Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sussex Police - How to spend money doing nothing

I live in Brighton, it’s a nice place full of lots of different types and extremely tolerant. Easy Going might be a good description. But I have started to worry about the effect of living somewhere like Brighton has on the Police.
I come from Bradford in West Yorkshire a City riddled with drug crime and violence, in fact it’s probably one of the poorest and most lawless places in Europe. The Police have a tough job there; they criminals are violent and don’t see the Police as much of an obstacle. It’s a dangerous place. Nothing could be more of a contract with Brighton, truly nothing.
In Bradford Police resources have to be used sparingly, they have developed a light touch and a lot of community systems that mean they don’t run out of staff or money. By contract Sussex Police have nothing to do really; there’s very little crime and what there is they can’t solve as it’s spur of the minute stuff. As a result the Police here sit in parks in the afternoon  - if it’s sunny of course – and stay well away from the public.
You never see a Policeman walking anywhere, the Community Bobbies do all that stuff, the Police only ever come out with cars or motor bikes (they do seem to like their motor bikes) and have no intention of making a connection with the people of Brighton – connection being the thing that is seen as vital and most successful for Police Forces in tough areas.
In short, the Sussex Police are remote and have a reputation for being immensely heavy handed in a county where they are probably 100% overmanned if they policed the place properly.
Take as an example the May Day march today. Fifty youngsters, quite a few of them hippies I would guess; the sort who will head for Glastonbury later in the summer, waving flags banging drums and dancing. But for the Police a chance to flex their muscle. Over 100 officers kettled them using horses, motorbikes (they had 8 there!) and massed ranks of these otherwise under utilised bobbies. Oh and let’s not forget the helicopter. What a fabulous day out for the men in blue.
I’m sure they were all happy for the overtime but we have cuts to worry about at the moment don’t we?
Last week we had the English Defence League in town. The policing was far lighter but then if you kettle that lot they fight back and I’m sure our bobbies don’t want to fight anybody over the age of 18, they might get hurt!
So my congratulations to Sussex Police for spending around £100,000 in 3 hours on policing 40 youngsters who just wanted to have a dance and bang their drums whilst protecting the fascists of the EDL when they brought their offensive brand of politics to town.
Well done Sussex Police – and you wonder why the people of Brighton think you are a joke!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Oh Now I'm Confused. To AV or not?

