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A right Royal weekend

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South Shields really shines in the sun

I’ve had a great weekend, and hope you all did too, the early spring sunshine has helped to show South Shields at its very best with thousands of visitors enjoying our coast, beaches, parks, and restaurants. Friday’s Royal Wedding was a joy to watch whether at home in front of the TV or in the South Marine Park where I reckon about 1000 people were sitting on the grass with their picnics in front of a giant screen erected in front of the restored bandstand, it would be churlish NOT to congratulate the people at South Tyneside Council for arranging this. The picture quality was first class even in the strong sunlight, just a pity that a sharp shower temporarily got in the way, but it didn’t force people to leave, it really was quite festive.

We managed to do some supermarket shopping in the morning and it was the easiest experience you could find, the place was near deserted and we were finished in less than twenty minutes, I had a chat with some of the staff and discovered that they had all volunteered to work on Friday  and rewarded with overtime and a day off in lieu. It was also interesting to note that each year they nominate two of the available eight Bank Holidays to work and rotas are arranged on that basis, a pretty good way of satisfying almost all of the staff and ensuring that they get a good amount of Bank Holidays to themselves to enjoy with their families.

Saturday also found huge crowds in the parks enjoying the weather and I can see in future years that the cafe available inside the new swimming pool will be well used, certainly if we fall victim to the odd shower. Just disappointed that the afternoon was marred by a pretty inept display from Sunderland who surrendered without a fight to Fulham.

Yesterday saw me delivering leaflets in the Harton ward of South Shields in delightful warm sunshine, which made the task that much more rewarding, even had a very friendly chat with a congenial Labour councillor, as well as adding to some sterling work being done in the Beacon and Bents ward. Met many prominent members of our Bengali community yesterday evening on a full tour of every one of our restaurants in the town centre and Ocean Road, it was pretty cheerful and the reception was great, once again it was apparent that South Shields was the place to be as just about every establishment was busy with queues forming at two or three of the most popular, but boy the aromas of the spices were inviting. Just wish I could have sat down and joined in the feasting, but it was a bit early in the evening for me.

I have to say that I’ve been very encouraged by the responses we’ve received whilst campaigning for Mr. Hayder in the Beacon and Bents ward, no hostility at all, and I think people welcome the additional choice and a return to the days of more activity from the local Conservative candidate, far better than the days when a name was offered as a choice but no effective campaigning took place. This is far, far different to recent years.

We may be taking a trip out today if the kids can decide to agree, then it’s back to normal from tomorrow, hope you all enjoyed this great Bank Holiday weekend.

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Curly elsewhere

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The Northern League

It’s all about roots, traditions, the essential essence of the game, and preserving a place for those with dreams of bigger things.

I guess it all started round 1963 and 1964 the year that Sunderland ended six seasons in the old Division 2 and won promotion back to the top flight. I came from a family of red and whites and they held a row of ten season tickets in the main clock stand at Roker Park, of course there were always games when one uncle or grandfather couldn’t attend, so that’s when I got my chance to go and sit next to my dad and watch the professional game.

To continue reading this guest post that I was invited to contribute – click here

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Written by curly

March 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

The busy life of David Miliband

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Your South Shields MP is now a “professional” speaker

In addition to his role as South Shields MP, the former Foreign Secretary David Miliband is now a well paid director of Sunderland Football Club, a “volunteer” part-time school teacher, and also a paid after dinner speaker, and on 21 December 2010, The Office of David Miliband Limited was formed with Miliband and his wife Louise as directors. I wonder which Office of Tony Blair Ltd gave him that idea?

The business of an MP, for some, appears to be just as lucrative after losing a well paid job, as it was before the event (and yes, I am aware of MPs from other parties and constituencies that fall into the same category).

I sometimes wonder if MPs should get paid pro -rata according to the hours they put into their constituency work!

Miliband on what he plans to do for Sunderland AFC

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Written by curly

March 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

Bent in shock transfer request

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darren bentFirst new major job for David Miliband, persuade the striker to withdraw his transfer request!

This news has come as a major shock to Sunderland fans here in South Shields, with the club confirming Darren Bent has handed in a written transfer request following yesterday’s derby match draw against Newcastle United. The news, which was announced on Radio 5 this afternoon will test the ability of the club to influence the player, and test its ambitions in finishing this season’s campaign in as high a position as possible. This is not the first time that Bent has asked to leave, and apparently the club are prepared to dig their heels in over his transfer request, especially as there could be interest from elsewhere.

It is understood that Aston Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner has sanctioned an £18m move for the England capped striker to bolster Villa’s hopes of remaining in the Premiership. Sunderland fans will be utterly shocked at the news, as it looks pretty clear that the player is bent on leaving Wearside with the lure of a probable significant signing on fee and a hike in wages.

Perhaps there is a case for South Shields MP David Miliband to test his international credentials on behalf of the club and the legions of Sunderland supporters within his constituency who do not want to see Sunderland’s campaign fall apart with the loss of it’s influential goal scorer. Miliband could well remind Darren Bent of the possibility of travel to European cities in a red and white shirt, if he was willing to forego the lucre of Lerner and see out at least another year of his contract at the Stadium of Light. Bent would be unlikely to see much European action for the midlands team next season if he decides to jump ship now.

So come on Mr. Miliband, pick up that phone and start doing what Niall Quinn really wants from you – community involvement and international influence as:

“We’re always challenging ourselves to find new ways to grow and develop the club and to make it stronger.”

On the possible non-executive director’s position for David Milband, Steve Bruce added:

“It just lifts the brand and what we are trying to achieve, and it might give a little more street cred, if that’s the right word, to what we are trying to do.”

That street cred will be shot to shreds if Quinn, Bruce, and perhaps Miliband allow Bent’s transfer request to stand, with the club currently sitting in sixth place in the Premier League one had hoped that there was an ambition to win a place in a European competition next year. If Bent is now allowed to leave a replacement bought as a panic measure might well ensue (unless, of course, that the proceeds of Bent’s sale are used to tempt Danny Wellbeck away from Old Trafford.)

So, come on Mr. Miliband, half of your constituency football supporters need your intervention – now!

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Written by curly

January 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Sunderland 1 – 1 Newcastle United

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Predictable derby day result

It’s been a while since I wrote seriously about football, but seriously, as a Sunderland fan I thought we were lucky to get that point today. I never attempt to predict a win on derby day, the most predictable outcome generally is a hard fought draw.

The Toon came to The Stadium of Light well organised tight and compact at the back and Gutierrez and Barton generalled the midfield for them, up front Amoebi had a couple of chances and Best was at best totally anonymous. As for Sunderland, our midfield had no bite at all, El Mohamady’s crosses mostly went to waste, and once again we failed to rise to the occasion, both strikers Bent and Gyan looked ineffective and wasted chances.

Newcastle certainly took the game to Sunderland in the first ten minutes, but then the football came to an end and we were fed a diet of long ball stuff from both teams, and passing was at a premium in the middle of the park where very few playmakers were on display. Newcastle’s goal was hardly a joy to behold, although Ameobi always seems to be a major threat to us, his headed knock down would probably have sneaked in on its own without Nolan’s deft back heel. It was always going to be an uphill battle after that, and we can count ourselves fortunate that the Lads can at least battle on these days beyond the standard ninety minutes.

Gyan, probably knew little about his equaliser after it bounced in on the rebound from his chest, and whilst the point for the draw is always welcome I don’t think in honesty that Toon fans will be happy with a point away from home. It must have felt like a loss for them, we never really tested Harper’s goal, there was never a feeling that we might threaten a goal or two, and this was simply because when Newcastle had the ball we had nobody capable of winning it back, and only one player in the right frame of mind to put it into the box.

So, a point gained for Sunderland, a get out of jail moment.

At any rate that’s the end of derby days for this season, and putting my libertarian hat on for a moment, I find it sad that the police are having to resort to treating people like animals again (all in the name of public safety you know). Kettling is bad enough for crowds, but now they have the more formidable solid metal walls to constrain and funnel people with, rather like goading sheep, pigs, or cattle into the lorries that take them to the abattoir. Treat people like animals and they sometimes end up behaving that way, sadly the only contact between fans was inside the stadium where chairs were being ripped up and hurled at each other.

There were still a handful of arrests both inside and outside of the ground, but at least the metal “walls” will have reduced the amount of potential manpower needed to police the match. It is all a bit sad to think that the only visible contact between the fans and the police on their way to the buses would have been at the end of a metal tunnel to be greeted by a big policeman on horseback with a big stick.

It’s an intimidating thought, but perhaps that was the intention.

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Written by curly

January 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Miliband TV Channel

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David Miliband MP

South Shields MP in new roles?

