Tortoise ThinkIn – Grimsby – The Rules: How can we fix British politics? Wednesday 4th March 6.30-7.30 at the Telegraph Offices

This is what ‘Tortoise‘ say about ThinkIns:

A ThinkIn is not another panel discussion. It is a forum for civilised disagreement. Modelled on what we call a ‘leader conference’ in the UK (or an editorial board in the US), it is a place where everyone has a seat at the table. It’s where we get to hear what you think, drawn from your experience, energy and expertise. It’s where, together, we sift through what we know to come to a clear, concise point of view. It is the heart of what we do at Tortoise.

What I say: the ones before Christmas were really good and the write-ups excellent – clear and fair. I would urge you to go along and have your say. I learnt a lot from the views of other people in the previous ThinkIns, perhaps especially from those whose views didn’t reflect my own.

Next Wednesday’s topic is described by Tortoise:

Politics is broken. The gap between the powerful and powerless is widening. People feel locked out. How do we fix it? The question is too big to think about, but too urgent to ignore. Where do we start? At Tortoise, we believe we need to rewrite the rules for politics in a so-called “codified constitution”. But first, how do we get there? We need to remember how it’s supposed to work, work out what problems we’re solving, design new principles for the deal between the people and the people in charge and create fresh ideas for our democracy. Together.

The Rules need a rewrite. ⁦@tortoise⁩ we want your help to debate, design and deliver the new rules for British politics.

What should the new rules for politics be?

Well, what do you think? Have your say on Wednesday 4th March…

Sign up here to get your FREE ticket:

Refreshments from 18:00, starts promptly at 18:30. If you are late to a ThinkIn you can ‘SlinkIn’!

At Grimsby Telegraph, Fisherman’s Wharf, Grimsby, DN31 1SY (near Fishing Heritage Centre)

Stories and Poems at Radio Humberside’s Open Mic Event – 7.30pm Thursday 13th February, The Courtyard, Freeman Street Market. Bar/Cafe…

s&M open mic

Please come and join us at Freeman Street Market’s Courtyard Venue on Thursday 13th February for an intimate evening of stories and poems.

The East Marsh Sun & Moon Festival are working with Radio Humberside to bring you this fabulous event.

It’s brilliant that Radio Humberside are doing this with us – they will be recording stories and talking to writers about their work – to be broadcast at a later date. There will be readings from several local writers and open mic opportunities – so come on, our Brave Proud East Marshians let’s show the world our humanity, our love, our depth!

(5 minutes max!)

Entry is by cash donation – whatever you can give – for the Rock Foundation Food Bank.

Doors open at 7.00 for prompt 7.30 pm start.

Refreshments will be available from our pop-up cafe/bar.

We look forward to welcoming you to this very special event.

Electric Fence by Annabel McCourt – Usher Gallery Lincoln 8th February – 10th May

As part of our Creative Civic Change Sun & Moon Festival, we went to visit our very own Annabel’s exhibition at the Usher Gallery in Lincoln. It was a thought-provoking experience, bringing to my mind concentration camps from another time, but that perhaps are closer than we know. Annabel conceived of the idea as a result of  a sermon by a North American man of god who suggested that gays and lesbians be rounded up and held behind electrified fences until they die off. So, instead of a sputtering and futile outrage, we have here a solid realisation of the idea showing how words have power in the world.

I interviewed Annabel about her work…


Here’s some more about the exhibition from the Usher, but I’d just say, if you get a chance, go and experience it:

Annabel on this side of the fence, Proud East Marshians yonder


Sing Out, Proud East Marshians! Come and be a part of the East Marsh Sun and Moon Peace Choir – Weekly from Tuesday 4th February, 7pm, Freeman Street Market

You are invited to take part in a brand new singing project for the East Marsh – for 11 weeks, every Tuesday between 7-8 pm. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a choir, here’s your chance – come and join us in our East Marsh Peace Choir.

Just come along to the Courtyard Cafe, Freeman Street Market (next) Tuesday 4th February before 7pm for just one hour – come and sing songs to raise your spirits and create solidarity.

We all have a voice and this is a chance to use it. Singing together produces remarkable results including improved mental and physical well-being. We will sing powerful songs and grow our confidence in the world.

Each session is just £3 and all funds will be used to generate a seed fund for future singing projects for the East Marsh. This is a choir for adults only at present.
All resources will be provided and you will receive guidance and support from three experienced musicians.

You will receive a warm welcome and we hope you will come and sing with us. So, come and be a part of this amazing, life-affirming Choir – Proud East Marshians, sing!

Sun and Moon Peace Choir

Selective Licensing: Make Sure You Have Your Say!

In an area where Selective Licensing operates, all landlords in that area MUST hold a licence. Benefits of the scheme:

  • health, safety and welfare of the community are protected
  • landlords maintain their property and correct any deficiencies that may exist
  • reduce anti-social behaviour
  • prevent neighbourhood blight and conditions that can result from lack of care
  • ensure that minimum housing standards are met
  • educate landlords and tenants of acceptable private rented standards

The council’s proposal is to operate Selective Licensing in the East Marsh and the West Marsh of Grimsby.

This will potentially have a very significant impact on our East Marsh – all of the things EMU have been trying to change will, in theory at least, be changed as a result of this scheme – disgusting housing conditions with dirt and damp, the furniture of tentnats left in houses when new tenants wish to move in, wheelie bins on the fronts, filthy and rubbish-strewn back gardens and back alleys. All of this could disappear, creativing a massive change in the environment in our neighbourhood!

That’s why East Marsh United are FULLY behind the council’s desire to make this a reality – and it could possibly happen as soon as October this year.


It hasn’t been made law yet and there is a consultation period currently in process. Therefore, it is REALLY important that you have your say. There is an association of landlords that speaks for landlords’ interests – my best guess is that they are not especially happy at the prospect of landlords having to pay a fee for their licence (around £500 for five years, I think – and remember that there are good landlords around and they will benefit from such a scheme). So, the landlords are organised and may well wish to not see this happen – therefore, to make a real difference to the East Marsh and the West Marsh, make sure you HAVE YOUR SAY in the consultation – this is really important!

How to have your say on Selective Licensing

Drop-in sessions 

Drop-in sessions for tenants and the public will be held on:

  • Wednesday 29th January from 9am to 7.30pm at West Marsh Community Centre;
  • Thursday 30th January from 9am to 5pm at Grimsby Neighbourhood Centre;
  • Wednesday 5th February from 5pm to 7.30pm at Grimsby Neighbourhood Centre

Drop-in sessions for landlords will be held on:

  • Tuesday 21st January from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Grimsby Town Hall;
  • Monday 27th January from 9am to 5pm at Grimsby Town Hall


The consultation is available to complete on the Council’s website at  (here’s the main website if the link doesn’t work – click on ‘Selective Licensing’ ).

Pick up paper copies from libraries and Council Access Points

Paper copies of the consultation can be completed in Lincs Inspire Libraries and the Council’s Customer Access Point in Grimsby and Immingham

The consultation opened on Thursday 16 January 2020 and will continue for 10 weeks, ending on Thursday 26 March 2020.