Friday, April 09, 2021

Labour's imprint problem in Gateshead

Labour seem to have an imprint problem in Gateshead. Perhaps their literature skills are a bit rusty. We have local and Police Commissioner elections on 6th May. Labour therefore have come out of hibernation and have started to produce joint leaflets about the upcoming contests. But there is a problem. Inclusion of an imprint for the PCC is required if the literature refers to the PCC candidate, and Labour appear to have overlooked this legal requirement. I think Labour will need an industrial paper shredder to resolve that problem! We have of course brought this to the attention of Labour via their council leader, Martin Gannon. He has suggested we need to speak to the police.

We are considering our options.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

eFocus on NE16 and NE11 no. 155

We recently published edition 155 of eFocus for the Whickham/Dunston/Swalwell/Sunniside/Lobley Hill/Marley Hill area. Key issues covered include:

  • Leisure centres start to reopen;
  • Whickham Library is now open for Ring and Read;
  • Local elections to go ahead on 6th May;
  • Poultry lockdown ends;
  • Call to keep Gibside School as a centre for education;
  • Make derelict Beggarswood golfing range into community garden and allotments;
  • Tour of Britain cycle race to come to Gateshead again.

You can read eFocus on this link.

Our first Gateshead Lib Dem election video

We have now launched our first election video in Gateshead, looking at Labour waste in the borough, including the central Gateshead traffic management plan (£500K), the new Quarryfield car park which is soon to be ripped up (£750K) plus other sums on refurbishing the Labour leader's office in Gateshead Civic Centre and repairs to crematoria equipment that was scrapped months later. We have lots of other examples as well but I wanted to keep the video relatively short!

Monday, April 05, 2021

Lawless in Low Fell


Calvin Lawson is Labour's failed candidate in Low Fell, Gateshead. His attempts to snatch Low Fell from the Lib Dems in previous elections have not exactly been beacons of success. As he drifts further and further behind the Lib Dems, what could he possibly do to turn around his fortunes so he can realistically mount a challenge in the ward? Well, don't try this at home, but Mr Lawson's election leaflet has taken the need to get noticed to the extreme. He informs the good people of Low Fell that "Calvin is actively involved in everything from street crime to bake sales."

Yes, you read it correctly, his leaflet does say he is not only "involved" but is "actively involved" in "street crime"! Oh dear, no doubt this is just an embarrassing error for everyone to read on the front page of his election leaflet. Quite how Mr Lawson and his hapless agent Cllr Leigh Kirton managed to miss this glaring statement leaves me scratching my head. Assuming the statement is not true, and that he meant to say that he is "fighting street crime" (at least I hope that is what he is trying to say), what next for Mr Lawson's campaign? I assume it is too late for a change of agent (and we would encourage Mr Lawson very strongly to keep Leigh Kirton in place).

So, is it time for the shredding machine to be brought into use? If it is, can I have the shredded paper for bedding for my livestock? At least that way, Mr Lawson's leaflet will at last serve a useful purpose.

Meanwhile, I must read up the Lib Dems' policies on the rehabilitation of offenders actively involved in street crime. After their punishment, we must ensure they can be turned into something useful to society.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Storming Starmer sinks

This week, we note that Keir Starmer has been in post as Labour leader for a year. He was an improvement but if that is the only test of his success, he is hardly in line for any performance awards. Corbyn was dire, a millstone around the neck of Labour. A cardboard box full of sand would have been a significant improvement. Starmer has the advantage of being able to hog the news coverage that would generally be shared across the opposition parties. His messages seem to be: wave the Union Jack, don't mention the EU and always vote with the Tories in Parliament on restrictions. Those who thought Starmer was going to lead Labour to victory by storming the Tory barricades must be bitterly disappointed. He has, at best, been flat, and at worst has failed in his duty as an opposition to hold the Conservatives to account. What a sorry state.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Low Fell eFocus 87

 Low Fell Lib Dems have recently published another edition of eFocus, no. 87. Issues covered include:

  • Daniel Duggan chosen to be Focus Team's candidate in Council elections
  • Kells Lane Park to get makeover!
  • Council promises to open some services, but not Gateshead Leisure Centre
  • What's happening with the proposed Anderson Green housing development? 
  • Thank you to those who have signed up to our litter picks
  • Fly-tipping reported