With thanks to Andy McSmith
Eton boys are taught history, one assumes. So although David Cameron's personal memories of British politics stretch back only as far as Margaret Thatcher's accession in 1979, he ought to have a basic grasp of how the British elections worked further back in time.
He very confidently invoked the wisdom of the centuries this week when he set out the case for a No vote in the coming referendum on electoral reform. Giving each voter "an equal say and an equal voice" is the "cornerstone of the British voting system", and the notion that it should be altered in any way is "unfair, it is wrong and it flies in the face of centuries of our history", he declared.
If we really are going to talk in terms of centuries, then the voting system Cameron and others are fighting to defend is a veritable novelty – younger, in fact, than Lord Reid of Cardowan, who appeared alongside the Prime Minister at last week's launch to assert that any voting system other than the one we now use would not be "British". John Reid was born in 1947. The first time the House of Commons was elected on the principles of what Cameron calls "an equal say and an equal voice" for all was in 1950.
Until less than 100 years ago, the people who ruled Britain would have thought it a very strange idea indeed than every Tom, Dick or Harry should cast a vote in a parliamentary election. To suggest that a woman could be trusted with a vote was downright subversive. No women were allowed to vote until 1918, and they did not gain parity with men until 1928.
The point of the House of Commons was to protect property owners from arbitrary rule by the monarch or the government. It was therefore natural that the interest of people who had a great deal of property counted for more than those who had owned only a little, and those without property did not count at all.
An MP's job was to represent a community rather than "the people" inhabiting it – a subtle distinction which meant that long-established communities could have one or two MPs even if their populations had declined, while places that had grown up suddenly during the industrial revolution had none.
Until the 1830s, it was common for a rich landowner to regard a Commons seat as his family property. These were the rotten boroughs and pocket boroughs, which had such tiny electorates that an election was easily bought or rigged. The families who owned them considered it their birthright to choose their MPs, or – if money was tight – to sell the privilege to someone else.
Old Sarum, site of the original Salisbury settlement, was the most notorious example. Because there was a bishop's house there in the 13th century, the area was invited by Edward II to send two representatives to the Commons. The bishop moved his residence to Salisbury soon afterwards, but for centuries, Old Sarum solemnly returned one or two MPs, long after its last human inhabitants had left. Only once in six centuries was there a contested election in Old Sarum, when three candidates vied for two seats.
Old Sarum held its elections under a designated tree in a cornfield. None of the electors lived in the constituency. No one did. But the landlord had the right to allocate votes to a handful of his tenants who would assemble under the tree and do as they were told.
The seat was owned by the Pitt family for 110 years, until they sold it for a reputed £43,000 after a member of the family had created a national scandal by instructing Old Sarum's seven electors to vote for a clergyman. It was considered improper for a man of the cloth to sit in the Commons. William Pitt the Elder began his political career under that famous tree.
Meanwhile Manchester was disenfranchised by Charles II as a punishment for its civil-war record, and remained without an MP for over 150 years. In 1819, a huge crowd which had gathered to demand representation for the city was charged by troops, leading to the so-called Peterloo Massacre.
These and other particularly blatant abuses were removed in 1832, by the first of three major Reform Acts passed during the 19th century. Yet some abuses slipped through. Midhurst, a rotten borough in Sussex owned by the Earl of Egremont, survived with one MP in place of two, and with widened boundaries which increased the electorate to 252. It disappeared during Queen Victoria's reign.
But up until 1950, the Commons was still a patchwork in which the principle of "one person, one vote" was not universally applied, and a candidate did not necessarily have to be "first past the post" to be elected.
Second past the post was good enough in middle-sized English towns such Blackburn, Bolton, Brighton, Derby, Norwich Oldham, Preston, Stockport, Sunderland and across much of Northern Ireland. These were all single seats which returned two MPs.
In most cases, the political parties put up two candidates in each seat, so if you were a Tory voter in Brighton, your vote was twice as important as that of your Tory neighbour's in Hove. But two-member seats did also facilitate deals between parties. In Dundee, where there was a strong Labour presence, the Tories and Liberals did a deal under which each put up only one candidate, successfully keeping the socialists at bay. The Liberal who benefited from this arrangement was Dingle Foot, the older brother of Michael, the Labour leader in the early 1980s.
The anomaly that seems strangest to us now is that universities elected MPs, separate from those representing the towns in which they were located – in contravention of that principle that everyone has "an equal say and an equal voice", which Mr Cameron seems to believe has is an age-old principle of our democracy.
University seats originated in Scotland, and were introduced to the Commons by James I of England when he took the English crown at the start of the 17th century. In the 20th century, Oxford and Cambridge Universities had two MPs each, London and Queen's, Belfast, had one each. The remaining English universities combined had two, the Welsh universities had one, and the combined Scottish universities had three.
AP Herbert is best remembered now as a satirist, whose Misleading Cases took the stuffing out of the British legal system. But he was also one of the MPs who almost single-handedly pushed through the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1937, which was a watershed in divorce law. But under the voting system as we now know, he would never have got into Parliament in the first place.
He was one of two MPs elected by Oxford University under a variation of AV. In 1935, there were four candidates for two seats, three flying party colours, and Herbert standing as an independent. Lord Hugh Cecil, son of a former Tory prime minister, topped the poll. The Labour candidate came last, and his second-preference votes were divvied up, with 1,342 going to Herbert and 177 to the other Tory. Herbert remained an MP until the constituency he represented was abolished.
The university constituencies which returned more than one MP all used the same variant of AV, which could produce the kind of result that would give No to AV stalwarts apoplexy. The Cambridge University contest in 1945 was particularly complicated, involving four counts. The Conservative candidate came first on every round, but there was an intense battle over who would claim the second seat. The writer JB Priestley, running as a progressive Independent, was ahead in the first three rounds, only to lose in round four.
The Labour government disposed of these university seats and of dual member seats in 1950, but that was only a tidying up operation. The pivotal year in parliamentary history was 1918, when the troops would soon be coming home from the war, Russia was in the throes of revolution and the British establishment wisely decided that the best way to avert civil upheaval was to alter the job of MPs so that they were at least nominally representatives of all the people.
The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave more than eight million the right to vote for the first time, and extended the franchise to every male over the age of 21. No sooner had the idea spread that the Commons was there to represent everyone, than a lively debate blew up about whether the first-past-the-post voting system was the best means of making sure that it happened.
There was a potential majority in parliament in favour of reform, but the reformers were divided between those who wanted proportional representation, who were concentrated in the House of Lords, and those who preferred AV. In the Commons, there was a ferocious anti-PR lobby led by the former Tory leader, Austen Chamberlain.
Eventually, the Commons voted 181-166 not to introduce the Alternative Vote system, and by a larger majority against PR. Just before the vote was taken, the prime minister, Andrew Bonar Law, at the head of a minority Conservative administration, admonished MPs in language that still has an unfortunate resonance: "I don't believe the country cares twopence one way or the other about either proportional representation or the alternative vote." What the public expected, he said, was that the politicians should make up their minds.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Did Clegg duck the big decision?

