Sunday, April 30, 2006

4 Days to go

Yesterday was a busy and hectic day, stuff to get out here, there and everywhere. Had quite a few helpers yesterday but loads still needs to go in the next few days. The last few days before an election are always the most hectic. Spent the end of the day going for round to a friends house for dinner, it was relaxation away from the campaign trail and I needed it!!

And Chelsea won the Premiership, though it is a worry about Rooney and the news does not sound too good and he may be out of the World Cup. Liverpool had another good win yesterday, if had not had an early season blip and a small mid season blip we may have now been challenging for the Premiership, hopefully next season for that. Still we will hopefully truimph in the cup.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Latest Update

With just over five days to go till election day, things are busy as ever. I am now off work betwen now and election day, so I can devote myself full time to campaigning. Today was pretty hectic all round, letters to get out, leaflets to distribute to deliverers, canvassing etc. My house is stuffed full of campaiging stuff that needs to go out between now and election day, the joys of election.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Postings Times

No I did not write the last posting at 4.56 pm, it seems this blog is on Pacific Standard Time(ie the time in California and US west coast). For accuracy sake I wrote this at 1.07 am and now I am off to catch some kip, I am not an insomniac yet!

Week to go!

Now just one week till the Local Election, it will be one long week with so much to do between now and May 4th.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Congratulations Arsenal

I have to congratulate Arsenal on tonight reaching the Champions League Final, not a vintage performance but it was sufficient and Lehman saved the penalty at the end to keep up their clean sheet record. They will have their work cut out if thet are to beat Barcelona or AC Milan(probably Barcelona given the first leg lead and away goal), Barcelona are difficult to back against given the form of Ronaldiniho and Eto. No London team has ever won the Champions League/European Cup(or reached the final!) will Arsenal break that duck? We will see on May 17th in Paris.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Latest musings

Out and about knocking on doors again, life is still as hectic as ever and more exhausted then ever. What I will be like in ten days time, I hazard to think but at least by then I will know my fate and hopefully I will have a smile on my face. Getting loads of posters up which is pretty pleasing, locally we outnumber Tory posters in my area by a considerable margin(in fact I am yet to see one on Pollards Hill).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Start of another week

Well this morning got off to a bad start, someone got knocked down near where I live and looked seriously injured, not a nice way to start the week. This brings home the importance of road safety and I know sometimes I can be reckless in crossing roads especially if I am in a hurry.

Congratulations to West Ham on reaching the final, I know the Mayor of Merton Judy Saunders who is an avid West Ham fan will be delighted. Liverpool will hopefully win the final but then again the same was said back in 1988 when Wimbledon won (and Liverpool was pretty invincible that year). Talking about football, good luck to Arsenal tomorrow, I hope they get to the final otherwise my work colleagues Linda and Mark will not be happy people.

Now only ten days left till election.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A great day!!

Well apart from Liverpool winning today (which was the best part of the day), the campaign to win Merton on May 4th goes on. From 11 this morning until 5 I was about in my area, first in the key ward of Longthornton (where I happen to live) and this afternoon in my own ward Pollards Hill. Got rid of plenty of posters today and had a great amount of help, reaction pretty positive all-round and my team felt pretty upbeat about the election. With only 12 days to go between now and Election Day, it will be all systems go between now and May 4th. The weather has also taken a turn for the better, got a bit sun burnt. That will teach me to put suntan lotion on, a great contrast to the freezing days of a few weeks ago and the depths of winter just a few months ago.

Cardiff here we come!

As predicted on this blog a few weeks ago, Liverpool have beaten Chelsea and reached the FA Cup final on May 13th in Cardiff. Absolutely ecstatic about the result, when we are up against it we always seem to come through. The second half after Chelsea scored the goal was pretty nail biting stuff but we managed to pull through at the end of it all and hearing the fans sing you’ll never walk alone was as usual pretty emotive as it was another great day for Liverpool FC. Jose Muriniho your dreams of the double are gone again and were off to Cardiff and hopefully a 7th FA Cup win, enjoy your trip back down to London.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tonight & Arsenal

On the doorsteps again tonight, loads of people out(or not answering) various issues arose over the course of night but all in all the support for Labour is holding pretty firm.

