Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free MS Office 2007courses in Kensington, Liverpool

Note from the Kensington Community Learning Centre, opposite McDonalds on Kensington, L6


• Can’t find some of the icons you were familiar with?
• Do you feel like a beginner again?

KCLC are running four 3 hour workshops to help people get to grips with MS Office – two will look at MS Excel 2007 and 2 will look at MS Word 2007

The courses will provide learners with the knowledge to effectively use MS Office 2007 and to use the software package to its full potential. These courses will give students the opportunity to practice within the MS Office environment and produce, professional documents and efficient spreadsheets.


What’s new in Excel 2007
understanding the Excel 2007 environment Entering data quickly into a spreadsheet Splitting text Excel as a database Function V Formula Simple functions Complex functions - e.g. If, Sumif, Vlookup, 3D Reference.
Conditional formatting.
Moving Excel data into Access
Moving Access data into Excel


What’s new in Word 2007.
Understanding the Word 2007 environment
Create professional-looking content
Mail merge - use mail merge for mass mailings/ Create an automatic TOC Using tables to control text Handle long documents Decorate documents with backgrounds borders, and text effects The courses are FREE to everyone and will be held on

Monday 6th and 13th July. 1.00 - 4.00 – for MS Word Friday 10th and 17th July. 1.00 - 4.00 – for MS Excel

To reserve your place, just call us on 260 1006, email us on info@kclc.co.uk or pop into the centre at 291–295 Kensington L7 (opposite McDonalds).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Newsham Park Arts Festival

We all need to start praying now, for good weather tomorrow.

It is the biggest event in the Kensington and Fairfield calendar, the Newsham Park Arts Festival.

Loads to do, loads to see. Two stages and dozens of stalls and tents.

Live music, dance, KVFM live radio (we three will be on air at about half past three), a summer chill ice rink (yes really), MD productions (as seen live on TV in Britain's Got Talent), Urban Strawberry Lunch, Climbing Wall, Birds of Prey, Polish Dance Group, FACT art workshops, Model boat regatta, belly dancing (not me, is that a good thing or a bad thing? You decide), Tai Chi, Adult Learning Bus, Park rangers will be doing a nature trail, Urbeatz, Kof the Rapper, face painting, sports, Yellow House, Circus skills, arts exhbitions, deaf signing choir, we have it all.

We have paid £3k out of our local devolved budget to help support the event along with partners from the Housing Associations, Police, Merseytravel, the wonderful yet sadly underinvested in Youth Service, and the Elm Park and Sheil Park TRAs

Come along! Doors open at 11am and close at 5pm.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

News from Nowhere Bookshop

I received this press release today. This is really important, please read and take some of the suggested actions if you can and if you agree with me that we need to support such a valuable resource.

News From Nowhere Bookshop needs your help. We are struggling more than usual with cashflow this summer.

Here’s how you can help:


Put that spare cash (?!) to good use by investing in a not-for-profit workers’ co-op – we can discuss terms.


Lodge monies with us in a credit account to be used against future purchases – either a regular amount or a one-off.


For yourself or your organisation – remember we can order any book in print. We can supply @ 10% for local schools & organisations.


We have an office for rent - approx £195 p mth + utilities/rates. Also a room in our flat above NfN - £70 p wk (incl rates) + utilities.


Forward this email to your contacts and friends.

Get in touch to talk to us about any of the above. Many thanks!


News From Nowhere Bookshop

96 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4HY

0151 708 7270



News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop
96 Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4HY - 0151 708 7270 - Open 10am-5.45pm Mon-Sat

www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk - find out about us & the books we sell
www.newsfromnowhere.co.uk - search & order over 1.4 million books in print

We are a not-for-profit workers' co-operative

News From Nowhere Co-operative Ltd - Company Registration No. 24524R
(registered in England & Wales under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965).

Vote for the International Slavery Museum

Taken from their website;

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK's favourite Lottery-funded projects. Around 28% of the money raised by Lottery players goes to Good Causes and the Awards are a great way to highlight how that funding has changed the UK for the better.

Public voting for The National Lottery Awards is now open. Click on a category below to read more about the 10 projects competing in each category, and to cast your vote. The first round of public voting closes at midday on 10 July.

The three projects in each category with the most votes will progress to the final round of public voting, which will run from 3-14 August.

Why am I telling you this?

Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum (ISM) has reached the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards. It is one of just ten projects chosen from hundreds of entries to face a public vote to find the Best Heritage project, and is the only project representing Liverpool and the North West in this category. To vote online for the International Slavery Museum, please go here

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sinn Fein MP in Liverpool

I have just received this press release by email and thought it might be of interest.

Pat Doherty Sinn Fein MP will address a public meeting in Liverpool on Tuesday 30th June. He will be taking part in a panel debate on the theme of ‘’Irish Unity – Myth or Reality?’’

Mr Doherty, who is MP and MLA (Member of the North of Ireland Assembly) for West Tyrone, is in Liverpool for a series of meetings with Irish community groups, trades unionists and local councillors.

