Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Whickham Library and Sunniside History Meetings

Whickham Library Jonathan Wallace July 19

I had two meetings this evening. The first, at 5.30pm, was at Whickham Library. The monthly meeting of the trustees was over quicker than usual. There were no big agenda items. Instead, lots of small issues were handled.

I then headed to the executive meeting of Sunniside History Society at Sunniside Club. The two big items on the agenda were the society's forthcoming trip to Bamburgh Castle and the meeting we are holding on 3rd September. This meeting falls on the 80th anniversary of the UK declaration of war on Nazi Germany so we are marking that with an evening all about the Second World War. We will start with a minute's silence followed by a wartime quiz and then a presentation by a lifelong resident of a Whickham who remembers the war years and will lead a discussion to tease out people's memories.

We are looking forward to a great evening and all residents are welcome to come to the meeting which will be held on Tuesday 3rd September at 7pm at Sunniside Club.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Project Fact

I have no holidays planned for this year. Having spent the first 7 months of the year fighting elections, there was no time for getting away. While I yearn to see the rest of the world, the lack of a vacation may actually turn into a financial blessing in disguise. Boris Johnson's first gift to the nation as PM is the sinking pound. What immaculate timing! Just as people (not me obviously!) are heading off on holiday. It isn't just Brits abroad who will be impacted immediately. Watch out for the rise in petrol and diesel prices over coming weeks. Crude oil is prices in dollars so any fall in sterling quickly catches up with you on the forecourt.

The prospect of No Deal Brexit pressing down on the pound will lead to increased consumer prices. We import about half our food. An even higher proportion of animal feeds are imported. There may, of course, be sudden gluts. The lamb that will no longer be exported to the EU because of 42% tariffs under WTO could be dumped on the market. An while the nation chomps its way through cheap chops, within a year the lamb producing agricultural sector could be dying as it is no longer viable.

Brexit fanatics tell us the drop in the value of the pound will make our exports more competitive. The experience of manufacturing exporters since the referendum does not support such claims. The low value of the pound needs to be taken alongside the collapse in investment in machinery and plant as businesses have awaited over the past three years the form that Brexit will take.

We are told this is all Project Fear but the reality is that this is Project Fact.

Monday, July 29, 2019

RIP Norman Callender

Ryton Library Feb 06 no 1

I'm saddened to report that former Ryton Lib Dem Councillor Norman Callender passed away last week. Norman was a member of Gateshead Council for nearly 20 years and was a tireless proponent of Ryton. He will be greatly missed.

The funeral will be held next Monday at Holy Cross Church, Ryton, at 11.15am, followed by a service at Mountsett Crematorium.

Norman pictured above with former ward colleagues Christine McHatton and Ione Rippeth.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Rained off

Pack Horse Burnopfield July 19

I had hoped to go to the Gibside Community Farm open day today after my advice surgery in Whickham. I left the surgery late as it overran due to a higher number of constituents calling in than expected. Alas, the rain was tipping down so when I passed the community farm on Fellside Road, there was no one there. I took refuge instead in the nearby Pack Horse. Lunch was a rather pleasant chicken masala.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Not measuring up the curtains

Yesterday, with my two ward colleagues Councillors John McClurey and Marilynn Ord, we had our annual ward meeting with Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, and the Chief Exec. It is an opportunity to discuss matters of local relevance. I brought to the table issues about the future of Sunniside Park and the neighbouring Lambing Hill/reservoir area and the Sunniside Kingsway community orchard.

Martin's office itself is spacious and comfortably furnished. When I took over as Leader of the Opposition four years ago, I changed nothing in the Opposition Office other than having the swivel seat replaced (it was falling apart). It still has the same wallpaper and furnishings from 1987 when the Civic Centre was completed and opened. I saw no need to change anything. I will treat the Leader of the Council's office in the same way when the Lib Dems take control in the near future! No need to measure up any new curtains!

