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Month: October 2011

A trip for chocolate cake marred by an episode of horrendous parenting

Every so often I see good parenting and my heart sighs and for a brief moment I think that maybe having a kid would be cool. This passes swiftly enough so don’t worry (and of course the fact that I’m not the prettiest person in the world kinda doesn’t help) but I digress. I have these brief moments every so often but then you get events like I’ve just witnessed tonight.

In a whim I decided I wanted some chocolate cake (see I can be a good Lib Dem…) and in the half time break of the football I headed out to Tesco Express across the road to see what they had. I walk in and walk straight to the yellow sticker section but no chocolate cakes. Damn.

I make my way to the proper full priced cake section and my preference was out of stock but the Belgian Chocolate Cake was there and I had to make a decision.

It seemed so simple but my brain couldn’t make a decision as it couldn’t concentrate because something else was taking its attention away from the important issue of cake. It was a kid. The kid had been screaming and his father was busy on his phone yelling at his other half via his mobile as to whether she wanted green or blue top milk, ‘make up your fucking mind, I have a taxi running outside, do you want blue or green fucking milk?’ he blasted out.

Doing the very British thing of tutting out of site and shaking my head I made my decision. Cake it was to be but before I had leaned down and picked up my chocolatey treat I heard this banging. Turning round the kid was kicking the self-service till.

I don’t mean playfully I mean hard enough to make a rather large sound and as I approached the checkout with a person I could see the till shaking. The kid wasn’t stopping and me and the checkout woman look at each other. The father wasn’t to be seen.

As I was paying for my goods I hear the father come up and laugh and exclaim whilst laughing ‘I know that’s the safe till but no money will come out no matter how hard you kick it’ and the kid kicks the till as hard as he can and the father laughs.

I walk out and glance as the other worker there and we give each other that knowing look. The parent was an absolute arsehole and that maybe strong but I truly believe with parenting like that then the kid has no chance in life whatsoever to grow up and be a decent human being.

The kid wasn’t a toddler either – he was probably 5 or 6. The dad thought that criminal damage and kicking in a till was a laughing matter well you know what mate – it isn’t – it makes you look like the biggest dickhead around.

Poor kid. He has no chance.

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Lib Dems – Stick a fork in us – we’re done

Well it’s been fun. 1988 seems like only yesterday – well actually no it doesn’t – it seems like a bloody long time ago. I was only five when the SDP and the Liberals joined forces to form the party I would grow up to join. In 1988 I don’t think I had read all the manifestos and put together my political thoughts. I did though sing in the playground, ‘Maggie Thatcher put her in a bin, put the lid on sellotape her in, if she pops out kick her in the kick woo, glory glory Maggie Thatcher’s dead’. It impresses me that someone knew this ryhme and that it spread. It displeases me how immature I was though. I was only five I will contest. However that was the year our party formed but now it’s all over.

As The Hollies would say…

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

So true Allan. The road has been long and the twists and turns have been many. No-one expected that party would ever really infiltrate those in power. We had hopes and ambitions but they were just that. In 1997 Paddy Ashdown made strides and put us firmly in the third party position.

We had hopes of a referendum on electoral reform but Tony Blair would renege on his promise. Then in 2010 the chance was grasped. A perfect storm of no-one trusting Labour on the economy (well no-one relatively speaking) and no-one trusting the Tories on anything (again no-one relatively speaking led to a hung parliament. The Lib Dems stepped in and went into a coalition with the Tories and helped put parts of their manifesto into action for the first time. It was a joyous moment but then it led us to where we are today…

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me

We had the welfare of the nation in mind. Putting the nation before our own interests was how we perceived it. Some however did not. They said the Lib Dems sold out to have a ministerial car. They truly believe(d) that the people at the top of the party would sell out all their principles just to look big.

The burden of that is great and the burden of tuition fees is one that we carry with the weight hanging around our necks. We thought we could get closer to where we wanted to be – in a freer and fairer society but no, it wasn’t to be.

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

The sadness that fills my heart that the dream is over is taking over my senses. The party that didn’t stand for the working class person nor did it stand for the middle or upper classes – it just stood for people. The party that believed that we were all born equal and deserved to be treated the same.

It wasn’t robbing from the rich to give to the poor and nor was it formed with the intention of keeping all the money for the rich and kicking the poor whilst they were down. It was formed to bring a third way where everyone could be who they wanted to be and there would be no stigma’s. It was a dream but the alarm clock has gone off and now I’m wide awake in a land of only two political parties.

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

The road has been long. It has been pounded day and night by many in those 23 years. The party grew both in terms of members and in terms of the popular vote. MPs may have gone down in 2010 but the influence has gone way up. In the build up to the election prominent political journalists from all over the free world even wrote articles on could the party even win an outright majority in the 2010 General Election.

One leading poll even had the Lib Dems on top at one point in the election campaign. Times they were a changing but the burden of not being Labour or the Tories weighed us down. People didn’t know what we would be like in power and they were scared. They hated the foreigners and the Lib Dems kinda liked them. They hated the EU but the Lib Dems gave it the thumbs up. People hated the Euro but the Lib Dems weren’t ruling it out and most of all people are scared by change. The Lib Dems offered change but was it the type of change people wanted?

