The Northwest Norfolk Hustings

An account of last night’s Northwest Norfolk hustings meeting which I was bale to follow courtesy of the Lynn News live blog (to which I have linked in this piece), and my usual sign off.

INTRODUCTION

This event took place last night at the Methodist Chapel on London Road, King’s Lynn. I found out about it too late to attend the venue in person, but through the good offices of The Lynn News, who organized the event, I was able to follow it via a live blog, with extra detail from the twitter feed of Northwest Norfolk Labour’s Jordan Stokes. This post looks back at the event before and at what it means for this seat.

THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE

There were five people on the platform: Rob Colwell (Liberal Democrat), Michael De Whalley (Green), Jo Rust (Labour), James Wild (Conservative) and Allister Webb (The Lynn News, moderator but not contributor – BBC panel shows/ interviews please take note of the but in bold).

INTRODUCTIONS

Each candidate had two minutes to introduce themselves, and three of the four managed this feat without any missteps. The exception was James ‘parachute candidate’ Wild whose hamfisted effort suggested that he had learned all the wrong things in his time as advisor to Mr Johnson.

THE REST OF THE EVENING

The main event was divided into sections in which various issues were raised, with questions coming from members of the audience. Rob Colwell and Michael De Whalley both gave good honest answers throughout, with Michael demonstrating why he is a well respected local Councillor. However, at every point they were equalled or bettered by Jo Rust, who made some outstanding contributions. James Wild did little to help himself during the course of the evening. Near the end he was asked if he planned to move to the area, and at least managed to get that one right, when he said “yes, if I am elected”. Any other answer would have increased the damage he had sustained on the evening – a straight yes without amplification would have sounded arrogant, as though he believed that it was already in the bag, while a a ‘no’, no matter what it was accompanied by, would have holed his campaign below the waterline.

LOOKING AHEAD TO DEC 12TH

The only chance of getting a non-Tory MP in this constituency is to vote for Jo Rust, and my reckoning is that she gave her chances a big boost last night. Mr Wild had a poor time, and that should also work in Jo’s favour. I respect Michael De Whalley, and but for the continuing use of the outmoded FPTP system I would be voting for his party, and he was undoubtedly impressive last night. Rob Colwell said a lot of the right things last night but his party stand no chance in this constituency and have not been distinguishing themselves of late. Had Sir Henry been standing for re-election it would have been a seismic shock for this seat to go to Jo Rust, but, especially after last night, I reckon she has a genuine chance of beating James Wild. An account of last night can be seen here, and you can relive (to an extent) the live blog experience here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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More Election Thoughts and England in NZ

A look at developments in GE2019, England’s warm=up for the test series in New Zealand and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features GE2019 once again, with thoughts on both the local and national picture. I also mention England’s preparation for the test match series in New Zealand, and of course I have plenty of photographs.

GE2019: THE PICTURE LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY

Nationally the importance of getting the Tories out has been further emphasized by a number of developments, including another major fire caused by the use of flammable cladding (that the cladding used on the student hall in Bolton is not the same as that used on Grenfell is a pathetic red herring). The Liberal Democrats are doing shockingly, with Swinson’s delusions, Ed Davey’s plan to keep government spending in surplus (for an explanation of exactly what this policy means and why it is so despicable check out this post from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK) and Sam Gyimah’s vile campaign in Kensington & Chelsea (which has placed Emma Dent Coad in personal danger) all working against them.

Locally the picture looks brighter for Jo Rust than it did when this election was called. In place of Sir Henry Bellingham who declined to stand for re-election the Tory candidate is someone who a) was parachuted in and b)has no recommendation for the post beyond having been an advisor to Mr Johnson (i.e no recommendation for the post). Parachute candidates do not have a good history in this constituency – Manish Sood for Labour garnered only just over 6,000 votes in 2010 (as compared to 15,000 for Jo in 2017). Henry Bellingham standing down reduced the climb for Jo from Himalayan to Alpine proportions, and the selection of this candidate has further reduced it from Alpine to Scottish Munro. Just to the south Liz Truss is being challenged by another excellent local candidate, radio presenter Emily Blake. .

A few related links….

