I've been very bad at blogging recently... I have lots of 'draft blogs' in my head, but to be frank I'm just very busy and whilst I might be able to summon up the energy to tweet of an evening, composing a blog post is somewhat beyond me. Normal service will be resumed soon, but here's one of those 'what I did yesterday' type fillers.
Up at 7am, off to BBC Radio Bristol studios to do the newspaper reviews, although we actually ended up talking about the awful stabbing of a 17 year old outside a pub in St George, being the 'Twitter tsar' and whether Cllr. Gary Hopkins and I are best of mates really (no!). The Gary Hopkins issue came up because he'd just been on the line talking about the so-called bonsai bins... I can see the wisdom of having smaller bins for some people, as they're less obtrusive and easier to handle, and if I wasn't in a flat with communal bins I'd go for one myself, but with only fortnightly bin collections and a lot of HMOs and large families in some parts of Bristol, will this mean we end up with rubbish strewn all over the streets? Will it encourage recycling or just mean that people start dumping their rubbish elsewhere?
The stabbing of Shevon Wilson in St George came as a bit of a shock. Thankfully Bristol hasn't had as many of these incidents as other core cities, but it's particularly unexpected in St George, which is usually quite a quiet area. Yes there have been complaints about anti-social behaviour and young people hanging around the streets, but nothing that would have led me to think it would end in an incident like this. What I'd like to know is why the police didn't come along and break up the crowd earlier? The pub closed at 11pm, and the licensee said that a crowd of about 30 youths were outside 'for hours'. The stabbing occurred at 1am. It's not as if this was in the city centre, where large groups congregating in the early hours are quite common. Did any of the neighbours complain about the crowd, and if so, what was the police response?
Later on in the day I went to the funeral of the wonderful Reg Gregory. Reg was a stalwart of the Labour Party and the trade union movement, the Methodist church and the Boy's Brigade. In 2005 I invited him to the House of Commons to receive an 'Older Volunteer Hero' award and he's on the Local Heroes section of my website. Yesterday would have been his 87th birthday.
After that it was off to Tesco's to present five local schools with their rewards for collecting Tesco vouchers for Schools and Clubs (previously Computers for Schools, and sports equipment). And then I did a drop-in surgery in the cafe there. I had an email from a journalist the other day wanting to know how many surgeries I held during recess - another one of those trying to catch MPs out doing absolutely nothing over the summer. Well to look at the past fortnight, I've had two busy appointment-only surgeries, the drop-in surgery at Tesco's and also did a street surgery in St George where we leaflet-dropped the night before and then called on the 8 or 9 households who'd indicated they wanted to speak to me.
After that it was off to the launch of 1625 Independent People, a housing association for young people aged 16 to 25 formed by the merger of Priority Youth and Way Ahead. As ever the highlight of the launch was the personal accounts from young people of how they'd been helped, and here are some more, from Youtube.