The people voted with their engrained feelings rather than with their heads or their hearts and the dream died that sunny May day in 2010.

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

So long Lib Dems. You haven’t been a burden. You have been a ray of light in an otherwise overcast and depressing world of politics. You have stood up for people and not believed in one form of human over another. You believe that a kid from a council estate can be as great as one born with a silver spoon and that kid with a silver spoon could be as awful as the kid from a council estate. Backgrounds didn’t matter but people did. I believed in you.

However I read on twitter tonight that with the Lib Dems only getting 8% and 9% respectively in a poll in 2011 – which is three and a half years before the country goes to the polls again in terms of the House of Commons – means that the party is finished. I didn’t know it was so cut n dry and so simple.

Some people are morons.

Keep the faith folks. We’re doing just fine…

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Reason the Death Penalty is wack #268 – The Dewey Bozella story

Ah the Death Penalty. The most extreme of sentences that can be given out by a Court of Law. In the main most Lib Dems believe that the sentence is unjust and is too far. Some don;’t but that is their call. However the majority of people in the UK would be far more open to the return of the sentence in UK law compared to those in the Lib Dem bubble. The electorate or the General Public – either/or – are far more open to mob rule and the ending of someone’s life.

Personally I’m very much against it. You can make prison a pretty unpleasant experience if you like but ending the life of another human being on purpose without their consent is just plain wrong. Yes there are some evil people out there who probably don’t deserve to share the same air as you or I but who are we to say that they don’t deserve the right to life? Just because one person is evil and one isn’t doesn’t say to say that the evil person is any less human than the person who isn’t.

Anyway we get on to the case of Dewey Bozella. He’s a 52 year-old man who made headlines at the weekend for winning his first (and according to him) only professional boxing fight. Nice story but when you look deeper the reason it made headlines is because he has spent 26 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The murder of an 82 year-old woman. The reason the conviction was quashed? It came to light that the Dutchess County district attorney had failed to disclose crucial evidence which would have proved Bozella’s innocence.

So the local DA had the evidence that would have proved his innocence but they decided not to disclose this. We aren’t talking a corrupt regime here – we are talking the supposed land of the free. If in the USA you can have people who whilst maybe not bent – but certainly aren’t straight in positions of power then there will always be miscarriages of justice.

A case I will always point to is the case involving Durham County’s District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse Rape case. I wonder how people would have reacted had that story been in the UK and been more prominent. There are plenty of people I know who were ready to convict the accused before due process had been reached. When the actuals facts and details came out the case collapsed and the men walked free but it goes to show that a DA might not just have justice at the forefront of their minds. They have political and racial issues to tend to as well.

Dewey Bozella was never sentenced to the death penalty but had he lived in another state then he may well have done. He didn’t commit any crime on the day in question and even though he lost 26 years of his life through no fault of his own – he still had a life and when he walked free to had a life to get back to. If he was put to death then what?

I suppose it comes down to this. If even one innocent person is put to death wrongly then the death penalty is just not on. I don’t see there to be any way you can argue against it. I see people say that the death penalty should be for those who ‘truly deserve it’ and for those we are ‘100% sure did the crime’ – well a jury was sure this man did the crime. All jury’s are sure the defendant did the crime otherwise they would convict.

Sadly a miscarriage of justice isn’t a headline any more – it happens every single day in courts up and down the country and all over the world. There are people who act for reasons beyond that of justice. You can never be 100 sure about any conviction where the defendant has protested their innocence. There will always be that small seed of doubt in the back of your mind. Is there evidence that hasn’t been put before the court? Is the evidence all accurate and not contaminated?

There will always be questions and for that reason the death penalty is not the way forward.

Guido Fawkes or Paul Staines as he is otherwise known launched an e-petition for a debate on the restoration of capital punishment in the UK a few months ago in a blaze of publicity that was picked up on by many newspapers. With several MPs backing him it seemed to have a chance but they needed 100,000 signatures on the e-petition and as of writing the blog the count stands at 21,950. This makes me happy.

Dewey Bozella – another man whose life story is another reason why the death penalty is not for me.

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The Dream of MoD Paddy is over…for now

When the coalition cabinet was being forced in the early part of summer 2010 the political commentators were awash with stories that Paddy Ashdown was going to become Secretary of State for Defence but in the end it wasn’t to be. For whatever reason Cameron & Clegg went in another direction and the dream died.

In the past week or so that dream became slightly more possible and whilst hope was never really in a position to make a push up my emotions I could still daydream. That small isolated part of my brain that was dealing with hope for a Paddy Ashdown appointment has been extinguished as today Philip Hammond was appointed into the role vacated by Dr Liam Fox after his resignation was accepted by David Cameron earlier this afternoon.

