Monday, 16 July 2007


In true north east industrial tradition, this site shall close down for “Blogyard Fortnight”. With moving house and shutting down a business, the last few months have been very stressful. Not being ones to do things in half measures the complete Shaw family (ourselves, children, Mam’s and Dad’s, brothers, pregnant wives etc) have all decided to go on holiday together to Ciutadella, the crusade influenced capital of Menorca. To get away from it all and have a rest is definitely what the doctor would have prescribed if I had bothered to go and see him.

From the 17th July to 6th August you wont hear from me, though if I can get internet access I will post some photo’s etc.

Please bookmark the return date. As Arnie said “I’ll be back!”

Friday, 13 July 2007


Today we got the keys for the new house, so there is no excuse for avoiding the packing and the move. Painters and decorators will have finished by Saturday night, so the first car load of what we can move will go on Sunday mornining. Will I be able to fit in any post's during this period? Put it this way, would I dare and try to fit in any posts ? The answers to the dare is yes, the success side of it is another matter. Please be patient, the political world may be spared my pen for the next couple of days, but I have saved some lovely little gems for latter.

Thursday, 12 July 2007


The "post" man will be coming some time today, but it may be a bit late!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007


The BBC’s news website has highlighted two London Borough’s which have the worst recycling rates, these being Tower Hamlets and Newham. Naturally, South Tyneside’s position was of interest, as were other local Councils, and a quick check of the stats revealed the following for 2005/2006, the most upto date figures I could find;











STOCKTON – 365 –


Excluding Durham and Northumberland, northern Councils are pretty poor at getting rid of their rubbish. South Tyneside, whilst being in the middle of the table when compared to its neighbours, is actually near the bottom of the national averages. Certain issues have to be factored into these figures however; being urban areas, some of the authorities will have to deal with vast quantities of commercial and domestic rubbish, as opposed to a rural area with less dense population levels. There is also the issue of the rubbish itself. Unless the public adopts some degree of separation i.e. glass, paper etc, then it is difficult to process the material other than straight to land fill.

If this was a school report card the headmaster of South Tyneside would have finished with “must try harder, room for improvement”. Middlesbrough however, would have been expelled!


With certain pressures coming into play with regards to free time, I have found that the newspapers this week have not been given the attention that they should. This morning then, rather than buy a couple of tabloids, I decided to hit the internet sites and see if they were detailed enough to fulfil my quota of news.

All the UK majors have updated news sites, and the varied coverage of topics was no surprise. The Sun and The Star both give prominence to Channel Four’s Big Brother, with the Sun also highlighting “Cheshire Housewife Marries Bin Laden”. Clearly an attention grabber, but tucked in underneath in smaller text is the disclaimer; not exactly Bin Laden himself, but his son. Surprisingly, the Times leads with the same headline, but clearly mentions the son situation in the title. Quite a contrast, but not an unsurprising one. The Mirror, Independent and Mail all lead with the prediction of a mortgage and property melt down. All three offer convincing cases for trouble ahead, and I cant help but fear that this could be the trigger for a major economic slump. The Guardian and the Telegraph lead with NHS reforms and the Salmon Rushdie revenge controversy respectively.

So who wins the battle on the web site front? All the sites were easy to use, and their content, whilst extensive, obviously does not have the degree of articles that a full paper would (why should it, we wouldn’t buy the paper if it did). I found the Telegraph site to have the best presentation; it “felt” like a paper.

At the rate web electronic media is progressing, the days of newspapers must be numbered. Downloads, pod casts, news alert emails, 24 hour/instantaneous news coverage and more detailed web sites will undoubtedly replace the traditional black and white print which has educated and enriched thousands of people across the centuries. However, two things must be remembered when contemplating the demise of the traditional rag; will fish and chips ever taste the same when not wrapped in the Gazette, and what will us fathers have to fall asleep behind on a Sunday afternoon?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


For those of you who are running in the South Shields Harriers “Hitcham Mile” tonight, don’t have any tea. As a reward you will all be receiving a plate of grub for free. You will getting;

  1. Pasta with Italian herbs and a peach dressing
  2. New potato’s with a citrus marinade
  3. Smoked bacon or pepper quiche
  4. Home made coleslaw
  5. Couscous with smoked paprika and garlic
  6. Sausage roll (for your carbo’s)

How do I know? Because I’ve just finished making it for you.

