Welcome to Broxtowe Enews brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, our parliamentary candidate. A special welcome to the new readers that we have this week.
As we get close to the election I will of course cover that, but there are other things going on in the borough as well to cover.
I’d like to begin with an endorsement of my candidacy, this time from the former Labour chair of the County Council and mayor of Broxtowe Maureen Tewson. Maureen said:
“I’m backing David Watts in this election. I’ve seen David work as a local councillor and seen how effective he is. Labour has failed and David will be an excellent new MP for Broxtowe. I’d urge everyone to vote for David.”
This follows on from the endorsement from former Labour councillor Alan Buttery last week. I also have a former Conservative borough councillor in my campaign team, and my perception is that voters from both other parties are swinging to the Liberal Democrats. I had an email this week from a former Conservative Party member in Bramcote who no longer backs them and will be voting for the Lib-Dems as he believes that Vince Cable offers the only hope for the future of our economy.
1. Local TV Debate
I’m afraid that you didn’t get the chance to see the three main Broxtowe candidates on TV today. I received a call from the Politics Show on BBC1 on Tuesday to ask if they could come to Broxtowe. They had been planning to be in Ashfield, just up the road, but the Labour candidate suddenly refused to participate. (She’s also pulled out of other debates in that constituency.) I was all in favour of this but they had to ring back later to say that Nick Palmer wasn’t able to attend and so it couldn’t take place.
2. Beeston Town Centre
I’m pleased to report that Henry Boot, who run the town square in Beeston, have confirmed that they are still committed to redeveloping the square, and they will start work as soon as possible after contracts are signed with the council. This is extremely encouraging as to keep Beeston as the prime shopping centre outside of Nottingham city itself we need to redevelop as soon as possible. However the plans won’t be rushed through and there will be detailed consideration and the opportunity for people to have their say through the planning process.
3. Hustings Meetings
I’m pleased to say that there are opportunities to hear the candidates in Broxtowe as we have participated in a number of debates, most recently tonight. There is still one debate to go, next Thursday at St Michaels Parish Hall, Church Street, Bramcote, starting at 7.30pm. We were missing Chris Cobb, the UKIP candidate tonight, and the BNP were not invited. We were almost missing the Tory candidate as well. I had a call from Anna yesterday morning to see if there was a debate today as she hadn’t got it in her diary. Given that she has been late for two debates already it doesn’t bode well should she win. However my impression is that this is a fading possibility.
4. My Facebook Page
If you want to keep up to date with how things are going in my election campaign you can visit my Facebook page and read the various comments on that. It’s available at:
5. Emailing Anna Soubry
I’ve been sent copies of a number of emails from Anna Soubry and others have been published on the Beestonia Blog. Basically she has refused to answer emails from constituents, claiming that there is a concerted campaign to waste her time with lots of emails. I suspect that this is a bit of paranoia on her part. I’m getting between 50 and 100 emails a day at the moment from people wanting to know my view on some subject or other, and I’ve managed to reply to them all. (At least I think I have, if you are waiting for a reply to me I’ve overlooked it so please send it again.)
If you want to read the emails they are available on Beestonia at http://beestonia.wordpress.com/.
6. County Council Legal Bill
The County Council have run up a legal bill arising out of a dispute with Veolia over publishing details of contracts they have, and this has now reached £60,000. This seems to be entirely the fault of the council whose drafting of the contract with the company was poor. If they had got matters right in the first place there would have been no problems. In tight financial times the Council cannot afford to throw money away like this.
7. Visit of Harriet Harman
Labour have had a visit from the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman. I wouldn’t normally mention this except that another party has told a local paper that they shouldn’t report it. The paper (quite properly) won’t tell us who objected, but I know it wasn’t us and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been Labour, so that only leaves one prime candidate. II think that this behaviour is appalling. The free press are a really important part of the UK, and a safeguard for our democracy, and no political party should ever try and restrict that.
8. Stapleford Business Forum
The Stapleford Business Forum have published their annual plan, which includes proposals to boost the local economy by better promotion and marketing of Stapleford, improvements to the environment, improvements to shop security. All of these features should help make Stapleford a better place to shop and so I wish them every success. If elected I will of course try and get thee best result for all of our local town centres.
9. Campaign Trails
I’ve been overwhelmed by the levels of support that we have received from people in Broxtowe during this election. The level of support has been phenomenal. I haven’t seen much of the Tories and I hear reports about significant infighting there as they place the blame for their poor performance. There was also a concerted attack on me by a Labour blogger over the past few days, which at times went far too far. When he attacked my children another Labour supporter did post a message taking him to task for this. I’m inspired though by the words of Mahatma Ghandi – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.”
We have really made Broxtowe a three horse race. For me to win in this election I need to persuade about 1 in every 8 people who voted elsewhere last time to vote Lib-Dem this time. That is something which really is doable, especially when you consider how the Labour party locally has slipped into meltdown, dropping from the largest to the smallest party in the borough council and losing all their county councillors.
There has been a lot of rubbish put out by some supporters of other parties. I assume that the candidates themselves are not involved in this but amongst the things people have been told are that I have withdrawn from the race and am urging my supporters to vote Labour, that I have been banned from preaching by the Methodist Church, that we have asked the Labour Party for a copy of their email database and finally that I objected to a church meeting taking place. There is no truth in any of these whatsoever. If you hear something about us and think that it sounds a bit bizarre then the chances are that it is not true and is just a smear from another party.
10. Possible Disclosure of Confidential Information
At the debate in Beeston tonight Nick palmer and Anna Soubry clashed over her opposition to building in the green belt, something which I am totally opposed to. At an earlier hustings Nick had asked her if she had submitted comments on the consultation paper published by the Borough Council. Anna hedged around it but eventually said that she thought that she had. Tonight Nick palmer revealed that he had since telephoned the council and been told that she had not. Whilst this is a very poor performance by Anna, and might give the impression that she was just saying what she thought people wanted to hear, I do agree with her that the council should never have given out this information in the first place. As the only one of the candidates who is a local councillor I have tonight written to the Chief Executive expressing my deep concern about the apparent breach of data protection and asking that an urgent enquiry is carried out.
As ever thank you for your support for this service. The number of readers we have has doubled over the past few weeks, and I hope that people will continue to find it useful.