ShonkyGate: Soubzlogic is GO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urgent news re BT landlines and the situation in Iraq‏

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

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

480px-Nuclear-explosion

Woah, apologies. My irony monitor just exploded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me, earlier.

Me, earlier.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My breath is not held.

Palmer a Cert To Return? / The Beestonian Party Line Up Announced / An Introduction To Soubzlogic.

I’m off to see a talk by Beeston’s Most Famous Son, Sir Paul Smith later today, so best rattle this off fast so I can spend at least an hour having a breakdown as I try to decide what shirt to wear. Let’s do politics first.

The Labour selection list for Broxtowe in 2015 will be an open list, and not an all-woman (though our neighbours in Erewash will have a limited list). This means that Nick Palmer will be the front-runner for the role, though by no means a shoe-in. It looks, according to the recent Ashcroft polling, that Broxtowe will become an easy gain according to current psephological models: expect a lot of interest. Stirrings on the left of the party suggest they might have other ideas on who should lead them into battle against Soubry. We’ll know over summer: watch this space.

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More news on the Chilwell Road Street Party on Saturday 30th March: we were intending to run a special edition of The Beestonian to mark the party, but instead decided to incorporate our piece on the street inside Issue 17, out later next week. We can announce the line-up though for the stage we’re running in conjunction with Oxjam, in the fantastic ale-palace that is The Hop Pole:

6.00pm – 7.00pm: Spoken word open mic session
7.00pm – 8.00pm: Emma Bladen Jones
8.00pm – 8.30pm: Rosh Rai
8.30pm – 10.00pm: Joe Barber
10.00pm – 11.00pm: Phil Langran / Steve Benford.

We’ve featured all artists at some time in The Beestonian, so it’s a terrific honour to have such a stellar line up. Entrance is free, but we expect you to say thanks by shopping down Chilwell High Road at least 6 times a week. Ta.

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Anna being presented with a dissenting voice and applying 'Soubzlogic' by closing her eyes and pretending it's not happening.

Anna being presented with a dissenting voice and applying ‘Soubzlogic’ by closing her eyes and pretending it’s not happening.

We’ll finish on a bit of Soubz Watch. It’s pretty clear that our esteemed MP doesn’t much like people who disagree with her. I have received mountains of emails from constituents who tell me when they’ve written to her asking her to consider an opinion on some proposed legislation, she simply refuses to answer. When the issue is forced upon her, such as in the infamous case with the postal workers she agrees to talk, then talks directly at them, allows no dissent and then turfs them out.

Soubz last newsletter took this further. She wrote about the campaign group 38 degrees, who campaign for a variety of causes by collective action. They democratically choose a campaign and how it should be ran, then do the leg-work for you. So if you think that the NHS reforms are insidious attempts to destroy the non-profit ethos of our proud health service, they research the finer details and provide a pro-forma for you to tap in your details and send to your elected representative.

Now, I know Anna probably hates collectivism but I thought she might, as a Thatcherite, at least admire the enterprising zeal and efficiency of such a method. Oh no. She wrote a scathing diatribe claiming:

Assurances from 38 degrees to some of their supporters  have not assured me that they are independent and non party political.

It’s carefully worded to avoid libel, but in effect she’s accusing the group of being socialist stooges possibly in the pay of Labour or some other left of centre party. Strong stuff. Though typical Soubzlogic.

Soubzlogic is a new branch of rhetorical logical positivism that takes any idea and judges it with two questions:

  1. Is it at all off-message with Cameron and the whips?
  2. Is it something that might seem a tad left of centre?

If the answer to either, or both of these is yes, then

  • The presenter of the idea must be a red-sock wearing, muesli-knitting pinko.
  • The idea must ultimately stem from some secret cabal of left-wing idealogues hell-bent on forcing socialism on us in a future coup.
  • The idea must not be considered whatsoever, and be utterly rejected

Thus:

  • No dissent will be allowed
  • The whips must be happy
  • The use of the term ‘Broxtowe’s Voice in Westminster’ must be uttered without giggling.
  • I will be gifted Rushcliffe one day as long as I poodle along.

That’s the principle concept of Soubzlogic. I’ve applied it to loads of past scenarios and it bears out each time. Try it!

