Beestonian updates: Petition to hit the Council, Fearless Baiter of Politicians (and Dimbleby), Soubs Nose to Grow Larger?


Another busy week beckons. On Wednesday, at 7pm, the Wilkos petition will be presented to a full meeting of Broxtowe Borough Council. As it has been such a success, now in excess of 3,000 signatures, it’s automatically triggered a debate in the chamber. This is good news, and if you can, come and join me on the public benches to see what your elected representative intends to do about it. I’m going to publish an article about the present situation tomorrow, and it’s going to make you very irate if you care about Wilkinsons continued presence in Beeston and the fate of the workers who face looming redundancy.


Hindu Temple

Until then, a few updates. I appeared on BBC Radio Nottingham last Sunday morning, talking to Sarah Julian show, in an interview about the Hindu Temple campaign. Hopefully it triggered more cards, but I can’t thank you enough for what you did in response to my appeal.  They’ll be more news leading up to the opening of the temple, and I for one can’t wait to see it when it’s completed. Until then, let’s hope the miserable specimens who smashed their windows get pulled in by the police, or at least realise that bigoted small-minded hate is not welcome in Beeston.


Question Time

After a couple of appearances on radio and the local press, it was only natural I further my new career as a media tart by getting on the telly. So when Question Time came to the Djanogly Academy in Sherwood Rise, I got myself an invite, put on a nice shirt and toddled along.

We were put in a holding pen for an hour, with free tea and biscuits. Suddenly, a hushed murmer swept the room: Dimbleby had entered the room.

He was as suavely debonair and urbanely avuncular as you’d expect, and we were putty in his hands. He explained the set-up of the show, complimented Nottingham on the quality of his shoe-shops and the whole room really wished he was their uncle.

We headed to the studio, and took our seats. Unfortunately, these were at the back of the auditorium so when the recording began, only my knees made it on-screen. Still, it’s a start. I’ve been asked if my thighs want to audition for a slot on The Daily Politics.

The panelists were a split between the seasoned: Prescott, Ken Clarke and Baroness Kramer; and the novice: Julie Meyer, Founder & Chief Executive of Ariadne capital, Investment Firm, apparently,and the very youthful looking Owen Jones, author of the class-polemic ‘Chavs’. 

Meyer was awful, seeming to think that every problem in Britain could be solved with more ‘digital entrepreneurs’ (cos I’ve always though we just don’t have enough Nathan Barley-esque half-wits in stupid wooly hats banging on about their plan to design an app for other idiots with iPhones to bore the rest of us with), described the NHS as a ‘Multi-billion pound industry’ (errr, isn’t it a service? That’s an ‘S’ in NHS, isn’t it, or have I misread it for years and it’s NHI?). As her contributions delved deeper into the pits of banality, bafflement turned to bemusement turned to amusement and she was laughed out of the debate. Remember, people like Meyer are exactly the people Cameron is pinning his hopes of economic recovery on. If they’re all like Meyer, we’ll be grubbing for roots by 2014.

The recording concluded after an hour of hearty, generally good-natured debate, and we filed out. The set was being swiftly dismantled, but I managed to get myself mugging at a camera before we were politely invited by the crew to getoutandletthemdotheirbleedingjob:

Walking out towards the car-park, we unwittingly took a wrong term, and to my horror strolled into the guests makeshift Green Room, where Prezza was holding court to a tired looking Ken Clarke and a wide-eyed Owen Jones, while a very pissed-off Julie Meyer skulked in the corner, probably planning to activate her army of androids she’s been amassing over the years. I backed out, apologising, to find I was standing next to a grey-haired bloke in an odd tie and white shirt, clutching a glass of red wine. It was Dimblebum. The man himself. The nation’s favourite political referee, the ice-cool moderator of national debate, the MAN himself.

I couldn’t get this close without proof. If I was to tell anyone I’d been this close to him they’d roll their eyes, mockingly scratch an imaginary itch on their chins and intone sceptically ‘Oh yeah?’

