Friday, 20 July 2007

Lib Dems suffer further drop in vote in Ipswich

Whilst most of the country were looking at the election results in Sedgefield and Ealing, we had our own election here in Ipswich.

A by- election was held in the Castle Hill Ward after the former Tory Group Leader was chucked off the council as he had not been to a meeting since November 2006- well it was hard for him as he had moved to Spain!

Castle Hill is one of the safest Tory seats in Ipswich so we were not expecting victory and in May we had come third behind the Tories and the Lib Dems.

This time we had a far better result, the turnout was down and there were only 3 candidates this time (in May we also had a Green and an Independent) the Tories came in - as expected first with 1028, a drop of 53 from their May total of 1081, John Harris our Labour candidate polled 385 a drop of 40 from 425 but the big losers on the night were the Lib dems who collapsed from 502 to 284!

With no Green or Independent candidate, you would have expected them to have hopes of keeping their previous second place. What makes it worse for them is that part of the Castle Hill Ward is in a Suffolk County Council seat that has two Lib Dem councilors!

It seems that the electorate of Ipswich have realised that a Lib dem vote is just another way of voting Tory!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Ipswich- Abolitionists remembered.

In March, I mentioned how Ipswich should be proud that one of the leading activists in the abolition of slavery movement was Thomas Clarkson who spent much of his life here.
I also thought the council should have made more of the Ipswich link with the abolition of slavery, the local council are (and rightfully so) spending time and money celebrating that it was an Ipswich Naval Captain (Bartholomew Gosnold) that helped start the first permanent settlement in the New World 400 years ago - Jamestown in Virginia but I feel as much should have been spent on those who helped stop the slave trade, I mentioned in March that as well as Clarkson Street there were also other Ipswich streets named after activists in the abolition movement.
Well thanks to the Ipswich Society Newsletter , I can inform you that we have 9 roads close to the town centre that are named in memory of those who fought to stop this vile trade:
Clarkson Street- named after Thomas Clarkson
Wilberforce Street - after William Wilberforce
Benezet Street - after Anthony Benezet, (picture above)a Quaker whose writings influenced Clarkson
Dillwyn Street- after William Dillwyn, an American Quaker who moved to England and campaigned from 1774
Elliot Street- after Edward James Eliot, MP friend of Wilberforce and Pitt
Emlen Street - after Samuel Emlen an American Quaker who set up a school in Ohio
Gibbons Street -after Abigail Hopper Gibbons, an American Quaker who aided runaway slaves
Granville Street- after Granville Sharp who challenged slavery in law, first President of the 1787 Abolition Committee.
Burlington Road -after Burlington, New Jersey the home of Samuel Emlen.
All these streets are on land provided for housing in the 1850's by Richard Dykes Alexander, an Ipswich Quaker- there is also a Dykes Street close by.
When he made the land available he stipulated that some of the street names should be those of leading abolitionists.
If Richard Dykes Alexander thought these people needed to be remembered 160 years ago, I am sure we should be remembering them now.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Belvedere Road Bridge- safer now!

After a long campaign from local residents and North East Ipswich Labour Party members we finally saw the hump back bridge signs on either side of the bridge on Belvedere Road.

Hopefully this will be the first of many road safety measures within the Rushmere Ward.

I hope we will see an improvement to road safety on Humber Ducy Lane, on the Rushmere Estate and in Roundwood Road.

This will continue to be my main campaign priority.

At least this will bring some good news to Belvedere Road, as those whose houses back onto the railway line can now see the first signs of building development on the Hayhills site.