Bridgwater Town Diary

Some things what happen in Bridgwater and some equally personal thoughts about them by Westover Councillor and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. All opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily not bonkers. Oh and are definitely not official Labour Party policy, God No, they wouldn’t want people to think that.

Christmas Time is Here by Golly, Disapproval would be Folly… said Tom Lehrer in one of the better Christmas songs. However, this week I decided to make the particularly early start to the festive season the theme of my Mercury column. Yes admitedly I write more than the wordage I’m given, and they cut it, but this week they cut a bit of the politics and  a few of the jokes. So, as I’m now doing weekly, I’m running my original article in full, as bare as nature intended, on these Town Diary pages…

This weekend we turned on the Christmas lights in Bridgwater and without even a word from Noddy Holder, the festive season was with us once more! Fireworks shot above the dome of the Cornhill, snowy blue and white lights lit up the streets and squibs crackled and smoked across the town bridge. Continue reading “Christmas Time is Here by Golly, Disapproval would be Folly…”

Learning the Lessons of History

For my second Mercury column I thought I’d focus on Bridgwater’s history and the recent History Day we held at the Bridgwater Arts Centre. It was a brilliant turn out with a  great reception to local people from local people about local issues. So why wouldn’t that be a good theme for a Town Council Leader’s ‘column’ inches. Yet again I’m printing my original column as submitted here in full so that we can all spot the bits the Mercury edited out. In this case, and maybe oddly, they edited out the whole section about Jacob Rees Mogg coming from a family of coalfield owners and therefore when he says life in Somerset is certainly was for his family. Anyway, here’s the full article. Uncut.

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‘In Fact we DO want Direct Rule….but from Bridgwater’

At last! And finally! And finally! last! The Mercury is running a column from a Labour source! In this case me. Raising myself from my covid bed of unpleasantness today as the Deputy Leader bounced the incoming ‘newspaper’ off my vaguely intruding bonce as i peered outdoors for ‘incoming’, i saw my first column. Sadly, they’d sub edited it such a way that they’d got the emphasis all wrong. We DO want Direct Rule….but from BRIDGWATER not from Cheddar (as in Sedgemoor) or Taunton (as in Somerset)…however, besohoweverthatmaybe, I’ve decided to run the original articles that I submit each week into this Town Diary just so people can get what I intended…and if they don’t, well, try harder next time Brian.

Continue reading “‘In Fact we DO want Direct Rule….but from Bridgwater’”

Bridgwater- Getting Back What We’ve Lost.

On 19th October the Town Council is holding a drop in at the Town Hall to showcase the 11 projects that are on offer as part of the Town Deal. People are encouraged to ‘drop in’ and see for themselves and have their say. The event will run from 2pm to 7pm. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) has a few extra thoughts to add. “Far from this being some generous Government investment in Bridgwater, this is a small contribution towards our town getting back what it’s lost through 50 years of Tory Sedgemoor and 2 disastrous Tory Governments. The 1980’s Tory years of Thatcher nearly brought Bridgwater to it’s knees with mass unemployment and the loss of manufacturing and then 13 years of Tory austerity under Cameron’s ‘coalition of ConDem chaos’, May & Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done means Get Brexit Done’, Liz Truss’s, well,  ‘god knows what’ and now Sunak’s – ‘things have got to change! Oh hang about, we’re in power..’ years combined with decades of Sedgemoor Tories ‘direct rule from Cheddar’ mean there’s been a hell of a lot more taken away from Bridgwater by the Tories than the £23 million recently offered back!”

Continue reading “Bridgwater- Getting Back What We’ve Lost.”

Glastonbury Re-Visited

GlastoMan Cometh

The first time I went to Glastonbury festival I couldn’t find it. That was 7.7.77. These were the early days when the Festival didn’t yet know it was going to become the Megatropolis of Festivaldom the world over. I wandered into Glastonbury with a few other 18 year old Bridgy punk rockers and asked people where it was. Nobody knew. So we went into a café. Only to find it had a big ‘No Hippies’ sign in the window. So we stole it. Then got chased down the street by the café owner shouting “’ere Give I my No ‘ippy sign back”. To which we responded ‘But we ARE Hippies!’ It’s fair to say we were confused. So we followed the stream of hippies to a hill near the Butleigh monument, wandered through a thicket of trees and suddenly there was a festival. Full of naked hippies. We hid our ‘no hippies’ sign. Now this wasn’t THE Glastonbury Festival – it wasn’t at Worthy farm – but it was A Glastonbury Festival and there hadn’t really been one at Worthy Farm since 1971. But there soon would be. I’ve been to Glastonbury many times since, as a paying customer (once) as a controller of traffic in the country lanes (that’s juggernauts we’re talking), as the organiser of and worker at the beer tents of the Workers Beer Company, and last year as driver for the American country rap band Gangstagrass. This year I went there as a Somerset County Council member of the Licensing Committee…..oh dear…..

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