Be ready for an autumn election

I can't help but feel there is going to be an autumn general election. There has been a major clear out of the cabinet and Johnson is heading off on what looks very like an election tour. Having shown he can ruthlessly dump all his opponents in government as quickly as he can dump previously held political beliefs, a general election will also give him the opportunity to purge all opponents from the Conservative Parliamentary party. Those MPs not backing him will simply be replaced by candidates backing Johnson.

Were the UK to go for No Deal Brexit, Johnson will want the election over before 1st November so the election is not fought on the problems that go with crashing out. An election will also effectively close down Parliament for a few weeks, killing off temporarily the legislative wing of governance and the only barrier left in the way of No  Deal.

And another factor that could push us towards an early election is the state of the Labour Party. Their vote is in freefall. Corbyn is increasingly a millstone around Labour's neck. The starry-eyed Corbynistas must at some point realise that Corbyn is the problem rather than the solution to their current predicament and will get rid of him. So Johnson will want the election over before then. He'll want a big majority, just as May did in 2017. The snap election backfired then but that is not necessarily what would happen were there to be an election this autumn. There will need to be a great deal of emergency powers to make No Deal work. Johnson will need a big majority to ensure the emergency powers legislation is passed.

So, having campaigned in three elections this year (locals, European and PCC by-election), two as candidate myself, we may be heading for a fourth contest in 2019. Oh joy!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Gateshead East branch meeting

On Tuesday evening I attended the Gateshead East Lib Dem branch meeting to give my group leader's report. I talked about the cabinet reports that are presented to full council which say absolutely nothing about what the cabinet members are doing. Clearly that needs to change  but so far, my suggestions have been ignored by Labour.

Also discussed was campaigning in our key wards. It was reported that Focuses have recently gone out in Pelaw and Heworth, Low Fell and Chowdene. Some campaigning is about to be done in Bensham as well. There will be many other activities taking place over the summer.

Low Fell eFocus no. 39

The Low Fell Focus Team have just published their latest eFocus, number 39. Issues covered include:
  • Council to rethink tolls on Tyne Bridges
  • Low Fell volunteer gardening group supports world polio day
  • Fighting graffiti in Low Fell
  • Fixing drainage on Durham Road
  • Safety on Chowdene Bank
  • Barriers on Dryden Road removed
  • Council u-turns on cutting special educational provision
You can read eFocus on this link.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Liberal society is under attack

News is coming through of Johnson's Cabinet appointments. The one that catches my eye the most is that of Priti Patel as Home Secretary. This is enough to make me shudder. This one-time backer of capital punishment has an illiberal record on LGBT issues. She opposed same sex marriage, an issue for which she is now responsible at the Home Office. We previously  had the "hostile" environment towards migrants. I fear that there could now be a hostile environment towards those in the LGBT community.

Looking at the composition of the Cabinet so far, this is one that is swinging far to the right. Liberal society in under attack and we must step up the battle to protect it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I fear the country is about to be bluster bombed!

So, as expected, Boris Johnson is the new Tory leader. We have little in the way of detail as to what he wants to do but expect a vigorous campaign of bluster bombing to hide the lack of content of this political charlatan. However, be careful not to underestimate him. He won the 2012 mayoral election against the odds in a city that has been moving away from the Conservatives. For many on the right of the political spectrum, he is very much their man. For the rest, his is divisive and dangerous. The country is likely to remain divided for some time to come.

Video diary - 20th July: Northern Pride

On Saturday I was in Newcastle to take part in the Northern Pride parade. Despite the rain there was a good turnout and spirits were high. I joined the parade with other Lib Dems from around the region.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Video diary - 19th July 2019: at the PCC by-election count

Last Friday I attended the count for the Northumbria PCC by-election. As Lib Dem candidate was I heading to for a completely unexpected victory? No! Did Labour see their usual easy victory? No! Previously Labour took over 50% of the vote. Therefore 2nd preferences were never previously counted. This time Labour's vote dropped from 56% to 37%. Our vote climbed from 10% to 18%. It was a reasonably good performance which lifted us off the electoral sandbank on which the Lib Dems had been stuck from 2010 to the end of 2018. But it would be unwise to read to much into the result. The turnout was lamentable at 15%. This does show that the whole PCC system has failed to engage with people. I continue to argue that the system should be scrapped.

