A Favour To Ask…

So here we are. It’s election eve and within 36 hours we’ll know where the country will be sitting for the next five years.

I’ve been struck down with a horrendous cold, and life is being experienced as if within a deep-sea diving suit. The occasion administration of Sudafed and paracetamol lets me enjoy temporary surfacing, before all the holes in my face clog up again and I’m back, deep in the Mariana Trench.

It’s also my birthday. And I hope these two facts serve to explain why a scheduled slew of pre-election day content – analysis, insight, rumour and psephology- will be replaced by a short piece on who I’ll be voting for tomorrow, and why.

That’ll be online soon, so in the meantime here is a way you can make this birthday special and get me what I’ve always wanted: a hopeful future for robust local journalism.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been aided in this blog by Chris Tregenza and Faith Pring, two volunteers who came forward after I put out a request on Twitter for help covering the campaigns. They both came forward, and have done a fantastic job. I’m sure you agree.

Put that appreciation into something more tangible: stick a fiver (or whatever you can) towards the fund I’m running to give them a wage for what they’ve done, making them professional, paid journalists and in a world that is still struggling to work out a way to prioritise truth, there is a a hunger for good journalism.

Every penny will go directly to the two young hacks – this blog has given me so much over the last decade I’m happy to not take a wage: if I can do my bit to pushing out new journalism, I’m happy enough.

Click here: https://www.paypal.me/BEESTONIA and thank you in advance x

Politics By Design – Judging politicians by their leaflets No: 7. – Dr Teck Khong

Dr Teck Khong – Independent Brexit Party People’s Front of Broxtowe

By Chris Tregenza

Overall:

The leaflet’s ambitions are fatally undermined by the lack of knowledge (in design) of those behind it. Potentially good ideas are poisoned by a heavy-handed approach and lack of overall balance.

Colour Use:

The dominant colour is confidently but unhelpfully identified as Tradewind by my colour spotter app. A dodgy greeny-cyan is a more human but only slightly more useful description. The strong border to the white-space is offset by a striped background in variant grey/green shades which, as a palette, is actually quite good. However, while Dr Khong’s take on colour is more subtle and sympathetic than you’ll tend to see from his end of the political spectrum, the end result is an ugly mess.

Typography:

Life and design are very similar in many ways. Sometimes you have an idea which seems foolproof but when reality hits with all its details and little awkward problems, everything turns into a mess. Of course I’m referring to the striped background to Dr Khong’s leaflet. It’s a genuinely imaginative approach, providing an easy way to bring cohesion to the overall design but the doctor chooses ride roughshod over it in favour of his own limited and badly executed ideas. From the ham-fisted approach (to bolding) and the complete failure to understand technical issues (such as font size versus line-height); to misguided ideas about how to integrate white with colour (text), this leaflet is awful.

Images:

There is only one image, a badly cropped but otherwise good photo of the man himself. Notably the working GP has a stethoscope around his neck. In normal advertising, that’s illegal because the use medical props to sell unrelated products has been abused by unscrupulous people to do untold harm to consumers. Now, election leaflets are not advertising as such so it’s legality is a complex subject. I wonder whether Dr Khong carefully did his research and spoke to experts to check everything would be OK or did he simply go ahead in total ignorance of the potential pitfalls.

Truthiness:

There’s not much here apart from vague statements with no explanation of how they would be implemented. Though potential voters should note that while he is only “for” brexit and can merely promise “to work on” homelessness, he is confident his experience as a police surgeon will allow him to “defeat” crime.

Message:

The leaflet’s message is “Hi, you’ve never heard of me but I’m appealing to all the small-minded little-Englanders who wanted to vote for Farage”.

Summary:

Listen to expert advice and think things through or otherwise you’ll end up with this mess.

—–

Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza

Dear Anna by Chris Tregenza

The fall-out from Darren Henry’s rather misguided thoughts on foodbanks is still making the news, with the video passing 1.5m views on Twitter alone. On the same day Boris Johnson was so adamant not to look at the human cost of NHS austerity he stole a journalist’s phone, its not a good look for the party well beyond that describes by Theresa May in 2002.

Yet we will turn out attention to a former Tory who many assumed would be the key anti-Brexit candidate in Broxtowe. Our reporter Chris Tregenza was one of those, yet in this piece explains why things have chaged:


Dear Anna

By Chris Tregenza

Dear Anna,

In 2016 my concept of politics was torn apart. Everything I took for granted about our democracy and the basic decency of British people was upended when the voters decided to pursue an extremist agenda. That was the day I became politically active, determined to do whatever was in my power to prevent the perversion of Brexit.

Anna Soubry, by Chris Tregenza

This has led me on a strange political path as I organised hustings, co-ordinated local campaign groups and spent many cold and wet hours campaigning on the streets of Nottinghamshire. I’ve been snowed on with Revolutionary Marxists, sheltered under the golfing umbrellas of Conservative party members and shared suncream with Green party candidates.

Many of those hours have been stood next to you on People’s Vote stalls. I’ve seen you respond with dignity to abuse and talk with passion about the EU to people of all political stripes. In parliament, your speeches have been some of the most eloquent of the remain cause. While your willingness to speak truth unto power in your own party has been a true example of Churchill’s “Country, constituency, party” mantra.

No one has been a better example for the remain cause and UK democracy than yourself but I won’t be voting for you.

I want to vote for you. Your actions, sacrifices and commitment deserve my vote as a remainer. However only a small number of voters, maybe 5-10%, are deciding their vote on Brexit alone. This by itself is not enough to get you elected. To win, you need large scale defection from the Tories and Labour yet this is not happening at a national or local level.

Going into this election I expected to vote for you. In our political system independent candidates face immense problems getting elected but I thought you could do it. Your personal determination, your oratory and experience all gave you a fighting chance. Yet as the campaign progressed the fates have not been kind. The Boris-bias of the media, Labour’s Brexit strategy finally becoming clear and the failure of the Lib-Dem surge have all hurt your chances.

Since the election has been called I’ve been talking to people in Broxtowe every day – party activists, ordinary voters and those alienated by traditional party politics. Few have expressed a willingness to vote for you. All of the polling, national and local, shows you considerably behind both Labour and the Conservatives.

My doubts about Greg Marshall are similar to your own and should he be elected, all Broxtowe will get is a loyal servant to the party machine. However Labour is now firmly behind a second referendum with an option to remain. There’s no doubt that elements within Labour will fight to subvert this commitment but that is a battle for another day.

If Boris gets a majority, the remain cause is dead. We won’t get a second referendum and instead we will plunge into the worst possible Brexit. Stopping Boris on the 12th is the only way forward for remain.

Anna, you deserve better than this. Never have I been prouder of a local MP then watching you demolish the lies of leavers in the House of Commons but elections are all about winning. As a remainer I must do whatever I can to stop Boris and stop Brexit. In Broxtowe, only Labour have a chance of beating the Conservatives.

That is why I will be voting for Greg Marshall.

Yours

Chris Tregenza

PAYDAY LENDER OFFENDER / REMAINERS DILEMMA

PAYDAY LENDER OFFENDER

by Lord Beestonia

I wasn’t able to attend last nights hustings as I was too busy posting content on here / being lazy, but it seems to have been a cracker and one particular bit of video seems to have gone a bit viral for the sheer awfulness of what was said.

 

In defence of Darren Henry, he did apparently follow this up by saying payday lenders should be better regulated, but that seemed to be a little bit like Marie Antoinette saying “Let them eat cake” and noticing that she didn’t get the reaction she wanted, follow up with “Lidl have a two for one on cherry bakewells right now”.

 


REMAINERS DILEMMA

by Chris Tregenza

So, you are a Broxtowe voter whose number one goal is stopping Brexit (AKA subverting the democratic will of the people). Who should you vote for?

This is a tricky call and no one can agree – not the candidates, not the tactical voting websites and certainly not the people of Broxtowe. Speaking to die-hard remainers of all political stripes I’ve heard various views and some pretty interesting (and possibly libelous) reasons why such-and-such a candidate can’t be supported.

Remainers have three real choices:

Greg Marshall (Labour) – Historically the party most likely to come second to the Tories which gives Greg the best chance of winning. However there is deep-suspicion among hardcore remainers of Greg’s Boss. Corbyn has clearly resisted the idea of supporting a 2nd referendum at every step and some of his closest supporters are hard-core leavers. Now add in Greg’s alignment with local Corbyn supporters and the fact he hasn’t been trumpting his own remain credentials (he campaigned for remain in 2016) and there is a nagging fear Corbyn could pull a fast one should he ever get into No 10.

Anna Soubry (Change) – The candidate with the best, though certainly not perfect, remain credentials. As well as voting in parliament for A50, in the 2017 election Anna refused to attend a Brexit-focused hustings event because “Brexit was a dead issue”. Since then she has endured the slings & arrows (& credible death threats) of the Brexitiers and earned the respect of many people in the constituency. However, her star has been waning since Change UK formed and the People’s Vote campaign has refused to support her re-election bid. Weirdly, she has also focused her campaign (or at least campaign materials) on her record as an MP and not as an icon of the remain cause. After a campaign which has failed to make waves and a national shift towards Labour, Soubry’s chance of winning are fading fast.

Kat Boettge (Green) – A staunch remainer representing a party unambiguously pro-EU make Kat a good candidate. Many Labour remainers have been looking at the Greens as a less-bad option than Souby. However neither nationally nor locally have the Greens been making any impact on the campaign trail. As the realities of our out-dated First-Past-The-Post system start to bite, voters are reverting to type. In this crazy election, anything can happen but it will be a massive upset if Kat wins.

Tactical voting only works when there is a clear option but in Broxtowe the future has been looking decidedly cloudy. But as we enter the final week of campaigning Greg is emerging as the most credible option for Remain.


 

ELECTION SPECIAL: HENRY THE SIXTH / LEAVERS’ DILEMMA

Intro by Lord Beestonia

Lots to get through, and I’ll use this state of busy to use as mitigation for describing Gregg Marshall as our ‘Conservative Candidate’. This was swiftly pointed out to me, by no less than the candidate himself, and amended accordingly. Please don’t think I’ve been hijacked by Russian bots to spew out fake news. Nyet, nyet, nyet.