Run towards the purple Picasso, that’s the car with the bait in!


I am about to back up all the things I have said in the post below about consideration of other bloggers news, views and issues. Not a man I always agree with, but regional readers would be well served to check out the post at Curly’s Corner Shop.

I wont reproduce his text in full (he has covered the subject well enough himself) but it centres on the Council’s underhand and disgraceful wishes to close the Lanark Drive children’s home in Jarrow, all to save £200,000 (12 jobs will also go).

After you have read the article, consider these issues.

1. What will the existing land/building be used for? If the council want to sell it, how much will a developer be willing to pay?

2. Does any prospective buyer have current contractual business with the Council?

3. How much will it cost to make 12 specialised staff redundant, probably more than the saving of £200,000?

4. Surely, the Council can make savings of £200, 000 elsewhere? How much a year do they spend on entertainment and corporate packages?

Finally consider this. The combined allowances for Councillor’s Foreman, Waggot, Malcolm and Donaldson (Curly’s Rat Pack) plus their other cabinet colleagues is over £190,000. A bit to close for comfort? Of course it is. For a saving of £200,000 a body which costs the same in personnel allowances would shut down a children’s home, possibly the only secure environment these children have every had. Consider that when you cast your ward votes next time round.


Perhaps one of the quickest ways to make enemies is to;

a) Become a national politician

b) Write your own blog based on local and national politics

The first option was never a consideration for me, but point b) was considerably within my grasp. Since then, I have penned 350 posts (about 4 per day), said some pretty cutting things about people (fair enough), had some pretty cutting things said about me (fair enough), been warned about going into certain Cleadon village pubs (didn’t stop me) and pretty much sailed close to the line a few times. I have also regretted the odd post, especially where the satirical zeal went a bit to far. However, I have always felt that the underlying truth was always apparent.

However three main things have emerged from the Rise Like Lions prose;

1) I have had a great time and been introduced to some wonderful fellow posters.

2) At a regional level, it is the only area where constructive opposition takes place.

3) I have met and spoke to some very honest people who I think I will maintain links with for a very long time.

In a nutshell, this little bit of nostalgic musing leads to the conclusion that I have emerged pretty much unscathed and learned a lot along the way.

Could the same however, be said for other followers and participants of what is really only a way to express your political, cultural and personal feelings. Lets take for example a certain Paul Staines, or Guido Fawkes as he is more commonly known in the posting world. I have followed Guido’s (I shall happily call him that as it has more exciting connotations than Paul) comments for over a year now and have never come across a person who is either on the one hand quoted out of existence, or on the other, despised with a venom worthy of an unnatural fixation. His own site specialises in political innuendo, humour, gossip and tittle-tattle, mostly all with a small vein of truth in them and mostly all anti Labour (oh yes, he’s also a Tory). If I had to tag a banner to his site it would be a “Nuts” version of “Private Eye.” This is fine by me, when most fathers left the Racing Post, Mirror or Times lying around for his children to read, we Shaw’s had Ingram’s Private Eye. For many years I actually thought Wilson and Heath really did have speech bubbles coming out of their mouths and that E.J. Thribb was a poet! Guido however, has little such sentiment attached to his name. I have been surprised by the number of sites that have been set up to actually attack on a daily basis what he prints. Most are pretty nasty, the majority absolutely horrid. An interview with Michael White from the Guardian shown on Newsnight is often used by the “anti’s” to justify their cause; I just found it a amusing, and had a sneaky feeling that Mr White, though a very good journalist, was a little bit miffed that “bloggers” are usurping the privileged position of sketch writers etc. Perhaps this is the crux of the “hang Guido” camp; he is doing the job that the media can no longer deliver on.