So, a creditable performance, a move in the right direction but the big battles are still ahead waiting to be fought and won.

Congratulations Jo

I missed the live announcement of the Lib Dem leadership vote this afternoon as I was at that point in time sawing a horn stub off a billy goat. As far as excuses go, that is probably unbeatable! So congratulations to Jo Swinson. We now have our first female and our youngest leader. The challenge for Jo is to take us forward as a party and build on the political capital created under Vince's leadership, especially in the past few months. I have every faith in Jo. I am sure she will achieve a great advance for the Lib Dems.

Commiserations to Ed Davey. I voted for Ed. I've known him for many years and we used to work together on many political issues when I was employed by the Lib Dems. I know he will continue to make a great contribution to the success of the party.

And finally, thank you Vince. You took on the leadership at a time when we were deep in the doldrums. You have left us in a vastly improved state.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Video diary - other things still happen on polling day

Thursday 18th July 2019 was the day of the Northumbria PCC by-election. As my video diary shows, I had plenty of other activities to occupy me, including attending a NECA scrutiny meeting in Sunderland and full council in Gateshead.

Streetgate housing plans

Streetgate housing exhibition July 19 (1)

On Wednesday housing developer Lok held a consultation event at Sunniside Club about their plans for 24 houses on land to the north of Gateshead Road in Streetgate. The site was formerly greenbelt but we lost the battle to save it from housing when Labour passed the revised Local Plan in 2014.

The plan for 24 houses is the start of the development of this site which is currently divided between four different ownerships. The first plot will include the 24 houses. As the subsequent 3 plots become available, new housing will be built in phases. About 48 houses will be the overall total on the site.

Access will be opposite Sorella Sorella on a bend in Gateshead Road. This is what I have a bit of trouble with. I need to be convinced this new junction is not an accident waiting to happen. I made this point to the developers who believe it will be safe when I met them on Wednesday. I will visit the precise location shortly to see it for myself.

Streetgate housing exhibition July 19 (2)

Video diary - eve of poll

Another bit of catch up - I filmed this on the day before the Northumbria PCC by-election. In the morning I was in Whickham delivering PCC by-election leaflets but was then called away to deal with a bee swarm. In the afternoon I attended a council seminar and then headed to Sunniside Club to talk to developers wanting to build 24 houses in Streetgate. A typical summer day!

Video diary - meeting the Chief Constable

This post is catch up after the PCC by-election. I met Northumbria Chief Constable Winton Keenen on Tuesday last week to be briefed on various issues relevant to the policing of the area and to have a bit of amusing speculation on what a Jonathan Wallace PCC would be like!

Labour votes to expel former chief whip

The mess of their own making in the Labour Party  has just got even messier. While the party of Corbyn and his comrades turns a blind eye to anti-semitism in their own ranks, anyone who is critical of The Great Leader is purged (and you are also sent to the Gulag if you admit to voting Lib Dem). The latest incident of Corbynite lunacy comes with the decision by the former constituency party of Hilary Armstrong (Durham North West and therefore in the neighbourhood of my constituency of Blaydon) to expel her for speaking out against JC. Her heinous crime was to put her name to an advert in the Guardian, signed by other distinguished Labour figures as well, pointing out the indisputable fact that Corbyn has failed the test of leadership.

The constituency party has no power to expel her (the Chief Purger is the Labour General Secretary) so the move is in reality a gesture by the Corbyn fanatics. So, with a snap general election likely, the Tories in a mess over Brexit and the new Tory Leader likely to alienate a significant section of his own party, Labour choose to waste their time fighting themselves rather than kicking the ball at a goal which currently has no goalkeeper.

Well done Labour. You can always be counted on to do the wrong thing!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Video diary - £620 meal at the taxpayers' expense

In our Chowdene Focus we revealed that two council officers had attended an awards ceremony at a top hotel in London which included a meal costing Gateshead Council £620. Labour leader Martin Gannon knew nothing of this and emailed me to find out more about this rather expensive meal. It's nice to know that Martin has to turn to me for information about the council he leads. So, come on Martin, get a grip!