Arsenal won 1-0, not the best result in the world butVillareal got no away goal and I believe Arsenal will score a goal in the second leg and if they do Villareal will need three. Somehow I cannot see that happening so it looks like a Barcelona V Arsenal final, though funny things can happen in football.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

16 Days till Election

Just 16 days now to May 4th, the days are counting down in my head. Feeling pretty tired as I write this and even though I was off work today spent the day doing campaigning stuff and dealing with casework. Back at work tommorrow and then it is back out campaigning tommorrow evening.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Monday!!!

Well it has been a pretty hectic bank holiday, canvassing, leafleting, domestic chores round the house which have not been done for a while. Not a lot of rest today. Thankfully I have tommorrow off work before I return on Wednesday.

Just 17 more days to go, time is flying by!!!

Chelsea set for Premiership?

Surely they cannot blow if from here, one point from three games. Liverpool will hopefully put pay to double aspirations next weekend.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fowler scores and Liverpool win again!!

Well for the second week in a row Liverpool win 1-0 with Robbie Fowler scoring, I do hope he stays on at end of the season and offer him a further contract.

Roll on Chelsea next weekend in the cup!

IQ Test - The result

One of the inane things that you do on days like Easter Sunday is things like on line IQ tests, mine came up at 122 one better then my brother Adrian(who did it before me!) which I can call a successful result even though I have not done anything like this for years. Anyway I enclose what it says about me below, whether is scientific is anyone's guess.

Your Intellectual Type is Word Warrior. This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary. Even without trying you're able to come up with lots of new and creative ideas. And that's just a small part of what we know about you from your test results.

Anyway Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Shopping at Tesco's

Decided tonight to do a shopping trip to the Tesco Extra store, with being so busy recently it is has been difficult to get the time. What did amaze me is the amount of no food items, more and more supermarkets are turning into department stores, with Tesco been a huge retail giant with multi billion pound profits this can only continue. My worry is for the small businessman, competing against the might of Tesco's will become increasingly difficult given their buying power, prices and having everything under one roof. Small businesses have an important part ot play in the economy. While I do find them convenient this fact should be borne in mind given that their ever increasing share of the retail market.

The things I really did want to buy, an Ipod unfortunately they did not have the one I wanted, and that retail purchase will have to wait for another day(or more likely an internet purchase!).

Chelsea heading for premiership again!!

Well it looks like Chelsea are heading for the Premiership again after beating Bolton at the Reebok, with Manchester United dropping points against Sunderland last night(a shock in itself given Sunderland's dire season) it is now nearly all over but not quite.

Next week though will see Liverpool versus Chelsea in the cup, cannot wait and I have feeling this will be our year in the cup. My tip Liverpool to win 2-1 after extra time.

Tales from the Campaign

Another day over, day ended in the pouring rain the things we do in an election campaign!!

Response was pretty positive apart from one F*** off, but that is part of the course and if you can't take abuse you should not be in politics. Loads of people out today which is not surprising given that it is Easter weekend.

Tommorrow is a day off as it is Easter Sunday and I am sure people would not appreciate being disturbed, after that it will be work every day all the way up until May 4th.

19 Days to go!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Churches Together in Pollards Hill

One of the unique things representing Pollards Hill is the sheer number of people involved with local churches. In Pollards Hill alone we have three churches along with four other groups who have services in either the Community centre of the youth centre. In recent years considerable growth in churches has grown in this area mainly due to the growth in the Black African community many of whom are deeply religious.

At lunchtime today I went along to the Churches together service in Pollards Hill, which involved all the Christian churches. Over 150 were outside in the pouring rain despite the atrocious weather, remembering Good Friday and the death of Jesus on the cross. Being there also brought home the diversity of the local community with many different cultures together reflecting on the importance of this day.

