David Watts

Liberal Democrat Councillor For Bramcote, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Newark, Editor of Challenge Magazine for the Green Liberal Democrats and Crime and Policing Spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Learn more

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Broxtowe Enews 19th June 2016

by David Watts on 19 June, 2016

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by David Watts, on behalf of the Lib-Dems in Broxtowe. Many apologies that there wasn’t a newsletter last week. I’m afraid that I was so tired after running a stall at the Hemlock Happening that I didn’t have the energy to produce one.
1. Jo Cox MP
This week saw the horrific murder of MP Jo Cox. She and I both originated in Batley in West Yorkshire, and I’ve penned my thoughts on her death at the end of this newsletter. However may I draw peoples attention to the local book of condolence on the borough council’s website at http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=13326&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=.

2. EU Referrendum
Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed, there is a referendum on Thursday of this week about whether Britain should remain in the EU. I think that it is crucial for the future well being of this country that we vote to remain. Every independent economic study has said that we are better off inside the EU. We have a very prosperous economy and that has arisen from us being in the EU. Why jeopardise that? Away from the economic argument we have always been a country that welcomed those in need. Whether it was the Huguenots coming from France in the 1700’s, the Jews escaping Nazi Germany in the 1930’s or the Asians fleeing Idi Amin in the 1970’s Britain has been a place where the persecuted can find refuge. That’s what makes us Great Britain and not Little Britain. Further if we are acting with our neighbours then we have much more chance of bringing about the sort of world that we want. We have led the way on environmental protections and now the rest of Europe follows our lead, to give us a cleaner and healthier world. We have shown the way on international aid to care for those areas of the world in most need, and Europe has fallen in line. We can’t do this from the outside. Finally we have has seventy years without a major war in Europe, after two such wars in just over 20 years. Having nations working together (even if we argue over the length of cucumbers) is far better than nations resorting to taking up arms against each other. Even the Mail on Sunday, usually the most right wing of the tabloid press, has come out today firmly in support of staying in the EU.

3. PCSO Powers
A call has been made this week to increase the powers of Police Community Support Officers so that they can issue parking tickets to motorists. The suggestion is that by having this increased power they will be able to more effectively tackle the issue of inconsiderate (and sometimes downright stupid) parking around schools. This is simply a suggestion at the moment but I would welcome people’s views as to whether they think it is a good idea or not.

4. Tram Trips
Figures published this week show that there has been a 50% increase in tram usage in Nottingham since the two new lines opened last year. 12.2 million trips were taken between April 2015 and May 2016, up from 8 million trips the year before. The new lines opened in August so these figure do not reflect a full years usage on the new lines. I commute to work on the tram from Toton into the city centre most days and it is certainly well used.

5. Hemlock Happening
Thank you to everyone who attended the Hemlock Happening at Bramcote Park last week. I was part of the team at the Bramcote Hills Park Community Café team and we had a steady flow of people learning about the plans for the café throughout the afternoon. There was one very heavy downpour during the afternoon but thankfully it passed before too long. (Our marquee was particularly crowded during that period.)

6. Flooding
Talking of rain, parts of Beeston, Chilwell and Toton were hit by flash floods on Thursday night. I hope that everyone coped okay. Having had my house flooded a couple of years ago I fully understand how devastating the impact of water in the house can be. There is also footage available on Facebook and YouTube of a tram on Chilwell High Road going through some extremely deep water.

7. Chilwell Carnival
Chilwell Summer Carnival takes place next Saturday, 25th June, at College House Junior School, starting at 12.00 and offers a great family day out. Visitors can pay at the gate – £1 adults, 50p children (under 5s free). There will be a car Boot Sale (Cars £10, Vans £15, Charity £5), Arena performances, children’s rides, inflatables, children’s games, refreshments, ponies, and a prize draw. The organisers are fundraising to rebuild the nature garden which was lost due to building work, and preparing the library ready for the first intake of Reception children in September. Any queries, please telephone 07760 237 485 or email friends@collegehouse.notts.sch.uk. As this event is held on school premises the organisers are sorry but there is no alcohol or smoking on site. No dogs unless guide dogs.

8. Average Speed Cameras
A report published by the RAC Foundation this week said that Nottinghamshire (including the city) has more miles of road covered by average speed cameras than anywhere else in the country. The police, when commenting on the report, said that they had helped to reduce accidents by up to 75%, which seems a fairly compelling statistic.

9. Public Consultation on Fracking
Nottinghamshire County Council are currently running a public consultation on a proposal for fracking in the county. The proposal is for a development near Retford, so not in Broxtowe, but I know from correspondence I have previously received that many people are concerned about fracking and would want to have a say, especially as later applications are likely to be in Broxtowe. To have a say visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/planningsearch/plandisp.aspx?AppNo=ES/3524.

10. Archers Field
It is extremely disappointing to report that new saplings which had been planted in Aerchers Field in Stapleford have been vandalised for a second occasion, and as a result the council have decided that they will not be replaced. This is really disappointing but fully understandable.

11. Montrose Court, Stapleford
Congratulations to members of the Dig In Community Allotments and also pupils from Albany School in Stapleford, who have all been involved in improving the area around Montrose Court. This has involved cleaning up the rubbish from around the area and also planting new flowers and plants around the edges of the car park.

12. Stapleford Town Council By Election
A by election will take place in the Stapleford South West ward of Stapleford Town Council on Thursday 14th July. Tim Hallam will be the Liberal Democrat candidate for the election.

