refused to reply, instead going whinging to, weirdly, Nick Palmer.

He then went to Bramcote Today in a whirl of anger, who posted up a statement he sent them attacking me, in full.

I asked Bramcote Today that, in reference to, and consistent with, their editorial policy when allowing posts that were libellous, they would remove demonstrably untrue claims made by Watt’s, as they did Richard MacRae’s critical posts a few months back . They refused. Not doing much to allay any fears there.

Watts then went on a froth on his newsletter. As this will most likely be his last one beside a valedictory one next week, it was nice to get a mention. Yet his defence of the Lib Dems / Bramcote Todays overlap shows a nerve has been touched.

Watts. If you feel anything I have said here is libellous, untrue or anything else, please stop venting spleen over the public and address me directly. Issue a writ against me. I stand by what I write. Do you stand by what you say?

I doubt you do. Watts famously got caught out telling an utter porker in the 2013 County Elections. While being interviewed while out canvassing by BBC Radio 4, he was harangued by a woman for his arrogance towards the Field Farm issue. The interview cut away, but it was clear she was pissed off with Watts.

Alex Britton, chief political writer on the Nottingham Post tweeted Watts:watts1

to which Watts smugly replied: watts2

Except there was a problem. A pretty huge problem. Here is a picture of the woman involved, taken earlier that day. She’s with her son.


Her name is Linda MacRae. She is a long term Stapleford resident, and a very nice lady: I grew up just up the road from her. That guy is Richard MacRae. Regular readers will know him as a Stapleford activist and town councillor, who has been the brunt of a huge amount of Lib Dem attacks over the years.

Not the best person to lie about, really. She wasn’t very happy with Watts after this.

But fib he did, and this really sums Watts up pretty well. A cynical, grasping, liar of a politician (unsurprisingly, he also works in law: the worst politicians always seem to have that overlap).

We will be losing a wonderful, inclusive, intelligent and genuinely caring borough councillor when Stan Heptinstall stands down on Thursday. The contrast between him and Watts could not be starker.



We enter the final week of the election with fine weather and not so fine politics. A flurry of stories come in, with some serious misdemeanors slopping out the election cauldron as certain candidates slosh it with ever more desperate stirring.

We’ll start with the Lib Dems: I have a couple of stories to unleash today of their panicked madness: a corker on David ‘Liar’ Watts will follow.

steve-carrThey are facing an existential crisis, with a wipe out at Borough level and a fight to keep their deposit on the General Election. Nationally,they look like being cut in two, and more dangerously, being seen by the people who once saw them as the nice, wooly party; as the party that happily traded principles for ministerial limos, happily working with the Tories to issue in the nastiest, most swingeing programme of class-hate ever committed in this country. Cynical careerists and the reason a growing amount of people distrust politicians.

There will be a lot of soul-searching to do. A tip to where to look for these souls: the Tories have them, y’know, in that exchange for a few years of power.

Here in Broxtowe, they’re in free-fall. In desperation, Steve Carr decided to have a word with the Tories in what he assumed to be a private forum, a Facebook group set up for Beeston Central Tories:carrjudas

Wow. Do his colleagues know about this? Does John Patrick, Lib Dem candidate for Beeston Central, know his fellow candidate is sneaking off to the Tories?

Do people planning to vote for him know he is unashamedly backing the Conservatives?

Carr isn’t much liked in the party as it is, as leaked emails have shown. When he heard these emails were being leaked, he went into a petulant strop and threatened to leave the party as he felt ‘stabbed in the back’. I know this cos that email was leaked to me too. Not a popular guy with his colleagues.

When I had a more cordial relationship with Carr, he attended a party I held. While there, he kept mentioning, relentlessly, that after he’d finished his wine he was off to the Nurseryman to meet (Broxtowe Chief Tory) Richard Jackson. I eventually rose to the bait and asked ‘So, you’re planning to join the Tories?’ I asked ‘AHA!’ he replied, gleefully ‘Who knows?’. The intention, was, it seems, was so that I went home and wrote about it, and his party would suddenly love-bomb him into staying. I didn’t write about it.