Guido recently posted on the birth of his child; somebody commented “are you sure it’s yours”. Now that’s personal and insulting, and has nothing to do with his political views. This is the opposite of the experiences I have had (though one commentator went beyond the point of decency, but only one) and whilst I hardly ever agree with what he has to say, Mr Fawkes should be allowed to fight his own little corner to any degree he wishes. As to all the other “Fawkes” who post, the same applies to them. I come across on a daily basis many on line diaries that I consider insulting and quite degrading, but I have the choice as to whether I return to them.

I once heard Paul Foot and Tony Benn speak at a pro miners meeting when the pit closure programme was announced. The subject drifted (as it always does at left wing meetings) to the issue of extreme right wing politicians, Mosley and Enoch Powell being mentioned by name. Foot, whilst stating he did not share his views, said he would have defended Powell’s right to air them to the hilt. Benn, pointing out that he had heard Mosley speak and considered him a great orator but an obnoxious man, spoke with a similar sentiment. Sometimes, a little bit more of this is needed in the posting world. Speak your mind, but stick to the issues, stick to the politics and stick to the policies. It’s also OK sometimes to have a laugh; we have built a political opposition in this country on such an approach (Punch and Private Eye being the best examples). Humour is a great leveller, and it also exposes the issues that surround many a political problem.

I have used Guido because he is a good example of the argument outlined. His web site is highlighted below with an “anti” listing in the interests of balance. However, there are hundreds of such similar conflicts listed on the web.

Now, where’s that George Elsom and Irene Lucas sketch I was writing!


Once again that little bug bare of mine has raised its head (Metro parking, councillors expenses/attendance rates, Channel 4 – God, have I got that many?) No, the costs of the Olympic Games. Today’s Times highlights what can only be described as complete corporate incompetence.

The Public Accounts Committee, the Commons cross party body that ensures that the taxpayer’s money is spent wisely and properly, is frankly, very worried. Four main points have emerged from a recent review of the Olympic books:

1. That a full risk management review is urgently needed. With to many companies and bodies involved in the building, promotional and revenue raising process, costs are accelerating out of control without any overall scrutiny. This is the rationale behind the current £9.4 billion bill.

2. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), charged with raising private finance, has no structures to inform government on a regular basis of its progress. If it doesn’t get it’s costs and revenue under control, it will be the taxpayer through central funding who will have to pick up the bill.

3. There is no clarity or financial project under review or preparation to ensure that the main five capital projects are fully adopted for use after the games have finished.

4. Edward Leigh MP, the Committee’s Chair and not normally such a publicly outspoken critic of such projects, has said that the whole process needs to be run with an “iron hand”. His most telling attack however is contained in the one sentence;

“strong arrangements for monitoring progress and management risk are so far not in place”

In plain old English – no controls exist to stop this project breaking the bank.

Whilst the bill for this white elephant continues to rise, I suspect that the only people who are making any money so far are consultants and business concerns headed by ex sportsmen and woman. I understand that some papers have made Freedom of Information enquires to ascertain the amounts spent so far on projects outside of the capital remit i.e. the bricks and mortar of the Games. None have been answered, the “disproportionate effort” rule being used. I suspect the truth lies in the fact that nobody knows how much has been frittered away.

Labour obviously has a very short memory, and has no recollection of a certain financial catastrophe called “The Dome”. Until it has a flash back and starts to remember certain mistakes, the £9 billion currently spent will double!