The panel debate on 30th June will be held at St.Michaels Irish Centre, West Derby Road, from 7.30pm onwards. Mr Doherty will be outlining his views on the progress made in the Irish Peace Process since the Good Friday Agreement, and his belief in the positive process of conflict resolution and the merits of the case for the peaceful reunification of Ireland. Another of the guest panellists on the night will be Dr. Ian McKeane of Liverpool University’s Institute of Irish Studies.

The public are invited to attend what should prove to be a fascinating evening.

The event has been organised by Cairde Na hEireann Liverpool, ( Liverpool Friends of Ireland ), a local Irish community organisation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Micro courses at Kensington Community Learning Centre

In November this year, the analogue TV signal will be switched off in the Liverpool area. If you have made no provision for digital TV in your home, you will not be able to watch television once the analogue signal is switched off.

Kensington Community Learning Centre are now delivering almost 30 micro courses, one of which deals with Digital TV and how the "switchover" will affect you and what options are available to you in order to continue watching TV from November 2009.

A full list of micro courses is attached.  If you would like to attend any of these FREE courses contact KCLC now on 260 1006.

Alternatively if you are an organisation/school and you have a group of people that would benefit from any of the courses we may be able to arrange a group session at your own premises. Call Alan for further details on 260 1006, or email alan@kclc.co.uk

Course Title

Starting with myguide 30 mins
Starting with computers 30 mins

Use the Internet Safely 30 mins
Use Public Services Online 60 mins
Using email 40 mins
Using the web 40 mins
Using online searches 40 mins
Using a mobile phone 25 mins
Using a computer 45 mins
Using a digital TV 25 mins
Using digital photography 30 mins

Understanding shopping online 45 mins
Understanding music online 25 mins
Understanding public services online 45 mins
Understanding job hunting online 45 mins
Understanding ebay auctions 30 mins
Understanding socialising online 35 mins
Understanding home computers 40 mins
Understanding banking online 30 mins
Understanding family education 50 mins
Understanding money management 60 mins
Understanding UK politics 40 mins
Understanding your family history 45 mins
Understanding Green living 60 mins
Understanding jobs and interviews 60 mins
Understanding transport in the UK 60 mins
Understanding renting and buying property 60 mins

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jane Kennedy's Rentokil bill

I know from bitter experience that the Rentokil bill on Jane's expenses relates to her constituency office, for the removal of mice, rather than her London property. I know the Echo knows this too, but had the information too late to correct it for today.

I hate mice, nearly as much as I hate rats, shudder, shudder! Sadly they are a feature of life for many people in my ward.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday 27th June - big event in Newsham Park

It is all happening in Newsham Park on 27th June, afternoon tea, a teadance, superlambananas, cakes, music and the unveiling of the sensory and mosaic garden.

Come to the Adult Learning Centre on Newsham Drive from 12pm - 4pm

This event complements the Newsham Park Arts Festival taking place on the same day - we are sponsoring one of the stages with our Working Neighbourhood Funds, more on this later

Sunday, June 14, 2009

£80 million pound man

Last Monday the Brazilian player Kaka was the most expensive football player ever sold at £56 million (from AC Milan to Real Madrid), but not for long. Hot on his heels came the sale of Portugese player Ronaldo from Manchester United to Real Madrid for an eye-watering £80 million.

(A very unfortunate photo, don't you think?)

You could buy and furnish a thousand houses in L6 with that money, or build 40 new community centres, or 25 ice rinks, or 5 aquacentres - you get the general idea. It is quite simply obscene, football may well be more important than life or death (Bill Shankly) but this is surely a step too far.

Incidentally, did anyone else see Michael McIntyre last night on TV, saying how he thought Man United, Man City and MEN Arena all sounded like gay bars, LOL

Learning from South Liverpool Housing Association

Along with colleagues from Venture Housing Association, I visited SLH in Speke last week to hear direct from them about how they moved their association from zero stars to two stars. As you will recall VHA were shocked to receive zero stars in our recent inspection, an inspection that was underway as I joined the board, and we are keen to learn from other organisations about how we can improve and improve quickly. It was a very constructive meeting and I want to thank the good people of SLH for giving so generously of their time and expertise. We have some more good ideas to add to our long "to do" list.

Breakfast at Odyssey, Rose Lane

When I got back from the Citizenship Ceremony this afternoon, Colin and I went for an impromptu meal at Odyssey on Rose Lane. For £6.95 I had a lovely big breakfast (or lunch I guess it was, given that it was about 2.45pm), or we could have had lunch, steak, fish, chicken, pasta, burgers and veggie options - they describe themselves as providing "mediterranean cuisine with a contemporary twist" and are open 7 days a week, from 11.30am on a weekday, 11.00am on a Saturday and 10.00am on a Sunday

Putting the flags out for the new citizens

26 new citizens and their children joined the British family in a service this afternoon in Liverpool. As I planned my speech I felt strongly that I should briefly reflect on the BNP's winning of a seat in the European Parliament last week. I told the new citizens and their family and friends that although 6% of people who voted in Liverpool had voted BNP, 94% had not and that I believed the city supported the politics of hope, not the politics of hate. I said I felt it was important, on a day that they were becoming British that they understood that they were welcome.

