Thursday, August 30, 2007

Southwark Lib Dems are Revolting, Nelson Mandela honoured and Hibs get past QP in CIS First Round!

News in Southwark news today of a crisis meeting between Lib Dem Councillors angry that the errant Exec Member for Health & Social care has not resigned and apparently even more angry at the stupid defending comments from their Leader!! apparently at least a third of the Group will call on her to resign at next week's meeting! The Mirror " Baddest Council in Britain!" has no doubt fuelled the flames? . There is a great quote from a Lib Dem "source" who says " A lot of Liberal Democrats don't think that the leader handled this particularly well, but the problem is that there is no one around to replace him!" another quote being "the leader's attempt to defend Cllr. Capstick on the basis that she didn't crash were "asinine" at best" - Clearly there is trouble at the Lib Dem Mill and the question is how long will the rest of that Group put up with this incompetence and chaos???
Yesterday was my 48th Birthday signifying 24 years in Scotland and 24 years in England!!! Spent the morning at work and went out for a nice Chinese meal and a drink !! - Just what I needed!!!

I was really sorry that I missed the unveiling of the Nelson Mandela statue in Parliament Square by the Prime Minister yesterday and the chance to see and hear this amazing 89 year old man speak with the same clarity and purpose that he has shown throughout his life!! Not surprisingly Westminster Tories tried to stop it (well thatcher did refer to him as a terrorist!!) but pleased that Ken made it happen!! Especially fitting in the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade!!!

Finally Hibs got through the first round defence of the CIS Cup with a 2-1 win over Queens Park with Phillipe Morias (pictured) scoring along with Fletcher!!
We have Inverness Caley at home on Saturday and they are a team that always cause us problems, especially with Brewster back fresh after scoring twice against us last Saturday with Aberdeen!!! Could be a tough one!!!!
Good exceuse for me to remember the famous local Newspaper headline when Inverness caley knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup some years back: "SUPER CALEY GO BALLISTIC CELTIC ARE ATROCIOUS!!!!!"
Best sporting headline ever!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Surviving "Get Loaded" and Hibs have another goalkeeping calamity!!!

I spent yesterday recovering from working behind the Bar at the Workers Beer Company at the Get Loaded Festival in Clapham Common!!
In truth I enjoyed it, the weather was good, the young people were friendly and enjoying the day and the 6 hours went by quickly. Our knees were a bit stiff as we walked around afterwards and had a staff beer or two!!
I did learn a few things like the fact that every young person seems to drink Vodka and Red Bull which cant be good for you!!!!
Anyway it was a really good way to make lots of money for the Camberwell and Peckham Constituency Labour Party over a weekend, probably over £500!, and it was good experience! I actually enjoyed a lot of the music as well!!!

This is the last week of relative freedom and Lecturers and soon students return tio the University and the Council starts up again ! I have a GLA Fund Raising Dinner with Ken, Val and Harriet next week and the Southwark labour Conference coming up both of which I am looking forward to!!
Hibs struggled again at home going 3-1 down and then having to scrap out a 3-3 draw against a good Aberdeen side!! As usual an ex-Hibs player, Craig Brewster (pictured) did the damage with 2 goals!
To make matters worse our saviour of a Goalkeeper, Ma-Kalamby, had a knightmare missing 2 crosses for 2 of the goals but probably has enough self confidence to get over it! dean sheils also looked good and scored a goal so it was not all bad news. Rumours are Captain Rob Jones will go to Leeds this week and Hibs prepare to defend CIS Cup with first round match this week against Queen of the South!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Southwark Council "The baddest council in Britain" It's official!!! - "This lot are a complete shower."

The Daily Mirror printed this exclusive report yesterday!!!
If it is in the Mirror it must be true!!!!
Read and enjoy:

"Is this the baddest council in Britain?
EXCLUSIVE Child porn, dodgy websites, drink driving, junketing..

By Rosa Prince Political Correspondent 20/08/2007

A Lib Dem-run council hit by a string of scandals has been branded the baddest in Britain.
A candidate was jailed for child porn, one councillor runs an adults-only website, and a former deputy mayor was accused of aiding terrorists - a claim she denies.
Another member of Southwark council is a convicted drink-driver.
And the local authority was also slammed for spending £300,000 a year on food and drink at meetings.

Former candidate Karl Lindon, 26, was jailed for three years in May for having 2,500 indecent images of children on his PC.
He canvassed for the party but pulled out of the 2006 local elections at the last minute.

Councillor Paul Baichoo is a glamour photographer who runs featuring pictures of scantily-clad women.
He said on another site: "I've been a male escort." Baichoo did not comment last night.

Eliza Mann, an ex-Lib Dem mayor, was accused by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence of having links to a group that raises funds for the Tamil Tigers. She denied the accusation, and said: "I campaign for the independence of the Tamil people in a peaceful way." Police confirmed she was not being investigated.

Denise Capstick, the South London council's head of health services, was recently fined £500 for drink driving and given an 18-month ban. But Lib Dem council leader Nick Stanton said she did not need to resign as "she didn't crash".