I know I’m a Lib Dem so I have some levels of bias but I think Paddy Ashdown in that position would have not only had the respect of both sides of the house but also from the electorate who would like Paddy’s well-known credentials for that particular job. It would be one of those rare appointments to a job in the cabinet that most people would look at and say ‘yeah that makes sense – he’ll do a good job’ and even hard line Labour MPs and voters would think he’s probably do a good job in that role.

Sadly due to the way the cabinet is made up had Paddy come in another Lib Dem would have had to go and in all likelihood that would either be Chris Huhne or Vince Cable. One is doing a great job and the other is Vince Cable. I love Vince but he has looked out of place in the cabinet and unless he had direct control of the governments finances I just don’t see a role for him.

In an ideal world I would have exchanged Paddy in Defence for Vince at Business. However this is not an ideal world and when I go to bed at night my dreams won’t be of Paddy saving our armed forces but in all honesty my dreams are whack anyway. Last night I dreamt of David Allen Green dressed as a medieval knight along with my old uni buddy Peter Donelan and all three of us had been skived off work to be extras for a new Pepsi ad and we were in a room floating on the River Thames which started to take in water.


Still no MoD Paddy. This leads to sad Neil. Maybe a Chinese or a trip to the chippy will cheer me up…

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MPs can carry on tweeting away in the House of Commons until their hearts content

This afternoon I actually sat through a whole debate on whether MPs can use hand held devices within the chamber. What I saw was basically a few of the old guard (and Simon Hughes – really Simon? Why would you do it to me? You seem so cool and up with everything and then you go and diss twitter and say that it should be banned in the chamber. I’m hurt. Hurt I tells ye…) anyway a few of the old guard saying that if they liked they could sit and watch the cricket whilst in the house and that wouldn’t be them doing their job whilst many younger faced MPs said it gave us the electorate a better feel of what is going on within the chamber.

I must say I rarely (for rarely read never) look at the timetable for debates but if I see something interesting enough being talked about on twitter I’ll boot up iPlayer and watch BBC Parliament to catch what is going on. The world is moving forward and it is doing so at a rapid pace.

More and more people are using social networking these days not only to keep in touch with friends but to find out what is going on in the world. My twitter feed has several sections if you like but two of them are UK and US sports journalists. If something breaks it’ll be on twitter first and then I can know about it as quickly as possible.

It is the same with regards to what is going on politically. The fastest way of knowing about something is twitter so therefore it is a usual service for those interested in keeping up to date with what is going down in the Commons.

For the MP who was talking about watching the cricket – I think it was Sir Alan Hazelhurst – who said that hand held devices could be used for example to watch the cricket then yes they could but that wouldn’t be right. MPs use these devices in the main to keep the electorate and those interested up to speed with the goings on. That is providing a service to the people of this country.

Someone watching the cricket is not. It is up to an MP themselves to decide if watching the cricket is a good use of time spent within the chamber or not. All MPs have their own concious that they have to follow but to deny MPs the right to tweet and use the internet to check out facts in a debate was to be quite frank – preposterous.

But the right team won by a score of 206 to 63. MPs aren’t straitjacketed into living in a bubble whilst in the House of Commons. This is good news for all concerned. Now if only they could install wifi then it could make the MPs lives a whole lot easier and allow us – the electorate – an even bigger insight into what they are doing as it won’t kill the batteries nor will it take an age to send a tweet or to load up a website.

The internet is here to stay and sticking heads in the sand would be no good for anyone.

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Delighted at extra funding for Southend children who need it most – Welch

The man who got a little x from myself in a ballot box in May 2010 is happy that the Pupil Premium is going where it is needed locally and sent out the following Press Release this evening that I am (possibly lazily) going to copy and paste in full:

The announcement that Liberal Democrats in government have been able to increase the Pupil Premium has delighted their standard-bearer in Southend West at the last election.

Peter Welch said “Raising the cash that schools receive for educating children from the poorest backgrounds was a key pledge in the General Election. I’m convinced it was one of the reasons we got such a strong result in Southend West. And I am delighted that schools in Southend will be receiving more than £2m through the pupil premium – £488 for every child on free school meals.

“It is my firm belief that we have wasted too much talent in this country. We need to open up jobs and opportunities to everyone, no matter what their back ground. the Pupil Premium is part of the answer.”

In year two of the scheme, every school is guaranteed an extra £488 (last year £430) from the Government for every child on free school meals and every looked-after child.

In Southend-on-Sea this should mean around £2,072,000 in extra cash. In neighbouring areas the impact will also be significant. In Castle Point, for example, schools expect to receive £688,000 in the coming year.

Commenting, Sarah Teather, Children’s Minister said : “it’s a distinctively Liberal Democrat policy. Liberal Democrats designed it, campaigned for it, and made it a priority in the Coalition negotiations. Liberal Democrats in government have found the money to make it happen.”

The Liberal Democrats fought the election on four priority policies: creating Green jobs, introducing the pupil premium, raising income tax thresholds to £10,000, and reforming the political system so that politicians are really held to account.