One nice touch has been the introduction of small flags standing on the Registrar's desk at the front, representing the original countries of the new citizens. We had 17 today including Australia, Afghanstan, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Jamaica and the Saychelles.

It seemed to go down well, people were having their photographs taken at the table, with the visitor's book and all the flags surrounding them, with the full scale Union Jack flying in the background. The staff took a lot of photographs themselves, during the ceremony, as we want to build up a portfolio which can go on to the website and show people what to expect and also allow new citizens to download photos where they forgot to bring their own cameras, but we have not got this organised yet, so watch this space.

Great news for Deane Road Jewish Cemetery

Well actually, 2 pieces of great news!

The first great news is that we have finally had the work done on the driveway. We have had a new driveway put in, tarmac in the short term, to be covered with resin bonded gravel once we have finished off with the building works, edged with beautiful pink granite kerbs, which really set off the Grade II listed facade.

We have two new trees to go in, and lots of plants, but want to wait until the right weather before doing the planting, the trees in the autumn, the shrubs after the next time it rains for a couple of days.

It is looking really good, very impressive, I can really feel progress now.

The other piece of great news, truly awesome news, is that we have won through the first round of our Heritage Lottery Bid and have been given a development grant of £13,800 to progress to Stage 2.

I have always had a good feeling about this project, we are asking for nearly a quarter of a million pounds in all, which sounds like a huge sum, but to the HLF, who deal in projects worth 10 times more than that, it is a small figure which will guarantee the refurbishment of a really wonderful place. I ask you to keep sending us your positive thoughts as we move towards our application for stage 2.

A family visit

My sister Maxine and my nephews Alex and Joel came to stay last weekend, in between polling day and the count, which certainly took my mind off the waiting. We had a great time, they arrived early enough on Saturday morning for us to take grandstand seats at the Lord Mayor's Pageant.

Sadly it was raining on and off but not so much that it ruined the parade. Because this is Liverpool's Year of the Environment, there were no motorised vehicles allowed in the pageant, so there was marching, dancing and pedal power. I am still waiting for the photos to be emailed over, but there will be some really good ones. Pete Price did a good job of keeping the crowd entertained, accompanied by two 15 year-old student girls from the Bluecoat School. There were displays focussed on the sea, the land, the changes of seasons, space and travel, and the parade was joined by St John's Ambulance and various groups of cadets, soldiers and sailors.

Alex and Joel were very taken with the whole event, but their highlight, as described to their dad in a text, was seeing "The Lord Mayor dancing with a lady in a bra and thong" !! Actually it was a Brazilian dancer in a glittering bikini, and the Lord Mayor was a very good sport to join in with her dance when she stopped in front of us.

The pageant was followed by afternoon tea in the Town Hall and once again the kids were impressed by actually meeting the Lord Mayor and shaking his hand. Joel had his photo taken with the LordMayorLambanana, they had heard so much about these mythical beasts from Grandma Pam but this was the first time they had seen one for themselves.

Wandering through St John's Centre on the way to the bus stop, we came across two gorillas and their keeper who explained about how they were endangered species, and the boys enjoyed being hugged and having their nits pinched out by the female gorilla.

On Sunday we took the world famous Ferry across the Mersey, got off at Seacombe for an hour so the kids could play in the soft play area. We were going to go in the space centre but learnt too late that we should have bought combined tickets back at the Pier Head, so we will save that for another time. I took a couple of photos on my phone as we sailed back across. Back in Liverpool, we walked through Liverpool 1 and had lunch in Debenhams overlooking Chavasse Park. Colin who had joined us, went off to practice swimming in Queens Dock, in readiness for the Triathlon next week.

It was a really lovely weekend and I hope to tempt that back during the school summer holidays.

Building Schools for the Future - and the Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane

I am still waiting to hear whether the planning application was passed yesterday that will allow the building of two new schools at the Littlewood's Building on Edge Lane. (edit: the meeting is Tuesday)

I have blogged before about earlier plans for this wonderful building which unfortunately came a cropper because of the credit crunch.

What matters to me is that we preserve the facade and majesty of the building for the future. Although I don't understand it, I do accept that the people who decide on the listings of buildings have not deemed the former Littlewood's building sufficiently important to list. This is quite beyond me when you see some of the hideous things that do get listed, but there you are.

So the preservation of the Littlewood's Building is going to be down to local efforts to find a developer interested in the site.

With Urban Splash now out of the picture, Liverpool City Council's bid to build two new schools is really worthy of discussion and consideration. I attended the consultation in the Devonshire House Hotel a few months ago and raised some of our residents' concerns with the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) team.

I then submitted the following formal response.

