Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Wedding of the Year in Liverpool,the European City of Culture, and CGS Decision Time!...and Hibs to play Barcelona at Murrayfield!

Just back from a fantastic Bank Holiday Weekend in Liverpool at the Wedding of Ashwin and Alison held in the magnificent Liverpool Town Hall.
The journeys there and back were not without incident as it took 5 hours each way due to Main Lines being closed and some kids threw a concrete block through our trains window which added another hour onto the journey and a lucky escape for the driver. it happened just outside Crewe so not sure if I can read anything onto that after last week's By-Election?

I had a bit of time to do some sightseeing including the Cavern Club of course and Albert Dock. lots of pictures on the Facebook site!

There was lots of European City of Culture stuff going on, in particular a street theatre festival so the City Centre was very active and vibrant the whole weekend.

Of course the main event on Sunday was the wedding itself and Chris Page and I were honoured to be asked by Ashwin and Alison top "compere" the Milni Ceremony where the 2 families exchange garlands. I sold us as the "Ant and Dec of the Southwark Labour Group without the phone rigging" and we got through it without any major pronunciation problems!

It was a really brilliant day and a real privilege to have been there! I of course wish Ashwin and Alison a very happy future together and am lucky to have a pair of good friends like them!

In the Merseyside Maritime Museum I spotted this Titanic Lifebelt and thought of Nick Stanton as he tries to keep afloat with the hugely expensive move to what I call "The Tooley Street Titanic" but he is not losing too much sleep as the Iceberg is still 2 years away!
In saying that there is mutiny amongst the ranks with Columbo Blango "on holiday" for the Constitutional Council and Helen Jardine-Brown going AWOL for the Mayoral Vote apparently screeching "I can't do it!!"
Nick may be very lucky not to get himself keel-hauled before too long if he is not very careful, even with Chief Petty Officer Humphries minding his back?

The Camberwell Labour Councillors are meeting this week to discuss this year's CGS bids and as usual we have bids costing more than 3 times the money available . I do think that the money available has to be increased perhaps to £500,000 with staff costs not included so that all the money can go into actual improvements. I also think that money should be allocated on a needs basis rather than the crass 8 way split that happens currently!
The Community Fund Bidding is also up and running at the moment and I hope to get something for the Camberwell Green Fair that we plan to resurrect and hold in August?
Good news that Hibs are to play Barcelona at Murrayfield on Thursday 24th July.
We follow that up with games against Middesborough on Saturday August 2nd and Wigan on Tuesday 5th August.
I really cant mis the Barcelona Game so will be going up for that and the link below of the last great encounter 44 yeasr ago:
Bring them on!!!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hoisted on my own petard and the Wedding of the Year!

I recieved a bit of well deserved flack last night from the Lib Dems after my previous Blog bemoaning the tedious Constitutional Council Assembly last night!! In truth it was quite enjoyable and reasonably good natured so I had to take it on the chin.
I even laughed at Richard's Thomas's jibe about Hibs!! Good to see he is regaining his sense of humour!!

I thought that we made all the right points about keeping some key strategic decisions for Council Assembly and bringing back real accountability and democracy to the Town Hall but not surprisingly it all fell on deaf ears!!
Anyway not nearly as tedious as I had expected apart from the voting at the end that it!

I shall be spending most of Sunday in Liverpool at the Wedding of the Year as Ashwin and Alison get married and Chris and I will have a role in the Milni Ceremony beforehand so I am really loooking forward to it!
pics on the Blog next week!!
Looking forward to a weekend in the European City of Culture as well!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Camberwell Green Tree Lights, a visit to the Hornimans and Mayor Making and Constituional Council Looms on the night of the Champions League Final!!

I attended an unveiling last evening of the Camberwell Green Tree Lights Plaque which explains the background to them being installed.

Whilst the Street Drinking problem has not gone away the multi-agency approach to problem solving was very positive and the situation is much improved on what was before! particular credit has to go to the then Camberwell Safer Neighbourhood team and PC Tim Otway who spent many hours and days on the "coal face" tackiling this long established problem!

