Sunday, 31 October 2010


self, back view in the Baltic, 2008' it's all in the skintone, peeps/tr>

Oi!  Harriet!  No!  Being redheaded is genetic.  So you do not mock it.  That.  Is.  All.  Wrong.  And, er, it is in Scotland that you will find the highest concentration of redheads in the world.  I declare an interest of course as a redhead myself.  Similar colouring to Danny Alexander in fact.  There are many varieties and shades of redhead, but what we all have in common is not our hair colour but our skin.  Pale, freckled and we get sunburned if someone switches a light on.  I am naturally a dark-ish auburn, green eyes, fair skin and freckles.  This comes from my Scottish grandfather's side - his son, my father, was a bright redhead with blue eyes, which my sister inherited, my brother and I got the auburn as our mother is dark, though my brother's hair was carroty when he was a child and darkened as he grew up.  My daughter has brown hair with reddish lights in it, but she is still a redhead as she has the skin.  This is genetically compounded, as my son-in-law is a true redhead, so their daughter is of course a redhead too, with grey eyes like her mother.  Genetic. Fruit flies and all that.  And yes, there is serious prejudice against redheads.  It is even said that Judas Iscariot was a redhead, though I don't see how he could have been, coming from the Middle East and all.  You find redheads mostly in the Celtic fringe, there are a great many in north America, especially Canada because of the Scottish emigration there, but you also find them occasionally in parts of central Asia, and in the Caucasus and Afghanistan - green eyes and reddish lights in the hair are not that uncommon in Afghanistan, and women with that colouring are quite beautiful.  The gene is very strong.  Alexander the Great was a redhead - it is documented from contemporary sources that he had to cover up against the sun or his skin turned red, not something most Greeks and Macedonians have to worry about, then or now.  I was once on holiday in the Basque country of France and was taken for Basque and spoken to in that language.

We can't get suntanned.  So what?  Is that a reason to exterminate us?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

blow them up

yes, we all knew that the Bush n Blair policies were going to get us all blown to kingdom come.  Because before them there was no international terrorism.  Oh no.  Did not exist.  The people blown up were all Africans so did not count.  Doubt if any of them even read the Guardian.  So while the likes of Polly Toynbee were comparing the British Government's domestic economic policies to - you're ahead of me - the Holocaust - explosive packages were intercepted in the US and UK.  And yes, blowing to kingdom come is what those packages were intended for.  And their destination?  Synagogues in Chicago.  Because as we all know, the real enemy within is DA JOOZ.  Oh, please yourselves.

Friday, 29 October 2010

basher bashed

I had got wind that His Master's Voice were sniffing around Basher McKenzie's disgraceful, bullying, thuggish and misogynist behaviour at a Reading Borough Council meeting, and they have found that some of those on the receiving end of it would talk.  You can read the story here.  Some of it though is worth expanding on, so here is an extract:
Richard Mckenzie, a former Labour borough councillor, is accused of calling a Reading East Conservative Party member and wife of a Wokingham borough councillor “Wokingham scum”.

The comment is said to have been made in the public gallery of the meeting on Tuesday last week at which the controversial changes to Maiden Erlegh School catchment area by Wokingham Borough Council were discussed.
Mr Mckenzie – who was a Park ward Labour candidate in the last council election and a Labour candidate in the Henley parliamen-tary election – admitted saying “something” to Alison Swaddle, wife of Wokingham borough councillor Paul Swaddle, “in the heat of the moment” for which he apologised to her at the time.
However he told the Reading Post he “could not recall” exactly what he said. Oh yeah?  Not much of a defence that.  You want to be in politics you better find a better rebuttal strategy - and you better sort a few other things out too.
And he added he thought it was “a little bit deceitful” to send a member of Wokingham Conservatives to “spy on the proceedings”. It was a public meeting!  Stupid arse!
After the meeting Mrs Swaddle confirmed Mr McKenzie had used the phrase “Wokingham scum” to her. She said: “I couldn’t understand why he said it because I have known him for 10 years and our children went to the same playgroup.
“I said to him at the time, ‘Richard, why would you call me that?’”
She added she was “rather shocked” by the remark and said she was there to support the parents of Park ward as a member of Reading East Conservatives.
Liberal Democrat councillor Rebecca Rye also had an exchange with Mr Mckenzie – who has been spearheading the parents’ campaign against the catchment changes which would exclude children from Reading borough from Maiden Erlegh School.
Cllr Rye was unwilling to have the remark repeated in print, describing it as “an unsettling and inappropriate personal remark” made just outside the council chamber.  Here it is: I would also like to say that when I went outside Mr McKenzie was abusive and came across as very threatening although he kept accusing me of being threatening myself as I gesticulated as I talked with him. Lastly I was also very perturbed by his comment to me "May I call you Rebecca, Oh I'm not looking at your chest"!

She said she was glad Mr Mckenzie stood in Park ward and not in Katesgrove where she is a councillor adding: “If he were to stand in
Katesgrove I might consider making a complaint to the Labour Party about him. See how far you get Rebecca.  This has been done before, when Basher physically abused a female member of the public at a public meeting, and the Reading boys, who heard the complaint, said it was just fine.  That is what they are.
When the wording of the alleged remark which had a mildly sexual content was put to Mr Mckenzie he said: “I catergorically sic deny having said it.”  Liar.  But we knew that.
He said Cllr Rye had “gesticulated aggressively” at him and he had been forced to remind her he was a member of the public and threatened to report her to the council’s standards board.
He added he had actually reported two Liberal Democrat councillors to the standards board – one for comments about him on a Facebook page and the other for tweeting during the meeting.
Tory councillor Richard Willis alluded to Mr Mckenzie’s alleged comments in his blog saying he “abused a woman in the public gallery who is the wife of a Wokingham councillor” and adding “I am also told he was abusive and threatening to a female councillor and then sexually suggestive.”
Mr Mckenzie added he was taking legal advice about the content of Councillor Willis’s blog. What about this one, hey Basher?  The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak?  Not mentioned in His Master's Voice either?  Will I be hearing from m'learned friends?  Still waiting.
On his own blog, Mr Mckenzie also writes about a complaint made by another member of the public during the meeting – shouted down from the public gallery – about Liberal Democrat Cllr Warren Swaine for tweeting during the meeting.
On the blog Mr Mckenzie said of Cllr Swaine, it was “just a bit pathetic really”.
Head of central administration John Painter known as "Wild Man" when he was at university was asked to rule on whether or not Cllr Swaine should be allowed to tweet during the meeting.
He said no at first but after the meeting admitted he was probably wrong as the council had new policies on greater use of electronic social media.

