Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I was at home yesterday watching the Gordon Brown Speech live at the Labour Party Conference, the first time I have done that for some years.
I was very impressed with him and I know "I would say that would not I" but I thought that it was very genuine and sincere and very clearly setting out to the membership and the Country why he is the best man for the job!
I was pleased that he attacked the Tories and our key message is really to go out and give people the stark alternative, right wing Tories (or Lib Dems for that matter!) or continue to support us through the tough times ahead to come out the other end stronger!
Comparing his speech to the whining nonsense of Nick "Cameron Lite" Clegg is not even worth talking about and I do hope that Cameron will now come under closer scrutiny as the press now see him as a possible PM, then we may see a different press and public reaction!
All in all the right speech at the right time! Forget all the conspiracies and get on with running the Country!
The timing of Ruth Kelly's announcement is strange to say the least and suggests that there are still some malcontents in the Party who care more about their own interests that that of the wider Party and Country. I do hope they are held to account by their Constituencies!! Now is the time to shut up!!!

I have been doing a fair bit of deputising this week and attended the Southwark Alliance Meeting on Monday which had a seminar on "Worklessness". I found it a really useful and positive day with some of the key players in the Southwark sitting around a table talking about some of the key issues facing local people!
A really worthwhile enterprise!

On a personal level my mum is in hospital with pneumonia and my dad and sister are going in to see her every day but I will probably go up to help dad out when she gets home. These are the times when you really do feel far from home and a biot useless!!

Hibs beat a very good Hamilton team 0-1 on Saturday but it was really Derek Riordan's return and fantastic winning goal that stole the headlines.
He was only on the pitch for a minute an scored with a brilliant placed shot in the corner with his first touch of the ball!! All good news and also a good defensive performance. Rangers are next with Celtic and Hearts around the corner! To be honest Hibs are now settling down and do look good so maybe my pessimism at the start of the season may be a bit excessive!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Infamy, Infamy....., Southwark Labour Party Conference 2, Kath stands in Rotherhithe, "Cameron Lite" and Hibs win at home!

With the Labour Party Conference imminent we hear of more and more treachery from those who only one year ago were hailing Gordon Brown as the fresh start! In fact the Scottish Office Minister who resigned yesterday (cant remember his name!) was on Question time only a few months ago backing the prime Minister to the hilt!
We had out second excellent Southwark Labour Party Conference on Saturday (one week after the last Camberwell Branch Meeting which Harriet attended) and the overwhelming majority view was that it was suicidal to embark on a Leadership challenge at this time and we all needed to rally behind the Prime Minister and our Leader ! In fact this all comes at a time when our poll ratings are improving due to the announcements on Stamp Duty and Energy Poverty, not to mention the fact that the real source of the economic downturn is become starker with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the bailing out today of AIG by the Federal Bank!
Even independent political experts agree that a leadership challenge is stupid and harmful and all the worse as these rebels cant agree on a candidate or a new policy between them!!
Harriet describes their policy as "throwing all the pieces up into the air and seeing how they land" and it is not a plan that I would have anything to do with!
I only hope that this is all put to the sword next week with a "put up or shut up" ultimatum!

The Second Southwark Labour Party Conference was held last Saturday and we looked back on a tremendous Mayoral/GLA Election Campaign in Southwark with Ken getting a very high vote and Val quadrupling her majority!
Harriet and Val spoke very well as usual as did Chuka Umanna, Streatham PCC.
To me the real star was James Purnell, Secretary of State for DWP who was a brilliant, witty and insightful speaker and who answered all of the tough questions without flinching!
A real Labour Party Leader of the future if ever I saw one! ... just not now!!