I took Shauna to the Hornimans which is fast becoming my, and her, favourite place in South London.
The Aquarium is always interesting but there is also a bee colony with perspex walls to observe the colony in action.
There is currently a really good exhibition on Indian music and in one of the pics Shauna is drawing the Taj Mohal to display on the wall. In the other picture she is hanging around in Camberwell Green !
A monumentally tedious evening looms with the Mayor Making and Annual Constitutional Council on the same evening on Wednesday! We argued against it at last CA but the Lib Dems and Tories agreed and now are apparently whining about it. The re-write of the Constitution will ensure a long night even if they move everythuing to the vote and the whole meeting looks likely to turn into a complete shambles with no invites being given out and a major clash wuith the Champions League Cup Final!!
looks like Cllr. Blango will be a no show (no surprise there) and perhaps another couple of disgruntled Lib Dems who have not been given the SRA they were expecting? As I have said previously management by SRA will always come back to bite you and Stanton may get a nasty flesh wound on Wednesday? perish the thought that any of this bunch were actually in it for the politics!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lib Dem/Tory leadership drink champers whilst Southwark burns!, Camberwell Green gets best Labour vote in Southwark and the Labour Group AGM !

The local press had a lot of fun at the Lib Dem/Tory expense covering the £6000 party with Veolian after the hand wringing whining from them about how financially stricken the Council was and of course the closure of the Livesey. At best this was crass stupidity to attend something like this but it really highlights how out of touch they really are!
The news report illustrated the tone of the coverage:

"A TOWN hall that claims it’s hard up has defended spending £6,000 of taxpayers’money on a posh champagne party.
The event, at the exclusive Vinopolis next to Borough Market, was held by Southwark council bosses on April 25.
Council Leader Nick Stanton, deputy leader Kim Humphreys and Tory councillor Toby Eckersley quaffed champagne and tucked into nibbles with 60 guests at the £100-a-head extravaganza.
A council spokeswoman said the party was organised to “foster good partnership”after completing a deal to contract out its waste collection service to private company Veolia.
But pensioners have reacted angrily after seeing the council hike the price of meals on wheels and reduce the number of people eligible to receive social care. Southwark Pensioners Action Group member Stan Hardy said: “If they needed to celebrate, they could have gone somewhere a lot cheaper. “Councillors should be a lot more sensitive to the needs of people suffering their cuts.” The move comes as the Lib Dem/Tory-run authority claimed it was short of cash due to a lower-than-expected Government grants and closed the Livesey children’s museum last month. Southwark Labour leader Peter John said: We’ve had to listen to Nick Stanton preach about the council’s difficult financial situation for months. “Now it seems he’s happy to guzzle champagne but can’t find the money to keep meals on wheels prices at an affordable level and has scrambled to sell off the Livesey Museum to try and raise quick cash.” "

The stats came through about the recent Elections showing that Camberwell Green brought in a great result for both Val and Ken!

The votes for the GLA Seat were as follows:
1747 Lab , 390 LD and 358 Tory We also secured 2007 votes for Ken so we did not let him down!
The real story in London behind the obvious Ken disappointment was the collapse in the Lib Dem vote, resulting from the inevitable squeeze from the big two parties and the woeful choice of candidate.
The Lib Dems took a real battering in Southwark, not just from us but the Tories also and Surrey Docks looks really vulnerable in 2010!
It may be that the poor Lib Dem vote actually did for Ken as many Lib Dem voters switched to Boris once
again showing how the Lib Dems and Tories are merging into one at a local, regional and national level!
The Southwark Labour Group had Part 2 of it's AGM on Monday night and I am back on the Shadow Executive as Spokesperson for Community Safety and back as Scutiny Chair in Education and Children's Services.
I did not stand as Camberwell Community Council Vice Chair as with Dora as Chair I felt it better to have a VC from one of the other wards and nominated Ian Wingfield.
I am not on Planning and not doing Tenants Arbitration as it was conflicting too much with the day job although I did find it interesting. I am still on the Corporate Parenting Panel and am now a full member of the Disciplinary Appeals Committee so enough to be getting on with!
I attended 2 T@RA Meetings this week at the D'Eynesford and Poets Corner and was really impressed with their organisation and level of activity and it appears that many T@RA's in Camberwell Green are having a new lease of life and really developing strongly which is great to see!