Since I attended the consultation at the Devonshire House Hotel, I have continued to make enquiries about the plans and to see how people are reacting to them.
As I suspected the main concerns are
1. to preserve the facade of the building, including both book ends on Edge Lane
2. to ensure community use of the school as much as possible
3. to ensure no traffic difficulties on Edge Lane at dropping off and picking up times
4. to ensure Botanic Park is protected from vandalism or damage
5. to ensure that our kids can apply to go there too
You have already satisfied me on these points, generally
1. You intend to preserve the facade, although were going to have to rethink the second bookend which you had anticipated knocking down but I hope I have persuaded you otherwise
2. This is part of the plans for BSF and extended schools anyway
3. You anticipated using the new road across the technology park and a special bus route through the grounds for this, keeping cars away from Edge Lane
4. You anticipate enhancing the park, with drainage, possibly a cricket pitch and some more pitches and you asked me to contact Friends of Botanic Park on your behalf - which I have
5. You said that children from across the city can apply to go there as is currently the case with the two existing schools, although as it is a faith school they will have some element of managed intake. On that basis, I am happy to support these proposals.

I then submitted the same response to the Planning Committee.

I understand that Liverpool City Council intends that Archbishop Blanch CofE Girls School in the city centre area and St Margaret's CofE Boys School in Aigburth should move to this new site, on the Wavertree Science and Technology School, but that St Margaret's are refusing to do so. I wont repeat on a public blog what one Governor has said about why they don't want to move to Edge Lane, but I thought it was extremely disappointed and I hope not typical.

However, I have also been approached by governors of St Hilda's CofE Girls School in Sefton Park who would love to move to Edge Lane in place of St Margaret's, so much so that they are even prepared to discuss going co-ed if they can move.

I am meeting Tim Warren, Head of BSF tomorrow to see whether we can get some movement on this. What we simply cannot allow is for the proposals to fall through and for the Littlewood's Building to be allowed to fall down or be demolished, we must find a future for it, and what better than putting schools with Science specialisms onto this site?

More on this as the situation unfolds.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Interview with new elected Mayor of Doncaster, English Democrat