So - this is the man who wants to be elected in Park ward.  I have posted previously what witnesses to this and previous instances have reported.  Remember that when you vote.  And remember that Reading Labour has never distanced itself from this behaviour.  Ask them to.  See what they say.  And see what they do.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

it's a BBC world

Nick Cohen makes the point that the BBC is now having to fund the World Service, from which licence payers get no benefit, but that DfID's budget is ring-fenced, and quite often is spent propping up dictators.  So maybe the World Service should be funded by DfID, because it actually brings sound journalism and truth (yes, really) to peoples who have no other access to it.  Yes, maybe it should.  I have to declare an interest as a former employee, 13 years hard graft and now a BBC pensioner. He cites Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist I am sorry to say I had never heard of until this week, will read her.  Apparently Nigel Lawson also cited her recently, coming from a rather different political standpoint from Cohen.  Worth a thought, say I.  His Master's Voice, however, referring to the bit of the BBC World Service that is in Reading, BBC Monitoring, where I spent most of those 13 years, and which brought me to Reading in the first place, says everything is going to be Just Fine.  It Says Here.  Usual unrivalled commitment to investigative journalism and The Facts.  Not.

facts checked, and yes - it's bollocks

on the morning it is confirmed that I and my colleagues are to have a salary cut from 1st January, the date we usually get an inflation rise - bastards, but I expect no sympathy - I note with interest that Full Fact (worth looking at, the blog of an independent fact-checking organisation) indicates that, despite the talk on the Reading blogosphere and elsewhere, including in today's Times, that London boroughs are "block-booking B&Bs" in boroughs such as Reading and Ashford to accommodate tenants forced out of London by the government's housing benefit cap - er, they're not.  Dale also quotes a correspondent who says, and anyone who has set foot in London recently knows this, that you can get a respectable four-bedroom property in many London boroughs for £400 a week.  Next!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

This just in from Mr Waterstone

Sent from my iPad

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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

we don't want your sort

Here is an email I received this morning from Waterstone's the booksellers:

Dear Customer,

We see from our records that you have previously purchased an eBook from whilst having a registered address outside of the UK and Ireland.

We regret that  as of  20th October 2010, we are no longer able to sell  eBooks to customers placing an order from anywhere outside of the UK and Ireland.  We have had to take this action to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories  into which we can sell eBooks.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience  that  this may cause.

Please note: Your previously purchased eBooks are not affected by this and will still be available in your ‘Digital order history’ in your online account

Kind regards, Customer Service

The contents of this message and all attachments have been sent in confidence for the attention of the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient you are kindly requested to preserve this confidentiality and to advise the sender immediately of the error in transmission. Waterstone's Booksellers Limited, Registered Office Address: Capital Court, Capital Interchange Way, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0EX. Registered in England, Registered No: 610095

 Grrr. What happened to globalisation? I'll come back to this. Anti-competitive. Bastards.

Update: the only ebook I have ever bought from Waterstones was The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho, translated from Portuguese, and a very strange book it is. Still not sure what to think about it.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Who Is No. 1?

Nineteen Eighty Four

I read this in early summer this year while on holiday in the Balkans, mostly by train, and discovering the coast of southern Montenegro.  I was reading it for probably the fourth time, having first read it when I was about twelve or thirteen.  The introduction to the edition I was reading was by Thomas Pynchon, a writer I once tried and failed to read, and who quotes Orwell from 1946 "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 hass been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I know it.". Pynchon goes on, "Orwell in 1948 understood that despite the Axis defeat, the will to fascism [sic] had not gone away, that far from having seen its day it had perhaps not yet even come into its own" - how right he was.  And how surprised Orwell would (perhaps) have been to see the support for clerical fascism on the left that we see today.  But maybe not.

At the start of the book Winston Smith sees "torn paper in spirals" eddying down the street in the wind.  Very rare now, even on a windy day and in the most litter-strewn street, but clearly commonplace in 1940s London, which is the setting for this book, whatever its pretended provenance.  And my early memories of my 1950s childhood in outer London include there being scraps of paper on the street and blowing along the pavements.  You never see that now.  It has gone the way of white dog poo
I remain utterly unconvinced by the scenario of this book, masterpiece though it may well be.  But on this reading it struck me that the book is first and foremost about memory.  If there is no way to go back and check on what you thought you knew, because history is constantly being rewritten, then what do you actually know, what do you really remember?  Nowadays newspapers change their websites, take down or change stories you know you saw but can never find again, and change content by way of "correction", exactly as Winston Smith did for a living.  But at the same time, Facebook updates are there for ever.  The plot has a glass paperweight as a McGuffin.  I suppose it doesn't matter why.

Always be careful of technology when you write.  When. O'Brien turns off the tele-screen (p. 219) there is a "sharp snap" which is the sound I remember appliances used to make when being switched off, but only up until the 1970s - by the 80s they no longer did.  The mention of that sound anchors you in postwar austerity Britain, which lasted until the adulthood of this boomer.  But maybe that is no bad thing.

There is so much in this book which reads false.  The world of the book is fought over by three great powers, the UK is "Air Strip One" and is a small fiefdom of one of those powers, so why should "Ingsoc (English Socialism) be an important world ideology?  It's a bit like "Eurocommunism" - who remembers that now?

A couple of quotes I thought worth repeating - "All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or because they grew soft.  Either they became stupid and arrogant, failed to adjust themselves to changing circumstances, and were overthrown; or they became liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have used force, and once again they were overthrown" (p. 268).  In my experience it is a little of both for most.

"Power is not a means, it. Is an end.  One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship - the object of power is power." (p. 324).  Which of course is what always happens.

But, aside from all that, the book's alleged premise "the future is with the proles" is of course utter bollocks.  Which does not stop the book being a masterpiece.  The chapters in which torture takes place are almost unbearable reading.  And what I suspect has never been done since (readers may correct me) is the portrayal of someone AFTER the torture, brainwashing, call it what you will, who daily expects a bullet in the back of the neck.  And the torture  meted out to him is that, er, the bullet is never fired.  Winston Smith is left alive, self-medicating with alcohol and, allegedly, he has learned to love Big Brother.