Monday, 9 July 2007


A quick thrash through the Gazette this afternoon has started a trip down memory music lane. The nations number one LP is by a group called The Editors, the record in question called “An End Has A Start”. Being an oldie, I find them OK but nothing to original. However, it is their record label that sent the pulse racing and the memories flooding back. Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s Kitchenware records, based in Newcastle, issued some of Britain’s best independent music. Prefab Sprout, Hurrah!, The Kane Gang and perhaps one of the countries most underrated singer song writers of all time, Martin Stephenson and his band The Daintees. All these groups bring back many a good memory of nights at The Riverside, Newcastle City Hall and yes, that world renowned rock venue, Washington Arts Centre! Beatles on a Sunday, Kitchenware on a Tuesday! Ahh, to be young again. Now if I only had something to actually play my vinyl on…..


A couple of posts ago I mentioned the two by elections which were looming, and outlined why I thought they were more important than the press were giving them credit for. Ian dale’s post today on the Ealing South election,, nicely adds to my view that this constituency could be Gordon’s first punch on the nose and Cameron’s first playground fight victory under the new headmaster. With 5 labour defections, Tony Lit has increased his profile and kudos no end. Enough to overturn an 11000 Labour majority? I think so.


If the drip drip drip effect of Alastair Campbell’s diaries was too much for you in yesterdays papers, then shut yourself in a closet because todays are tabloids are just as bad. The Guardian not only gives him front page coverage, but a couple of full ones on the insides as well. The more I read the extracts, the more I believe that this is just a sweetener for the full story which will come out when either Brown is voted out of office or has at least secured an election victory.

To be honest, these tasters tell us nothing new. Campbell tells us that cabinet ministers had doubts about the Iraq war; we already knew that. He tells us that the Northern Ireland peace process was touch and go; we already knew that. He hinted that Blair was keen on a Lib Dem merger; we already knew that and Brown tried to rekindle the idea when he approached certain Libs for cabinet posts.

The real warts and all edition I am sure is already penned and waiting for a publication date. The Hutton Inquiry, the David Kelly Affair and the Blair/Brown relationship are all issues that will be given, hopefully, a better airing. Until then, what we have is somebody capitalising on Tony’s departure. Is it an acceptable practise? Not really, but it’s politically interesting either way!


Posting on this site for the next three weeks is going to have to be sparse and brief. With a shop and a house to move, things are a little TENSE, and with only 14 days to go, they’re getting WORSE. Obviously, over the years somebody has been breaking into my property and leaving their junk in my cupboards and attic. I have even found three boxes that never got unpacked from the last move. Luckily, I have agreed a strategy with my wife to cut down on what we take; I will throw all her stuff out to make way for my things. Breaking the policy to her will be the hard part!

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 8 July 2007


If you don’t know what a vortex is, then should have been at Bents Park this afternoon. Brought back from the Sixties in a time warp, the Beatles ripped through a greatest hits set that put a massive crowd on edge!

OK, not exactly accurate, but it was the best this generation are going to get (The Bootleg Beatles) If you never got the chance to see the Mop Top’s live and who would of our age, this is the closest we will get. Not visually as good as the Newcastle City Hall gigs (how could it be, they have a superb Sixties back drop montage which only works well in the dark) the musicianship was about as close as you could get to them actually being there. I also felt very proud with the turn out. Official figures will no doubt be more accurate, but there must have been close to 12,000 people either in the Park or it’s outskirts.

The only thing that spoilt it is why do people have to spend the entire show with their mobiles pointed at the stage? With a trusty camera (admittedly digital) I got loads of period snaps. The mobile age spoils all the fun!

Well, the weather held out, and we managed to squeeze in a barbeque in as well (at home mind you, the stewards were a little bit aggressive towards people who were just out to have a good family time).

What a day!

The only thing that spoilt it is the knowledge that tomorrow is Monday!

As the Beatles said, Help!







Today’s paper of choice is the Sunday Times, not because it has the most sections, but because it has a couple of good pieces on Alastair Campbell, the unelected member of Blair’s inner circle for his first two election victories and a man considered by many as having far to much influence on policy than was democratically acceptable.