Thanks to Luke Akehurst for this transcript

PETER DAVIES (English Democrat mayor of Doncaster)
BBC Radio Sheffield
Monday, 8 June 2009
Speakers: Toby Foster (BBC Radio Sheffield) Peter Davies
TF: Thanks very much for joining us. I said that we didn’t see it coming - did you see it coming? Did you expect to win?
PD: Well, well not really. A great friend of mine told me the night before I was going to get a great shock, and that I would win. I was thinking of saving the deposit at the time.
TF: I can imagine. What was it you think that made people vote for you?
PD: Well we were the only party who gave a distinctive agenda to the electorate. All the others talked waffle. I looked at all the leaflets, I couldn’t make anything of them all, they were all the same.
TF: You did give a distinctive agenda, you’re absolutely right, you made some real points on that. Let’s just have a look - let’s have a look at them shall we? The first one of course I think’s an easy one - you’re going to cut the mayor’s salary.
PD: That’s the first thing this morning
TF: Down to £30,000 a year. Now, some people could look at that Peter and say, well, you get more than that for running a supermarket these days. Surely a council deserves… a bit more respect?
PD: No, the council deserves somebody who’s going to run it properly, and it deserves somebody who’s prepared to give their services partly free, in a sense - at one time all local government councillors did all the free, er, it’s become a gravy train and I’m not prepared to be part of that.
TF: So what about the people who work for you? The deputy mayor, other people in the departments - are you cutting their wages as well?
PD: Er, well, I’ve discussed that with-, well not- not the people in the departments, I can’t- I’ve no control over what they’ve been given, but the deputy mayor and the rest of the cabinet will discuss that at, at the earliest opportunity.
TF: Well, you say you’ve no control over people in the departments, one of the big things on your campaign was that you’re going to cut ‘PC jobs’.
PD: Oh yeah, that’s a different thing altogether, er-
TF: Which jobs are those?
PD: Well, er, I’m going to look into that. Things like Diversity Officers, er, the things that are usually advertised in the Manchester-, well, it’s not the Manchester Guardian now - in the Guardian…
TF: Right, so have-, so, so hang on, so so there are politically…
PD: I mean, I can’t give you a full list at the moment, but I will…
TF: But that’s what you put on your manifesto - you must have had an idea on your manifesto what you were talking about?
PD: Yeah, yeah, all these people who are, sort of, controlling thought processes and this sort of thing, and er, erm… every department is riddled with this sort of nonsense these days.
TF: So currently then, this morning, Doncaster Council is riddled with people who are, who are doing this kind of nonsense, ah… and they’re on notice, are they? People are going to lose their jobs?
PD: Er, very likely.
TF: But we don’t know who they are, yeah? But certainly Diversity Officers…
PD: Obviously I… I’m… well, that sort of thing, yes.
TF: So, the Diversity Officer who’s getting ready for work this morning at Doncaster might as well not bother?
PD: Well, he’s… he’s in employment at the moment…
TF: But he won’t be for long?
PD: …I think, I think we ought to be talking about what we’re going to do sort of, er, now and, er, what I’ve discovered - that might be a more fruitful discussion.
TF: Well, I mean… these are the reasons people voted for you. Very bold points, as you said. Er, you’re going to cut translation services for non-English speakers - that’s a very bold point. It’s more than likely illegal, isn’t it?
PD: I dunno… again, I’ve got to find this out. It’s-
TF: Well it is - let me tell you it is, under the European Court of Human Rights it’s illegal.
PD: Well, well, well let… we’ll look into this - we’re getting counsel’s opinion on what I can do and what I can’t do, and that’s…
TF: No, no, you said in your manifesto you would definitely do it.
PD: Yeah, well, I… well, I, er, if, if somebody comes in the way and stops me doing these things, then that is an insult to democracy.
TF: So what was the point of your manifesto? You might as well have said you were going to fly to the moon if you’re just going to say now that you can’t do it.
PD: No, look… I’m going to do my best to do it. If I can’t, I shall tell the electorate why I’ve not been able to do it, and who’s stood in the way of it. The…
TF: Well, the law’s standing in the way of it.
PD: Just a minute, just a minute. The electorate clearly want me to do that. The law needs changing, then, doesn’t it?
TF: Well, you say the law needs changing-
PD: If we get a new government, then we might get rid of some of this ludicrous legislation, and be able to run our own country again.
TF: Okay, now you’re going to cut the number of councillors from 60 to 20.
PD: That is another difficulty, and the first-
TF: Can’t do it, can you?
PD: Er, well, we can appeal to their moral consciences-
TF: So you can’t do it, can you?
PD: Look, you keep telling me what I can’t do. I’ll find out what I can’t do, and if I can’t do…
TF: You are finding out now, I’m telling you, Peter, you can’t do it. You’d have thought you’d have thought of this before you started.
PD: This is quite a pointless discussion. Completely pointless.
TF: Why?
PD: Well - I’m sitting here telling you what I want to do, you’re telling me I can’t do it. I’ll find out - not from you, from other people - if I can do it or not.
TF: Why didn’t you look at to see-
PD: That’s where we go. And then we tell the electorate what’s going on.
TF: Why didn’t you look to see if you could do it before you asked people to vote on it?
PD: Because people want this to happen. And it’s time we-
TF: We all want free speech, Peter, but why didn’t you look into it to see if it could happen before you asked 14,000 people to vote on it? You know what’s going to happen - they got upset with the political processes in Doncaster before, they disliked Martin Winter. You’ve come along, you’ve waved this flag, knowing you can’t back any of it up and they’ve voted for you. How are they going to feel when they realise they’ve been hoodwinked?
PD: They’ve not been hoodwinked, I’m a man of my word, and I shall do everything that I can to put this into practice. And that is something that Doncaster’s not had before.
TF: You’re going to cut the Gay Pride funding.
PD: Yep.
TF: Erm, how much did Doncaster Council fund Gay Pride?
PD: Haven’t got a clue, I haven’t looked into… I haven’t got the details, I… I haven’t even started-
TF: About right, isn’t it? So how much did… how much was it worth to Doncaster?
PD: How…er, what?
TF: The Gay Pride march. 8,000 people in town for a day.
PD: I don’t know. They can still come. There’s nobody stopping them coming.
TF: So you don’t know what it costs, you don’t know what it earns, but you’re banning it?
PD: I’m saying that… hard-pressed taxpayers money should not be spent on promoting any type of sexuality whether it’s straight or gay.
TF: But for all you-, but for all you know it could be making a fortune for the town - you don’t know, you’ve not even looked at it.
PD: Well, it, er… it may, it may or it may not, I’m telling you what I’m not doing, and again it was on the manifesto, it was quite clear people appeared to like what I was saying.
TF: Yeah, but the stuff on the manifesto we’ve already realised - you can’t do anything about it.
PD: I think it’s time we finished this interview, it’s quite pointless. I’ve… I… It’s really wasted… I wanted to say a few things this morning that might have been-
TF: Tell me what you want to say.
PD: …that people might have wanted to listen to.
TF: Tell me what you want to say.
PD: Well, I wanted to point out that this morning I was going to, er, see that two social workers were returned to the childrens hospital, er, which were taken away some time ago for some unaccountable reason. I was going to say we’re getting rid of Doncaster News at the earliest opportunity, and I also wanted to point out that this very weekend I’ve discovered that Doncaster is twinned with nine separate towns, er, that the Mayor… the ex-Mayor had a car, for what reason I don’t know. It’s quite reasonable that the Civic Mayor has a car, but why the elected Mayor has one, God only knows, er, and it looks to me like a Daily Telegraph moment, where I shall be discovering things every day that, er, can be got rid of.
TF: Okay… none of that really means anything, does it? Let’s have a look at Doncaster News. You’re getting rid of Doncaster News, that’s a, er, flyer… er, paper that goes to every home in the borough isn’t it, to tell them what you’re doing?
PD: Well, it was to distort… er, what Mayor Winter was doing, yes.
TF: So now you’re stopping communication with the people of Doncaster?
PD: No - communication will be through the Doncaster Free Press, though Radio Sheffield if we can get some sensible interviews…
TF: Heh.
PD: …and, er, the free newspapers.
TF: So the people who work on Doncaster News, then, are they out of work as well?
PD: I don’t know, I don’t… I, I, don’t know what their full… I’ve… I… I’ve not even got… been in the office yet, I’ve… I’ve not even…
TF: This is the problem, isn’t it…
PD: …had the briefing from the Chief Executive-
TF: You actually don’t understand the laws, you don’t understand-
PD: Okay, I’m stopping this interview, it’s a complete waste of time, er, you’re not asking any sensible questions, and er, I really don’t want to continue.
TF: Peter, all I’m asking is how you’re going to deliver on your election manifesto?[Phone hangs up]
TF: Well, I can assure you, that’s going to be one of the easiest he gets.