Today is the first anniversary of the opening TV debate – you remember, the “I agree with Nick” one where Clegg completely outflanked Cameron and stole the limelight. That led us to an election where the LibDems actually lost seats but finished up in the driving seat and we had those 5 days of excitement as grandees from Hague to Mandelson pounded the streets trying to get the LibDems sufficiently excited to form a government.
We all know how that went but I wonder if it’s where Nick Clegg thought it would go and if he ever reflects about what would be happening now if he had hammered out a deal with his fellow left wingers.
Let’s be frank, Clegg was never going to do a deal with Brown, that would never have worked. I am a lifetime supporter of Labour but even I had grown sick and tired of that arrogant bully – the country was totally sick of him and it is a reflection of Labour’s strength and the loyalty the electorate had to their ideals that even with this joker at the helm they nearly pulled off a shock ‘get out of jail’ card.
But there was an alternative to getting into bed with David Cameron who, whilst sounding reasonable and “New Tory” was (and has since shown his true colours) a child of Thatcher and as ruthless and dismissive of the poor as any other Tory bullyboy.
Clegg could have tried to form a government himself.
In discussions with labour this was suggested to him - I recently sat with two of the negotiation team who told me they put this to Cable and Alexander behind Browns back.  It removed the Brown issue as he could simply remain as leader of the Labour Party until they sorted all that out and have no part to play in the coalition Cabinet, it would have meant the Rainbow Coalition and that had some difficulties with the Irish parties, but it was doable.
Clegg ducked it of course and instead went into power with the smiling assassin. I would suggest his naivety and lack of political heavyweights at his side did for him here. Cameron had many to talk to, including Thatcher it later transpired, and he ran the tactics beautifully. Something he has continued to do.
Clegg seems at times like a rabbit stuck in the headlights. He doesn’t quite know what to do now that everybody is realising the cuts have little to do with economic recovery and much more to do with Tory Dogma. Conservative voters love that, they want a government that looks after them and stuffs it up what they see as the idle lazy poor. Conservatives are NIMBY’s to a man so Cameron sees his popularity strengthen.
By contrast, LibDems are gentle middle class folk who want to help those less fortunate than themselves (I exclude Danny Alexander from this definition as he becomes more Tory than most blue back benchers) and are horrified by the public bragging of Oliver Letwin, Cabinet Minister let’s not forget, and the other right wing hardliners who are driving the cuts policy now. As a result Clegg is massively unpopular even amongst his own party faithful and the LibDems are taking the national kicking that the Torys should really be ‘enjoying’.
So I wonder if Mr Clegg ever wakes up and thinks about what could have been. If he had true political balls he would be Prime Minister now with a Cabinet full of big hitting politically astute Labour heavyweights and LibDem governance. The changes to the voting system would be about heading for PR not AV and that would have widespread support AND seal a LibLab government probably forever.
Sure there would have been a few tough months with the currency and international rating but as Iceland have just proved the markets are fickle with very short term memories. The markets also fear recessionary governments and prefer good news scenarios – they will turn on the UK in the next year whether we balance the books or not if they don’t see us growing economically..
In short Clegg could have put the country back on track and into growth by now (instead of into recession where we are now), cuts could have been what was needed not what Torys demand, public services could have been maintained instead of being sold off to Cameron’s business friends, and the country could be feeling good about itself instead of looking sad, internationally exhausted and out of sync with the rest of the world.
There is much more heartache coming. The recession will run into stagflation and then depression whilst the rest of the world climbs out and gets on with business without the kind of drastic surgery the UK will endure.
Clegg is counting on a turn in fortunes before the next General Election – quite frankly he is insane; it simply will not happen. And if the British people reject the new voting system which seems likely now, he will have gambled his parties future and lost.
Politicians are supposed to crave power above everything else (the old saying about power corrupting is about them) and it’s ironic that Nick Cleggs lack of ambition has placed the whole country in this mess. The stage was there for him but he got stage fright. We will pay in the short term, his party will, however, be the final victims and he will go down in history as the man who killed the LibDems when he could have been the man who led them into government forever.
Shame really...............................