First, courtesy of The Skwawbox who presented it in this post, a video that will be the best 108 seconds of viewing you get today:

Next, a video from Northwest Norfolk Labour candidate Jo Rust:

Finally, a video from Michaela about voting (courtesy of Hope not Hate):

Remember, use your right to vote, and please vote against Tories (if you are unfortunate enough to be in one of the handful of seats that is genuinely a Tory/ Lib Dem marginal, then in that circumstance a vote for the Lib Dems is probably the least of evils) wherever you are.

ENGLAND IN NEW ZEALAND

England’s final warm-up match before the test series in New Zealand finished in a draw, but with several pluses for England: runs for the restored Pope, tidy bowling from Jack Leach, wickets in both innings for Jofra Archer and in the second for Sam Curran, and an overall very dominant performance – New Zealand were 66 ahead with two second innings wickets standing when time ran out. It actually looks like England have a sensible red ball combo.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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NZ v England T20 Series Goes To Decider

An account of England’s victory over New Zealand in the 4th T20I, some thoughts about General Election 2019 and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as some thoughts on the T20 series in New Zealand I am going to mention the General Election, and my constituency in particular. As usual I have plenty of photographs to share.

ENGLAND ROAR BACK INTO T20 SERIES

In the third match of this five match series England had seemingly been cruising to victory before a collapse in which they lost five wickets for just 10 runs handed the game and with it a 2-1 series lead to New Zealand. Thus in game four in Napier England needed a win to keep the series alive.

England batted first and made a slow start, with only 18 coming from the first four overs. Even when Eoin Morgan joined Dawid Malan in the eighth over the score was not looking that impressive. However Malan and Morgan shared a vicious partnership, Malan reaching a 48 ball century will Morgan outdid him for run rate by monstering 91 off just 40 balls. In among the carnage Ish Sodhi got slapped for 28 in the 17th over of the innings (and was lucky it was not even worse – 26 had come off the first five balls. England finished with their highest ever T20I score of 241-3. New Zealand got away to a flying start in response and were briefly threatening to chase down this imposing total, but Matt Parkinson showed New Zealand just what a real legspinner could do in the conditions. In spite of two chances not going to hand he bagged four wickets in the spell that consigned the Kiwis to defeat. England claimed the final wicket off the penultimate ball of the 17th over with the total at 165, giving them victory by a massive (in this format) 76 runs. I now make England favourites to win the decider – it will not be easy for NZ to recover from this blasting. I suspect that Yorkshire will not be seeing all that much of their new signing Dawid Malan next year as after this he has to be considered an essential part of England’s white ball plans. Parkinson, the young legspinner, has a huge future in (for my money) all formats, and although it would be hard on Leach to be dropped I would consider (especially if he takes more wickets in the final match of this series) picking him as first spinner for the test matches that conclude this tour, or maybe even, unlikely as a such a suggestion seems for a series in New Zealand, going with both specialist spinners. Full scorecard of the game here.

GENERAL ELECTION THOUGHTS

The Tories are lurching from one gaffe to another in this election campaign. Whether it is an empty chair subbing for James Cleverly (the chair certainly fared better than Mr Cleverly would have done), Johnson’s launch taking place in a near empty room or a succession of candidates standing down for various reasons they have been having a shocker. The long standing Tory MP for Northwest Norfolk, Sir Henry Bellingham, is one of those not standing for re-election. I think this is good news for Jo Rust, the Labour candidate, for two reasons. Firstly Sir Henry undoubtedly garnered some votes that were for him personally and not for his party as such. Secondly, and more important, the Brexit Party, who may well have stood aside for Sir Henry will now undoubtedly contest the seat, further cutting into the Tory vote. Overarching these two factors is that rather than being a seat with a Tory incumbent it is now a vacant seat. If you are in Northwest Norfolk and want a non-Tory MP voting for Jo Rust on December 12th is your chance, and it is a better one than in some considerable time. A couple of links to end this section, both from Tax Research UK:

  1. Confirmation that this is The Climate Election in the form of this piece titled “People want zero carbon by 2030. It’s what the Green New Deal requires.
  2. The Tax Research UK take on the succession of Tory Disasters.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Two adult swans escorting three rather large juveniles (the grey plumage confirms that they are still technically juveniles).

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A spider web in a section of town wall.

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This spider web, enhanced by the effect if rain, is in my back garden – the handle of the peg basket is in shot to give it scale,

Two Great Manifestos

Covering the Labour and We Own It manifestos.