Always go back to Orwell.  Whose real name of course was Blair.   

Friday, 22 October 2010

Seven people or things who changed my life (7) Eliza

All these posts have been about people I did not necessarily know very well, and who were not necessarily in my life for very long, but who were there at important moments or who have been part of an important change.

Eliza is my granddaughter, born in November 2007, and much longed for by me for several years before that.  She is of course a very important person in my life, but she doesn't yet know that, and she doesn't yet understand what I think about the difference she made to me.  She has curly red hair, a terrific vocabulary and an excellent memory.

Some time after the 2001 general election, in which I was re-elected Labour MP for Reading East with an increased majority, having seen off a deselection attempt in 2000, I began to think about my future.  And increasingly I began to think I did not have one.  I knew they would try again to deselect me, and I knew that if I did not have protection from the powerful they would probably succeed.  And I knew I did not have, and never would have, protection from the powerful.  Of course, having no future in politics does not mean having no future. But I really did begin to think there was no future for me.  It felt a little like it had felt in the last year or two of my first marriage, when I could see nothing ahead of me and no way out, and only - what? alcoholism? a breakdown? as prospects.  I did get out though.  One day at the end of that marriage I put on a Bob Dylan track, "Idiot Wind" from 'Blood on the Tracks', a lot of which is about the break-up of his marriage, though it didn't need to be.  The lines
"I've been double-crossed now
For the very last time
And now I'm finally free"
spoke to me as they never had before, although I had heard them at least fifty times since the album came out in 1975 (the year I got married for the first time).  And a few days later I walked out and into my future.  I don't know why those words spoke to me as they did - but if you have been double-crossed then power has been taken away from you.  Once your power has been taken away from you then there is nothing left for anyone to take.  You are free.  Free as a person with nothing is free.  To save your life you must lose it.

In 2001 significant other and I took a long-planned month-long trip to Australia.  In the weeks before the trip I begged significant other to change his mind.  Let's not go, I said.  Something bad will happen.  For weeks I woke up with a start most mornings, in a cold sweat of fear, with images fading behind my eyes of planes crashing from the sky into buildings.  I don't claim to have "the sight", though some members of my family do have something very like it.  We went to Australia, flying out of Heathrow on - you're ahead of me - September 11, 2001.  It was our wedding anniversary, and we had planned to order champagne on the plane.  But I sleep so well on planes that I was never awake enough to order any, so we had no champagne. We were glad afterwards that we didn't. We found out what had happened just before landing at Singapore.  But the dread did not go away.  I dreaded the void that was in front of me.  Sometimes it seemed as though it was physically there.  I even know what colour it was, a pale bluish-grey, streaked here and there with a sickly dark yellow.  And that was all the future I had.  Nothingness.

In 2002 we went to Mexico on holiday.  Cancun.  A concrete strip on the Caribbean.  The wet season, so rain every day and tropical storms.  But it was one of the best holidays I have ever had.  It was an all-inclusive deal, so every other day we stayed around the hotel, pecking at the buffet tables like scavenger birds and drinking at the bar and swimming in the pool, and every other day we went somewhere.  We swam in underground cenotes pools, we were fed in a Mayan village, we had a barbecue in the jungle and had things thrown at us by monkeys - and I can remember every word of several conversations significant other and I had during that holiday.  About the future.  I told him then that it might be better if I simply wasn't there any more.  If I didn't exist any more.  Because there was no point.  There was nothing ahead of me but emptiness.  I wasn't depressed.  I wasn't suicidal in the way people usually understand it.  But that was how it seemed.  He did not like it at all.

On the last night of that holiday I dreamed of a newborn baby.  It was a baby I had to save - I had to keep it warm and make it safe, and as I tried to get to the baby before it got too cold and hungry to survive I heard mocking laughter from behind me.  I woke up with the sound of that laughter in my ears, and I understood that even if there were people around me in politics who would let a baby starve to prove a point if they thought they could get away with it - and there were - human beings do not, by and large, want babies to starve.  Human beings want humanity to continue.  The continuation of one human being's life doesn't particularly matter.  The continuation of humanity does matter.  Why, is another question.  Babies will be born, grow and lead their lives, and that will be the future, I understood that morning in Mexico.  My future had been taken away from me, at least for a while, and it was only by having no future, or seeing no future, that I could understand what the future really meant.  Then I wondered for the first time if I would have a grandchild.

Not everyone has children.  Not everyone who has children has grandchildren.  But children will be born, and they make the future we cannot see.  I began then to long for my grandchild, but comfortably.  Maybe there would never be a grandchild, or I would never see a grandchild.  But the future was there, just out of sight.  Now I knew it was there.

When Eliza was born it was a gift.  It wasn't that I wanted something, a grandchild, and I got it.  I had already got my future back, even though I couldn't see it; Eliza would bring me joy for as long I had the opportunity to know her.

And so it is.

a dead man in Oxfordshire

this report, which is evidence based, says the death of Dr David Kelly was a textbook suicide.  Now, for the sake of his family if for no other reason, can we leave it alone?

channelling my inner Gaga

could not resist this pic.  so this is what she wears to go out for a quiet pint.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

