Sunday, October 23, 2011

Young people's Art display on Botanic Road / Wavertree Road junction

I confess I don't really know the full story behind this wonderful art exhibition, but what I can tell you is this:

It was supported by Riverside Housing Association and My Place

It was created by young people from various local youth clubs and schools, very creatively assisted by professional artists. I think I am right in saying that it was also helped along the way, possibly financially through our devolved budget, by the Picton ward councillors.

It was unveiled on September 16th 2011 at 1pm, but I didnt get there until 1.15pm so I missed all the speeches that would have told me more....

I am hoping that Councillor Tim Beaumont or RHA staff will come and comment on the entry so that they can give you more of the facts. I would like to be able to name check the artists and the young people.

The artwork shown here is a series of large framed pieces, attached to the hordings around a cleared site where a pub used to stand, on the corner of Botanic Road and Wavertree Road, more or less opposite Matalan.

I will start with a photo I have taken from Google Street View, showing what the site looked like a year or so ago.

The site is now completely fenced in and these wonderful pictures are displayed right around the fence.

Each painting or picture, all of which have a 3D aspect, depicts local history, geography and culture which I will endeavour to describe for each image. They dont photograph well as they are behind perspex which reflects poorly for the camera, I do hope that you will go and have a look at them for yourself so that you can truly appreciate them.

The art work was unveiled about six weeks ago and driving by every day, I have yet to see any graffiti or damage, which shows how much the local community value it.

I tried to photo the paintings and images obliquely to minimise the reflection, but you can still the trees that were behind me, in Botanic Park, in each image. The actual images do not have the trees within them...  You can click on any image to see a much bigger version (this applies for every photo on my blog by the way)

This painting shows The Beatles, the Superlambanana, Kensington Picture Drome (now Wetherspoons) and displays the words "Edge Hill Youth Club", our first clue as to possible artists.

This image shows the Anglican Cathedral, the Aviary from Botanic Park, now long gone (or is it the aviary from Sheil Park, also long gone?), the Everton FC  banner and a Tag Art image, which may be our second clue about the artists.

I took this photograph to show where the art is displayed, to give you an idea of the location and the scale.

This image shows Joseph Williamson, an early 19th century retired tobacco merchant, sitting in the entrance of a tunnel. These tunnels lie underground in the immediate vicinity and go nowhere, They are a great feat of engineering and yet serve no obvious purpose. Many have speculated as to the reason for their construction and philanthropy is often cited - that Mr Williamson paid men who were otherwise out of work to construct these tunnels, so that he could keep them in gainful employment when times were hard.  This truly remarkable story and more can be found at the Friends of Williamson Tunnels website. The image also shows the street sign advertising Edge Hill district, Smithdown Primary School shield (more clues) and a glass conservatory which I am guessing once housed the city's Botanic collection in Botanic Park - is it all coming together for you now?

I love this one. Ice skaters at Kensington Silver Blades, the Littlewood's Building - the home of the nation's wistful dreams for over 50 years, St John's Radio Tower and the emblem of Liverpool City Council.  The hands of the clock on Littlewoods are in 3D relief.

This image shows the Wavertree district sign, along with a Riverside HA emblem, the shield of Liverpool FC and the wonderful Kensington Library.

Now I am challenged by this picture. Not being a native of Liverpool, or even a native of Edge Hill, Kensington, Fairfield or Wavertree, I am not familiar with these images. We have a priest, but is he is a local priest from St Anne's perhaps, or Sacred Heart, or St Sebastians, or is he an ArchBishop or Bishop? We have the Liver Building, 100 years old this year, happy birthday old lady! We have a Your Place emblem - who are part of Riverside Housing Association and you may know them better as the Clean Team and we have a statue of a woman and child that I think sits outside of Liverpool's Women Hospital.
Now I am back on familiar ground. This piece shows the bandstand from Newsham Park (well I hope it does, I guess there may have been a bandstand in Botanic Park, but I keep my fingers crossed), the RC Cathedral, an image of the Kensington district street sign and the emblem of St Anne's RC Primary School.