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Mid Life Crisis? What Mid Life Crisis?

After 30 wonderful years in the music biz I retired a few years back and settled down to prune my roses (I don’t have roses but you get the idea). Having been lucky enough to earn good money from music since I was 14 I thought I was ‘of an age’ where I could pass the baton to younger folk, cut the rather sad rock and roll hair and finally eat the odd biscuit as weight gain wouldn’t be a capital crime.
But now I find that the grey music makers are all the rage. Music remains vibrant and young on many levels but with folk like Robbie Robertson (a dear friend and associate) back recording after 5 years off there is clearly energy for us older rockers.
So after talking to my chums at Sony, listening to my publisher and having a very intense chatter with a dear friend who is now (thanks to X Factor) regarded as a music mogul, I decided to put a band together, record some of my songs and get out on tour. The enthusiasm was palpable and within 2 weeks of the idea going live I had a recording/distribution deal and a West Coast tour of the USA on offer. All that enthusiasm is infectious.
Then I had a cold clear moment. I toured for years and generally hated it. I dealt with music industry execs, publishers and PRS men and found them all shifty and duplicitous. I remember the day I decided to give up on the only industry I had ever known – and how good it felt.
I am still under pressure to keep the momentum going. The band is selected, we have rehearsed and are almost ready to hit the studio and to some extent I have awakened a monster I can’t put back to sleep. But of course I can if I want to.
I have announced I will take three weeks out. I will think and ponder. I will balance the buzz with the frustration. And I will acknowledge how lucky | am, as other folk lose their jobs and worry about their futures, that I can have these kinds of thoughts and make these kind of decisions.
I do hope I’m not having a mid-life crisis, I really hope it’s not that.................

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rantings from my Chum Alan O

 Let's put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home.
This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.
They'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.
They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.
Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.
They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.
Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free, on request.
Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.
Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.
The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £600.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.

Think about this (more points of contention):
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Appleby almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the county of Cumbria?
And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq ... Why don't we just give them ours?

It was drawn up by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for centuries and we're not using it anymore.
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Parliament, is this -
You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal', 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians ..... It creates a hostile work environment.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Am I Fattist?

