Thursday, 29 April 2010

Campaigning With Eddie Izzard

Yesterday something special. Its been in the papers so its not a secret.

Went with a some Uni students to see Eddie Izzard speak in support of the Labour Party. A great way to spend and afternoon.

Eddie was really refreshing, not too much gas and very straight forward, he should be standing for election.....

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Only 1 Weekend to go

Only one more weekend to go and we will know what the result of the election is.

So still lots and lots to play for. Been doing a lot of canvassing, good results. Although all this walking has been doing strange things to my knee. Whereas 2 weeks ago after the op my knee did not hurt much is is incredibly painful now. After a day of campaigning on Saturday I went to a party at my uncle's house in South London and had to come home pretty quickly as the pain in my knee was almost unbearable.

But that said, canvassing during the week has added to the street surgeries that I have been doing over the last year and has bult on alot of pre existing contacts. As a break from canvassing I visited the Alfred Sutton car boot sale. I got talking to a friend about his new VW combi. I even got a guided tour of it. I wish I had taken my camera as it was great and I am hugely jealous. Well done for the PTA for organising....

Finished the weekend giving a talk to a church group. I seem to have cornered the market in speaking to faith groups. The picture is of me speaking at a meeting held at Anderson Baptist Church, in Amhurst Road. The meeting wasn't a husting, but they wanted to know how a person could be a Christian and a Politician. The meeting was quite a challenge because the questions were very searching and some of them very difficult to answer.

Friday, 23 April 2010

So what have I ever done for the environment

I was talking to residents this week who were asking me about the environment and what I had done to encourage evironmental improvements in the Ward and in the town. A fair question so here we are:

1. I do over 40 miles a week on my push bike, I had a lovely ride to Henley this week. Sometimes I even hit 80 miles a week. I am a keen cyclist and have joined the Reading Cycle Campaign on some of their recent campaigns.

2. My family recycle and make sure all our lights are low energy.

3. I am a member of the Commonwheels, the car club.

4. I introduced the measure that brought binding measures on the Council to reduce greenhouse gasses, known as the "Nottingham Declaration".

5. Ensured that no GM modified food were used in the Councils kitchens.

6. Am a regular Bio fuel bus user

7. Worked with Wokingham Borough Council, Reading Borough Council and Bracknell Forest Council to make sure that recycling levels across the whole of central Berkshire increased.

8. Fought over development that would have scarred the Chilterns. We won this one.

9. Ensured that the Alfred Sutton field would be protected in the late 90's

10. Fought the overdevelopment of the Green Road site.

11. Fought overdevelopment in West Reading

12. Made sure the Council picked up the rubbish in the snow during the winter.

13. Fought overdevelopment in Hamilton Road.

14. Made sure that rubbish left by Students at the end of term is cleared by the Council and taken responsibility for by the University and Students' Union.

15. Lobbied the Bus Company to reduce fares and improve infomation for users.

16. Lobbied for improved cycle paths.

17. Got the Council to clean the streets properly.

18. Fought and won protection for the Lock Keepers that ensure that the Thames is properly regulated.

19. Swept the streets when they needed it.

20. Worked with communities on Rescue weekend to clean up the woods in the town.

21. Planted new trees in Palmer Park. Strangely enough the Green Candidate in Park Ward didn't take part in this key activity to green the ward.

So all these are acheivements, none of these were Greenwash, they were all things that were done to improve the environment. Strangely enough I did these things without pretending the world was at an end and getting my clipboard out to make a false petition and then claim that I had saved the world.

So now you know, if you want know more, give me a call.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Time to make your mind up

Very quick post, Tom Watson MP, put me on this clip on Totalpolitics. It is very funny and a bit of light relief in th eelection hectic..and you thought you would never see Peter Tatchell and Anne Widicombe together.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Learn to Cross Your Legs Properly

No photo today. Sorry. This week has been very very encouraging. I have had a couple of people stop me in the street to talk to me about the campaign-this is just what we should be seeing at this point in the campaign.

This week saw us doing our traditional knocking on people's doors.I have always thought that the UK is a great country where you can knock on someone's door and ask them who they are going to vote for. I have only hardly ever had a few people slam the door on me. It was very nice canvassing on Thursday as I got invited in for a glass of wine. The resident is a friend of mine, who I had decided not to knock on her door as it is a bit nervy making asking friends for their voting intention. Not only did I get a glass of wine she said that she would vote for me, as would her family. Nice one.

So where do the knees come in to it. Oh yes I was at the Gudwara meeting residents from the Indian community. I had to sit down with the worshipers and I had been told to cross my legs. Easy enough you might think. But my leg has been quite sore after the Op. Not sure why it has been fine for the last 2 weeks but it has been sorer than a very sore thing. So I sat down but couldn't cross my legs properly for the lie of me. It was like something on a black and white film every time I pushed one leg down to cross them the other one popped up.

The members of the Gudwara were very forgiving and I had some very useful discussions with the members so it was a useful afternoon all round.

