Saturday, September 29, 2007

Carpenters and Cowley Street

Cowley Street was invaded yesterday by carpenters, electricians, furniture removal people and so on. The board room, next to the Communications Unit where I am based, was stripped bare and then refurbished in the space of one day. It is now the war room, ready for the big names to occupy the moment Brown goes to the palace. It was quite fun watching the progress through the day. I should have taken some photos but didn't think to do so! By 7pm, when I was trying to edit an urgent edition of the North East Democrat, I was drafted in to move some furniture into the war room.

Meanwhile, I spent yesterday putting together an urgent edition of Parliamentary Campaigner to go out to all candidates this weekend. My job tonight is to do the final drafting changes. At the moment I am sitting in a hustings meeting for the North East Euro selections. After this I'm off to Whickham where we are having a garden party for all our helpers in the area. Turns out to be good timing - with an election about to be called, we can encourage them to deliver more leaflets!
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Friday, September 28, 2007

New dates for announcing the election

Further discussions today with various people about options for the date Comrade Chairman Brown will call the election. This Monday continues to be an option but some claim Brown could not be so blatant in abuising the system for poliical gain by wrecking the Tory conference. I won't put it past him but consider the following instead.

Suppose he calls it on Thursday, immediately after Cameron's speech? That allows the Tory conference to go ahead but he wrecks Cameron's big day by killing at one stroke the publicity Cameron gets from his speech. And all without the allegation of having attempted to wreck the conference by calling the election during its proceedings. Nice Comrade Chairman Brown allows democracy to prevail! This option comes with the bonus of firing the starting gun when the majority of Tory activists are coralled in Blackpool. Labour (and Lib Dem activists) meanwhile have a flying start back in the constituencies. Your can just imagine government inspired roadworks and rail repairs suddenly being imposed around Blackpool which brings all transport to a halt for a day or so!

The other option is to call the election a week on Tuesday, when Parliament is sitting. Under this scenario, Alistair Darling has published the Comprehensive Spending Review which will be spun for all it's worth (covering up the fact that the next spending round will be much tighter than previously.) There may also be an announcement that Basra has been handed back to the Iraqis, with formerly pro Iraq occupation Labour (and Conservative) MPs tripping over themselves to rush out statement about how they have always been against the war. Having attempted to convince everyone that somehow the war was only ever a Blair personal project that never ever ever had anything to do with Labour, Brown then announces a general election, possibly even giving Parliament a vote on whether to dissolve or not. The whips may have an easy day on that. Not so much a case of turkeys voting for Xmas, more a case of Turkeys voting for Xmas to become a vegetarian feast!

Comrade Chairman Brown is meeting his advisers this weekend to take a final decision on whether or not to hold an election. I find it difficult to believe they will not be able to keep the decision secret for long. I can foresee the decision being leaked through the week with the result many Tories have abandoned their conference to get back home. Cameron may find himself speaking to a rather empty hall.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sleep walking into a one party state

Thoughts on the date of the election and the day on which Comrade Chairman Brown will call it vary from one person to another. I wrote the other day that I think he will call it this Monday for 25th Oct. Since then the share value of an announcement tomorrow, Friday, has risen, as has the prospect of the election being on 1st Nov.

If he were to announce on either of these 2 days, it would have to count as one of the biggest abuses of the democratic system of recent years. Wrecking the opposition's conference is the sort of thing you would expect in what is effectively a one party state where opposition parties are allowed but mainly just for show. The reality is that one single party controls the system to its own advantage. A bit like Russia today, or East Germany of old. Were Brown to make such a move, I fear it will be another step, indeed a leap, in the sleep walk of this nation towards what would be effectively a one party state.