13. Unemployment Figures
The latest regional figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown an increase of 21,000 in the number of people who are employed in the East Midlands. In total we have 2.27 million people in work with 106,203 people unemployed. The unemployment figures are down 8,000 on the last quarter, and unemployment in the region (at 4.5%) is below the national average of 5.1%. This data all looks very encouraging.

14. New Retirement Complex
Macarthur and Stone, who run a large number of retirement complexes across the country, have been granted planning permission to build a new complex in Stapleford. This will be at the top of Hickings Lane on the old Sinbad Plant Hire Site. The planning committee did insist that a pedestrian crossing is to be installed over the road between the complex and the Co-op Store opposite.

15. Kimberley Art Group Annual Exhibition 2016
There will be a display of paintings be members of the Kimberley Art Group on the 24th and 25th June at RumbleTums on Newdigate Street in Kimberley. There will be an exhibition and sale of paintings, and visitors can view the groups interpretation of Van Gogh’s ‘ Cafe Terrace at Night. The exhibition also features members attempts at life drawing. There will be a Kiddies Painting and puzzle corner. Why not come and have a go – materials wil be provided? Delicious food is available at RumbleTums Cafe. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1149994708373531

16. Papermaking Workshop
This free workshop presented by Dig In Allotments in Stapleford will be delivered by Karen Fry and Tracey Lloyd. Come along to the Albany Allotments in Stapleford and learn how to make beautiful handmade paper using natural products such as leaves and flowers. Bring your own things to add in if you want to. This 2 hour workshop is messy so dress in old clothes and shoes. Participants will be working outdoors. All children should be supervised by accompanying adult. Refreshments and materials will be provided. As there are limited places booking is essential. Please email bookings@diginstapleford.org.uk to reserve your place. For more information please visit http://www.diginstapleford.org.uk/

17. Awsworth Blast
To celebrate 25 years of playing cricket in Awsworth the cricket club are holding a fun 6 a side cricket competition for families; groups and friends to enter on Sunday 26th June at The Lane Recreation Ground. No previous experience of playing cricket is needed. All players will have the chance to bat and bowl. Matches will last about 20 minutes and are suitable for children from 5 years old to seniors, maximum playing age is 80. There will be social and fundraising activities including raffle, face painting, tombola and bouncy castle. Food and snacks will be available.

18. Attenborough Summer Fete
Attenborough Summer Fete will take place on 2nd July on the Village Green on the Strand, starting at 2pm. The fete will feature refreshments, all sorts of stalls, ice creams, rides, games, children’s sports, Top Brass band and arena events. The arena performers this year are the IBC School of Dancing and Long Eaton Judo Club. Admission is £1 for adults and 50p for children and there is plenty of free parking. The fete is organised by the church and involves many local groups. Profits go towards the running and upkeep of the St Mary’s Parish Church. This year the fete will be opened by The Mayor of Broxtowe.

19. Jo Cox
Finally, may I pay my own tribute to Jo Cox and share a few wider thoughts prompted by her death. Like me Jo Cox was born in Batley. Like me she grew up in Yorkshire. Like me she worked in the voluntary sector. I lived in Africa and she spent a lot of time there. Her murder was utterly shocking and my heart breaks for her children especially. She only came into parliament last year but was someone who was already getting noticed for her intelligence, warmth and compassion. This is exactly the sort of person that we want in parliament. She will be deeply missed.
Actually I do think that in the House of Commons we already have a lot of people like that. I’ve met many MP’s over my career and many more local councillors from all parties. The thing that unites them all, across all parties, is that they are in politics to serve their communities and to work for a better world. We get constant negative media about MP’s which on the whole is not deserved. Unfortunately social media seems to make it worse and there are some people who seem to think that the normal standards of civilised society do not apply to anone in politics. I know that Jo Cox had been threatened with rape and even in my own experience when I was a local councillor I had a mob attack my house one day and on more than one occasion I have been threatened with violence. I had to have a bar put on phone calls to my house after we were targeted by someone making silent phone calls through the night after I wrote an article for a journal criticising the rise of the far right in British politics.
This sort of ugly behaviour seems to be on the rise. It is not a huge step from the public being told that all politicians are on the make and in it for themselves to someone thinking that they can get a gun and murder someone just because they do not agree with what that person is saying. We need to change the tone of political discourse and reporting in this country to make it more collegiate, less aggressive and to recognise that people who we disagree with may still have valid and important points to offer. May I suggest that a good place to start would be by thanking our MP for the work that she does on our behalf. We don’t need to agree with Anna on political issued but MP’s usually have to deal with 30 to 40 pieces of casework a week and this is a huge part of their job. Dealing with casework means addressing real issues for real people and I found as a councillor making a difference to peoples lives was the most satisfying part of the job. If you want to say thank you to Anna her email address is anna.soubry.mp@parliament.uk.
I do believe the murder of Jo Cox was a worrying sign of the rise of the far right in the UK, as it is more generally across the world. Hitler didn’t start with gas chambers. He started with promising people a better world if we simply turned our backs on those who weren’t quite like us. Fascism may come with a smiling face but it is still fascism nevertheless. Hitler rose to power when normal people stopped standing up for what was right and started excusing or turning a blind eye to things happening which should not have been acceptable. I really hope that this does not happen in this country.
Finally, on Friday we will know the results of the referendum. Whatever the result there will be a lot of people who are very disappointed and hurting on Friday, and quite possibly also many people who are scared about the future. We all need to work together to heal our country, to bring people back together and to ensure that the United Kingdom remains the great place to live and to come from. To use the words of Brendan Cox, Jo’s husband, from just hours after she died, let’s unite against the hate that killed her.

As ever thank you for your support for this newsletter. Any feedback is gratefully received.

Best wishes

Follow me on Twitter @davidwatts12.

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