On the eve of the release of his book “The Blair Years” (plenty of thought went into that title didn’t it!) Campbell uses the paper to offer us little tit bits as to what to expect. The Times leads with the excuse that Blair actually wanted to resign before the Iraq war but was persuaded otherwise, both by events and his colleagues. If this is Blair’s opt out clause for the war i.e. I wanted to resign before it started therefore its not my fault, he is going to have to try a little bit harder on the excuses front. There is also a little snippet about Blair’s friendship with Diana. Nothing wrong with that, a couple of dinners and a little chit chat over a cup of tea. What is interesting is that Blair had the former HRH pegged up for a roving “world ambassador” roll; can you imagine the Queen's face when she got wind of that one!

Will I buy his book? Of course not, I wont line someone’s pocket who did more to undermine the authority of the House of Commons than Guy Fawkes ever could, but I will read the reviews and the comments, if only to confirm my view that this period of British politics was extremely damaging to the concept of constitutional representation, and that Campbell, despite his claims to the contrary, had an unhealthy control of government direction and policy, despite being unelected.


I somehow managed to avoid yesterdays “Live Earth” concerts (I shall have to put the fuse back in the TV plug when the kids take the dog for a walk) but could I do the same when it came to the papers coverage. Oh God, second page into the Times and there it is, a two page review and an unhealthily large picture of Phil Collins pretending to be a relevant rock star. But what is that tucked away in the corner? Halleluiah! A sarcastic article to rip the whole sorry affair apart. Thank God for John Paul Flintoff, who lays his views out in the form of a biblical revelation and has managed to give the topic some mirth, some brevity and thankfully some truth. I’m not one for reproducing full sections of other people’s works, so give it a perusal yourselves; It’s well worth a read.

To finish of the “Live Earth” debate, here are a couple of interesting facts.

Madonna has a carbon footprint 40 times greater than the average Britain, yet wants us all to wear more jumpers in the winter.

The carbon output of the full concert scenario is expected to be 31500 tons.

Say no more!


Talking of people lording it up for their own egos, Peter Mandelson is rumoured to be in line for a gong of some type when Tony pays back a few favours with his honours list. Despite being sacked twice by the same employer (how clever is that) once for fiddling his chum’s passport applications and once for a dodgy loan (what is it with loans and the Labour Party?), Peter is up for either Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool or Lord Mandelson of Hampstead Heath where he grew up. It’s a pity he never lived in a town called Sleaze or Corrupt or for that matter Gravy Train. As one Labour insider is quoted as saying “This is right up Mandelsons boulevard – he’s been lording it up for years”. Lord Boulevard, now there’s an idea!


One last piece to leave you with,

Houses ruined and uninhabitable, roads destroyed, bridges unsafe and near to collapse, businesses ruined, schools wrecked, local government with no money, national government impotent.

Pakistan after an earthquake, war torn Iraq or Bangladesh after the monsoons?

All wrong, its Hull! Gordon Brown has offered £14m to help pay for flood damage. The local Council estimate that the school repair bill alone will top £100m. Now if this were Scotland or sunny Chelsea and not the grim North, would the offer be the same?

Of course it wouldn’t!

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Having a lit bit of a problem with Blogger’s type set and editing programme, hence the post below looks out of sync a bit (the visual side, not the actual text!).


Today I am in hiding. I have a false beard, a wig and I am even contemplating wearing some of my wife’s clothes (beard, wig, women’s clothes, perhaps not the best mix). Why? I hear all two of you ask (or at least I hope you ask, please don’t assume this is something I do because it is Saturday). The reason is simple; I need to be able to disappear in to some sort of obscurity so that I can avoid being made to watch “Live Earth”! Having to suffer the has-beens and second-rate performers at the Diana Concert was enough, but to be inflicted once again with such tripe is too much. Why do I need to hear the likes of Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross, two overpaid and talent less hawks, tell me the world is in danger. Every time these witless wonders open their mouths enough hot air is generated to turn Britain into Tornado Alley. If that isn’t bad enough, we have Madonna, Genesis and would you believe it, James Blunt, a man who apparently used to be in the army! This man is a trained killer all right; his voice could peal skin of at four miles. Genesis, a group without any body hair and complete with Zimmer frames. Madonna (or Madge as she likes to be called when buying up houses to stop the public getting near her) a women whose carbon footprint must be like a size 50 Doctor Martin, 18 lace up boot.

