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EXCLUSIVE: SOUBZ TO THE LORDZ.

lords_2270261b

Not the Pearson Centre.

 

‘Events, dear boy, events’. The problem with keeping a half-arsed blog on the election is that stuff happens. So I decide to go for an epic three-parter on dirty tactics over three days, when some more dirty tactics avail themselves and suddenly the piece scheduled for that day looks out of date. So I’ve decided the two pieces I’ve got written will go better later in the campaign: by this time, the examples of their application will be depressingly multitudinous.

So let’s have some bang up to date news, straight from our own MP. Let’s start by asking a hypothetical question:

Does Anna Soubry actually want to win in May?

It seems a daft question. I’ll credit Soubz with this: she has worked hard to be noticed in Westminster. Her rise up the ranks has been quite masterful, using a deft combination of strong presentation skills polished during her time as a TV presenter. She is a strong loyalist, rarely stepping away from the party line and supporting it wholeheartedly; even defending bungling oaf Lord Freud when he suggested the disabled should work below minimum wage.

She loves Westminster, clearly. I had something pointed out to me earlier that shows this in clear view. If you check out her newsletter, and her website, their are testimonies to her work as an MP solely comprised of London based lobby journalists. Not a single constituent, Broxtowe group or local ANYTHING. This is the circles she feels most in need of approval from, not the little people over in NGs 9 to 16.

Into the wilderness?

It looks increasingly likely that the Tories won’t get a majority in May, and will most likely be forced into opposition. If this happens, and Soubry clings on to her seat, what then? perhaps a shadow cabinet post? Possibly, but as the party will lurch rightwards to finally try and quell the Eurosceptic attacks, her moderate, pro-Europe views will not be in favour. The most likely scenario will be a fade to obscurity on the back benches, with the occasional ‘Whatever happened to…?’ piece rolled out from time to time in political sketches.

So maybe relinquishing her seat, and then what? Well, it seems she has an exit strategy.

It seems Soubz has been promised a seat in the Lords, as a vocal frontbencher. I’ve heard from sources that this is already more or less a certainty, given the present polling. It will be a gift to loyalty, and give the Tories a strong voice in the other chamber.

This would suit her to the ground. The role is permanent; unanswerable to the pesky electorate who do such inconvenient things such as vote against her. It also means she doesn’t have to do the dull constituency stuff, the dogshit and the potholes. She doesn’t have to hold surgeries where she either looks utterly bored or utterly dismissive. She doesn’t have to answer letters from constituents asking if she’d not support the bedroom tax, NHS privatisation, badger culling. She’d be free to clock in every day for £300 a pop. She could take roles with arms firms and private health care providers: her kudos with working in both ministeries looking nice on the letterhead. She wouldn’t have a ‘fucking blogger’ write about her. Everybody would be happy.

Blank Canvass

Of course, Soubz can’t show this on the surface. She has been seconded a load of staff (as well as bringing on board Councillor Richard Jackson, contrary to her promise in 2010 never to use  Tory councillors in her office). Party ‘faces’ will be wheeled up here on a rotating basis soon. You’ll barely be able to move for Tory MPs. Expect Eric Pickles to be seen in the Crown Inn, large pork pie in each hand, guzzling. Grant ‘Michael Green’ Shapps on the high road pontificating (before dashing into Beeston Bookshop to see if he can offload a job-lot of his book ‘MAKE A BILLION WITH YOUR PC IN JUST 42 MINUTES’. Michael Gove outside Roundhill School demanding passing kids tell him the precise date and details of the Battle of Plassey. Brace yourselves.

Money – and thanks to some lovely hedge fund chaps, the Tories are awash with this stuff – will be poured into the seat with abandon. Yet Soubz own attempts to win seem, well, a little lacklustre.

Party Pooper

I have been told by local members of her own party that she isn’t exactly popular among them. Her abrasive manner is not just confined to those on the Left. My sources have told me that while they’d dearly love Broxtowe to go blue on a Borough level, they are less fussed about the constituency going red. They’re not too impressed with her failure with the local government settlement: how we came to get the lowest in the UK, with all the leverage Soubry had over Pickles, is extremely concerning. She is seen as a liability to their campaign, rather than a boon.

So if Soubry comes to your door, and after banging out the party line leans in and whispers ‘We will bring in a policy on compulsary kitten-kicking’ , before tipping you a wink, you’ll know why.

_______________________________

Sherwood’s Spencer Calls For IDS To Be Sanctioned. Sort of.

spencer

‘ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’

Over in Sherwood, MP Mark Spencer, who isn’t counted as one of the Tories best intellects, got into a spot of bother recently when he defended the draconian, suicidal benefit sanctions scheme. If you’re not au-fait with the scheme, it’s a way to punish the poor by withdrawing all money from them, for an open-ended amount of time, if they fail to comply with strict rules. For a read of some of the most maddeningly ridiculous, click here. The Government loves sanctions. It keeps the sanctioned jobless off the unemployment stats, and shows the rapid right-wing of their party that while it’s actually illegal to kill the proles now, you can at least drive them to kill themselves.

Later, it was revealed that Benefits Overlord Iain ‘In Deep Shit’ Duncan ‘IDS’ Smith visited a Lancashire job centre but arrived 70 mins late.

Now, IDS is a man paid by the state: our taxes. Just like a jobseeker claiming their subsidence. Mark Spencer claimed:

“If they are late for their employment, they might be sanctioned by their employer.

“It is important that those seeking employment learn the discipline of timekeeping, which is an important part of securing and keeping a job.”

Now, following that logic, IDS should face a severe sanction. As Spencer was talking about a case where a highly-vulnerable claimant was sanctioned for being just 4 minutes late, IDS should perhaps be hit with a six week sanction on his wage. Taking just his basic ministerial salary of £134,565, that would equate to a tax payer saving of £15,526 : enough to pay a nurse for over 6 months. IDS has previously said he could live on £53 a week, so perhaps it’s time he showed that proud Tory steel and was tough on himself. If Mark Spencer is reading this, have a sit down, chap. I imagine it’s got a bit confusing for you.

 

 

 

 

Dirty Politics Part One: The Dog Whistle

 

The election lurches on. I wrote last week about my reservations about covering it, and received some nice advice from several people; thank you. I’m still undecided, but, just in case, have interviewed a few politicians on record, and chatted to some more very much off-record. It’s helping to build a wide picture of the deeper stuff going on, the Machivellian shuffles here and there, the intensity, the paranoia, the panic. If I don’t actually cover the election, I reckon it’d make a great play. Who needs a new series of ‘House of Cards’ when you can get a small-scale version here? 

Before I write, or don’t write, anything, I think it’s important to shine a light onto a particularly murky side of things. This is the seedy world of dirty tricks and negative campaigning. It’s important to get this out in the open, so you can see exactly why some things happen they way they do, why some politicians act in certain ways.

I’d like to think that with some exposure, such practices would be curtailed; however my reach with this blog is not as huge as that enjoyed by political party  communication teams. I imagine that you are also quite astute on all things political yourself, and probably spot these tactics yourselves. Yet, for the sake of clarity, I will proceed.

I’m going to divide this into three sections: Dog Whistling; Narrative Change;False Association. Over the next three days, I will post an article on each.

Each is being practiced right now on a national and local scale. All are nasty, undemocratic techniques and you will see an upsurge as the campaigns  – for a extremely marginal seat in the House of Commons; as well as a highly delicate borough councils – intensify. Vast amounts of money are being pumped into the constituency, especially from Conservative Headquarters who are flush with cash donated by pals in big business and tax-dodging financial institutions who quite like the Tories laissez-faire attitude towards paying your fair share.

But let’s crack on. We’ll start with the least welcome Australian export since -and click this link at your own peril –  Sons and Daughters.

DOG WHISTLING:  “The intention is to make potential supporters sit up and take notice while avoiding offending those to whom the message would not appeal.”

DOGWHISTLE

You can hear this pretty much constantly right now. Or rather, you can’t quite hear it.