I’m missing tonight’s hustings – staying out past 7pm is anathema when you have spent the day with a toddler- but I’m sure I’ll hear how well -or otherwise – it goes. Let us know!

We have two things for you today: a forensic look at the seat-searching adventures of Darren Henry by guest contributor Simon Cross; and a close look at the dilemma facing Leave- supporting voters by Chris Tregenza – a Remain version will be published tomorrow.

Please don’t forget that this blog is entirely funded by donations, which in themselves barely cover expenses and a few millimeters of expended shoe leather. If you could put a fiver our way, we’d be chuffed to bits and know that in a world where reliable local news is fast drying-up, we’ll continue to be a sparkling spring of insight and news: fivers can be sent to us here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/BEESTONIA  . Every penny will be spent on vodka and those big bear hats   our great team of young hacks.


Henry the Sixth: Any Seat Will Do

by Simon Cross

Interesting to read Darren Henry describing Broxtowe as ‘home’ in Faith Pring’s recent interview with him for Beestonia.  On his website our recently selected Conservative Parliamentary Candidate says:

‘We spent many happy years in the Broxtowe constituency before I was posted away by the Royal Air force to serve our country and we always wanted to come back home. Having moved back home to Broxtowe and the communities that exist within it, the independent businesses, the nature reserves, our local pubs, we are elated to be living here close to our family and friends – back where we belong, in Broxtowe.  I am honoured and proud to be a man of Broxtowe and I want to make it an even better place to live.’

But the would-be MP’s links to Broxtowe appear tenuous.  When he left the RAF in 2013 did Mr Henry head ‘home’ to Nottinghamshire?  No: he settled 170 miles away near Salisbury where he has lived and worked since, rising to become Area Chairman of Wiltshire Conservatives.  In 2017 Darren Henry was elected onto his local Council to representative his local ward Till and Wylve Valley- a place he called home.

The selection of Cllr Henry has proven controversial within the local Conservative Association with few members turning out to work for their new representative. A former senior member has been less than impressed by the Tory candidate and, in particular, the narrative underpinning his personal journey:

SALL.png

Facts below support this observation.  Despite protesting he is not a ‘professional politician’ Mr Henry has devoted a huge amount of time and effort trying to become parliamentary candidate in five constituencies in five different regions starting in the West Midlands, then South West, followed by the South East,  London and finally the East Midlands.  He also tried becoming Police & Crime Commissioner for his home patch in Wiltshire.  He has certainly clocked up some impressive miles in recent years.

2015– Mr Henry’s first incursion into electoral politics appears to be his contesting the then marginal Wolverhampton North East in the General Election that year.  Working for the locally based (and now defunct) outsourcing firm Carillion seems to have been his only discernible connection to the city.  The election resulted in the Labour incumbent doubling her majority.

2017– the newly elected Wiltshire Cllr Henry didn’t contest the snap General Election. During the last 16 months he has stepped up his efforts to find a parliamentary opportunity…  literally here, there and everywhere.

2018– in July Cllr Henry sought the parliamentary nomination for Stroud in Gloucestershire.  It is not clear what local connection he had other than campaigning against car parking charges on a visit to the area.

STROUD

Perhaps he was inspired by high-profile interventions on this issue from the actor who played Fallon in Dynasty and the former sidekick of TV’s Alexander Armstrong.

STROO3STROO

 

Alas, it was not be and the local Conservative Association opted to select a former Camden Councillor instead

2018– in October Cllr Henry sought the parliamentary nomination for his native Bedford.

333.png

But, having only been added to the shortlist following the withdrawal of another candidate, he was not successful.

PicturDDDSe1PictureDDD1 2019– April saw the end of a process that began in November 2018 when Cllr Henry put himself forward to become Police & Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire in an election to be contested in 2020

He had to wait five months for the party to select the other candidate for the post.

2019– in July Darren Henry was seeking to become parliamentary candidate for the UK’s third most marginal seat of Kensington, West London.  He must have fancied his chances, with columnist Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail identifying him as the ‘favourite’ before describing him as ‘a carpetbagging councillor from Wiltshire with no local connection whatsoever’.

Self-styled ‘Tory Boy’ Pierce’s acidic compliment might have swung it because, you guessed it, Cllr Henry was still looking for a parliamentary berth.

AP2APpng2019– September.  And so after his fifth attempt, or sixth if you include the shot at being a Police Commissioner for his home patch, Broxtowe came up.  At least Darren Henry could copy and paste the CV he drew up when seeking to become Wiltshire’s PCC for reuse in this seat having deleted the bit about his actual home of the last six years.

In summary Darren Henry has sought nominations six times:

  1. Wolverhampton, 2015
  2. Stroud, 2018
  3. Bedford, 2018
  4. Wiltshire, 2018-2019
  5. Kensington, 2019
  6. Broxtowe, 2019

So, invoking the name of an epic Shakespearean play, we’re Henry the Sixth’s choice.  But you wouldn’t know this when he talked up his ‘very very very strong local connection here’ (twenty years ago remember) in his interview with Faith which breathily continued: ‘When I close my eyes and finish my life, it’s going to be here in Broxtowe, so it’s perfect for us’.  Yeah, right.  Remind you of anything?  The words of a famous song beginning ‘I closed my eyes’ perchance?  Well to paraphrase the title of that tune Darren Henry’s really is a case of ‘Any Seat Will Do’.

References not inserted above

Stroud:

https://www.facebook.com/stroudconservatives/ scroll down to date in question

https://twitter.com/VoteDarrenHenry/status/1024178008368799744 references venue in constituency https://www.stonehousecourt.co.uk/

Wiltshire PCC:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr9HesLcgkk&list=UUgqRJ0Of5kjkfVxBMAe3Glw&index=10&t=0s


 

Leavers Dilemma

by Chris Tregenza

As a true democratic patriot, delivering a Brexit that represents the 17.4 million is the only issue for this election. In Broxtowe this is a two-horse race between the Tories and the Brexit Party Independent candidate. Yes technically there is another candidate but she is a hate-filled troll and I’m not wasting my time on that attention-seeking turd.

In the blue corner we have Darren Henry (Conservative). With Boris and his deal, this election should be a shoe-in for Darren but there are three problems. Firstly, Darren is a remainer and therefore cannot speak for the 17.4 million true patriots who voted leave. Secondly there is Boris’ deal which sells off Northern Ireland to the EU plus the UK will still have to accept many EU laws. Thirdly, Boris is a lying buffoon who will say anything to get elected so there is a lack of credibility in Darren’s bid to be King of the Leavers.

Facing Darren in the different-shade-of-blue corner is Dr Teck Khong (Independent). When Farage sold out his customers supporters and pulled his candidate out of Broxtowe, local leavers scrambled around for a new candidate and picked Dr Khong. It’s certainly a good choice – well educated and well spoken he breaks through the gammon-stereotype. While I have no first hand knowledge of his views, the hard-core leavers in my aquaintance certainly rate him as having true “leave” credibility.

Dr Khong’s chance of winning are extremely thin. Short of Boris announcing he now a remainer it is hard to see the good doctor getting his deposit back. But, as every true leaver knows, all we have to do is believe in Brexit enough and anything is possible.

—-

As an aside, can we take a moment to note the progressive nature of the candidates standing in Broxtowe, We have two women candidates (one German), two BAME candidates (and not from the end of the political spectrum you might expect), and one working-class pensioner. This diverse mix of candidates speaks well for the multicultural and rich tapestry of life in Broxtowe.


https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/BEESTONIA

 

 

 

CANDIDATE INTERVIEW 3: GREG MARSHALL / HUSTINGS ALERT! / CORBYN IN (BY) THE HOOD

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’mIMG_20191204_124047 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,

IMG_20191204_125458

Beestonia announces it’s latest signing. I wish.

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

gregshane

Greg, This is England director Shane Meadows and John McDonnell in Beeston earlier today. Photo shamelessly nicked off Twitter.

 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.

ELECTION 19 SPECIAL: The Hateful Troll and the Paedo’s of Doom

A  very strange day where I had an unpleasant run in with the fascists Chris Tregenza describes in the excellent article below; and a reader of this blog and good friend and neighbour Neville Westerman managed to blow himself- and most of his house – up. After a roller-coaster of conflicting statements on his well-being, I eventually received a picture and a witness report showing he was ok – in a bit of a mess, but ok, and that more than off-set the depressing sight of out-and-out fascists on our streets. Nev is the polar opposite of them: he’s affable, community-spirited, kind and compassionate. More Nevs, please. Lord Beestonia.

The Hateful Troll and the Paedo’s of Doom

The trouble with writing about fascists is that fascists want to be written about. All

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-03 at 20.00.08 (1)

Shite Knight Fascist

publicity is good publicity as far as they are concerned. Even when, say, a Conservative Councillor is caught posting hate on their Facebook page and is suspended from the party, this is seen as free advertising for the fascist cause. Because while most people tut in disgust there are those who quietly nod approval and enable the hate-merchant to pop-up somewhere new as, say, a campaign manager.

Which brings us onto the fascists standing for election in our own backyard. We will not give her or the “party” she represents the dignity of their names but instead refer to her as the Hateful Troll and the Paedo Party. If you don’t know to who we are referring to, lucky you.

Now we don’t bandy the term fascist around lightly. It is not a generic insult for anyone on the right-wing. Darren Henry (Conservative) is not a fascist just because he is standing for a political party which created a hostile environment for immigrants and caused the Windrush scandal.  Likewise Dr Khong (Independent Brexit Party) isn’t a fascist just because he wants a no-deal Brexit. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Khong is a genuinely caring and intelligent man who just happens to want to keep foreigners out

Fascism is ultra-nationalism; it targets minorities as the enemy and blames everything on them; it claims to uphold law and democracy while simultaneously decrying any decision it doesn’t like as the act of traitors. As you can see, there is no way mainstream politicians in the Conservatives or Brexit Party could be called fascists.

Now the Hateful Troll and her Paedo party tick all the boxes. Excessive use of Union Jacks – tick. The failure of public services the fault of immigrants – tick. The judge who banned her from Broxtowe a traitor – tick.

It is easy to dismiss the Hateful Troll as harmless nutter. She tried to “commit suicide” fifty times, costing the emergency services £1,000,000 in helicopter rescues and was eventually banned from the entire UK coastline. She also used an illegal weapon to disrupt an anti-Trump protest but only managed to cut herself with it. While it would be inappropriate to comment on the Hateful Troll’s state of mind, she certainly does like being the centre of attention.