Video - Chowdene action day

On Sunday 14th July Gateshead Lib Dems held another action day, this time in Chowdene ward. This is the video I shot on the day.

Video - Chase Park "Love Parks" event

On Saturday 13th July I took some of our goat kids and ducklings to Whickham Chase Park for the "Love Parks" event. Sadly, the weather was against us but the animals proved a hit and helped promote my self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.

Thursday, July 18, 2019


bee swarm July 19

Yesterday morning I was in Whickham delivering some of my Northumbria PCC by-election leaflets. I had a patch of 370 to do. I had done about 250 when my phone rang. There was a honey bee swarm in Sunniside and I was needed to collect it. So I stopped the delivery at the end of the street I happened to be on and then headed to Sunniside. The swarm was collected but I didn't get back to the delivery patch as I had a 2pm council seminar to attend. The bees' timing was brilliant as a tactic for disrupting my carefully planned day!

The little critters are now in a hive in one of my apiaries.

swarm box July 19

Just voted!

Jonathan Wallace Sunniside polling station July 19

I've just popped around to Sunniside Club to vote in the Northumbria PCC by-election. It wasn't busy! And yes, I voted for that bloke Jonathan Wallace from the Lib Dems.

Only an hour and a half to go before polls close.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Whickham eFocus no. 120

The next edition of eFocus for the Whickham area has just been published. It features former Whickham Police Chief Superintendent Andy McDyer's backing for me in the PCC by-election, Ravensdene Lodge care housing plans approved, £500 raised for Whickham's Christmas lights, Marley Hill planning applications, road works at Sunniside, Whickham School fair and Sunniside Chapel now available for events bookings.

You can read eFocus on this link.

Former Chief Superintendent backs me for Northumbria PCC

Andy McDyer Jonathan Wallace July 19 (2)

I am pleased to announce that the former Whickham Police Chief Superintendent Andy McDyer is backing me in the by-election for Northumbria Police Commissioner. Andy was based in Whickham back in the late 1990s. He then served as a senior officer in both the Northumbria and Humberside forces and is now retired.

"Jonathan brings experience, knowledge and determination to get the job done - all key skills in the role of PCC," said Andy. "I remember working with him over 20 years ago and I can see why local residents have consistently voted for him to be their councillor over the past 32 years.

"Jonathan is battling to replace the PCC system with something more accountable to local residents without the costs. He will deal with government ministers to battle for a better system of police accountability. In the meantime, I know Jonathan will focus on rebuilding community policing.

"Please vote for Jonathan on Thursday, 18th July."

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. The result will be declared on Friday 19th.

Whickham School fair this Saturday

Whickham School summere fair will be held this Saturday. Lots happening on the day. It's going to be tight for me however as I am also on the Pride parade in Newcastle on the same day!

Monday, July 15, 2019

My PCC by-election leaflet

PCC byelection leaflet July 2019-page-0

It is polling day on Thursday for the Northumbria Police Commissioner by-election. So here is my election leaflet, featuring mainly the cost of this totally unnecessary election (£2.5 million), the fact that the PCC system is a failure and the need to boost community policing.

PCC byelection leaflet July 2019-page-1

Unexpected support

Journal PCC letter 11 July 19

My attention has been drawn to the Newcastle Journal's letters' column from 11th July 2019. C Jackson (CJ) of Kenton, Newcastle, wrote about the PCC by-election candidates. CJ had lots of praise for Vera Baird whose resignation has sparked this contest and suggested the four candidates do not have the level of experience of Ms Baird. But, he did write:

  • "it's patently obvious only one of them [the candidates] possesses anything close to some knowledge, experience and the maturity to undertake the role. I believe that person is 55-year-old Dr Jonathan Wallace.
I have no idea who CJ of Kenton is but thank you for your backing!