Oh, she also wrote how she believes the Welfare Reform Bill was, in her (the Whips) view ‘fair and proper’ and went on to defend the ‘Bedroom Tax’ by saying ‘it’s not a tax’. Last time I heard Tories use that line was when a similarly unpopular imposition was forced on the poor. It was, I remember them fervently bleating, a Community Charge, not a Poll Tax.

That ended well, didn’t it?

SOUBZ ACCUSE! / PALMER WRITTEN OUT OF ELECTION/ UKIPPER THREATENS VIOLENCE AGAINST BEESTONIA REPORTER.

STAPLEFORD DISNEYLANS

Trowell Services. Mecca for the ‘eighties skint Stabbo kids.

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 soubryconsostake, 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.

soubz2

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…soubrytweet

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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 20150425_175625came 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.

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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?

KIMBERLEYGATE?

I wasn’t intending to write up again on Kimberley, as when I last checked this blog was about Beeston, and the last thing I need now is blogging mission creep. Yet the fall out from my story earlier this week has shown why this is not just a story restricted to our neighbours in NG16.

Andy Cooper issued a full apology for his offensive remark, this was accepted by Kat Boettger though she still called for his resignaion and a by-election. Soubry persists in calling for his resignation, despite not addressing the points I made, namely:

1. Is it not hypocritical for Soubry to call for Cooper’s resignation when she employed Craig Cox, a man who thinks it’s amusing and totally ok to hold up a sign at a meeting demanding ‘BRING BACK SLAVERY’?
2. Does she not think it unwise, and will she make a public apology as such for taking a known thuggish facist, Darren Warner, to meet Nick Boles, despite being warned about his awfulness?
3. Is this desperate electioneering, kneejerk-shout the loudest gung-ho utterly depressing vote-grabbing in action?

While over on excellent local news-site Bramcote Today, Beeston North Councillor Steve Carr has been demanding Cooper step down, his fellow Lib Dems have expressed to myself and others that they don’t believe Cooper is a racist, and this is electioneering. This also echoes people who left KTC, one even expressing embaressment at Soubry’s intervention.

One Beeeston resident got in touch with me after reading the blog: an ardent anti-racist campaigner and no fan of the Labour Party wrote to her questioning her language. I am going to print this exchange in full, with Mr Swift’s permission, as an example of Soubzlogic: the binary mindset that refuses to brook any argument but their own, a terrifying hubristic logic that is immensely damaging to free political discourse:

Dear Anna,

What is really shameful is playing the racist card when comments may certainly be rude and inappropriate but can possibly only be construed as racist at the extreme ends of political correctness. There is plenty enough everyday racism going on that needs tackling head on without making up more for party political purposes.
Regards,
Paul Swift

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your email. I will share your comments with Katharina Boettge who quite rightly in my view takes a very different view. I would be interested on her comments. I wonder if your view would be any different if a Lib Dem councillor called someone of Pakistani origin a P***i ? It doesn’t matter what label you attribute to the comment, nor the political party of the author as far as I am concerned. However, it seems in Broxtowe all that matters is whether the person in the wrong is a member of the Labour Party.
Yours,
Anna

Dear Anna,

I was writing to you as my MP based on the contents of your newsletter. Not sure that I would expect my personal comments to be shared with others. If you do pass on to Katharina Boettge, who I do not know, then please also pass on that I am not a member of the Labour Party. Based on my increasing despair of the main political parties I am currently most likely to vote Green at the election.As a life long anti-racist campaigner I am concerned about the accusation of racism being made inappropriately as I think that it undermines the use of the word, particularly given the current trajectory of UKIP. The following is the Oxford Dictionary definition:

The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

Are you making the case that a Kimberly Councillor is racist towards people of Germanic origin? If so I think that further evidence is required. I would certainly not defend him based on what political colour he is as I am well aware that racism can cross party boundaries. However, one rude and offensive comment for which he has unreservedly apologised does not make him a racist,  With regard to your example referring to people of Pakistani origin then I would generally regard the use of that word as racist. However,  if someone was to say that a Pakistani political opponent reminded them of General Musharraf then I wouldn’t jump to accusations of racism.

Whilst I would never be a political supporter of yours I have subscribed to your newsletter for useful local news whilst respecting some of your political positions, e.g. over same sex marriage. Pleasingly the contents have retained some political balance rather than being a partizan party bulletin.  I hope that this continues to be the case in the run up to the election next May.