Dog Whistling is a psychological trick that was adapted into political campaigning some years ago, by Australian right-winger Lynton Crosby. The idea is to not explicitly say something extreme, but to allude, suggest, insinuate. Crosby used this effectively to successfully get John Howard stay in power for several terms in Australia, with a sly tactic of underhand racism.

This was done with a few codewords. Immigrants would be referred to as ‘unAustralian’. People opposing Aboriginal land rights were crosby‘battlers’. It reached a nasty head when Crosby fed stories to the Australian press about a boat full of asylum seekers that sank off the North coast of Australia. The reports stated that the asylum seekers were spotted throwing their young overboard to drown so to preserve themselves. The insinuation was ‘These people are not human’. It’s a tactic used all over to demonise: These People Are Not Like Us. Hitler’s portrayal of the Jews, Idi Amin’s portrayal of Asians: all used this method. It was, of course, found to be utterly untrue about the asylum seekers. Yet the damage was done and Crosby scored his point.

Crosby was bought over by Michael Howard to mastermind his 2005 General Election campaign. You may remember that campaign, with its blatantly dog-whistling ‘Are You Thinkingtoryhate What I’m Thinking?’ posters. Thankfully, people weren’t, and Howard and Crosby failed to topple the Government. Crosby learnt a lesson from this. More subtlety was required with the British electorate.

Rise of the ‘Birthers’

Over in the USA, dog-whistling reached new highs as Barack Obama became the front runner for the Presidency. Republicans couldn’t outright say ‘It is wrong to have a black man in the White House’ as they were itching to do, so coded the message. Obama was other. Politicians on the right would always use his full name, inflecting on the middle part ‘Hussein’, a verbal wink to those who would then scuttle off and pronounce that Obama was a Muslim, Obama was born in Kenya, Obama was probably actually the devil incarnate.

Back in the present, and back in the UK , Miliband is suffering a similar sort of attack. Crosby is good buddies with the right-wing press, feeding them nuggets in exchange for running his lines. The press have a strong interest in keeping Miliband out, of course. The Sun  and The Times is ran by Rupert Murdoch, who doesn’t pay tax in this country. The Express is ran by Richard Desmond, whose interests (he also owns a huge chunk of pornographic TV stations) he likes to keep free from the taxman’s eye. The Barclay Brothers, owners of The Telegraph live on the Channel Island taxhaven of Brecqhou. Lord Rothmere, owner of The Mail on Sunday /Daily Mail hides himself from the Inland Revenue by domiciling himself in France – ironic when his paper exists on hate towards people moving abroad to expolit the system.

Miliband the Jew / Muslim / Other (delete as appropriate)

So, it’s easy to see why the press are so keen to listen to what Crosby says. His fingerprints are all over some recent splashes. Remember the awkward picture of Miliband eating a bacon sandwich? This was classic Crosby. The primary message is ‘Oh look, doesn’t he look daft!’ (although  snap anyone while they’re eating and I guarantee – unless it’s through a straw – you’ll get an amusing picture).

But it was the dog-whistle that was important here. ‘Bacon sandwich? But isn’t he Jewish? Is that why he appears to be retching?’ Bingo. With one photo you’ve got Miliband down as other. Another attempt at this appeared in the press recently, when it was reported that after setting fire to a carpet Miliband replaced it with a … Muslim prayer mat. You an almost imagine Crosby winking furiously from the page when you read the word ‘Muslim’. Only gave a beggar a two pence piece. Well, you know what the Jews are like with money. Jew. Muslim Other. Odd. Weirdo. The dog whistle is screeching now.

But how does it apply here?

Coffer horrors

Crosby knows the key to a Tory majority is in the marginals, so he’s getting his tactics up here swiftly. No doubt Soubry has been briefed by himself and his acolytes, and her six-strong seconded campaign team are fully versed in these dark arts. They are increasingly making there presence felt.

Kimberley_War_Memorial,_NottinghamshireSoubry has been desperately trying to paint Labour as profligate with cash, and corrupt. She therefore insinuates that Kimberley Town Council are in dire financial straits, and hints strongly -as strong as possible without opening herself up to libel – that corruption is afoot. This generates a wealth of headlines, strongly worded statements from our MP about how Labour can’t be trusted, creating a negative air of suspicion and opprobrium around the councillors on the council.

An investigation followed, and not only exonerated the council but complimented them on the way the finances were handled. Did Soubry report this? No. Did it gain as many as column inches as the accusations? Of course not. Did Soubry apologise? Take a wild guess.

Cllr Richard Robinson, who sits on Broxtowe Borough as a Kimberley Councillor, led calls for an apology. Soubry was vulnerable as she couldn’t back down from her ‘corrupt, irresponsible Labour’ dog-whistle, so must have felt blessed when a story about Robinson landed in her lap.

You might have heard it. It even got it’s own tired -gate suffix, Aliasgate. Robinson was caught saying ‘yes’ when a pro-tram campaigner suggested using an alias to get across support for the tram planned for Kimberley. A daft move, but hardly Watergate. As the tone of debate on the tram, endorsed by our MP, has been dragged to such a level where Councillors have received threats and the police called, anyone putting forward a case for the tram gets compared to various nazis, and accusations of paedophilia, mental illness and being in the pay of some shadowy lefty overlord have been thrown at me for trying to get some clarity on the issues, perhaps it’s not surprising people might use a pseudonym. After all, surely it’s the facts that are sacred here?

Green Days

I don’t condone it whatsoever, but I also don’t condone Soubry’s boss, Tory Chairman Grant Shapps, using pseudonyms – Michael Green- to run a dodgy Get-Rich-Quick scheme; and using an online Lib Dem pseudonym to attack the Cleggites (he forgot to log off and got caught. grant-shapps-michael-greenHis excuse, which he refused to back up, was that he’d been hacked. Of course).

Does she call for his resignation? Or for the Tory staffers recently exposed as spending over £100, 000 on fake Facebook ‘Likes’?

Or perhaps she should call for her own resignation, after claims that she’d been told by postal workers that they supported privatisation?

Or for claiming that a local GP had begged her to help push through NHS reforms, at a time when opposition to the bill among GPs was around 90%?

Nope. But she does see the political opportunism of this, and peeps on her dog-whistle with some gusty lungfuls. Desperate to keep the story alive as Robinson referred himself to the standards board, she wildly claims in her latest newsletter

I have been contacted by constituents with further allegations involving other Councillors.

Pure dog-whistle: no evidence to back it up, an insinuation about an insinuation. PEEEP! LABOUR COUNCILLORS ARE ALL CORRUPT. PEEP!! THEY ALL STEAL MONEY!! PEEP!!CONSERVATIVES ARE CRUSADERS FOR INJUSTICE!!

Dog-whistling is a nasty, divisive tactic borne from racist hate politics, and should be beneath our MP who normally has an admirable stance on racial issue. Yet with a slender majority to keep hold of, will she campaign on issues, or insinuation?

As for Kimberley Town Council, will Soubry and others apologise? You can whistle….

Tomorrow: Narrative Change; or how to control history to control the future.

 

A Lib Dem Special: Carr Crash Part 3; Watts Goin’ On?

ldhypo

 

A Complaint 

A few months ago, I made a complaint to both Broxtowe Borough Council and Notts County Council about Cllr Steve Carr. The complaint was investigated, and I’ve recently heard, not upheld. I’ve not heard from the Monitoring Officer, however, but Carr himself, via a gloating post on Facebook. He claims I won’t put that fact up on Beestonia. Well, this isn’t actually Beestonia, I keep that for the non-political stuff, but I will of course make a response. Perhaps he’ll take time to read it all, and perhaps respond accordingly to a couple of requests I make of him.

The complaint was based on the fact that he boasted, along with his new besty Anna Soubry of checking the electoral roll for people’s names on various forums. Both Carr and Soubry have full access to this register, so it stands to reason that they meant, when they said with a degree of certainty that somebody wasn’t a local, that they’d checked the full register, rather than the public one. Such usage is illegal. I made a complaint based on this, and while the Monitoring Officer seems to not wish to upheld it, others are in the process of looking deeper at the issue.

