Saturday, September 30, 2023
I filmed a short video when I was there but it is yet to be edited. I will post it once it is ready.
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Monday, September 25, 2023
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Well, here I am, in Bournemouth, enjoying the sunny weather and meeting people I haven't seen for ages. There are however lots of people here at Lib Dem conference I don't recognise. Assuming I can get the hotel WiFi to work (don't count on it) I will keep posting from Bournemouth throughout conference. In the meantime I need to head to the rally.
Friday, September 22, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Full council tomorrow in Gateshead and there are two motions from the Lib Dem group.
The first is about flytipping and reads:
Gateshead Council congratulates Durham County Council on their tough stance on fly tipping by issuing nearly one thousand fines in 2021/22. Council notes that in the same period Gateshead Council issued one fine. Council calls on the Chief Executive to write to the Chief Executive of Durham County Council to invite him to send an appropriate officer to conduct a Gateshead members’ seminar to explain to members and officers how their success was achieved.
The second (which will be moved by me) reads:
This Council calls on the Chief Executive to draw up a proposed amendment to the Council constitution that would allow the submission of amendments and motions to full Council by email. This change should be ready to be incorporated into the next review of the Constitution.
Labour have submitted a wrecking amendment to the first motion but a not-unfriendly amendment to the second. Should mean an interesting debate.
Friday, September 15, 2023
I've just signed up for the 2nd conference of the autumn. Northern Region Liberal Democrats will be meeting for the AGM on Saturday 4th November at the Little Theatre in Saltwell, Gateshead. It's four years since we last met in person, having switched to online conferences because of covid. No motions are on the agenda yet as the period for submitting them has just opened. The Little Theatre is in Saltwell, scene of one of our gains from Labour in the local elections in May. That on its own is worth attending conference to celebrate.
The other conference is the party's national conference in Bournemouth starting in 8 days. This time next week I shall be on a train heading south, hopefully in better weather than we have at the moment.
Thursday, September 14, 2023
I thought one of the main reasons for Brexit was to free ourselves from all those European institutions, whatever the cost. The announcement by the current Brexit government that the UK will rejoin the Horizon Europe programme must be a source of concern for those who thought withdrawing from the EU was a great idea. All those Brexiteers must be fuming that a fundamental plank of Leave has been tossed onto the fire. Being part of Horizon is strategically crucial for UK science and it is clearly in the national interest to be part of it. So, for once, let me congratulate Brexit-backing Prime Minister Sunak on his U-turn.
Other government decisions must also be upsetting Leavers. We were promised control of our borders but we have an internal border between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland. No matter how much the Windsor Agreement improves the flow of goods and people, Brexiteers must feel a sense of betrayal that control of our border with Ireland rests with the EU. And don't forget the government's failure to take control of all of our borders in relation to goods coming into the country from the EU. While Europe has implemented border checks, the UK still enjoys the free movement of goods into the country, very much against what was promised in the referendum.
We await, of course, the benefits of Brexit to arrive. In their current absence, Leavers must be worrying that Horizon, Windsor and movement of goods without checks show Britain is rejoining the EU by stealth.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Team Low Fell are still hard at it with their latest eFocus. In edition 128, they cover the following issues:
- Sunday's flooding
- Bus shelter on Durham Road replaced
- Ward boundary changes - have your say
- Lorton Road trees
Wednesday, September 06, 2023
Gateshead Liberal Democrats have never before had an annual dinner. That is now changing. On Monday 16th October, we will be sitting down to dinner in Rosa Twelve in Low Fell. Guest speaker is Simon Hughes. I will be attending and I've just carried out the most significant job of today: choosing starter, main course and dessert!
In the olden days, when I worked for the Lib Dems, I once prepared a briefing for Simon for a meeting at conference. He got the briefing in the morning and attended the meeting in the evening, having completely memorised it. He missed nothing out and spoke without notes. Very impressive!
Tuesday, September 05, 2023