Well I’m glad you all tuned in, since it was revealed that I may be looking for a new media role I can tell you that I am also interested in being a highly paid “face” for Sunderland AFC, cannot promise that I’ll be at the Stadium of Light much though as I have this season ticket here at The Emirates.  I might also be a little pushed for time as I juggle my careers as Member of Parliament for South Shields, as well as non executive vice-chairman to Niall Quinn, – I hope I don’t upset the extremely good start they’ve had to the season but I’ll be really annoyed if they end up doing better than the Gooners, –  and part-time teacher. Don’t worry though, I’ll try my hardest to squeeze in the odd visit to South Shields.

Yes, I know, times are tough, unemployment is rising and it really hurts to be out of a job in the north east right now, I really feel for those whose homes are under threat of repossession or who have lost the company car, but with good mates around you things should be OK. It has to be better than the future that some MPs are facing!

Update 17:30

Jeff in Westminster wonders just how much spare time our MP has (although I think he is mistaken over the hours that Miliband proposes to teach), and some others imply that an MP cannot do his/her job fully if they are otherwise engaged elsewhere. It must be remembered, of course, that David Miliband still acted as our constituency MP whilst flying around the world ejecting people from their homes when he was Foreign Secretary (although a lot of casework was taken on by neighbouring MP Stephen Hepburn, as it is customary for neighbouring MPs to grow broader shoulders ). Many others still find time to get paid for speaking engagements or writing newspaper columns, but it is difficult to argue that one can be adequately seeing to constituency affairs on a day devoted to teaching in London, or chasing down a television or radio deal.

Jeff was initially in favour of increased pay for MPs, now he’s not so sure, he adds:

However, I do have a problem with MPs acting outside the job description and taking up part-time roles outside their democratic remit. If you want to be a tv star or a teacher then step aside and let someone else in to do the job that you were elected to do less than a year ago.

Does he have a fair point? Would the Member of Parliament for Jarrow be so lucky as to find additional well paid part time jobs?

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A deflating weekend……..

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wayne rooney…….more complaints about Rooney than there were about Khan and Branley!

Yes it has all been a bit disappointing to see the rich and famous not pulling their weight and to ice the cake by making sarcastic remarks about the booing that followed, even after the deflating feeling imbued by England’s failure to despatch a workmanlike Algerian team at the World Cup Finals. The monotonous droning sounds of the vuvuzelas were still ringing in my ears here in South Shields as I read of Rooney’s apparent apology, the words were likely of course to be have been penned by some minion in the F.A. and handed out in the Scouser’s name to the waiting press, thus making him possibly, the most unpopular Englishman around the world this morning – even more unpopular than some of our local councillors!

So congratulations must go to Wayne Rooney for learning to be more insulting than even Cllr, Ahmed Khan could manage!

Cllr. Khan and his leader Cllr. Jane Branley along with Cllr. Gordon Finch, all representatives of the South Tyneside Independent Alliance, have recently had complaints against them escalated to the Standards Board for England, and a couple of those complaints have been further escalated to First Tier Tribunals for adjudication. In respect of some earlier complaints Cllr. Gordon Finch, the former Progressive, was found not to have breached the Code of Conduct over allegations of fiddled expenses and racist insults, in Cllr. Khan’s earlier case he too was found not to have breached the Code of Conduct because some of his actions occurred before he had become a councillor and that his alleged racial comment

was not sufficiently insulting to constitute disrespect.

So there you are, he doesn’t yet insult to the same degree as Wayne Rooney, so we can assume it’s O.K. to carry on booing.

Cllr. Jane Branley had also been found not to have breached the Code of Conduct in an earlier case, after it was decided that there was no evidence linking her to the writing of Independent Alliance newsletters:

The ethical standards officer found no evidence that Councillor Branley was responsible for the offending articles in three of the newsletters. These newsletters were clearly written and gave the impression as being written by a member of the public.

Two other cases alleging misconduct by Cllrs. Branley and Khan are to be decided by a First Tier Tribunal, Jane Branley will appear before a Tribunal at the George Washington Hotel in Washington on 29th June at 9:30 am, and it will be open to the public, Cllr. Khan’s Tribunal date has yet to be confirmed.

I offer no opinion on these cases, especially as the outcome is yet to be determined, but I am a little surprised that neither those already dealt with, or those still to be heard, have not yet seen the light of day in our local news outlets purely as information dissemination, perhaps they are waiting to get a little more solid factual basis before being able to complete the story.

In the mean time I sit here feeling a little deflated knowing that the well paid prima donnas are making headlines in spite of very poor performances – I’m off to watch Sunderland’s Paulo da Silva playing for Paraguay against Slovakia – enjoy the rest of the football folks!

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Written by curly

June 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

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