INTRODUCTION

The two manifestos to which I refer are those the Labour Party and the We Own It Campaign. In this post, which as a purely political post features text that alternates between red and green I will share links to some of the posts that the Labour Manifesto has already generated, and links to both manifestos and some of my own thoughts. 

THE WE OWN IT MANIFESTO

This is a must-read document about public ownership. At the end of the document there is a link to click to enable you contact your candidates to ask them if they will support these measures – I have just done so. As a sampler, here is the section on Railways:

Railways

As a coda to the above I point out that most of our railways are in the hands of profit making arms of other countries state owned railways – the Dutch state owned railway by way of Abellio operates more track in this country than there is in the whole of the Netherlands.

THE LABOUR MANIFESTO

I recently shared the draft version of this manifesto with you, The final version was released yesterday, and is every bit as good as expected. The screenshot below shows the scope of the document. Please do read it in full – primary sources are always better than secondary, even on those occasions when the authors of the secondary sources don’t have axes to grind.

LM

MORE ON THE LABOUR MANIFESTO

In this section I will share four links to posts concerned with the Labour Manifesto:

  1. Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK first response was this post, titled “Labour has delivered a good manifesto for the UK
  2. Following up on the above post, Prof. Murphy has also produced the following, titled “How to pay for renationalisation
  3. The Skwawkbox have produced a piece that combines commenting on the Labour Manifesto with showing the sheer desperation of the Tory response to it. This post also has an excellent accompanying graphic, reproduced below:
    con fake news grinder.png
  4. Jeff Goulding on RAMBLINGS OF AN ORDINARY MAN has produced a splendid piece titled “Labour’s manifesto: a triumph of leadership and hope over cynicism and despair“, a very detailed analysis accompanied with some excellent pictures, one of which I reproduce below:

JUNE 8TH

I have no objection to tactical voting where such represents a chance to be rid of a Tory. In certain seats, notably Brighton Pavilion which they already hold and the Isle of Wight among others I would unhesitatingly call for a vote for the Greens, given that they have stepped aside in no fewer than 30 seats to improve Labour chances there and that I have a great deal of time for the Greens. In my own constituency of North West Norfolk there is only one way for any progressively minded person to vote – for Labour Candidate Jo Rust. Make sure you use your vote on June 8th.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just a few photos to end this post:

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Lot 1107 in James and Sons upcoming auction.
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1107-a – A Northern line train of 1956 stock.
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1107-b: The last two items in the album.
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Mama duck with her brood, the Gaywood River near Beulah Street.

Dream Cabinet

INTRODUCTION

This post is my response to Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK’s challenge to come up with a dream cabinet. I do not quite have a full  cabinet here but I do have names, positions and explanations and/ or justifications for all my choices. I will start by listing the names and positions, and will then go into a little more detail in the next section about my reasons.

THE SELECTIONS

These are the positions I have managed to fill:

Prime Minister – Debbie Abrahams

Deputy Prime Minister – Angela Rayner

Chancellor of the Exchequer – Richard Murphy

Home Secretary – Kerry-Anne Mendoza

Foreign Secretary – Clive Lewis

Business Secretary – Rebecca Long-Bailey

Health Secretary – Jo Rust

Environment – Caroline Lucas

Transport – Thomas Sutcliffe

Neurodiversity Minister – Paddy-Joe Moran (askpergers.wordpress.com)

Education Secretary – Michael Rosen

Arts – Anna Bohlin

Sports – Elizabeth Ammon (@legsidelizzy)

Scottish Secretary – Mhairi Black

Disabilities – Paula Peters (DPAC)

Science – Patricia Fara

Work and Pensions – Mike Sivier

Women and Equality – Kate Osamor

Welsh Secretary – Leanne Wood

Defence – Emily Thornberry

Housing and Planning – Sian Berry

We now move on to the the….

EXPLANATIONS/ JUSTIFICATIONS

I will take each position in the order in which they appear above:

Prime Minister – Debbie Abrahams

Debbie Abrahams has impressed me ever since she entered the shadow cabinet to the extent that I was determined to put her in a top position, and in the end I opted for the top position for her.

Deputy Prime Minister – Angela Rayner

Another who has been consistently impressive since her promotion to the front bench. From what I read of her performance on Question time when she had to contend with three very right wing fellow panelists, a Liberal Democrat and the mloderator, Mr Arch-Establishment Dimbleby (I was not able to watch for myself as I refuse to let the BBC have any of my money) she seems to have done a fine job of further underlining her credentials.