I can see the For Sale boards going up all over Doncaster, even as I type

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Listen to our KVFM87.7 radio shows again

Our first show on Friday 1st May - International Labour Day, featured Jane Kennedy MP and Ade Devers (winner of the Liverpool City Council Breakthrough Champion Award last week in St George's Hall) and Larry Murphy of City and North Neighbourhood Management Team, and Josie Crawford, Chair of Sheil Park TRA, Kensington.

Our second show on Thursday 7th May featured Tracy Ramsey, Senior Youth Worker from Liverpool City Council Youth Services and Siddi Majubah from Liver World Sports.

All being well if you click on these links you should be taken to the KVFM blog and then be able to download and listen to our shows.

Do please come back and tell me what you thought of them.

Statement from Jane Kennedy MP, Labour, Liverpool Wavertree

I wanted to post this a couple of days ago but I could not properly access Jane's website due to some sort of bug in my settings. But I have sorted it out and can now share this with you. I should point out that she retains my full support, in case you were wondering, and I have been warmed by the emails and phone calls of support I have received on her behalf from local people, many of whom had misunderstood the detail of what had happened and thought she was not going to be their MP anymore and were in despair. I was happy to reassure them.

Jane Kennedy was not invited to stay on as a Government Minister in the Prime Minister's re-shuffle, after she was unable to give Gordon Brown an oath of allegiance.

This is the full text of a statement she has issued:

“I was asked to give an assurance that I would support Gordon Brown as our Prime Minister in order for me to stay in the Government as Minister for Farming and the Environment.

With a heavy heart, I felt unable to do that.

I have been unhappy for some time about the leadership of our Party, the style of governing from the centre and our lack of direction. We have made serious errors in policy, such as abolishing the 10p tax rate, the Ghurka’s, Royal Mail privatisation. However, the constant leaks, briefings, bullying and smear campaigns against good Labour colleagues, which have been orchestrated by Number 10, have been of increasing concern.

It is not the way that I want to do politics. The Labour Party should be above these underhand tactics. It is destructive and cynical and goes against all of the Labour values that I hold dear. I have fought against that kind of behaviour all my working and political life, since opposing the Militant Tendency in Liverpool.

I have been listening to my party members and councillors in Liverpool for weeks. Throughout the election campaign, I have talked to senior people in the Liverpool Labour Party, officials and people on the doorstep. They are tremendously unhappy at the drift and consequent decline in our support.

After the terrible election results on Thursday and Sunday, I especially wanted to hear the views of my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Prime Minister himself before expressing my views publicly as a Minister. That did not prove possible.

I firmly believe that the Labour Party is bigger than just one man. Over the last five days the talk has been consistently of ‘how to save Gordon’ – not, how can the Labour Party change so that we can win the next election and continue to represent the people who really depend on a Labour Government?

Outside Liverpool, voters have deserted us in their droves. We have not been listening to what they have told us. They do not support the Prime Minister and I now see little prospect of the public’s verdict changing.

We owe it to the people we represent and to the Labour Party to make sure we offer them a Leader and a programme for Government that will win back their support.

From the backbenches, I now hope to play my part as a loyal Party member, in rebuilding Labour and ensuring that we listen and learn from the views of ordinary people.

Although I served as Farming Minister for only nine months, I enjoyed that time more than any other in Government. Britain's farmers are undervalued and often mis-represented. I found them to be, without exception, dedicated, skilful people who are absolutely committed to the important work that they do to bring food to our tables. Jamie Oliver was right to demand more support - from Government, supermarkets and consumers like us alike.

I am enormously proud to represent the people of Wavertree and I plan to ask them for their continued support at the next election. We still have a lot of work to do to make life better for them and for millions of other people who need a Labour Government. I will not let them down."

Jane Kennedy, Labour MP

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Playing with Meccano with KVFM and James May

Our KVFM meeting this morning was interrupted by the arrival of James May, who is currently filming a new series about children's toys. You may recall that he visited McDonalds (for a burger) while KVFM87.7 was on air last month, and we persuaded him to record a brief piece to camera, supporting full time community radio for Kensington and Fairfield.

