Thursday, June 28, 2007

Council Assembly turning into a farse!, Celebrating with Harriet and Gordon Brown names his new cabinet.

Another fun night in the Town Hall with the Constitutional changes really biting , deputations banned from the Town Hall and Motion overturned with "delete all" amendments which have now finally turned Council Assembly into a complete of time!!! Over the past 5 years the Lib Dems and Tories have gradually taken away more and more decision making powers leaving in, be enlarge, as a debating chamber, and now they are restricting debate so I really dont understand the point anymore? Apart from the Budget setting and council tax I dont really know what elese is achieved apart from being an ego trip for toy town politicians in a toy town Council Assembly!!! The meeeting was too tedious to go into but I note that Lib Dem apologist Blogger says that we had a bad night from his "objective voice of the people" position but I am sure that politically speaking he did enjoy the sight of the Tories and Lib Dems finally merge into one ill-defined mass!!!! The Tories took the lead all night with seal like clapping from the Lib Dems and sheep like voting from their back benches, even if more and more of them looked uncomfortable again. The Lib Dem lurch to the right is complete in the Town Hall and wqhilst i am sure that right wingers like Andy Meyer and his Lib Dem chums on the Council are happy with it I wonder if Bermondsey voters feel quite as content??
Cllr, Baichoo was again awol and I note that his Lib Dem website has been taken off air so we have come to the conclusion that he is now being held against his will in a Lib Dem bunker somewhere in Rotherhithe so he cant break their whip any more !!!
The Lib Dem Tory Coalition is now complete with an indistinguishable line between where oone group starts and the other ends, great news for Kim and the Tories but what are the Lib Dems doing?????
Best part of the night last night was Susan Elan Jones speech and her comments about Caroline "Caroline-for-London" Pidgeon. I replayed it in my head a number of times afterwards and laughed out loud each time!!!!

There was sad news today in the Southwark news of the sad death of Sheila Carmen, who ran the Senior Citizens Hall on the Brandon 3 . I worked very closely with Sheila and she always told it like it was but would also be very caring especially to her constituents around Grimsell Path. Well done Southwark news on an excellent piece on Sheila! She will be sadly missed and I shall be attending her funeral on Monday. Rest in Peace Sheila.

With the Council Assembly finished by 10pm we made our way down to Harriet's Celebration Party at her home and hopefully can put a few pictures on the Blog when Cleo sends them on! God to see old friends like Angela Eagle there and of course the Guest of Honour Neil Kinnock! It was a good to celebrate with the local party as i know that she made a point during her victory speech thanking the 700+ members of the Camberwell and Peckham Constiuency Labour Party for their hard work and support over the years and clearly Harriet and Jack enjoyed the evening!

The new Cabinet is taking shape and Harriet has been given the Leader of the House job which i am sure she will relish!! I really like the look of the new Cabinet with a healthy mix of experience and new blood so am looking forward to seeing it get down to it!!!
I think that the Labour Party, the Government and the Counctry feel invigourated by the change and good times are ahead especially for us in the opinion polls and the ballot box!! David Cameron and Ming are very very quiet!!!! I wonder why?????
The complet list is below:

Prime minister: Gordon Brown
Chancellor: Alistair Darling
Foreign Secretary: David Miliband
Home Secretary: Jacqui Smith
Health: Alan Johnson
Schools and children: Ed Balls
Innovation, universities and skills: John Denham
Justice: Jack Straw
Commons leader: Harriet Harman
Defence and Scotland: Des Browne
Int Development: Douglas Alexander
Work and Pensions: Peter Hain
Northern Ireland: Shaun Woodward
Chief secretary to the Treasury: Andy Burnham
Cabinet office minister: Ed Miliband
Culture: James Purnell
Olympics: Tessa Jowell
Transport: Ruth Kelly
Lords leader: Baroness Ashton
Attorney General: Baroness Scotland
Environment: Hilary Benn
Chief Whip: Geoff Hoon
Business and enterprise: John Hutton
Housing minister (attending Cabinet when needed): Yvette Cooper
Communities: Hazel Blears
Children and youth justice: Beverley Hughes
Africa, Asia and UN: Lord Malloch Brown

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gordon Brown is Prime Minister !!!! Hibs continue to buy players!