Massive progress has been made on three of these priorities. The Green Investment Bank has been agreed. Income tax thresholds have been increased. From £6475 at the time of the General Election they will be £8345 from April – a move that means hundreds of thousands of people on modest incomes will no longer need to pay income tax. And the pupil premium will make a big difference to the schools with the kids who need most support. Hopes for a better, more accountable political system were, however, hit by the defeat of the referendum on a fiarer voting system.

Good stuff as always Peter. It is something we have brought to pupils around the country that wasn’t going to happen without us. When people ask ‘What have the Lib Dems done for us?’ then this is something we can proudly point at. This is a start of a journey that hopefully will lead to equality of opportunity for everyone and that is something I think we all wish for.

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Southend-on-Sea schools to get £2,072,000 in Pupil Premium – Lib Dem Win!

If you are a parent with kids anywhere in England then today you can find out just how much how local schools will receive thanks to the Pupil Premium which was a staple of the Liberal Democrats manifesto. The Pupil Premium is there is give extra money to schools for every student who comes from a disadvantaged background to help ensure they get just as much of a chance of an excellent education as those who come from a more advantaged background.

I live in Southend and as area we will receive just over £2million extra for the school year 2011/2012. My constituency of Rochford & Southend East will receive £1,267,000 to go around it’s schools. When you think of it in those terms then this is real money making a real impact at schools and not just a bit of fluff. Yes we’d all like it to be more but I think an extra two million across the town in terms of schooling is a pretty darn decent start.

I makes no bones about my background coming from a council estate where you could see talent out there but it was hard to tap that talent because people lacked ambition. Many think that they can’t amount to anything so they don’t bother trying. It is a culture that we need to address. Anyone has it in them to become whatever they so desire. Talent needs to be nurtured and given time to flourish. People from disadvantaged backgrounds may need more time because swimming against the grain sometimes is hard but you have to give everyone the same chances in life as possible and that is something the Pupil Premium is looking to address (albeit in a small way) but it is better to take one step forward than to take no steps at all.

The Pupil Premium is a great start in my opinion but that is all it is – a start – but to finish a race you have to start it and now the gun has fired on giving everyone whatever their background the same opportunities in life and that is a race I hope we’ll be able to finish at some point in my lifetime.

Please see below for a full breakdown of funds by constituency.