And we come to our final image. George Stephenson's Rocket - he had his engineering works at Edge Hill - the oldest passenger station in the WORLD!  The Boating Lake in Newsham Park, and trains going in through the tunnels at Edge Hill Station that take them on to Liverpool Lime Street . (The history of the Railways owes a lot to Edge Hill and Liverpool and George Stephenson - although as a former Teessider I will still have to give a plug to the Stockton and Darlington Railway which was the world's first publicly subscribed railway)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Liverpool's Man Booker Prize Event at Garston Library

A great night last night, beautifully organised by Peter Wallace, the Reader Development Officer from Liverpool City Council. Sadly his last as he is taking early retirement at the end of the month. He has been brilliant in his role and I know we will all miss him dearly.

Six people read extracts from the shortlisted books and talked about their perceptions and then we voted on which book we thought would win. We were right! Julian  Barnes with The Sense of an Ending won in the country as well as in the stunning Garston library.

I read from Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie, which I didn't enjoy at all, unfortunately, if you want my notes, just send me an email and I will post them over to you.

But I loved hearing about the other books, talking to readers from book groups across the city about what they liked, and swapping tips about good reads. We also found out about a new set of books, republished to celebrate 21 years of Vintage, the covers are beautiful and I look forward to seeing a few of them on the shelves in Kenny library.

You will be able to hear audio footage of the evening on the next edition of the Reading Room on KVFM online.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A story for Autumn

It was a September evening in 2002. A Sunday night.  I had watched some TV showing the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in the Countryside Alliance March in London that day, defending fox hunting – despising them for their blood lust. And then, tired, I had taken my book to bed. I read a chapter but I could feel my eyes drooping and I wasn’t concentrating properly, so I put the book down on the floor, reached over to the bed side light and switched it off. I turned over in the dark, toward the curtained window and cuddled into the quilt, my head resting on a large pile of pillows.

And I fell asleep.
Asleep, alone, in a quiet old Yorkshire stone terraced cottage on the edge of Saddleworth Moor, just yards from the stone wheel which marked the boundary of the Peak District National Park.  One of the last houses at the outskirts of this Holme Valley village.

Quietly sleeping, dreamless, resting and still, warm and snug, comfortable and calm, drifting across the dark hours on a soft cloud.
When suddenly I was violently and shockingly awake.  Someone had taken the headboard of the bed and shaken it. Shaken it so hard that I was snapped instantly alert. A shot of adrenalin charged through me and my heart was pounding fit to burst. I lay paralysed, in the pitch dark, absolutely petrified. Petrified indeed like a stone, rigid and not breathing. My eyes forced wide open, seeing nothing .

Someone had shaken the bed and woken me up. Someone was there, there in the room, someone I couldn’t see in the dark, and I was sore afraid.

I lay completely immobile, save for my crashing, pulsing, thundering heart, beating fiercely inside my my chest. My synapses fired, my brain sparked, frantically searching for an explanation, an understanding.
My eyes were desperately flickering across the dark trying to see, trying to identify the nature of the threat.

I lay as still and as quiet as I could, no screams, no whimpers, ears straining to pick up a sound, desperate for a clue about the nature of the intruder. Frightened into muteness.

A short agonising time passed, through which I heard nothing.  And I saw nothing, but I knew I had not imagined it, I knew the bed had been shaken and I was full of dread.
Slowly my eyes became accustomed to the dark and I began to see that there was nobody standing in the shadows, that I could determine, there was nothing obvious to be seen. I turned my head just a little, frightened of any attention my movement would draw, and I looked, inchingly, tentatively, across my shoulder to the other side of the room.

The door into the room was ajar, perhaps 6 inches from the frame, and behind the space lay only the darkness of the landing. There hadn’t been time for anyone to leave the room and pull the door to, even assuming they could have done it quietly, because I had woken instantly as the bed had been shaken.
So it seemed to me at first that the intruder must be lying down, below the level of the mattress. Lying as quietly on the floor as I was laying in the bed.