Today Tony Blair attended PMQ's, final photo with the fmaily at Number 10 and then went straight to see the queen and resign and then Gordon took ove the reigns straight away!!
1200 - 1230: Final PMQs
1300: Blair says farewell to staff at No 10
1312: Blair arrives at Palace, where he tenders resignation in private audience with Queen
1330: Brown departs Treasury with wife Sarah
1340: Blair leaves Palace
1351: Brown arrives at Palace where Queen asks him to form a government
1448: Brown leaves Palace
455: Brown enters No 10 for first time as prime minister

Above is Gordon and wife Sarah entering Number 10 and below is a quick summary of his life so far:
Born: 20 February 1951
Educated: Kirkcaldy High School, Edinburgh University
Family: Married, two sons (daughter died shortly after birth)
1972: Rector, Edinburgh University
1975: Temporary lecturer
1976: Politics lecturer, Glasgow College of Technology
1980: Television journalist, STV current affairs
1983: Labour MP, Dunfermline East
1985: Opposition front bench trade and industry spokesman
1987: Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
1989: Shadow trade and industry spokesman
1992: Shadow chancellor
1997: Chancellor

Hibs have bought 21 year old Belgian Chelsea goalkeeper Yves Makabu-Kalamby as I predicted some time ago after he impressed during trials and hopefully he will at least be a partial problem to our goalkeeping deficincies of late

One that I did not predict was 20 year old German defender Torben Joneleit who we have on a one year loan from AS Monaco, John Collins's old club.

This makes five new players in total with ten already going out the door the other way!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Harriet wins Deputy leadership contest and Hibs buy Irish Winger from Newcastle!

It was great to see my local MP, Harriet Harman MP QC, win the Deputy Leadership against all of the pollsters predictions as the announcement was made at a special Labour Party Conference in Manchester yesterday.

I noticed both Alison McGovern and Barrie Hargrove being interviewed on BBC news last night , I bet that they has a good time celebrating last night!
Harriet is exactly the right person to be Deputy Leader and I would like to see her as Deputy prime Minister but it looks like that role wont exist in it's present form in the Brown Government.

I am sure that she will form a very good working relationship with Prime Minister Brown as they have worked well togther in the past. It is good to see the opinion polls moving in our favour as well and I feel very confident about upcoming Elections in Europe, Parliament and of course Council in 2010!
The results were as follows:
1.Harman: 50.4%
2. Johnson: 49.6%
The final result comes after eliminated contestants' next preferences reallocated

I cant wait until the British electorate have the choice between the 2 above as I cant believe that there can possibily be any other result than a historic fourth term for Labour!!!

Hibs have signed Irish winger Alan O'Brien, 22, (above) on a three year contract and are apparently after another Newcastle 22 year old player, Kris Gate(below). It is good to see some new players arrive as John Collins has just released Sam Morrow to Derry City, the 10th player to go so far and rumoured not to be the last!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Southwark Schools for the Future and practising my french with a delegation from Clichy! Gordon Brown seeks a new consensus and Fans boycott Hearts

I attended a really useful and interesting session on Southwark Schools for the Future, detailing an incredible investment of around £300M in Southwark Sercondary Schools by this Labour Government, with a total rebuild of every school by 2014, £12M of that being in improved ICT resources.
It really does re enforce how well Southwark has done through the last 10 years with massive investment in Council and other social housing through the decent Homes programme, NHS investment of around £90 Billion per year, three times more than under the Tories who were in the process of winding down the NHS! and major regeneration investment in Peckham, Canada Water, Bermondsey Spa, and of course the Elephant and Castel! Sometimes makes me wonder how we can end up with a Liberal Democrat/Tory Alliance running the Council?????
The 2 Secondaries in Camberwell are both in Camberwell Green and both are slightly problematic. AMR will become St. Michaels and All Angels Academy and I have attended a very positive community ecvent and met further with the new Head. The Southwark News Front Page is about objections from parents to the proposed relaocation of Highshore School to the AMR site. This is a tricky one for me as I do not represent the school at the moment but will in the future so am taking advice about how to proceed and perhaps contact the Highshore Head.
St. Michaels and All Angels will be redeveloped over 3 phases with phase one due for completion in 2010.

Sacred Heart RC School redevelopment will involve the school decanting entirely to the new build at Walworth for 2 years whilst the new school is build and it looks like there will be a new 6th form but the eternaly thorny issue of admissions policy remains!! All in all exciting and busy times ahead and along with the Decent Homes programme Chris, Dora and I have a busy few years ahead but years in which we should see significant transformation of the area, entirely due to Labour Government financing and not in any way due to this Tory/Lib Dem Administration unfortunately!!! I sometimes think that it will be done despite them instead of with them!!!

I met with a large delegation from our new twin town of Clichy -La-Garonne, a suburb of Paris, and spent the day at the Imperial War Museum and on a London Tour. It wa a good chance to practice my O level french and I really enjoyed the day. The Group Leader, General Jacques Trohel, was a lovely man and I also spent some time talking to Jacky Laurent who was a Fire Brigade Chief. I ended up giving a somewhat stilted guided tour in French of Central London as the translator was in the other Mini Bus!!! When we passed the Tower of London I did manage to mention William Wallace!! None of the delegation spoke english so it really was a good experience for me! As they say 2In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king!!"