the girl from the golden West

because I would quite like to write about some other things as well as get on with my day job, I'll get this done now.  Tony Jones informs us that the Labour candidate for Redlands ward in Reading is Jan Gavin, which is more than Reading Labour Party has done.  The selection has been done quite early; I imagine the boys think it is a marginal and, because the LibDems appear to have gone to sleep, as others have pointed out, Labour can have it back.  Well, we'll see.  Labour lost Redlands before the main carnage mostly wiped out Reading Labour's tainted brand, largely because of the electoral fraud committed there in 2004 and identified by the police in 2005.  This is what the then chair of Reading Labour Party, Stuart Singleton-White, the fraudster's friend, said was fine, because the fraud was too small to have affected the result.  I asked at the time - how does he know?  Unless he knows because - well, draw your own conclusions.  One of the councillors wiped out in the Great Electoral Rout was Peter Kayes, the self-hating Jew.  Kayes went so far as to say (to me) that the police were wrong in identifying that fraud had been committed.  Not even the fraudster's friend went that far.  But we have not heard from Mr Kayes since.  No, they have put in a trusty.  Whatever else Jan Gavin is, and whether she is a serious or a paper candidate, she is a trusty for the boys.  She is a former (I presume) deputy head of Highdown School, and is married to Mr Salter's drug dealer Chris Gavin.  Last time I looked she lived in west Reading, far enough west to be in the Reading West constituency.  Tony Jones of course lives in Redlands ward and would have been at the selection meeting.  The fraudster's friend lives in Redlands too. Perhaps Tony Jones was even a candidate himself, though I suspect he has rejoined the Labour Party too recently to be eligible.  Picture the scene: comfy living room in biggish house in a leafy Redlands street, piles of the Guardian on the coffee table; the Redlands Labour faithful gather to drink milky coffee and choose their candidate for the local elections.  There is the distant whir of a tumble dryer from the utility room.  A lot of the furnishings are beige and nubbly.
Party members:  "So, Jan Gavin, why do you want to be our candidate?"
Jan Gavin: "Because Martin Salter told me to."
Fraudster's friend:  "Good enough for us, I think.  All agreed?"
Tony Jones: "Not so fast, comrades.  I don't wish to undermine Jan at this stage, but I want her to answer this: although the LibDems aren't very visible round here at present, they might start doing stuff again.  How would she combat that?"
Jan Gavin:  "No need.  They're finished.  Most of the Redlands Labour Party members vote LibDem as you know, except Stuart of course who's a Tory, has been ever since he fought in the Falklands, and even with everyone in this room voting LibDem, as most of you will, Redlands is likely to go Tory next time."
Party members: "Eh?"
Jan Gavin is selected by acclaim and the meeting closes with Gipsy Creams and a prayer for the Taleban.

Jan Gavin is 59.

To be continued.

that went well then

Basher's little motion down the toilet, complaints from members of the public and councillors about his behaviour, forced to take illegal photographs off his blog, motion to council forces Labour admission that they could have taken up the issue last March but did not bother.  Congratulations Bashie babes, you've just lost Labour several hundred votes.  Now do us all a favour and push off - but don't go home until you have calmed down, for safety reasons.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

oh no he didn't

Last night's Reading Borough Council meeting.  Possibly.

this from Basher:

Councillor Swaine has, I believe denied Twittering during the Council meeting "I believe" because the Reading boys do not read this blog.  Oh no.  Definitely not.  And what Basher is referring to is this comment, made on this blog earlier today by Cllr Warren Swaine (LD, Katesgrove, toppler of Dictatorship Dave "moronic members of the public" Sutton):

I neither texted or went on facebook during the council meeting... another Labour lie from McKenzie.

Peter Jones was reading his emails and even waved his phone about during the debate.

Just thought I'd mention it.  And peeps, do you not think the future of school provision in east Reading has got a little lost in all this?  Do you not think those who actually care about these things will draw their own conclusions when they contrast personal insults, bullying and thuggish behaviour with considered efforts to help the situation and represent residents?  At election time? 

For context, those (and their name is legion), who cannot bring themselves to look at Basher's eructations, will wish to know that Basher posted this afternoon, after I had posted on last night's meeting, to say triumphantly that he had got hold of Cllr Swaine's Twitter feeds, and to publish them.

ladies and gentlemen, introducing the lovely Basher

Richard McKenzie, wannabe Park ward councillor, known as Basher because of his propensity for violent behaviour, especially towards those in not much of a position to fight back.  He has stood several times for election, being elected only once, in Kentwood, on the back of the work by the previous Labour councillor.  Subsequently he failed to be re-elected or elected again in Kentwood, and failed again in Park earlier this year.  He was the worst-performing Labour parliamentary candidate ever in Henley, coming fifth and losing his deposit. Now he would like to be elected in Park.  But this is how he behaves (hat-tip various, all of whom were present at or indeed the victims of the assaults described; my words in roman, direct quotes from those who have been in touch or from speeches in italics):

Insulted and physically abused a KMC (Kings Meadow Campaign) campaigner who was handing out flyers in Broad Street announcing a public meeting [a retired gentleman and member of the Salvation Army]
When told by another campaigner that his behaviour in Broad Street was out of order, he proceeded to be verbally abusive and physically aggressive.
Shone a laser penlight into the eyes of others attending a meeting.

Towards Cllr Rebecca Rye, last night, who says:

I would also like to say that when I went outside Mr McKenzie was abusive and came across as very threatening although he kept accusing me of being threatening myself as I gesticulated as I talked with him. Lastly I was also very perturbed by his comment to me "May I call you Rebecca, Oh I'm not looking at your chest"!

Basher had previously been "leering" over the balcony above Cllr Rye (a witness tells me).

Other witnesses describe his behaviour at the meeting thus:

Basher asked lots of questions when supposedly presenting his petition (which is addressed to WBC)

Basher’s supplementary was not for clarification of the answer to his original question
 He illegally took photographs
 He continually heckled and interrupted the debate of the motion/amendment from the balcony
By leaning over the balcony he tried to intimidate Coalition councillors during their speeches.
His performance last night, on top of his continual jabs at and mocking of Mark Ralph on his blog, clearly demonstrate his self-interest in using these vulnerable parents as a vehicle for his next attempt back into elected office

There is plenty more, in addition to the "scum" remark thrown at a member of the public who had done nothing to provoke it.

Basher says that Wokingham Borough Council "sent a spy" to last night's meeting.  Did they now.  Any Wokingham councillor or officer could have attended the meeting quite openly, wearing a WBC badge, and sat in the public gallery if they had wished.  Those attending who have been in touch with me have not indicated that any did.

And as for saying, as Basher does, that Cllr Hussain, who actually has been elected by the voters of Park ward, did not speak up for Park parents, this is what Cllr Hussain actually said:

First I would like to praise the parents leading the campaign – Jane, Fiona, Mira, Rachel and Zarina in particular - for all their hard work.

I passionately support the campaign’s aim to remain in Maiden Erlegh’s catchment. The community is close-knit, it has supported the school for decades and the community would like to continue doing this for many years to come. Maiden Erlegh is the local school for the southern part of Park Ward. My residents live within a very short walk and so it makes sense for them to remain in Maiden Erlegh’s catchment.
To change the catchment would force the parents to use their cars and create more traffic on Wokingham’s roads. It would also risk the break-up of the community, with some families feeling they have to move. This would be very sad because at the moment the community is very cohesive. It is great how the residents know so many of their neighbours. To a large extent this is because their children are making friends with their neighbours children at the local primary schools and then progressing on to Maiden Erlegh together. Mr Mayor, I hope you will agree that we do not want to destroy this vibrant community.
To enable as many residents to take part in the informal consultation, I asked Wokingham Borough Council to translate the leaflet into both Urdu and Polish.
I am delighted to say I have received both translations and I have started to hand them out. I would be grateful to councillors, the local press and the public here tonight, to spread the word that these translations are available from the Palmer Park Library.
Finally I would like to say that the reason Cllr Ralph needed to amend Cllr Hartley’s motion is to maximise the campaign’s chances of success. I have repeatedly said to campaigners that we should be polite in our dealings with Wokingham. In the real world, businessmen sit down and discuss their issues to work out a satisfactory outcome. This is what we must continue to do. I truly believe that Cllr Ralph’s amendment is the way for this campaign to be successful and therefore I hope all councillors will be supporting it.