I continued to lie motionless while my mind raced through many different scenarios, but somehow I couldn’t see the sense of it, I couldn’t picture someone creeping into my room, pulling the door almost closed behind them, lying hard against the carpet and then reaching up to shake the bed. Doing this and then lying still and quiet while I was panicked into wakefulness.  Listening to my sleeping breathing stop, and my going silent as I awoke and recognised their presence. It just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t square it logically.
So it came to me finally, that it must in fact be an animal, rather than a human, who was sharing this room with me.  A large animal though, to have the power to shake the bed.  An animal large enough to make the necessary movement but not so big that it stood as tall as my bed.  In my befuddled and frightened waking state that was the best explanation I could conjure up.

After lying still and scared from awaking for perhaps 3 or 4 minutes in total silence, I felt I needed to do something. I couldn’t just lie there indefinitely, frightened and vulnerable and waiting for the next move of the threatener.  I thought then that I should try to be brave and turn the light on, take a tiny bit of ownership. Not the bed side light, that would involve reaching across the dark divide and fumbling for the cable and the on/off switch, leaving my hand and my arm vulnerable to attack. I would reach up above my head to where a long cord hung down from a ceiling rose.
Of course it was not an energy saving light-bulb, it was a regular 60 watt bulb. So when I finally plucked up the courage to move, to unravel my limbs, all curled up in a sleeping position, to reach one shaking naked arm up above my head into the dark and waft around until I found the dangling small white plastic cone and pull, the “big” light snapped on with full and instant brightness.

I was blinded, wanting to screw my eyes up against the searing light but frightened to miss the action the intruder would take against my challenge.
Nothing happened.

No movement in the room.

As I lay in the now lit room, I looked with fast flickering eyes as far as I could into those parts of the room I could see, and there was nothing.  A quick glance at the radio alarm clock showed it was around 1am. I couldn’t have been asleep for more than an hour.
A good few moments more passed, my heart was starting to slow down, my ears which had been full of the sound of the rush of pounding blood, began slowly to hear normally again and there was still nothing to hear, nothing to be aware of.

I reached inside myself again for resolve, and decided I needed to pull myself up into a sitting position, dead centre in the bed, as far away from either side as I could manage, clutching the quilt against my naked chest, hugging the covers to me.
It is lovely to sleep naked, your body heat works directly with the quilt to warm you and you don’t get tangled up in the trailing length of a night dress as you toss and turn, but that night I felt only the vulnerability of being undressed in a room with an intruder.

And still there was nothing to see and nothing to hear as I sat up with the headboard pressing uncomfortably into my back. I took a deep breath, finally, having failed to take in barely any oxygen, through the shallowest of breaths for several very long minutes. And then I bent over slowly onto my right side to peer over the edge of the bed and along the floor. Nothing but the carpet and my library book, spine cracked, lying at the foot of the bed side table.  And so I shifted across the bed, and leaning, looked over the other side. And still there was nothing.
Darting back to the centre of the bed, and my position of safety, it seemed that it must be the case that the intruder, the thing that had shaken my bed, was lying directly underneath me, under the wooden slats that the mattress rested upon.

Who, any of us, wants to confront the creature under the bed? Here there be dragons!
But you know, when you live by yourself, and there is no-one else to rely upon and you have not yet understood the importance of having a regular phone, or a mobile by your bed, you do in the end have to do those things that leave you rigid with fear, or else go simply mad.

So eventually in the quiet, still bedroom, I did find the strength to lean over once again, only further this time and look, with rapid searching eyes underneath the bed, and then more slowly, gazing, to realise and understand that there was nothing to see in the dark dusty shadows.
It was a total mystery to me. Something had definitely shaken the bed, shaken it so violently that I had come awake, snapping to hysterical attention. But of that presence there was simply no evidence. The room was bare of alien presence.

I did eventually find the strength to get out of bed, to put my dressing gown on and to move, room by empty room, anxiously turning on lights with nervous little darts of the wrist, but it became increasingly obvious there was nothing to see, nothing to be found, nothing to discover. The house was exactly as I had left it at bed time, there were no broken windows, no unlocked doors, no fallen furniture, even the cellar damp and cold and slightly mouldy, was just as always.
There was nothing left for me to do in the end, but to go back to bed, read a little more of my book in an effort to divert my mind from its perilous thoughts and bring it some calm, before, with a timid show of spirit, turn off the light, settle back down into the pillows and try my best to fall back into sleep.