Holy- Moley!

Carr also made claims at the time that my source within his party didn’t exist, and sent some bizarre stuff over calling me a liar. He then sent a self-pitying email over to his fellow Lib dems, threatening to resign if the mole didn’t stop sending stuff over: ‘I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back’ he mournfully cried.  However, he seemed to forget what moles do and I got this email sent over as well, within a minute of it being sent.

Threats Made

When I was asking for him to deny or confirm the illegal use of the register, he then did something do distasteful, so unprofessional I at first thought it was a joke. My wife, who is not, and never has been, a friend of Carr either in real life or on social media, and does not involve herself in my writing whatsoever, received a nasty email from Carr via Facebook making legal threats. Why he did this, I don’t know. He could have easily have sent this to me. But no, he threatens someone utterly uninvolved. While it seems that the Monitoring Officer didn’t think this was inappropriate behaviour, I’ll leave it to you to judge.

After making the complaint, I kept a diligent silence on the matter, as it is good manners, if not a legal requirement. Carr, however, went bleating on to the echo-chamber that is the Ranting Room crying that I was treating him badly. Knowing that the core of bigots on that site don’t much like me, and consequently ban anyone who steps out the party line, he knew this would instigate a mob approach. As it did. I received accusations of severe mental illness, threats of violence and accusations I was a paedophile. No one actually engages with the argument, they just kick up as much shit as possible knowing some will stick. This is, let me remind you, Anna Soubry’s chosen forum for Broxtowe’s political discourse.

Mellow Yellow? Nope!

Why? Aren’t the Lib Dems all nice former hippies who rock up in sandals and a nice sweater? Is Carr therefore just a rogue Lib Dem? No, and thats why they’ve got nasty. I’ve had to hold my tongue for the last few months regarding their behaviour, but it’s time to cast a light on a party that makes UKIP look kind.

I found out the hard way that they were the real Nasty Party. After the 2010 General Election, I was leaked some info from a Lib Dem Councillor. I read it, tried to find another source and after  failing, dismissed it. However, said councillor then put out in his newsletter that I had written a ‘nonsense piece of writing’ about the issue he’d leaked. I checked back, in case I’d somehow slipped or posted drunk, but no, I hadn’t. He’d leaked the piece so I would publish it, and then use it to attack me as I would refuse to reveal my source. I was a bit shocked by this: I’d previously thought the guy a decent type. I later chatted to someone with years more experience of mixing with politicians than me, and told him of this ‘Ah yes’ he replied ‘You see, the Lib Dems hate the way the system is set up, so they don’t feel obliged to play along with it’.

He meant the political system, but it seems when it comes to a moral or ethical framework, this also applies.

Tweet Wreck

Let’s give some examples. During the 2013 County Elections, a BBC Radio 4 crew came down and recorded Carr’s colleague Cllr. David Watts campaigning in Beeston. During the piece, an irate woman approaches and berates him for his stance on Field Farm. When questioned about this by Nottingham Post reported Alex Britton via Twitter, he responded:

wattslie

The problem with this was the woman in question was, errr, Linda MacRae, mother of Stapleford independent councillor Richard MacRae. Richard asked his mum if this was true. No. She was livid that Watts had publicly lied about her.

Not just dishonest, but stupid. Politicians increasingly use social media to get their message out, so to lie so brazenly is a severe misjudgment when it’s likely that woman might notice, even if her son wasn’t a very active social media user / campaigner.

Watts evidently did not learn from this, as recently he’s been at it again. Earlier, I received this:

I do find it quite funny that Councillor Dave Watts keeps using his operation (Watts was treated for a hernia recently) as an excuse for various things at the minute, he had a Hernia operation and not major Heart surgery, that excuse is wearing a bit thin now days. Only last Wednesday during the Development Control Committee meeting Councillor Watts was asked a question on Twitter but told the person who asked he couldn’t get into political debate as he was recovering from an operation, when I replied that he was sat in a Council meeting during this time he then changed his tweet, then removed it and then finally blocked me on Twitter. it was also during this meeting that again on Twitter Councillor Watts referred to fellow Councillors as ‘bigots’ again he soon deleted that tweet after, shortly after I got a screen shot of it.

Hmmm. When the same correspondent tried posting this on Bramcote Today, they were told that it would not be published because

I understand where you are coming from. However I have to urge caution with the way you are saying it.You have included ‘Councillor Watts is AGAIN telling untruths’. You are essentially calling him a liar.

The comment will inevitably draw requests to remove it with the threat of legal action if we don’t. We have had this before.

I suggest you revisit what you have said letting me have some revised copy.

Well, if they won’t print it, I will. Watts threatening discussion forums with legal action is pretty worrying. Freedom of speech used to be a thing the Liberals really believed in. Is there more to this, linked to how Bramcote Today is funded?

The Four -Letter C -word.

Let’s get back to Carr though. He’s like Watts on steroids. He’s kicked out some of the most hilariously pompous zingers of late, my favourite being, when I referred to him as ‘Carr’ in a post

“Carr” Just how more rude can you get?

I suggested I could in future use another four letter word beginning with C, but he stormed off in a pompous huff.

There is also his absurdities at council, where he unleashed a tirade of vitriol at two fellow councillors who had stated their opposition to

dodoausterity ‘THESE PEOPLE SIDE WITH ANARCHISTS’ he boomed ‘STUDENTS ARE NOT POOR. I SAW SOME EATING PIZZA AND DRINKING BEER’ and other such bizarre oddness. Two years later, when campaigning for the County, he suddenly transformed into Citizen Smith, claiming he was well to the left of the party and not an Orange Book Cleggite. He then began telling me that he would be regional campaign head for Tim Farron MP when the Lib Dem President staged a coup, which would be imminent. I didn’t bother publishing the interview, to which he got rather annoyed. It was too weird, even for me.

Hypocrites, liars, cynical opportunists. Many may say that politicians are all to be tarred with such a brush, but I disagree. I know some lovely people, people from all parts of the political spectrum. My politics are to the left, but I’ve had some of my best discussions about policy with right-wingers. I don’t agree with their points, but I do admire their conviction.

Steve Bell 20.09.2012.Sadly, the Lib Dems are bereft of even this quality. After a horrendous 5 year patch in coalition, where they got little concession out of siding with the Tories as they cheerfully voted for the  NHS-sell off; harmful and cruel austerity measures and the hated bedroom tax; and playing a key role in -via Vince Cable- the sell off of Royal Mail. The usual default party for people disillusioned with the red / blue status quo actually get into office, and show the public that rather than a refreshing change, they are equally cynical to swap their principles for a shot at a ministerial car.

Elvis vs. the Lib Dems

May 2015 looks like a disaster. Their one truly popular figure, Borough Mayor Stan Heptinstall, is retiring. They look set to lose seats all over the borough. As for the General Election, they will be announcing a PPC later this month but it’s clear whoever it is will not be campaigning, as PPC David Watts did in 2010, on a ticket claiming to be ‘a horse in a two-horse race’. They will be hoping to retain their deposit, having lost several in recent elections, even coming behind my favourite local maverick politician, Lord Biro of the Elvis Buspass Party in one recent election.  Watts himself achieved one of the  worst ever post-war vote share  in the parties entire history when he stood as PPC in Newark. A paper candidate for a party that seemed to entertain thoughts of actually winning the seat 5 years ago?

The collapse is astonishing. It’s time to say goodbye to the Lib Dems in Broxtowe. They will not be missed.

