Friday, 8 September 2017

Hard work pays off

Thursday 7 September 2017

St John's division by-election - Sarah Adams wins. Votes cast: Labour - 1247; Tory - 483; Lib Dem - 200; Green - 52

A great result, a superb candidate in a ward that knows it's Labour team have always worked hard for them.

The campaign was a great success, The Tories did work hard and even the Lib Dems made an appearance - first time they have been seen in the ward for over 10 years!

The campaign started with a letter from our new MP (and the old St John's Cllr) Sandy Martin and culminated with over 50 activists campaign in the ward yesterday, including, St John's resident, Sandy Martin.

It is not only St John's that will benefit with Sarah being elected, Labour now have another strong campaigner on the County Council, and someone who is much needed as the Tory run county continue to ignore issues in the County town.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Letting down our soldiers?

Last night at the Ipswich Borough Council meeting, our Labour Group put forward a motion asking for the Government to consider scrapping the 1% pay cap on Public Service workers, Cllr Bryony Rudkin proposed the motion and it was seconded by Sandra Gage, both commented on how hard some public workers were finding it hard to get by with some nurses now having to rely on food banks.

Even members of the Tory Cabinet are now considering supporting the removal of the pay cap but currently the Chancellor is holding firm on his strict stance. The election result in June plus what their own residents are telling them has caused a number of Tory MPs to consider their own position on the wage cap. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor may not be happy with some of his MPs wavering but he would have been much more comfortable with the response of the Ipswich Tory Group.

Cllr Harsant stated she did understand the hardship that public service workers were bearing but she would still vote against the motion because she felt it was better for the country, I do not agree with her but she at least made a decent attempt at explaining her position, the same could not be said of the other Tories who spoke.

Many said that the current economic situation (all down to Gordon Brown, according to them) meant we could not afford a rise above 1% for anyone - none could explain how it was OK for some of them to vote for a much larger rise for the Tory leaders on the County council last week! Some of the other comments were far more outrageous - Cllr Carnall decided to focus on tuition fees and Corbyn (not sure what that had to do with the wage cap) but when he did speak on the motion he described the contributions by Cllrs Gage and Rudkin as 'sob stories'.

Many of their front bench seemed to enjoy informing us all that public service workers would not get a pay cut, Nadia Cenci stated she would like to give all soldier pay of £100,000 but still would not vote for the lifting of a 1% pay cap on our armed forces.

Cllr Phillips indicated that independent pay review boards settled public service pay - he was almost right, in the case of the Armed Services the Government just ignores the findings and pay review boards for other public service workers are often told that they can't recommend pay rises of over 1% before they start. So much for any form of independence.

As Bryony Rudkin later commented, the mask had slipped and the 'nasty party' was back with a bang. By this time, I had decided to speak not only because of the anger I now felt after listening to the Tories speak but also by the hypocrisy of some who stayed silent.

Robin Vickery is both a Borough and a County Councilor and has often spoken up for the Armed Services, no real surprise as he is a dedicated member of the British Legion and holds a senior post within the Suffolk British Legion. Earlier in the meeting he had asked a question about Suffolk Day where he had lamented the lack of floral displays at the recent event, his last comment had been that he had hoped their would be a better show when we remembered the battle of Passchendaele on Monday., not a surprising comment due to his role in the British Legion, but when it came to voting for a motion to ask the Tory Government to lift the 1% wage cap on our current soldiers, sailors and airmen he refused but only a week earlier he had voted for a 15% pay rise for Tory County leader, Colin Noble.

As a senior member of the British Legion I would have expected him not only to vote for but speak up for any motion that supported our current armed forces. I had earlier spoken to say that a 1% pay rise would not have stopped me from wanted to be a member of the army but this Tory Government is not just asking soldiers to take home just a 1% rise it is actually reducing their weekly pay packet as they look to introduce the 'Armed Forces Future Accommmodation Model' - a plan that is so flawed that serving senior officers are even going public in their criticism of the proposed scheme. This would mean that some young soldiers could actually see an 8-9% pay cut. But this did not seem to sway Cllr Vickery who still voted against the motion. Maybe now is the time that Cllr Vickery looked at his position within the Suffolk British Legion.

On this day - in 1945

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Prefab Post

A few years ago the Ipswich Tories listened to the local Tory Councillor for Rushmere (Judy Terry) and decided it was time to knock down the Prefab bungalows in the North East of the town.

The Tarran Prefabs were built just after the war, with over 19,000 built in the UK, all erected under the Temporary Housing Act. Life expectancy of the Prefabs was meant to be 15 years but in Ipswich they are still going strong!

Partly due to the location, the fantastic gardens and also partly down to the community spirit the residents living in these houses seemed to have.

So when Tory, Judy Terry came up with her plan to knock them down she faced stiff opposition from the residents and I was happy as a local councilor to support them.