Regards,
Paul Swift

As yet, no reply.

Further investigations into the former head of KRA (swiftly replaced by Tory Shane Easom last month) Darren Warner turn up more unedifying details. I’ve talked to several people who contacted me from Kimberley and the surrounding areas, painting a pretty awful picture of a pretty awful man. I have promised to protect these sources as he is a pretty terrifying character, not a person you want to cross due to his history of violence against those who oppose him, and the way he uses community projects such as SOBS (Save Our Brewery Site) to gain a foothold for his vile politics into local groups; a comon tactic used by fascist organisations the world over.

I have two sources tellign me Soubry WAS warned against this guy before she took him to a meeting with Nick Boles MP, possibly even by a senior member of her own party. Yet she ignored them, and continued to trumpet Warner’s achievements in her newsletter.

Thus, I would like to publicly announce that I wish Anna Soubry not to resign over this matter, but to make a full apology for this lack of judgement. I would also like the KRA to explan their association with Warner. I will stress again that the greens who left KTC are NOT aligned with KRA and refuse to work with Warner. A principled stand: will Soubry and the KRA also join in condemning this vile racist in their midst?

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I’v been asked for an update several times about my legal travails with Soubry’s partner, Neil Davidson. Nothing really seems to have happened, despite the threats I’d be hauled into court asap if I didn’t obey their demands and pay costs to Davidson. I even rang up BrowneJacobson over a week ago asking what was happening; to be told that the guy dealing with the case was on holiday and would ring me on his return the following week. That week has now passed, so I’m still none the wiser. Was it just a bit of muscle-flexing blustery bollocks? I have the letter framed and ready for my toilet wall, but can’t hang it until I’m sure I won’t need to take it down again to check. Neil Davidson, BrowneJacobson, are you still suing me? Cheers, Matt.

SUCCESS!!!!

soubaciat

Yes, with no concession to subtlety and modesty, Soubz announces in her latest newsletter that she is the new Beeston Boudicca and is galloping towards a meeting with Jon Collins astride a steed with bladed fetlock.  Here, she will battle for a better deal with the City Council for victims of the tramworks.

Admirable, of course. Yet her positioning as the saviour of the tram demands closer examination.

Her position on the tram has had more cheap flip flops than Jonathan James.  But I don’t want to talk about the tram here. It’s tough enough talking about anything in Beeston right now: football, theology, the Norwegian leather industry, without the conversation turning into one about the bloody tram.

Anna announced this victory while absolutely failing to mention that she had refused another meeting. On confirmation that he would be her opponent in 2015, erstwhile MP  invited  incumbent MP to a public debate about the NHS.

She refused, in a rather bizarre response. I’ve printed it in full below. But the upshot is, she refused. Cos she’s too busy. Which rather makes the statement ‘I’ll be the voice of Broxtowe in Westminster rather than the voice of Westminster in Broxtowe’ a tad disingenuous.

Dwell on that for a second, then let’s move on to the next corker.

Given your commitment to positive politics (which I share), I am sure you would agree that we should encourage our supporters not to edit our respective Wikipedia entries to paint us in the worst possible light. In my case, even my photograph!

That’s a rather strong accusation. I haven’t seen any controversial changes on Anna’s Wiki page over the years, but if someone has changed stuff I’d vouch it wasn’t Palmer’s ‘supporters’ that muck around with it: she’s a public figure, people twat around with Wiki pages cos it’s OPEN TO DO JUST THAT AND IT GETS TAKEN DOWN WHEN IT IS NOTICED. If you want to look at the shitness of internet manipulation, Anna may consider the modus operandi of one of her donors, David Wilson, of PR wankers Bell Pottinger.

He boasts of setting up false promotional blogs and negative social media fake attack dogs to devalue arguments against her government’s policies.  The Tories love Bell Pottinger, and they very well might be to the party what tax-dodging Lord Ashcroft was to their 2010 campaign. Why? Well, the Tories are getting a bit old.

Not just old, but few. All political parties are haemorraghing members as politics seems intent on serving a decree absolute on the public. The Tories have been the worst hit here: there average members age is around 67, and are falling rapidly through what HR managers would describe as ‘natural wastage’. As such, they simply won’t have the legwork come the run up to 2015 to go knocking on doors, canvassing, and drumming up support. This was evident in the County elections. I only spotted one tory doing the rounds : the hyperactive Eric Kerry, who nevertheless lost his seats.