Chancellor of the Exchequer – Richard Murphy

We need his kind of economic vision as a matter of urgency, and how better to get it and than have the man himself as chancellor of the exchequer.

Home Secretary – Kerry-Anne Mendoza

Editor of The Canary and author of many splendid articles. I am sufficiently impressed by what I have seen of her that I have no doubts about putting her straight into one of the four so-called “great offices of state”.

Foreign Secretary – Clive Lewis

He was always going to feature somewhere in my dream cabinet, and I have decided that this is the right role for him.

Business Secretary – Rebecca Long-Bailey

Someone else who has said a lot of the right things since joining the front bench.

Health Secretary – Jo Rust

The Labour Party candidate for Northwest Norfolk (my constituency) at the last general election, active in many roles and a passionate supporter of the NHS. Exactly the right kind of person to take on the formidable task of repairing the ruin caused by the likes of Lansley and Hunt.

Environment – Caroline Lucas

I want environmental policy in the hands of someone who is committed to protecting the environment, and to me no one ticks that box more definitively than Ms Lucas.

Transport – Thomas Sutcliffe

I am aware that it is always risky for selectors to pick themselves, but I believe I can justify this one. I have a lifetime’s knowledge of and commitment to public transport. Although I am creator of a London transport themed website, London would actually be at the back of the queue for attention from me is at it is less badly off transport-wise than the rest of the country. 

Neurodiversity Minister – Paddy-Joe Moran

Paddy-Joe is autistic, the author of several books about autism and also writes the askpergers blog. Having decided to revive the idea of this post (see here for more details) it was a question of who to select for it. I wanted my Neurodiversity Minister to be neurodiverse themselves and in the end I went for Paddy-Joe.

Education Secretary – Michael Rosen

He would bring a lifetime’s knowledge and passionate commitment to the post. Education in this country would improve massively with Michael Rosen in this role.

Arts – Anna Bohlin

I do not know whether we could persuade her to come over from Sweden, but I am sure that she would be excellent in this role and would work well with her cabinet colleagues. For more details about her consult her blog

Sports – Elizabeth Ammon

Also known by hew twitter handle – legsidelizzy. In addition to her cricket writing and commentaries she has made some very sound political points. 

Scottish Secretary – Mhairi Black

Always assuming Scotland have not yet declared indepence, I would want Mhairi Black, who is the youngest but also one of the most impressive MPs currently in the house, in my cabinet, and this would seem the ideal role for her.

Disabilities – Paula Peters

I have gone for someone who is disabled and heavily involved in DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) for this important role.

Science – Patricia Fara

Author of a book on the history of science, a scientist herself and an impressive speaker (I have heard her give a talk here in King’s Lynn). She got the nod ahead of Brian Cox because I decided that I wanted a woman in charge of science policy.

Work and Pensions – Mike Sivier

Author of the Vox Political blog, carer and very knowledgeable about the misdeeds of the DWP under the Tories he would be an excellent person to undertake the task of putting this area back on track.

Women and Equality – Kate Osamor

Like several of my other choices she has impressed ever since taking her place on the front bench, and she would be well suited to this role.

Welsh Secretary – Leanne Wood

Occasionally sounds too excitable for her own good, but says a lot of good things, and I believe would do them in this role.

Defence – Emily Thornberry

As shadow defence secretary (before being moved to shadow foreign secretary) she was quite impressive.

Housing and Planning – Sian Berry

She ran an excellent campaign for Mayor of London which deserved better reward than third place (in particular, it was a travesty that she ended up behind Goldsmith after he ran such a disgraceful campaign, but also for my money Khan could have had no complaints had she won outright). This is a position I would definitely want in the hands of someone thoroughly committed to protecting the environment. To reuse a remark I originally made as a comment in response to one of Anna’s posts

Preservation of nature needs to be at the heart of planning decisions, not an optional (and often despised) extra. Your battle in Trosa is a battle for all of us everywhere.

PHOTOGRAPHS

After all that text here are some photographs for a bit of light relief…

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The first seven pictures are from yesterday – this is the East Rudham (my parents’ village) egg shop

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Starting with this one my remaining pictures are from today.

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PUBLIC MEETING ON DISABILITY AND PROTEST AGAINST POTENTIAL CLOSURE OF THE FERMOY UNIT

Accounts of a public meeting about disability and a protest against the possible closure of the Fermoy Unit, enlivened with photographs. Read, enjoy and please share!