Which seems to me to be just the sort of considered and caring contribution the voters have the right to expect from their representative.  With no personal attacks.

I understand that the Chair of the Reading East Conservatives was also in the gallery, to support Cllr Hussain, who is an elected member in the Reading East constituency, and also to support the Park parents.  I am told that she identified herself to Basher and that the brief conversation they had was overheard by several others.

So there you have it.  If the Park ward Labour Party select this boorish, duplicitous, misogynist thug they are causing further serious damage to their already tainted brand in Reading.



two-faced Basher

posts pictures of councillors texting and going on Facebook on their phones during last night's council meeting, and slags them off for it, but himself posts the following:

Am sitting in the Council chamber. Have just sat down after presenting the Maiden Erlegh petition to council and asking two questions. I was shocked and dismayed that Tory Cllr Ralph tried to dodge any questions about whether the Council will support residents with legal action. I was also shocked to hear him try and blame the Labour Party for the problem and deviated from the cross party work which we have been trying to build up. Very disappointing and very worrying.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


At tonight's not very historic council meeting in Reading Basher left the meeting shouting "Wokingham scum" at a member of the public there to o observe the meeting.

Nice. Not.

the impact should be a bit more public

Guido Fawkes has mentioned, in connection with Sadiq Khan MP's expenses fiddle, that Khan's printers are Public Impact Limited.  Regular readers will know that the proprietor of that little outfit is one John Howarth, former councillor, architect of the one-way IDR and barely literate soi-disant spinmeister (remember "Your Better Off With Labour"?).  Sadiq Khan got Public Impact to print him some birthday cards, the claim for which was refused, so the invoice remained unpaid - Public Impact then submitted a different invoice and that was claimed for and paid.  This is corruption at best and possibly criminal fraud.  At the taxpayer's expense.  Quite a number of Labour MPs have used Public Impact in recent years.  This is because Mr Salter, who was a founding director of that outfit, and whose wife still was a director last time I looked, pimped Howarth and his company round the PLP, getting rooms hired for the purpose in the name of Clive, now Lord, Soley.  Fraudulent invoices are a Public Impact speciality. Professionalism is not a Howarth speciality.  The money laundered from expenses claims for Howarth's dodgy invoices was used for years to prop up Salter with publicity material he did not have to pay for - hence his "clean" expenses record.  I'm glad that Guido has picked this up.  Now Howarth should account for his actions.


Monday, 18 October 2010


like many I have been enjoying the extracts from Keith Richards' memoirs, it is an entertaining read and he is a good bloke who just happens to have written some of the greatest popular ditties ever.  I did notice that he wrote to Tony Blair telling him to stick to his guns on Iraq.  Mick Hartley, a blogger new to me, notes that some on the loathsome racist Comment is Free at the Guardian have noticed too, and hits them on the head rather pleasingly, like this:

"The revelation that Keith Richards wrote to Tony Blair on the subject of Iraq - "I wrote him a letter telling him he had to stick to his guns. I got a letter back, saying, ‘Thanks for the support.’” (Times interview, behind pay wall) - has naturally ruffled a few feathers. At CiF, Guardian music critic Dorian Lynskey tells it like it is: the Stones are Rock's fake rebels. Yeah! All that stuff about revolution and that...they're really just in it for the money! "We shouldn't be surprised by Richards' reactionary words", he sagely concludes.

Yes I know - shocking stuff.

The thought never occurs, of course, that in a context where virtually the whole cultural establishment, in a display of deadening conformity, went out of their way to voice their opposition to the Iraq war, Richards' support was in fact a nice display of that rebellious iconoclastic streak that makes him such an appealing figure. And the notion that it's reactionary to advocate the removal of a genocidal tyrant also goes unexamined, as being too obvious to require further explanation.

Some good comments - for instance:

Richards is a working class lad from Dartford - amongst other things, he was probably rebelling against being patronised by men called Dorian."

Hat-tip Norm.

he's feeling it

Fatboy Hartley that is.  Tomorrow night he is presenting a motion to Reading Borough Council, the text of which Basher gives us here.  Spot the deliberate mistake.  The motion urges the council to write to the Reading East MP for support on this piece of nonsense.  No - what has happened to you?  Where did the love go?  It is the Reading West MP who should be written to on all matters, especially those concerning the Reading East constituency!  You know that, boys and girls!  What has happened?  Has something changed?  The previous chief executive of Reading Borough Council, the shamed Trish Haines, told me that Reading Borough Council would only work with the Reading West MP.  Explain this policy change.  Do. 

Anyway, Fatboy is clearly feeling the hot breath of Basher on his neck.  Otherwise he would not be doing this.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

they seek him here...

as petrol stations start to run out of fuel and the truck drivers prepare to join other transport workers on strike, as the ports are blockaded, rubbish piles up in the streets of Marseille and anarchists break heads in Paris, and, er, briefly storm the Bastille, where is our President? Publicity hound that you are, Monsieur Sarkozy, you have disappeared from our screens.  Why might that be?  For a pretty good report in English of recent events paste the link below.

Friday, 15 October 2010

legal action? a joke!

Basher has been telling us that he wants there to be legal action, he does not say against whom, but we have to suppose against Wokingham council, on its school catchment areas review which is currently taking place.  A joke, as the review is independent and not being conducted by Wokingham council at all.  Basher has some kind of grudge against Fatboy Hartley (imagine those two in a catfight, doesn't bear thinking about) and is trying to wind up residents in Park ward, with some success, and then get Fatboy, as the only Labour councillor left in east Reading, to front up a protest and then get surcharged.  It takes the Reading East MP's latest newsletter to point out to us as follows:

I was surprised to hear that Reading Borough Council has been (and I quote) “fully engaged in the work of the independently chaired review board to date, which has included developing the proposals currently under consideration.” I was informed that these meetings have been taking place since late 2008 early 2009 and that officers could have let the independent review board know that these proposals would be unacceptable, but they did not. Obviously this makes my job as the Member of Parliament and Wazir’s [Hussain, elected councillor, beaten up outside the mosque by Salter's hired thugs when he was a candidate] as the local Councillor more difficult as those in power at the time in Reading appear to have failed to object to these proposals. I hope they will explain why.