The weird thing about the Paedo Party the Troll represents is that their central idea of England having a separate parliament as part of federal UK is quite a progressive idea. It’s one of the possible outcomes as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland edge towards independence. Of course, their ideas about who would be allowed to vote for that parliament are the very definition of “Little England”.

The Hateful Troll will not win in Broxtowe, but not because most people around here are decent, friendly folks. The same can be said of America in 2016 or Germany in 1931. She will lose because winning is not the goal. An election is a chance to spread hate, a chance to let other mean and inadequate people know they are not alone.

Everytime a journalist writes about fascists we incur a debt to society. We inadvertently amplify the fascists hate even as we do our job of keeping people informed. Please help me repay the debt I owe for this article. Tell your Polish co-worker you are glad they came to our country; thank your Mum’s Latvian care-worker for treating her with respect; or say good morning to the elderly Chinese couple doing Tai-Chi in the park. Don’t let the merchants of hate use our democracy to make our country poorer.   Chris Tregenza

______________________________

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-03 at 20.00.09

The hero we need right now: Dave Bishop.

A happy postscript: Dave Bishop, aka Militant Elvis, came to protest against the fascists and do a bit of campaigning himself. Let’s hope he soundly beats the Paedo Party next week. 

 

 

Politics By Design – Judging politicians by their leaflets. No: 6. Kat Boettge – The Green Party

Yesterday’s piece on the Broxtowe Conservative civil war has thrown up a couple more serious allegations: these are being verified and we’ll have a further story up soon. In other news, YouGov have looked at Broxtowe and calculated that barring a miracle, Anna Soubry will not be our MP on December 12th. While the best performing of all the Change candidates, that’s much the same as being the most sober drunk. She’s failed to create a substantial position, despite the Lib Dems stepping aside to aid her cause. We are  very much are a straight up two-horse race now, and watch considerable resources flowing into Broxtowe to take the seat. 

Will Soubry even beat the Greens, who could pick up a strong protest vote-share and gain third place? It’s too early to tell, so instead we asked Chris Tregenza to cast his critical eye over their latest leaflet. Is it a winner? Should it go straight into the recycling bin? Over to Chris… Lord Beestonia

Politics By Design – Judging politicians by their leaflets. No: 6. Kat Boettge – The Green Party

 

Overall: As a design nerd, what jumped out to me is the odd choice of paper size. A sort of tall A5, close to but not actually C5. To ordinary people, what will strike them is the colour.

Colour Use: If your party is called The Green Party there is only one way to go and this leaflet doesn’t disappoint. We have light greens, dark greens, gradated greens – at least five different distinct shades. It certainly leaves you no doubt who the leaflet is from but the designer lacks the ability to make it work.

Typography: Oh god kill me now. To be fair, nearly all the text is clearly readable and that is the number one goal of all typesetting. More professional designs from other parties have fallen short on that particular issue. Where this leaflet comes apart is on alignment, font-sizing, margins, padding and consistency. I’m pretty sure the leaflet was typeset in Microsoft Word and it is really hard to get something decent from that heap of shit but even so.

Images: On the front is a nice professional black & white shot of the candidate (other candidates please take note). However it’s haphazardly placed and out of alignment with any other element on the page. The back has a photo of Kat with supporters adding the only non-green colour to leaflet but please, please, please, candidates, please – if you have a group shot, make sure the candidate is front and centre of the image.

Also on the back is one of the images which tells me this leaflet was designed by someone without any experience. It’s a Green Party logo occupying a third of the page. This shouldn’t be a problem but the designer makes the beginner’s mistake of taking a small image from the internet and scaling up for use in print. If you don’t understand why this is a problem, please don’t ever design a leaflet.

Truthiness: There is little here in the way of policy or claims so nothing to fact check.

Message: The leaflet limits itself to three issues – remain in the EU, environmental action and Kat the person. This is a good tactic and better than the Labour or Tory leaflets which have tried to say too much and end-up saying nothing. However it is let down by the execution which is haphazard and scattered rather than one clear narrative. I must also point out that, as a Guardian reading, musili-eating lefty (i.e. the target market), the fact Kat was on Wife Swap, even a Brexit special, is not a selling point.

Summary: Good ideas but unable to deliver any meaningful impact. So sums up the Greens nicely.

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Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza

BLUE ON BLUE 2: HENRY BUSTED OVER HUSTED?

By Lord Beestonia. No, I’m not a real Lord for heaven’s sake

We predicted before the election that Broxtowe Conservatives are not in a happy place. After what most assumed would be a uncontroversial coronation in selecting Cllr. Richard Jackson for the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Broxtowe was scuppered, a strange civil war has kicked off that has just blown out into the open.

Many in the party are unhappy a candidate was seemingly parachuted in, especially after his many dalliances with other seats. Whatever your opinion of Cllr Jackson, it can be said that he was a long-term local politician who – even when he was trying to abolish the very same council he was head of– knew the area and it’s unique problems. Yet his loyalty over the years to Anna Soubry, now anathema to the Brexit-addled Blues, seems to have tainted him in the eyes of those who voted, and Henry became the candidate.

Usually Tories are good at repressing their angst for electoral gain: after kicking out some of the most esteemed party grandees and being untruthful to the Queen, Boris has survived stuff parties with higher standards would have collapsed under. So far, so Trumpian. Yet the frustration in Broxtowe has blown a gasket, at least with long term party activist and former Brox Cons Deputy Chairman Sally Brealey, who tweeted this last week:

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ooof! There’s more…

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Picking up the attack last night, she laid this charge at Henry’s door, and it’s a serious one:

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Woah. Who is the Campaign Manager? Sally provides some help:

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… and who is Carl Husted? Well. he isn’t exactly the best ambassador for the Tories.

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That last sick and hateful trivalising the rise of the Nazis and ensuing Holocaust rightfully earned him a rebuke and a suspension for the Conservative Party. This scuppered his chances of taking the Wollaton West seat in the last round of local elections

His reappearance on the scene, in the position, according to Brealey, of ‘Campaign Manager’ is worrying. I contacted Darren Henry for comment, who immediately denied Brealey’s claims:

“The person Sally refers to is not my Campaign Manager but someone who has volunteered to distribute leaflets and his short suspension is over now anyway”

When pressed on this, he again denied that Husted is Campaign Manager, and when asked what disciplinary process Husted has been put through to allow him to rejoin the party following the disgraceful remarks, he replied

“Naturally, it is not appropriate for me (to) comment on your second point”

So, who is right: Henry or Brealey? Brealey also alluded to sensitive data on Conservative members being being passed around to non-Broxtowe members, in possible contravention of GDPR:

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We will be following on this soon…..

With less than a fortnight left and a lackluster campaign being ran by the Tories (the reluctance of many activists has left them begging to other constituencies) is damaging their chances of retaining the seat. It’s certainly scaring off formally loyal voters

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After all, in these bitterly divided times, what attraction a party that can’t even hold itself together, let alone the UK?

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A quick postscript: it seems Brealey is a fan of this blog, judging by her Twitter profile:

sally1

If you also support independent local journalism, I am fundraising to allow my small team a few quid to cover the time, effort and shoe leather this costs. I will personally not be taking a penny myself: everything donated will go directly to them. If you can help and sling us a fiver, please do: https://www.paypal.me/BEESTONIA

ARC DE TRUMPFAN / POLITICS OF DESIGN 5: ANNA SOUBRY

Less than a fortnight left, and the latest political leaflet for Chris Tregenza to examine and then repeatedly bang his head against the brick wall over; this time from Soubry and the Independent Change Something Something  Are They Still Going Party.

Chris also had a great spot while perusing Twitter – which he does each day in a manner that cannot be deemed healthy – and finding a rare tweet in support of banned-from-the-constituency Amy Della Mura:

amy1.jpgAh, ok. I’m sure Amy is a patriot in the sense of a mythical England with no brown people, homosexuals or anyone whose cultural outlook dares straight past 1952.

But hold on, who is that warrior behind the slogans?

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Oh, hold on, isn’t that woman who fought in the 15th Century, whatshername….

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Ah yes. Joan of Arc. That English patriot who loved this country so much she went to war against it. Joan of bleeding Arc.

Will the standards rise with our latest leaflet review? Over to Chris to find out….

Politics By Design – Judging politicians by their leaflets No: 5. – Anna Soubry – The Independent What-Are-We-Called Again Party

 

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 Overall:   In a bold and expensive move, Anna Soubry has opted for a four-page tabloid newspaper as her latest leaflet. Given her previous leaflet was awful, I plucked this missive from my letterbox with trepidation.

Colour Use:  Whereas leaflets tend to be a glossy white paper, the quality newsprint used for Anna’s tabloid is a natural off-white. This works nicely with the overall colour palette however the designer has gone a bit over the top in giving each block of text or headline it’s own colour. The individual parts work well but collectively they lack cohesion or anything that ties them together. A problem which will sound familiar to Anna Soubry. 

Typography:  The body text is highly readable with a nice, crisp modern font and the headlines are similarly well done but with typesetting the devil is in the details. There’s about 10% more text then is really desirable. A sentence cut here, a word there would give the designer a bit more whitespace to play with. Plus the use of bold fonts in the body text is heavy-handed – almost as if Anna was leaning over the designer’s shoulder going “Bold that line, and that sentence, and that paragraph and that …”

There are some crimes against readability in the header and footer bars. Coloured text on a coloured background requires a very careful chosen palette when used on paper. I bet it looks great on the designer’s monitor but in print it’s a waste of ink. (If anyone wants my lecture on the difference between emitted colour and reflective colour, find me in a pub and wait until the third pint).

 Images:  The Good – Lots of photos of Anna with people, all clearly amatuer shots but decent photos which are used well to give a sense of authenticity.

The Bad – There’s a weird border applied to some text boxes. It’s use is erratic, pointless and the line itself is some odd micro-pattern. I think this is a deliberate choice but it could be a strange printing glitch.

The Downright Fuggly – The top-right of the back page is dominated by an ill-conceived, badly done graphic trying to show Soubry as the centre ground between the two extremes of Boris and Jeremy. I described a similar image on Darren Henry’s leaflet as a “gold-plated turd”, this one is more a goldie-looking turd.