+++++++++++++

I’ve been asked if I’ll be covering the election, now that is 100 days away. I haven’t fully decided yet: rather than make a conscious effort to detail every nook and cranny, I might just use social media to get stuff out. There are reasons for this, one being I’m incredibly busy right now with other projects including my actual work. I also foresee a nasty campaign brewing, and I know Soubry won’t be slow to throw as much shit at anyone who dares stand up against her. She is in a similar situation to the Lib Dems, floundering and desperately trying to turn this into a dirty debate as she lacks any real intellectual rigour for debate. I’m not calling her thick, I’m sure she’s very bright, but she seems to lack any knowledge on policy (I still remember at a hustings in the 2010 campaign the moment if became clear that she was the only person in the hall not to know what the Robin Hood Tax was).

It’s pretty stressful getting threats: and while certain ranters (who don’t even live in Notts) throw accusations that I’m clinically mentally ill around (tasteful, chaps!) I can assure all that while I have a clean bill of mental health the strain it puts you under can be intense. Receiving that legal letter from Soubry’s partner last summer left me winded, until I realised it was just a pile of intimidating horseshit. Bullying does have an effect though, and I know that reporting on all things electoral will be a tough time. I don’t run this blog with any donated money, it’s purely independent. Up against the various party machines, keen to crush dissent and keep the light off their more salubrious activities, I am a minnow. Up against the nasty shark that is the Tories campaigning Bigot-in-Chief, Lynton Crosby, it could be too much. I’d much rather devoted my energies to the positive stuff that is happening in Beeston, the post-tramwork picture that is unfolding, and the optimism that is so far removed from Soubry and Carr’s desperate negative electioneering as imaginable.

I am writing a large overview right now on the state of Broxtowe politics in the run up to the election, which will be an accumulation of lots of stuff I’ve gathered over the last five years. I hope it provides a decent reference piece when complete.

I am up for suggestions, however, and even help. If you have the former and can offer the latter, let me know.

***************

And finally, to the question Steve Carr refused to answer that kicked off this whole debacle. Perhaps he will answer it now? He is, as he loves to claim

Cllr. Carr. Do you or do you not support Anna Soubry’s championing of a local BNP racist in Kimberley in her attacks on the town council?

…and another, as you might be reading

Cllr. Carr. Do you feel it is appropriate to make intimidating legal threats at me via someone who has no connection with? Don’t you think that is rather creepy?

I won’t be holding my breath.

An apology for accusing Anna Soubry of ‘hating Beeston’.

In my last post, I put forward the theory that Anna Soubry ‘hates Beeston’. I now admit that such a statement was not accurate, unfair and narrow-minded.

No, she doesn’t hate Beeston, exclusively. It seems she hates the rest of Broxtowe equally.

As with London’s position in England, so with Beeston in Broxtowe. We are the Southern focal point, with the greater population and stuff happening, which leads to a bias which often draws attention away from other areas.There was a funny story from the last Borough elections in 2011. Once the new councillors had taken their wards, a coach was laid on to transport all councillors round the Borough so they could get a look at our oddly shaped area as a whole. On approaching the Roach in Stapleford, the driver decided to not bother driving down ‘speedhumps’ he explained.

Eastwood, yesterday.

Eastwood, yesterday.


Taking this analogy further, this would make Attenborough the posh South Coast, Stapleford Essex, Trowell Oxfordshire, Bramcote the Home Counties, Nuthall York and Eastwood, Newcastle. But lets take a look at Manchester. Sorry, Kimberley.

Soubry’s hatred of this place is well-documented. I’ve covered before the Kimberley Town Council debacle, where a supposedly grassroots organisation (though actually set up by some shady Tories and a noted local neo-Nazi)tried to undermine the work done by the council by making claims of corruption, misappropriation of funds and lack of transparency. An audit was ordered, and the council were not just exonerated, but congratulated on the amount of money (around quarter of a million) they were in the black. So did Soubry admit she’d make an error? Tories are big on personal responsibility, after all. Would she admit it was a mistake to hang around, and praise, the aforementioned violent neo-nazi, Darren Warner? Nope. She even took him to a meeting with a cabinet minister, despite being warned of his knuckle-dragging fascist views.

Of course she didn’t. To do so would show up what is becoming glaringly apparent anyway. Soubry hates Broxtowe. She hates Beeston, as it is totally not Tory. She hates Kimberley, as it is again, not Tory. She came into politics, remember, to ‘fight lefties’. Not represent the areas that she is paid to represent. But to fight lefties. With polling showing she has a double-figure deficit at the next election, she sees the majority of Broxtowe of being against her, and therefore the enemy.

So was it a surprise when the recent Local Government Settlement was announced, and Broxtowe was announced as having the biggest cuts applied to it? That’s not just in Nottinghamshire. Not just the East, or indeed, the whole of the Midlands. Its the whole country. We are facing the largest cuts in the whole country.

That’s provision for the elderly, the poor. That’s housing. That is keeping our town centres healthy. That is towards collecting your bins, that is mitigating against damage done by tramworks. You know, the same money Soubry and her cronies demanded from the County Council last year, despite en-mass successfully opposing an identical compensation package in 2009.

How did this happen? Why didn’t Soubry lobby against this? Over the last few years,she certainly had a strong hand to play with. After failing to persuade Eric Pickles to stop the Field Farm development, she could have used it as leverage to get a better settlement: Pickles is the minister in charge of local government, after all? Why did she walk away not just empty handed -watch the diggers roll onto Field Farm soon – but with Broxtowe being hit by a level of cuts deeper than anywhere else in the country. As a wit on Twitter pointed out to me:

briody

Perhaps I’m being naive. Perhaps she did walk away with something. Perhaps it makes perfect political sense to punish a constituency you hate, and which looks on course to rejecting you in May, despite the millions the Tories will pour into your campaign. Perhaps there was a deal struck, and rather than leave Pickles office empty-handed, she actually walked out with a little secret we’ll only find about when the 2016 New Year Honours roll out, and we hear those words ‘Arise, Dame Anna Soubry!’

**************************

The recent opposition to £35,000 of private money being poured into a feasibility study towards a Kimberley extension to the tram was heralded by many as a sensible idea, after all, look at what happened in Beeston, eh?

Examine that logic for a moment. Lib Dem Cllr David Watts stated his opposition to it as he preferred a public inquiry. Which would solely be funded by public money and at great expense. This is ridiculous, and cynical politics at the worst. The Lib Dems were thoroughly behind the tram project, but with an election looming they’re swiftly pretending that they have nothing to do with this perceived vote-loser. See also Councillor Carr and his snugging up to the right-wing ranting rooms.

A tram is a popular idea in Kimberley, a place that is comparatively isolated compared to Beeston / Chilwell / Clifton. A bus service is ok, but Nuthall island is approaching gridlock as motorway traffic hits local traffic en route to Nottingham. A tram there would be much different to the presently under-contruction routes; running almost entirely on old railway lines. The idea has huge support in Kimberley: one of the proponents of the idea was voted overwhelmingly onto the Borough council after spending several years campaigning for it. A mandate for the tram, indeed. No wonder Soubry hates Kimberley.

So £35,000 of private money is going to be lost, on what will be an inevitability anyhow. Short term political populism is putting at risk preventing the project through being dragged through costly years of dithering.

There is, of course, council money needing to be spent to go with the private money, and that’s where the Lib Dems are blocking. It would require Broxtowe to contribute a further £20,000. A huge figure? It’s around 18p per council tax payer. Or, to put it another way, a fraction of what Soubry didn’t stop being sliced off Broxtowe’s government grant.

There is a vote next week at Council, and the prospect of seeing Lib Dems doing what Lib Dems have had to do not just locally but nationally for the past five years: cynically vote against what they truly believe so as to retain a tiny crumb of power. Let sense prevail.

*****************************

Seems the Lib Dems over in Stapleford have another problem with keeping their councillors local: the Lib Dem Mayor of Stapleford, Kevin Thomas reportedly now lives in …Saudi Arabia. Applause for the chutzpah!

****************************

As ever, when I write about Soubry I get lots of correspondence. A lot of this goes along the lines of ‘Why are you so obsessed with Soubry?’ (shes paid a large wage to represent us, and very few other people put that under the sort of scrutiny it requires); that I’m ‘not independent’ as I attack the right wing more than the left (that’s confusing ‘independence’ with ‘opinion’. I’m not the BBC, I write from a particular viewpoint. I write it, you read it. Or don’t. I’m not a member of any political party, not paid to write, write from my own angle and it’s own set of beliefs and ethics, etc etc).

