Author Archives : robshepherd

About robshepherd

My name’s Rob Shepherd. By day I manage the press release agency Press Dispensary but this site isn’t about that: this is my personal blog where I’m shoving into the ether a few general thoughts, much politics and the odd bit of creative or writing.

Writing’s important to me: my first play was a 15 minute comedy written when I was ten and which became our school’s end-of-term play. My first short story – somewhat dystopian science fiction – was published when I was 14. Since then I’ve had a variety of careers in music, journalism, radio, film, TV, video and PR, with writing the common thread through all of them.

Politics are equally important. I’ve been politically active since my teens, when I quickly negotiated a course of self-education from my parents’ liberalism to the left of the Labour Party (while my parents negotiated themselves to the right of the Conservative Party and my dad became 3-times Tory Mayor of our home town). Like many of my generation, I left Labour at the rise of Noo Labour, the shift to the right and the utter abandonment of any principles in pursuit of power for its own sake. Then Iraq came and I was glad to be away from the immoral debacle of Blair’s illegal war.

I’ve lived in Brighton, England, since 1994, with a spell out in nearby Lewes, and I am presently chair of the Brighton & Hove Green Party.

Today Labour plans to tax the poor. Just the poor. 243

Labour councillors in Brighton & Hove this afternoon face a problem – one of their own making. And to fix their problem, 16,000 very low income households, many of them hard working but very low paid families, must suffer a near doubling of the council tax they pay. This is a financial demand that will […]

Labour in Brighton & Hove needs to abandon its Pavilion fantasy and concentrate on what it might win 290

After the Euro results on Sunday night, the Labour Party in Brighton & Hove wasted no time in claiming that its extremely narrow victory over the Greens in the Euro elections “confirm that the city council and all three parliamentary seats are expected to return to Labour” in 2015. Yet last week’s lead was just […]

How one person holds a city to ransom 2

Some time after 4pm this afternoon, one lone Brighton & Hove councillor, one sole Labour representative serving on a little known committee, will make one of the most important decisions this whole city has to take for years to come. It appears that Councillor Warren Morgan, Labour spokesperson on the council’s P&R committee, must alone […]

Balcombe: scaling back or scaling up? 2

Fracking company Cuadrilla has ‘scaled back’ operations at its notorious Balcombe location. So why will I nevertheless be joining the thousands of protestors this weekend outside the quiet country field that has suddenly become a site of heavy and unwelcome industry? Because ‘scaling back’ is meaningless PR wordplay. Cuadrilla has no intention of reducing the […]

Zero hours: zero news 247

Despite the general agreement in Brighton & Hove that the Argus newspaper is no friend of the Green Party, and despite my position as chair of the city’s Greens, I generally bite my tongue about individual articles I may dispute, in the interests of party-press relations. However, Monday’s Argus front page is one which goes […]

Slave labour

“It’s not a spare room,” she yelled. “It’s a lifeline.” 259

Yesterday’s announcement that the High Court has backed the government’s bedroom tax stance against disabled people is a huge blow to thousands upon thousands of low-income families who have disabled family members – a great many living in Brighton and Hove. For such people, separate bedrooms is often not a luxury – it is an […]

Sea, salt and cracked pepper 8

The other day, my brother-in-law wondered on Facebook why the expiry dates on British packets of crisps (translation: potato chips) always occur on Saturdays. This gave rise to a conversation which I joined, to find myself inadvertently giving my explanation of the phenomenon at some length. I was then encouraged to pop my reply somewhere […]