A bit extreme viewpoint? Not for those of us who have experienced one party Labour rule in the North East. Whilst they may be feeling the heat in some areas from the Lib Dems (the Tories are dead in the water in the region), Labour remain the dominant party, often attracting people to it who are interested in being part of the establishment rather than actually believing in anything. Labour are of course bolstered by a fraudulent voting system that gives them 94 percent of the parliamentary seats in the region on barely half the votes cast. The same system works in their favour across the country, though not on the scale it does in my region.

There is a possibility after a snap election with the Tories, having performed badly (and then descending into civil war again) and with the prospect of another long period of Labour rule ahead, that Britain sleepwalks into what is in all but name a one party state.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

10 reasons why Brown will call an election next week

Stand by for a snap general election. That is the key message from the Labour conference. Brown could have killed off the speculation with a few words saying there will be no election. He has chosen not to, knowing the consequences will be that the Labour conference will be dominated by the pending election. In other words, the conference is a huge, week long election rally that dominates the headlines to the exclusion of coverage of any other party.

I was previously doubtful about there being an autumn poll but over the weekend, I have looked again at the situation and have come to a different judgement.

I conclude there are 10 reasons why Brown will go for an October poll. Here goes:

1. There is something of a Brown bounce that has put Labour ahead of the Conservatives over the summer in the opinion polls for the first time since Cameron became leader of the Tories. There is no guarantee however that this will last. That brings me to the 2nd point below.

2. The chances are things are more likely to get worse than better for Brown. It's harder to go up in the polls when his support in the polls is relatively strong, but it is easy for the support to slip. No election this autumn and any small loss of support will be viewed as a large swing away from Labour and the talk will be instead of a Brown under pressure who missed his best chance of holding on. The autumn talk will be about his being James Callahan Mark II.

3. Meanwhile, the perception of the Tories is that they are in a mess and Cameron is seen increasingly as a liability who will say anything to get into power (a genuine perception of the truth!) Yet Cameron could, with time mount a recovery. Why would Brown want to give him that chance?

4. Indeed, why give your opponents the chance to build up a bandwagon? One clear lesson Labour have learnt is that a snap poll benefits them. They learnt that the hard way with the Brent East by-election. They put their lesson into practice with Sedgefield and Ealing - another week's campaigning and the results could have been different.

5. A linked point is that there is no cap on what a party can spend in a constituency outside an election. We know the Tories have bags of money being poured into target seats. How better to put a stop to that by holding a poll now, with all the spending limits in constituencies that involves.

6. Which brings me onto donations to Labour. They have the money they need from their super rich backers and the trade union barons who love to spend their members' money. But those donations can't be sustained. Best spend it now.

7. Back to Labour's conference. If this is the first week of the election campaign, by not announcing the election until Monday next week, Labour's conference can hog the headlines without the problem of the Representation of the People's Act (RPA) kicking in (as required once the election is called) which shares out the tv and radio coverage more fairly.

8. And a related point. Brown calls the election next Monday and it immediately cuts the coverage the Tories can get for their conference as the RPA kicks in. No week of headlines dominated by the Tories. All those Tory activists will turn up at Blackpool, be stuck there at a conference that is no longer the focus of media attention. Meanwhile their opponents are back in their constituencies fighting the ground war.

9. Talking of ground wars, Labour have performed well in council by-elections since Brown became Labour leader. The Conservatives have done poorly and Lib Dems reasonable (though last week was poor - that's what happens when your activists are at conference and not in the ground war). What the results show is that Labour support has lifted since Blair resigned. But this may not continue as the "newness" of Brown erodes with time.

10. Brown wants what he reagrds as his own mandate.

We are told Brown is a cautious person. He doesn't want to take a risk with his premiership. I can quite believe it. Given the circumstances, cautious Brown is not likely to want to risk loss by holding out for a later poll. So be ready for a snap election. It's coming your way and should arrive on your doorstep next week.

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Jam later today

Oh just great! A bridge has collapsed onto the main East Coast line near York. So here I am stuck at Newcastle. Many services have been cancelled. I was told that this is because GNER want to avoid lots of train delays. How best to avoid a delay? - cancel the train!