I like to think I am a free thinking, easy going sort of Joe who doesn’t really care what other people want to wear. I live in Brighton for God’s sake so there’s a lot to see and in the main I enjoy the Bohemian stuff and the quirky looks. But I do have a problem with women in leggings.....
Now when I say women what I mean is BIG women. Those women who know the inside of a McDonalds intimately and have life membership at Greggs . In simple terms obese women – and sadly there are more and more of them everyday.
Part of me is sad that society has taken us to a place where shuffling about with huge sacks of fat flapping as you go is now somehow acceptable. Wobbling along is almost the norm in certain parts of town (around the fast food shops and for some reason outside Argos!) and this ‘normality’ had led to people seeing no shame in being obese anymore – it’s allowed and they are starting to get proud – and here is my problem.
It is a fact that there is nothing attractive (for most of us) about fat people when they are undressed. Famous fatties (Dawn French bless her heart comes to mind) celebrate their rotundity whilst selecting their clothes carefully; we know there is a lot going on under the clothes but we can’t see it directly, and that is totally cool. I accept fully they may be wonderful people and if I got to know them I would see the beauty inside – and I am willing in the right circumstances to do that – but when walking through a shopping centre that intimacy isn’t available, all I get at this time is a straight forward visual image.
I can find nothing more upsetting on my casual walk through town that seeing a hugely fat woman wearing black leggings and a short T Shirt. There I’ve said it. I have no understanding of why they sell leggings (designed to sculpt the body) in size 24, no doubt they are comfortable, but why do these folk think they can wear them alá Britney Spears!! The sight of some vast arse with black leggings spread across it and (hell on earth!) a thong clearly visible beneath, is enough to put me off food for a week. I mean, come on, why do they sell thongs in size 24 either?? Surely they are a health and safety hazard, a woman that size might put one on and never be able to find it again.
So I guess I am Fattist, I’m also complaining about something that actually works in terms of my weight loss as it puts me off food, but hell where did dignity get lost in our culture? Get a grip fat women everywhere – wear leggings if you want but FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE COVER YOUR HORRIBLE ARSES and try not to wear anything that clings!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

What To Do About This Referendum

Very soon we will be heading for the polling booths to do (in general terms) two things.
First we will all be voting in the Council elections and making damn sure those shabby LibDems feel our wrath by voting them into oblivion. I don’t say this because I think it’s fair as a general principle; whilst I hate their smug stupidity as they vote through dogmatic Tory cuts which have absolutely nothing to do with balancing the books and everything to do with getting back to the Thatcher agenda, I do not feel they deserve to be sent onto the naughty step and left to rot there simply because they are politically inept.
Second, we will be telling the government whether we want to change the voting system from FPTP (first past the post) to AV (alternative vote). The new system being specifically designed to give the LibDems the foothold into government that their share of the vote in the last few General Elections shows they deserve.
So here’s the dilemma. If we had been asked about electoral reform at any time in the last ten years the change would have got a resounding thumbs up – everybody felt the LibDems were being very shabbily treated by the FPTP system and, what was more, they seemed the sort of chaps who would do a very good job of balancing the excesses of the other two who seemed to be heading further and further to the edges of their respective political beliefs.
But now, through a weird act of fate, they have been given the chance, ahead of the vote, to show us how good they are. After years of shouting about their principles and how they would manage this sceptre’d isle for the good of us all, we have now seen the truth of what they can do. The fact is nobody is fooled anymore by the stuff about how big a mess labour left; recent surveys show nobody is buying that anymore – people now see the cuts for what they are, Tory dogma made real and Thatcher’s policies being reimposed upon the country. There is no doubt that the LibDems have managed to temper some of the more ridiculous policies but they have failed utterly to stop the excesses and, more significantly, the grasping voices of the universally hated Oliver Letwin and his far right cabal.
So here’s the problem. My head says go for AV; it’s fair and it is more representative – my heart says vote NO, keep what we have and stuff the LibDems for showing us how their lust for power has over-ridden their principles.
Somebody once says “When the power of love exceeds the love of power the world will see peace”. Nick Clegg – think about it!
Head or heart? What to do...........................