One thing critics never seem to do, and I am truly amazed and baffled by this, and that is engage with the argument. They never attempt to refute the facts, offer clear and coherent arguments against mine, or put forward an opposing hypothesis. Instead, I get accused of being mentally ill (nice); called various names relating to genitalia; threats of legal action that never go further than a bullying and badly-spelled initial letter; and downright nasty behaviour – a certain Borough and County Councillor knows exactly who I am talking about here, as do the standards committee which are presently investigating his behavior. Over on the astroturfed faux-grassroots bollocks of Broxtowe Blue, they give me a mention thus:

Matt Goold, often praised by Palmer continues to pour out his online bile and, happily accusing Anna and her partner of corruption and then cries ‘bullying’ when taken to task.

Quick fact check here: I wasn’t ‘taken to task’ as my allegations still stand. I took Soubry to task and she bullied. A subtle, but considerable difference.

And so it goes. The arguments are little more than playground taunts, nasty remarks and utterly no attempt to argue against my writing. They attack the man, not the ball. With the election looming and Soubry being seconded some of the nastiest attack dogs Lynton Crosby can spare, what this escalate. I’ll keep on writing, of course. It’s just a shame that political discourse in Broxtowe, when practised by the Lib Dems and the Tories is so crap. We deserve better.

Anna Soubry: Beeston Hater?

Does Anna Soubry hate Beeston?

It sounds like an odd question, but the evidence mounts up. First, consider her huge reluctance to actually move here when she was elected. Despite many promises made while campaigning, she decided she couldn’t leave behind the luxuries of her sprawling Mapperley pad, with its swimming pool and views. On one occasion when I questioned this, her partner Neil ‘DaviDson’ Davidson wrote to me to explain that the lack of moving was down to ‘personal issues’. As her promises to take residence here were based around attacking the then MP Nick Palmer, who had moved (bizarrely) to the same street as her, this seemed a thin excuse. Palmer had moved there when he married. I know for many Tories marriage is essentially just a bloodline thing, but for most it is a rather ‘personal issue’.

Then there was Oxjam. Despite being a great pulling-together of the community, what was Anna’s take on the day? She gave an interview to East Midlands Today that again slagged off Beeston. When challenged about this on Twitter, she blamed the editing. Bollocks, I’m told by someone involved in the piece. She virtually dived on the chance to appear and trot out her usual nastiness.

Then, just five days later, she posed for this picture with George ‘Charities are the enemy of business‘ Osborne

gideontwatObviously there was another set of photos where the pair were actually bigging up the street, using the shops and trying to show how Beeston is a vibrant place that will soon be over the tram works, but a politically motivated picture editor went for this one instead. Tut, naughty media!

Now the latest salvo, from her increasingly bizarre newsletter. She writes the following:

Subscribers to the Facebook Tram Ranting Room will know there is much controversy about the Beeston Bid. Unfortunately, it has been reported that 32,000 people visited the recent Christmas light switch on events day and evening, which is clearly a nonsense. In fact the figure represents an estimate of “footfall” on the day which is, in my view, far from accurate. In any event the actual number of people is thought to be 3 – 4,000 people. The Beeston Bid, in theory is a good idea though it could be improved and needs to be made independent of the Borough Council. Sadly the release of the “foot fall” figures without full explanation has done little to enhance its reputation.

Let’s dissect this. First, why isn’t this a post saying how great the event was? It gets more people into Beeston than any other day, is a huge fillip to the town’s businesses and is a really nice community event. I went down and the place was packed.Yet Anna only sees a conspiracy.

Lets then move onto the footfall figures. At no point did Beeston BID report that ‘32,000 people visited’. They did, however, report that the footfall counter registered 32,000. Anna is not stupid, I’m sure, and will know that a footfall counter registers how many people walk by it every day, and thus people may walk by it many times. Footfall is therefore 32,000. The BID use a company, along with many other towns and cities over the UK surveying around a fifth of all footfalls, called Springboard, an independent company that pass on the figures to Beeston BID. What it doesn’t do is individually count each individual. That would be pretty impossible. Footfall counters therefore make for a flawed, but useful way of monitoring foot traffic. And on the Christmas Light Switch On, it registered 32,000, which made it, as was clear to anyone who attended, Beeston’s busiest day of the year.

After accusing BID of lying, she then twists the knife with a dig at them. Why? Well, just in the same way she attacks the figures, and many other subjects, she is playing to the gallery.

The gallery, as she mentions, is the NET Tram Ranting Room, her chosen source of information in Beeston. Nevermind that it long eschewed fair discussion for censorship, banning anyone with opposing views, closing down any discussion. Never mind that it has been largely hijacked by an offensive pigshit-thick racist far-rightwinger from, errr, Derbyshire. Never mind that it bullies, it revels in misinformation, it passes offensive distorted conjecture off for fact.Never mind it likes to throw out a bit of casual racism, casual homophobia, and a smattering of sexism. Most of its members dare not post, so an onanistic extremist echo-chamber of anger-wanking ensues. It often lurches into what looks like, and I apologise for the distressing imagery, like a UKIP orgy. And that is EXACTLY why Anna loves them.

In 2015, Anna is pretty much screwed. Her polling, as evidenced by recent Ashcroft marginal surveys, is dire. With less than a percent swing needed to unseat her, she trails Labour by 11%. Her style of office – eschewing One Nation Toryism for undisguised partisanship (remember her given reason for getting into politics? Not to serve the nation; not through any idealism; but to simply ‘fight lefties’) -she now realises that she needs to do some pretty desperate things to stand any chance.

One of these is to raise a mob. With enough cajoling, she thinks that the UKIP wing that have infested places like the Tram Ranting Room can be persuaded into voting for her. To do so, however, relies on having to give up any sense of fairness, or, indeed, reality. So she concurs and nods furiously when bollocks about Beeston being ‘a ghost town’ are spewed up; and sticks a picture of the ugliest part of the tram works as her twitter header. Her embarrassed councillors on the Borough Council then have to self-impose a few hours of cognitive dissonance when they attend council and report on how Beeston is actually bucking many downwards retail trends, and becoming such a desirable area for business there is consensus to retain council land, rather than sell it for a short-term budget boost.

It also explains why she was keen to hob-nob with racist, anti-semitic thug and BNP stalwart Darren Warner up in Kimberley, even introducing him to Minister Nick Boles despite being warned about his character. She still refuses to apologise for accusing the Town Council  of financial mismanagement, despite it being fully exonerated following an audit. Instead she prefers to side with a proud Nazi, all for the grubby hope of a few votes. See here (article 4) for the latest request for an apology (she has also had her behaviour reported to the Whip’s office, I will keep you updated when a reply is received).

This will be Anna’s way of campaigning. Remember who gave her 2010 campaign funding? Dirty tricks and self-confessed masters of the dark arts, David Wilson of Bell Pottinger, who would approve of Anna’s tactics.

It’s not even new. In her failed 2005 election bid to win Gedling, she claimed that she was ‘ashamed of Nottingham’.

Things are going to get dirtier next year, and Soubry will get more desperate as she sees her political career slipping away. She sees things in black and white only; so now Beeston, with its perceived lefty population, is the enemy that she must attack and bring down at every opportunity. We look forward to returning the sentiment in May.

UKIP and the TTIP of the Iceburg.

As I write, UKIP look poised to take their second seat in Rochester. The media have worked themselves into a froth again, as they seem to do every time the diplodocus-in-a-suit Nigel Farage farts out some more of his triumphant guff. Meanwhile, a much larger, massively more important political story goes unnoticed by the media. I’ll get to that in a bit.

First, I want to know what UKIP are for. Why do people vote for a party that constantly let slip racism, sexism, hatred of the poor, etc? Why do people still want to vote for a party that align themselves with out-and -proud fascists in the European Parliament, are endorsed by the remnants of the EDL and the BNP, as well as nazis de jour Britian First?