Although I am not the most religious person (I am Catholic in case you are wondering), I do believe religion is important and that it teaches us a set of values, which are important to how we live our lives. While Pope Benedict would not be my ideal pope and I have much disagreement on Catholic church policy, nevertheless I recognise the important part that religion plays in people’s lives and it is something that does have a place in society.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Easter Time

The good news is that I am not back at work till next Wednesday, the bad news is that any rest period will be taken up with campaigning for the elections, no rest for me this weekend(apart from Easter Sunday). Still only three weeks to go till I know my fate, feeling very upbeat about our chances of holding Merton on 4th May. Hopefully over the weekend I will also get in some free time to do other stuff that I have not done recently including shopping and stuff round the house, oh and watch a few DVD's.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Campaign Launch

Tonight say the formal launch of the Merton campaign with over 100 in attendance (though we have been campaigning for months). To launch the campaign we had along Lord Puttnam who made a very inspiring speech to the audience about education. Tessa Jowell was the main speaker and mainly spoke about the Olympics and the immense benefits it will bring to Londoners. On her entry she got a rousing cheer form the audience. Winning the Olympics for London has to be one of our greatest achievements, the world will be focused on London on 2012, and to have this great event in London is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The day we won it last July made me proud to be a Londoner. No doubt the press will as usual will be cynics (and the Standards as started already and no doubt Mail will be in on the act soon) but I have no doubt it will being immense economic benefits to one of the most deprived parts of London and will a huge economic boost for all of London. Having the Olympics will also inspire and motivate sport stars to win, the dream of Olympic gold in your home country is very inspiring to youngsters and budding sportstars. Roll on 2012.

From speaking to colleagues most are very upbeat about our chances of retaining Merton, now it back on the knocker again tommorrow.

22 Days to go!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Italian Election, who won???

Well it looks like the Italian election has ended in stalemate with no one seemingly the winner. Apparently it is less then a tenth of a percent separates out the right and the left. Of course I would like to see the back of Berlusconi in Italy; it just beggars belief that he ever got elected in the first place given the various allegations that surround him and his acolytes. Along with changing laws to benefit himself and his interests along with corruption allegations, it is amazing how he has lasted so long in power.

Italy is beautiful country with fantastic food, but in terms of government it is pretty much ungovernable. A country where governments come and go at will with instability and bureaucracy a fundamental part of the system.

Economically as a nation it is in decline, unlike other countries like UK, USA, Germany it has not made the reforms needed and it has an economy that has failed to adapt to the realities of a global economy.

A book I would recommend reading is The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones which gives a great insight into the country, its government, legal system, business, culture and sport. A very complicated nation!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pump it - Black Eyed Peas

I have to say that pump it by the Black Eyed Peas(using Dick Dales Miserloue theme from Pulp Fiction) is fantastic to hear and it seems that eveytime I hear it on the radio, I want to turn up the volume (ie pump it). Best track i have heard for quite some time!!, in my fact it should be my election theme song.

Transport moan!!!

Some morning it can be a doodle getting to work, bus turns up on time, train turns up on time and things run smoothly, this is the case most of the time. This morning was not one of these; bus turned up but spends ages getting to Streatham despite no traffic on the road (it was obviously running ahead of schedule and wasting time). I then end up having to run for the train only to find out it is running 15 mins late, oh the joys of travelling in London and having to put up with delays. And the other thing is that Thameslink which I use to get to work has now been renamed First Capital Connect, now I wonder how much that rebranding exercise has cost and yes I do know it is a new franchise running the service. I could say more about transport in London but I will leave it at that.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Weekend footie

Liverpool win again (and a birthday goal from Robbie Fowler)

Manchester United burst the Arsenal bubble and win again(9 on the trot)

10 men Chelsea come from 1-0 down to beat Wst Ham 4-1.

Sunderland V Fulham gets abandoned because of snow and I thought this was April

Not the most exciting of weekend!!!

Mike Baldwin

Well I managed to see the repeat of Friday's Coronation Street and the demise of Mike Baldwin. I have been a fan of Coronation Street since I was a kid, indeed it was one of the first programmes I remember watching, Monday and Wednesday at 7.30(now three more episodes a week!) was always Coronation Street time. In more recent times it has become more difficult to watch it due to other commitments (usually Merton Council) but I try to watch it when I can.

