Tuesday, 15 September 2009


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.


Bristol Dave said...

I blogged about Gary Hopkin's small-bin strategy earlier - you are entirely correct of course - it will result in rubbish being strewn everywhere.

The lack of consideration given to HMOs is a big problem which Gary just seems not to care about at all, and his idea seems to be to force people to recycle rather than encourage it - this will result either in flytipping, or an increase in sales of "metal bin" incinerators from B&Q (which is my preferred option).

He then has the temerity to claim that they're offering good value for money - when they've halved waste collections from once-weekly to once-fortnightly, saving the Council huge amounts of money, with no reduction in Council Tax - I don't see very good value for money there.

Pete Goodwin said...

"After that it was off to Tesco's to present five local schools with their rewards for collecting Tesco vouchers for Schools and Clubs"

Kerry, do you really think it's wise to be associated with such a blatant intrusion of corporate marketing into primary education?

Angela Dawson said...

"After that it was off to Tesco's to present five local schools with their rewards for collecting Tesco vouchers for Schools and Clubs"

If you are one of Kerry's constituents and you wish to discuss any issues, please come along this Monday: Brislington Tesco Extra Cafe

With there currently being a very public battle between Tesco and local residents just across town, I think your consistent public association with Tesco's isn't exactly going to instill a comfortable outward perception of Tesco independence by Labour.

Kerry said...

Angela, I take your point about Tesco's but I've been working with the Callington Road store more or less since I got elected in trying to resolve some of the issues around their site, e.g. maintenance of lanes, lighting, security, trees, and the use of their section 106 money when they applied for planning permission for an extension. These are all issues that were brought to me by local people. Yes, computers for schools is a PR thing, but the schools do very well out of it and I can't really object to schools being given computers, digital cameras, etc. As for the surgery, it was an experiment in making myself more accessible to people - many other MPs hold surgeries in supermarkets. It could well be Sainsbury's or Somerfield next.

The planning application is another matter entirely. Obviously not a decision I have any say in, and not something I've really been much lobbied about by constituents, although I've raised it myself with people who have come to talk to me about housing/ urban development. Holding a surgery in another branch of the supermarket and handing out a few cameras to kids is neither here nor there when it comes to me forming a view on the development, or putting that view across. Ditto all the other major companies in or around my constituency.