So the dark arts come into play. I’ve had my own share of this: somebody who regularly comments on anything I writ about Soubz telling me not to, someone who uses a different name and email address each time but doesn’t bother covering their IP address. Or their style of writing. Then there is Broxtowe Blue  ,the self-proclaimed ‘Home of sensible comment in Broxtowe’ , that posts once every few months and is still so slackly moderated that comments I’ve made in response to attacks on Beestonia have still yet to be put up. Slack moderation or an application of Soubzlogic?

The Tories will throw money into Broxtowe, despite Anna’s centre-right position being out of favour with the Crosbyesque UKIP triangulating dog-whistle far-right posturing presently dominating the blue corner. She’s a scalp, more so if she gets shifted up in the expected September reshuffle (Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport? I’m not the only one who thinks this might be the case: worth a tenner at a bookies. Not Ladbrokes).

So watch now as Soubz tries to soften her image, not talk too much about the particular evils her party are inviting upon the poor of this country and pretend to be a community saviour. This community, as opposed to the one she lives in.

Don’t expect engagement on subjects she doesn’t agree with. Don’t expect debate on stuff she has firmly made up her mind on. ‘Unusually free speech’ only works in one direction when it comes to Anna.

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Even when I was on my hols in Sussex a while ago, I find anti-Soubry feeling. Lady B and I meet a local couple for a drink, and as well as finding the female half of the couple is the lead singer on one of my favourite albums of all time, he reveals he worked with Soubz back in the 80’s at Lenton Lane studios. I won’t repeat the stuff he told me,  but it sounded remarkably similar to other reports on her: intransigence, a foul temper and a wrath visited upon those who hold opposing opinions. Soubzlogic predates her political and legal career, it seems.

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Some interesting rumblings from Bartons. It’s hosting  the Oxjam Celidh, and is a venue for the Takeover (cheap advance tickets available here, they’re selling fast so get yours now). That’s not all though: looks like there will be a small programme of interesting events with an amusing theme running alongside the charity events. I’m under embargo right now, but i’ll be able to tell you soon…

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The Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya is taking a break until September, where we’ll be relaunching with an enhanced idea: each night will involve a specially cooked meal to complement the film, all for one price. We’ll be kicking off with a Persian film, with gorgeous Persian food. Tickets will be available soon: if you’re interested I can get your name down early. Drop an email to thebeestonian@gmail.com and I’ll email you the moment we have all the details ready.

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The Soubz reply in full:

Congratulations on your selection as the Labour Party candidate for the 2015 General Election. It must have been difficult to wait over three years before being reselected so no doubt you are much relieved.

As you can imagine my diary is extremely busy and pressing constituency matters must take priority. Accordingly all my spare time is currently devoted to the forthcoming Public Inquiry into Broxtowe Borough Council’s Core Strategy, the forthcoming inquest into the death of John McGrath, the public consultation on HS2 and continuing problems for traders and residents affected by the tram works.

I too look forward to a fair and pleasant campaign; you will recall how you apologised to me at the 2010 count for some of your tactics during that campaign and I very much hope you will not find the same need at the 2015 count.

To that end it might be helpful if you check out my biography which has been on my web site since 2006 though it has obviously been updated and is available at http://www.annasoubry.org.uk . So for example you refer to my “personal interest in health matters” which of course is a longstanding interest given my family’s history of service within the NHS, but I wasn’t sure if you also know that I am the Minister for Public Health so have a Government role as well as a keen personal interest.

Given your commitment to positive politics (which I share), I am sure you would agree that we should encourage our supporters not to edit our respective Wikipedia entries to paint us in the worst possible light. In my case, even my photograph!

As the MP I have been able to reflect on the run up to the May 2015 election and the various hustings and “public debates”. I well recall that, however well attended, generally, very few people at any event were undecided how to vote; the overwhelming majority were activists or supporters of a particular candidate.

The next General Election is still some way off and, of course, not all the candidates have been selected, but my thoughts, at this stage, are to spend my time talking to constituents on the doorstep rather than spend it at hustings or debates speaking mainly to the already committed.