Anyway I have to say that Mike Baldwin has been one of the all time great characters of Coronation Street, a rascal, a wide boy, a Casanova, devious, manipulative are many of the descriptions that can be applied to Mike Baldwin but over the years he has provided some great moments. I even remember as an eight year remember well the Ken, Deidre, Mike love triangle and Deidre staying with Ken.

He will be character sadly missed but he has provided some great moments over the years and Johnny Briggs the actor who plays Mike Baldwin is a fantastic actor. Hard to believe we will see no more.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Long day over!

Sitting here wacked out (Double canvasssing session!), 26 days to go till DDay arrives. Most interesting part of today was being told that if you are selling gas, electricity to get lost(he thought I was one of those) though to myself this guy will be against but it turned out he was strong Labour and supporting us, just shows that first impressions do not always count. Another event was having to phone 999(I had let the neighbourhood policing team mobile number in doors) when a groups of younsters were racing on motorbike races down a road and filiming it on mobiles, very dangerous and bearing in mind the potential danger to pedestrians I felt it was necessary as they could have killed someone through their irresponsible actions.

In the last seven days I have been out for eight canvass sessions, I must be glutton for punishment still it will be worth it if we hold control on May 4th.

Oh and both horses fell in the Grand National!!! they say betting is a mug's game and they are probably right, £6 down as a result. I have to say the Grand National at Aintree is a great spectacle to watch though I have only once had the winner in the race.

All in all another eventful day!!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Newsnight Poll

Plenty of encouragement in tonight's Newsnight poll and ground for renewed optimisim. I am picking up a pretty good reaction on the doorstep, out again the past two nights and vote holding very steady!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mrs Henderson Presents and In Her Shoes

In between all the rest I managed to watch two films on DVD over the past few days (part of my six DVD rental from Amazon)

The first film saw was Mrs Henderson Present. Judi Dench played Laura Henderson an eccentric widow who decides to buy the Windmill Theatre in London in the late thirties around the time of the outbreak of war. In order to get it up and running she hires Vivian Van Damm who is played by Bow Hoskins, an abrasive type person who is not afraid to say what he thinks even if it offends. In order to increase patronage, he decides to bring in nude women into the revue; at the time Britain had theatre censorship (abolished by the Labour govt of the sixties) with approval needed by the Lord Chamberlain. Laura Henderson being part connected with the establishment gets him to agree. This turns into a huge success especially with the troops.

With the onset of War things get more difficult, most of the West End shuts down but the Windmill continues going despite the blitz and the restrictions of wartime. This film showed the resilient spirit of London and that we will never be beaten by whatever is thrown at us. Mrs Henderson who had lost her son in World War I it was very poignant as deep down this had very much affected her and scenes are shown of her visiting his grave in France just before the invasion of France. The show must go on attitude was part of the reason that I enjoyed watching the film and Judy Dench played her part extremely well. Her best friend Lady Conway is played by Thelma Barlow (who is better know for playing Mavis in Coronation Street) and who is a fantastic actress. A film I would recommend watching, Will Young also stars as Bertie who is a member of the Revue and of course does plenty of singing.

The other film I watched was In Her Shoes. The film involves two sisters who are the complete opposites of each other, the only they have in common is shoes. Rose is a successful Philadelphia lawyer while her sister Maggie has drifted from job to job achieving little and going nowhere. When they were young their mother had died and their dad brought them up and step mum who cut off all links with theirs mothers family. Anyway following been chucked out of Maggie's for sleeping with her boyfriend she goes in search of her roots and far from discovering her gran is dead as she had been lead to believe, finds all these birthday cards from her grandmother which has been kept had from her. Off she goes and find her Gran living in an active retirement unit in Florida. The Gran played wonderfully by Shirley McLaine takes her in and she discovers what went on and questioning what happened. Maggie manages to get a job and strikes up a rapport with the retirees at the complex including a shopping business.