Yes we do want to be beside the Seaside

As I sat on the train, heading away from the dirt, noise and overall angst that is London the relief I felt, the calmness that began to pervade my soul was palpable; I was on my way back home to Brighton and its cosmopolitan vigour, its exceptional cafés and seafood restaurants, its general friendliness and sense of cool style. As we neared the coast I happened upon an article by Joan Smith, generally an all round sensible and articulate columnist who, besides being a little bit too feminist for her own good, generally makes sense.
Her article was flawed from the beginning and sadly started to sound like to sort of middle class rant generally better handled by The Sun (you can always count on Kelvin to make you understand that politics isn’t the only home of idiots, they can make it in journalism too). Don’t get me wrong, in one sense her assertion that British Seaside towns were pretty depressing and past their sell by date, held some resonance- her inclusion of Brighton in this astounded me. The sad passing of Hastings’ Pier at the hands of two firestarters, whose link to the owner will no doubt come out in time, was a shame but Hastings has been off the tourist route for years and is rather sad and decaying (it is however the world centre for crazy golf I am told).  But Ms Smith decided to include Blackpool and Brighton in her rant and there her column turned from measured observation to upper middle class rant (a surprise given her true status as the wife of a Labour MP).
Don’t get me wrong, everybody is entitled to their opinion but when it is based on the premis that “I don’t like it so nobody should” they stray into the kind of ‘blue rinse’ territory that is best kept within the Red Tops. She failed to observe for instance that Blackpool still gets more Brit visitors every year than the horrible, dusty over developed Costa del Sol, she also failed to observe that lots of people like to take their holidays away from rude, depressed and inept Spanish waiters and quite like the glitter, noise and vibrancy of Blackpool; perhaps she assumed none of those people read The Independent.
A little aghast at her comments about Blackpool I was then truly lost by her description of Brighton as being a place where you cannot escape “the pervasive smell of frying fat, as though there is an unbreakable link between the seaside, fast food and cafés with formica tables”. Here I felt I should take the advice of the ‘Big Society’ Cameronites and tell it like it is – Ms Smith you are a liar if you say you have been to Brighton recently and that was how it looked to you.
As the train pulled into my beloved Brighton I almost felt like apologising for her crassness, her lack of awareness of a city which is clean, almost totally absent of slot machines and nasty Cafes but does, by contrast, have an incredible vibrancy, a cosmopolitan and bohemian philosophy that London can only dream about, excellent restaurants and cafés and a refreshing absence of violence (apart from at the weekend when Londoners come down here and, corralled into three streets, punch each other’s lights out).
But then I realised that such an apology was not needed. Ms Smith has been nowhere near Brighton given her comments, she is one of those journalists who can’t stand it when the detail of actual facts get in the way of her arguments, and that is something for which she should apologise, not me. I am from the North of England, from Bradford to be precise, and I saw the devastation reaped upon our two major cities Manchester and Leeds by Maggie and Norm as they tried to turn the Labour heartland into the third world. They succeeded but years of movement away from our dirty Capital have allowed those cities to thrive; but not Bradford unfortunately which is on its knees ready for the next good kicking it will now receive from the ConDems. I was lucky enough to get out and could have chosen anywhere to live. I chose Brighton and I love it. I also love Blackpool for its honesty and sense of fun – can’t stand Hampstead though as pretentious fools tend to wind me up.
So I extend an invitation to Ms Smith to come and visit Brighton and we will search together for the slot machines and Formica, we will find some, but no more than in any town or city in Britain (God bless McDonalds and KFC) but we will find unpretentious cafés who sell fresh fish, some very cool shops and a seafront with style and a sense of identity sadly lacking elsewhere.
I used to live in Biarritz, a once grand, now empty and sad little place full of To Let boards and the grumpiest French citizens you’ll ever find and I was is Sitges last year where the beachfront cafés have lots of fresh fish but not one decent cook between them. There are great seaside cities abroad (San Sebastian is quite splendid) but none have the enduring sense of occasion that British ones can give.
Finally she cites her unresearched and inaccurate piece as the reason why the major political parties chose to leave the seaside this year and head for major cities with” cosmopolitan boutique hotels and purpose built conference centres”; well they would hardy come to Brighton would they – we have a Green Party MP, and Eastbourne is now way too ubber cool to host sad men in suits. As for Blackpool I’m sure it will welcome the Labour Party in years to come. Instead the LibDems chose Liverpool  with a sense of irony only that party could achieve, no doubt they all left the purpose built conference centre and turned sharp right as going left would have sent them into Everton, one of the countries poorest areas where their proposed cuts will devastate a whole community. Labour picked Manchester, a city they revitalised and the Conservatives headed for Birmingham – a city that still should have cones round it and big signs saying Danger Hole In the World.
A week in Blackpool is never forgotten, one in Spain or Basque France is best forgotten. The only thing I could agree with her about was that I too could never see David Cameron walking down Blackpool seafront, well not without armed body guards anyway!