He came along today to ask us if we would make something out of Meccano over the next few weeks, and he would come back and see if the passion for this toy, traditionally manufactured on Edge Lane, is still there. It is of course controversial, since the firm was bought out by the French and is now manufactured in China, but there was still much reminiscing about the old days, what we had built as kids, competition over who could build up a number 10 set, recollections about local children hanging magnets over the factory wall on pieces of string to try and catch any offcuts, the sit-in that lasted so many months...

He has asked other Liverpool groups - and a group of students at St Francis of Assisi to make their own models and they will all be displayed later for one of his programmes.

We came up with some interesting ideas for our model and will be getting together to build something really great. Something to look forward to!

Monday, June 08, 2009

LibDems are complacent and take the electorate for granted - it is official

I had to pinch myself this morning when I read the Daily Post coverage of an interview with Liverpool City Council leader, LibDem Warren Bradley.

As you will see, Cllr Bradley says

“Some apathetic councillors didn’t have the fire in their belly or the experience to stand up and fight back – they didn’t have a record of action.”

Some of ours lost seats because the people that elect them felt like they didn’t represent them any more.

Labour and the Greens have made inroads because they worked harder.

At the end of the day people want to be able to rely on the local councillors that represent them. Some of the people who were elected have let the people that elected them down.

If you work hard in your community you will not lose.”

He is of course absolutely right. Labour have worked hard in their communities, I assume the Greens have too but I don't claim to have the inside track on their efforts. He is also right to say that voters have become disillusioned with being taken for granted by LibDems.

I know that Labour councillors, 14 of whom took their seats on the council, having defeated LibDems in the last 3 years, and a further number who replaced retiring sitting councillors, have worked their asses off for Labour and for their constituents.

It is an absolute badge of pride with me and my two colleagues, in Kensington and Fairfield that nothing significant ever goes down in our ward without one of us being involved in either the planning, the development or the delivery in some way. We care deeply about the people we represent and we are determined to be part of the things that matter to them. I consider myself to have failed any time that I have not been aware of people's concerns or issues and have not taken up the cudgels on their behalf.

But it is not only that, we are also passionate that any minorities within our ward, be that race, sex, disability, sexuality, religion, age or any other strand, should be represented to the best of our abilities too, even where we don't have that strand in common.

That is why we campaigned over the last 6 months not just for Labour but also for the decent values of the majority, working alongside Hope not Hate, to explain why the BNP is the Party of division and discrimination and has no place in Liverpool.

Where were the LibDems in the campaign against fascism? Where were they today on the UAF demo? Where were they at the Love Music Hate Racism gigs? Where was their candidate in Norris Green last year - the one that could have pushed the BNP into third place - they failed to stand one, despite being the party of Administration.

Warren is quite right, many have been resting on their laurels, watching idly by while their voters drift away, failing to engage, or else taking credit for things they have played no part in.

I am glad he has chosen today to give this interview, and on behalf of the people who are still represented by LibDems, I want to thank him for being brave, and I want to say to him and his group, get involved and start working for your people, or else expect the responsibility to be awarded to someone else.

There are lots of people who want your seats - and some of them are not deserving, some of them are from wings of our politics that I trust we can agree we would never wish to see sitting on benches in our Town Hall.

Personally, I would much rather have a bone-idle complacent LibDem than a BNP councillor, but it is a choice I would rather not make. Get your act together and earn your allowances and SRAs, and help us make being a councillor something to be proud of.

Something positive to warm you

What a wonderful photo of a small boy meeting Barack Obama in the White House, and wanting to touch his hair, to see if it felt like his own.

Let's hope that millions of little boys and girls are motivated, encouraged and enthused by his election, to strive for public office themselves.

Thanks to my friend Natalie (from Trinidad, with the same hair herself) for sending it to me, she says it looks almost as though the boy is blessing the President. This is a powerful message of hope on a dark day, proof that we can and will overcome.

UAF demo, Liverpool Town Hall

I have just got home from an impromptu UAF (United against fascism) demo in town. We met up at the Town Hall (outside), heard a few speeches, chanted and sang for a while, and then marched down to the BBC offices on Hanover Street to express our concern at the amount of air-time the BNP have been getting on the news in the last 24 hours.

There were at least 100 people there, which considering someone only dreamt up the idea at lunchtime, was pretty good. I marched with Labour Students and LGBT people, singing "We are Black, White, Asian and Jews" amongst other things.

It was terrific to see us stretching out all along Church Road as we walked, and it gave people a peaceful way to come together to express their deep anxieties and dismay about the Euro election results in our region.

Don't forget to sign the Hope Not Hate petition - Not in My Name

North West European Election Results

A truly terrible night for the people of the North West and in particular the good people of Kensington and Fairfield.

Despite a terrific result in Liverpool (below), where Labour were streets ahead of everyone else, the combination of the votes from the rest of the region mean that the following people have been elected to serve us.

Atkins - Tory
McCarthy - Labour
Nuttall - UKIP
Davies - LibDem
Karim - Tory
Simpson - Labour
Foster - Tory
Griffin - BNP

So, the leader of the BNP, the vile and odious Griffin, as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside, is now officially one of my representatives.

