Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Next leaflet arrives

Our next election leaflet arrived from the printer today. It is an 8 page full colour Focus. Delivering it is certainly going to build up the biceps! Some areas have already started to put it through doors. Most will be delivered over the next three days.

On the doormat

Waiting for me on my doormat this morning was my Blaydon freepost leaflet, kindly delivered by the Royal Mail, along with the rest of our post - a copy of Radio Times and a holiday brochure. A holiday now would be lovely. Sadly it will have to wait until after 7th May. Indeed, after May as, regardless of the outcome, we have lots to do to keep our "good life" going. Pinkie our goat is due to give birth in late May and we are starting the process of incubating eggs. And there are crops to plant. No rest for the self-sufficient.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Freepost delivered to Royal Mail

The political anoraks who read this blog will know what an election freepost is. For the real people who aren't avid politicos, it is the leaflet from a candidate that the Royal Mail delivers to each voter in the constituency during the general election campaign. Mine was printed and put into storage last week so that it could be delivered to Royal Mail today. Frank Hindle's leaflet for Gateshead constituency was delivered with mine so it was all too much for my land rover. We therefore had to hire a van to move them to Sunderland this morning.

John McClurey, Frank and I were tasked with the job of getting the freepost to the Royal Mail.

Storage was in Felling so that was our first port of call after picking up the van.

Then off to Sunderland for the hand over.

I got to keep the pallets on which the leaflets were delivered to us. Useful building material on the allotment.

Meanwhile, the freepost leaflets should be arriving through doors this week.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

eFocus on Birtley, Lamesley, Kibblesworth and Eighton Banks April 2015

We have lots of email addresses of residents in the Birtley and Lamesley wards of Gateshead as a result of our campaigning. Plenty to make it worthwhile doing an eFocus for the 2 wards. So here is our first edition.

I'm currently writing the next edition of eFocus for the Whickham area. This one will be the 95th we have done since we launched eFocus in Whickham in 2004.

Delivering in Marley Hill

I got the last of the current batch of letters and Focuses delivered today in Marley Hill, the next village up from Sunniside where I live. There I encountered Poppy the hen, wandering around in her garden. She was hatched in my incubator last year and was raised by one of my brooding hens. She went to her new home a couple of weeks ago to be company for another hen (and a rabbit). The children there named her Poppy but the next day she hopped over the fence and wandered off. This sparked a number of Facebook messages to the entire village asking for people to look out for her. I picked up the messages while sitting in a scrutiny committee meeting with the environment agency! Fortunately, Poppy, as I expected, returned to her new home after a couple of hours where her wings were promptly clipped. She looked very much at home today when I delivered a letter and Focus to her new owners.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

On the campaign trail in Dunston Hill and Whickham East

Our Dunston Hill and Whickham East team were out on the doorsteps of the Lakes Estate today. This will come as no secret to the Labour candidate who was able to watch Cllr Peter Maughan and Kevin McClurey from the comfort of his car. Sadly I wasn't there for the canvass as I was tied up on other activities. I haven't checked the canvass yet so I've no idea what the figures are though it is fair to say the Lakes Estate is a good area for us. The canvass is done using an iphone which automatically uploads all the information to our Connect database. It's a bit of an advance on the election campaign that saw me elected for the first time in 1987. We would spend a weekend chopping up electoral registers and pasting them onto canvass cards, then drawing lots of lines across the pages. Every night after canvassing we would eagerly add up all the figures and add them to the running total. The technology is somewhat more sophisticated now. The tedious scissors and paste jobs have gone. Now it's all high tech.

And along came yet another letter and Focus for delivery

I delivered some of these letters and Focuses in my village this morning. Most houses got one of a variety of letters. Meanwhile, I can report on the rare appearance of a Conservative survey though, as with Labour, they have had to resort to paying for their literature to be delivered. It arrived through my door a few days ago. It seems as though delivery companies are doing well out of both the Conservatives and Labour in the 3 Whickham wards. I can understand the Conservatives resorting to paid delivery. This is after all a weak area for them. Labour on the other hand hold this constituency and have done so for 80 years. It is interesting therefore that their organisation is so depleted that they have to privatise their leaflet delivery.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Blaydon campaign trail video for March

A slide show about my campaign in Blaydon constituency in March. The music is the track I use for my self-sufficiency broadcasts.

Visiting the Global newsroom

I was invited today to visit the Global Newsroom on the Team Valley to have a look around and learn about the company that produces Heart FM, Classic FM, LBC and Smooth Radio. Quite a fun time. I had a few questions about how they put their programmes together, based on my somewhat more limited experience of the technology. The tour started at 8.30am but it was worth getting out of bed early to feed the livestock at 7am. A few photos:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Happy birthday Cllr McClurey

A short break from campaigning last night. My ward colleague, Cllr John McClurey, turned 60 yesterday and he had a party for family, friends and politicos at Deanos Restaurant in Whickham.

John and Councillors Sonya Hawkins and Susan Craig.

My selfie with Sonya.
Good time had by all but then we had to be back on campaigning. I got home at 10.30pm and was straight back on the laptop. I had a big election publication to finish

Green target in Gateshead?

I am reliably informed that the Greens in Gateshead are rather hopeful about their prospects in Saltwell ward in the local elections on 7th May. This is a strongly Labour area and a first glance would suggest the Greens have no chance of winning. Then consider the changing demographics and a suggestion that they could pick up some of the growing student vote there and the prospects change, though in my humble opinion not by a great deal. The Green ratings go from not-a-chance to very unlikely.

To stand a chance of winning, the Greens will need to have put in a sustained campaign in the ward over a long enough period to convert enough people to Greenery to overtake Labour. I don't have enough info from any of my sources to get a reliable picture of Green campaigning in Saltwell but if the Greens were being realistic (not a term that sits comfortably with that party), they should be looking to get a noticeable improvement in their vote this May in the hope they can build on it next year. They will also have to hope the small Green bubble doesn't burst nationally and their national leadership avoids any more brain fades. Don't hold your breath!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Hen pecked

I popped down to Church Green this morning to collect the large bag of weeds pulled from the flower beds last night. I managed to drag it into the land rover and took it off to the allotment to feed the hens. They had a major feast. And it saved the council having to dispose of the weeds.