So only 2 and a bit weeks to go before the election. Can't wait.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Showing Jack Straw my scars

Old news I know Jack Straw was in town yesterday and gave an old fashioned soap box speech.

It was fantastic a real piece of election theatre. Jack gave a speech and took real questions from the assorted members of the audience. I chatted to a friend of mine who I know was a Tory - you know who you are if you read this. So I know the audience was a random mix of Reading's population.

I came the Justice Minister's attention, which should be good, however as usual it was for all the wrong reasons. I was talking to a journalist who was asking how my leg was. In a fit of I am not sure what came over me officer, I rolled my my trouser leg to show the scar....just before or after this photo was taken. Mr Straw saw my leg and thought I was making somekind of protest about something. Perhaps the shortage of short trouser leg lengths for people with stubby legs like me. Having come to his attention I rolled down my trouser leg and slunk off to the back of the crowd.

So my political career goes from strength to strength and a cabinet career awaits - or perhaps not.

Apart from my own mad moment, his speech was great and the crowd certainly seemed to appreciate the chance to quiz a Minister.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Happy New Year!

Ended the day celebrating Nepalese New Year with Reading's Nepalese community.

A great occasion. They even let me speak, as did all the other politicians and candidates. The picture shows Anneliese Dodds Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Reading East. This is a link to the Greater Reading Nepalese Community Association's website.

Anything else go on yesterday, well yes a day of talking to residents, knocking on doors and meeting people in their homes. Had a very instructive conversation with a resident near the Woky Road and drunk the first of many cups of tea.

Did however reach the downside of campaigning and being a politician. Your family life suffers. I offered to take my wife to Weybridge for her to play the piano at a weding. I then couldn't take her as a meeting came up, then I couldn't pick her up from the weding as I had also promised. Fortunately the day was saved by my dad. Well done and thanks...Dad

Also by the by can I recomend Anneliese's new website.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Labour Bike, keep fit and campaign, the perfect solution

As my leg gets better, the more I can do, watch out world.....I did have a swelling the size of an egg on my knee at the end of the day yesterday so didn't want to do too much.

Went to see Communicare at the Warehouse today. Sarah who works there asked me to pop by to see the work that they do. It was really interesting to see them interact and help the community. I can recommend them. See what they do at:

While I was there I got into conversation with the Reading Credit Union. I have had some contact with them a few years ago. They are a cooperative organisation owned by the members and offering loans for small sums at very competative rates. Talking to the members of the Union they were very persuasive. To get a loan you need to have been a member of the Union for more than 3 months. To be a member you have to put a regular sum in the bank every month. They were telling me that the minimum deposit is £1 a month and as they said almost everyone can afford that. I left with a handful of forms and will have to look at whether I can afford £1 a month.

After the discussion I started to sell them the benefits of becoming Street Pastors, so I supposed it was a score draw on trying to sell each other our projects.

See the Credit Union at

After that I took my bike and made it in to a Labour Bike so that I can campaign and get fit at the same time. You will see my bike around the Ward, I had to go to Caversham for something and got lots of admiring looks least I thought they were admiring me.

So stop me and have a chat if you see me in the Ward.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Resumption Of the Requisite Number of Legs

The legs seem to be back in nearly working order. Inorder to break them in I have been canvassing with colleagues around the Ward. The reaction has been very positive. We were invited in by a number of residents and I was able to discuss the issues that they were worried about. This is the part of politics that I really enjoy, rather than the fun filled evening I have spent in various committee meetings.

So with a resumption of leg function I shall be out and about round the Ward more and more. I am hoping to get on my bike again and put somemore miles under the saddle. If you see me wobbling around the Ward you will know that the anesthetic hasn't quite worn off yet.

If you see me in the street, please feel free to stop me and chat through your concerns, I will be happy to chat.

Saw some members of another political party, one of a Blue variety, wandering around Newtown. They looked a little lost as if they were off their natural patch...

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The NHS is brilliant

Hope this doesn't put you off your dinner, but here is a piccy of my knee after the op today. Excuse the hairy leg and bright red socks, I got dressed in the dark.

The experience reminds me yet again how much money has been invested by the goverment and how great the NHS is.

New reception area for day ops, new looking operation suites. OK I only remember the anethestisia room as I was knocked out before I got to the  operation theatre.

I even had a sideroom with a view. It was also nice to spend the day with my parents who stayed with me and made sure I could get home. The hospital won't let you out unless someone takes you home.

At one point it looked like the staff wanted to keep me overnight, I think they liked me, but we managed to persuade them I could come home.

Great staff, friendly. All in all a good experience and on top of that they were able to do some work on the inside so hopefully I will be able to even more campaigning when the bandages come off, not sure about the ballet career though.

On the campaigning front have been out most nights, been getting a great receiption from Park residents and am very encouraged by the results we have been having so far. I  think this is because they are glad to see a real local activist who actually does things rather than makes claims for things they haven't done or other people have done all the work for.