This is becoming a bit of a rant. Lets take it back a little bit and have a look at the arguments for and against.


No it doesn’t, the only thing it raises is people’s blood pressure and record sales of talent less, B lists Celebes. None of these groups are relevant to today’s youth, so who is going to listen to them.


Complete rot. It raises money for concert promoters, Wembley Stadium hot dog sellers, record companies, advertising execs and ticket touts. When every body has taken their cut, they might be enough money left to fund a worm farm in an old fish tank.

And here’s the real issues:

1. With an estimated 2 billion people world wide watching the concerts, it will leave an electric carbon footprint the size of Mars.

2. The only Green awareness that will be generated is the colour of money.

3. Did all these stars walk to the concerts, or use wind powered energy. No, they FLEW.

4. Most of the bands involved have just reformed having spent years defunct as they were no longer relevant. They need the publicity and they need to convince us they have more to offer us than Saga membership.

5. The concerts have no long term aim, mandate or strategy. Tomorrow morning, Tokyo will still be covered in smog, China will still build a coal powered power station every day and South Tyneside Council will still make a complete hash of collecting my recycled rubbish.

Yes, this has been a little tongue in cheek, but there does remain an element of truth in what has been written. When it comes to climate change and environmental issues, I have three very strong viewpoints. Firstly, don’t use climate change as an excuse to raise my taxes and keep me down trodden. Just because the cold war has ended and we can’t be threatened with the fear of communist Russia knocking on the door, don’t introduce the bogeyman of environmental catastrophe as a substitute. Secondly, don’t put the emphasis on me to save the world. Start at the top, start with the likes of McDonalds, Asda, Birdseye, Sainsburys and a plethora of other world wide companies who encourage immoral levels of food waste and whose packaging fills a land fill site every day. The third and final issue is that I want concrete proof that climate change, if it exists, is a result of the way we live. Yes it has rained a lot and yes it is July, but according to records it rained to a similar degree 200 years ago and that can’t be blamed on climate change. When we have 100% agreement, then I will be persuaded either way.

Talking of things getting warm, I think I’ll have to take this wig and beard of; things are getting a bit itchy. Now, where’s that dress gone?

Friday, 6 July 2007




Pantomime performers across the country woke up this morning to the news that Boris Johnson is to audition for the part of Dick Whittington and stand as London Mayor. Mr Johnson, whose previous experience includes being both the front and back ends of a pantomime horse, issued his manifesto and called for London’s streets to be paved with gold, employ more cats to kill mice and rats and ring the Bow Bells more often. Distracted by calls of “behind you, behind you”, Boris went on to promise that under his direction, London would become the “Papua New Guinea” of the modern world.








Acting on concerns of the people of the world, the three Conservative councillors for Cleadon and East Boldon have reported that radical steps have been taken to ease world peace and general mayhem.

Following intensive negotiations with God, the Councillors are glad to announce that they have the answers to everything, including;

  1. The ingredients of Coke Cola
  2. Why you always end up with just one sock from a pair
  3. The ingredients to Kentucky Chicken batter
  4. The location of Atlantis
  5. Who really shot Kennedy
  6. Do penguins have knees?
  7. Could you be a closet claustrophobic?
  8. What would happen if you found a four-leaf-clover under a ladder?
  9. Why do sleeping pills have warning labels that state:'Caution: May Cause Drowsiness?
  10. In libraries, do they put the bible in the fiction or non-fiction section?

For a further list of questions the councillors are going to put to God at the next CAF meeting, please visit: