When we were allowed outside, at this time of the year county shows and festivals would be popping up all over the UK ,indeed, some of these fairs have been going for many years others, like Hollowell, relatively less. Prior to my visit the the Honley show in 2007 I had only really been to the St Helens Show, the Liverpool Show and the Woolton Show all of which kind of died out in the eighties and nineties having become more trade and commercially orientated than their beginnings.
Back then, being a social media content maker and wandering round filming with your phone out wasn’t as common place as it is now and, of course, back then there were fewer platforms to publish your output. Mine was (and to some extent still is) Livejournal. However, these limitations didnt stop me and so, I walked around the show taking all manner of pictures including this one, which became the main header image for a project I worked on at University some time later.
I also noted how few of the stall owners seemed to have websites to promote their wares. Being a big local food enthusiast I was keen to try and help promote the businesses through my Muckybadger website and dreamed about publishing my own local food enthusiast magazine, tv and radio show and website. Then life and mortgages got in the way and other people got there before me…..
Thirteen years later, many of the businesses I saw at the Honely Show have gone, though some, including Crusy Pies are still going (indeed I saw them at Hollowell last year!). It also brings home how many small businesses rely on shows and festivals for their income and I am concerned about how many will survive this years’ blanket show ban. However, it is refreshing to see that, virus quarantine aside, county and country shows are still popular and hopefully, when we are allowed outside once more, many of the annual shows will return.
Well, the day is at hand. Tomorrow is election day and I am still to receive any form of communication (other than the tweets from Emma Collins) from any of the candidates running tomorrow.
I was unable to write profiles on the Liberal Democrat candidate or the Trade Unionist. Purely because I couldn’t find anything out about them. They too, like the Labour candidate, appear to not want to be elected and are happy to fritter away their deposit on a whim.
I suppose it’s like betting on horses or entering the National Lottery. Only with a higher stake.
It’s a sorry state of affairs when the candidates in the local area just aren’t bothered about promoting their cause. It’s a sorry state of affairs when potentially good candidates give up before they’ve even started the race.
Tomorrow I will vote in two elections. The local and the European. I know nothing about any of the candidates other than bold brags about how they are going to stand up. Well I’ve got news. I’m going to stand up.
None of you candidates are worth the lives of the thousands of soldiers who died in the Great War 100 years ago. Not one of you. You should be ashamed and you are an affront to democracy. No wonder that the youth are disconnected from politics. No wonder fascist groups are on the rise in the UK and EU. It is even no wonder great minds and thinkers are leaving this country for other more enlightened parts of the world. When people like you are all the people have to select as their voice once every few years. Prove me wrong. Come canvassing in Norton tomorrow. I’m in all day. Come and tell me why I should vote for you. Contact me via this blog, twitter or where ever. I’ll meet you. Convince me you are doing this for your own beliefs and not some misguided attempt at getting your name on a park bench when you die.
And so, to you dear reader, all I can urge you to do tomorrow is vote. Vote for the candidate you feel is worthy of the job of representing you in the European parliament. Vote for the candidate who you feel will do the best for your local area. Remember their promises and, if they default on them, use your greatest weapon against them to bring shame upon them. Your democratic vote and your freedom of speech.
Following on from yesterday’s twitter conversation with the Labour Candidate for Weedon Ward, Daventry, Northamptonshire in the Daventry Local Elections 2014. I received this tweet:
What does that mean? “We are not leafleting Weedon ward”? Well how are you going to get the electorate to know who you are and what you are going to stand for? How can the electorate be informed?
Imagine. “Yes, well we’re not going to tell people what our key products are we’re just going to open and hope for the best”
Only someone with totally misguided confidence would run in a local election and not tell the voters who they are and what they stand for. Good for you Mrs! Good for you! You’d have been better off spending the electoral deposit on something like a trip to Cromer. Or some cakes.
“Dav Labour Doing good work” – How? Where? What sort of work??
“Standing up for local services…” – On the bus because they need a seat? In a field? Doing the hokey cokey? – “…and a living wage for DDC staff”
Well as a member of the public who isn’t a member of Daventry District Council, what good is that for me?
Honestly! What on earth?! It’s as if she doesn’t want to win.
Ah well…The offer still stands…Come and tell me why I should vote for you…
Now, considering that Daventry is a crucial Conservative hot spot you would expect a lot of campaigning by the opposition parties. Not so here in sleepy Norton. Sure, European election leaflets have fluttered unbidden onto my door mat but local candidates seem to be few and far between. Considering the election is only a few days away, the opposition candidates had better get a move on if they want possible swing voters to make their minds up.
I have no leaflet for Ms Collins. I knew nothing about her, her policies, what issues she feels strongly about or whether like Mr Smith she likes to have a poo in a field before standing up and fighting builders. With her fists.
So, using my l33t skills and well honed research methods, I had a poke about on the internet to see what I could find out about Ms Collins. It’s scary what you can find about people online, or so they say. Heh, that’s why, I suppose, I don’t use my real name online.