So I suddenly heard my mouth say ‘Hi David, I’m a big fan, can I grab a quick picture with you?’ By all rights he could have told me to leave him alone, how dare a mere mortal come in such proximity to the Dimblelord? But no, he smiled with that twinkly-eyed face he does and …..

For some reason, I’m pulling a face that inspired one wag to ask ‘Are you having a stroke?’ which I could only reply that despite my excitement at the situation, my non-Dimbleby gripping hand was behaving itself.



There are so many things I have to get over about Soubry that soon, when other stuff quieten down a bit, I need to get out. For now though, I’m sure you’ll not be suprised that our redoubtable MP voted to keep the NHS Risk Register out of the public eye.

I put out a request on Twitter to see what local politicians think: I personally find it incredible that such a document can be kept secret, but thought a good reason might exist that I hadn’t thought at.

Both Cllr. David Watts and Cllr. Steve Carr, Lib Dems (well, Carr resigned the whip a while back, but that’s a different story) agreed that it should be made public, with Watts pointing out ‘I’m amazed that this isn’t published routinely. How can MPs vote without knowing the risks?’ Indeed. So why did Soubry vote to stop us finding out what dangers reforms hold?

‘Every GP in my constituency strongly support the NHS bill’ she told BBC Radio 5 Live. Really Anna?? Every one? According to Dr Ben Goldacre, editor of Bad Science 

GPs rejected the NHS bill 42:1 this month. If you see a politician claim GPs support it, you know what they are, and why that’s bad.

 So unless Broxtowe is a hot bed of Tory radicalism totally out of kilter with the rest of the UK, Anna appears to have a loose grip on truthfulness. Here, she has form. Remember 14 months ago, when she told the Commons that all the postal workers in her constituency supported privatisation? That triggered the biggest march Beeston has seen for over a century, a giant postcard being sent to her office and a weasel-worded explanation that she ‘hadn’t seen’ the piles of DON’T PRIVATISE THE ROYAL MAIL letters sent to her from disgruntled posties.
Anna’s burgeoning campaign to get a front bench position before she gets booted out in 2015 doesn’t let anything troublesome like truth stand in it’s way.
And if you think that’s bad, just wait till you hear about an utterly huge whopper of an untruth she’s recently told a constituency…stay tuned, good Beestonians.

Hindu Temple: A Brief Update and Thank You.

You lot really are great: I haven’t been down there myself to have a look but word is the Hindu Temple has been inundated with welcome cards from you, big hearted Beestonians. If you haven’t sent one yet, please do so when you get  a moment. I received this comment from Dr Sharmini Krishanand from the Temple:

“Firstly, we, the members of the Beeston Hindu temple, would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the people that have supported us recently. We have received beautiful cards, encouraging emails and many personal messages of support from within the community of Beeston and also nationwide. It is encouraging to receive so many from local residents who live in the Rylands.

When we first set up the btemple, we aimed for the Beeston Hindu temple to be a focal point within the community, acting as a meeting point for worshippers of all faiths. We also hope that all members of the community will benefit from using its facilities. Hinduism welcomes everybody.

Our opening ceremony is on Sunday 8th April 2012, an auspicious date based on the lunar calendar which also coincides with Easter Sunday, another important holy day. It will be an exciting time for everyone and we would like to cordially invite you all to join us in the grand opening of The Sri Thurkkai Amman Temple. If you do drive, may we, out of consideration for our neighbours ask you to park further afield? There is a bus service to close to our temple.”

Beeston Reichlands? Nein Danke!

It’s not really my policy to write about a meeting I didn’t attend, but for very good reasons I’ll make an exception for this post.

I was planning to go to the Beeston Rylands  Hindu Temple meeting last week, a community meeting organised to introduce the new temple to residents and address any concerns that they might have. Unfortunately I had otr commitments at the time, and reasoning it would probably be fairly low-key and pass off without much event to report on, I’d give it a miss. It turned out to be anything but uneventful.

