Sunday, December 30, 2007

Enjoying a Restful Christmas apart from watching Hibs Lose!

Nothing much going on politically apart from stupid Christmas and New year Statements from the Scottish First Minister bleating on about Scottish Independance.
The Scottish press are very upset today as the new Microsoft Earth has not got up to date images and still shows the Scottish Parliament site as a Contruction site although the building has been open since 2004!

I watches the Hibs V Rangers match without much expectation and in truth it was in parts a one sided affair and only Rangers slacking off gave us any chance in the game with a very good goal from Zemmama althouh a 2-1 defeat probably flattered us!
In truth the Hibs players played well against an in-form Rangers but the injury hit sqaud was really exposed and is currently threadbare not having built up the sqaud in the summer and we are now paying a heavy price with defeat after defeat and sliding down the table. We need a new Manager quickly and we need new players in the January window especially Colin Nish from Kilmarnock and a good full back and central defender or it will be avery long season. We could do with Riordan or Killen back on loan from Celtic or even Kris Boyd who cant get a name at Rangers? Only bright note is that Hearts are in an even worse state than we are!!
I wont see the home game against Motherwell on Wednesday as it has been rightly posponed after the sudden and tragic death of Motherwell Captain Phil O'Donnell at the end of yesterday's match against Dundee United, collapsing on the pitch and pronounced dead very soon after!

All our problems will only get worse when David Murphy leaves in January, Celtic and Rangers fighting it out for him!
We will be sorely missed and will leave us even deeper in trouble and will no doubt score against us next time we play the Old Firm!
On a brighter not the £5M Training Centre is open, the best in Scotland and one of the best in the UK, and the new East Stand will be up for the start of next season bringing the capacity upto 20,000 and completing the redevelopment. all good news for the future but we need to give fans something now and at least we have the memories of that amazing Cup win in May but wont wait another 19 years to repeat the experience!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Shopping in Glasgow and Hibs hold onto point against Celtic at Parkhead!

I spent the day in Glasgow yesterday with my sister and nephew and we had a good chance to have a look around and do some last minute christmas shopping including the Winterfest Market in Argyle Street.

After the recent turmoil Hibs picked up a surprising point by drawing 1-1 with Celtic at Parkhead. We have taken 4 out of 6 points against Celtic so far which is great but we need to keep it going against rangers and Motherwell at home over the next week, not an easy job either game. Hopefully I will be at both games with dad so we will see how things progress?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Shopping Done and John Collins Quits Hibs!

Just about finished all my Christmas Shopping and now getting ready for Chruistmas with my sister and two of my nephews joining us on Christmas Day in Edinburgh.
Princess Street was busy as ever and cold but a great place to shop and the Winter Festival is in full swing!
looks like I shall be expereincing the joys of Wii as my two nephews will be testing them out no doubt?

Of course the big Hibs news was the sudden departure of boss John Collins citing the lack of funds made available to him by the Board! This is somewaht questionable given the departureof Laurie Sanchez from Fulham the day after and I would not be surprised to see Collins announced as the new Manager any day now? This will not warm him to the Hibs faithful so he had better not plan a return visit any time soon! In truth he made the team play attractive football and the 5-1 CIS Cup Victory was a stunning performance and one that I was very fortunate to witness! The serious players revolt only a month after the Cup win did raise alarm bells re his man management skills and this may be his problem in the future.
Hibs now face Celtic away today and Rangers at home next Saturday without a Manager in a critical part of the season so really crap timing by Collins!
There are lots of names in the frame including ex player Mixu Pattellainen currently doing well in Finland and Billy Davies recently sacked harshly in my view, by Derby County. Mark McGee of Motherwell would be my first choice but he may be being lined up for the vacant Scotland job ?
Anyway interesting times ahead!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Back in Edinburgh, Lib Dems go for "Cameron Lite", Southwark worst performer for Traffic tickets and Hibs open new £4M Training Centre

SoI am safely back home in the bosom of my family in Edinburgh after a usual positive experience with EasyJet (not like the Tv programme at all!) but we did have to fly around Edinburgh seven times for over half an hour as something fell off the palne in front of us and onto the runway!!
I suppose I was please that bits were not falling of my plane!