Parking the kids

Whickham Chase Park Fair July 19 (2)

On Saturday, Chase Park hosted a "Love Parks" event. I was there with a couple of our goat kids and 4 ducklings to promote the cause of self-sufficiency and sustainable living. Alas, the weather was against us. When it turned midday, it tipped down.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Chowdene Action Day

Chowdene Focus July 19

Another weekend and another action day in Gateshead, this time in Chowdene ward. Our aim was to get a Focus out across the ward. We achieved most of this. A small number of patches were left at the end of the day but these were taken by a couple of members to do later this week.

Only one person refused to take a copy. At first I thought she was going to give me a pro-Labour tongue lashing. I should not have assumed that areas traditionally Labour automatically means residents are pro-Labour now. The person declining to take the leaflet was a Brexit Party supporter. I hope she gets the Brexit deal she deserves!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Another Focus delivery

Whickham North July 19

Last night was my last opportunity to deliver the latest Focus in a Whickham North patch before it expired. The newsletter carried an advert for the Chase Park fair today so it was either a case of putting them through people' doors, or putting them in the recycling bin. The former won out! The Focus also included information about the PCC by-election, so I had an added incentive to get them delivered.

Meeting the Police Federation

Northumbria Police Federation July 19

Yesterday I had a very useful meeting with the Northumbria Police Federation. This was held at my request as I wanted to speak to representatives of officers about how they felt about the state of the force, staff morale and issues of concern to them. The meeting lasted an hour and a half and was a very useful insight into the state of affairs and how officers are coping.

Video diary 11th July 2019

On Wednesday I was at the BBC for a Radio Newcastle interview, the the three other Northumbria PCC candidates, and in the afternoon I was at Tyne Tees TV. Evening saw Lib Dem group meeting, followed by Gateshead Local Party exec. To round off the day, I headed up to the Lib Dem office at Consett to help shift 20 boxes of A4 paper. All in a day's work!

Straddling the fence on Brexit

I'm trying to get my mind around Labour's new policy on Brexit. Having gone from sitting on the fence about a confirmatory referendum, now they claim to support a further vote on the "Tory Brexit Deal" or on a no deal Brexit if the Conservatives push for Brexit before the general election. This is after Labour have said for months that there will be no further referendum. But what is on offer at a general election held before Brexit will be the opposite - Labour will "renegotiate" the deal to leave and there will be no referendum on their deal. So they continue to straddle the fence.

Friday, July 12, 2019

BBC Politics Programme

BBC Politics Programme interview July 19 (2)

Yesterday morning I journeyed into Gateshead for the last of our media interviews for the PCC by-election. It was with the BBC for the North East Politics Programme, with a bit being used on Look North. All 4 candidates were present and were interviewed together by Richard Moss. I think this was the toughest interview yet, focused on our personal characters, drugs and what each of us would do if we won.

A week today we will be in the middle of the count. And then it's all over. Hooray!

BBC Politics Programme interview July 19 (4)

Video diary 9th July 2019

My morning was taken up with a visit to Birkheads Wild outdoor education centre. For the rest of the day, other than a council advisory group meeting, I was working on shifting the large quantity of PCC by-election leaflets.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

All those Focuses

paper July 19

After the Gateshead Lib Dem exec meeting last night a number of us headed to Consett for the much sought after job of carrying quarter of a tonne of paper up a flight of 21 stairs to the Lib Dem office and print shop. Excellent exercise! Think of the thousands of Focuses we will be producing with all that paper!

Blaydon selection underway

Gateshead Lib Dem exec July 19

I attended the Gateshead Lib Dems Local Party executive meeting last night. One of the items on the agenda was the selection of a Parliamentary candidate for Blaydon. The executive agree to start the process of selecting a candidate. We will be looking for a hardworking candidate who will take the battle to Labour in the constituency Labour have taken for granted for decades.

Video diary 8th July 2019

Monday 8th July 2019 - after delivering a pile of leaflets for the police commissioner election, I headed to the Baltic Art Gallery for a councillors' briefing. It turned into a useful opportunity to bend the ear of Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, about his cabinet reports to full council.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Tyne Tees TV interview

TTTV PPC interview July 19 (1)

I'm just back from my second PCC by-election interview of the day, this time with Tyne Tees TV. It was done in the style of a police interview! I kept my answers brief and to the point, covering only one issue - the need to scrap the PCC and replace the system with something similar to what was scrapped when the former police authorities (made up of local councillors and magistrates) were abolished.