INTRODUCTION

I am treating these two events together because my attendance at each was connected, and I talked about one at the other. While I had strong personal reasons for attending both events, I was also motivated by not wanting to be in a position of “when they came for me there was no one left to speak out”. I will deal with the two events in chronological order and at the very end will also share some unrelated photos.

THE PUBLIC MEETING ON DISABILITY

This toom place at the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich on Thursday evening. After speeches from various prominent local campaigners came the keynote speech of the evening. This was Roddy Slorach, author of “The Politics of Disability”, talking about the ideas expounded in his book. After this there was time for contributions from the floor. It was during this period that today’s demonstration was mentioned, and more details provided by me as the second part of my own contribution following mentioning the Positive Autism Awareness Conference of the previous Friday. Here are some photos from that evening for you…

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One of the organizing groups displayed this banner.
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Equal Lives provided this superb display board
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Norfolk DPAC had this on show
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A shot of the platform
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The full platform plus the young woman doing sign language translations for deaf people.

THE PROTEST AGAINST THE POSSIBLE CLOSURE OF THE FERMOY UNIT

I took custody of the National Autistic Society West Norfolk Branch banners and some NAS flags yesterday evening, and worked out a way to set up the banners that was suitable for them being on a march:

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Some string and a couple of old cricket stumps provided my answer to the question of how to make these banners suitable for carrying on a march. The appearance may be less than convincing, but it held up for the duration of the march – job done!

We assembled at the bandstand in The Walks at 12 noon, and Jo Rust who did most of the organizing introduced a few speakers, before we set off on our march around the town. Many people expressed support for us while we marched through town, and at least one person took the trouble to express their gratitude that NAS were represented on the march. The event then finished with a few speeches outside the Majestic Cinema. Although organized by the local Labour Party and the King’s Lynn and District Trades Union Council this march was not a party political event, and Sir Henry Bellingham MP had been invited to attend and to make a speech, an invitation that he spurned. The turnout was excellent, helped by bright sunny weather (yes there was a serious nip to the wind, but this is King’s Lynn after all).

I finish this brief account with a few photos…

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At the bandstand
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A great placard produced by a teenage mental health camapigner
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The same placard
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The NAS West Norfolk banner post-march
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Jo Rust making her final speech of the day.

SOME UNRELATED PHOTOS

I start this section with a photographic message for those who have reached this part of the post…

TY4

My remaining photos are presented as a’tiled mosaic’ – to view an individual image at full size click on it…

Saturday Scattergun

A pot-pourri of a post in which you can read a great story from Paula Peters of DPAC, an account of England’s win in the World T20, find a petition to sign and share and link to the latest post on my website.

INTRODUCTION

I have a few new pictures to share, a few good links to share, a good news story that has already had considerable attention but is so great I just have to share it (it will also be going on my London transport themed website for reasons that will become obvious) and news of today’s game in the World T20.

A GREAT STORY FROM PAULA PETERS

PP

ENGLAND DO IT THE HARD WAY

England lost the toss and were put in by Sri  Lanka in today’s all-or-nothing game in the World T20. A magnificent innings by Jos Buttler (66 off 37 balls) boosted England’s total to an adequate 170. It looked even better when Sri Lanka were 25-4 in the sixth over of the reply, but this England team never seem to do things the easy way. With Angelo Matthews blazing away, Sri Lanka got back into the contest and at times looked like they could do it. Then, with 15 needed off the final over, Ben Stokes who had earlier hit the last ball of the England innings for 6 (the only ball he faced as well!) and taken a fine catch, kept a cool head, and remarkably conceded just four off that over to finish with 0-19 from his four overs. Thus England won by four runs, and will face New Zealand in the semi-final, at the same ground and on the same day as the England women take on Australia in their semi-final.

LINKS

Just a couple of links today:

  • A petition launched by Jo Rust to save King’s Lynn’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Please click here, and sign and share Jo’s petition.
  • A link to the most recent post on my London transport themed website, which deals with St Albans and St Albans Abbey.

THE PICTURES

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Seven (count ’em) boats moored at the jetty today.

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Jailbird! Actually of course this is an ordinary fence and it just looks like the bird is behind bars.

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This map con be seen outside King’s Lynn train station.
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These last three pics featured in my St Albans website post

SAASt Albans Connection