One resident said: "This lot are a complete shower."
The national Liberal Democrat Party said: "We have no comment about any of this."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tories true to form and Hibs unlucky at Tannadice!!

With the August Bank Holidy almost upon us I am not preparing for my busiest time of year, both in terms of the day job with 34,000 students arriving back at the University and the Council cranking back into action with an Assembly, OSC and Education Scrutiny and of course a Community Council meeting all in September! It is really good to have a month off and you can actually get used to having quiet evenings in but that period is just about over for another year!!
Southwark Council announced that the Southwark Schools from the Future money, £200 Million, has just come through from the Government to complete the rebuilding of all of our Secondary Schools! Good news and I am sure that this is the last time that any credit will go to the Government and from now on it will be the Lib dem/Tory Administration's greatest achievement !!
On the Macro politics front the Tories are desperately trying to get back into the news after some bad opinion polls on the back of the "Brown Bounce" and who do we see representing the bring new tory future??? IDS whining on about family values, the "Vulcan" Redwood talking about cuting red tape and unbelievably Cameron starting a campaign to "Save the NHS"!! Pity it never occurred to him or his chums during the yeasr 1979 to 1997 but he was obvioulsy too busy with the Burlington Club beating foxes to death with champagne bottles!!! A new initiative on curbing immigration is surely only a matter of weeks away????

Hibs fought out a 0-0 draw against Dundee United on Saturday which sounds dull but was actually an excellent match with the new Polish Dundee United goalkeepe , Grzegorz Szamotulski, pulling off fantastic save after fantastic save!!! I do enjoy watching the football on Setanta now so feel a bit more when discusing the games!!
7 points out of 9 and third in the table behind Rangers and Celtic is a pretty good start for Hibs who are usually very slow of the starting block!! new players like Kerr, O'Brien and Ma Kalamby in particular have fitted in well with the existing players . I do hope that they give Donaldson a chance as he could be a very good player for us? Ther is a couple of weeks left in the transfer window and still think that Hibs may be after another central defender and another forward? In saying that they have a decent sqaud and reasonable cover so they may go with what they have and see how things are in January?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Get Loaded! next weekend and Hibs face Dundee United as new Training Centre soon to open!

Over the Bank Holiday weekend is the "Get Loaded " Festival and I have volunteered to work in the Workers Beer Company Bar on the Sunday with all earnings (£6.50 per hour!) going to the Camberwell & Peckam Labour Party. I actually went to the concert last year so know what it is like and it should be ok apart from the hazards of the occupational ailment "ring pull finger" after many hours opening cans!!! Headline acts are Dizzie Rascal (not my scene really)and the Streets (I do like them!!).
Hibs take on Dundee United away tomorow and wil be hoping for a second away win and maximum points after 3 games. it was our atrocious away form that cost us dear last season so we need to start wining away games against team like Dundee United!
Reports are that the new £3M Training Centre will be opening soon which should make a real difference and wil help us continue our excellent Youth Development Programme( also known as the Celtic and Rangers Youth Development Pogramme!!!) It will be the best facility in Scotland and wil be a real asset to Club and Country.
Scotland play South Africa in a friendly next week with no Hibs players but lots of ex-Hibs players, Caldwell, brown, Miller and O'Connor!! Five of the Hibs sqaud are in the Under- 21 Squad and we also have players in the Moroccan, Belgian, German and Canadian Under -21 Squads!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jack McConnell steps down, Mia Culpa from Denise, Camberwell Green War Memorial and Fulham win in the monsoon!!!

Not unexpectedly Jack McConnell has stood down as Leader of the Labour Group in the Scottish parliament with apparently Wendy Alexander poised to take over. I think that she is the right choice and really should have taken it up earlier but I recall she was not ready for it when McLeish resigned. Apprentley the "left" whoever they are are planning a challenge but she is the clear choice and I cant believe that she will not win.

On the home front the Southwark News has a "Mia Culpa" from Denise and as I said earlier I am less upset by the "crime" and more angry at the grubby way that the Lib Dems have dealt with it :

Stage 1 - No one mention it and hope that it does not get out!
Stage 2 - Oh my god Southwark News are going to print it tomorrow, quick get the political assistant to sent out a sorry email to all members before they read it in the press, keep the details vague to make it sound less serious!
Stage 3 - We need the Leader to speak in support with things like "it did not matter as she did not hit anyone!" and "councillors have no more responsibility that members of the public!"
Stage 4 - It wont go away so lets have another sorry article for Southwark News with a bit more of the truth this time!!
Is there a Stage 5? - watch this space!!!!!
The Lib Dems really are a shockingly poor excuse for a political party and are actually quite embarassing to be associated with!!!

I met with officers and Contractor on site yesterday and the war Memorial should be complete in a couple of weeks in time for an Anniversary commemoration of the tragic event on September 17th. It will be a fitting tribute to those who dies on that tragic day in 1941!