The following day I learned of the power of the Dudley earthquake, registering 5.0 on the Richter scale. Its affects were felt for miles around, all the way to North Yorkshire.  Some people, like me, had been shaken awake by its power.  Mum told me, much later, when I told her the story of my 30 minutes of cold deep fear, that if I had moved over to the window and thrown the curtains apart, I would have seen lights snapping on in bedrooms across the foot hills below me as others registered the same occurrence and I would have realised that this was a local phenomenon and not a private one.
Mums are very wise, we should pay them close attention, so next time, if I am unfortunate to go through such an event again, I shall think “earthquake” before I think “imposter”, plus I never go to bed without my mobile phone these days. And so there has been progress, of a sort. But if you want to know about the most scary moment of my life, you have it, right there. Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Warning: Kensington and Fairfield fire fighters jacket lost

Email from our neighbourhood police.

Can you please pass on information to everyone to be aware of anyone calling around the Kensington or Fairfield Area stating to be from Merseyside Fire Service. This is due to a Firefighter from the Kensington Fire Station losing or having his jacket stolen recently.

All staff from the fire service will carry identification, so please ask for ID if suspicious. If you are aware of anybody acting suspiciously in the area, please contact Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010.

The jacket is described as a Blue Fleece Type with Merseyside Fire Service emblazed on the front left hand side.

To date, I am unaware of suspicious incidents.


PCSTO Robert Moore 0304
Kensington Police Community Support Officer Merseyside Police

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Youth Unemployment in Kensington and Fairfield hits new highs

It's back to the bad old days I am afraid.

In 2010 10.9% of our young people in Kensington and Fairfield were unemployed, that was bad. But in 2011 it has risen by a third to 13.6% (that is Job Seekers Allowance Claimants in the age range 18-24). And it is 20% in Everton. 

And the situation around the whole country is dire, not just here, if you don't believe me, read that Labour loving, Liverpool supporting newspaper the Sun, who surely can be relied upon to provide figures in our favour.  Irony alert. Okay, what I really mean is this, if even the Sun is worried then surely the country really is going to hell in a hand cart. This is what they said (if you don't want to click on the link)

"It is the worst total since 1994, when Sir John Major was PM. Of particular concern is youth unemployment, which reached a record high of 991,000, up a staggering 74,000. It takes unemployment among the young to 21.3 per cent, the highest since comparable records began in 1992. The number of unemployed 16 to 17-year-olds rose 3,000 to 205,000. "

I remember in 1997 that the Labour Party made 5 pledges to the country. One of those was to rescue unemployed young people from the scrap heap.

We said

We will get 250,000 under-25 years-olds off benefit and into work by using money from a windfall levy on the privatised utilities
In 2007, ten years on, Channel4 reported that more than 250,000 young people passed through the New Deal, and subsequently found jobs. Although it did point out that in a growing economy with low unemployment, many would have found work anyway. They went on to say that Professor John Van Reenen had estimated that the 'value added' by the New Deal programme amounted to around 17,000 extra young people in work per year - a success, at reasonable cost, but perhaps falling slightly below the levels promised by the pledge. Channel4 gave it a 4 out of 5 score in terms of a pledge met.

Gordon Brown gave a personal and heart felt commitment to reducing youth unemployment as Labour took office in 1997 and he was broadly successful.

Sadly, in 2011 the progress he made has faltered and reversed.

By my reckoning, and you can work it out for yourselves if you care to, Yosser Hughes' three children would be pushing 40 by now. They will have been in work and doing okay, by and large, until lately, but their children - and Yosser's grandchildren - will likely now be those young people on the new Tory scrap heap. Was anything more depressing than that realisation?

It is hurting and it aint working and we sure as hell are not all in this together Mr Cameron!