I've spent the last half hour making urgent calls and emails to various people.

Rumour has it the collapsed bridge was called the Cameron Bridge - a rather old structure with a lick of glossy paint. Apparently the paint couldn't hold it together and it gave way. This is of course just a rumour!

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Here I am stuck in traffic

A few minutes makes all the difference between getting straight through to Newcastle and getting stuck in congestion. We are in the latter at the moment, stuck between Sunniside and Lobley Hill. Fortunately my train is not til 9am. And of course it is raining. A good start to the week!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Packaging lunacy

And today's rant is about GNER's on board catering. I have just been to the buffet car for a tea (a technical fault on the trolley means it's only serving cold drinks). I also wanted some fruit. All they had was sliced apple in a packet, a snip at just one pound fifty. Apart from the fact this is a seriously high price for a bit of apple, it is also absurdly over packaged. And add to that the slices will go off faster than a whole apple. This is lunacy wrapped up as product presentation.

One of the train staff has just walked past me with a large plastic sack collecting rubbish. There's plenty of it!

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Fruit baskets and the Cowley St kitchen

I arrived in Cowley St this morning to find a gigantic basket of fruit in the kitchen. A present from Ming and Elspeth to us hard working staff who ensured conference went well. At 8pm Chris Rennard walked into my office and said that nearly all the fruit had gone despite there being far fewer people that normal in HQ. The Communications Unit had by then carefully removed all evidence of apple cores, grape stalks and the other debris of a fruit feast!

Onto other things. Some of my conference photos were put into circulation today for local campaigners to use though the big job on that begins next week when I have to email out all the photo op pictures, of which there are over 1000. I used a couple from the North East in my next members' newsletter which I will be printing in our office in Gateshead tomorrow.

And that means that I am on the train heading North now, though I am about to ask the person sitting behind me with a muffled clunk, clunk, clunk coming from his ear phones to turn the music down.

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Photo op photos

These were taken at the photo ops the Communications Unit arranged at conference for campaigners. I have taken the liberty (ego?) of including those of me except the carbon footprint one. I didn't get a photo of me with Chris Huhne so I have included one of Peter Maughan, who represents the neighbouring ward to my own and who was at conference on Sunday and Monday.
I posted up the cutting income tax pic earlier this week.

A few photos from the Glee Club

I normally avoid the Glee Club at conference, but the opportunity to get some photos was too much to resist. So above: Lembit take to the stage; Paddy tells the same joke as previously told at Glee Clubs and Team Sedgefield serenades the gathered masses.

Photos of Ming's speech

These are some of the photos I took yesterday morning.

Lembit Opik MP at the Glee Club

For those of you fortunate enough to miss the Glee Club at conference on Wednesday, here's Lembit Opik's performance......

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Ming speech

As usual I was in the photographers' scrum for Ming's speech. Good inspiring, uplifting stuff. Now could the doubters shut up!?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lembit but no Cheekie Girl

The 4th and final photo op I had organised for candidates was held this morning. It was about Labour's post office closure plans. Lembit Opik is the Shadow Business and Enterprise Secretary so the photos were with him. There was no Cheekie Girl in tow.

I spent some time this afternoon putting photos onto the parties website. Most are not taken by me but by Alex Folkes. However, mine filled a few gaps in the coverage.

And so that brings me to this evening. It's the hunter/gatherer phase of the day when we go in search of fringe meetings with good food and, of course, interesting issues for discussion. I missed the first round of meetings at 6pm as I was in a Northern Region meeting. When I got to these meetings, all that were left were empty plates and a bowl of olives! The next meetings start at 8pm.

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Cutting Income Tax

Here's the photo of metaking part in my own photo op yesterday with Vince Cable cutting income tax!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Press at my back whilst Vince saws through income tax

I have arranged to put on 4 photo ops for candidates and campaigners at conference. The first was on Sunday with Norman Lamb MP and a giant tooth. This is for those involved in the health campaign and the photos can be used to illustrate the decay in the NHS dentistry service. Advance notice of this appeared in the Guardian recently!