The interview will go out on Monday evening.

TTTV PPC interview July 19 (2)

A "carrot picker"

PCC interview BBC Radio Newcastle July 19 (1)

This morning, Radio Newcastle hosted a debate between the four PCC by-election candidates. It was a relatively friendly encounter though the Independent candidate, Georgina Hills, attacked me a "carrot picker" (I grow my own food but have never successfully grown carrots!). The key points I made were:

  • I am the most experienced candidate with 32 years in local government and a history of working in the private, public and voluntary sector.
  • A vote for me is a vote to end the wasteful, failed experiment of PCCs.
  • The cost of £2.5 million for the by-election is a scandalous waste.
  • As PCC I will reach out to communities.
  • We need to be more joined up with local government and health, rather than being in a silo.
PCC interview BBC Radio Newcastle July 19 (3)

Delivering in Marley Hill

Delivering PCC leaflet in Marley Hill July 19

Yet more PCC by-election leaflets delivered yesterday, this time in Marley Hill and Sunniside. I shifted 230. Plenty more still to do.

Visiting Birkheads Wild

Birkheads Wild July 19 (2)

Yesterday I paid a visit to Birkheads Wild, an outdoor education centre between Sunniside and Kibblesworth. I first met the people who run the facility at the recent Clover Hill School fair and they were keen for me to call in. It is an interesting site with plenty for children to do in an outdoor environment. I am hoping to link them into another project I am planning in Sunniside, but more about that on another day.

Birkheads Wild July 19 (1)

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Baltic and Sage presentation

Baltic Jonathan Wallace Jul 19

Last night I attended a presentation about the work of both the Sage and Baltic. Held at the Baltic Gallery, it brought councillors up to date on the work of both these major cultural organisations and buildings. Points of particular interest to me included:

  • setting up cultural links with cities on the coast of Scandinavia and the Baltic, regardless of Brexit. I jokingly dubbed it the 21st Century Hanseatic League.
  • raising the levels of people's cookery skills to avoid waste and get the most out of food resources. Whenever I raise this, Labour councillors spit venom at me, so it was great to see a major cultural organisation in Gateshead addressing this issue as well.
  • making Baltic and Sage relevant to residents - I have consistently argued that these cultural institutions are more about jobs, the visitor economy and building up the wealth of the economy. However, there is a need to make them more directly relevant to residents in their every day lives. How do we get more of the people of Gateshead to come through the doors of the Baltic and Sage. We had a useful discussion on this.
I then took the opportunity to have a look at the exhibition by Ifeoma U Anyaeji. The exhibits are made from discarded plastic waste, mainly plastic bags.

Baltic gallery Ifeoma U Anyaeji Jul 19 (2)

Baltic gallery Ifeoma U Anyaeji Jul 19 (1)

Baltic gallery Ifeoma U Anyaeji Jul 19 (3)

Monday, July 08, 2019

Delivering in Sunniside

Another day, another delivery of Focuses. Today I delivered 260 in my home village of Sunniside. The Focus was about the PCC by-election. Our normal Focus is delayed until the PCC election is out of the way. The by-election is on 18th July.

Gateshead Strategy Meeting

Gateshead Lib Dem strategy meeting July 19 (4)

Gateshead Lib Dems held another strategy meeting yesterday morning in our office in Consett. The aim is to reform our organisation to get it into shape to take forward our campaigning. The targets of our strategy are to win control of Gateshead Council and gain Parliamentary representation in the borough. We also looked at campaigning in our target wards, where are strengths and weaknesses are and who takes decisions on campaigning.

So, a very successful meeting, progress made and we will be out campaigning in various different places in Gateshead this week.