But he does not just represent me now, he represents the following people in Kensington and Fairfield - the BME population, the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders, those with disabilities, the Jews, the Romas, women, the Irish... all people he despises and wishes did not exist.

My skin is crawling.

Please sign the Hope not Hate petition "Not in my Name" here

We did in the end send the wrong Griffin to Brussels, despite all of our best efforts, Theresa has missed out on a seat in the European Parliament again, despite all her hard work. And not to a Tory, or a LibDem, or even a Green, but to the most odious and vile man in the country.

The Liverpool results were as follows

Labour 23849
LibDem 13131
UKIP 9286
Green 8825
Tory 7376
BNP 5308
Socialist Labour 2467
No2Eu 2264
Christians 1603
Eng Dem 1284
Libertas 312
Jury Team 271
IND 209

I feel soiled and I don't know how I am going to explain this to our residents, what can I say in citizenship speeches now? The repercussions are beyond awful.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Email from GB about the cabinet

Email from the PM about the reshuffle, with a handy link showing the new cabinet. There are in fact 4 women I note, although one is someone I have never heard of before.

"The elections yesterday were a painful defeat for Labour. Too many good people doing so much good for their communities and constituencies have lost through no fault of their own and I want to thank them for their public service as well as congratulate all those who’ve won elections – and all those who have campaigned tirelessly to support them.

Since the global economic crisis first hit Britain, I never doubted how difficult it would be. Not just for our party but more importantly for our country. It’s indeed a testing time. An economic crisis and now a parliamentary crisis for MPs is a test of everyone’s resilience. Mine, the government’s and the country’s. It demands that we continue making the very difficult decisions but also it requires deep reserves of strength when things are difficult.

The task in front of us is clear. First to clean up politics, secondly to push forward with our economic recovery and third to ensure the best opportunities for people through reformed public services that are tailored and far more responsive to people’s needs. The lesson that we have learned this week is that we must push ahead further and faster on all these three fronts. And to do this I have reshaped the Cabinet and will reshape and streamline how we deliver our policies for the country.

We can only build Britain’s future if we have not only a strong economy but good public services that can meet the challenges of the future. So the third leg of our strategy for building Britain’s future is the next stage of reform in public services, a reform driven by one central principle, that a fair society is one in which everyone and not just the privileged have a fair chance to succeed.

I believe in never walking away from people in difficult times, this is what I stand for. I have the determination to take this country through the most difficult of economic times and this is what I’m doing. I know where I and my Cabinet team want to take this country, and I know what we as a nation have it within ourselves to achieve.

You can see a short note that outlines this new talented, committed Cabinet here www.labour.org.uk/cabinet

I’m certain of what is at stake, not just for Labour but for Britain. Yes it was a tough night but we fight on for what we believe. I will not waver, I will not walk away, I will get on with the job and I will finish the work.

Thank you for supporting Labour. Together we can achieve anything."

Reshuffle early thoughts

As I hear little snippets of reshuffle news, I am left pondering whether there will be any women left in the cabinet, other than Yvette Cooper and Harriet Harman, given the resignations over the last week?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How the BNP are threatening my friends and neighbours

I'm taking 5 minutes out this Thursday 4th June to vote in the European elections. I hope you will too.

The Euro voting system means that every vote really does count - we need as many people as possible to vote for mainstream parties so that we can stop the BNP from gaining a seat in the European Parliament and representing you and me in Brussels.

I know that people are sick of politics and politicians at the moment - the BNP want to depict all politicians as pigs with their noses in the troughs. They're doing this to try and pick up the protest vote on Thursday. We have to remind people that they're not the party of protest - they're the party of perversion.

The BNP believe that my friends Mehboob and Azhar can never be British because they're not white. The BNP class them as racial aliens in their own country. Their policy is to send home everyone, forcibly or otherwise, who is not white. They want to introduce apartheid into Britain.

THe BNP believe that my friends Sandra and Dave should not be married because Sandra's family is originally from the Caribbean and Dave is a white man from Liverpool. The BNP are against mixed race marriages because they believe they lead to the dilution of the white race.

The BNP would criminalise my friends Stephen and Caroline, because they're gay and lesbian. Nick Griffin thinks LGBT people are repulsive. BNP organisers celebrate HIV as a friendly disease because it targets blacks people and gay people. And lets not forget it was former BNP steward and activist David Copeland who carried out the Soho pub bombings 10 years ago.

THe BNP do not believe that Peter - a Polish Holocaust survivor that I met at Liverpool’s National Holocaust Remembrance Day - suffered in the Nazi death camps. Nick Griffin denies the Holocaust, does not believe it took place and calls it an extremely profitable lie. He says the chimneys at Auschwitz are fake and built after the war.

These are just my stories, these are just the way in which the BNP threatens my way of life, my friends and my city. But I'm sure for all of you the stories would be similar. The threat the same.

And that's why I'm voting on June 4th - to stop the BNP politics of hate and stand up for my friends, and my community, for my city and my region. I hope you will too.

Together we can stop the BNP.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Thanks to Kev Peel for sending me this note and encourging me to adapt it to suit my own experience.