The second was yesterday with Chris Huhne MP. This involved 2 carbon footprints, one large one, representing people's carbon footprint as it is now, and a second smaller one, representing the smaller carbon footprint under Lib Dem policies. This one had queues of people around the block!

Today's photo op was with Vince Cable cutting income tax - using a saw to cut a banner representing income tax. Again, queues around the block for this one. Somehow, the media took an enormous interest in this event. So in front of me was Vince with a saw and a succession of candidates whilst behind me were press photographers and media cameramen catching anything that moved. So I suspect there are a large number of photos of my rear end and a large amount of footage of me shouting at candidates to stand in a certain way, hold the props at the right angle and especially to keep smiling and stop talking!

What struck me afterwards however was that if the media thought this photo op made for interesting pictures, then they will make interesting pics in people's focus leaflets,which was what this whole exercise was about producing.

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Laws of conference no. 1: get me to the fringe on time

Organisations hosting fringe events at conference have a standard practice for getting people through the doors and ensuring there are bums on seats. It's called "Refreshments available". This is a well tried and tested practice and is a good way of getting people into a meeting about an issues of which they have very limited knowledge or indeed interest.

It is possible to go through a conference without having to buy a meal. But there is a snag. I was due at the Northern Regional Development Agencies' meeting last night. Lots of food and wine available. I had helped promote the event as one of the sponsors had been in touch with me asking for advice on advertising it and I even took their ad and put it in my regional newsletter, The North East Democrat.

But last night, as the meeting was underway, I was stuck in our office in the Brighton Centre uploading photos to the website. By the time I had finished cocking up the process and got it right, I was feeling rather hungry. So I sped off to the RDA meeting just in time for, well, just in time for the speeches! The last of the wine had been sozzled and all that was left to eat was a handful of sandwiches no one else wanted!

I have just had breakfast in the Grand. My first proper meal since breakfast at the Grand yesterday! Expect me to lose weight at this conference!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dr Death and the Liberal Democrats

The press cuttings were delivered to my hotel room this morning. A quick flick through told me that David Owen (aka Dr Death) was making a reappearance on the political stage. Sadly for Dr Death, he is a figure that has now been largely forgotten by the good people of the UK. Instead of a front line political career in the Lib Dems when the SDP and Liberals merged in 1988, Dr Death (middle name Ego) decided to storm off into the wilderness to create a shortlived party (SDP Tick) in his own image.

The historical ineptitude of the press today however is amazing. He is variously described as a great figure of the Liberal Democrats, or the Liberal movement. Dr Death has never been a member of the Lib Dems and he has spent most of the past 20 years trying to destroy us. It is no coincidence that on the eve of our conference, he is making pro-Brown pronouncements, almost certainly assisted by the vast Brown spin machine which, far from being dismantled, is growing ever bigger.

A political handshake with Dr Death however is the equivalent of taking hold of a live wire. You are going to get hurt! Owen has shown that he can make serious errors of judgement. He is a person whose ego is far bigger than his common sense. It could of course have been so much different. He could have led the SDP into the merged party instead of throwing his toys out of the pram. Frankly, if Brown wants him, he's welcome to him.

I wonder how Labour members in Gateshead (especially the ones with the big egos reading this blog) are taking to yet another inclusion of an old enemy in the big tent of Gordon Brown. The big tent however is an image rather than reality. It is all for show so that Chairman Stalin Brown can appear inclusive and nice whislt ensuring all power rests in his hands. Perhaps it is more a case of a big top than a big tent with Brown's political circus there to entertain and bamboozle the audience. The question is, who is taking on the role of the clown. Back to Dr Death I think...

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ming arrives at Brighton - the exclusive photos!