If you chose to forward this email or quote from it, I think it would be in keeping with your spirit of fairness if you include my email in full so all my comments are seen in context.

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Soubicca / Barton Returns?/ Film Clubber News

World’s Most Tardy Scoop: Palmer Vs Soubry: Official / Local Coffee Shops to Become Has-Beans?

I’ve just spent the longest time out of Beeston for years, sort of by accident. Lady Beestonia and I attended a wedding in Dover (more on that in a sec), then decided to take a few days of recuperation in her dad’s caravan in a place called Winchelsea Beach; a beautifully quiet, shingly village between Rye and Hastings.  I have a bit of a thing for the Sussex coast, twenty years ago I hitched down there en route to Brighton but got a bit lost and ended up in Pevensey, a small village near Eastbourne. Night was coming in and traffic light, so I pitched my tent in a campsite aiming to move in the morning. Yet on waking, I was so taken by the view, the stillness, the empty and dog-shit free beaches. I ended up staying a lot longer, before deciding I best get to Brighton, yet on doing so kicked myself I’d left a little bucolic utopia for the gaudy fleshpit that is Skidrow-on Sea. The journey there is a story in itself, the final leg in a car with three call-girls and their madam,but I’ll leave that for now.

Similarly, within a few hours of exploring the locale, with it’s shimmering chalk cliffs to the West and vast shingle and rock pool nature reserve to the East I was smitten, and we duly changed our train tickets at great expense and time to prolong our stay. I’m now a sort of mahogony colour, have remembered why I used to love cycling, and can now pay over £3.50 for a pint without bursting into explosive rage beforehand.

IMG-20130809-00535

Yet taking the finger off Beeston’s pulse is never wise. While Winchelsea Bay greatest controversy over the last 20 years was the ice cream van’s switch from soft scoopt to Mister Whippy, Beeston never stops. So I’ll try and whip through stuff you may have missed over the last ten days while I was busy eating fish and chips on Camber Sands.

Palmer V. Soubry: It’s on.

I wasn’t at the vote to decide who would be standing as the Labour PCC in 2015, as I was at the aforementioned wedding in Dover, but I did have a couple of insiders there reporting back to me. My plan was to have the result texted to me, then get it on Twitter, FB and here instantly. Unfortunately, that failed to happen.

The first issue was the fact that when in Dover, your mobile phone will assume it’s in France and accordingly switch to a French network. Then a British one, then a French one, before your phone waves a white flag and surrenders. I decide to remedy this by walking from the wedding venue to our hotel, which I have been told ha a better signal range. Unfortunately, this is up a narrow, windy cliff road that I’d earlier been advised to not walk on by a taxi driver. Buoyed by a litre of Pimms, I eschewed this advice and set off.

'Drunk, Madam? Ye, I am, but tomorrow I shall be...clutching my knee and wondering why I have a grass satin on my face'

‘Drunk, Madam? Ye, I am, but tomorrow I shall be…clutching my knee and wondering why I have a grass stain on my face’

The hill would have been hazardous if I’d been walking in proper hiking gear, sober, so doing it a bit drunk, with a load of luggage on my back, and feet shod in gripless brogues got decidedly hairy. I decided to see if a kindly driver would assist my ascent, so turned towards the oncoming traffic, stuck my thumb out, and was promptly glanced on the knee by a car, sent spiralling down the steep embankment and into a ditch, phone flown from my hand and glasses gone.

After an age I managed to recover both, but was disorientated, worried that it was now getting dark, and with my leg burning with pain. I got gradually more lost, until an hour and a half later I found the entrance to the venue and limped in. By this point, I’d forgot all about PCCs and suchlike. Sorry about that.

The upshot is this: Palmer won by a large majority, with Greg Marshall coming in second. As expected really, the other candidates, particularly Greg, were strong and serious but Nick has effectively kept in public view since 2010, consolidating his local popularity with constituents, perhaps even increasing it when put against the Soubz and her application of fingers-in-the-ears Soubzlogic (see Beestonia passim).

We now enter the final 632 days before the next election, and it should be interesting to watch. I will probably split off a sperate election blog from this one in due course: guest writers from all over the political spectrum will be invited to come on board and write commentaries and opinions.

On the subject of Soubz, some good nuggets have come my way from a variety of sources, one, incredibly, from someone I met on holiday. More in the week.

