Friday, 30 April 2010

Green Party complains to BBC about exclusion from televised leaders' election debates

The Green Party has complained to the BBC about their exclusion from last night’s national televised election debate, a senior spokesman for the Green Party said today.

“We will not be making a legal challenge. But we have complained in the strongest terms to the BBC about our exclusion from their third televised debate,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the televised election “is unlikely to affect Brighton Pavilion, our number one target seat, where the Lib Dems will be lucky to save their deposit”.

He said television debates are a good way of engaging the public, but “it is a bad idea to focus the elections on just party leaders, and only three party leaders at that.

“It is not fair on other parties, and it is not fair on voters who can't hear about other parties.

“The televised debates in the present format strongly reinforce the false impression that there are only three parties worth voting for, and this cannot be good for democracy."

Another source close to the Green Party leadership said he could not discuss the details of the complaint, but confirmed the Green Party had complained to the BBC about the leaders’ debate election broadcasts.

He said: “The Green Party’s complaint “in pretty strong terms” is understood to accuse the BBC of denying the voters adequate information on the policies the Green Party is offering – policies the Greens say are demonstrably popular with a large section of the electorate – thus “distorting the picture of what options the voters can actually vote for”.”

Friday, 16 April 2010

Brown amongst the children - election photo opportunities in Brighton

Earlier today, I asked what sort of photo opportunity Brown would present in Brighton, to compete with David Cameron jogging down the seafront on his visit in February. Well, this photo was taken half an hour ago. Brown has chosen the 'fatherly' pose, with children, against Cameron's 'fit for office' cameo.

Here (left) is a photo of Cameron jogging on Brighton Seafront (Sun). The Argus used a similar picture on its front page story about his visit in February. And (right) this is how the Argus portrayed Caroline Lucas, in its website story on the launch of the Green Party manifesto yesterday.

Gordon Brown dining Al Fresco in Brighton

13.35, 16 April, 2010. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah are having lunch with at Al Fresco, a restaurant on Brighton's seafront, at this very moment, a source reports. The source said they are having lunch with Celia Barlow.

"They are on the balcony for all to see," said the source, who reported from the West Pier children's play park, below the restaurant.

Some weeks ago, Tory leader David Cameron visited Brighton and a photo of him jogging along the seafront made the front page of the local Argus newspaper.

The Brighton Argus website reported that Browns left Victoria Station this morning shortly before 11 am. Celia Barlow is the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade constituency, and she has a slim majority to defend against Tory challenger Mike Weatherley. The Labour seat in the central Brighton constituency of Pavilion is also under attack by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, who says opinion polls predict Greens will win this seat.

The picture of the Browns boarding at Victoria is from today's Argus.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

How to trapeze in Brighton and Hove

What does it take to become an Aerialist? An aerialist is an acrobat, circus performer or dancer who performs in the air, on a suspended apparatus such as a trapeze, rope, cloud swing, aerial silk or aerial hoop.

Aerial acts look like they need immense physical strength, but most depend more on technique and practice. Students find great satisfaction from mastering basic moves only a few feet off the ground, and they develop strength as they become more ambitious. The sense of empowerment that comes with supporting one's own weight is an appealing aspect of aerial dance.

Like most athletes and dancers, aerialists need “core” abdominal strength for stability and protecting the lower back. Some women think they will not be able to do aerial work because their arms aren't strong enough. Upper-body strength is thought of as a male trait, but many aerial artists practicing in Sussex are female. They find that strength comes quickly through use. Some speed it along doing push-ups and pull-ups, abdominal work such as Pilates and yoga. However, the best way to get strong enough to do aerial work is to do aerial work.

Around Brighton and Hove, aerial classes are found at University of Sussex Falmer campus sports centre (Zu Aerial), Hangleton Community Centre (Circus Project), and Lewes All Saints Centre (contact Zu Aerial)
(This story was supplied by me as a possible sidebar to the Trapeze mum story, but not published).

Happy stories: trapeze mum

I wrote this happy story, about a high flying mum, as an antidote to the frustrations of trying to make sense of the 'hard news' leads I am following. Happy stories can be interesting and informative to read, and fun to write, and bring blessings to all involved! Also, showing other lifestyles can be as effective an agent of change as telling people to live better. I will do more of them.

Trapeze Mum original copy
By Russell Honeyman
March 19, 2010, corr March 23, published March 27

A high-flying Brighton mum returned to her dream job as a trapeze artist and is facing up to the changes brought on by the birth of her first child.

Aerialist Hazel Maddocks gave her last public performance dangling from a rope 20 feet off the ground, two months after her daughter, Mea Maeve, was conceived. Hazel, 35, of Hollingdean, Brighton, gave birth to Mea on July 1, 2009, at home in a water pool.  Eight weeks after the birth, she was back in training. Now, eight months later, she is within 80% of her pre-pregnancy strength. She is teaching aerial performance on trapeze, ropes and silks to children and adults in Lewes and Brighton, and is applying for funding to stage a cabaret and children’s circus show in Lewes.

“I’m still battling to get the balance of being a working mum,” she said. “It’s hard to manage when you’re not living close to your family.”

Hazel is self-employed in her own company, Zu Aerial Dance, and is part of the Firecracker Circus, Lewes.  She gives lessons at the sports centre at Falmer University, and the All Saints Centre in Lewes, where the ropes, silks and bar hang from the high rafters of the converted church. She worked right through her pregnancy, giving lessons, then doing admin, and starting training again after the birth.

Some people might think trapeze is a risky job for a new mum. Hazel said: “My mum does think this job is very risky. But then any physical job is risky. Having a child makes you think about it. It is dangerous, and it’s too easy to become complacent, even experienced people can forget to tighten karabiners (safety clips), or experience equipment failure. But this is what I do and I just try to be mindful always.”

“When you have a child you loose so much of yourself. I need to maintain who I am other than being a mummy. I hope Mea will be inspired by what I’m doing, to do the things she wants to do in life.  I’ve been taking her into the studio since she was eight weeks old. [Laughs]. Who knows maybe she’ll be a banker.”

Hazel trained as a dancer. She re-trained as an aerial artist six years before her pregnancy. “One of the really difficult things was letting my body go,” she said. “I was just starting to get to a professional level, when I noticed my body clock ticking away. It was really scary to let go of my professional standing.

“I’m still missing 10-20% of my abdominal strength. But the good thing is that I managed to teach throughout my pregnancy, that didn’t involve any heavy physical work, so training has become my secure income. The teaching has become a real blessing. It’s great showing people how to do things they thought they could never do.

“I was desperate to become a performer, but teaching has become a comfortable nest. And now I’m less desperate, the performance side is really developing. Since having my baby, I’m getting some of my best work.”

You can learn more about Hazel’s work at or search for Zu Aerial in

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