The same trick was attempted in 2013, during the County Elections. He got in touch and asked if I’d like to interview him, so I met him for a coffee on Chilwell Road and listened for an hour as he talked about how he was actually very left-wing, and how he was plotting a coup to get Tim Farron (Lib Dem Chairperson) into power and Clegg out ‘I’ll be his regional campaign manager!’ he boasted ‘What about the Clegg loyalists in the party?’ I asked, he smirked a strangely toothy grin ‘Well, they’ll be on the wrong side of me’.

As my colleague Christian, who had sat in on the interview to record the chat, and I made our way back to our desks, I asked ‘You think that was weird?’. Christian, who had sat in on about half a dozen political interviews over that fortnight agreed:’Strange man. What party is he actually in?’ . I didn’t run the interview in the end, such was it’s weirdness. Carr was miffed by this and demanded to know why. It’s the first and only time I’ve had a politician upset because I didn’t write about them. A few months later, he refused to ever talk to him again after I asked him if he thought consorting with / defending  out-and-out fascists was a noble thing to do. He threatened to sue me for ‘liable’ (sic), sent a spiteful Facebook message to my wife and had a good cry to the right-wingers on the Ranting Room.

I previously mentioned that the Lib Dems are having an existential crisis. Carr isn’t even sure who he is.



Been very busy with the Cafe Roya Film Club today, with a fantastic showing of Pride which makes you come away hating the Murdoch press and the reign of that nasty, community hating, worker hating Baroness of Evil Margaret Thatcher with renewed passion.

As such, a short one today before the final few days stories are unleashed, which I’ll just use to thank the anonymous tip off I got earlier asking if I fancied buying this

Nope. I prefer this one, y’see:thatchsoubz

.Sweet dreams, y’all…



Not the most exciting of days, as the campaigns ready themselves for the final push. I was going to head round Broxtowe on a bike checking out how the campaigns were going, but rain, an inbox that is at bursting point and a touch of laziness scuppered that.

So it’s a short one tonight, and we’ll start with a plug. The Cafe Roya Film Club I run has a great event on this Monday at 8pm: a visit from those excellent people from the Notts Alternative Film Network who wowed the crowd a few weeks back. They have collaborated with anti-fascist, pro-peace group Hope Not Hate to bring a wildly diverse programme of high-quality shorts challenging the false, right-wing narrative regarding immigration in the UK, titled F**K UKIP. They describe it thus…

We don’t like to get too political here at NAFN. But there are some things we feel strongly about, so we’ve decided to take a stance against the xenophobia we believe UKIP is promoting. And we’ve decided to combat this party’s policies right in the heart of Hockley and Beeston alongside Hope not Hate on the 4th May.

We believe UKIP’s ideas have no place in Nottingham, and that they don’t reflect the city we know and love. In fact it’s our love for Nottingham’s vibrant society which leads us not to fear immigration, but to embrace it instead. So we’re going to fight Nigel not by imitating his demagogic slogans and promises, but by showing films which tell stories that will make people think again.

Anyone who has attended a NAFN film night knows that they have an incredible knack of selecting a wonderful mix of cropped-nafn-logo-horizontalshorts: I still meet people who were at the comedy event they put on, who will give me a conspiratorial nod and say ‘Dog Judo’ as they pass.

It’s a snip at £8  AND that includes a meal cooked up by the award winning Roya herself, served at the interval. If you fancy a ticket, drop me a line at headed ‘MONDAY’ and I’ll reserve you a ticket. More info on NAFN.


What are you up to on election evening? Well, if you’re stuck in, and fancy making a night of it, then tuning in here will be a good choice.

Five years ago, I covered the 2010 election results from a front room in Loughborough, where the woman I was dating at the time lived. I had forty cigs, and enough booze to drown a lord. My mole at the count kept me busy by sneaking out to ring me from the toilets, and due to the paper-thin difference in votes and subsequent recounts, I have little memory of typing the result.

This year will be more sedate. I have got together with a bunch of bloggers in interesting constituencies to swap news as it comes in: giving some alternative insights to the culmination of months of campaigning.