Fast forward to 2017, and the Labour run council has put on new roofs, installed new kitchens and our Labour County Councillor, Sandra Gage has manged to get the verges repaired and drop down kerbs put in place for the residents who required them.

It was during the campaign to save them from Tory bulldozers that we became aware that their is a 'Prefab Museum' a group supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The group came to Ipswich to speak to some of the residents and in this months issue of the 'Prefab Post' you can read about how one of our residents June Kapitan first moved into their Prefab in 1955, leaving in 1964 but returning again to live in Inverness Road again in 2010.

If you wasnt to know more about Prefabs look here

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Job done - enough said

Labour takes Ipswich with 831 vote majority

 Sandy Martin a great candidate (will be a great MP) with our agent (John Cook, who is not too bad!)

The votes polled by candidates in Ipswich were as follows:
Charlotte Armstrong, Green Party - 840
Tony Gould, UKIP - 1,372
Ben Gummer, Conservative - 23,393
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, Lib Dem -1,187
Sandy Martin, Labour - 24,224
David Tabane, Independent - 121

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Did he do it all on his own?

Been too busy campaigning to blog recently but with just a few days to go I thought I better comment on the latest newspaper from Ben Gummer our Tory MP.

Ben seems to have done plenty for the town, but has he done it all on his own? Or has he even done some of the things he mentions? Also noticeable that he seems to have forgot a few things he was involved in.

Education - takes credit for Chantry being re-built but forgets to mention it was already planned to be re-built under Labour but the Tory Government delayed it for over 2 years. Gummer also 'forgets' to mention Ipswich Academy - a school a few years ago he was taking credit for  having it built - but after the Scandinavian Academy chain (that Gummer was quick to praise)  left after failing to improve the school we are now left with a new academy trying to improve a school that has been built to a design suited just to the Scandinavian style of teaching.

Gummer also forgets to mention the forced acdemisation of a number of our Primary Schools or the failure of the Tory County Council to build much needed Primary schools.

Better trains - still waiting! Normally on a platform after further disruption.

Revive our town centre- Buttermarket developers praised the Planning system at Ipswich Borough Council for their assistance in helping with the re-development of the complex.  But according to latest Tory junk mail it was Mr Gummer who was the force behind the development.

We might not want him as our MP but as a Labour run Borough Council we have worked with Mr Gummer, private business and the County Council to help improve our town - those partnerships have worked but Mr Gummer just seems to want to take all the praise.

Trees - Ben is taking credit for all the County Council now agreeing to plant new trees, but Ben forgets to mention that it was Tory County Council that was not planting trees, he mentions the 6 trees in Westbury  that he has got planted - well the residents are still waiting as no trees been planted yet and the County Council seem to be implying it may only be 2 trees not 6 that get planted. Mr Gummer also fails to mention that it was Labour County Councillor, Sandra Gage who has worked the closest with residents to get the council to change their rules.

Northern by-pass - seems Mr Gummer is now keen on a northern route (has he told Dr Dan?) but why has it taken him so long? In 2015 he kept telling residents in the north of the town that he would do what he could do delay building much needed homes and only 3 weeks ago the Tory County Council candidates were still telling residents they would fight development of the northern fringe- what is the real Tory vision for the north of our town.

But the biggest bit of hypocrisy, Mr Gummer uses the strapline of 'home for all', funny that as in 2015 he managed to stop the Labour Council building much needed homes in the Borough, a decision that also cost residents millions of pounds- wonder why he never mentioned that?

So on Thursday, vote for Sandy Martin- he does care about the town, loves Ipswich and lives here- because if Ipswich is so great thanks to Mr Gummer why does he not buy a house and actually live in the town he represents?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Vote on the policies not who the leader is.

We are lucky in Ipswich, we have a strong and hard working Labour Party ,a Labour Council that residents know does a good job and now we have a Labour Candidate who would make a great MP for the town – Sandy Martin

I was tempted to put my own hat into the ring to be the candidate, I think Labour has a great chance to win in Ipswich if we have a local candidate and a moderate.

The Ipswich CLP is made up of many different wings of the party, from moderates to Corbynistas but we have remained united, we campaign hard together and fortunately do not have the outside influences of Momentum to worry about. We discuss policy in a comradely way, we are passionate about what we believe in but in the end we work together for what is the best for Ipswich residents.

Gummer has made much of being only worried about Ipswich, but he no longer lives in the town ( his website still says he does and that he is a season ticket holder at ITFC- crowds are so low now, I am sure I would have spotted him if he was.) His latest paper seems to take claim for anything good that is happening in the town from the new cinema in the Buttermarket and the building of a new car park – both done by a Labour Council with little help from Mr Gummer or his Government!