Aldershot £928,000
Aldridge-Brownhills £1,004,000
Altrincham and Sale West £565,000
Amber Valley £937,000
Arundel and South Downs £318,000
Ashfield £1,281,000
Ashford £1,005,000
Ashton-under-Lyne £1,367,000
Aylesbury £683,000
Banbury £889,000
Barking £2,611,000
Barnsley Central £1,289,000
Barnsley East £1,344,000
Barrow and Furness £1,009,000
Basildon and Billericay £847,000
Basingstoke £969,000
Bassetlaw £1,009,000
Bath £576,000
Batley and Spen £1,150,000
Battersea £1,050,000
Beaconsfield £431,000
Beckenham £546,000
Bedford £1,320,000
Bermondsey and Old Southwark £2,852,000
Berwick-upon-Tweed £518,000
Bethnal Green and Bow £4,892,000
Beverley and Holderness £699,000
Bexhill and Battle £713,000
Bexleyheath and Crayford £1,065,000
Birkenhead £1,986,000
Birmingham, Edgbaston £1,932,000
Birmingham, Erdington £2,318,000
Birmingham, Hall Green £2,484,000
Birmingham, Hodge Hill £4,188,000
Birmingham, Ladywood £4,764,000
Birmingham, Northfield £2,259,000
Birmingham, Perry Barr £2,634,000
Birmingham, Selly Oak £2,176,000
Birmingham, Yardley £3,262,000
Bishop Auckland £1,293,000
Blackburn £2,083,000
Blackley and Broughton £2,610,000
Blackpool North and Cleveleys £1,281,000
Blackpool South £1,411,000
Blaydon £901,000
Blyth Valley £1,061,000
Bognor Regis and Littlehampton £554,000
Bolsover £1,082,000
Bolton North East £1,258,000
Bolton South East £1,798,000
Bolton West £1,094,000
Bootle £1,728,000
Boston and Skegness £867,000
Bosworth £617,000
Bournemouth East £811,000
Bournemouth West £915,000
Bracknell £636,000
Bradford East £2,597,000
Bradford South £2,070,000
Bradford West £2,395,000
Braintree £704,000
Brent Central £2,316,000
Brent North £2,149,000
Brentford and Isleworth £1,607,000
Brentwood and Ongar £403,000
Bridgwater and West Somerset £1,034,000
Brigg and Goole £645,000
Brighton, Kemptown £954,000
Brighton, Pavilion £789,000
Bristol East £1,019,000
Bristol North West £1,439,000
Bristol South £1,840,000
Bristol West £1,144,000
Broadland £468,000
Bromley and Chislehurst £929,000
Bromsgrove £567,000
Broxbourne £1,002,000
Broxtowe £684,000
Buckingham £279,000
Burnley £1,499,000
Burton £1,010,000
Bury North £919,000
Bury South £996,000
Bury St Edmunds £703,000
Calder Valley £913,000
Camberwell and Peckham £2,423,000
Camborne and Redruth £840,000
Cambridge £652,000
Cannock Chase £1,010,000
Canterbury £947,000
Carlisle £831,000
Carshalton and Wallington £1,163,000
Castle Point £688,000
Central Devon £481,000
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich £555,000
Charnwood £509,000
Chatham and Aylesford £1,102,000
Cheadle £638,000
Chelmsford £678,000
Chelsea and Fulham £1,425,000
Cheltenham £751,000
Chesham and Amersham £365,000
Chesterfield £953,000
Chichester £517,000
Chingford and Woodford Green £1,137,000
Chippenham £692,000
Chipping Barnet £1,197,000
Chorley £856,000
Christchurch £480,000
Cities of London and Westminster £1,073,000
City of Chester £845,000
City of Durham £792,000
Clacton £1,121,000
Cleethorpes £887,000
Colchester £1,176,000
Colne Valley £1,142,000
Congleton £513,000
Copeland £675,000
Corby £1,030,000
Coventry North East £2,007,000
Coventry North West £1,349,000
Coventry South £1,591,000
Crawley £884,000
Crewe and Nantwich £1,085,000
Croydon Central £2,014,000
Croydon North £2,071,000
Croydon South £1,111,000
Dagenham and Rainham £1,922,000
Darlington £1,353,000
Dartford £875,000
Daventry £606,000
Denton and Reddish £1,062,000
Derby North £1,398,000
Derby South £1,833,000
Derbyshire Dales £343,000
Devizes £850,000
Dewsbury £1,365,000
Don Valley £1,293,000
Doncaster Central £1,397,000
Doncaster North £1,424,000
Dover £1,042,000
Dudley North £1,409,000
Dudley South £898,000
Dulwich and West Norwood £1,690,000
Ealing Central and Acton £1,146,000
Ealing North £2,155,000
Ealing, Southall £1,542,000
Easington £1,460,000
East Devon £551,000
East Ham £3,924,000
East Hampshire £499,000
East Surrey £577,000
East Worthing and Shoreham £617,000
East Yorkshire £869,000
Eastbourne £1,041,000
Eastleigh £641,000
Eddisbury £639,000
Edmonton £2,754,000
Ellesmere Port and Neston £924,000
Elmet and Rothwell £751,000
Eltham £1,894,000
Enfield North £2,777,000
Enfield, Southgate £986,000
Epping Forest £685,000
Epsom and Ewell £503,000
Erewash £1,075,000
Erith and Thamesmead £1,869,000
Esher and Walton £418,000
Exeter £884,000
Fareham £601,000
Faversham and Mid Kent £665,000
Feltham and Heston £1,731,000
Filton and Bradley Stoke £605,000
Finchley and Golders Green £1,165,000
Folkestone and Hythe £1,240,000
Forest of Dean £589,000
Fylde £469,000
Gainsborough £737,000
Garston and Halewood £1,665,000
Gateshead £1,318,000
Gedling £912,000
Gillingham and Rainham £1,055,000