Labour has selected Kath Whittam to fight the Rotherhithe by-election. Kath is the manager of the Surrey Docks Farm and has been involved in numerous campaigns up on the Rotherhithe peninsula over the years. She is a great candidate and will make a superb councillor if elected.
She is a terrific local representative and campaigner and widely known and liked in Rotherhithe so we are all hoping that she can take the seat, especially with the Lib Dems ands Tories fighting each other for once!
Although no one really cares it is the Lib Dem Conference this week with Nick "Cameron Lite" Clegg deciding that the Lib Dems are to swing from left of Labour to right of the Tories in a single bound! Lower taxes, smaller government, cuts in public spending, private services top ups!!!! where will it all end?
The day of the "Orange Book" has now dawned and I cant believe that many of the "rank and file" Lib Dem members (and there must be some) are happy with this so interesting times ahead!
It will however be an easy transition for the Lib Dems in Southwark Town Hall who have been "in bed" with the Tories for over 6 years so they must be pleased that their national party is catching up!
Hibs won 2-1 at Easter Road against Dundee United who are not playing anything like as well as they did last season.
Stephen Fletcher, fresh from his Scotland double, scored twice again for us 1
Derek "Riordinho"Riordan came on and played well setting up the first goal and looked comfortable, a good sign!
Bamba played his first game looked strong and fit , was booked for a rash challenge and later in the game decided to make another equally rash challenge and was sent off!! A good player that needs to learn to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes!
The team looks better though and it will be interesting to see how they fare against Hearts, Celtic and Rangers , all coming soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th 2001 remembered, 2ndSouthwark Labour Party Conference,Govt rescue package, Cambridge University and Scotland start World Cup Campaign!

On the 7th Annivesary of what is known as "9.11" there is a lot of media coverage looking back at that terrible event and the personal experience of people directly affected by it.
I had an american relative who was in Tower 2 on that day and luckily escaped but with very severe post traumatic stress afterwards understandably.
Global terrorism is still a serious threat and I am absolutely in favour of any actions that have and will continue to reduce that threat in the future but accept that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle and therefore a heightened level of alertness is probably with us for the long haul!
Gordon Brown announced a welcome £910M package of measures to help with increasing fuel bills to support their recent announcements aimed at helping the Housing Market including shared ownership and Stamp Duty exemption.
These have got to be the right sort of measures to help cope with the worldwide recession and ensure that the UK bottoms out at the earliest opportunity and starts to pick up!
On Saturday we will be having the Second Southwark Labour Party Conference and , despite the national oncerns, we have a lot to be positive about, not least the fantastic election results in May which quadrupled Valerie Shawcross's majority over a (you have to say it!) a very good political campaigner in Caroline Pidgeon!
Last year's Conference was a real "shot in the arm" to the party locally and I am sure that this year will be no different with time to reflect on an excellent election campaign and the European, National and Southwark Elections to come over the next 2 years! Should be a good day!
The Media really have it in for the Government big time and the press coverage of all of this has been unbelievably negative! Rupert and his cronies have clearly now scurried back to the Tory Camp and we will find it very hard to get anything positive out of the media until the Election!
I spent a few days in Cambridge at a work Conference at the University . It was good top have a look around and in particular visit Kings College to see those amazing stained glass windows!
It was a really useful Conference as well and not I know more about Nanotechnology, and in particular Carbon Nano Tubes, that I ever thought that I wanted to know!
Scotland kicked off their World Cup Campaign in the heat of Skopje against Macedonia, lost a goal in five minutes and then played out a dreadful first half with only a slightly improved second half
Scotland did pick up last night with a 2-1 win over Iceland in Rekjavik but the lose of 3 points is a
blow and we really need a win against Norway at Hampden Park next month to put us back on track. With Holland the clear favourites for the top spot it looks like a fight between Scotland and Norway for the runners-up spot and the play-offs! i think that we do have a good squad of players with more options that we have had for years we just need constant good performances from all of them!Good to see Stephen Fletcher bumped up to the full squad after his 2-goal performance in the under-21 game last week.
Looking forward to seeing Derek Riordan back at Easter Road and in the team for the home game against Dundee United on Saturday. Come on Riordinho!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Camberwell Scrutiny is now underway with the first meeting on Wednesday and the Camberwell Summit next Monday.
I do think that at long last we have turned the corner with this Administration and they hopefully will be working with us rather than against us in this process and the Camberwell Leisure Centre Redevelopment project even if there are "no votes in it!"