I went to Craven Cottage last night in my final stage of the 3 Stadium Tour over the past week. The weather was absolutely atrocious with unrelenting rain and the game ended in a 2-1 victory for Fulham although I felt that Bolton were the better team especially in the seciond half! Perhaps I have just been spoiled at Arsenal but it really was organised chaos outside with large queues unable to get in on time and even large queues waiting for a drink, food and the toilet! It really was pretty dismal but worth doing once!! I did like the very middle class crowd with their picnic baskets and all! Very entertaining!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Brown "Bounce" increases poll lead to 10%and Salmon presses ahead with White paper on Independance Referendum

An Opinion Poll published over the weekend shows a 10% Labour lead over the Tories, the highest for four and a half years showing that the Brown "Bounce" is more than a blip but a real sign of support coming back to Labour with a seriously divided Conservative Party and a hapless Lib Dem leadership , both leaking support on a daily basis. In some ways the flooding and foot and mouth crises have actually improved support for Gordon Brown as they have seen him in action, assured and responsive which is exactly what people want to see in their Leader!!! Lets have much more of the same!!!!!

Meanwhile back in cloud-cuckoo land of the SNP run Scottish Executive, the First Minister Alex Salmon plans to publish their White Paper on an Independance referendum and the BBC reported the release of a joint statement as follows:

"The three opposition parties, which will now jointly review the devolution settlement, opening the prospect of Holyrood gaining additional powers, made known their concerns in a strongly-worded joint statement.
"The SNP is squandering taxpayers' money in pursuit of their own narrow and failed agenda," it said.
"They have promised to build a consensus around the policies they will bring forward for debate in the Scottish Parliament. But this white paper can only create division and uncertainty which will damage Scotland."
'Inclusive document'
The statement continued: "The SNP have spoken about a national conversation but tomorrow's publication is about their nationalist crusade.
"We will listen, but we fear this will be less of a conversation than a one-way megaphone.
"We are deeply concerned that the proposals to be made by the SNP are only designed to drag the people of Scotland into a constitutional cul-de-sac.
"We will not give succour to those who want to end the Union."
A Scottish Executive spokesman suggested the opposition parties might be unclear about the nature of the white paper.
He said: "To some extent the opposition parties have misunderstood the nature of the document tomorrow which is a broad and inclusive document where clearly the government sets out its views about the best way forward and the best way to get that, but is very open to other voices and other views.
"Even before the document is published, the other parties are, collectively or individually, finding it impossible to ignore this process."

I think that this pre-emptive strike is exactly right as the SNP must not be allowed to squander Scottish Tax payers money discussing a referendum and Independeance when it is clear that there is no appetite for it and when there are so many mor pressing areas to spend time and money on!! Surely anyone who voted SNP in May must now se that they really are a one issue party and they will not be distracted, whatever the cost, from achieiving an Independant Scotland, whether the people of scotland want it or not!!! They have to be stopped and stopped now!!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crossing the Great Divide and Hibs win after early gitters!!

Being up in Edinburgh has given me time to reflect on my life experiences to date especially wiuth my 48th Birthday looming on the 29th of this month! Whilst the number 48 is not normally significant it is for me as it marks a 50/50 split in my life between Edinburgh and London (well England anyway!) as I left to study a post graduate Course at Aston University just fter my 24th Birthday and when I took up my 3 month post with Southwark Council in December 1984 my mum told me that it would do "until I found a proper job back in Edinburgh!"
I had no earthly idea that I would still be living in London in 2007 or that iwould be in my 14th year as a Southwark Council so I feel very fortunate with the people I have met and worked with over the last 24 years . I do plan to have a small celebration this year to mark the moment and the step into the great unknown!!!

The Festival in all it's guises is in full swing and the weather has been holding out so far!!
The Official Festival has begun this weekend and I think that the stagering of the Festivals makes good sense and realy wonder why it is not extended over the whole summer as there is certainly the appetite for it?

I went to Easter Road yesterday and witnessed Hibs get off to a very slow and sluggish start, so bad in fact that ten minutes into the second half we were 2-0 down and Benji has just had a weak penalty saved!!!
However when Fletcher and Zemmama were brought on things changed and Zemmama in particular saw us through to a 4-2 win (he is pictured above after scoring his second with a great free kick! - he was booked for taking his shirt off!!) there was a 14,000 crowd and we had very nice padded seats so all in all a good day after a nervous start. The Emirates and Easter Road down, Craven Cottage to go on Wednesday!!!
Hibs have signed 24 year old french midfielder Patrick Noubissie who was on loan at Livingston, and promptly gave him back to livingston on loan for another 3 months!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Exploring the Ediburgh Fringe 2007!!!!

I am up in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival but I am more of a "Fringe" person than an "official" Festival goer!
The Edinburgh Fetsival and all the associated Film, Jazz, Book etc. etc. Festivals generate more than £75 Million for Edinburgh in three weeks so it really is of critical importance to the local economy and it shows no sign of letting up, it just gets bigger and bigger!! BBC reported that it would take 6 years to sit through every show from start to finish being performed this year!!
The population doubles to over 1 Million people and on top of all of that the weather is warm and sunny!!
All the pictures are just a bit of a random selection from this year's fringe to give all "non believers" a taste of what goes on!!

It really is a great time to visit Edinburgh but my thoughts are turning to Hibs first home game of the season against Gretna on Saturday. We should win after the great start away at Hearts !!! Roll on Saturday!!!!