Truthiness:  There are quite a lot of statements here about her constituency work and I’m pretty sure local Labour and Lib-Dem councillors will have views Anna’s claims. However there are no massive porkies.

Message:  There is almost no mention of Anna’s party name nor a single appearance of her party’s appalling logo. This is a smart move and I think it was a colossal mistake forming a political party in the first place. Setting themselves up as a loose group of truly independent MPs would have given Anna and her gang a unique selling point when large parts of the electorate are fed up with the major parties.

The paper focuses on two key messages – Anna the hard-working local MP and Anna attracting support from voters across the political spectrum. These are good choices but her role as a Remain hero (at least to some) is remarkably low key. This is a mistake.

Independent candidates cannot win seats unless they clearly stand for something. That’s why most who get elected tend to be single-issue candidates but according to this leaflet, Anna doesn’t stand for anything other than being a vaguely competent MP (citation needed) .Summary: Going with the tabloid paper format and getting a half-decent designer involved is a great move by Soubry but it falls short and fails to capitalise on the opportunity. Anna has escaped the fetid prison of the Tory party but like many ex-cons, she is struggling to define herself in the outside world.
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Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza

CORBYN IN THE RYLANDS

Today’s the last day you can register to vote: if you’re uncertain that you’re not registered, then check and resolve, it takes a minute: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
We are in a very uncertain, very swing seat so your vote WILL be relevant: I hugely support electoral reform, but until we actually institute a better system I can take some solace that we don’t live in a safe seat.
Interesting morsel before I hand over to Chris Tregenza for the main meal: it seems several of the tactical voting sites have rescinded endorsements for Anna Soubry as the anti-Brexit candidate. I’m not sure what their assessment methodology is, or how it is subject to change, so can’t say what had precipitated this other than a rumoured private poll bringing up low numbers for the incumbent: any info on this will be gratefully received.
For our main piece today, Corbyn-sceptic Chris Tregenza went to see the Labour leader when he visited Beeston Rylands yesterday. If you were there, and have a different view, send it in to mattgoold23@hotmail.com
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CORBYN IN THE RYLANDS

You cannot truly judge a politician until you’ve seen them speak, in person, to a live crowd. So many of the subtle clues we rely on to judge a person are lost when sounds and pictures are squeezed into a camera. Which is why I was standing in the rain outside a soaked brick building on the Trent-side edges of our borough (aka Beeston Rylands Community Centre)
Jeremy Corbyn’s battle bus was in town to drum-up support for Greg Marshal (Labour Party). Except it wasn’t drumming up support. There would be no opportunity for Greg & Jeremy to walk down the High Street, shaking hands with the public and posing for selfies. Instead this visit was firmly aimed at the Labour faithful in Greg’s political backyard.
That said, it says a lot for Greg’s campaign that he had several hundred supporters out on a wet Monday afternoon. I doubt Darren Henry could get triple figures of local supporters out on any day of the week, though he might if he called in friends from all the other constituencies where he has stood and lost.
This was my first time with Jeremy and I can honestly report there was magic in that room. I’ve never seen a politician so comfortable and natural chatting to members of the public. There was a genuine connection and Corbyn’s body language was empathetic and of someone in their natural environment. I doubt Jeremy appears this comfortable on his own sofa, watching Gardeners’ World. However once he began speaking to the crowd, talking to us not as individuals but as a collective mass, all the familiar problems came to light.
Corbyn in real life is surprisingly funny. Not professional comedian funny or even as funny as your mate down the pub funny, but decently funny for someone who does a serious job which occasionally needs some light-heartedness.
Yet this side of him also disappears when he switches from speaking with the public to public speaking.
A leading politician will give their stump-speech time and time again over the campaign

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Corbyn  arrives

trail. Polishing and improving it like a comedian or band working on their act as they tour. Yet halfway through the campaign and Corbyn’s was dull. He often just lists the Government’s political crimes or how Labour will spend your money. As a speaker Corbyn doesn’t have a great vocal range nor is his body language dynamic but his true failing is his hard-left, comrades-I-wish-to-propose-a-motion, political up-bringing. He was formed and will be forever shaped in the faux-Soviet style of political discourse where the objective is to bore your opponents to death.

There is a fear of Blairism at the heart of Labour’s communication strategy. The logic goes like this – Blair was obsessed by image and soundbites, and started an illegal war which killed 100,000s of people. The hard-left don’t want to start a war so therefore they cannot be slick or use clever, media-friendly language.
And this is damaging both Jeremy’s and Greg’s election hopes.
It’s smart to go against Boris’ flimflam and waffle with in-depth proposals and intelligent arguments. The more serious Jeremy appears, the easier it is for the public to see Boris for the cad he is. But being serious and being boring are not the same thing.
The Blairite media machine produced some killer phrases which stuck in people’s minds and they condensed their 1997 manifesto in five definitive goals which ordinary people understood. With Corbyn we have a 140 page manifesto, which is the politicians way of throwing everything at a wall, and seeing what sticks.
Jeremy is great with people and his campaign is clearly based on talking to the public. Greg is great with people and he has a big team knocking on Beeston’s doors, talking to them one-on-one, making that human connection. But there are only so many people Corbyn can meet and only so many houses Greg can visit. A simple, understandable mass media message is vital for a party to reach all those other voters.
What sums it up is the end of Corbyn’s speech. He joked about the large size of the manifesto. He plugged the smart social media video where he does a 60 seconds summary of the manifesto. Then he said “Don’t worry if you can’t remember it all. There is only one thing you need to remember, one fundamental message …” and then went on to list six or seven – or was it eight? – different pledges. I don’t know. I’d stopped listening.
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Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza

ELECTION SPECIAL: CANDIDATE INTERVIEW 2: DARREN HENRY, CONSERVATIVE.

We now have our second candidate with Darren Henry, Conservative, who met late last week with our own Faith Pring. I’ve met him before myself, when he invited me out for a drink at the Vic. I went out of sheer curiosity: you may have gathered I’ve been rather unpopular with our Conservative PPC’s over the last decade. These are – as if you needed reminding – strange days.

An interesting recent development with Henry has been his new BFF: Calvin Robinson, former Brexit Party candidate who stood down when Farage decided to cash in their deposit money for a nice holiday   stand down candidates in Tory seats. 

Calvin has been acting rather erratically online of late, and we’ve had some interesting correspondence relating to other activity which we’ll publish next week. While Henry might be grateful of the support when many of his own constitency party have been open about not supporting him, he might want to be a little wary of who he keeps company with: after all, could you trust a man who was ready to put everything on the line to attack the exact same things he’s now happily supporting? Trust and sincerity mean a lot to voters, remember… 

Over to Faith. If you’d like to help support our rookie journos, please consider a donation to our fund to ensure they’re paid: I won’t  be taking a penny myself as editor|: everything goes to our small team who are dedicating themselves over the rest of the campaign to keep you informed. Takes two mins here.

Lord Beestonia

 

CANDIDATE INTERVIEW 2: DARREN HENRY, CONSERVATIVE.

Another day, another candidate interview, and this time we’re putting Conservative Darren Henry to the test.

Henry, a former Royal Air Force logistics officer, has replaced Anna Soubry as Broxtowe’s Conservative candidate, which means this election could cause quite a stir round here. It’s already caused some ructions in the local party. So, if you’re a keen Conservative voter, who exactly are you voting for?

“I was a logistics officer for the Royal Air Force, and worked as a Community Support Officer at a major flying station in Norfolk. I was responsible for looking after families, housing and I was a liaison with the local MP who was Liz Truss. In that job I thought ‘I’ve got a chance at a second career in this, I might just give it a go’,” Darren revealed.
“I finished in the military in 2013, and I joined the Conservative party in 2014. I got involved with them because of my parents, who were part of the Windrush generation, and their work ethic, and I also believe in the defence and security of our country. I had a go at being a businessman, and in the private sector but I preferred public service so returned to it.”
Whilst his CV and his experience would get him quite a long way in a job interview, how far will it get him in a general election? The one million pound question might be a good indicator – where does he stand on Brexit? I think we all know by now…
“In 2016 I voted Remain, but I was a reluctant Remainer, not that that matters. People

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‘Reluctant’ remainer Darren Henry

are frustrated, even if they voted Remain. The people of Broxtowe voted Leave, and in the RAF we served to protect democracy, so I was motivated to support Brexit to get it done. Labour want to waste a year doing referendums, whereas the people have had enough of it. Once we get it done, we’ve got some great post-Brexit opportunities here and we can make sure we’re not forgotten.”

But surely a second referendum is still on the cards? Right?
“No, not at all. People will change their minds, I’ve changed my mind, but the people said they wanted to leave so we HAVE to leave. We don’t need another referendum just to change the outcome. People want to get on with their lives and they want you in parliament sorting out what they elected you for.”
So he can change his mind, and we cannot. Got it.
Darren’s most obvious rival in the upcoming election is Anna Soubry and the all but mysterious Remain alliance, but Darren seems to be somewhat unfazed by Anna’s presence in the constituency.
“In the past she’s been a good constituency MP but she’s lost her way. She’s determined to follow her own agenda and I don’t agree with it, others clearly feel the same way,” Darren claims.
Aside from local politics, Darren Henry is also a big fan of the Conservative party’s leader, and current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, but he’s already got a fan in Darren, and he claims his popularity spans across the country.
“He’s got a very broad appeal around the country, which will be handy. He’s got an amazing knack at getting a good team around him and he’s doing that now. I’ve met him a few times, he came to George Spencer academy and is clearly very interested (though students were confined to classrooms, even if they had free periods and other stuff to do; other students who did get put in Johnson’s proximity were told not to mention any difficult subjects if they got a chance to talk to him -Ed) There is one of two people who can win this election and Boris will definitely be the best choice.”
So ultimately, why should you vote for the Conservative’s Darren Henry to represent you in parliament?
“I’m from here (despite still being a councillor in Wiltshire), and I only ever left to serve my country. Browtowe is home, I’ve got a very very very (!) strong connection here, but I’ve got real life experience and a broader view to bring to Broxtowe. It’s going to be tight but I think I can offer more. When I close my eyes and finish my life, it’s going to be here in Broxtowe, so it’s perfect for us.”
Wow, steady on there. Do you say that to all  your constituencies you want to stand in?
If one thing was clear after my interview with Darren, he’s obviously passionate about getting Brexit done. Whether that’s enough of a reason for you to vote for him, is, as always, up to you.
Faith Pring
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ELECTION SPECIAL: POLITICS OF DESIGN 3: MILITANT ELVIS; GETTING AHEAD WITH A HOOD; NASTY CANDIDATE BANNED FROM BROXTOWE

We have just three weeks before the campaigns cease, voters trudge to the polling booths and moan that elections in December are totally mad, and that three foot of snow that fell last night hasn’t helped stuff. Still, I discovered that my polling station is in a pub, so bonus. If I get trapped by inclement weather, I’ll be like those much-envied people who always get stuck in a remote pub when a blizzard hits, and have such a good time refuse all offers of help they are there until around June.

