April 1989

This was a month of poor weather, but one where we made best use of the earlier finer days for electioneering until a storm, incessant rain and snow and slush stopped everyone. Even so, we made the best of it in the early part of the month and got well ahead of the Tories in our canvassing and poster board campaigns. Some staunch Tory thugs tried to retaliate against our poster boards, but we stopped them succeeding by replacing them and calling in the law.

On a poor month for family priorities, at least I fired up the swimming pool on the odd fine and bright but cold day. Daniel was learning to drive with mixed results, Debbie was progressing her horse-riding and we had family trips to church, and Wickstead Park. My dad’s treatment was progressing at Addenbrookes but was a worry. I was tired and struggling to work effectively, injuring my finger when assembling poster boards for the election campaign and painfully splashing after-shave into my left eye but the campaign was going well. My main achievement of the month was my book being printed – in time for the meetings and presentations, which was a great success with the first batch of 100 books soon sold. My first de-humidifier was delivered but not strong enough to stop condensation.

A good month for our candidates in the local elections; after a good well-organised campaign with three edition of Focus leaflets, canvassing and planning – not to mention publicity. We had canvassed early in the month and got ahead of the Tories before the weather broke and the door-step encounters were no longer possible and we had lots of poster boards erected and we kept them there, despite the efforts of staunch Tory hooligans trying to trash them. Michael was winning easily in Priory Ward, Percy was behind but gaining ground in Buckden. The Tories reacted angrily to our criticisms about their absentee councillors criticisms and their Tory leader Derek Holley was unwisely provoked into published accusations of lying for which he had to publish a written apology and retraction which I had drafted for him in the Hunts Post later!! The big day arrived for the visit of Paddy Ashdown to The Hayling View for a big press and radio event in my lounge and new conservatory with many journalists and a radio station in attendance. I kept up the local action and publicity, attending and hosting all manner of meetings and keep the press informed with constant publicity.

The tragic news this month has been all about the Hillsborough football Stadium disaster with nearly one hundred Liverpool fans dead. Some 15- 30,000 people protest in Scotland against the poll tax. The government announced its unilateral decision to scrap the dock labour scheme covering 9,400 men in 40 ports. With inflation is up to 7.9% and 8p per gallon petrol price increases there is widespread condemnation over the government over the introduction of ID cards and NHS ‘reforms’ as doctors are still opposed the government’s health reforms but will not take collective action. There is news of a baby food blackmail scare.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, arrived in London and Mrs Thatcher hosted him to a Downing Street banquet and paid tribute to his ‘peaceful resolution’. The US/Soviet summit talks seemed to go well but there remain arguments between Britain, West Germany and America over plans for upgrading NATO short range nuclear weapons. As a result of the Russia nuclear submarine sinking, we now know that 27 of the 69 crew died but ‘they say’ that the two nuclear weapons and propulsion system are supposed to be safe.

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