And never have.
Anyway, I know where she lives but where’s the fun in that. I mean this kind of information is given by the election’s returning officer and in the election notices. Turning up unbidden on her doorstep is a bit creepy so I wouldn’t do that. Although I suppose I could go canvassing. You know like candidates do only as a voter…Or will that get me arrested…Maybe not eh?
So the first port of call was Google. Using a bit of Googlefoo, I was able to find Ms Collins’ twitter account. So let’s do this in real time and send her a tweet…
I’ll post her response if it comes….
Her feed seems to be akin to Mr Chris “I’ll block you if you question my insistence that Margaret Thatcher was the best thing that happened to the UK” Heaton-Harris. Jokes, asides and retweets of the odd bit of opposition political linkage. Nothing that says “Hey, intarwebz, I am young and clued up about social media and know how to market myself as a potential politician! Vote for me!”
Nothing that says “I’ll have a fight with navvies in a field if they so much as look at it through the windscreen of a JCB”
In fact there’s nothing. Nothing political…Couple of possible leads but out of decency I won’t mention those. But I did find three Emma Collins on Facebook in the Northamptonshire area. None of which, look like the tiny picture above, they all look like they’re still in school.
Ok, so let’s check the old Twitter feed….
Oooh! Look! She’s replied!
So it’s off to the local press.
Good old Gusher. They are now part of Johnston Press so their website isn’t very good. Their weekly newspaper is often a bit low on gripping local news and is more akin to the old “Man who Once Passed through Daventry Met Elvis” kind of headline. But none-the-less, we should all use our local press or we will lose them. And then where would we be for news about Angry People, new toasters in Estate agents or cats stuck up trees.
Anyway, a quick search on the site brings me:
Not a peep.
A few articles containing the words “EMMA” and “COLLINS” but nothing about our candidate. Meh.
Maybe my skills aren’t as l33t as I think. Maybe Emma Collins is still waiting for her leaflets to come back from Vistaprint. Maybe she’s going to pull out all the stops on Thursday by filling the sky with giant letters explaining what her policies are. Maybe now she’s heard of me, she’ll take me up on my offer of joining me in the White Horse in Norton so she can tell me why I should vote for her.
Or maybe not.
I’ll let you know if she gets back to me before Thursday…
The following post appeared hidden on LJ in 2009 as it was part of my journalism degree portfolio.
This weekend I undertook my second visit to Belper’s farmers market. It has been nearly a year since my last visit and it was good to see some familiar faces. Surprisingly the market has grown a little bit since my last visit with the inclusion of three new stalls. Furthermore, it seems that the popularity has grown lately rather than reduced as would have been expected in the current economic climate.
Indeed, Belper’s other local food gem, the award winning Fresh Basil delicatessen was just as busy as I remembered. A sign that all things are still ticking over nicely while other consumer areas are having to tighten their belts.
It would seem that though rising grain and feed prices are forcing independent producers to raise their food prices to record levels and the supermarkets with their “Pile it high sell it cheap” are distracting consumers with their consistently low prices the popularity of local food retailers is still burgeoning.
But what concerns me is the insistence of some purveyors of local food to stock items that are clearly not locally produced. I’m talking about the Tyrell’s and the Bay Tree Preserves of the world here. To me it seems that some of these local food retailers are stocking brands that are becoming the behemoths of the independent retail world. During my on going tour of farm shops nationally I’ve noticed the same four or five brands recurring. Surely if I travel to the delightful farmer run Tebay services on the M6 I’d expect to see the delights of Cumbrian fare. Jams, chutneys and sauces produced by Cumbrian food producers. Indeed I would, but there, on the shelves are these “foodie” brands.
Perhaps it is instilled in our culture to stay loyal to particular brands. Perhaps these are farm shop brands we should now become familiar with much in the same way we do of Heinz or Pedigree Chum. Or perhaps it’s because we’re too corrupted by supermarket doctrine to shy away from familiar brands. I couldn’t say.
However this fascination with brands concerns me. Where do newcomers get a look in? It may be that finding a distributor is tricky for smaller scale producers. Moreover, it may be that the smaller scale producers find it difficult to produce their wares in the quantities that retailers demand. But isn’t that the ethos behind local food? Food produced locally by small scale independent food smiths. While I’m not expecting the local WI to be producing jams on a Hartley’s scale, I do expect to be able to sample artisan jams depending on the area I am in.
This phenomenon is not only restricted to the produce. Take farmers markets for example. This month I’ve been to five farmers markets in the region. One artisan meat producer had a stall at all five of these markets, at one market it was at least 90 miles from it’s home base.