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The precinct is now a pile of rubble, and I hear Wilkos will be razed on the 15th.  Also hearing news of a new development by the station at Beeston Business Park: a hulking Costa Coffee could be setting up shop by the tracks. Just rumour right now, but seems strange when there looks like another Costa is being planned for the tram stop at the Square. Coffee shops ruthlessly swamping the market to drown out small local businesses who don’t have the collateral to compete, thus leaving the path clear for dull homogenous cafes to spring up and siphon the town’s caffeine addiction money to tax havens? Another nail in Beeston’s local retail coffin? I’m become ever more tempted to see if Winchelsea Beach needs a new Laird of the Manor…..

No local bloggers were harmed shortly after this picture was taken. Limbs intact, dignity less so.

No local bloggers were harmed shortly after this picture was taken. Limbs intact, dignity less so.

Parachutin’ Soubz / Level Playing Field / Soubz and the Masters of the Dark Arts.

The hypocrisy, the sheer hypocrisy. Soubz 2015  party machine is in full flow now, and she’s decided to go on the offensive.

Her last newsletter – y’know, that newsletter that she kicked my name (and other dissenters) off the distribution list before it started to become a story and she swiftly reinstated us – claims the following:

My party doesn’t engage in parachuting in candidates

Strange that, as the official OED definition of this context of ‘parachute’ is

2.appoint or be appointed in an emergency or from outside the existing hierarchy: [with object]:the former Conservative minister was controversially parachuted into the safe seat

But y’know, that’s because the OED is ran by a secret leftist cabal comprising Dr Johnson, Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth*, if one applies Soubzlogic.

So Soubz was not parachuted? Erm, yes she was. She initially, in 2005, contested Gedling. Beaten by Vernon Coker, she appealed to Conservative HQ for another crack as an a-listed candidate. They decided to give her another chance: and in she drifted. She will point out she is ‘a Nottinghamshire lass’; growing up in the more rural parts of the county. Yet Broxtowe was never her first choice, and her laughable assurance that ‘she is committed to the people of Broxtowe’ rings very hollow when she still lives outside the Borough, three and a half years after promising to move here.

Quite coincidentally, for the first time in her tenure as MP, she is now claiming she has found a place in Giltbrook she might move to. This announcement comes at the same time as her announcement shes staying to fight 2015. Strange that. Watch her move there in the next few months and then stand on a ‘I live in the Borough, me’ ticket. Shameless, cynical.

Anna. You WERE parachuted. There were candidates in Broxtowe who live here, have served as councillors and would have quite like to have done so as an MP. Sadly, you stopped that happening by standing after your Gedling upset. You were not, are not, and never will be a Broxtownian. You are a Westminsterite. A careerist, nothing more, nothing less. May I also suggest that you just rent that Giltbrook place? Keep your options open….

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I have a copy of an email sent to Anna below from Simon Cross, challenging Anna to fight the 2015 on a level playing field, and not accept funding from tax-avoiders such as Lord Ashcroft. The Tories are attacking Labour’s links to the unions: y’know, the people who set up the Labour Party, while accepting money from corporate interests, tax-dodgers and a whole wealth of scummy types. I’d prefer to see a party funded by millions of nurses, firefighters and cleaners than one funded by CEOs of companies with vested corporate interests. Over to Simon:

Dear Anna,

it’s a bit rich to complain about the Labour Party ‘stuffing selection meetings with union paymasters’, which is patently incorrect. Perhaps you might like to inform your email list about where your Broxtowe 2015 election campaign money is coming from?

Prior to the last General Election a report in the Independent newspaper (27 February 2010) identifies the notorious Lord Ashcroft as the bankroll for Conservative candidates especially in marginal seats. The report also notes the following:

“Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs in marginal constituencies have been increasingly alarmed by the amount of money the Conservatives are lavishing on winning these crucial contests that could decide who governs Britain for the next five years. That money is being directed into local Tory associations by a small unit based in Conservative Central Office, headed by a billionaire Tory peer who is notoriously shy about declaring whether or not he pay taxes in the UK.”

Can you confirm that your Broxtowe campaign money is being bankrolled by a fat-cat financier who on his web site says “His heart is in Belize” since this is where he resides for tax avoidance purposes. Your (purported) complaints about trade union paymasters are disingenuous to say the least.

