Monday, December 18, 2023

You're nicked!

Labour's former whip and cabinet minister Nick Brown MP has announced he has resigned from the Labour Party and will not be standing at the general election next year. A complaint against him had been submitted to the Labour Party in September last year though there is no explanation as to what was at the centre of it. Whatever the basis of the complaint happens to be, the fact it is unresolved 15 months later does strike me as contrary to natural justice. Brown was suspended from Labour last year and with the complaint dragging on, it was looking likely that he would have been blocked from standing for Labour at the general election. After 40 years as MP for Newcastle East, he has thrown in the towel and announced his retirement.

There will of course be a stampede of hopeful Labour candidates aiming to fill the vacancy in the redrawn constituency. It would not surprise me if the powers-that-be in the Labour Party parachute in Nick Forbes, former Leader of Newcastle Council. His political career was cut short after a Labour selection meeting, attended by 13 members, chose a different council candidate, leaving poor Nick without a seat on the council. So could Nick Forbes be about to step out of the political graveyard? We shall see!

Friday, December 15, 2023

40 years of Focus photos

Sunniside History Society had their monthly meeting last week. With Christmas around the corner, there was a buffet which included an edible Christmas wreath (see above). We also had the annual quiz, which I put together. I have been writing and editing Focuses for nearly 40 years and as a result I have built up a big collection of photos around Gateshead. So this formed the basis of the quiz - 40 photos taken over the past 40 years of places in Gateshead before they were restored, demolished or changed in some way. People had to identify them. The winner got 31 points. The prize was a bottle of prosecco which admittedly has left over from my wedding reception in July.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 3rd January at Sunniside Social Club.

Ron selected for Gateshead Central and Whickham

I am delighted to announce that Ron Beadle has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for the new Gateshead Central and Whickham constituency at the general election. The constituency includes two strong Lib Dem areas - Whickham (3 wards) and Low Fell (one ward) - as well as Saltwell, won by the Lib Dems from Labour in the May local elections this year. It means nearly half the residents of the constituency are represented by Liberal Democrats on Gateshead Council. The overall votes cast in May in wards in the new constituency are:

So, it's a good base from which to work. Ron could easily take on any MP currently representing all or part of a Gateshead constituency. So watch this battle for an interesting result.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Mick Henry appointed freeman of the borough


Former Gateshead Council Leader Mick Henry was appointed as a freeman of the borough last week. Mick presided over the regeneration of Gateshead Quays as a cultural centre. During his time as Leader, the Millennium Bridge was opened and the Sage (now the Glasshouse) and the Baltic Art Gallery opened. A record to be proud of. 

The video above is of Mick signing the register of freemen. Below is his acceptance speech.

Gateshead freeman ceremony - speech by David Olusaga


David Olusaga, one of Britain's top historians, was appointed a freeman of Gateshead on 4th December. You can view his acceptance speech above. David was raised in Gateshead and he spoke about his memories during his speech.

Gateshead freeman ceremony - David Olusaga signed the register


David Olusaga is one of Britain's top historians and he was raised in Gateshead. I am delighted to say that he was appointed as a freeman of the borough on 4th December. In this video he signed the register of freeman in the presence of the mayor.

The birthday party


It was my 60th birthday recently, and David's 66th. So we decided to have a party at Sunniside Social Club. I had a big fear in the morning that few would turn up. In the end, as the video I shot on the day shows (see above) there was a good turnout. The cakes were demolished in minutes!