The Lib Dems really are becoming a bit of a bad joke with the outcome of their Leadership election nothing short of shambolic!
Clegg, astonishingly only an MP since 2005, beat Chris Huhne to the Lib Dem leadership by 20,988 votes to 20,477 - a margin of just 511. So now we know that around half the Lib Dem members see him as "Calamity Clegg" but prefer the new press title of "Cameron Lite" with his endless vaccuous statements like "you know who" but without the personality! The idea that him and Huhne will work together is laughable as they had to be almost physically restrained after the cameras were switched off on the Politics Show!

The Times reported the following today:
"Local councils are dismissing challenges to thousands of parking fines despite having poor evidence or no proof against the drivers.
Which? magazine uncovered a big disparity in the way different councils handle parking fines. Motorists in some parts of the country are almost three times more likely to appeal successfully against a fine compared with elsewhere, figures suggest.
Hackney, Hillingdon and Southwark, all London councils, are the worst offenders, says the magazine."
Last year Southwark Council lost 84 per cent of 2,256 cases heard by an adjudicator and failed to offer evidence in six out of ten of them. Hackney lost 86 per cent of disputes and did not contest 44 per cent.
Overall, Londoners have a 75 per cent chance of successfully appealing against a parking fine."
Yet another Department in complete meltdown! Whilst Stanton fiddles whilst Rome burns Southwark Residents are getting a worse and worse service with reorganisation after reorganisation and all the senior experienced Managers voting with their feet!! What a Mess!
Hibs opened their £4M new Training Centre yesterday wiuth out doubt the best in Scotland and probably one of the best in the UK?
It wont stop Collins getting a hard time from the Hibs fans though, only a win will do that but it is a great investment for the future!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Last day before I leave for Christmas in Scotland!!

It is my last day at work and in London before flying off to Edinburgh tomorrow morning for almost 3 weeks!

I have posted some photos of the Christmas Festival and of course Hogmanay from last year so hoping for a nice restful time with the family, seeing Hibs hopefully get back to winning ways!
It is great to be with the family at Christmas and I will look forward to last minute Christmas shopping in Edinburgh, going to Easter Road with dad to watch Hibs, visiting my sister in St. Andrews and hopefully going to the Cairngorms which I have never done before?
I will be blogging at home and have my camera with me so will try to put some pics up over the Festive period to reflect my time at home.
Next year is an Election Year so it will back to vigourous campaigning for the Mayor and GLA when I get back so I am going to enjoy the break!

This picture is of the Cairngorm National Park.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lib Dems Hold Riverside and Hibs keep losing!

The Lib Dems held on to Riverside despite an excellent Labour campaign with an excellent candidate.
The Council reported the result as follows:

Anood Al-Samerai was elected last night (13 December) as a councillor for the Riverside ward. The results were: • Anood Al-Samerai – Liberal Democrat – 1,114
• Cormac Hollingsworth – Labour – 691
• Rahoul Bhansali – Conservative – 260
• Amanda Penfold – Green – 122
• Fernando Grace – UKIP – 49
Ballot papers counted: 2248 (12 rejected). Turnout was 24.7 per cent. Yesterday's by-election was prompted by the resignation the Paul Baichoo (Liberal Democrat).
The vast majority of Riverside residents who could not be bothered to vote now have another Simon Hughes bag carrying careerist "representing" them instead of a local person like Cormac who would have challenged this entirely rotten Lib Dem/Tory Coalition instead of another insider who will no doubt be rewarded soon with a highly paid Executive position to work for Simon at the Rate Payers expense?

On the Hibs front they are the midst of a real slump losing again against Inverness Caley at the worst time possible with a busy Christmas schedule. They have Falkirk at home tomorow and then I will see them against Rangers and Motherwell and on their curent form I can see myself watching 2 home defeats backk to back! Still good to see Rangers dumped out of the Champions League!