Several reasons, actually, if you actually ask them. Let us explore them, one by one:

1. ‘I‘m tired of the same old corrupt, lazy politicians who have no association with ordinary people’

farage

A common one this, especially after the MP expenses scandal, and the age of the professional politician who either inherits his – and let’s face it, it’s mostly likely to be a he – seat ; or has been part of the Westminster bubble since getting their degree in PPE, people’s opinion on politicians is hardly glowing. Yet are UKIP any different?

A huge chunk of UKIP are former politicians who have fell out of favour with their parties and thus cynically moved to UKIP. Take Neil Hamilton, for instance, the epitome of the corrupt sleaziness of the Major government in the nineties. accepting cash for questions; as well as lobbying against the banning of Skol Bandits (snuff pouches that were so carcinogenic even die-hard free-marketeers such as Thatcher and Edwina Currie decided to make them illegal) while taking money from the producers of the cancer-teabags. Numerous Tories, who suddenly find the modern world hard to take what with these new fangled homosexuals, women who fancy a life outside the kitchen and those awful foreigns who you can’t call demeaning nicknames anymore; have jumped ship from the HMS Conservatives to the raggle-taggle braying lifeboat of UKIP.

hamilton

Or what about Farage himself? Just a bloke dahn the pahhhb, innee? With his daft faces, pints of frothy ale and two-fingers to the PC Brigade ciggies, what a bloke, eh? Yet a more establishment man it would be hard to meet. A former city trader, a job we now know is only secondary in it’s detachment from reality to professional LSD taster; Farage is the establishment made flesh. Backed by several millionaire right-wingers and neo-liberals, his trick has been to deflect criticism from the real culprits of the financial crash: the City he is very much part of; onto those who had no part whatsoever in casino banking: immigrants and the poor. Which leads me onto the second reason:

2. “We’re a soft touch. Immigrants come over here and sponge off our state, commit crime and collapse our economy’

The financial crisis is a tough thing to explain in the simplified snippy manner news is consumed nowadays. People are pretty confused who is responsible. David Cameron himself seems confused, blaming the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers on those claiming disability benefits, while only this week warning that if the UK economy suffered another collapse then that was solely the fault of the world economy and nowt to do with him, honest, guv.

So when confusion reigns, the intolerant find easy prey, and immigrants have, through all recorded time, been to blame. Nothing good has come of this, from the worst excesses of ‘thirties Germany to Idi Amin expulsion of the Asians, it’s a vile, cynical claim. But maybe there is evidence. Maybe immigrants are a net detriment to the UK economy? It’s time for some facts, the sunlight which the UKIP vampires shy from.

A recent in-depth study by UCL/ Royal Economic Society found that EU migration since 2000 was of net worth to the UK in the region in terms of the knowledge they bring £49 BILLION, contributed £82 BILLION in services and public goods, and were much less likely to draw a state pension or claim benefits. Have a graph:

the-big-one

So what is the problem with immigrants? Crime? Those Romanians that Farage wouldn’t like living next door to? Perhaps Farage’s own neighbours have more to worry about:

graph2

So if immigrants are actually helping the economy, and the free-movement of people over the EU also allows us to go and live abroad should we fancy (or at the very least, visit those countries on holiday with the minimum of fuss), then is there another reason?

3. ‘The EU is a bloated mess and takes far too much money from the UK’

I sort of can get this to a level. The EU is an incredibly complex thing, and, to be honest quite dull. Belgium is dull. Brussels is dull squared. Hence the media don’t bother really reporting too much on the day-to-day affairs, so the idea builds that the whole parliament spends the day coming up with daft ideas on the straightness of bananas and what sort of toaster to ban next. The actual work does impact our lives in ways we don’t always notice, from the purity of our tap water, maintaining peace through trade, protecting workers rights and maintaining a strong, unified bloc, pretty vital when Russia are ramping up the rhetoric.

The MEPS themselves? UKIP’s are the laziest of all, with least attendance of all the 76 parties that comprise the parliament. You may argue that the point is not to engage, thus showing the absurdity of the parliament. Yet what it really means is that we have a much weaker voice in Europe. And surely if they were campaigning to cut European largesse, they wouldn’t claim their full salary plus millions in expenses? Or if they feel obliged to, maybe donate it to a charity?

Another scary statistic is the gulf between what we think the EU costs, and the true figure. The CBI, hardly a hotbed of lefties, make explicit what most Tories know but few (honorable exceptions Ken Clarke and our own Anna Soubry) dare mention: the EU is pretty much essential to the UK economy. We also pay less in terms of our total economy than any other country, while reaping huge rewards:

graph_percent_gni_466x485

We seem to have a very advantageous fiscal relationship with the EU, thus. Why not strengthen that, rather than kick against it? Well, there’s the next reason to consider:

4. “We are in danger of losing our sovereignty by letting Europe take to much power”

UKIP, in line with other far-right parties, cling onto the flag in the sort of patriotism that Samuel Johnson described as ‘the last refuge of the scoundrel’. It’s a peculiar form of pride, based round some Eldorado Albion that existed at some time where the 1950s met the height of Empire. It’s a Britain of Sergeant Majors, polo chukkas, workers knowing there place where England is the Home Counties and the rest of the UK is Where They Be Dragons.

My UK is a different place: one of vibrancy, diversity, great culture, rebellion, thought, science and the incredible way it assimilates people, ideas and culture into something unique.

Different that they may be, we both have an idea of ‘Britishness’.The EU is the enemy of this to the UKIPs, bringing dangerous french baguettes where previously proud British loaves sat. My enemy is far more insidious, far more likely to strip Britain of it’s independence, far more likely to destroy any idea that we as a country can rule ourselves.

Welcome to The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This is a trade agreement between the EU and the USA presently in (secret) discussion, which is aimed to rewrite the trade agreement across the pond. I recently read a fantastic yet chilling analysis of its implications commissioned by anti-poverty charity War on Want, and if you want to see a breakdown on the  attack on UK independence explained with facts, logic and data; rather than conjecture, hate, and lies then have a read.

It’s not about freeing up trade by removing tariffs between the two trading blocs; these are already at minimum levels; but to strip away rights and regulations that protect us from unscrupulous businesses whose only concern is profit.

This would remove British rights to making its own laws on food regulation, which would allow greater use of pesticides in food production, GM ingredients subject to no opprobrium, and the erosion of standards in slaughterhouses.

It would hit us environmentally, stripping us of the right to protect our already fragile eco-systems in the UK. If this had been enacted years ago, we’d still have lead in fuel, catalytic converters would be a niche market and we’d be dying in thousands every time a smog took hold. Measures to combat climate change would be scrapped if they were seen to hinder the interests of corporations. Burgeoning green technology companies, vital to this countries present and future manufacturing base, would be crushed and climate change left to run rampant. Greenbelt? Forget about it.

The same laissez-faire attitude to casino banking that bought about the 2008 crisis would be immune to prosecution and regulation, while workers rights would be eroded with governments unable to guarantee basic rights to collectivise, to strike, to demand minimum standards of safety in the workplace. The law of the land would be usurped by the will of undemocratic, unaccountable corporations. It will be the greatest attack on our right to self-governance in history. Publicly owned bodies, such as the NHS, would be carved up and sold to the circling vultures of private equity.

So you’d suppose that UKIP would be kicking up a stink about it? Weirdly, no. They adore it. The chance to sell the NHS is something Farage would love to do:

Their thoughts on TTIP? They support it unequivocally, which leads one to believe that the true motives behind their political party is not some patriotic urge, but the need to get richer by selling our rights to do govern to whatever corporation fancies them. This is perhaps the least patriotic thing imaginable, and shame on them.

