Sunday, February 25, 2024

At your convenience


The next meeting of Sunniside History Society will be held on Wednesday 6th March at 7pm at Sunniside Social Club. The speaker is Richard Pears and he will be talking about the history of "The British Toilet". So be ready to take your seat. This is not a crap subject. Hopefully the meeting will be flushed with success. Etc......

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Campaigning in Ryton


Ryton ward in Gateshead used to be Lib Dem held. Sadly, it went Labour in the Coalition years and before now we were not in a position to mount a strong campaign. But that is changing. We have a new candidate and a new determination to take on Labour in the ward. Steve Kelly has been adopted by the Lib Dems to take on Labour in the May local elections.

He had a meet-the-people event outside the Coop this morning so I went down to give him a hand. My job was to stand next to the main road holding one of our big diamond posters. I had five toots of support from passing drivers and one person shouted at me (I'm not sure it was complimentary!) All-in-all it was a good event and our profile in Ryton is starting to go back up. The challenging news for me is that in addition to managing election campaigns in Birtley and Whickham South and Sunniside, I am now looking after Ryton as well. Looks like a busy few months ahead.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Delivery complete in Sunniside


Focus on Sunniside has now been delivered. Hooray! The last patch went out over the weekend when one of our helpers took the Streetgate area. This patch has grown by 89 houses in recent years due to new house building. 

With my ward's Focus now fully delivered, I was able to spend some time in Saltwell over the weekend, helping to deliver our latest Focus there. I hear on the grapevine that Labour were out in Saltwell as well. There are hints of aspiring wannabee MPs hoping to get the selection for the new Gateshead Central and Whickham constituency. There are also hints that Labour may leave the selection of their candidate to the last minute, meaning the national party will parachute in one of their favourites. Given that nearly half the wards in this constituency are represented by Lib Dems, this one will be one to watch at the general election.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

More Focus deliveries

I was back in Birtley yesterday (Saturday 20th January) to deliver another patch of Focuses. And today I was delivering in my own ward. To be precise, I was delivering in Sunniside. We are aiming to get the village delivered by Friday though the weather may be a problem tomorrow.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Planning for our next meeting

I met up with Alan Guest, secretary of the Sunniside History Society, last night in Sunniside Club, to review some of the photos donated to the Society by Francis Newman. Many of the photos were taken in Sunniside 30 years ago though there were some which were much older. We made a selection of photos to present at the next meeting on 1st February. The aim is to get people to share their memories and possibly fill in the gaps in our knowledge of the events that caused the photos to be taken in the first place. Anyone interested in coming to the meeting is welcome. It starts in Sunniside Club at 7pm, £1 for Society members, £2 for visitors.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Happy birthday from the NHS


I turned 60 recently. As birthday presents from the nation, I was allowed free prescriptions, reduced rail fares and a poo kit!

The free prescriptions are no use to me, at least for the time being. I don't take any. The reduced rail fares are a bit more useful. Though the amount of travel I do is only a small fraction of what I did before 2017, I do have 3 short trips coming up. So a saving can be made by getting an older persons railcard. 

The poo kit however is the most important of the presents. I have seen 2 friends suffer from but also recover from bowel cancer. It's best not to take any risks. Ignoring the poo kit in the hope that I am good health continues is inviting problems. So, this present will be put to use shortly.

Delivering in Birtley


I was in Birtley on Monday helping to deliver our latest Lib Dem Focus. Somehow Birtley had avoided the snow. Not so in Sunniside though we had only about 1 cm. I will be back in Birtley later this week as I have one more patch to deliver. Hopefully Birtley will continue to be a snow free zone!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Bridge over troubled waters


It seems as though the Green Party in Gateshead are continuing to target Bridges ward. Another leaflet was popped through people's doors in December. Labour hold the ward and had previously won with comfortable majorities with opposition campaigns aimed at flying the flag. Labour's hold however is based on a low turnout. Any party that could mount a good campaign could run Labour close in the ward. Labour could well be on a bridge over troubled waters here.

The person featured in the leaflet is Rachel Cabral. This is an interesting choice as it appears that she has abandoned Saltwell. She had stood there in 2021, taking 185 votes and 4th place. In 2022 however, disaster struck when the Greens messed up their Saltwell nomination. Rachel Cabral stood in the ward, but without a political description. She recorded only 60 votes. She did not stand in Saltwell in 2023, the year the Lib Dems won the ward from Labour for the first time since the 1930s.

Perhaps her abandonment of Saltwell says a great deal about the Greens realization that the battle in the ward is between Lib Dems and Labour. I hope for the Greens' sake that they don't repeat their mistake on the local election nomination this year as they did in 2022!