Friday, November 14, 2008

Transport Innovation Debate: Some Scribblings

Almost everyone was late. There were huge snarl ups in all directions. Only about a dozen in the audience at official start time. Above the fray John "The Quiet Man" Leech was among the last to arrive. Good to see him make use of the facilities before entering the auditorium. Saves little accidents later. Though didn't get much response to my cheery "Hello John" as he entered the John.

His piece of piss achieved with only minor attacks of indecision and Blue Peter shoe splatterings Leech quite literally hid at the back of the room. Keeping those shoes out of sight a priority.

Must have been almost like looking down on the funeral of his own candidacy. Other people making all the speeches in his absence. Not a chance he'd get called himself. That would need a miracle. Should have spoken up before it was too late.

Simon Ashley was a rather good stand in stand up for the hilarity party. Was able to string a few words together. Could make his mind up which side he, and the Lib Dems generally were on, "though all parties have their dissenters" he said, or words to that effect. Glancing involuntarily, I could have sworn, at the boy Leech up in the gods as he did so.

Up there, sitting on the nearest thing he could find to a fence.

The Chair, Jim Hancock, did well to manage the audience and the panel reasonably well and allowed most people who wanted it enough to have their say. There was however a significant level of heckling, and verbal incontinence, particularly from nay sayers. The Politics Show was never like this.

The Panel from left to right, as it were:

Brian Candeland: Green PPC. Was just fine. Knew a few statistics. Confirmed that, after arriving by donkey at tribal gatherings in yurts, lit only by tallow candles, and bloody cold through lack of much solar power this time of year, Greens would back the greening scheme. Phew, must have been a damned close run thing.

Lucy Powell: Labour PPC. Very fluent. Had to deal with questions, points and heckles on just about every policy Labour ever had. But yes, seriously on top of the subject. Easy to see why Leech would not want to tangle with this adversary.

Andrew Simpson: Petrol Head and Peel Holdings Stooge. Told continuous fibs sadly. Pretty eloquent in his way. But 99% fibbery. Very likely converted some don't knows and antis to YES. One person told me so. NOT representing Peel accurately. They're after our airport. And CEO John Whittaker wishes to be treated better by everyone in future. He's important. V important.

And again from left to right, on the other side of the Chair:

Liz Phelan: Chair of Yes Campaign. Really excellent grasp of the facts and figures and of Simpson's sordid and deceitful tactics. Caught him out passing off an 18-month old document - voted down - as current reality.

Simon Ashley: Lib Dem Group Leader. See above. Much much better than Leech would have been. Knew the subject through AGMA and GMPTA activity. Some grasp of the politics of the thing too. Firm YES.

Faraz Bhatti: Conservative Councillor, previously a Lib Dem PPC in Stretford, would the Tories dare put out this excellent fellow as their Man Wit PPC? Not sure old flash John Kershaw, who was in attendance, would approve. On the subject? He was desperate. To such an extent that it was quite amusing. A conspiracy of roadworks anybody?

Someone or other certainly has a sense of humour sitting bessies Simon and Faraz right next to each other.

From the floor:

Wingnut Vicar, badly used by Lib Dems at last election: Rambled and floundered.
Mike Joslin, Labour and US Democrat activist: Asked excellent question about "Peel Industries" (sic) investment in the NO campaign. Simpson would not answer even vaguely.
Tommy Walsh, Chair of Manchester Pensioners: calling for a YES vote over accessible buses, better frequency and coverage of buses, reduced journey times.
Wingnut MARTyr: Lost support of everyone young, blonde, sensible in the room with several ridiculous outbursts.
Wingnut Preacher: Some chap wanted to make a declaration on behalf of the People's Party of Judea Traffic Sub Committee. Poor.

Best piece of voting:

The gathering voted something like 45 for and 55 against at the outset. With 5 don't knows. By the end of the debate and as traffic freeze began to thaw it was 74 to 80 to still 5 ... to ONE.

The odd one out being: Not YES, Not NO, Not DON'T KNOW, Just John Leech. Though the strange bloke he was sat with was an exceedingly enthusiastic NO voter.

Mr Leech looked as if he had read the Seven Secrets of John Leech published on this blog earlier. And that he knew that every point was correct. How could he get out of standing for election again? Without loss of wasp chewing visage? Could he feign a complex metatarsal injury?

FOOTNOTE: Short interview undertaken with Faraz Bhatti. Everything ever written about him on this blog might be untrue. Or more likely true.

Very interestingly FiB claimed that he had not heard anything from Conservative Central Office on the complaint about his hothead Tory lads in Whalley Range being one and the same as the hothead Hizb_ut-Tahrir lads. Killing two birds with one stone by delivering both leaflets together.

FiB also claimed to have read on this blog that LOL's source for the story that's been dogging him about his sexual antics and intimately related run in with the police was Cllr XY. Which we did not say. As it wouldn't have been true. Though he, Cllr XY, did once opine to LOL that Faraz was "finished" in terms of electoral politics. Long after we had been given and spilled the beans. In fact, we told FiB, it was PC Plod direct.

They've told us a few other things also. Hey hey! And hurrah for Deep Throat!

PLOTTING: Aryan-Bottle-Blonde-Uber-Comb-Over-Tory John Kershaw - one of the last Tory hold outs in Manchester was in attendance. He seems to crop up mostly in Rochdale and Bury circles these days.

Though he has had the odd run out in Manchester elections too. He was in fact some kind of Uber Agent and Chief Recruiter of Tory Wingnuts for the 2004 All Outs. But he's been sacked from that. Let's hope he has decided to recommend that Faraz Bhatti can be the PPC. He will get some votes. And realising, I think, that Leech will lose, the Conservatives must be hoping to claw back hundreds and thousands of the borrowed votes that helped him win last time.

SPEECH WRITING: John Hospital Hoax Leech's turgid effort (a letter) in last week's South Manchester Reporter was written by committee. Simon Ashley cheerfully claimed a couple of paragraphs of it. So Leech cannot exploit first question at PMQs properly. He cannot string a couple of sentences together in the House. He cannot be heard at all in the Airport debate. And he needs a committee to write a (bad) letter for him.

A letter which actually seems to say: Yeah-But-Noe-But-Yeah-But-Don't-Know-But-Abstain-But. Next week: Lib Dems design a beast of burden, desert for the use of.

"WINGNUTS": Not sure why, and sorry. Will hopefully not be repeating this vocabulary any time soon. But the NO campaign had bussed in quite a lot to supplement our local supply.

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