Pair that with this, from the motion to be presented to Reading Borough Council by Fatboy Hartley:

In the past, when Wokingham politicians have suggested that access to Maiden Erlegh should be

restricted to Wokingham based children; Reading Borough Council has made it clear that any such
proposals would be strongly opposed.

"Wokingham politicians" have never suggested precisely that.  And the current review is not being conducted by "Wokingham politicians", who have not yet taken a view.  But more importantly, in 2008-9, when the first discussions were held on this issue, Reading Borough Council was involved, was under Labour control, and Fatboy Hartley was the lead councillor for education.  Nothing was said.  No objections were raised.  Nothing was done.  Fatboy may well have had good reasons for choosing not to act.  I can think of several.  Or he may just have been too lazy to bother.  Also likely.  Perhaps he could inform us.

Basher does inform us, as follows:

I am going to present the petition to the Council and ask the Condems to support Park's residents. There will be a number of questions from residents about the issue and then Labour Park Councillor will bring a motion to the Council that will bind it to support the campaign with legal action.

This is a vital moment for the campaign. It appears that Cllr Mark Ralph is wobbling in his support and is not willing to spend the money to bring in the lawyers.

Notice that Basher does not name Fatboy Hartley.  But Fatboy's name it will be on the motion that "binds the Council" to hire lawyers to, er, respond to a consultation commmissioned by Wokingham council.  I imagine that motion will be trashed.  Cllr Mark Ralph does not impress, from what I know of him, but the last thing he is doing on this issue is "wobbling".

All of this leaves aside the key issue - that ever since 1998, when Reading Borough Council became the education authority, under Labour control, with a Labour government and a Labour MP for Reading East, the Labour lead councillors have set their faces against any lobbying or campaigning for more school places in Reading, in fact in the case of Highdown actively lobbied against it, and have preferred to export their less affluent children to neighbouring boroughs.

I hope those who debate these matters at Tuesday's council meeting remember this.  I know I do. 

breaking the code, the black spot, decline and fall

Tom Harris informs us that he missed an event at the Commons with Chris Mullin to go to a Cliff Richard concert.  Well, you would, wouldn't you?  He notes that another guest at the concert was former MP Gyles Brandreth, who he says, and I have heard this from others, is good company, engaging and intelligent.  He mentions that Gyles wrote a book some years ago about his time in the government whips' office in the Major government. He did indeed, and I can highly recommend it.  An excellent read.  He got a literal black spot for writing it, sent to him in an envelope.  Doesn't that make you want to read it if you haven't already?

The Chris Mullin event was to promote the second volume of his diaries.  I read the first one, and the second has been ordered - I hope it will be the last of the political diaries and memoirs I feel I must read from the Labour government of 1997-2005, it can get to be a chore.  Chris Mullin can write.  That is his saving grace.  Frankly he is not a very nice man.  And the first volume, while it was brillliantly written, was mostly about how he wanted to be a minister and poor poor me when he wasn't, or stopped being.  But it was worth reading, though I will not re-read it.  The second volume may well have arrived at my mother's house in Cornwall by now - I will be there briefly in December and it can wait till then.  Chris Mullin has gone on endlessly about how he is not a Blairite, oh no, not he, voted against the Iraq war, tuition fees probably, blah blah, but would quite like to be a minister in a Labour government and, er, it was only Tony Blair (since Harold Wilson) who could actually get us one.  So, er, bad faith Chris.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

above ground!

most of the world has been posting and tweeting about this, but how could you not, how wonderful that they have been rescued - this could mean that underground mining becomes less of a threat to life expectancy than it has historically been. And it is soooo going to be a film - who do readers reckon? Javier Bardem? Penelope Cruz? Dame Judi Dench? (Just kidding)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

qui etes-vous, Tony Blair?

that is what the blurb for last night's lengthy interview with the Tonester said.  They were more interested in his relationship with the Queen and his conversion to Catholicism than in most other things, but the whole lot got a trip out - Iraq, booze, Alastair Campbell.  In France they like Cherie.  Quite a lot.  And he speaks French pretty well -he was nervous to begin with, and made mistakes, but the interviewer only had to help him out a couple of times.  Have a look - his French is easier to understand than a French person's is, because of his English accent and because he does not use that many words. The video seems reluctant to play, so you might need to click on the link above, which does work.
the other day I got a call from some consumer survey people, about my new contract with Orange for a micro-Sim for my iPad, and the questions they asked were about as interesting as you might expect.  At the end though the bloke went human on me and asked if I was English.  You could tell that from my accent, I said.  Yes, he said (little sigh) "un tres joli accent".  Humph.  I have been three years trying to lose one of the few things French people find attractive about the English.  There is a reason why Jane Birkin has never lost her English accent.  

Monday, 11 October 2010

Zim One in denial

apparently Cllr Lovelock is still describing herself as leader of Reading Borough Council.  Exasperated officers have been trying to get Labour councillors who still insist on describing themselves as members of the controlling group to stop doing it, and Cllr Lovelock's petulant response - couldn't she paste a copy of the biog herself? - speaks volumes.
Lovelock, Jo (Councillor)"

To: "Rutson, Valerie" , "Conservative Group" ... more, "Liberal Democrats" , "White, Rob (Councillor)"
Could you send me the one I have on there now and then I can update it.
-----Original Message-----
From: Rutson, Valerie
Sent: 28 September 2010 14:25
To: Conservative Group; Labour Group; Liberal Democrats; White, Rob (Councillor)
Cc: Foley, Anne
Subject: Councillors' Biographies
Dear Councillors
Having a look at the website I note that some biographies need updating as they have not been so for some time.
Biographies preferably should be not more than about 500 words and give information about yourself and the role you play as a councillor.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Valerie Rutson
Senior Councillors Secretary
Tel: 0118 937 2287

Saturday, 9 October 2010

a new book

by my successor just over five years ago as MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson, will be out early next month, so naturally I have it on pre-order. You can too.