Some GREAT news: the nasty Amy Dalla Mura has been banned from campaigning in Broxtowe, so we’ll spared her hate and bile. Being banned from one of the most inland places in England is quite something when you take in account the fact she was banned from the ENTIRE BRITISH COASTLINE (!!) a decade ago. Good riddance, and ta for the £500 deposit money you won’t be seeing again.

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One of Beestonia’s favourite humans, Tim Pollard, switched on Facebook the other day and was rather shocked to find this image staring back at him:

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Taken from the page of Corbyn-friendly blog The Pileus , it’s one of many memes that will be flooding your social media feeds for the next 21 days, and designed in a fashion that would cause our resident design reviewer Chris Tregenza (who reviews Lord Biro’s leaflet below this: keep reading!) a sizable coronary.

So why did Tim spit his tea out? He’s a mild-mannered chap and a fine writer – he’s being sending in top-notch copy to me for years that I’m proud to publish on The Beestonian. But that’s not all he does. Because Tim Pollard is also Nottingham’s official Robin Hood:

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Boy in d’ Hood: Tim Pollard.

Yes, we get the heavy-handed metaphor. Yes, Tim has politics that are left of centre. It’s the weirdness of waking up to find what you’d look like if you transplanted Corbyn’s head onto your own neck. That can’t be easy on a chap’s constitution. MEME MAKERS! -Just use the Kevin Costner ersatz outlaw and leave us Beestonians alone!

Now, over to Chris Tregenza for his round-up of local leaflets and what they *really* tell us, and at last, we have a leaflet we love:

POLITICS BY DESIGN No: 3. Dave Bishop – Militant Elvis Anti-HS2

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Overall:

Finally, a bold piece of design from a politician not afraid to push the boundaries.

Colour Use:

Setting himself apart from other candidates, Dave has eschewed colour all together. In a clear effort to target the vital retro-hipster voting block, this leaflet is a cheap photocopy harking back to the late seventies’ punk-zine aesthetic.

Typography:

A plain font for the body text (Windows 98 system font I think) was an excellent choice given the inevitable degradation inherent in photocopying. The text remains clearly readable, in part thanks to the bold use of whitespace and erratic, but effective, typesetting. Utilizing real cut-out letters (ransom demand style) for key parts of his message gives them that standout quality and adds well to the retro style of the leaflet.

Images:

Each side of the leaflet is a hand-drawn portrait of the candidate. The outsider-art approach to the drawing may put off some style-challenged voters (aka Brexit supporters) but it allows the candidate to add speech bubbles which add to the multilevel messaging the leaflet uses.

Truthiness:

There is not a single falsehood or misleading statement in the leaflet. Though I do

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The Hemlock Stone: Standing steady.

quibble at the claim that the Hemlock Stone will be “all shook up” as tectonic activity in Broxtowe is very rare and never reaches the magnitude necessary to damage sedimentary sandstone.

Message:

What this leaflet screams at the reader is that Dave Bishop is not afraid to challenge the status quo. Just as importantly it focuses on four key policies with broad appeal which are unambiguously communicated. Other candidates should take note and follow the ethos that less is more.

Summary:

This leaflet is damn near perfect as it completely encapsulates the character of the candidate. Broxtowe is lucky to have Dave Bishop as a candidate.


Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza

ELECTION SPECIAL: POLITICS BY DESIGN 2: GREG MARSHALL

Intro: Lord Beestonia

The election is still in the phony war stage, whereby a lack of manifesto means no candidate can truly be sure what they represent (apart from Brexit Party candidates, who are representing ‘OMG it was a all a big con to rinse us of cash’ angle).

IMG_20191116_110842 (1)Saturday saw a quiet day in Beeston for political campaigning: the only street stall was that of some young self-identifying socialists who we can assume tacitly campaign for Greg; and, looking a bit bemused, Dave Bishop, aka Lord Biro, aka Radical Elvis. He was pacing the streets considering if he should set a pitch, but ‘It’s not fun without the others’. Instead he donned his Elvis top, and posed for a few photos while doing the ‘Thankyewverrehmuch’ Elvis pose.  Then went to the pub.

We will be continuing our interview series later this week with Darren Henry, Conservative Councillor whose selection has already caused a fair bit of controversy, before we get into the final three weeks of campaigning where things should get a bit more fierce. Keep your news, gossip and info coming in -email mattgoold23@hotmail.com if you wish to keep it confidential, otherwise leave a comment. And if you are enjoying our insights and want to help us continue providing the angle on the local battle that you simply won’t get elsewhere, please consider putting a few quid our way  – and thank you to those who already have. Takes a minute, simply by clicking here: https://www.paypal.me/BEESTONIA.

Now, over to our scrutineer of all things leaflet-like, Chris Tregenza:

POLITICS BY DESIGN | GREG MARSHALL, LABOUR

 

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Overall:  Dull and predictable using an HQ approved template with the name and constituency changed.

Colour Use: Red. Everything is official Labour red. The strong colour use is definitely the hand of a professional designer and almost certainly straight from Labour HQ’s talented design team.

Typography: The headline text and all the other elements from the template are clear and readable. Though there are some little oddities suggesting that new text has been pasted over the officially supplied text. The typography of the local text such as Greg’s personal message is weaker. The thin script font (Pine Nuts Light Expanded: https://www.whatfontis.com/NMY_Pine-Nuts-Light-Expanded.font ) requires a little more effort to read than it should. Add in the text being at a slight angle which in turn is a little off from the surrounding, jauntily angled boxes, plus there is a little too much text, and the impact and readability of the message is diminished.

Images: Dominating one side is a good photo of Greg looking dad-like in an open-collar shirt and jumper standing in front somewhere clearly identifiable as being in the constituency. The muted blue colour range of the photo nicely offsets the bold red of the rest of the leaflet. On the back is a group picture of supporters holding signs. The psychology of the picture is good – “I’ve got lots of enthusiastic supporters. They trust me, so you should to” – but the actual photo is a bit of a mess. Greg isn’t even the most prominent figure and the crowd looks embarrassed to be doing the left-wing, fist in the air, salutes.  

Truthiness: There’s not a great deal of detail on the leaflet so little to fact check. One interesting tidbit is that the claim that Labour’s Green deal will create new green energy 400,000 jobs without mentioning the same policy will threaten 280,000 old energy jobs. 

Message: Where’s Jeremy Corbyn? Is he such an election liability Greg daren’t mention party’s leader despite Corbyn having visited the constituency repeatedly. Brexit gets mentioned twice but without any detail as Greg desperately hopes people forget he is a remainer who for the last three years has been parroting the Corbyn line of “respecting the result”. What the leaflet repeatedly draws attention to is Greg’s local status both a councilor and resident which is good, but it’s a pretty weak selling point.

Summary: It’s OK. Like the candidate it is HQ approved and predictable. Nothing about the leaflet suggests Greg Marshall will be anything other than lobby-fodder for the party machine should he find his way into parliament.

P.s. In Broxtowe we have three oddball candidates: Dave ‘Buspass Elvis’ Bishop (Militant Elvis Anti HS-2 Party) , Dr Teck Khong (Independent Farage-Sold-Us-Out Brexit Party) and Amy Dalla Nura (English Hateful Troll Party). They probably won’t be doing mass leaflet deliveries but may be seen handing them out. If you can, please grab one for me and pass it on to the Beestonia.
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Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on twitter as @Tregenza

ELECTION SPECIAL DAY MINUS 27: BROX TWITS / BEESTON QUESTIONS JOHNSON

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It’s often been a theme of this blog, when it’s dealing with politics or other stuff, to speculate that Beeston is the centre of the known universe. It’s a bit of a thesis I best not explain now less I crowd out Chris Tregenza’s fantastic overview of our candidates Twitter output, (below), but if you see me in the pub I’ll probably freely express it around the 2.7 pint mark; I guarantee you’ll be like most people by the end and so impressed you forever give up talking to strange men in the pub and are so in awe you cross the street when you see me approaching / pretend not to speak English when I say hello.

Brevity being the soul of wit – BBTSOW, for short – the idea is that Beeston is so fascinating as it so easily acts as a a microcosm for the UK. In this instance, politics, and to repeat a phrase I’ve heard with increasingly frequency since 2016, how ‘utterly fucked up’ it is. We have Lib Dems supporting Greens, Greens supporting Labour, (ex) Labour supporting Soubry, Tories supporting Brexit, and so much weirdness I can’t help feeling that rather than a General Election we’re at some seedy seventies suburban wife-swapping party. We even have a candidate who has been on Wife Swap. If, at a hustings, you’re invited to throw your car-keys onto a coffee table, just run.

More bits, including how a Beestonian Nursery owner had the Prime Minister so flustered he forgot how many kids he has, after our look at the candidate Twitter accounts you should be following. Lord Beestonia.

BROX TWITS

Some people think this election will be won on the doorstep but they are idiots. The real battleground is on Twitter. One week in, how are the candidates doing? (Banner images candidate’s own)

Anna Soubry (@Anna_Soubry)

Independent Group for Changing Your Party Name

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With over 198,000 followers, Anna dwarfs the other candidates but they shouldn’t be worried. Most of her followers are Russian bots posting death threats on everything she posts. (This is only a slight exaggeration). Plus, Anna’s complete lack of design awareness means her header photo is so bad she cuts off part of her own face and her avatar is a nondescript splodge of pixels.

However, her actual tweets are not the normal fatuous MP posts. She uses the account well to promote allies in various parties and to show solidarity with other MPs and candidates being targeted with abuse.