I was at the front of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in the press pack waiting for Ming to arrive. So here are a couple of the pics I took as he spoke to the press.

I had arrived there about half an hour earlier. Alas, whilst the press pack was there in force, it wasn't waiting for me! But my taxi driver was amused anyway!

Heading for Brighton with a studio in my case

I am on the train to Brighton now to go to party conference. It feels like I have a studio's worth of cameras and camcorders in my suitcase. After I added my conference papers and various papers from Gateshead and from constituents I will deal with when I am at Brighton, there wasn't much room for my clothes!

So it's a week of early morning meetings, late nights, minimal sleep, meals grabbed on the move, herding people through photo ops and generally enjoying myself! The drawback is that I'm not home this weekend. So next weekend I will have to double my number of voter contacts when I'm back home.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Food for thought

There has been some interest recently in a report outlining the findings into research into what people were eating in Britain thousands of years ago. The main focus of attention was on hedgehogs and nettles. There seemed to be a degree of surprise that such foods were eaten, and what's more, they were cooked with other ingredients, not eaten raw.

Much of this was turned into a joke by media commentators. Okay, let's take off the menu any thought of hedgehog. Rather than eating them, I could do with some of them in my garden to eat the snails. But there are a remarkable number of nutritious wild foods in the UK that are widely available and enjoyable to eat. I use nettles for soups and flans. How about dandelion and blackberry leaf salad? How about rose hip tea? How about spicing up a salad with wild garlic leaves? How about roasted wild beech and hazel nuts, or blackberries or wild strawberries for a dessert?

Regular readers of this blog will know I am a bit of an enthusiast for wild food but the treatment of the issue as a bit of a joke by some commentators shows we have lost so much of our traditional foods in this country. That is a shame given we have good quality foods growing wild all around us. Making an occasional meal of them would save our environment so much by not having to import from thousands of kilometres away so much of the food we eat.

So if you haven't tried nettle soup, rosehip and crab apple jelly or a dandelion salad, put them on your menu!

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Last day in office before it all starts

The last day in the office before conference is always a hectic, hair ripping out episode in which everything that needs to be done that hasn't been done needs to be done! My conference diary is only half done, my contribution to a training session the Communications Unit is putting on is not written, I have a mountain of itty bitty jobs to shift for the photo ops we are hosting and I need to back up more data than I can shake a stick at.

Yet after that, conferences nevertheless turn out to be great fun!

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

There now follows a short rant about Sainsburys

I needed to go to Sainsburys tonight to get some dinner. So I called in at 9pm, picked up 4 bargain priced bagels (30p for the lot), a bag of salad leaves and a bunch of spring onions. So off to the queue I go. As it is late, there are only 2 tils open. Why is it I always end up behind the person who, half way putting his purchases through the til, suddenly decides he hasn't finished his shopping and therefore disappears off into the store for ages?

I ask if I am able to put my rather meagre purchase through rather than wait for the disappeared shopper to make a reappearance. "But that will mean I will have to void the transaction and do it all again," I am told. Not very helpful for the customers who bothered to do their shopping before getting to the til, but I politely continue to wait until the assistant spots an opening at the cigarette counter. I am sent there to pay for my low calorie salad.

Except there follows another problem. Having handed over cash (yes, some of us do sometimes use it rather than plastic) the cashier then closed the til having forgotten that this old fashioned form of purchase of goods sometimes requires change to be given. So he had to put the next customer through before I was able to get my 52p change from the two pound coin I had originally handed over.

I then had a battle to stop him putting my purchases into a new Sainsbury carrier bag. I had to wave the one I had brought with me to make sure I didn't want another added to the 17 billion free carrier bags stores in this country give away each year.

As I was leaving the store, the guy who had gone off to complete his shopping had still not returned to the til.

I never get these problems when I'm in Somerfield in Whickham or the Chapel Store in Sunniside!