Now I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. What I am saying is I am concerned. I worry that if this trend continues unabated we will be in a similar situation as we are with independent beers. The smaller breweries being bought by the brewing giants only to be closed in an apparent effort to reduce the competition. Ask any passing Tom, Dick or Harry to give a real ale name and they’ll probably tell you something by Shepherds Neame or Adnams. Where once these were struggling breweries, now they produce ales on such a vast scale that differences in quality and flavour are apparent. Are we in the same situation with real food? Is real food in danger of being clouded by the success of the few at the detriment to the many? Only time will tell.
The people rise up against their government. There is injustice and corruption in the world.
People are unemployed, poor and cannot afford to feed their children. Austere governments demand that people that can’t work must work whether they want to or not. Politicians lie, cheat and steal. Bankers get fat on inflated charges. Food and fuel prices rise but wages fall or are frozen.
These are all but trivial matters for what is most important….what is more newsworthy…what is causing masses to rise up in disgust and revolt….what causes grown men to gnash their teeth, rend their raiment and wail in the street…. is the NUMBER OF BINS some councils in WEALTHIER areas of the UK insist residents have. It’s terrible (so I’m told). 9 bins in some parts of the country! STOP THE PRESS! 9 BINS!
Let us imagine you have a company. You are the chief executive big wig honorary grand poobah of this company but the only problem is you have no staff.
Now you need to find some staff for your company. You need a Chairman, a finance director, a security executive and other policy makers to run your company while you go about your day playing golf and wanking it off in the Maldives or Rhyl. Where ever takes your fancy.
So you advertise your vacancies don’t you?
But imagine if you couldn’t advertise and you let your customers decide who did the jobs you needed filling. Worse…they didn’t select the people individually, they selected a gang of people lead by someone with a big gob and wavy about hands. And it was this gobshite that selected the people to fill the vacancies….out of his mates.
You wouldn’t be pleased would you? And you certainly wouldn’t like it when your company goes to shit. So you kick the gobshite and his mates out after five years only for some other gobshite to do the same. So you kick them out and the first gobshite comes back and does an even worse job.
Welcome to the world of British politics. Welcome to the unique world of British Parliament. Welcome to jobs you get because you happen to be chummy with the gaffer.
Well. Hopefully that has put it into perspective.
Answers to comments to this post through LJ may be delayed.
The cringeworthy Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid were being particularly awful on Friday morning on BBC Breakfast. Everytime I switch on my telly on a Friday morning I just see them being vacuous, poorly researched and generally crap at their jobs. Now it would be big headed of me to say that as a media & television graduate I would be a million miles better than them so I won’t. Instead I’ll say it as it is. A skip full of decomposing monkeys would be a million times better than them. Their interview technique and loud brashness just make BBC News look and sound like it’s presented by morons. Which, conversely, it is.
What’s worse is the local news. In case you’ve been hiding in a box in Sumatra for the past two weeks, Yorkshire has been under a blanket of snow and ice recently. For the past week everyone’s favourite Tango lass, Christa Ackroyd (who had the pleasure of meeting me face to face last year), has been presenting the evening show from the comfort of outside her house. Every bloody story has been about the snow. How it’s effecting the region and how schools have closed and how some postman used a surf board to get from one side of his village to the other and so on and so borkingly forth.
That is…until Wednesday of this week, the snow almost melted…but then Harry Gration, who had also been presenting the evening programme from outside his house, announced “The snow causing CHAOS to the region has started to go but new problems affect the region with…”
Can you guess what it was?
Black ice. Not terrorists. Not earthquakes. Not mutant radioactive snails. Black ice. Chuffing black ice.
The terror meant that people crossed a road on their hands and knees.These same people were featured on the programme and Harry Gration presented the article as though the Queen had died.
It seems like those that produce the news have been going through a really dry patch. I imagine that we will hear more and more about Haiti for the next 2 weeks unless something worse happens. Of course…they could switch to this story.
I interrupt my LJ abstinence to bring you some slightly smouldering news:-
At 15:30BST on Friday 25th July 2008 a van containing cylinders of acetylene “mysteriously caught fire” in the Hill Top area of Brierley (which is about 1km from Chez Gnomepants). Of course this being the middle of hicksville doesn’t account for spontaneous hydrocarbon combustion, as you shall see.
Upon the wife and my return from an evening out with the in-laws we were shocked to find a “large” area of Brierley cordoned off by old plod and the FyA boyz kReW. Indeed our diversion back through South Hiendley through to Shafton took us a fair way back on ourselves. (See here for cordon greenery). On investigation of the BBC News website we learned of the goings on.
Saturday the area was still buzzing with Old Plod and da FyA Boyz Kr3w. Rumours were abound and curtains twitched with alarming regularity. People were still evacuated from their homes and even after our return from a day out to Goole (of all places) people were STILL out of their homes and da FyA BoyZ Kr3w were still round in their big red engines. Oh! What a sight to behold!
This morning local chins wagged further as news broke that Old Plod had arrested a 28year old woman on suspicion of having her arse on. Oh the scandal! Nothing this exciting has happened in Brierley since the church had it’s roof lead pinched.