Friday, 8 October 2010

His Master's Shame

There was a murder in Reading some time ago, and a man is now being tried.  No-one would look to the Reading Evening Post for fair and balanced reporting of anything, nor for truthful reporting, as their editor is bought and paid for, but some of what they say here appears to have been said in court.  Clearly I am leading a sheltered life.  I did not think a woman's appearance or lifestyle could or should these days be cited in court as contributing to her death or diminishing the responsibility for her murder.  But I was wrong.  She "rebelled against her family", we are told.  Clearly asking for it then.  If these remarks really were made in court, why did the judge not stop them? 

Stabbed teenager Asha Muneer was raised as a Muslim girl in a traditional family but had rebelled against her parents’ wishes before she was murdered, a court heard. So she deserved to die.

The 18-year-old, pictured, was the only one in her family not to wear traditional Muslim dress and dated a string of boys in her teens which was unacceptable to her family, the jury was told.  Why?  What has that got to do with anything?
The six men and six women heard Asha told a friend her uncle beat up one of her boyfriends who she was dating in the summer of 2007, causing her to slit her wrists and run away from home. So she was being abused by her family.  Was the uncle charged with assault?  If not why not?
When the Highdown School pupil’s parents found out about an attack on her by defendant Gulamyr Akhter at Palmer Park in July 2009 where he punched and kicked her, she had said her parents told her not to tell the police. So they are accomplices to the attack.  Nice.
Gulamyr has pleaded not guilty to Miss Muneer’s murder. Although he has been heard boasting that he did it.
At Reading Crown Court this week, PC John Coogan told the court how he had spoken to Miss Muneer on July 15 last year regarding the incident in Palmer Park that day, but said the teenager had cut the interview short because she had said her parents had told her not to go to the police.
PC Coogan said: “She came from a very traditional family who did not approve of her having boyfriends. She told me she was the only one in her family who didn’t wear traditional dress and said that she feared being blamed for the assault by Gulamyr.
“In the end, she made her excuses and said she did not want to take the complaint any further.”
Chanda Kayumba, a friend of Miss Muneer’s from school, giving evidence in court described a night two days before her friend was stabbed when the pair had gone out drinking with two male friends and got stranded in the snow.
Miss Kayumba said: “Asha was really drunk and we had to hold her up. And this is relevant precisely how? We went to another friend’s house because we couldn’t get a bus home and then Gulamyr was calling. He was calling again, and again, and again until I picked up the phone and told him Asha would not be meeting him that night. So he is known to have attacked her and stalked her aggressively.
“I did not speak to him again after that night. As far as I was aware, Asha was not seeing Gulamyr any more at that point.”
Miss Kayumba also told the court about how Miss Muneer’s parents were very strict but she said her friend was very strong-minded and often went against her parents’ wishes.
She said: “When Asha told me that her uncle had beat up Sanjay [sic], she was very depressed. She slit her wrists.” People who slit their wrists usually are depressed.  Did anyone care?  Was she getting any treatment?
Asked about another boyfriend, Ali Butt, Miss Kayumba said: “She had an argument with her family about Ali and she left home, she went to live with him what has the other boyfriend got to do with anything?  She was a slapper was she?  Obviously deserved to die  and it caused a lot of issues in the family. They were very strict but he wasn’t very nice to her and he was deported. He was a stalker.”
The trial continues a bad joke of a trial if this is what they think is evidence

We don't have to look around us very far to find stinking misogyny, and the pages of the Reading Evening Post is one of the places where it is to be found very often. But clearly also the legal profession.  So, if you are a woman, don't go out, don't have a drink, don't have a boyfriend; if your family abuse you and fail to protect you and prevent you from getting protection from the police then it is your fault.

Where are the op-eds in His Master's Voice condemning this shabby nonsense of a trial?  Where is the campaign against violence against women?  When is blame going to be attached to the perpetrator and not to the victim?  In 2010, as always, we deserve decent behaviour on the part of the legal profession, and everyone deserves a fair trial when charged.  This is none of those things.  And the Reading Evening Post is complicit.

For shame.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

there will be blood - but hey, no pressure

some dangerous lunatics who call themselves the 10:10 Climate Change Campaign have put out a film, featuring children being murdered, in the name of climate change awareness.  This initiative was supported by the Guardian (who else?) but has now been taken off their site.  You can watch it here if you want, but don't eat first.  The film is called No Pressure and was directed by Richard Curtis, you know, Love Actually, blah blah blah, he is a Jolly Good Chap.  Several well-known people have been misguided enough to appear in the film - the footballer Peter Crouch among others.  Why, Peter?  Apart from the moral question that is raised by the use of child murder as a metaphor (in the film children who are not convinced by the prevailing orthodoxy on climate change are murdered and their body parts splattered over their classmates, nice), the premise of the film is nothing short of evil.  It posits, quite simply, that those who disagree with you, or even those who are not convinced that what you say is true, should be killed.  Including if they are children.  That's it.  I cannot understand how anyone who has taken even a cursory look at the history of the last hundred years could think this was a good idea.  Cannot understand.  I can understand very well just why the Guardian thought it was a good idea, because I know what they are, but... the film was withdrawn and a 10:10 spokesperson said this was because people had been offended by it.  No.  Just no.  I watched it and was offended by it, but that is NOT a reason to withdraw it.  And in any case these days there is no withdrawing anything.  The film can easily be found on YouTube.

