Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Low Fell eFocus no. 74

The Low Fell Focus Team yesterday published their latest eFocus newsletter. Issues covered include:

  • Anderson Green housing application: the latest information 
  • Reports of dog mess increasing
  • Tougher Covid restrictions for Gateshead
  • Police issue warning about vehicle break in's
  • Improving the area around Grace College, Saltwell Road South
  • A new secondary school for Gateshead
  • New bin at Cross Keys Lane
  • Cornavirus survey - your views wanted

Your can read eFocus on this link.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Attending conference online

Lib Dem conference opened yesterday but this time with a fundamental difference. It is entirely online, a result of the covid pandemic. As a fan of online meetings for Gateshead Council, the fact we are online is something I welcome for conference. There are, of course, some things I miss about not being able to attend physically - such as meeting friends, looking around the exhibition stands, mixing with like minded people. There are of course some things I am happy to miss - long and expensive train journeys to get to conference, hotel bills and the need to take 5 days away from home!

I've dipped into some of the debates and I was pleased to see conference yesterday backed proposals for a universal basic income. Currently, the debate taking place is on a federal UK. Alas, the joy of not being away from home for 5 days is also a drawback. I have half a tonne of winter fodder for the goats to sort. I don't have the excuse of being a few hundred kilometres away. So I have to leave the federalism debate and get on with some manual labour, though I did get a chance to vote against referring back the federalism motion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Goodbye Elaine

Today we said goodbye to Elaine Earl, councillor for Winlaton and High Spen 2008-2012. Elaine passed away earlier this month. Due to covid restrictions we could not attend the funeral service but individual residents and friends lined the the route of the funeral procession so we could pay our respects. Sadly, with social distancing in action, we were unable to chat and share memories of Elaine but she will be remembered.

Gender Reform and Gateshead Labour

Gender recognition reform is urgently needed to end discrimination against transgender and non-binary people. Sadly, the Conservatives have abandoned reform. While Lib Dems and Labour support reform nationally, there is a significant number of Labour councillors in Gateshead who are with the Conservatives on this issue and oppose reform. They must be rubbing their hands with glee with what the government has done.

You can read all about how the parties view the issue on this link.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Do you feel you have been suitably buttered up?

I can see it coming in our direction - like an out-of-control juggernaut crashing through every obstacle on the road. The tougher pandemic restrictions are on their way and the nation has been subject to leaks, plans, proposals, warnings and so on about the rising incidents of positive coronavirus tests. We have less than an hour and a half to go before the actual restrictions are announced. We are already seeing the government calling on people to work from home wherever possible. I thought it was a mistake (from an environmental point of view) to encourage people to go back into the office and I miss no opportunity to raise the damage to the environment, the economy and people's mental and physical health of congestion and vehicle pollution. If we are able to cut out unnecessary travel, all the better.

Anyway, the announcements will be made shortly. So put on your facemasks and keep your social distance because things are about to get tougher.

Friday, September 11, 2020

The photocopier free trade achievement

At last, the UK has been able to negotiate a free trade agreement with a major economy. The government had previously clocked up agreements with the Faroe Islands and Papua New Guinea but anything large seemed to elude them. Now however, Japan can be added to the list of countries which will be free trading with the UK. A big achievement? Well, no actually. Membership of the EU gave us a free trade deal with Japan which came into operation in 2019. It was the world's biggest trade agreement. So, what has the government achieved in dealing with Japan themselves? Little more than a photocopy of the EU-Japan free trade agreement. In other words, the UK gained what it already had! Let's hope for the sake of the UK economy in the future that we can ensure all trade deals allow us to import photocopiers tariff free!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Low Fell eFocus no. 72

The Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team have just published their latest email newsletter eFocus, edition no. 72. There is an update on Gateshead being moved tot he coronavirus "watch list" as well as news about the garden waste collection scheme (customers are to get a discount). There are also a number of Low Fell news stories.

You can read Low Fell eFocus on this link.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Local lockdown cliff edge

We are looking over the edge of the local lockdown cliff in Gateshead. We now have the highest rate forpositive infections in the North East and the 10th highest in England.

Please everyone, stay 2 metres apart others not in your household, but if you can't, wear a facemask. Wash your hands often and stay away from crowded areas. These are simple actions that could help save Gateshead from a local lockdown.