Intro from Lord Beestonia
It’s been a whirlwind couple of days since we last posted here, so forgive our slight hiatus in keeping you in the know when it comes to Broxtowe.
Corbyn came to Nottingham yesterday, inspiring the leader of the journalism course I’m doing some teaching on to turn the event into a bit of live journalistic experiences for our cohort of wannabe hacks. Cameras, mics and determination in place, we marched across town to Nottingham Castle to find a gathering crowd, including the world’s media pointing lenses at the opposition leader. Corbyn gave his usual set, throwing in those crowd pleasing bangers plus some new material he’s working on, then was mobbed by fans. As the only person in Britain not to have a strong opinion either way on Corbyn (I also occasionally like Marmite, occasionally don’t), I can say with a degree of objectiveness that in the half-dozen times I’ve covered events with Corbyn I still find it weird to see such rock-bandesque levels of fandom, especially among the young. A short time ago, any political event with a key figure -Clegg, Miliband, etc, would be stuffed full of long-term activists, grey of hair and their sensible jackets bearing the needle marks of dozens of pinned rosettes as surely as a junkie’s arms. I’d be easily in the youngest third of the audience. Not now. Whatever the result, we should at least be delighted that the young are politicised again and see the point in trying to change the world.
While I remain an agnostic, one thing I do believe in with a passion is decent journalism,
and few embody that than the thoughtful, quietly incisive Gary Gibbon, long-term political editor at Channel 4. You’ll forgive therefore my own gauche actions in introducing myself to him when I spotted him in the crowd, and having a very interesting chat with him. He even consented to a selfie, where I later noted I seem to have styled my hair in tribute to him.
In other news, we have a hustings, and we have it tomorrow! Over at Beeston Parish Church, BBC East Midland’s Political Editor Tony Roe will be chairing from 7.30pm -arrive at 7 to guarantee a seat. More details here.
ELECTION SPECIAL CANDIDATE ISSUE 3: GREG MARSHALL, LABOUR
By Faith Pring
As the general election quickly approaches, we’ve put another Broxtowe candidate in the hot seat, this time the spotlight is on Labour’s Greg Marshall.
Greg first joined the Labour party in the early 1990s after being raised in a Labour household which apparently influenced him to maintain an active role within politics.
“I was influenced by that, but you have to make your own decisions. My sister had exactly the same upbringing as I did and she’s not heavily involved in politics, so you make your own choices and see things you want to try and change,” he explains.
As someone who has worked for the Environment Agency for 25 years, Greg’s priorities lie in a wide range of places, but most importantly, they lie wherever the Broxtowe think they lie.
“You talk to people on the doorsteps, and often the bread and butter issues like the NHS, transport, education, or the economy could up just as often as Brexit. We need to be aware that Brexit isn’t a defining factor in people’s lives.”
“I’m really keen to say that I’m not ignoring Brexit, we have to face that, but as important, we have to acknowledge the things that are just as important,” he added.
Despite Brexit not being at the top of his priorities, he still believes he made enough of an effort in the lead up to the 2016 referendum, despite some people thinking he hasn’t been proactive enough in voicing his opinions about Remain.
“I think I was the biggest remain campaigner in Broxtowe in 2016, and I say that because I was often the only one carrying the pasting table down Beeston high street. I wouldn’t campaign shoulder to shoulder with Anna Soubry because of her voting record on the most severe austerity measures which have hurt thousands and thousands of people up and down the country.”
On a more national level, many people have doubted Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to lead the country, however Greg claims that Corbyn has revolutionised the face of British politics.
“We’ve seen a large increase in homelessness, the proliferation of food banks, we’ve seen utilities rocket with energy prices and train prices. We’ve seen the NHS roll out privatisation, and inequality, the gap between the haves and the have-nots.”
“Now we’ve got the chance under this labour party with Jeremy Corbyn to do something about that and say that it doesn’t have to be like this,” Greg adds.
However, Greg will be the first to admit that there are some key issues surrounding the Labour party, particularly their overall unclear stance on Brexit.
“The unique issue we had was of course that the top 30 leave seats were Labour, and the
top 30 remain seats were Labour so we had a unique problem in how we were gonna pursue our Brexit position.”
“That’s been difficult but I am convinced now that the Labour party position is the right position to hold. I wouldn’t say it’s been dead easy, but the position we have now is the fairest and the best position we can have on the Brexit issue,” Greg claims.
As a trade unionist for the Environment Agency, one of Greg’s key aims is to battle climate change in the small window of opportunity he believes we have to resolve the issue. However, he admits that climate change activism group Extinction Rebellion may have made mistakes.
“There are no two ways about it, we are in a climate emergency, and I’ve organised climate strike meetings here in Broxtowe and I am supportive of the action that Extinction Rebellion take as a kind of string to the bow of campaigning and raising the very real and present issues that we are facing.”
“I think they have made mistakes because some of their actions have impacted what I would consider ordinary commuters and workers trying to get to work. If organisations like that are taking direct action, then they maybe just have to be more carefully thought out about the ramifications.”
Ultimately, why should you vote for Labour, and more importantly, Greg Marshall?
“I guess there’s a couple of reasons. We are facing either a Johnson, Farage and Trump direction in the country at the minute which is an inward looking, isolationist one for the rich and powerful and driving down working standards, or one of mutual respect, collaboration, investment and having a wider view of the world.”
“I think we’re on a cusp of real change that we haven’t seen the likes of for forty years and I want to be the one to offer that positive vision of the world, of Britain and Broxtowe,” Greg admits.
Whether it’s his passion for real change in Broxtowe and in Britain, the decision of if he gets your vote is up to you.