Photo: Courtesy of the British Film Institute

Friday, October 14, 2011

Local community heroes honoured at first ever Pride of County ward Awards

I had a wonderful time at the Isla Gladstone, sharing the celebrations for the good people of County ward and their many achievements. The official detail follows, but what it doesn't say is that Cllr Gerard Woodhouse was himself recognised and appreciated, as so many residents came up on to the stage to praise him. I have copied a few photos to give you a flavour of the evening.

 Photo: Gerard receives a trophy from Cllr Ann O'Byrne, Steve Rotheram MP and Maria Eagle MP

Young people, carers, volunteers and small businesses in County that have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the local community have had their achievements recognised at the first ever Proud of County Awards. 

The awards, which were presented at a celebratory event at the Isla Gladstone in Stanley Park on Friday 7th October, were developed and led by Councillor Gerard Woodhouse, with support from Beautiful North partners including Liverpool Housing Trust and Plus Dane Group.

They aimed to reward the achievements, dedication and commitment of many members of the local community that work tirelessly to help make County a better place and build community spirit.

Councillor Gerard Woodhouse, said:

“The Proud of County Awards are a valuable opportunity for us to recognise the people in our community that work hard and give us hours and hours of their own time to help others and deliver improvements in our area.

“We have an outstanding community spirit in County and so much to be proud of, and this event was a great way to showcase the achievements of just some of the hard working individuals and businesses that make our local community what it is. I would like to thank all those that provided their support to make the event such a success.”

The Proud of County Awards winners are:

Heart of Gold Award – Lorna Haynes from St Lukes Court, which was awarded in recognition of the time and commitment she has dedicated to supporting residents and going beyond the call of duty.

Effective Partnership Working Award – The Walton Youth project’s DARE steering group – a group of 14-19 year olds that have pent the last 18 months developing their skills and giving up their free time to help shape the services available to young people in the area.

Outstanding Community Spirit – Jackie Cadden, a local resident who has been involved in community life for many decades. The award recognised her tireless achievements including setting up and delivering an intergenerational soup club, running the local Sunday school in Walton for 25 years, her active involvement in many forums including the women’s forum at Merseytravel, a trustee of two charities and her role as Chair of a local osteoporosis support group.

Young Volunteer of the Year – Colin Wilson, for commitment to helping run the local youth group and helping and supporting local organisations when running fun days and summer holiday programmes.

Volunteer of the Year – Dee Preston, for her time dedicated to the local resident association and her active role in improving the environment in County, who was nominated for always putting the needs of others before her own.

Small Local Business of the YearRyan Manville – Sports Alive. Ryan worked as a volunteer and sports coach for young people before setting up his own community enterprise which works to help fellow youth workers and young people develop their range of skills and activities.

Outstanding Community Involvement – Barbara English, who has dedicated 30 years to volunteering ranging from delivering large scale dancing events to spending hours putting together costumes for shows, taking children in County to competitions and putting on fundays.

Carer of the Year – Tony Flynn, who has overcome difficult and trying times whilst continuing to care for his family and look after his two young boys.

Young Citizen of the Year – Stephen Taylor, who was recognised as being an ambassador for young people who volunteer, committing himself 100% to his project and community. Stephen plays a key role in delivering junior youth nights, dance groups and dads and lads groups for Walton Youth Project.

Councillors Special Award – Eileen Alldritt, who has worked at Florence Court for 25 years and retires next year, for her work in helping everyone in the local community and not just those in sheltered accommodation.

Young Carer of the Year – This award was given to a young person who has taken on a role within her family as a support to her younger siblings due to her mother’s health conditions. Not only does she take on her family role but she even fits in time to help others, volunteering at her local youth project an giving her own time to help run and deliver summer programmes for local children.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black History Month celebrations in Knotty Ash Youth Centre

I hope some of you can make this excellent event promoting some wonderful Indian culture

Toxteth Sports Centre Farewell Party

Email received from Donna, please see below

Most of you may know, that Toxteth Sports Centre has now closed and is due to be demolished shortly to make way for a new facility. Toxteth Sports Centre was not the best facility. However, it did produce some of the finest athletes this City has ever seen. Too many to Mention. It was also a fantastic community drop in where many a fruitfull debate had taken place and were many of our youth have been mentored. They say it takes a Village, Toxteth was that village.