The Hibs season comes to an end this weekend with no good cup runs and 4th in the SPL which is really disappointing after last season and the start of this season but Mixu is getting new players in and we have to look for progress next season showing the same flair on the ground but a bit more defensive steel at the back. Two pre-season friendlies against Wigan and Middlesborough already set up and perhaps an Inter-Toto adventure as well so time to look forward to the new season!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I attended the Southwark Civic Awards on Saturday, an event I have always strongly supported and this time it was on my doorstep in St. Giles Church in Camberwell.
It was as ever a really nice event and good to see Steve Hedger get the "Man of the Year" Award!
The reception in the Towen Hall was a bit cramped but all in all an enjoyable event.
We have Part 2 of our Labour Group AGM tonight with competition on a number of fronts so I will have argue my case tonight for anything that I get which of course is no bad thing!

I dont quite get Wendy Alexander's call for a Referendum on independance. I thought at first that the "bring it on" was just a "macho" taunt but it appears that she really means it which is a worry to me as we have always argued of the damage of the refendum process no matter what the result and argues strongly against it ! There is also a risk of the SNP misusing their position to ensure that anti- UK propaganda is sent out disguised as news upto any vote and we could really risk a catastrophe if the vote went in favour of independance!

Hibs finally blew any chance of third place with a 2-0 defeat at Parkhead against Celtic. Getting a result was always going to be tough but once again we could not keep 11 players on the field with Murray getting a red card and once again we end up with 10, or 9, men on the field! Mixu has to focus on this in the summer and sort it out!
Hibs have signed St. Mirren's david Van Zanden and rumours are that Rocastle could come back 4 years after playing on loan from Chelsea.
Mixu is clearly focussing on his defence which is right but we just dont know if Fletcher will be around for next season and not off to Celtic, Rangers or even Real Madrid.
Al in all a disappointing season after that brilliant 10 match unbeaten run, 4th place is just not good enough!!! Must do better!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boris, a Safety Conference, Broadstairs and Hibs race for 3rd place!

Well it has been quite a week for me but all overshadowed by the nightmare at city Hall with "Bonkers Boris" now in the "driving seat" for the next 4 years!! Of course Tory Central Office with have at least one and perhaps both hands on the steering wheel as Boris spends all day trying to decide which tie to wear! If it was not so politically incorrect I might make reference to lunatics and asylums but I better not!
The results also worryingly showed the BNP in 4th place not far behind the Greens and of course they now have a GLA Seat! What is going on? I cant believe that it is all down to the unpopularity of the Government? Good to see Paddick get less than a third of the other two candidates and the Lib Dems only just get 3 on the GLA, losing 2 seats with Caroline Pidgeon squeaking in!
I know that it sounds like "apart from that Mrs Lincoln did you enjoy the play?" but we held on to our seats and grabbed one back and as far as Southwark and Lambeth is concerned Val Shawcross quadrupled her majority in a result which really bucked the national results.
We worked very hard during the Campaign and on the day itself and my flat was the Camberwell Green Committee Room and we had fantastic support from party members on the day and the voters in Camberwell Green. No Lib Dem Candidate was elected in a Constituency which really speaks volumes about where they are going!! A great result locally but oh Boris!!! I wonder how many sleepless nights he will give Cameron before the General Election is called?

Just before the Election I attended the Universities Safety and Health Annual Conference in London which I really enjoyed and which gave me a couple of days rest before Election Day.

We ended the Conference with a trip on the London Eye which I had not done for a number of years!

I then spent the Bank Holiday weekend at Broadstairs with my old Councillor friend and Alderman, Ian Driver and his family and took my 7 year old god- daughter Shauna with me. It was a good break but we stayed up for the declaration from City Hall at around midnight!
There was lots of sun sea and sand and I am very red as a result!

Hibs fought out a decent 0-0 draw with Rangers on Sunday so third place is still on but it will all come down to a head to head with Motherwell on the last day of the season!