The Bye -Election has been called in Riverside after the very sad death of Anne Yates and it could be a testing one for the Lib Dems with good Labour and Tory votes up there? We should have some fun with the Lib Dem and Tory leaflets attacking each other despite the cosy coalition at the Town Hall? Talking of the Town Hall I have been in touch with English Heritage and am expecting a decision on the Listing of the Town Hall very soon. Applications for the other buildings at risk are in so I am hopeful for a positive response!
I am off to New Hall at Cambridge University next week for a Conference which should be interesting and good to revisit Cambridge after a long gap!
This is the Conference peak just before the Academic Year begins and I have three in 3 weeks before the students come back.
I am pleased to see Derek Riordan back at Hibs and the international break this week will give him some time to work with his new team mates. I am confident that he will get back to his old form and at 25 he has his best years ahead of him! Come on Riordinho!

A bit of a strange story with Zemmama who has married a 17 year old in Morocco who is pregnant and he cant get her in the UK until she is 18 so he has been sent on loan to a team in the UAE for the season! Mixu is keen to clarify that he will return next season but he will be missed!
The World Cup 2010 trail to South Africa begins for Scotland on Saturday in a very hot Skopje in Macedonia with Iceland in Rekjavik to come on Wednesday. England tripped up against Macedonia and we need at least one point and really want 4 out of 6 point s from the first two away games. Holland and Norway are to come so we need a good start if we are to have any chance of even a play-off place!

The under-21's got off to a good start with a good 3-1 victory over Slovenia at Falkirk in the week with Captain,Hibs Stephen Fletcher scoring twice!
A good boost for Fletcher as he has yet to score for us this season and of course has Riordan to play alongside or even threaten his position in the team?

Monday, September 01, 2008

23 More Police for Southwark but still a violent crime hot spot!, Edinburgh Festival ends with a bang and Hibs lose again!

Good news this week that Southwark Police are to get another 23 Police Officers but we still seem short as Lambeth apparently having 100 more Officers and yet less reported crime!
We have been Campaigned for 1000 Police officers in Southwark and need to continue with that especially with the publication of the latest in a steady stream of reports picking out Southwark as one of the worst violent crime hot spots in the country!
Southwark news reported it as follows:
"SOUTHWARK IS one of the top ten violent areas in England and Wales, according to new figures from a leading charity on personal safety.
The annual report, produced by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust but based on Home Office data, showed the borough climbed nine places and now sits at ninth place in the table. Speaking to the 'News' the charity’s Chief Executive Mark Gauge who said: "One reason we do this report is that we want some communities who need the help to get the resources they need, the police should not be surprised by these statistics and they will know they are dealing with larger amounts of crime than other areas."The report states that for every 1,000 people in the borough there are 33 instances of violence against the person."
Overall the report shows that there were 8,863 reported incidents in Southwark in the 2007/08 reporting year."
The lack of a stragic overview I still think is a major flaw with the Tory/Lib Dem Executive and brought starkly into focus by Labour neighbours in Lambeth who have recently produced "Young and Safe", a focused strategy to deal with youth violent crime! What are we doing in Southwark?
The Edinburgh Festival ended with a Spectacular Fireworks Concert in Princess Street Gardens with music from Brahms and Dvorzak's Hungarian and Slavic Dances!
Not so many Fireworks at Easter Road where again Hibs had most of the play only to lose to a goal in the last ten minutes against Motherwell! Sounds familiar?
With the transfer window closing today Hibernian have signed
Souleymane Bamba on a three-year contract from Dunfermline for an undisclosed fee.
He is a 23 year old defender who has just represented Cote D'Ivoire in the Beijing Olympics .
The other deal to be done is to get Derek Riordan back from Celtic, either on a contract or a season loan deal! he is so out of favour with Strachan that he is training with the under-19's so he needs a move and hopefully we can get him today or else he might be off to Hearts!!
That will be it and we will just have to get on with it and start winning soon!!