On Sunday I will be at the Emirates to see Arsenal hopefully beat Chelsea and go into the new year at the top of the Premiership! Cant wait!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Camberwell Labour Party Christmas Party,Riverside By-Election Looms and Fletcher signs new contract at Hibs!

The Camberwell Labour Party had their Christmas Party last night in the Dark Horse with a lot of new and keen members turning up. The picture shows Chris Page victorious in the Christmas Quiz with his prize and Peter Parkes in third place, Clare Cozens winning a House of Commons bottle of claret for a very good effort in second place.
Again a good night was had by all although not many could name all of Santa's reindeers!
The Riverside By-Election Campaign in in it's final week with lots of Party members working hard to get our good comrade Cormac Hollingsworth (pictured) onto the Council. He would be a really excellent Councillor and knows the area extremely well unlike other candidates who have been hawked around half of the Borough before turning up in Rotherhithe!
I really hoppe that the electorate of Riverside Ward do the right thing and vote for Cormac on Thursday to hasten the demise of this totally discredited Liberal Democrat/Tory Coalition which is currently overseeing crisis after crisis within Southwark and is setting us back years!

Hibs play Inverness Caley away tomorrow, something of a bogey team for us (we are also facing them in the next round of the Scotish cup!) . It is important to perform well after Sunday's dreadful display against Aberdeen but there is good news in a new deal with Steven Fletcher keeping him at Easter Road and making him the highest paid palyer in the squad! I still reckon he will go in the summer but at least Rangers or Celtic will have to fork out for him! hibs nd to find their form ahead of a busy Christmas schedule or they will find themselves slipping down the table!
Over The next month I will see Arsenal play Chelsea and then Hibs take on Rangers and Motherwell at Easter Road so hopefully some good football over the festive period?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Camberwell Branch Working in Riverside and Hibs are rubbish!!

Dora, Chris and I and a team of Camberwell Labour Party members were out Campaigning in Riverside on Saturday on the Dickens Estate. The Tories and UKIP were also out in force but no sign of the Lib Dems?
It is always slightly nerve wracking campaigning out of your own patch but we had a good time on a sunny but cold morning! Not long to go til polling day!!! It would be a terrific result to take a seat in Stanton's patch but lots of work to do upto the 13th December.
I watched Hibs play Aberdeen at Pittodrie yesterday and it was an absolutley shocking performance by Hibs despite taking an early lead through Fletcher. We were always second best, outplayed, outmanouvered and to be honest only one team seemed interested in winning. It was an awful performance and not the sort of form when we go into the Christmas programme! I am worried!
Meanwhile Collins is interested in Racing Ferrol's 21 year old French midfielder Steven Cohen who has said
"Scotland is an attractive league and I will listen to all offers that are presented to me".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Party donations and McLeish goes Brummie!

So the Party is again under scrutiny over donations but I cant really see how you can know exactly where money comes from? If I donated £100,000 to the Party next week would they assume that I had just won the Lottery or that I was a front for a mystery donor? The problem appears to be the Party communication with some individuals knowing more than others and not making that known which has really put us in this situaltion but it is clealry yet another distraction for the opposition parties and the media to beat us about the head with. In Harriet's case I really dont know what more she could have done as she accepted money from a regular known Party donor and assumed that all the checks were made centraly which is exactly what I would assume!
This is undeniably all very sloppy by the Party and the General Secretary has gone as a result. I really dont know what the answer is as I dont agree with state funding of political parties but do think that strick caps need to be put on election expenses. If anyone believes that the Lib Dems are sticking to any expenditure caps in Riverside they must believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy!! All Political parties arev at fault and they all need to sort it out although the system is much more transparent than it ever was under Thatch!

And so Alex McLeish has gone to Birmingham. I am not really surprised as he has always preferred club management and with the trebling of his salary and a club which he should easily take to mid table and build on next season it is a good job. Added to that Scotland are hardly left in the lurch with no qualifying games for the best part of a year and it really was a bit of a no brainer for him!
Gary McAllister appears to be an early favorite at 2/1 an would be a popular choice I think amongst fans but I note that John Collins is in the betting at 16/1 fairly well down the order but this may not be a rushed decision and the odds may well change over the next few weeks and months.