On a cheerier note, I communicated with over a thousand constituents tonight. In other words, I completed edition 43 of my Whickham email newsletter. Only one new video on this one.

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Cowley Street has gone green - literally

This is the landing outside my office in Cowley St. The grey, rather thread bare carpets have been stripped out today and new green ones have gone in their place. Another green initiative to add to the energy audits on the building and the paper, can, plastic and glass recycling bins and lights that switch themselves off automatically if the room isn't in use. Anyway, here's the pic.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Labour council refuses free school bus pass to unbaptised boy

I could hardly believe it when I first read it but the news release below arrived a few minutes ago from the office of Fiona Hall MEP. So Labour are refusing a free bus pass to a child attending a Catholic school on the grounds the child has not been baptised! Surely this must be a breach of the Human Rights Act?

The news release speaks for itself:


Despite being accepted as a pupil at St Leonard’s RCVA School, Durham, Elliot Stewart from Brasside who has started school this week has been refused a free bus pass because he has not been baptised.

When Elliot’s mother enquired about a bus pass for Elliot with Durham County Council she was told that he could not be issued one as he has not been baptised. She was then advised by a Council employee to get Elliot baptised in order to get a bus pass.

Mrs Stewart contacted local MEP Fiona Hall who raised the issue with the Council and received a response to say that it is was agreed between the Roman Catholic Diocese and the County Council that for a child to qualify for free school transport both that child and at least one parent must have been baptised, the Liberal Democrat commented:

"I am surprised at the attitude of Durham County Council on this issue.

"Surely if a child is offered a place by a Roman Catholic school it is only fair for the County Council to provide transport to make it possible for the child to attend.

"Whether or not a child is baptised should be a matter for the parents, not the council.

"I am seeking clarification from the Roman Catholic Diocese and from the Schools Minister."

Monday, September 10, 2007

50 years old

Not me! But David is, or was, on Friday. And by coincidence, arriving in my council courier bag over the weekend was a leaflet about events and activities in Gateshead "for those aged 50 and over"! David's turning 50 opens up a whole new world for us as well. I'm really looking forward to a Saga holiday and going to B And Q for the older people's discount evenings. There is of course another decade to go before he can get free off peak travel on the buses!

And so to my weekend's activities, much of which revolved around printing, delivering and collecting surveys on recycling though last night I had a meeting with the leaders of a couple of our local scout groups about the fayres they will be holding next year.

I also made it to the opening of the Whickham Community Association fayre on Saturday. Whilst out delivering survey forms on Sunday, I chatted to someone who recognised me at the fayre. My advice to councillors and candidates - always go to fayres put on by local groups. Not only are they great for buying the best homemade cakes, they are also very useful for your profile.

If you are a Parliamentary candidate, you should have by now the the results of more of my weekend handiwork - the Parliamentary Campaigner was completed yesterday.

And so, here I am, sitting on the train, just leaving Newcastle, heading for London. Ahead of us - the joys of conference!

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Photo opportunities at conference

Speaking with my political communications unit hat on, we are holding 4 photo ops at conference for candidates and campaigners. They will be held in the West Bar, next to the Internet Cafe, in the Brighton Centre as follows:

Sunday 16th September: 3.30pm-4.30pm Norman Lamb - Dentists’ Survey (have your photo taken with Norman and a giant tooth!) This photo will highlight the decay in the NHS dental system.

Monday 17th September: 4.30-5.30pm, Chris Huhne - Environment Campaign (have your photo taken with Chris to show how Lib Dem policy will cut your carbon footprint.)

Tuesday 18th September: 2.30-3.30pm, Vince Cable - Income Tax Cut (have your photo taken with Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable cutting income tax.)

Wednesday 19th September: 11am-12pm, Lembit Opik - Post Offices (have your photo taken with Lembit Opik signing a giant copy of the Post Office petition).