Gateshead Lib Dem strategy meeting July 19 (2)

Gateshead Lib Dem strategy meeting July 19 (1)

Taking the kids to the fayre

Whickham Community Fayre July 19 2

On Saturday I took two of our goat kids to the Whickham Community Fayre. Also accompanying us were four ducklings. We set up a pen for them opposite the library. They proved a great hit (as usual!) with residents and especially children. I suspect the animals appeared in more photos than anything else at the fayre.

Friday, July 05, 2019

July eFocus Whickham area no. 119

Just published - edition 119 of eFocus for the Whickham area. The main stories include marking D-Day, the PCC by-election, green-fingered volunteers plant out Church Green, resurfacing work to take place in Sunniside, opinion poll predicts Lib Dem win in Blaydon, new bus shelter for Streetgate and Whickham Comunity Fayre tomorrow.

You can read eFocus on this link.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Blaydon Lib Dem meeting

I am just back from the Blaydon Lib Dem constituency branch meeting. We had a good discussion about the PCC by-election, campaigning in our held and target wards and kick started the process of selecting a candidate for Blaydon for the general election. As usual, I came away with a long to-do list!

Spice Radio

Jonathan Wallace at Spice Radio July 19

I'm just back from doing a live interview with Spice Radio in Newcastle about why people should vote for me to be the new PCC in the by-election on 18th July. We talked about a wide range of issues from why the role should be abolished to the European Arrest Warrant. It seemed to go well.

PCC leaflet arrives

Lib Dem PCC leaflet July 19

A large tonnage of Lib Dem PCC leaflets arrived yesterday. I collected the ones for Gateshead, filling my Land Rover with them in the process. They have already started going through doors. I have received calls from people across the force area who have received them. The scrap-PCC message is being well received.

Labour 4th yet again

As usual, please consider the health warning that comes with any opinion poll. Don't read too much into an individual poll's result but look at the trends instead. And so, yet again, we have another poll in which 4 parties are competing from a position of similar vote shares with Labour under Corbyn are in 4th place. As reported in the Independent, the results are:

  • Conservative 24%
  • Brexit 23%
  • Lib Dems 20%
  • Labour 18%
In effect we are in a period of 4 party politics. How long this will last is the big unknown. Britain could go back to 3 or even 2 party politics. Were that to happen, there is no guarantee that Labour will be one of those surviving parties. After all, if they can't make hay when the sun shines (Tories tearing themselves apart and currently leaderless with sluggish growth in the economy), how do they expect to survive when the political going gets tough?

Labour have now lost over half the vote they received in 2017. Fence sitting has pleased very few, except for the bleary eyed Corbynistas who think he walks on water.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Poison throughout history

Sunniside History Society July 19 (2)

Yesterday saw the monthly meeting of the Sunniside History Society. The speaker this time was Freda Thompson who gave us a fascinating talk about famous cases of women over the past two hundred years who murdered others by poisoning.

The next meeting is on 6th August though we will be having a meeting of the society's executive later this month.

Sunniside History Society July 19 (1)

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Delivering in Dunston

DHWE Focus July 19 2

An hour and a half of wearing out shoe leather and getting burnt in the sun this morning - but all in a good cause. I delivered 208 Focuses in Dunston Hill. I'm back home now, writing our next eFocus. It should be out before the end of the week.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Top 3 for fish and chips

Woodmans Whickham June 19 (3)

In what is now a very unusual move for us, we decided to have lunch out yesterday. We opted to go to the Woodmans on Fellside Road, Whickham, walking there via the Sandy Lonnen. We chose this venue as the pub was in the final 3 for the National Fish and Chips award in November last year. We felt it was time to sample the prize winning food ourselves. It was well worth the walk to get there. It's great to see a local business beating the rest of the country!

Delivering in Watergate

Focuses July 19

I am just back from delivering 370 Focuses in the Watergate Estate in Dunston Hill and Whickham East ward. The lead story is the local election result which saw Labour lose their last seat in the ward to the Lib Dems. Labour's loss means Whickham is now a Labour (and Tory) free zone. We hold all 9 of the Whickham seats. We are, of course, building up our resources to win more seats in Gateshead in coming years.