Greg Marshal (@Greg4Broxtowe)

Labour & Please Don’t Ask Me About Our Brexit Policy Party

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Trailing Soubry by some way with just 3,000 followers, Greg’s account is as dull as you would expect from a Corbyn loyalist. A steady stream of retweets from official Labour interspaced with pictures of Greg campaigning around Broxtowe.

Greg has at least learnt to make header and avatar images which, though unimaginative, are at least recognisable.

Kat Boettge (@KatBoettge)

The Green But Unelectable Party

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With a healthy 2051 followers and a well designed header / avatar, Kat should be queen of Broxtowe Twitter but there is a suspicious gap in her tweets. Between the end of the European elections (where she was a candidate) and the last few days, there was not one tweet. It’s almost as if she only uses Twitter as a campaign tool and not the essential part of life we all know it is.

Darren Henry (@VoteDarrenHenry)

Conservative & Not Very Unionist Anymore Party

1500x500 (1).jpgDarren has 1700 followers but most of them are from Wiltshire, Chester and other places he has stood for election and lost. His Twitter feed is so dull and predictable that it makes Greg Marshal look interesting. The only notable tweet is one where he comments he had an enjoyable afternoon in Stapleford – something no one has said before. (Why is Esther McVey lamping him under the chin???- Ed)

Dave (@BusPassElvis)

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The Militant Elvis Anti HS2 PartyThe only serious candidate in the running, Dave is woefully far behind the other candidates in followers which shows how insane British politics has become. His latest policy announcement – “Free neutering for stray cats and Boris Johnson” – deserves a much wider audience.

Any Others?

Yes, two far-right shitposters who we’ll probably mention at some point, but right now simply do not have the energy, physically or emotionally, to bother with.

Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on twitter as @Tregenza

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NURSERY CRIMES

You’d think that Boris Johnson’s unfortunate habit of indiscriminate inseminating would lead to a deep familiarity with nurseries.

Alas, of course not. Just as Jacob Rees Mogg professed to never changing any of his own children’s nappies (his aversion to the nanny state not something he likes to take home after a day handling less allegorical piles of shit); Johnson is not exactly a hands on dad. A day after appearing to have no idea what the lyrics of Wheels on the Bus were he rocked up blathering onto a live BBC TV and Radio link-up not knowing owt about nurseries either.

Step forward today’s hero: Roopam from Beeston Nursery.

I’ll declare a conflict of interest: my toddler son goes to the nursery and I’ve long been a fan of the place and the way it’s ran; not least the work Roopam does to make it a fantastic environment for developing tots. She’s a passionate, dedicated advocate of giving kids the best start in life, and is so wholly devoted to ensuring that we do not neglect our young (I mean, they can’t vote, so you can see why they’re taken for granted) it is perhaps no surprise she decided to have a punt and ring in with the utterly outside chance of getting to speak to the PM.

Amazingly, she got through, and the result – well argued, well researched rational pleading vs blathering ill-informed word-salad. It’s here, about 44.5 mins in, and it’s quite something: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000c0t8/your-questions-answered-boris-johnson

Lord Beestonia

 

 

 

ELECTION SPECIAL: INTERVIEW WITH GREEN CANDIDATE KAT BOETTGE / OFFICIAL CANDIDATE LIST ANNOUNCED

We have the first of our candidate interviews today with the Green Party Candidate, Kat Boettge and its a cracker: rare you’ll see a politician so candid (beware! many swears!) and funny; plus she took us behind the scenes of the episode of Wife Swap she starred in which is a real eye opener. It’s our rookie journo Faith Pring’s first piece for us, so smatter of applause her way, please. Or better still, donate towards our crowdfunding for this election special: every penny will go to cover expenses and wages of our new team of citizen journalists: click here: it will take a minute of your time and a few quid out of your account, but do great things for the future of preserving insight and scrutiny into the oft-neglected world of local politics. After the article, we have the full candidate list – the complete runners and riders for the hard slog ahead. Over to Faith…

CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS #1: KAT BOETTGE GREEN PARTY

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The upcoming general election on December 12th is nothing short of controversy. The Broxtowe elections are looking to be some of the most interesting in the country, with candidates swapping parties, stepping down and stepping up, so we spoke to green party candidate Kat Boettge to grasp her opinions of it all.

Originally from Germany, Kat has been living in the UK for twenty years and decided to join the Green Party as soon as she felt her daughter was old enough to be left alone for a couple of hours a day.

“My mother was a Green Party politician, so I grew up with that. Once my daughter was old enough, I joined [the Green Party], and that was seven years ago. Only half a year later I was selected as the lead candidate for the European elections for the East Midlands,” Kat Boettge said.

After admitting that the Green Party has changed her life for the better and she doesn’t regret a thing, we began talking about the current climate change emergency and whether she agrees with the highly controversial actions of climate activism group Extinction Rebellion.

“I think they’re doing an excellent job. I’ve spoken at demonstrations, but because I’m working full time, I can’t do everything,” she revealed. “I think the momentum has definitely grown in the UK, and I think people are finally realising that a climate emergency is real and that everything is going to be affected by this. I know I would not be able to look my daughter in the face in twenty years and say that I didn’t even try and do something to help.”

When talking to Kat, it’s obvious that if there’s one thing she’s passionate about, it’s helping to solve the world’s climate emergency. But does she share the same amount of passion for the NHS?  A psychotherapist by trade, Kat has seen first-hand what a lack of funding and staffing can do to the health service and how it can affect the people that need it most.“I’m a great fan of the NHS, and I think if we get a bad service, it’s due to a lack of funding.”

“Only 3% of the NHS budget is dedicated to mental health which is appalling, doctors work fifteen hour shifts and if patients don’t hit a certain recovery rate, the therapist is thrown out. It shouldn’t be like this but it’s because of the pressure,” she added.

During the interview, Kat also believes that a large majority of the funding given from the government is directed to the wrong causes. “How funny is it that we have the money for HS2, for Trident, but not enough for the NHS? It’s not just sad, it’s fucking crap.”

Electoral reform, social justice and, of course, climate change, are just some of the Green Party’s policies, but why does that mean you should vote for Kat in the upcoming elections? “In the UK, it’s one side and the other, it’s based on a two party system and it’s time to stop that. A climate emergency is absolutely urgent; we’ve been on the right side of history for 40 years saying this.”

“our voters would be quite pissed off if we’d stood down. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just simply that” -Kat on standing against Soubry

“You should vote for something else other than the two parties to show that we need electoral reform, and that’s what we stand for.”

Despite all her views, many people have been questioning lately why Kat Boettge is still standing in the Broxtowe elections, despite the recent Remain alliance. This alliance has seen the Liberal Democrats stand down in Broxtowe, to theoretically enable a single Remain candidate to stand. However, both Anna Soubry and Kat Boettge are active Remainers, and Kat Boettge has refused to step down. Why?

“Locally, we weren’t made aware of any alliance, nobody asked us. Anna Soubry didn’t ask us, the Lib Dems didn’t ask us, our national party didn’t ask us to stand down.”

“If they had asked me to stand down, I would have said no because Anna Soubry, in regards to environmental politics, is so far away from where we stand, our voters would be quite pissed off if we’d stood down. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just simply that,” Kat explained.

“If you look at the last European election, which is the most relevant, in Broxtowe it was the Brexit party first, Lib Dem second, and I was third. Now, because the Lib Dems are not standing, I am the strongest remain candidate in Broxtowe and I am not going to stand down.”

Finally, something we can’t avoid: a couple of years ago Kat appeared on Channel 4’s

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Kat among the pig-ignorants: Wife Swap

Wife Swap in a slightly odd Brexit special. What was that like?

“You only see snapshots of it. On the first evening I was at this social club, and I was literally surrounded by twenty or thirty drunk men shouting at me. They didn’t even know you could vote for an MEP, this was the level of discussion we were having. And I was standing my ground, and as I said the director said he couldn’t watch the footage fully because he thought it was so abusive and upsetting, and I was trying to be as diplomatic and withstanding as I could be, but it was constantly abuse towards foreigners, and they’re threatening, and this guy took me to wherever it was in London, where there were a lot of Bangladeshis, and they threw a lot of comments that were not shown. I was saying ‘there’s nothing wrong with Muslims, but what has this to do with the EU?’. The level of discussion was on such a low and uneducated level, I didn’t want to say anymore. What wasn’t shown was that I persuaded three of the men there to become Remainers, and they got it, but they didn’t show it because they didn’t want to be biased”.

Phew. Whatever your politics, Kat is a welcome splash of colour –albeit it shades of green- into what could otherwise be a pretty grey election season. Faith Pring

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CANDIDATE LIST ANNOUNCED

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Here it is folks! The list of candidates that made the cut: we’ve explained the absence of the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party, so there are no great surprises but the immediate take-away is thus:

  • Labour, Conservative, Green, Soubry all there as expected.
  • Dave Bishop, aka Militant Elvis, got his ten signatures, so can stand!
  • A disillusioned, possibly out-of-pocket former Brexit Party who really should delete his Twitter feed is standing as an Independent.
  • A hateful dangerous candidate is standing in the form of Amy Beth Della Mura. Lets take a little look at this rather awful human.

She’s a full on, unapologetic fascist for starters, and standing int he Midlands could be for two reasons: one, she was banned a few years ago from going anywhere near the UK coastline – an ASBO put on her through frequent bogus suicide attempts that cost rescue services over a million quid.

Two: she’s going after Anna Soubry. While this blog has never been our incumbent MP’s biggest fan, we are shocked at the level of hate and abuse she receives – the full gamut of rape threats, death threats, etc. No one deserves anything like that, and the fact a professional troll is standing raises some grave questions: she has verbally abused Soubry while the MP was live on air, calling her a ‘traitor’ and the usual vile stuff that seems fine to spout these days due to the whipping up work of Farage, Johnson et al.

She is a dangerous, possibly deeply unwell person, and it is important that the police and public keep a very close eye on this potentially dangerous candidate.