You can read eFocus on this link.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Low Fell eFocus 84

 Another eFocus from the Low Fell team. Issues covered in this edition (no. 84) include:

  • Council increases Council Tax by 4.99%
  • Plans to remove Low Fell's recycling facilities
  • Demanding better for Kells Lane Park
  • News in brief
  • Trip hazards

You can read eFocus on this link.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

On the campaign trail

So, Boris Johnson was in Scotland today for a fleeting visit. No meetings with the Scottish government or council leaders. Just high profile visits to factories and vaccine distribution centres. With the media in hot pursuit, denials were made that this was a campaign visit despite appearances. Well, I keep an open mind on the real reasons for the trip. It's a good job for the PM however that he doesn't apply the same ban to prime ministerial visits that he has applied to political literate which is now banned if delivered by volunteers.

I remain open minded about what the government has done to ban opposition leaflets while keeping Johnson on our TV screens. But I can't help feeling that the government has set out to silence opposition. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Covid vaccination working too well

I caught a news story on Tyne Tees TV lunchtime news today (Thursday) which reported on rumours that the government was to cut the number of vaccinations in the North East so that other areas could "catch up" with the region. The roll out of the vaccine here has been successful but never in a million years did I expect the government to take such a decision.

The issue was raised by Gateshead Leader Martin Gannon at the start of the council meeting this afternoon. While I don't buy his conspiracy theory that the region is being punished for not privatising health services, I did, as leader of the opposition, say that the move was unacceptable, as was letting the political leadership of the region learn about it from TV news broadcasts rather than from ministers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Well worth the wait

I hope Mr Trump remembers retirement is for life, not just until the next presidential nomination contest. 

Low Fell eFocus no. 81

 Another week and another eFocus from Gateshead Lib Dems, this time from the Low Fell Team. Issues covered in edition 81 include:

  • Proposal to build 18 apartments in Low Fell amended and resubmitted
  • Council budget - have your say
  • Resurfacing work
  • Fixing potholes

You can read eFocus on this link.

Friday, January 15, 2021

A victory for the small player

Some good news to do with the pandemic, at last! Insurance companies will now have to do what businesses pay them to do - pay up on insurance claims. Battered by lockdown and their businesses forceably closed, it was so obviously clear that this was an interruption of trade against which many businesses insured themselves. Frankly the behaviour of the big insurers in having to be dragged to the Supreme Court was a disgrace. Let's hope they now pay up as quickly as they take insurance premiums from businesses. We live in hope. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Happy fish

Jacob Rees-Mogg announced in the House of Commons that fish in our territorial waters are "better and happier" because they are "British". Presumably now that Britain controls her own borders, the fish will turn back towards the British coast if they foolishly swim towards the UK's maritime borders in the Channel and North Sea. Are the fish happier? Well, not being fished by the UK fishing fleet because of the massive mountain of paperwork Brexit Britain needs to export fish to the EU will bring pleasure to all those lobsters, mackerel and other sea foods. Another Brexit good news story.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Low Fell eFocus no.79

 The Low Fell Focus Team published their latest edition of eFocus (no. 79) yesterday. Issues covered include:

  • Happy New Year from the Focus Team
  • Changes planned to social distancing measures on Durham Road
  • All Gateshead Council gyms now closed
  • Calls for better signage as 11,365 penalty charge notices handed out in just over six weeks
  • New 20mph speed limit zone planned
  • Future lane closures on Gateshead Flyover in January 2021
  • Reports of cars being damaged

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year

So, it's New Year Day. Happy 2021, which everyone believes will be much better than 2020. That's not a big ask! As it's a bank holiday, I will avoid political comments, though I can't resist saying that while most of you were happily warm at home, I was trudging around my smallholding checking on pregnant sheep and goats and feeding poultry that continues to live under a DEFRA lockdown. Fortunately I'm back home now, sitting at my dinning room table which passes as my office but which is a serious contender for Most Untidy Desk 2021 competition. So, everyone, stay safe, do your bit to help others and live sustainably.  Meanwhile, watch this space. No doubt I will have much to say in 2021.