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.

A Wilkos Update; Beestonia has a Brief Encounter; Best of Beestonia?; How Not To Do Christmas.

I’m going to go quiet on the Wilkos stuff for a bit now, but the battle is far from over. I’m in the process of collating all the signatures, photocopying the resultant sheets and sending these off to all relevant parties. The original set I intend to submit at the next full-council meeting at the Town Hall: I’ll let you know before hand when this is if you’d like to attend with me. Personal experience of attending council meetings is that a good showing of campaigners is effective: councillors very rarely wish to be appear in a bad light when the public are glowering behind them.

If you were not able to sign, there is a way to get your name down. Simply drop me an email  at with your details on (don’t worry, I won’t sell them to unscrupulous address harvesters) and I’ll get you included. The terms of the petition are simple: ‘We the undersigned urge all those concerned to ensure Wilkos remains in Beeston’.

Heres a (badly edited, sorry) thing that I did on BBC Radio Nottingham about Wilkos:


While in the depths of the Wilkos campaign, I did a bit of research on the company and found a cracker of a fact I couldn’t not share with you: In the 1945 stiff -upper lip romantic film Brief Encounter, a Wilkos store (a branch in Beaconsfield, to be exact) is visible in the background of a key scene where Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard politely discuss love through the emotional straitjacket of being English in the Olden Days. Next week I’ll be describing how Chilwell Lidl was the location set for Sunset Boulevard.


It’s the new year in a few hours, so I will be working on the annual End of Year Round-Up the moment I motivate myself into reading a year’s worth of  Beestonia. This could take some time: writing it is hard enough, you don’t actually think I read it as well? So help me along and let me know who the Beestonia heroes and villains were; what events shook Beeston, anything that saves me having to face the task of trawling through the 100,000+ words I’ve flung onto here over the last 12 months.


And finally, a cockle-warming Christmas tale. Cos I love Christmas very much, and I love it because however rubbish it might be, however hateful the hangover, however dry the turkey, however dire the jokes that fall from the inevitably disappointing crackers, I’ll NEVER have a Christmas as bad as one I endured 11 years ago, which I will tell you now and then have erased from my memory by some DIY keyhole lobotomising. It has nothing whatsoever to do with with Beeston besides having me as the protagonist, so only read on if you’re into self-indulgent whimsy. Oh, its not for the squeamish either….

At the time, I lived in Kent, working and living in a sprawling real-ale pub.  We were the largest pub in town -Tonbridge, to be precise-and I was roped into manning our tiny upstairs bar with a normally reliable barmaid called Laura. Laura, who that day decided to have a few pre-work sherries and turned up so drunk she spent the entire shift sprawled over the Bacardi Breezers in a dead sleep while I suddenly found the whole of the Weald of Kent at my bar demanding booze, and demanding it now.

After six hours sweaty, back-breaking graft I threw the last punter out and joined the staff on the main bar, which had been properly staffed allowing all the pint-pullers to get pleasantly mullered through the night. I made myself a Black Russian – I had strange tastes back then- and was about to take my first, much awaited slip when my colleague Adam decided to roundhouse kick it out my hand, apparently, ‘for a laugh’.

I didn’t laugh. I didn’t even smile. Far from it. I launched myself at Adam, and we ended up rolling around on the floor, in the fag-ash, beer slops and broken glass, intent on celebrating Yuletide with a spot of homicide. Eventually, we were seperated, and I slunk off to my flat below the pub.

Next morning, I rose early and visited my girlfriend’s house, where I was to spend the rest of Christmas. Sarah: not her real name, for reasons that will become obvious; had a bout of flu, and I got soaked in an icy rain-storm en route, but we both determined to have a great time.

I should have got out early, straight after the exchange of presents. I should have known her unhappiness at recieving a book of poetry from a poet I thought she’d said she ‘liked’ when she had actually said ‘despised’ was an omen. And I should have definately cut my losses and evacuated when she reacted badly to her other present, an engraved pen. I only had spelled her name slightly wrong, but I should have packed up then.

But I persevered, and even faked a smile at her presents to me: three self-help books, addressing problems I wasn’t even aware I was suffering from; and when she announced Christmas dinner was ready, assumed I’d got through the toughest bit. Oh, how very wrong can a man be?

She wasn’t the greatest cook, but had made a decent fist at preparing a traditional plate of food, which I gratefully tucked into. Yes, the slices of turkey were still slightly frozen on the outer edge, yes, the roasties were Aunt Bessie, and no, I wasn’t previously aware that  guacamole was a usual addition to the plate. Yet, when washed down with a warm glass of Liebafraumilch, was just dandy. Then Sarah vomited onto her own dinner.

I’m not a fussy man: I’ve had a kebab from the chippy on Wollaton Road, sober, but I do have a line and that crossed it. Maybe if  the expulsion has been exclusively thrust out upon her own plate, I’d have been fine, but there was a fair degree of splash-back and that found itself on my food. My appetite diminished in a millisecond. The line was crossed. After ensuring Sarah was ok, I pushed the remainder of my meal into the pedal bin.

This seemingly rational action infuriated Sarah who, still dabbing away at her mouth, exclaimed ‘ I spent hours on that, and you just THROW IT AWAY’

‘But…but I was nearly finished…and there was a bit of sick in the gravy’


At this point she was physically shaking. Prudently, I picked up my coat, and headed home.

I planned to spend the remaining hours of Christmas day in my under-pub flat,  watching TV and cooking up some nice supper later on. Salvage something from a wretched day. The key turned in the lock, and I strolled in to find my carpet made a noise, which it had previously never done. And the noise was a squelch. This seldom  precedes something good.

Chez Beestonian, a decade ago.

The picture above shows what was my flat: its that window on the right. That big wet thing right next to it? That’ll be the River Medway, that had decided to rise up and flood for a while earlier that day. Dirty cold water had eked in, drenching a huge spot on my carpet. A two hour clean-up job ensued, my hands red-raw from scrubbing the river filth from my thin-pile flooring.

After dousing any remaining damp in a thick dusting of Shake n’ Vac, I sat down to watch whatever distracting tat I could find. Sadly, that required electricity, of which there was none. The flood had shorted the fusebox in the unreachable pub cellar, and as the Landlady and Landlord were away in Gillingham, I had no way of restoring it. A steely resignation set in, and with a sigh I saw out the rest of Christmas evening with only a cold tin of beans and a text message informing me I was single for company. Merry Christmas!

Beestonia, yesterday.