The Tories are not much better. They too are supporting the TTIP. Tomorrow, Friday 21st November 2014, MPs can force the NHS to be excluded from the TTIP by getting Cameron to use his EU veto. Doing this would safeguard our health service being ripped apart by private companies, and giving us the shockingly ineffective and expensive US style of health insurance. This is not scaremongering. This is very real. Tomorrow we have a chance to at least spare the NHS.

TTIP-bulldozer

How to do get Soubry to vote for the veto? Email her right now at anna.soubry.mp@parliament.uk . There is a 38 Degrees petition going round right now, but Anna has previously stated that she ignores these as they are a ‘left wing plot’. Remind her that polling in Broxtowe found that 68% supported ring-fencing the NHS from TTIP, and if she doesn’t listen to the vast majority of her own constituency she can kiss goodbye to any hope of retaining her seat in 2015.

Be brave, Anna. Be demonstrative in your opposition to UKIP and show what real defence of sovereignty and self-governance look like.

There is a free public meeting at 7pm on the 24th November at Chilwell Arts Theatre discussing ‘No NHS in TTIP’ for those who want to know more, and how they can oppose the trade agreement. This is part of a growing movement across the channel and the Atlantic who are fighting to protect our rights from big business. Please attend if possible.

No-TTIP

EXCLUSIVE: Kimberley Town Council Exonerated: Will Soubry Apologise?

Last month, following a disastrous BBC Radio 4 news appearance where she defended Lord Freud’s claims that disabled people don’t deserve the minimum wage, our local MP tweeted the following:

soubrytweet

Sound advice. Though perhaps she might to use it to guide her own rushes to judgements.

Over Summer, Soubry stirred up a big row in Kimberley by accusing  Kimberley Town Council (KTC) of mismanagement:

.. there is concern that the Council’s reserves have all but
been spent and Councillors are consistently denied financial
details.
I have already written to the district auditors and will take up all allegations with the
Borough Council’s legal department. It now appears there will be a by-election for the two
vacancies and I hope voters will exercise their right and send a clear message to the
controlling Labour group that they are out of order, undemocratic and spending tax payers’
money irresponsibly.

Wump! So, in due course, auditors were called in, took apart the council’s finances and reported today that…well, nothing. They were given a glowing bill of health, and found to be a rather staggering £261,781.00p (304% of its precept) in the black. They were deemed to have acted transparently and democratically throughout. Months of being under suspicion of corruption is over, and the council members at last released from the limbo that the allegation has put them under.

So why did Anna do this? It seems bizarre that she should so brazenly band about allegations that undermine a council, on grounds that now look utterly baseless. Resources have been spent to reach a conclusion that is the antithesis of Soubry’s claims.

Perhaps she was influenced? Could it be she made these allegations after being persuaded that KTC were corrupt by members of Kimberley Resident’s Association (KRA), at the time headed up by local fascist thug Darren Warner? Warner doesn’t like being called a fascist, and made legal threats last time he made the news, but any man who loves the BNP and sticks stuff up on batshit-nazi website Nottingham Patriot is a fascist, period.

He was bigged up by Soubry on her website at the time, which seems at odds with her admittedly admirable stance on far-right politicians and parties.

I’ve asked her before if she thinks its right that she was consorting with a racist idiot like Warner, but naturally, no response. Kimberley Town Council will be demanding an apology off her when they publicly announce the auditors finding tomorrow: I don’t think they should hold their breath.

So this advice to establish facts before rushing to judgement? Perhaps this wasn’t a statement, rather, as one reply on Twitter to her tweet put it

reply

My Name Is: Soubz Shady?

Soubry is delighted. A big hitter comes to town.

 

Less than a week after Oxjam was a great success, livening up the town in a way that even surprised local businesses (‘I ran out of chips about 3pm’ Gil, from the chippy on Chilwell Road tells me when I pop in for a min haddock and chips ‘they then got through everything I had in  stock. Was crazy’) Soubry invites to the same road chancellor George Osborne to pose moodily for pictures by the tram

 

arsenose

This is the same George Osborne who said last month that ‘Charities are the enemy of business’ with a threatening nod towards Oxfam itself.

 

Could we please have Anna’s view on the matter please? What has done more good for Beeston over the years: a festival that attracts thousands of (spending) people to the town and has raised oodles for charity, or Soubry’s repeated doing-down the town, acting like the champion of Chilwell Road while doing bog all; and her refusal to answer the simple question: why did your party, when in power at County level, pull out of all compensation deals for residents and traders?

_______________________________

There are some odd accusations and possibly illegal behaviour cracking off over on Facebook right now. Soubry’s suggested way of getting info on the tram, the NET Tram Ranting Room (despite the fact they kick anyone off who doesn’t stick to the Meldrew-ish tone, shputs down anyone who tries to point out misinformation and labels various perceived targets as members of the Nazi party).  While the vast majority of the people on there are well behaved, most don’t post, leaving a hardcore to police the site. One particularly nasty guy is not even in Beeston, or Nottinghamshire for that matter, and is a typically paranoid aggro UKIPper.

ukipnob

 

The paranoia has reached astonishing levels across the ranting rooms and it’s spin off echo-chambers. The identity of anyone who suggests anything against what this core say are questioned over there identity. This also happened over on the discussion forums on Bramcote Today, with Cllr. Steve Carr questioning the gender of one poster.

 

Back over on the ranting room, Carr and Soubry apparently also joined in this paranoia by alleging certain names were not on the electoral roll. How did they know?

 

Another  allegation, this time on (ironically) a quite well known Labour activist, Ian Mcarthur was made after he wrote to the Beeston Express at his dismay at the behaviour on the Ranting Room Soubry was condoning. it happened again, when a Barbara Smithson attracting suspicion of another member Sally Brealey…

 

SALY

 

She checked the electoral roll? Thats pretty thorough.

 

You can check out the electoral roll, of course, if you’re so inclined. However, you can only use the open roll, which doesn’t include the full details as some people prefer to not have these found easily. The full roll is available to:

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.

  • Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.

  • The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.

  • The register is used when calling people for jury service.

  • Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.

  • Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else. (Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/en/uksi/2013/3198/schedule/3/chapter/2/made).

Check that last line out again. A criminal offence to misuse the register.

Now who is Sally Brealey?

She DOES exist, and is easily findable.  Here she is on her Facebook page with…. Conservative County / Borough Cllr Richard Jackson, ally of the Soubz and leader of Broxtowe Tories:

brea

Under this Facebook picture, she states

Sally Brealey 9 days to go Richard Jacksonx x x
Errr, she’s Jackson’s fiancee?? Someone who could get access to the complete, confidential roll???
If so, have others been doing so too? Has Steve Carr? Has Anna Soubry?
I’m not on the roll, but strangely, when i received legal threats from Anna Soubry’s partner, Neil ‘DaviDson’ Davidson, they knew my address. Who provided this? I rang BrowneJacobson to ask for information on this; they at first told me the relevant people were on holiday and they would ring me back and explain. They didn’t of course. Yet they did send me another letter telling me I better be careful. Probably cost their client another £1,500+ to write….
Is there a systematic abuse of the register by our elected representatives? If not, I would advise all parties to explain immediately how they got access to people’s details. Such dark arts would be shocking, but maybe not so surprising, after all, remember this guy?
david-wilson-bell-pottinger
He’s David Wilson, of PR firm Bell Pottinger. He gave Soubry’s campaign several thousand pounds in the run up to the last election, and I wrote about him a while back to explain what utter nasty shits his company were, and foresaw the upcoming election of employing the nasty methods they use to cover up massive human rights abuses. 
Is this an example of such seedy tactics? Maybe there is an innocent answer, but to pursue people in such a way is at the least, pretty cynical (see details below), at worst a tremendous abuse of power.
ANON

Bedroom Tact.

‘IT’S NOT A TAX!’ wail the Tories whenever the Bedroom Tax is bought up. It’s reminiscent of the late ’80s, when they insisted we stop calling the Community Charge the ‘Poll Tax’. We didn’t, and nobody remembers the ‘Community Charge Riots’; or how the Tories pissed off Scots forever by imposing the ‘Community Charge’ on them before the rest of the UK; or how the ‘Community Charge’ fatally wounded Thatcher’s autocracy.