Gloucester £1,363,000
Gosport £1,109,000
Grantham and Stamford £743,000
Gravesham £1,048,000
Great Grimsby £1,341,000
Great Yarmouth £1,223,000
Greenwich and Woolwich £1,721,000
Guildford £522,000
Hackney North and Stoke Newington £2,188,000
Hackney South and Shoreditch £2,662,000
Halesowen and Rowley Regis £1,006,000
Halifax £1,514,000
Haltemprice and Howden £685,000
Halton £2,039,000
Hammersmith £1,766,000
Hampstead and Kilburn £1,374,000
Harborough £687,000
Harlow £1,012,000
Harrogate and Knaresborough £510,000
Harrow East £1,337,000
Harrow West £1,065,000
Hartlepool £1,741,000
Harwich and North Essex £615,000
Hastings and Rye £1,548,000
Havant £1,144,000
Hayes and Harlington £1,887,000
Hazel Grove £602,000
Hemel Hempstead £991,000
Hemsworth £1,273,000
Hendon £1,926,000
Henley £461,000
Hereford and South Herefordshire £737,000
Hertford and Stortford £601,000
Hertsmere £841,000
Hexham £344,000
Heywood and Middleton £1,568,000
High Peak £662,000
Hitchin and Harpenden £450,000
Holborn and St Pancras £2,775,000
Hornchurch and Upminster £937,000
Hornsey and Wood Green £2,224,000
Horsham £314,000
Houghton and Sunderland South £1,162,000
Hove £863,000
Huddersfield £1,226,000
Huntingdon £802,000
Hyndburn £1,433,000
Ilford North £1,536,000
Ilford South £2,224,000
Ipswich £1,181,000
Isle of Wight £1,359,000
Islington North £2,658,000
Islington South and Finsbury £2,216,000
Jarrow £1,340,000
Keighley £978,000
Kenilworth and Southam £341,000
Kensington £1,140,000
Kettering £856,000
Kingston and Surbiton £768,000
Kingston upon Hull East £1,924,000
Kingston upon Hull North £1,623,000
Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle £1,266,000
Kingswood £699,000
Knowsley £2,390,000
Lancaster and Fleetwood £787,000
Leeds Central £2,489,000
Leeds East £1,971,000
Leeds North East £1,148,000
Leeds North West £607,000
Leeds West £1,520,000
Leicester East £1,651,000
Leicester South £1,709,000
Leicester West £1,988,000
Leigh £1,209,000
Lewes £587,000
Lewisham East £1,544,000
Lewisham West and Penge £1,756,000
Lewisham, Deptford £1,684,000
Leyton and Wanstead £1,653,000
Lichfield £598,000
Lincoln £1,159,000
Liverpool, Riverside £1,440,000
Liverpool, Walton £2,360,000
Liverpool, Wavertree £1,759,000
Liverpool, West Derby £1,653,000
Loughborough £758,000
Louth and Horncastle £912,000
Ludlow £443,000
Luton North £1,981,000
Luton South £1,638,000
Macclesfield £506,000
Maidenhead £468,000
Maidstone and The Weald £764,000
Makerfield £966,000
Maldon £458,000
Manchester Central £2,804,000
Manchester, Gorton £2,530,000
Manchester, Withington £1,588,000
Mansfield £1,391,000
Meon Valley £423,000
Meriden £1,459,000
Mid Bedfordshire £472,000
Mid Derbyshire £417,000
Mid Dorset and North Poole £538,000
Mid Norfolk £748,000
Mid Sussex £372,000
Mid Worcestershire £599,000
Middlesbrough £2,770,000
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland £1,231,000
Milton Keynes North £1,118,000
Milton Keynes South £1,427,000
Mitcham and Morden £1,184,000
Mole Valley £324,000
Morecambe and Lunesdale £1,057,000
Morley and Outwood £800,000
New Forest East £617,000
New Forest West £424,000
Newark £678,000
Newbury £644,000
Newcastle upon Tyne Central £1,876,000
Newcastle upon Tyne East £1,322,000
Newcastle upon Tyne North £1,016,000
Newcastle-under-Lyme £851,000
Newton Abbot £732,000
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford £1,222,000
North Cornwall £696,000
North Devon £811,000
North Dorset £598,000
North Durham £1,067,000
North East Bedfordshire £623,000
North East Cambridgeshire £1,013,000
North East Derbyshire £688,000
North East Hampshire £390,000
North East Hertfordshire £642,000
North East Somerset £533,000
North Herefordshire £507,000
North Norfolk £513,000
North Shropshire £786,000
North Somerset £424,000
North Swindon £1,016,000
North Thanet £1,038,000
North Tyneside £1,287,000
North Warwickshire £777,000
North West Cambridgeshire £1,259,000
North West Durham £937,000
North West Hampshire £611,000
North West Leicestershire £648,000
North West Norfolk £855,000
North Wiltshire £586,000
Northampton North £1,472,000
Northampton South £859,000
Norwich North £911,000
Norwich South £1,139,000
Nottingham East £1,641,000
Nottingham North £2,464,000
Nottingham South £1,249,000
Nuneaton £995,000
Old Bexley and Sidcup £518,000
Oldham East and Saddleworth £1,489,000
Oldham West and Royton £2,466,000
Orpington £650,000
Oxford East £1,247,000
Oxford West and Abingdon £621,000
Pendle £1,096,000
Penistone and Stocksbridge £591,000
Penrith and The Border £398,000
Peterborough £1,731,000
Plymouth, Moor View £1,728,000
Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport £1,224,000