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We’ll be taking a closer look at a few surprises that have come our way in tomorrow’s blog: stay tuned! Lord Beestonia

BEESTONIA ELECTION19 SPECIAL, DAY MINUS 31: BREXIT BOTTLERS; NOTTS CONSTITUENCY ROUND UP.

by Chris Tregenza / Lord Beestonia

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The weekend saw candidates descend on Beeston, with the Brexit Party taking a pitch outside Hallams, Anna Soubry’s Change for A Cup of Tea Party (subs, please check) outside Sue Ryder and the Liberal Democrat Party – well, just getting a bit of fresh air really, since they’re barred from standing.

It was the Brexit Party’s first proper unleashing of their new candidate, Calvin Robinson, who turned up with MEP and PPC for Ashfield Martin Daubney, who less lucky readers will know as the Men’s Rights Activist idiot who edited Loaded Magazine (and effectively killed it off by getting it’s circulation down to 10% of what it was when he took over).

It must have been some consolation eventually finding his constituency after earlier

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recording a video message talking of his wonderful first day of campaigning where he talked how “We’ve been out in Mansfield Town (not in the constituency); we’ve visited the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum” (in Eastwood, not in the constituency).

Yet it was all for nowt. Nigel Farage, that believer against the odds in the impossible; that patriotic stalwart of standing your ground; that not at-all chicken opportunist spiv bottled it. Pulling out all the candidates to seats won by the party whose Brexit stance is still described on their website as “The Prime Minister’s deal is not a proper Brexit…reheats 95 per cent of Theresa May’s deal…..Can any Brexiteer inclined to support this Treaty honestly say that it amounts to a proper Brexit?” Well, Nigel can, and now Calvin can, and funny how someone as steadfast in his opinion as Nige is can disintegrate so thoroughly when the Daily Mail throws a bit of criticism at him.

So Nige and Calvin out the race, the Lib Dems in enforced hiatus and Lord Biro at last getting his signatures to enable him to run, we are beginning to see the candidate slate take shape before the 14th November deadline.

We will be with you all the way, with the side of the campaign you won’t find anywhere else. We’d love it if you chipped in a few bob to help us do so – we’re all independent journalists and not in the pay of a political party/ lobbyist / media mogul. A few quid will do wonders, and keep local journalism keeping you in the know: click here to keep us running.

Now, over to Chris Tregenza for a look at what’s happening with the neighbours. Lord Beestonia

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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

While Broxtowe is clearly the most interesting constituency in this election, we should spare a thought for our neighbours.

This Will Make The News

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Uncle Kenny Land, aka Rushcliffe

A seat bound to receive national attention is Ken Clarke’s old seat of Rushcliffe. Uncle Ken won this seat for the Tories with 50% of the votes two years ago yet the results in this seat will define the election. Despite coming 3rd with just 4% of the vote last time, Rushcliffe is in the Lib Dem’s top ten target seats.

Rushcliffe is predominantly wealthy and suburban, and the only area of Nottinghamshire to vote remain in 2016. Just the sort of voters who will be attracted by the Lib-Dem’s small ‘c’ conservative-but-remain sales pitch. Throw in the way Boris Johnson treated the much respected (and arch-Europhile) Ken Clarke and there are a lot of disillusioned Tory voters. Labour came 2nd in 2017 (25%) but there is no way Conservatives are going to vote for Corbyn.

The local Labour party realise the threat the Lib Dems present and despite previous being pro-Corbynite leavers, they are now campaigning as remainers. This won’t win them any new votes but may stop the hemorrhage to the Lib Dems.

And there is the crux of the issue. If the Lib Dems can convince remain-Labour and remain-Tories to vote for them nationally, Boris Johnson will fail to get a majority and the Lib Dems will have 50 seats. However, their tactics may just split the vote and let Johnson back into Number 10 with a clear majority. Rushcliffe is the bellwether for the nation.

Rising Star

The three safe Labour seats around Nottingham will be pretty dull – Nottingham East,

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Nottingham East

Nottingham South and Nottingham North. However Nottingham East candidate Nadia Wittome is a stand-out Labour candidate. Standing in Chris Leslie’s seat (who is also contesting it), Nadia is young, female, non-white and most importantly smart. She is also a strident left winger who believes passionately in free movement and the EU. So basically a poster child for the progressive left. With Chris Leslie unlikely to pick-up more than a few thousand votes, Nadia should be shoe-in and one to watch in the new Parliament.

Gedling – Held by Vernon Coaker since 1997, Gedling has a near 5000 majority. Expect to see that cut but if Labour loses Gedling then Corbyn is in a whole heap of trouble. In Newark, Conservative Robert Jenrick with his 17,000 majority in a strong leave area will not be wearing himself out campaigning this year. So you can forget all about Newark, just like us city folk normally do.

Bandit Country

Things get interesting in the north of the county with three unpredictable battles in an area which voted 70% leave.

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Mansfield

Mansfield unexpectedly fell to the Conservatives in 2017 after being Labour for 80 years. It was one of Theresa May’s few success stories and represents the type of seat the Conservatives hope to win from Labour. Evidence from online advertising suggests Boris is aiming to secure the rural Labour leave vote to replace all the seats he will lose in urban remain areas. However, sitting MP Ben Bradly is not the brightest spark and his victory last time had more to do with local politics than brilliant campaigning. This election is a simple two horse race and expect a photo-finish.

Bassetlaw was comfortably Labour with no meaningful Lib Dem vote but outgoing MP

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Bassetlaw

John Mann sold his soul to the Tories for a peerage. Coupled with one of the highest leave votes in the country and there is a good chance it will go Conservative. Something made much more likely because Bassetlaw Labour’s candidate was barred by Labour HQ and bitter in-fighting has broken out. A lot depends on how many of the area’s farmers have realised Brexit will be a disaster for them.

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Ashfield

Ashfield’s out-going MP, Gloria De Piero, started political life as a Blairite remainer but pivoted to Corbyn’s hard-left leaver stance. I’m sure with her 441 vote majority, Gloria was absolutely confident of winning and the decision to step-down had nothing to do with the complete collapse of the Labour vote in the EU and local elections. In the latter, the Ashfield Independent Party (created by someone kicked out of the Lib Dems) took 30 of the 35 seats on offer. Now the council leader Jason Zadrozny is standing as MP and is suddenly a very vocal Brexit supporter so he is a real force to be reckoned with. The Brexit Party is also targeting this seat and it’s certainly on the Tories long-list so the Ashfield race is totally open.

Most Importantly

In our beloved Broxtowe we have a 2.5 horse race. Labour versus Conservatives with an

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Anna Soubry wildcard. Labour are favourites but a lot depends on the manifesto. The more remain-oriented it is, such a commitment to free-movement, the more likely remain voters will go to Labour as the least worst option. However if Corbyn keeps on about respecting the referendum, there will be an exodus to Soubry. With the Brexit Party Ltd., candidate standing down it’s totally impossible to predict. Best keep reading this blog then… Chris Tregenza.

Politics By Design #1: Independent Group For Change.

by Chris Tregenza 

Over the course of the election campaign,our letterboxes are going to be choked with campaign materials on glossy paper that either go straight to the bottom of the cat litter tray or recycling bin. However, Chris Tregenza loves his campaign material, and wants you to as well. Thus, over the next few weeks Chris will be reviewing every leaflet that he gets sent – not for policy, necessarily, more for the aesthetic awfulness and other important considerations.

If you get a particularly interesting piece of campaign material from a Broxtowe candidate, send it over to mattgoold23@hotmail.com, and we’ll serve it up to Chris.

We start off with the earliest leaflet to go out, from Anna Soubry’s Independent Group for Change.

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Overall

Oh  jeez. This is why you should pay for professional design and not rely on an intern who knows how to use Photoshop.

Colour Use

Not too bad when you consider all the political parties have nicked the good colours. The orange / pink / blue combination is a nice palette which works well on a dark background but is too weak when used on white.

Typography

Anna must have amazing eyesight because the 9pt body text is minuscule to my tired old eyes. No one is going to read anything this small.

 Images

She must be one of the most photographed back-benchers so why the hell are the photos so crap? The photos are tiny, it’s almost impossible to see Anna in them.

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 Truthiness

No obvious pork pies, just the usual half-truths we expect from our politicians.

 Message

God knows what Anna thinks the point of leaflet is. Rather than pitching herself as the “Remain” candidate or making the most of her outspoken, stand-up-to-power persona, it tries to do everything and predictably ends up doing nothing.

 Summary

I doubt this will be the worst leaflet of the campaign but it sets the bar pretty low.

Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on twitter as @Tregenza 

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Candidates stand-up – and are stood down / Elvis has entered the building.

By Matt Turpin

* LIB DEMS LIVID AFTER BEING FORCED TO STAND DOWN

* BACKING SOUBRY? ‘NO WAY’ SAYS ACTIVIST

* CANDIDATES BEGIN TO APPEAR: INCLUDING A CERTAIN LORD B…

And we’re off.

The election has been called, and parliament (lawfully) prorogued. On the 12th of December we will go out and vote for our preferred candidate (or draw a vivid and anatomically unlikely obscenity across the ballot paper – hey, this is a democracy, do what you will). On the 13th, after staying up all night and getting overexcited when a returning officer starts progressing towards a stage in a featureless room in a municipal hall in a featureless town you’d not heard of ten minutes ago, we will know who is – or more likely, who could be – forming the next government. On the 14th we’ll stop being drunk and think ‘Ah well. At least we have a bit of time off work to look forward to’ before heading back to the pub and waiting for Christmas or the Apocalypse, whichever seems most likely to happen first.

Prognostications are not going to feature on this blog over the next 35 days. I once fancied myself as an East Midlands psephologist soothsayer – a Nottstradamus, if I may be so bold- but after multiple failures in reading the chicken entrails I’ve made the wise decision to roll away the crystal ball and just go ‘meh’ when asked what I think will happen. Meh.

One thing I can predict with utter certainty is that

THE LIB DEMS WON’T BE WINNING BROXTOWE

“Ouch” I hear you cry “such partisan observations creeping in already?” No, this isn’t a dissing of the guys and gals in yellow, more that they have been told from up-high that they can’t stand a candidate.

“We are disappointed with this decision as we would have done very well. This is a hugely important election for the future direction of the UK”. Lib Dem councillor Steve Carr (Broxtowe Borough / Notts County Council) tells me “There are just too many pro Remain parties standing in Broxtowe and we don’t want the Tories or the Brexit Party to win.”