Semantics aside, it’s definitely one thing: insidious. Before it was imposed, I worked for a housing association, a charity that provided social housing for those too poor to buy, in London, Nottingham and various estates around England. The experts there did some calculations on the impact to their tenants, and the findings were grim. Countless meetings were held as we were told how this would impact on our tenants (badly), and what they could to mitigate it’s imposition (little). Grim times. I was lucky to get out before it’s effects kicked in, but former colleagues reported back to me how awful it was.

The tax, and for consistency I will be referring to it as that is, hurts poor families, the bereaved, the disabled, families with members in the armed forces or at university, and the vulnerable housed. All people with the least, and the least likely to have a voice. The idea that the solution of a lack of social housing (the great Tory bribe of selling off council housing in the eighties is coming home to roost now) is not to invest in more social housing, but to squeeze the tenants is pure robber-baron thinking. Even for a Conservative party that is imposing the most radical agenda of destroying the safety net than the Thatcher era, this is hateful.

Those stuck with too much room can’t downsize, as there is no fluidity in the market. So they are forced to continue to pay that they simply can’t afford. Just as in other areas of policy where the poor are blamed for the financial crisis, rather than the true culprits in the City of London, the poor and vulnerable are punished for our dysfunctional housing market, rather than the rogue landlords, speculators and second-home owners.

The Lib Dems, heading for election meltdown for their support of the tax, hastily drew up a bill to try and make amends. This Private Member’s Bill would exclude from the tax special cases, such as those who required a spare room for medical equipment. Not perfect, not a call to scrap it, but a step in the right direction.

Even some Tories seemed in favour of the bill, abstaining from a three-line whip. One even voted for it. It made it to Committee stage, but is likely to killed off there rather than progress.

Its no surprise that our own Anna Soubry voted for it. Not only voted for it, but revelled in doing so with an explanation in her newsletter. ‘WE CAN’T AFFORD IT!’ she cried ‘ IT WOULD COST £1 BILLION’ she continued.

Where could we get that sort of money from? As she looked baffled in a 2010 hustings as to what a Tobin / Robin Hood tax was, it’s doubtful she’ll look to the rich to get it. So no calls to reverse the cut in income tax for the highest earners, or get HMRC to chase up tax-avoiders such as Vodafone and our own Boots, or anything that might cause frowns in the rarefied circles Tory ministers spin round in.

And of course, nothing that would hinder her ministerial career. Her pledge to be ‘the voice of Broxtowe in Westminster, rather than the voice of Westminster in Broxtowe’ is now so laughably hollow to be absurd.

The more disturbing fact is that the bedroom tax WON’T raise /save money. Councils are already having to dig into their emergency reserves to help out desperate tenants facing eviction through arrears; foodbanks are having to feed those who can’t afford both food and rent. Of course, the councils hit hardest are not likely to be in leafy Tory areas so can be ignored by the coalition. Yet the social impact, and the fact that their has been little effectiveness in the policy as their simply isn’t the housing stock to downsize to, is considerable. Housing charity Shelter estimate these are already dwarfing any saving.

Yet Anna refuses to see this, and is a disgrace for doing so. Yet it gets worse. In the same newsletter, after setting forth her intent to further punish the poor and increase homelessness she tells us

I am very pleased that I have bought a home in Bramcote.

Thanks Anna! Tact all the way. It may have taken you nearly five years to honour your promise to move to your constituency, we’re glad you did, but perhaps don’t mention the fact you’ve just bought a house in one of the East Midland’s most affluent areas in the same email you state how you intend to condemn the poorest members of  society to homelessness.

___________

Ps: Anna Soubry scrounges £20,019.96 from the taxpayer each year for accommodation costs.

 

Carr Crash

Hello, and welcome. It’s possibly your first time here, after being sent over by the Beestonia blog. Don’t worry, we’re friendly. We have cake. Would you like cake? A diet? Oh, ok, then maybe some tea? Great, i’ll get the kettle on.

Have a browse through the previous pieces if you fancy,  or just jump straight in with the bizarre tale of a local borough / county councillor who appears to have made an alliance with Soubz to only use Soubzlogic (a rhetorical device where only voices that concur can be heard; any opposing voice shall be ignored / shouted down). Hello, Steve Carr. I will be profiling many local politicians over the coming few months, here’s the first.

There has been a lot of oddness of late concerning Carr. Is he a Lib Dem, or is he a Tory? He flounced out of the Lib Dems at borough level a few years back after refusing to work with the partners in power Labour group, as they were too leftwing. At one memorable council, he accused Labour councillors Andrea Oates and Greg Marshall of being ‘friends with anarchists’, and in a spittle flecked rage defended the Lib Dem’s reverse ferret on tuition fees and EMA as he’d ‘seen students eating pizza and drinking beer’, thus they were awash with money and could easily afford to do without state support. A Lib Dem friend who was attending with me in the public gallery scribbled on my notepad ‘fucking hell…’. Then, in the 2013 county elections, he assured me he was to the left of the party and always was, and this previously unnoticed side was nothing to do with fighting off a Labour challenge on his seat and trying to placate the masses of former Lib Dem voters who deserted the party when the coalition gleefully started to dismantle the NHS.

Take the recent story about Soubz and the fascist in Kimberley: that story has developed beyond recognition, with some awful behaviour from Cllr Steve Carr in tandem with Soubz. Where to start? Accusing a commentator on this and other blogs of lying about her agenda, accusing her of not being on the electoral role and then, on the NET Ranting Room (this has been reported to me, as they won’t allow me onto the site) saying they’d be conducting ‘further checks’ is not something a minister of state, or a councillor should be doing. I’m not even sure it’s legal to disclose such things in public. Shameful.

Others who questioned him on Twitter and Facebook were blocked and unfriended, myself included. Democracy! When I reported that his stance on matters up in Kimberley were not consistent with other Lib Dems, he challenged me to say who my sources were, and when I refused to accused me of making them up. I challenged a third party to see my sources and source material so I could preserve their anonymity, but he didn’t take me up on the offer. Every party leaks, Steve. Including your party. Sorry if you see this as a stab in the back, it’s not, it’s the way politics works. It’s also not too liberally minded to demand a journalist reveal their sources…

What is happening? Even his own party are worried about him. Since May 2010 it’s been a common sight to see Lib Dems throw themselves in front of bullets to protect Tories, but this is a whole new level.

Getting a straight answer is an impossibility too: while Soubry only communicates to me via proxy legal threats and calling me ahem, a word for a ladies’ bits  off -record to a local journo; Carr dodged the question of whether Soubry should apologising for working with a known fascist by claiming:

I am not commenting on your accusations about the chap in Kimberley as I have seen emails from official sources that are contrary to your comments. I am bound by a Code of Conduct which of course you are not.<

Which is a grand gathering of guff. Please reveal them Steve, cos everyone I’ve talked to in Kimberley reports that the guy is a vile fascist, former BNP and now active on the Notts Patriot site. If you have evidence Steve that this is not true, let me know, do not hide behind ‘Code of Conduct’. If any other councillors want to confirm or deny these documents exist, please do. The guy, Darren Warner, has already sent a hilariously knuckle-headed legal threat to Kimberley Town Council about spreading ‘rumours’: please, Mr Warner, it’s me spreading some ‘rumours’, threaten to sue me instead. I look forward to seeing you in court, a place you’ve seen the inside of many times before you, errr, found god/ Nick Griffin. Now, Carr, will you please answer the question. After all, you recently boasted of ‘never dodging a direct question’.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, granted, but a ‘Lib Dem’ defending a Nazi? Bonkers.

He also said I’d done something awful by using his surname in an article. I presume he prefers Supreme Beeston Overlord, but I refer to most by their surname here. This, from comments on my last piece:

“Carr” Just how more rude can you get?

Well, I could suggest another four letter word beginning with ‘C’, but I’ll leave that to Soubry.

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