Poole £584,000
Poplar and Limehouse £3,772,000
Portsmouth North £1,364,000
Portsmouth South £1,274,000
Preston £1,204,000
Pudsey £715,000
Putney £1,070,000
Rayleigh and Wickford £513,000
Reading East £632,000
Reading West £1,357,000
Redcar £1,485,000
Redditch £958,000
Reigate £526,000
Ribble Valley £515,000
Richmond (Yorks) £880,000
Richmond Park £679,000
Rochdale £2,283,000
Rochester and Strood £941,000
Rochford and Southend East £1,267,000
Romford £852,000
Romsey and Southampton North £637,000
Rossendale and Darwen £1,084,000
Rother Valley £996,000
Rotherham £1,540,000
Rugby £683,000
Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner £846,000
Runnymede and Weybridge £537,000
Rushcliffe £545,000
Rutland and Melton £496,000
Saffron Walden £435,000
Salford and Eccles £1,809,000
Salisbury £561,000
Scarborough and Whitby £1,038,000
Scunthorpe £1,273,000
Sedgefield £1,147,000
Sefton Central £762,000
Selby and Ainsty £540,000
Sevenoaks £514,000
Sheffield Central £987,000
Sheffield South East £837,000
Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough £2,338,000
Sheffield, Hallam £546,000
Sheffield, Heeley £1,289,000
Sherwood £882,000
Shipley £848,000
Shrewsbury and Atcham £737,000
Sittingbourne and Sheppey £1,375,000
Skipton and Ripon £446,000
Sleaford and North Hykeham £764,000
Slough £1,667,000
Solihull £673,000
Somerton and Frome £668,000
South Basildon and East Thurrock £1,300,000
South Cambridgeshire £543,000
South Derbyshire £607,000
South Dorset £797,000
South East Cambridgeshire £641,000
South East Cornwall £718,000
South Holland and The Deepings £715,000
South Leicestershire £469,000
South Norfolk £533,000
South Northamptonshire £495,000
South Ribble £688,000
South Shields £1,660,000
South Staffordshire £528,000
South Suffolk £565,000
South Swindon £1,068,000
South Thanet £1,166,000
South West Bedfordshire £846,000
South West Devon £735,000
South West Hertfordshire £435,000
South West Norfolk £896,000
South West Surrey £486,000
South West Wiltshire £770,000
Southampton, Itchen £1,501,000
Southampton, Test £1,212,000
Southend West £769,000
Southport £677,000
Spelthorne £665,000
St Albans £655,000
St Austell and Newquay £890,000
St Helens North £1,572,000
St Helens South and Whiston £1,284,000
St Ives £776,000
Stafford £658,000
Staffordshire Moorlands £513,000
Stalybridge and Hyde £1,309,000
Stevenage £1,020,000
Stockport £907,000
Stockton North £1,375,000
Stockton South £1,179,000
Stoke-on-Trent Central £1,245,000
Stoke-on-Trent North £1,652,000
Stoke-on-Trent South £1,295,000
Stone £419,000
Stourbridge £865,000
Stratford-on-Avon £442,000
Streatham £1,800,000
Stretford and Urmston £1,176,000
Stroud £536,000
Suffolk Coastal £527,000
Sunderland Central £1,405,000
Surrey Heath £587,000
Sutton and Cheam £665,000
Sutton Coldfield £749,000
Tamworth £1,035,000
Tatton £436,000
Taunton Deane £793,000
Telford £1,676,000
Tewkesbury £747,000
The Cotswolds £448,000
The Wrekin £923,000
Thirsk and Malton £512,000
Thornbury and Yate £448,000
Thurrock £1,618,000
Tiverton and Honiton £614,000
Tonbridge and Malling £657,000
Tooting £1,310,000
Torbay £1,021,000
Torridge and West Devon £690,000
Totnes £757,000
Tottenham £2,935,000
Truro and Falmouth £668,000
Tunbridge Wells £546,000
Twickenham £739,000
Tynemouth £989,000
Uxbridge and South Ruislip £1,326,000
Vauxhall £2,001,000
Wakefield £1,001,000
Wallasey £1,980,000
Walsall North £1,940,000
Walsall South £1,753,000
Walthamstow £2,151,000
Wansbeck £1,184,000
Wantage £653,000
Warley £1,985,000
Warrington North £918,000
Warrington South £728,000
Warwick and Leamington £644,000
Washington and Sunderland West £1,701,000
Watford £762,000
Waveney £1,111,000
Wealden £475,000
Weaver Vale £1,111,000
Wellingborough £1,043,000
Wells £598,000
Welwyn Hatfield £820,000
Wentworth and Dearne £1,438,000
West Bromwich East £1,412,000
West Bromwich West £1,506,000
West Dorset £610,000
West Ham £4,429,000
West Lancashire £1,081,000
West Suffolk £668,000
West Worcestershire £590,000
Westminster North £2,512,000
Westmorland and Lonsdale £295,000
Weston-Super-Mare £1,165,000
Wigan £1,239,000
Wimbledon £657,000
Winchester £546,000
Windsor £460,000
Wirral South £888,000
Wirral West £883,000
Witham £526,000
Witney £613,000
Woking £596,000
Wokingham £467,000
Wolverhampton North East £1,732,000
Wolverhampton South East £1,863,000
Wolverhampton South West £1,018,000
Worcester £1,000,000
Workington £710,000
Worsley and Eccles South £1,637,000
Worthing West £460,000
Wycombe £665,000
Wyre and Preston North £646,000
Wyre Forest £918,000
Wythenshawe and Sale East £1,895,000
Yeovil £847,000
York Central £757,000
York Outer £451,000