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Can’t stand me now -Tim Hallam

It’s probably especially galling for 2017 candidate Tim Hallam: he’s been their official candidate since September, and de facto candidate for far longer though being an unchallenged incumbent.

An activist I spoke to this afternoon told me “I’m now expected to support and campaign for Anna Soubry. No. I won’t be doing that, and no one I know will. We’ll devote energy towards Jason (Billen, Lib Dem candidate for Rushcliffe) and that alone: I’ve no faith in Soubry and a vote for her is a waste. A Lib Dem could have pushed through the middle, but now we don’t get a chance”.

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We won’t officially know the full slate of candidates until after applications close on November 14th, so expect surprises: such a high-profile bell-weather marginal with such a controversial incumbent is going to draw a lot of national media attention over the next five weeks.

We do have several certainties though

Labour: Greg Marshall.

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Nearly grabbed glory in 2017, and probably would be our MP now if it wasn’t for the unexpected nature of the last election that left him on the back foot.

Conservatives: Darren Henry

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After writing a piece about him a few weeks ago, he invited me out for a drink to meet him, which I thought was a quite noble gesture, especially as I assumed that the local Tories had deemed me persona non gratis. He proved to be perfectly affable company if political ideology wasn’t touched on, and I welcome his entry into the race over the cynical and tired expected candidate Cllr Richard Jackson.

Green: Kat Boettege

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Buoyed by a new wave of consciousness on green issues, Kat standing is no surprise but at the chagrin of the Lib Dems, who assumed that standing down to a Remain candidate (see above) would mean an extension of the pact in more complex constituencies. Our second candidate with televison credits: as well as regular appearances on Notts TV she featured on a recent episode of Channel 4’s Wife Swap.

Independent Group for Change (subs, please check): Anna Soubry

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In a normal world, the fact that our parliamentary representative for Broxtowe would be concluding what is highly likely to be her final campaign on my birthday would be a significant occasion to me, and perhaps a cue to start googling the most attractive champagne cork/ exploding firework GIFS. But no, these are no normal days and few politicians exemplify the strange days we’re in than Soubry: once a Tory loyalist and trenchant critic of anything outside that particular politic bandwidth, she’s now re-positioned as the liberal face of Remain without actually joining the Liberals. Now given a clear path by the Lib Dems, which might ironically see her once-nemesis Greg Marshall take power. Going to bring a LOT of interest from the national media to this seat.

Brexit Party: Calvin Robinson

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Well, they did have a candidate in the shape of Duncan McCann, but he subsequently stood down citing ‘death threats’. In his place steps Calvin Robinson, a relative unknown who nonetheless will be trying to get his profile raised, if not actually standing a strong chance of winning.

Interesting fact: ‘ Broxtowe’ shares more letters with the word ‘Brexit’ than any other constituency in the UK.

and an exclusive for you….

Militant Elvis Scrap HS2 Party (I think): The Lord Biro, AKA Dave Bishop, AKA BusPass Elvis

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Poet, pub raconteur and local marvel Dave has been contesting seats across the UK for over 20 years, and despite being the ultimate fringe candidate is a hugely welcome dose of satirical levity in an often grey field. Also, he’s had success, beating a Lib Dem candidate in a local council election in Clifton (though trailing far behind the Labour candidate), a feat he’s certain to repeat by default this time around

Dave rang me earlier this week ‘Look. I don’t expect you to campaign for me, or even vote for me. But if you’d sign my election papers I’d be really grateful’. How could I refuse? We met in a pub – appropriately as Dave loves a tipple – I signed and he spent the rest of the day collecting more signatures. He rang me this evening “I’ve got seven now (he needs ten) so it’s going well. Best of all, a load of blokes saw my rosette and gathered around me to sing ‘Hound Dog’. It was beautiful, and the best start to a campaign”.

It’s possible we have our break-out star.

So that’s the current crop: we’ll keep you updated all the way. We are planning to cover the campaign from a local perspective, and cut through the predictable party flannel and give an honest, independent take on things – while ensuring our small team of fresh reporters get trained and paid. Read more here, and if you’re feeling like you’d like to help out, then drop us a few quid here – every penny will be accounted for and used solely to keep you informed.

BEESTONIA: ELECTION 19 SPECIAL LAUNCHES!

Nine and a half years ago, I decided to take my local blog charting the whimsical weirdness of the town I lived in and point it at politics. It seemed like it would be a fun thing to do for a short while, especially as the candidates included a former Central News presenter who was known by very few outside the East Midlands, and had hardly been on telly for two decades, but was well known to me as a avid TV watcher in the eighties and casual Prisoner Cell Block H fan. It should make for a few amusing posts, I imagined. Things got very weird, and to cut a story very short I found I was writing a blog more or less solely devoted to local politics, often driven by the sheer horror of what was out there when probed.

I’ve tried to retire many times, and felt that the successful action against Broxtowe Borough Council over the Summer was a valedictory moment, and time to step away. The Beestonian, which span out of this blog before assuming a life of its own and going on to greater things, was more fun to run. My day job at Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature was -is -ridiculously good fun as well as doing something that I believe incredibly deeply in: showing that the greatest step on the ladder in so many ways is to foster a love of reading.  I get asked to do a lot of community-based things, including taking a school governor role, sitting on the local Civic Society committee, and advising local individuals, campaigns and businesses how to promote themselves effectively. I was asked to -and accepted – a part-time position lecturing in journalism at Nottingham College. I have a lot on. This blog had been fun, but maybe it was time to walk away.

Then there is the most important thing in my life: my toddler son. He turns three this weekend – feel free to wish him another year of fun and silliness – and everything else is secondary to him. I was an unlikely political journalist; now I was an unlikely devoted father.

I simply can’t do it again – I can’t commit to the huge amounts of time, energy and terror of legal threats that a proper blog on the election commands. I’m in an incredibly fortunate position to not have to further burnish my credentials, to get my name out there, to demand attention from readers.

Yet there is a real problem with local political journalism right now: there’s simply not a great deal of it. I won’t get into the historical and complex reasons behind this – us hyper-local, utterly independent digital-first journalists are probably part of the problem. But while the 2010 election had many dedicated eyes upon Broxtowe, the 2015 and 2017 campaigns saw these becoming fewer. There are some fine local journos out there: Kit Sandeman, Hugh Casswell and Tony Roe are all brilliant professionals. Yet with so many battles to be fought, so many patches to cover, much goes by unreported.

To square this circle, I’ve decided to run an election blog, but not write it. I’ve put a call out for budding citizen journos to come forward and take over the blog: using my resources, contacts and platform to report on the campaign to win Broxtowe. In the same way I have an open editorial for The Beestonian, I want to give other journos the skills, experience and – this bit requires you, keep reading – funds to become proper trained local journalists. The more people have the skills to be able to speak truth to power, the better. If that can be the legacy of this blog, then great.

I’ve so far commissioned two very promising younger journalists with little experience, and they’ll be reporting for here very soon. Our editorial line is

  • Independence: none of us are members of a political party, and while I will take posts from those who are, it will be clearly stated next to their byline. Readers of this blog know I have a leftish streak, but find me an editor who doesn’t hold some sort of position and I’ll show you a viable Brexit deal. Independence will be the core of this blog.
  • Irreverence: I’ve done plenty of serious, straight-faced journalism in my time and its an important thing to have, but in the next six weeks it won’t be the theme. We won’t be doing po-faced polemics. We won’t be doing detailed examinations of policy. We will be doing critiques of the typeface of campaign material. We will be doing interviews with each politician that will ban party-line cliches. We will be doing anything that actually cuts away the huge amounts of crap that comes with each election and talk to YOU as an intelligent, curious reader rather than a reactive drone.
  • Broxtowe-centric: Boris Johnson is not standing in this constituency. Jeremy Corbyn is not standing in this constituency. Jo Swinson is…you get the picture. There will be mountains of stuff on those three, and other national figures, absolutely everywhere for the next few weeks. It’s unlikely we’ll find a fresh take on this, so we won’t bother. Our focus is SOLELY on Broxtowe, and informed by the fact we live in a representative parliamentary democracy, not a presidency. The diminishing nature of local media often gives us the feeling that the reverse is true; with ‘the provinces’ seen as the place to vox-pop on a weekday afternoon in a mildly condescending manner; I hope we can provide some form of corrective to this, providing something unique, dedicated and grounded right here.
  • Funded: and this is where you play a part.

This blog doesn’t cost a penny. It doesn’t carry advertising – aside from the stuff WordPress sticks on which a decent ad-blocker will hide and I never see from my end. I’m not in hock to some shady background figure pouring tons of funding in to serve as a propaganda tool (though if any shady background figures do want to pour money in then I best warn you I have called just about every election incorrectly and you’re best off sticking the cash on the lottery).

It will have costs to run: while I will be running the editing in my free time, the work carried out by my small team of journos will need some recompense: first, to cover expenses travelling and buying immense quantities of coffee; second, so in receiving a wage they can properly describe themselves as ‘professional journalists’. Journalism now is dominated by those who can afford to do it, as unpaid internships and volunteering are both a necessity for all and an impracticality for many: this explains why the majority of top level UK journalists in 2016 were privately educated against a national average of just 7% .

This has most likely seen a widening gulf in the last three years. While those non-state school journos are no doubt great at their craft, they are not representative and important voices are not being heard; the true diversity of the UK is not being heard. In some small way, we want to be part of changing that.

So out comes the begging bowl. I will pay for all expenses towards commissioned contributors here, and do so out of my own pocket. If you can help towards that, and then cover a fee for them, all the better.

I commit to not taking a fee, and ensuring all expenses are paid covered even if we only bring in a couple of bottle tops and a token from Beeston Beach. I will, the week after the election is over (and presumably when I can once again shutter this blog) publish a full breakdown on how it is funded: I will be utterly transparent.

So if you can dig into your pockets; if you can make this a two-way street we’ll make every penny donated worth your while: and perhaps play a part in changing how local journalism works:

You can Paypal here: https://www.paypal.me/BEESTONIA . 

And to whet your appetite, an hour after this blog is posted the first two exclusive scoops of the BroxElects19 will be hitting the newstands. Or dropping into your inboxes – click the button in the top-right margin of this site to sign up and get an alert each time we post.

Welcome aboard. We’re in for one hell of a ride.