Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Crowd control

On Saturday I volunteered at the Whinnies Community Garden where a pop up shop was being held, selling takeaway cakes, jam and honey (from my hives). I was on crowd control (again!) The queue, suitably socially distanced, snaked right through the garden. The shop was a success, taking over £1300. Profits go to helping to run the garden.


Friday, November 13, 2020

More eFocuses

 We have had 2 more eFocuses published in Gateshead this week. The first was for Low Fell, bringing the total number of editions to 76. Issues covered include:

  • Call for plan to remove barriers
  • Remembrance in Low Fell 
  • Progress on getting a new free cash machine on the Fell
  • Covid testing centre opens at Central Library
  • Low Fell library's Ring and Read Service

The second, published tonight, was edition 146 for the Whickham area. Issues covered include:
  • Remembrance wreaths laid in Whickham, Dunston, Swalwell and Marley Hill;
  • Award for Chase Park;
  • Covid testing centre opens next to the Central Library;
  • Dentists are still open;
  • Ring and Read at Whickham Library;
  • Whinnies pop up shop;
  • Whickham Christmas tree in place;
  • 70s quiz - all welcome to join in;
  • Next virtual coffee morning;
  • Whickham Rotary backs local communities.

Why keep the region split?

I am in a joint NECA/North of Tyne scrutiny Committee meeting looking at the region's response to covid and how we deal with the government. Most of what has been discussed is about what has happened at a regional level. Indeed, most of the work done to tackle covid has taken place jointly across the 2 combined authorities. This rather begs the question, what is the point of having 2 separate authorities when the region is the natural area for carrying out governance? I did raise precisely this point in the meeting. We know the reason however. Labour fell apart over devolution in the North East. That's why it's a dog's breakfast. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Gateshead covid cases increasing

I'm sitting in my dining room at home in another meeting, courtesy of Microsoft Teams. This meeting is a Gateshead Council advisory group and today, we are looking at the latest information about the impact of, you guessed it (!) covid. Worryingly, Gateshead's figures continue to rise, with a rate greater than elsewhere in the North East. There is no information yet as to why Gateshead is doing worse than out neighbours. An interesting map we have just seen shows that the infection is spread out across the borough, not concentrated in any particular area. So we have community spread of the illness. So please everyone, wear a mask, wash hands regularly, stay away from busy areas, mix only with your own household. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Remembrance Sunday

 No Remembrance Sunday parades today in the Whickham area. Instead, local groups and organisations laid wreaths throughout the day at the various war memorials in the area. I took part in the 2 minutes silence at 11am. A few others in our street did so as well.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Wendy's photo

Apologies to Wendy Chamberlain. I managed to hit the send button before adding her photo to the last post. So here she is. 

Photos from today's conference

Normally at conferences I would be armed with an array of cameras, snapping away at anything that moved. Today, I simply sat in front of the laptop to attend North East Lib Dem regional conference with my phone, taking an occasional photo of our speakers. It rather takes the fun out of taking conference photos but here they are for today - Wendy Chamberlain, party president Mark Pack and Leader Ed Davey. 

Regional conference

Another day and another online meeting. This one is the North East regional conference. We are in training sessions at the moment. Later we will have speeches from Wendy Chamberlain MP and Ed Davey MP.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

As close as it gets

I was right to dismiss polls suggesting an easy win for Biden. My approach of "believe it when it happens" when it comes to getting rid of Trump has served me well. I stayed up til 2am to watch the presidential results come in and went to bed not knowing which way the election would go. It is fortunately looking better for Biden this evening though it is not yet in the bag.

Of course, Biden could be derailed by Trump undermining the legitimacy of the election. If any case is taken to the supreme Court, we could be in for an interesting time with the now built in Republican majority potentially blocking thee election of Biden. We're that to happen, it could look something like aa coup. The US would then be in danger of looking more like Belarus than the greatest democracy on the planet. 

Anyway, time to go to bed so I can wake up tomorrow in lockdown. 

Monday, November 02, 2020

I will believe it when I see it

Tomorrow is polling day, not for us but for the USA. Biden is ahead in the polls. Lots of early and postal voting has taken place and it is believed this will benefit the Democrats. But there is that nagging doubt at the back of my mind . Could Trump win again? After all, he wasn't supposed to win last time. The polls had Hilary Clinton ahead. Indeed, she was ahead in the popular vote by 3 million. The electoral college however is the child of the first past the post voting system which declared as winner the person who was 2nd past the post. So, I will believe Trump is beaten only when I have actually seen it happen.

Good luck Democrats tomorrow.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

No knock on the door

Halloween yesterday and we were ready for the local kids to knock on the door for trick or treat. Given the pandemic situation, we didn't expect many. Indeed, we didn't expect any but we were prepared. Sadly, there was no knock on the door, leaving us to eat all the sweets ourselves. Perhaps everyone was at home watching the Halloween horror show off Boris Johnson announcing another lockdown.