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Antelope v Mountain Biker Round 1 – with Video – might be the best video I’ve seen this year

So you are in a mountain bike race and usually your main fears are falling off and scraping your knee. You don’t usually fear a wild antelope coming out and taking you out with a boom but that is what happened to Evan van der Spuy as he blind-sided during the Time Freight Express MTB race at Albert Falls Dam.

All sorts of awesome.

He was fine and was released from hospital after a few hours of observation.

So lesson for you all out there. Wear a helmet as it may save your life. Certainly if wild antelope are near…

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Steve Cotterill set for Nottingham Forest job and Pompey fans don’t seem to care

The people of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas hold their breath. Another club wants their manager. Time for the messageboards to get into overdrive and wild gnashing of teeth but wait what do we have here? We seem to have a peaceful and serene state of affairs with more offers to drive him up to Nottingham than to kidknap him until he agrees to stay on as the man in charge of the club.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that I’m not a Steve Cotterill guy. I never have been and I never will be. Rightly or wrongly unless I can either like a guy on a personal level or I see progress on the field then I just can’t like them. Many PFC disliked Yoshi and Rudonja but they both were very nice people off the field and did everything the club asked of them so even though they didn’t work out as players on the field I’ll always like them.

Manager wise in my time I’ve seen a few but I have liked most. Those that I haven’t is because I didn’t see progress. I felt for Terry Fenwick as he was lumped with some awful players from Australia and Alain Perrin had little to no control over signings so what can you do? Jim Smith I loved because you can’t help but love him and he put together the most exciting team of my youth. Had luck shined ever so slightly differently he would have both promoted Portsmouth to the Premier League and won the FA Cup with a team from outside the top flight. Alan Ball is one of the greatest people ever let alone managers. The job he did when he took over a side seven points adrift is nothing short of miraculous and whatever you think of Harry Redknapp you could see the on field product getting better.

Heck even though Avram Grant oversaw our demise out of the top flight he was kinda badly hamstrung but still gave us memories. Cotterill lovers (the few that exist) will say that Grant’s squad was good enough to stay up so why did we as fans like him but then when you point out Pompey’s team in the Championship under Cotterill was the best 1-11 in the division they stonewall you.

I have seen no progress in Pompey under Cotterill. He is not likeable and blames everyone under the sun bar himself for anything bad that happens. If I had seen something then I’d be more willing to overlook the fact that he isn’t likeable but close defeats are still defeats and close defeats whilst playing garbage is even worse. I can deal with losing if we lost whilst trying to entertain and score goals but we don’t do that. I know so many that don’t go to games any more not because we lose a lot but because the prices are sky high and there’s no passion out there.

I have watched some god awful Pompey teams in my time but thoroughly enjoyed the experience because even though the players were rubbish they gave their all. Nowadays I see a lot of people on high wages who couldn’t give a toss. Is that the fault of the manager? No but do you get a sense of team spirit from the club? No you don’t and some of that can be put at the feet of the man in charge.

Steve Cotterill is another one of those managers with a great pedigree but have actually done very little to have earned it. He has won less than 30% of his games in charge at Portsmouth and it’s not like the club doesn’t have some half decent players. Steve Cotterill as a manager has less than a 30% winning percentage in any league above League 1 in three different stops as manager. That to me doesn’t scream out that he’s my guy.

If Nottingham Forest want him then I couldn’t care less and would probably be happy to see him go. Who comes in I have no idea and no doubt whoever comes in might be worse than Steve Cotterill but as a Pompey fan – like many – I suspect I’m willing to risk it.

Steve Cotterill is odds on to become the next Nottingham Forest manager at the time of writing.

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Tory led Essex County Council vote not to allow the general public to speak at council meetings

Today a debate and vote was held at Essex County Council HQ as to whether Council meetings should be opened up more with members of the general public being allowed to engage with the councillors directly in open council proceedings. The Tories were against such a plan as they were very much of the belief that they know best and that the general public are a bit smelly and annoying. I may have made up the reasoning although if it was me they were thinking of then I am both smelly and annoying so it would have been fair.

Anyway sidestepping away from talking about my own issues this highlights a problem that we have. I know we elect councillors to do a job but sometimes being able to ask questions to them directly and in front of other councillors would be a great thing. It would stop councillors being able to ignore people they didn’t want to speak to. I know it would have to be managed so it didn’t turn into a free-for-all but it was something that would make council meeting more inviting to people and stop the thoughts that councillors just do what is best for them and have the attitude of sod the electorate.

The leader of the opposition on the council and leader of the Liberal Democrats on Essex County Council agrees:

“The comments made today by nearly all of the many Conservatives who spoke in the debate demonstrate a level of arrogance and complacency that is almost impossible to comprehend. There are many District and Borough Councils across Essex and all the other County Councils in the East of England that have had such a permanent and designated spot for members of the public for several years. We are only asking for something that the public is getting already from most other councils anyway, yet the Conservatives at County Hall chose instead to continue to gag the public of Essex.

“The Council really must improve its public engagement to demonstrate it wants Essex residents and council taxpayers to be included in the democratic process in a real and meaningful way. There is no direct public involvement at the decision-making level of the County Council and the public is only involved when specifically invited in. This was the acid test for the Conservatives to show, in practical terms, that they are interested in hearing and responding to what the public has to say; sadly they failed.

“The Conservative talk of localism and devolvement of power to the people is clearly just talk. The Conservatives are simply not to be trusted on this issue.”

So there we have it. Yet another opportunity spurned by the Tories locally to actually listen to what the general public have to say. Maybe they don’t want to hear what they have to say because they know they wouldn’t like it. That would be bad but I have a feeling it is far more to do with the fact that they couldn’t give a damn and that is far worse.

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