Can you confirm if Lord Ashcroft or some other fat-cat tax avoider will be funding your election campaign in Broxtowe? There is a public interest in knowing this information. How much money will you be spending on your campaign and from when will your spending begin?

Why not declare that you will fight the next election on an agreed amount of money with your Labour challenger. We Brits pride ourselves on the notion of a fair fight and I’m sure all your constituents will rally to the idea that you will guarantee to spend no more than any other sensible candidate.

I shall try to place a version of this email on the Beestonia blog and I look forward to a reply.

Simon Cross, Beeston.

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Who does fund Soubry, then? Who else slips her cash?

David-Wilson-bell-pottinger

People such as the chap above. His name is David Wilson.

 

She is estimated to have received just shy of £100,000 in private donations since 2007. One of these, gifting Anna £2,000 in the run-up to the 2010 election is a chap called David Wilson. Not the housebuilder, but the Joint Managing Director of nasty PR company Bell Pottinger. This is a firm that were secretly filmed boasting that they could boost the reputation of oppressive regimes such as Uzbekistan (a brutal dictatorship responsible for killings, human rights violations and child labour) and Sri Lanka (whose massacre of the Tamils has caused widespread alarm and described as a ‘hidden genocide’), as well as boasting of getting direct access to (Former Number 10 spinner) Steve Hilton, Cameron, Osborne and many others.

David Wilson also claimed he could set up ‘third party blogs that appeared independent, seeded with keywords that would push them up Google rankings, as well as many other ‘dark arts’.

Have a peek here:

Of course, I’m sure the donation (and similar ones to other East Midlands MPs) is entirely above board and merely a philanthropic gesture with no strings attached and no expectations behind it. Yet I’d rather know a politician was funded by a roadsweeper, a teacher, a police constable than odious pricks like Mr Wilson.

 

References: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/caught-on-camera-top-lobbyists-boasting-how-they-influence-the-pm-6272760.html

http://searchthemoney.com

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

*oddly, Gyles claims he  is a direct descendant of Jeremiah Brandreth, aka ‘The Nottingham Captain’ and one of the instigators of The Pentrach Rising of 1817. The rebellious gene has not made it down to Gyles though, who is a persistant yet not deadly annoyance: the human embodiment of gout.

Soubz vs Bercow, Round 2 (at least)

naughty

 

Is Soubz ok? I’m only asking out of genuine concern for her. She has a lot on her plate at the moment, with her popularity in Broxtowe at worm-eye view; the reforms to the NHS she supports being universally tore apart by health professionals and her stance on her defining local issue, the Greenbelt, in ruins after her alignment with Rushcliffe’s strategy was rubbished, as I previously reported on here.

Not going well then. The strains are showing. Her ill-judged angry attack on 38 Degrees in her last newsletter has raised the hackles of the campaign group’s legal team, with their legal advisor David Lock QC putting together a riposte. Soubzlogic is backfiring.

Most tellingly, her behavious in the House of Commons is increasingly rabid. She’s had her run-ins from the Speaker before. Back in November, Bercow had to shout her down three times within 90 minutes, as she repeatedly heckled and interrupted against usual Commons etiquette. Highlights incuded Bercow telling Soubry:

‘I don’t want to hear the sedentary chuntering and the finger wagging and all the rest of it.’

‘she can say pooh if she wants….. (but has to) accept the ruling of the chair and either behave or get out of the chamber’.

Bad Soubz. Where do these awful manners come from? A finger of blame can go to her former boss and Health Minister Simon Burns MP, now over at transport. Quite an odious fellow, he too accused 38 Degree supporters of being ‘zombies’, and he too fell foul of the speaker when he called Bercow ‘a sanctimonious dwarf’

Nice guy. But obviously taught Soubz all she knew in proper conduct. It’s a glarring exhibition of Soubzlogic, this absolute refusal to see another argument and if one is presented, to turn into Violet Bott and threaten to “thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”

It all blew up again last week when Soubz once again spent a debate chuntering until the Speaker rebuked her with a new level of severity:

Ah, sorry, wrong video. Take two:

 

I imagine Cameron is watching this with the same level of concern I am, and will agree that it’s perhaps time to shuffle Anna off to a less demanding job. Maybe head-up an inquiry into that Tory obsession, the erosion of good manners? Just a thought.