In the mean time her sister Rose goes through a late twenties crisis and is determined to track down her sister. She quits her job as a top lawyer and takes up dog walking. In the time off she falls in love but the stigma of not being able to find her sister gets her down and she splits as she discovers she cannot live without her being around. Eventually she too discovers the truth and has a reunion down in Florida with her and the grandmother she has not seen since a kid. Of course she ends of marrying him at the end.

This film was very enjoyable and showed the importance of family and that despite difficulties we may experience from time to time they are important. Discovering your roots if you come from a difficult background and finding out about their lives and how their father stopped the contact showed the pain that can within some families. While it was not the best film I have watched it was a welcome break from the campaign stuff and thankfully no politics!!!.

The Campaign trail

Feel it hard to believe it is only Wednesday night as since the last time I updated the blog, I have been out on the campaign trail four times. Response I find is pretty good, in an area last night that I thought might be more challenging and not our strongest area, the response from the punters was very encouraging, lets hope they all come out and vote on May 4th. The next few days have no let up in the campaign trail, every day until Sunday I have campaigning lined up.

Still it should all be worth if leads to Labour being in power for another four years in Merton. The response on the doorsteps is far better then four years ago, I do not know where all this pessimism about our chances is coming from about Labour performance on May 4th, it does not seem to be the case in my opinion. Some are speculating that we will lose Merton on May 4th, we are fighters here not quitters and we will come up trumps.

Computer up and running

Came home tonight to find that my computer is up and running again after the internet link was down all week, with being so hectic the last week getting a chance to update my blog elsewhere has not been the easiest of tasks, still hopefully it will now be done on a more regular basis. Nothing worse then out of date blogs!!

Full Council Meeting

We had the last full Council meeting at Merton tonight before the election on May 4th. The usual knockaround stuff and most of it quite good fun(though I am sure the public would be switched off). In the public gallery we had some trainee journalists(some of us thought they were Tory candidates but some were just a bit too young), many of us thought how did they manage to sit through this and stay awake.

The only speech I made was on the Controlled Drinking Zone(an idea that I got introduced to the Borough as Chair of Licensing) and I had to rush into the Council chamber just before the item was called and as I got to my seat it came up, waffled on for a minute, the Mayor Judy Saunders clearly knew I was waffling and giving me a look that you are basically passing time. I thought for a second I was on the wrong agenda item but I was right. Anyway sent her a note afterwards about my speech and letting her know the football score as well(she is a big football fan and supports West Ham). Anyway we finished up an hour early which was just as well(straight off for a stiff drink!), my mind is on election stuff and I wanted to catch the end of the football and congratulations to Arsenal on their result tonight. They have a great chance of getting to the final now and lets hope the beat Villareal in the semi final.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Are we in a for a shock?????

Chelsea drop points and Manchester United win again, the lead is now down to just seven points with six ganes to go(and one of those involves Chelsea meeting Manchester United). While I despise both teams as a Liverpool supporter(and another win today), are we in for another shock comeback to rival Liverpool's glorious success and comeback to win in the Champions League Final last May??? Muriniho looked liked a pretty p****** off guy tonight on TV and with his future seemingly not secure at Chelsea, will he off too another job in the summer. They should win the premiership but with them dropping points on a regular basis who knows??

An eventful few days

Well I have got around at last to updating my blog, have meant to for the past few days but my computer at home has been playing up(IT problems the vain on my life) coupled with work and campaigning commitments this has got ignored. Still better late then ever!

Locally things are going well, was out for over three hours today on the doorstep in my ward Pollards Hill, response was pretty good and the vote is holding steady. Many I spoke to are also very happy with the Council, we do have issues that arise but by and large the public seem to think we are doing a good job.

This evening I had the pleasure of having to call the RAC out. My car is forever playing up and just before I was due to go to a birthday meal for my nephew Toby who is 4 on Monday at the Windmill restaurant/pub in my ward (the only one!), the car would not start. Thankfully the car was outside my house so I waited till after the meal(which I got a lift to there and back) and waited till I got back home before calling them out, it seemed that a battery wire had burned out. Thankfully the RAC guy managed to fix it, a hassle I could have done without!!!

Also had a letter confirming my nomination as a candidate, just over four weeks now to go!!