Hibs are rumoured to be interested in bringing ex-Hearts man Alan Maybury back to Edinburgh from Leicester City in January so it looks like plugging up the defence is a priority for John Collins thank goodness!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ideas factory, World Cup 2010 Draw and Hibs scrape draw at home!

I notice the latest Lib Dem/Torty gimmick the "Ideas Factory"

Described as the following:
Ideas about improving services and places
Ideas which would make better use of existing resources or which bring in outside resources
Ideas which we can support with our influence and networks rather than our own resources
Key to all of this is of course ideas that dont cost thje Administration any money but that they can blame other people for nort resourcing!

They are entirely driven by spin "100 days of change" being the last big idea which has had not lasting impact apart fromthe continual turmoil of yet another Housing Department reorganisation which even staff forced into silence on the issue make it clear by body language what they thing of it!

I was annoyed at Stanton whining on about the poor Government settlement despite having the 6th most deprived constituentcy in England, Camberwell and Peckham when he has spent the last 6 years entirely ignoring Camberwell as some petty retribution on the Lib Dem failure to win seats there!
I note that a Lib Dem MEP has defected to the Tories and I feel that a number of elected Lib Dems will be parting company to go either right or left after their devisive Leadership contest?

The 2010 World Cup Qualification draw took place in Durban South Africa yesterday and Scotland's Group looks like this:

Group 9 Holland, SCOTLAND, Norway, FYR Macedonia, Iceland

Actually we have a good record against Scandanavian opposition so Norway and Iceland, although not easy are not bad draws and if fact we have a pretty good record against Holland, 6-0 defeat not withstanding!, and beat then 1-0 in last home visit with McFadden scoring late winner so really a group where we are second seed and we should qualify from as no 14 in the FIFA World rankings, our highest for years. Rumours are that McLeish may accept Birmingham City job so we may again be looking for a National Coach?

Hibs made heavy weather of the home game against Dundee United scraping a 2-2 draw after going 2-0 down after 75 minutes! Good that we are able to fight back but our defending was woeful as we lost 2 identical goals to Robertson with unchallenged headers from crosses! Worrying and I hope that some central defenders are on John Collins January shopping list?
Hibs do stay in 3rd place above Dundee United, who like Motherwell, are having a very good season and with Aberdeen and Hearts still good sides it is a tough league this year.
As well as Colin Nish from Killie it is rumoured that our old Captain, Ian Murray, may be on the way back after his spells at Rangers and Norwich? Another great player ruined by Rangers, doubt he will be the same player he was?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bad Tempered Council Assembly, Fletcher and Murphy likely to leave Hibs in January and England go out!

It has been a really busy week with Camberwell Community Council, Children's Services and edcucation Scrutiny, Grosvenor T&RA AGM and of course Council Assembly all in the week as well as work interviews for my Assistant and running and organising 2 days training, I am glad it is Friday today!

Council Assembly was a pretty bad tempered affair which surprised me as we actually agreed on most of the itmes and motions but there was certainly something unpleasant in the air? Not helped by a really stupid and disreptutable performance from Jeff Hook who had clearly been instructed to use his answers to questions to fillibuster and so protect his less competent colleagues from being put on the spot, ie Columbo Blango who is surely on borrowed time now that the Lib Dems know that we wont have him his threat to cross the floor may now be sounding a bit hollow? It once again shows how much they care about the democratic process and how undemocratic this shambolic Lib Dem and Tory bunch really are!! They actually make me feel embarrassed to be a Southwark Councillor and of course the Lib Dems made another timely entrance into Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs page, currently getting in about once every two issues! It was a run over the Paul Baichoo, Karl Linden etc. etc. etc. stories and actually makes your skin crawl!
Best moment for me was barrie Hargrove repeating a joke told to him I think by Lambeth Leader Steve Reed:
"If you are at the edge of a cliff with a Tory and a Lib Dem which one do you throw off first?
The Tory of course as it is always business before pleasure!"