I am fully in support of Prime Minister in waiting seeking a more consensual Government and offering posts to other parties. In fact in 1997 Tony Blair did keep people such as John Gummer, Baroness Linda Chalker and David Mellor in advisory capacities for some time after their party had been kicked out of office so it is not all that new. Typical of the Lib Dems to get all self rightous about it when they of course actively seek hung parlaiments so that they can hold all the other parties to ransom!!! Not much sign of their "political" purity in Southwark is there????

News out today that Hearts plan to charge away fans 30% more for their tickets than the home fans, a quite outrageous abuse and quite rightly Hibs fans are going to boycott the game and hopefully other teams will do likewise to hit this greedy bunch where it hurts, in their pockets!! Hope we give them a hammering too!!!

The team are off to Austria soon and have a match against Lask Linz to round of the week before returning to face Middlesborough and Blackburn Rovers at home.

Meanwhile the BBC had the follwoing report, something I flagged up last month in the Blog!:

"Austrian striker Arno Kozelsky has moved closer to joining Hibernian as the Edinburgh club confirmed Gareth Evans as reserve team coach.
Kozelsky, who plays for Austrian second division outfit DSV Leoben, expects signing talks after impressing in a recent trial with Hibs.
"If the talks go well, I won't need to think too long," said the 25-year-old.
"Joining Hibs is a step any player would take. I could hardly believe the welcome I got when I went over there""

Monday, June 18, 2007

New toilet in Camberwell Green arrives, the Camberwell College of Art Show opens and sister completed Moonwalk! ...and anothe Hibs Rebel moves on!!

On Sunday morning I recieved an email from Dora who could hardly contain her excitment at the arival of the new £50,000, 10 ton toilet on Camberwell Green. I rushed out to have a look and capture the moment for posterity on film!! It should be up and running within the next month. I can hardly wait!!!!! it is a top of the range model so hopefully will keep working and it actually looks quite stylish too!! Do you think that I need to
get out more??

By the way I exercised my second vote in the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party with my GMB vote, again voting for Harriet at number 1 with Hilary Benn again at Number 2

This morning at 8am I attended the opening of the Camberwell College of Art End of Year show and had some positive discusssions with the Acting Principal and some of the staff about having more public art around Camberwell and the idea that I especially like is making Camberwell Green into a Sculpture Park!! Dont know how to progress this but will investigate the possibilities as it could be a real focal point in the centre of the borough!!
My sister, Berrnadette, sent me a text at around 6am on Sunday to tell me that the Edinburgh Moonwalk 2007 was over and see had succesfully completed it along with around 10,000 others raising large amounts of money for Breast Cancer Research in the process!!. Below are a few pics that she sent me and she said that it was a great experience even with the rain!!

Bernadette at the end of the Moonwalk and still smiling.... ish!!

At Easter Road Thomas Suwumni left the club and in a n interview with the Hungarian Press admitted to being one of the rebels, below are some of his quotes which make interesting reading and show the scale of the rebellion:"Three players - including me - have already left Hibernian and six more team members are going to do the same soon."
"They're talking about a youth-making project at the club, but it's not the reason why I had to go."
"Some footballers criticised the coach and then had a conversation with him about the situation."

"I still don't want to go back to Hungary - I want to play football abroad."

Rumours are that Bristol City are about to sign Ivan Sproule for £250,000 which is a fair return on the £5000 it cost Hibs to get him. Whilst the fans will be disappointed as he certainly was entertaining I was never convinced that he delivered enough and for all his fancy tricks he did not score many goals(hat trick against Rangers at Ibrox withstanding!!) and his final ball was all too often poor! A real entertainer that will be missed by the fans but I suspect not too much by the players!

Oldham defender and Captain, Will Haining, is being looked at by John Collins. Haining is 24 and from Glasgow and would apparently like to return to Scotland so this is a distinct possibility!

The new Hibs Training Centre is progressing well and the future for Hibs really is through youth development which is already been so successful in recent years! Where are the Celtic and Rangers Training Centres??
Other news is that Hibs kick off the new Clydesdale Bank Premier League season with an away match at Hearts!!! Nice easy start then!!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Camberwell Community Council, St Michaels and All Angels Academy, Camberwell Arts Festival 16June-24 June 2007 and the Edinburgh Moonwalk 16 June 2007

Sandra and I had a goood meeting with officers last night to discuss Camberwell Community Councils over the next 12 months and were clear that we want to see positive action rather than go around in circles revisiting the same problems with no way forward. We are going to theme the meetings on the basis of our Working Group topics and Education will be the first themed meeting in September, followed by Health, Environment, Community Safety, Transport and Regeneration and Economic Development. The plan is to invite the relevant Executive Members and Senior Officers along to discuss our analysis of what Camberwell needs in each area and a way forward. There are now a number of reports about what Camberwell needs and what we need now is action plans to make them happen!! No more analysis of the problems just discussion on positive action from now on in!! We also discussed a sensible aproach to the Cleaner Greener Safer funds and the Camberwell Community Fund and will set that out at the meeting in June.