A bit of background first: the Hindu temple  has been created out of an unused church hall on West Crescent. As the site already had planning permission to be used for religious purpose, and would have otherwise fell into dereliction, it seemed a sensible choice. There were concerns regarding parking (and, bizarrely, fireworks), so provision was made to assuage these fears. Provisional plans were drawn up for the larger (approx 70 people) events to be serviced by a minibus; for smaller gatherings, various sites were looked into that would greatly mitigate any impact on local parking.

Thus the meeting should have gone without a hitch, with residents worried about parking listened to and responded to, and served as an introduction to Rylands residents to their new neighbours. So far, so simple. A previous CAT meeting had passed off without a hitch when the issue was raised, and concluded with a round of applause when one of the Temple Elders expressed gratitude for being made so welcome.

Yet the meeting last thursday wasn’t graced with anything like this goodwill. A small but highly-vocal portion of the room tried, and succeeded to dominate proceedings by shouting down others, and, according to my source at the event, showing their true colours by shouting ‘Get back to your own country’, while the Labour councillors that serve Rylands   told that ‘It’s your fault for letting these people come here’. Ah, the unmistakable whiff of fascism, as potent as sulphur and brimstone but less pleasant.

Yes, it looks like the scummy BNP managed to infiltrate and hijack the meeting.  The bigoted views are not representative of Beeston, which is by far Broxtowes most multi-cultural centre, and one which has embraced and benefited from the influence of other cultures, notably East Asian. The BNP managed to lose their deposit at the last general election (cheers for the cash, knuckleheads!) and keep well away from local politics. The hilarious yet depressing case of Sadie Graham has been well documented here (she got elected to the borough council for the BNP several years ago, got kicked out for failing to attend meetings then launched an attack on Nick Griffin in that amusingly predictable paranoid way the far-right does so well; with her partner leaking the complete membership online).

I don’t doubt there are sympathisers here, but they are by far a tiny minority. So who were these people at the meeting?

Want to feel like you need to soak in Dettol for hours and have your computer fumigated? Then do what I did the other day, and have a trawl round some of the nastier, paranoid and outrightly rabid reaches of the internet where the far-right message boards wallow in their own filth. It’s a depressing thing to do, but do it I did, and it doesn’t take long to see that the Hindu temple has been an issue there, and a BNP-affiliated website has been keeping it on the agenda for some time. It seems like they organised to infiltrate the meeting and use it as a paranoid platform. It’s traditionally Islam the BNP focus on, but maybe they feel affronted that Hinduism has original dabs on the swastika as a peaceful sign, rather than there arm-band of choice. This style of infiltration is a common tactic of the far-right: they are too cowardly to admit there allegiance so attempt to pretend they are merely ‘concerned citizens’, despite not being local or at all representative of the community they attempt to cuckold.

Its depressing to think that this happens. Its even more depressing to hear that the stained glass windows of the temple were recently smashed in what could well have been a pointedly racist act of vandalism. Yet, there is hope, and there is a way to beat this, and show our new neighbours that they are welcome, that we are only intolerant  of small-minded, gimlet-eyed right-wing idiots who demonstrate the irony of believing they are the Master Race while struggling to walk without significant damage to their knuckles.

Heres what to do- it’ll take five minutes. Send the Temple a ‘Welcome to Beeston’ card. Grab a card, tell them that you have no problem with them being here, and beat the nazis with simple goodwill.  Go on, do it now. You’re bound to have a card knocking about somewhere that will be fine, pen a greeting, bang it in an envelope and address it to

The Sri Thurkkai Amman Temple

West Crescent 

Beeston Rylands

NG9 1QE 

Drop it in a postbox and know that in a  small but significant way that you have pushed a bit of hate out of the world. Then tell your friends to do the same via Twitter, Facebook, or, if you’re one of the local politicians who read this, via your newsletters. Beeston is a place of tolerance and freedom, lets prove it on a scale that shows the small-minded bigots they may be loud, but we are louder.