If you’re at the count itself, and fancy sending me a feel of what’s going on inside, let me know at . Remember there are quite strict rules regarding behaviour at counts, so don’t go breaking those please. But an insider view would give it an extra dimension.

town-hall-medThe Borough election count will be ran the following morning, with results trickling in from around early afternoon. I’ve hardly covered the Borough in this blog, due to it’s much more juicy older brother, but the complexities of living in such a strange, politically pluralistic borough will take time to work out: at present the Council is ran by a Lib Dem /Labour ‘partnership’ (i’d explain the differences between that and a coalition in full detail, but, y’know it’s Saturday night. It’s bad enough that I’m sitting here, an ex-smoking teetotaller, tapping the minutiae of local  politics onto a laptop screen as the rest of the sane world happily marinates itself  in booze, so I’m going to spare you the complex constitutional stuff) but that could change: the Lib Dem vote seems up for grabs; though they are voracious targeted campaigners so losses might not reflect the national polls: we will see.


Keep the news, tips, and odd election communications coming in (got a couple of outrageous and demonstrably bollocks Tory ones to host up soon, when I have the stomach to re-read them). And worry not: in a week all this will be just a fading memory…



Well, nearly 5, as I have only just round to sitting down to getting this stuff on line. It’ll probably be 5 DAYS TO GO when you read this, but hey! You’re not pedants out there, are you?

Or are you? If so, and especially if you are DRIVEN UTTERLY CRAZY by INAPPROPRIATE APOSTROPHES and annaGRATUITOUS USE OF CAPITALISATION FOR EMPHASIS then the following might make your teeth itch. I myself would be a hypocrite to take this too seriously, as my repeated crime of mistaking ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ causes friends and colleagues to cry with despair. But if you’re writing a about education a the time, and how great you’ve made it, perhaps avoid publishing it and sticking it in thousands of Broxtowe letterboxes (ta for tip: @_SCHou_ ):


In other ‘there must be an election on’ news, a bizarre tweet from El Soubz:


Now, I know Anna is desperate and flailing, so recourse to trying to stir up faux-outrage for, errrr, a conversation between a married couple is huge desperation, and utterly bizarre. Is he bugging family bedrooms? If I tell my wife tonight that I don’t want to live in a Persimmon house due to the connection Soubry has with them (and the fact they have a pretty bad record of shonkiness), will I be in her next tweet ‘OMG BEESTON #LEFTIESCUM BOYCOTTING FINE UK HOUSEBUILDING INDUSTRY #HATESHOUSEZ #SCUM’? Beestonians: tonight, careful with that pillow talk. Big Soubz is listening.


Had an hour to kill yesterday. So I did this. I cannot wait till the election is over and I can get back to proper time-killers, SOUBRY DOLElike staring into space; trying to freak out my cats by playing them cat videos; or merely trying to make anagrams of Iain Duncan Smith. Which is fun even when it’s not election season. Go on. Try one. I know you will. Do it.

(If the art department at Saatchi and Saatchi are reading – hi guys! -I am free Thursdays to help out round the office, ok?)


….And Finally: Some Feel Good News.

A couple of days ago I put up a story about a guy boasting about nearly reducing an ‘very frail lady’ to tears. Tory candidates and nincompoops Adam Stockwell and Ross Bell; as well as Broxtowe Conservative activist Sally Brierly all thought this was hilarious, liking the post and the image it conjured.

There has been a rather lovely development, however, with a rather different story emerging.

The canvasser in question, a long term activist by the name of Alison Ramsey was out canvassing with three others, when they came to the guys house. There was a frank discussion, albeit rather one sided

He spoke non-stop for about 3 minutes before closing his door.  He was polite, and far from being aggressive, he apologised more than once for talking to me about a problem that he recognised was outside my control.
The only complaint I have about this gentleman’s behaviour was that he did not let me get a word in edgeways.
…but no actual tears, or anything close to. Nick Palmer, on hearing the story, figured out the people involved and got them to chat over email, where they both got on seemingly well -with differences on issues, obviously, but really well. Mr Hardy explained:
I have a lot to learn in writing my thoughts and I often revert to generalisation. ( a million miles away ) would cover any distance for example. I did originally think that I may have upset you and I am very relieved that those thoughts were unfounded. I wish you every success for he future and if you ever canvass me again please come in for a cup of tea or coffee. We don’t bite, honest.!!
Which I think is rather lovely, and all credit to Mr Hardy for writing to  Ms. Ramsey.
This is really how politics should be conducted: discussion, rationality, and debate; not the division and anger Soubry preaches, heckled on by the likes of Ross Bell, Adam Stockwell et al.
Whoever gets in next week: more or this please, less of the ranty nastiness. Beeston deserves better.