For shame.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


not the town in Berkshire (this time) but the activity of consuming words with the brain.  Norm links to an article by a James Collins in the New York Times who says he does not remember the books he reads, and wonders if he should be concerned about that.  A Prominent Neurologist says he shouldn't, that the data from the books he cannot remember are still there somewhere in his brain, and that he is a different person as a result.  Or something.  I am not clever enough to understand all this Scientific Stuff.  When I was a child my mother called me a "bookworm" because I read a lot.  But it wasn't true.  I did read a lot, but I understood very little of what I read, and for me until at least my teens, and possibly much older, it was the physical activity of reading I enjoyed - I quite often found the text boring, especially if it was hard to understand, either because it was intended for readers older than me or just because I wasn't clever enough to understand it.  I liked the autonomy reading gave me.  It was something you did that no-one else could do for you, that you could do either on your own or when other people were around, and no-one could watch you doing it and say you were doing it wrong.  You didn't get marks for it at school after the age of about eight either.  When I got good reports at primary school my parents said the teacher was stupid and hadn't understood that I Wasn't Clever and Couldn't Do Maths.  When I got bad ones, which I did quite often later on, my parents said they Always Knew.  You will gather from this that I am Not The Clever One in my family.  The picture above (hat-tip Martha) shows me in my 20s doing what I typically did then. Anyway, a few months ago my daughter posted quite a lot of old family pictures on her Facebook page, and in almost all of them I am reading a book.  Some of the ones without me in them have a book on a table, which I know I was reading on the day the picture was taken.  But I cannot remember those books, although I know I read them.  So since I looked at that album of photos I have been keeping a reading notebook.  It is one of these:
Moleskine.  I use them all the time  My reading one is a red hard-cover plain page one my son gave me for Christmas (my family have now worked out that a notebook, Moleskine for preference but any will do, is a present which will always make me happy) and I write down, not so much what I think of what I am reading, but what is happening in it, what the writer is doing or trying to do, and I quote from it, with page numbers.  Sometimes I post reviews of books I have read, as regular readers of this blog will know.  If I didn't have to go to work I would do a lot more of this.  If I don't have my reading notebook with me I write on my iPad, whose Notes app is rather handy (my iPad is always with me)

and then post straight from there.  I wish I had done all this (the paper notebook part anyway) when I was younger.  At home my reading and writing place is the corner of the kitchen, and sometimes I go in there and look at my notebooks and a sigh of pure happiness escapes me.  Anyway.  Where was I?  Ah yes, the process of reading.  There has been a revolution - we can read on e-books now - but the process of reading stays the same as it has always been.  I will post another time about e-reading: I am an early adopter of technology and have had a Sony book reader for quite a long time now, it looks like this (below left).  I don't read much on the iPad because our non-globalised   
markets mean I have to have - I do read French but there is almost nothing in English there, so not much I want.  I read newspapers on the iPad, especially The Times (I am now behind the Murdoch Paywall of Death), which is excellent.  W.H. Smith inform me that I can no longer purchase e-reading from them, as they now insist on a UK billing address for purchases.  Dingbats.  The Frankfurt Book Fair is currently in progress, and despite the saccharine reporting and thinly disguised product pitches that pass for coverage of that event, it seems that the publishing world is imploding.  Nobody knows how much to charge for e-books, given that most of the cost of a book is in the printing and distribution.  A clue:  a lot less than now.  None of the publishers, despite their hype, knows what to think.  Ha ha ha.  So they are all trying to kill each other.  Ha ha ha.  When I first got my book reader something over two years ago I changed my attitude to the paper books I possess.  I got rid of some, and will get rid of more, probably, but I know which writers I love and will always read, and hope there will be more (the subject of a later post I expect) and have them mostly in hardback, and before I die will have them all in hardback I hope and believe.  Paperback books may die off as a result.  Good (probably).  My first idea for e-book reading: wouldn't it be nice to be able to download a poem for about 50p?

More to come.  

Sunday, 3 October 2010

did he do this on purpose?

Basher has posted what is below, which I reproduce in full and invite my more thoughtful readers to consider. The only direction in which I would point them is to the indication that RBC was first told that Wokingham was starting a review on 26th March, before this year's election, when Reading was still under Labour control, and when Fatboy Hartley was still the Cabinet member for education. The officer concerned indicates that papers were circulated for that meeting, and Fatboy would have received those papers - I am quite sure the officer is correct in saying that there was no specific information in those papers, but was not the fact that Wokingham were starting a review enough to set off alarm bells? Maybe even use it as an election campaign issue? No. Fatboy, notoriously lazy, did not read the papers, or if he did he did nothing about them. Shouting about them now will not wash. Or is Basher using this to expose Fatboy for the lazy fat-arse he is? I think we should be told.

Questions have been asked about when Reading Borough Council knew that Wokingham Borough Council were going to propose changes to the Maiden Erlegh Catchment Area.

Jon Hartley, Labour Councillor; Park Ward, has asked Reading Officers to confirm when they were aware of the changes. They confirm that Wokingham advised them in June that changes to the catchment area were proposed. While not for now, as we are where we are, however this date asks questions of Tory Councillor Mark Ralph's commitment to Reading's residents as this would have been one of the first things across his desk in coming to his role as Lead Councillor for education.

The officer's full response to Jon's question is attached below for your information.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Wright, Anna
Date: 30 September 2010 13:35

Subject: RE: Reading Borough Council involvement in Wokingham's

Designated Area Review

To: "Hartley, JonX">

Dear Jon

I have consulted with colleagues and can clarify that we were invited to

an initial meeting at Wokingham to discuss their review on 26 March

2010. Noone from Reading went to that meeting as it was billed as a set

up meeting covering terms of reference etc. The papers were circulated,

but no proposals for change were contained in them and the meeting just

covered background information.

The next meeting officers attended was on 13 May 2010 when the over

subscription criteria were discussed and the focus was on Wokingham town

centre schools in the main, in particular Holt and Forest.

The meeting concerning designated areas for all Wokingham secondary

schools was held on 10 June 2010 and at this meeting we first learned

Wokingham's plans for changing the DA of Maiden Erlegh.

Best wishes




Anna Wright

Director of Education and Children's Services

Reading Borough Council

Friday, 1 October 2010

pants on fire - again

Cllr John Ennis, Salter's boy, has been at it again.  All blogs are a presentation of the author as the author wants to be presented, well, mostly, but there is no point in publishing straight lies.  You will be found out and ridiculed or worse.  Ennis has done it here:

Ed is enthusiastic and motivated to lead a new party into a new era. Yes we have to acknowledge the wrongs of our past Government, such as the Iraq War says who?  and why didn't Salter vote against it then, though he told us he did?, not winning the argument over immigration and the 10p tax debacle .However, let us not forget the three general election victories of 1997, 2001 and 2005 when Martin Salter had a 9.000 plus majority for Labour in Reading West due to raising living standards and promoting full employment.

The highest majority Martin Salter achieved was in 2001, when it was 8,849.  In 2005 it was 4,672.  Lies and the lying liars who tell them.  Remember that when he asks for your vote.  Liar.

In a shock move too, Independent Jones tells us he has rejoined the Labour Party, and that he is quite fond of Cllr Ennis.  Who would not be my choice of supper companion, he would probably tell you the meat was beef when it was wildebeest or domestic cat, but there you go.