It's brilliant that the community will be getting a new facility next year, which will also be a community fire station as well as a state of the art sports facility. The sad thing is that most of the staff who worked there for the past 20 years have either been dispersed to other centres, or took early retirement.With this in mind, the staff and management of toxteth Sports Centre would like to say good bye in style by throwing you it's former staff and customers, a farewell party. We thought it would be a good way to thank each and every one of you for being part of the Tocky Experience.

I would be really gratefull if you could forward this poster to any one you know on your mailing lists, who at some time in their life attended Tocky Sports Centre. put it on face book, twitter and please spread the word. Lets go out with a bang. The event will be held at Our lady Mount carmel social club. High Park Street Liverpool 8. Sunday 23rd october from 7pm til 1pm. Free, Disco Buffet amd musical entertainment. Unfortunately bar will not be free. So spread the word and get yourselves down there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Opening night success at Deane Road Cemetery Art and Photography Exhibition

Thursday 6th October saw the opening night of the Deane Road Jewish Cemetery Art and Photography Exhibition.

55 people came along to enjoy a wonderful evening and enjoy and appreciate the art on show.

Photo: Councillor Louise Baldock with Jewish Councillor, Jeremy Wolfson and Iftikhar, local Kensington resident and Amhadiyya Muslim, in Kensington Methodist Church - our project attracts multi-cultural, muli-faith support.  

Photo: Fiona Filby has created the most exquisite photo images entitled "All things grow with time except grief". I shall be buying myself a set at only £70 for all 8, to hang on my sitting room wall so that I will always remember this wonderful cemetery, long after the restoration project is complete.  

Photo: This shows a wonderful
 painting by Paul Gatenby, one of a pair
 which attracted much interest on opening night.


Photo: These four stunning drawings, executed with a biro were created by Jane Hughes and show images of the cemetery interspersed with prose, suggested to the artist as she sat sketching during open days.

Photo: This shows artist Xia Lu with her own art, created using Chinese Ink on Rice Paper.
Photo: Carol Ramsay, Activity Plan Manager and Volunteer
 Manager for Deane Road Cemetery Committee,
showing her own artwork. This image has been used
to illustrate the publicity material for the event.
 I have bought a copy of this stunning piece.


Photo: Ray Condell, popular local Community Your Place warden displaying his exciting photographs featuring unexpected angles and depictions of the cemetery set within a community context

The highlight of the evening was a one night only viewing of a light installation, created by Robyn Woolston inside the cemetery grounds. Entitled "Shadow/Light", it involved the siting of 100 white lights across and around the cemetery at strategic places, giving height and depth to the space and showing it in a whole new way.

Guests enjoyed coffee and cake whilst perusing the art and photography, displayed in Kensington Methodist Church on Kensington, before moving to the cemetery at about 8pm once it was sufficiently dark enough to appreciate Robyn's work.

The exhibition will run until October 23rd and will be open in the church on Thursdays and Fridays (11am-4pm) and Sundays (1pm-4pm).

There is also a chance to see our 15 minute film about the restoration project, and to find out more about our work.

Do please call in, I shall be there on the 20th to welcome anyone who would like to talk about any aspect of the cemetery restoration project.

Many thanks to Lisa Shearwood-Vingoe and all at Riverside Housing for their support for the exhibition - and for the photographs!

And a huge thank you to everyone on the committee and to our two members of staff for all their hard work in bringing this art and heritage event to Kensington.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pride in County Ward awards - Liverpool

I am looking forward to telling you all about the fabulous Pride in County Ward awards night I went to last night. But I am waiting for photos from the much acclaimed Cllr Gerard Woodhouse and from the lovely Vicky, before I do so, this is a reminder to you both to send them over to me!

Theresa May accused of lifting cat anecdote from Ukip leader

This article from the Guardian is well worth a read - written by Patrick Wintour, political editor
Reproduced below

Theresa May accused of lifting cat anecdote from UKIP leader

Nigel Farage recounted deportation tale, almost word for word, to rail enthusiasts back in July, recording suggests

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage says: 'I have become increasingly used to the Tory party mimicking [Ukip] policies and phrases.' Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

The home secretary Theresa May's claim that a Bolivian student was saved from deportation by the existence of a pet cat appears to have been lifted almost word for word from the leader of the UK Independence party.