Hibs take on Dundee United at home tomorrow with news that Steven Fletcher may well go in January proabably along with David Murphy. I am sure they will join the Celtic and Rangers ranks and spend the rest of the season on the subs bench? They both will be a severe loss mid season and you do have to wonder how long Hibs can carry on doing this and how soon John Collins will get fed up of working for an Old Firm Feeder Club?
Good to see that frenchman Patrick Noubissie is back from his Livingston loan spell and should really be given a chance in the first team.

As a Scot I was genuinely disappointed to see England not qualify and inevitably McClaren paid the price for failure.
I did love this picture which was captioned in the tabloids as "The Wally with the Brolly" harsh, very harsh!
We now await the World Cup draw in South Africa over the weekend and hopefully Scotland will get a decent seeding and a reasonable draw?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Excellent Labour Group Fundraiser, Scotland Lose!! and Lib Dem Leadership campaign a farce!!!

On Saturday I attended the Labour Group Fundraising Dinner to Commemorate the Bicentennial Aniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to raise funds for the Damilola Taylor Trust with Mr and Mrs Taylor as the guests of honour.

I worked behind the bar with my colleagues Sandra Rhule and Richard Livingstone and it was a very succesful evening.
On Saturday I certainly needed something to lift the gloom after seeing Scotland go down to a very good Italy side 2-1 in the 92nd minute. I know that many commentators went with the "Glorious failure" routine but that is really not fair as Scotland have gone from a world ranking of 88 (their lowest ever!) to number 14 in just 2 years and that is a considerable achievement in anyones books!!

In reality a weak defence was our undoing and we need to look for some good central defenders in time for the World cup Qualifiers and with our higher ranking hopefully we wont end up in the same group as both World Cup Finalists!!! Well done Scotland!!!!

I watched the Andrew Marr show yesterday and saw a farcical debate between Tweedledum and Tweedledee (pictured) in which Huhne(looks like a real nasty piece of work!!!) sent out a smear dossier to the BBC calling Clegg "Calamity"!! They then ended up in a very unsavoury scrap on live TV which could not have gone any worse. their spin doctors must have screwed themselves into the ground on hearing it!!!!
How I laughed!!!! Nothing finer that watching opposition parties commit Hari Kari live on TV!! I loved it!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Great Camberwell Quiz Night and Cormac stands in Riverside Ward. Come on Scotland!!!!!!!!

The Camberwell Labour Party held a very successful Quiz Night on Wednesday in the St. Giles Crypt (with me as Quiz Master!) and we raised over £300 pounds which was a terrific result. We were grateful to Harriet for dropping in and donating a prize along with her news about appearing in Strictly Come Dancing, although we were assurred not as a contestant!!! We will certainly be doing this again!!!!

On the Council front it is as hectic as ever in the run up to Christmas and as if that is not enough we have a By-Election to fight in Riverside Ward due to Paul Baichoo standing down!! Cormac Hollingsworth ( fellow Blogger with link on the right!)is our excellent candidate with a strong local record as opposed to the Simon Hughes Bag Carrier ( how many does he need to carry his bag???)standing for the Lib Dems who has been travelling around trying to pick up a seat! We all recall her standing for Brunswick Park Ward promising the full redevelopment of Camberwell Leisure Centre dont we?????

It is make or break for Scotland as they need to beat World Champions Italy on Saturday at Hampden Park to qualify for Euro 2008 and a defeat would put Italy out! Other options are possible if we draw but in reality a win is a must for us!!!
Another nervous afternoon beckons for yours truly and hoping for more images like the former picture below than the latter????

It would be a real achievement to qualify from a group with both World Cup Finalists so COME ON SCOTLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the Hibs front Hibs Boss John Collins is using the domestic break to eye up possible new players to sign in the January window. Francophile John is in France again looking but one home player strongly and consistently tipped to join is Kilmarnock Defender and self proclaimed Hibs Supporter Colin Nish!! sounds like good news to me!!! I hope that John is luckier than last time when he took a mid season trip to france tio look for players and returned to a full scale players revolt!!!!!