The photos will be taken by me and emailed to you after conference. It would be helpful if you could email me on in advance (and preferably before the start of conference) if you are coming to any of the sessions. Please say which ones you are coming to, give us your name (!) and which constituency or local party you are from.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Comfortable win in Crystal Palace

News just in. We have comfortably held the Crystal Palace by-election. I have a slight element of interest in the result as it is where my London home is. Well done to the local team. Result is: Lab 537 Con 398 green 139 LD 1051.
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The sort of email I like to receive

I have received an email from a constituent saying that she is looking forward to "JW" being on the door on No. 10! And then she offered to help deliver our Focus leaflets! Now that's the sort of email I love to get!

Tonight I have been working on the drafts of the North East Democrat (which is emailed to about a third of the members in the North East) and Parliamentary Campaigner (which goes to our Parliamentary Candidates). I can't send out the Democrat until Ming has done his visit to Durham and Newcastle tomorrow. Someone is taking photos and will email them to me tomorrow. The aim is to have the newsletter in people's inboxes in the evening, fresh after Ming's visit.

Meanwhile, if you are a Parliamentary Candidate, you should have the Campaigner with you over the weekend. Note the things in it you are recommended to do before conference!

These 2 publications will inevitably mean I will have a battle on tomorrow to get away on time from Cowley St to catch my train home to the North East. If I miss it I know who to blame.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I wonder what Labour MPs think of Brown's adoration of Mrs T

A statue of Margaret Thatcher has been erected in the members' lobby in Parliament. It sparked this Early Day Motion in February:

"That this House recalls the cruel and divisive reign of Margaret Thatcher and demands that the statue be removed from the Members' Lobby until such time as its erection has been approved by a vote in the House." (EDM 981, 2 Feb 2007)

Given that Gordon Brown has just heaped adoration on Mrs T and now tries to compare himself to her, I wonder what those MPs who signed this motion and backed Brown feel about their Leader's "lurch to the right"!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The power of blogs

My blog post about Labour MP Sharon Hodgson writing an Early Day Motion to praised herself has been well noticed! The Guarian diary column carried it the other day. And yesterday, it was a page lead in our regional newspaper The Journal. Very nice of them to put a big photo of me in it! The Journal story came about as a result of a press release I produced, rather than from the blog. They phoned me on Thursday to do an interview. But the fact the Guardian ran the story having lifted it from either my blog or more likely from my blog via Lib Dem Voice, only goes to show that blogging can be a good way to place a story in the public domain.

I love Lib Dem members

I have just got back from a quick tour of members in my ward. I got two new leafletters, one cake, an invite to a garden party and some useful information I need for some casework. I love Lib Dem members!

I am off to the kitchen now to complete the process of making crab apple jelly. Colleagues in Cowley Street will be sampling it tomorrow. I have 2 videos to edit later. Ones a campaigning video, the other is of a visit I made to the Roman City of Leptis Magna in Libya in 2004. From one extreme to another.....

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fitting a quart into a pint pot

On the train back from London last night, I wrote a list of the things I need to do this weekend. As usual, it was a case of fitting a quart into a pint pot, or to be metric, a litre into a 25 cl pot. So today, I was in our office at 9am printing surveys to give to Peter Maughan at 10am so he could take them to his ward team in Dunston Hill and Whickham East. I then went off to visit some of my leafletters and helpfully take them bundles of leaflets.

When I found one had a broken foot, I delivered her patch for her. Then back home, I wrote a village focus (not for my ward), then went down to the Whickham in Bloom flower show (I bumped into Dad there), then went to print the village focus I had written, then went off to deliver it (to the Labour readers of this blog I'll keep you guessing where). Then back home to catch up with David before heading over to the allotment to water the veg. Then down to an old orchard in my ward to pick crab apples. Then back home to chuck the crab apples in the jam pan. I am about to have a relaxing soak (the bath is running now) and then I have a pile of letters to write to constituents.

Tomorrow I will try to do the things on the list I wrote last night!

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