In her speech to the Tory conference May said the courts, citing the Human Rights Act, had declared the man should not be deported because he would be separated from his cat.

Her remarks led to a spat with the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, who accused her of giving a "laughable, childlike" example to criticise the act. Behind the row is a deeper political dispute over whether Britain should ditch the act.

In July, Ukip's leader, Nigel Farage, told a 200-strong audience at the Eastleigh Railway Institute in Hampshire how a court had decided that the man "should not be deported because – and I really am not making this up – he had a pet cat". A tape recording of his remarks is on the website of the Eastleigh News.

In Manchester this week May matched Farage not just in her phrasing but in her timing when talking about the same immigrant, who she said "cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat".

Farage told the Guardian: "I have become increasingly used to the Tory party mimicking our policies and phrases in a desperate effort to pretend to their members they are still Eurosceptic. They don't mean it. We are one of those parties that still believe in holding public meetings, and asking questions from the public. The SWP [Socialist Workers party] turn up, so obviously does Theresa May's speech writers.

"Maybe this will be the beginning of a trend? Flat taxes, cutting foreign aid, a referendum on Europe, grammar schools. Who knows?"

One government member said: "Not only has Ms May been caught out making up stories about the Human Rights Act for cheap laughs, she has been plagiarising her clap lines from the UK Independence party."

The immigrant had avoided deportation after it was ruled that it would breach his right to a family life. In Eastleigh, Farage claimed the incident had occurred a few weeks ago and that the man in question was Peruvian – when he was in fact Bolivian. He also claimed inaccurately that the man had a conviction for manslaughter. Apart from overstaying his visa, he was a law-abiding citizen.
Both politicians inaccurately claimed the man had been granted leave to stay under the Human Rights Act when it was because the tribunal had previously failed to treat his partner as a spouse, which would accord a right of residence.

David Cameron in 2006 earned the ire of Ukip by describing them as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly".

Farage may not have spotted his role as May's speech writer since he has been obsessing about the state of the euro, and the way in which George Osborne, the "British chancellor is telling the rest of Europe it must abandon democracy. It's appalling."

Everyone needs a Lucy Smith

A message from Julie

My name is Julie Hilling and I was elected as MP for Bolton West at the last General Election.

To be honest, when I was selected as the candidate I was told by almost everybody that I was on to a hiding to nothing, they reckoned that the seat was so marginal that Labour would not be able to hold it, that there weren’t enough members to do the work, that there wasn’t enough money to pay for all the leaflets……

And at the time, given what they knew, they were probably right………but they hadn’t reckoned on Lucy Smith!

Lucy Smith is a member of Labour Party staff, her title is "Regional Organiser" but in Bolton West we call her "The One Woman Election Campaign"!

Can you donate just £2 to help us fund a Lucy Smith for every marginal seat

Lucy was sent to us by Regional Office to help us fight the election. She introduced us to fantastic new techniques in how to get our message across to as many people as possible, to raise money for the leaflets, to get more and more people involved in the campaign and to do this she worked more hours than I thought it was possible to do in a week!

On election night we were all devastated when the count finished and the result was that we had lost the seat by just over 100 votes…...

But not our One Woman Election Campaign!

Lucy insisted that we didn’t give up, that it was so close we should push through a recount. Eventually we got one. And that was when it was discovered that we had actually got 92 votes more than the opposition.

Without doubt I would say that without Lucy Smith, Bolton West would be a Tory seat now. So I write to you to thank you for your membership of the party which helps to pay for Lucy and others like her.

To win the next General Election we need to win back our marginal seats in the North West - and to do that we need a Lucy Smith in every marginal seat. And we need them now.

Please click here to donate just £2 to help us fund a Lucy Smith in every marginal seat
And once again, thank you for Lucy Smith!
Julie Hilling MP for Bolton West