I met with the new Head Teacher of St. Michael's and All Angels Academy(formerly AMR) to follow up from their succesful open day and talk about how we work together to make the new venture a real success which in my view means close consultation with key residents and community groups starting now through to completion of the project and beyond, learning lessons from the "Communiversity" project. I am really looking forward to this process, something that will have to be mirrored at the Sacred Heart RC School which itself will be rebuilt over the next few years. I am especially keen on extended school provision to exisitng students and the local community!

After spending all week at London Met looking at the End of Year Show preparations I will be an invited guest at the Breakfast preview of the Camberwell College of Arts End of year Show. I am a regualr attender and look forward to a very high quality exhibition!

Camberwell Arts Festival
16 June - 24 June 2007

Of course linked to that is the opening of the Camberwell Arts Festival on Sunday with the Camberwell Live! Party in Lucas Gardens and I hope to pop along to some of the events during the Festival including the launch. Hope the weather holds out?

On Saturday night my sister, Bernadette, will be walking over 13 miles in the Edinburgh Moonwalk 2007 to raise money for Breast Cancer research, the website is below. There will be over 10,000 walking through the strrets of Edinburgh through the night so it should be quite an amazing experience for her. I have sent her a good luck and she has told me not to phone her early Sunday!!!
Below are pictures from the event last year to give you some idea of the scale!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Housing Arbitration, the 4th option and 4 Hibs Players in Scotland Under 20 Squad for Canada World Cup

In my last Blog entry I made a point about the Deputy Leader and Housing Executive Member Kim Humphries taking a look at Housing Arbitration and he was good enough to comment that he thought it was a sensible idea.
I actually was being serious as I have been on Housing Arbitration since January and have found it very enlightening. The only problem is that it is based on individual cases and we must just on that case even although it is clear that systemic problems are at the bottom of the problem. I am told that a Senior Housing Manager looks at all the cases but the name I was given was someone who has left so I just dont know? I would suggest to Kim that he ensures that a Senior Housing Manager is reviewing all the cases monthly and providing Kim with a written report with analysis as there are certainly things that can and must be learned from our failings.
I have included the new "Changing for the better" logo which Housing have launched as a follow on from the "100 days" and I must say I am more supportive of this particular intiiative as it does suggest continuous improvement which is the key I think rather than permenant revolution.
I saw Ruth Kelly on the Politics Show on Sunday in a debate about the need for more social and especially Council Housing and she suggested a shift in Government Policy towards the "4th Option". I have included a photo of Nick Brown and Austin Mitchell at a meeting some ago calling for the 4th option (the caption reflects Gordon Brown's more open attitude to the proposal) and I am very pleased that it looks like the Government are open to allowing local authorities the same opportunity to borrow to build public housing. Housinfg is clealry going to be a major theme over the next few years as the Government's £30 Billion Decent Homes programme reaches it's end and the demand for affordable homes continues to increase.
Perhaps in the future the sort of Urban versus Suburban arguements that we have had in the chamber in recent times may be less of a priority against the need to build more homes??

Hibs continue to look for players with 3 Frenchmen rumoured to be on John Collins list(above) goalkeeper Vincent Fernandez, very experienced playing for PSG and Strasbourg, Favien Lavoyer and Steven Pele (below) from Grenoble. I am sure the fans will love having a player called Pele in the team!!!

Collins is also looking at 22 year old Celtic goalkeper David Marshall. it would be nice to take one from them after them taking 5 from us!!!!
Four Hibs players have made it to the Scotland's Under 20 World Cup Squad , Andrew McNeill, Steven Fletcher, Sean Lynch and Ross Campbell. I assume that Keegan Ayres will play for the host Country Canada? I am surpised that Lewis Stevenson(pictured below)has not been moved up from the Under 19 Squad and if Scotland have a handful of midfield players better than Lewis then we are in extremely good shape and he looks like a tremedous player and was my player of the match in the CIS Cup Final victory!

The World Cup Fixtures are as follows:

Sunday, 1 July 2007
Japan v Scotland
Royal Athletic Park, Victoria, 2.15 pm local time

Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Nigeria v Scotland
Royal Athletic Park, Victoria, 7.45 pm local time

Saturday, 7 July 2007
Costa Rica v Scotland
Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, 5.00 pm local time

It looks like a fairly straightforward group but my heart did miss a beat when I saw the dreaded Costa Rica appear!! (1990 World Cup Nightmare!!!)