He boasts about the changing fortunes at Chantry but seems to want us to forget the mess left at Ipswich Academy when the Scandinavian Trust he backed left to be replaced by a trust who now have  a building that does not suit the way they want to run the school.

So we need a new MP who cares about Ipswich, lives in Ipswich and who can work with a Labour Council to help improve the lives of all Ipswich residents (not just those who just live north of Valley Road!)

So I will work my socks off for Sandy – I am not a fan of Corbyn but I am campaigning for Sandy and the local Labour Party. For all my doubts about Corbyn, he would still make a better Prime Minister than May – the cyber attack on the NHS, her stance on Brexit and her failings as Home Secretary – none of these add up to ‘strong and stable’.

When Corbyn won the second leadership battle, I wrote this;

I would ask all Labour members to stay, the party, the county, the electorate are far more important that one leader. 

This is still important now but I would say to those who want to vote Labour but worry about Corbyn that the country is more important than one leader and that we have a good manifesto and good MPs who can implement it.

As someone put on social media today;

“I like Labour’s policies but I don’t like Corbyn”

Then vote Labour and vote for the policies. You’re not choosing who you want to be King of the Jungle on I’m a celebrity get me out of here.

So on June 8th, Vote Labour, Vote Sandy Martin

Tories - no friends of the Armed Forces

Seems it is the Tory Defence Minister who has the job of attacking Corbyn any chance he gets with Boris occasionally being allowed to have a go. I myself have concerns about Corbyn and the Armed Forces, but the Tories keep bringing up the past- links to the IRA, comments on NATO and his role in CND, But let us not be fooled into thinking the Tories are the party for the Armed Forces.
Mistakes were made in Iraq but the way Cameron and the Tories jumped straight into the conflict in Libya shows little was learnt by this Government but I have many friends still serving, morale is low, numbers are low, redundancy threats still hang over many but you do not just have to believe me - the BBC has caught the defence Secretary out and he repeated his distorted view of the facts on the Marr show this morning.
The Labour Party should be the party that the Armed Forces trust, Corbyn has much to do to get our servicemen's trust but do not fall for the Tory lie that they care about the Armed Forces
The claim: The Conservatives pledged to build up the size of the army to 82,000 by 2020.
Reality Check verdict: The actual manifesto pledge was to not let the size of the army fall below 82,000. It currently stands at nearly 78,500 so that pledge has been broken.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was asked on the Andrew Marr Show about the Conservative Party's manifesto pledge on army numbers from the 2015 election.
"We said we would build the army up to 82,000 by the year 2020," he replied, adding that the number was currently just over 79,000 but pointing out that it was not yet 2020.
But Mr Fallon was mistaken about what his party had promised to do two years ago.
The actual pledge from the manifesto was: "We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000."

Friday, 21 April 2017

Ipswich children let down by the Tories

Ipswich pupils including those at schools in my own Ward have been let down by this Tory County Council over the last 8 years and now the Tory Government also decides that children are an easy target - Sidegate could see £94,315 cut from their budget!

You will not that see that mentioned in the paper column of Tory MP, Ben Gummer.

Labour members informing parents at Sidegate Primary of the Tory cuts.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A bit late to join the party?

Guess this could be said about some of those who have suddenly become the Labour Party's biggest cheerleaders but in fact it is those who have suddenly found their voice to voice their concerns about Brexit.

Tomorrow evening there is an Emergency protest outside Parliament to defend EU Migrants' right to remain in the UK .I am happy that many wish to join the protest but do feel for some it is more about being seen than actually believing this is the right thing to do.

I do believe that most of the people at the rally will want EU migrants to be able to remain in the UK but a few will be quite happy that we are leaving the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn was lukewarm at most to staying in the EU, and McDonnell did little on the campaign front.Since the EU vote, Corbyn has put little pressure on the Government over their Brexit proposals. But at least they are getting involved now.

But what annoyed me the most was to see Momentum involved in the rally, during the EU referendum campaign I asked one of their national organisers what their stance on the EU referendum, he answered that they had yet to decide, not sure they ever did!

But now we find them at the front of the fight - some would say they are better being their than fighting their fellow Corbyn supporters in Grassroots Momentum.

Maybe it is the cynic in me but have a feeling that this sudden keen interest in Brexit protests by Corbyn and Momentum may be because they have realised that many who supported Corbyn in the leadership election are also some of those who were the biggest supporters of the Pro EU campaign!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Remember when we showed we were a country that cared

The people of Britain still care - many of us have spent time helping others, we welcome those who are escaping from persecution, hunger and war.

Our trouble is that we have a Tory Government attempting to be more right wing and unwelcoming as UKIP.

Many of our local Tory MPs voted to scrap the 'Dubs' amendment.

I imagine that many of them don't care about others but you do hope at least a few of them feel embarrassed as they hurry past the two statues remembering the Kinder Transport children.

A time when Britain was proud to say we helped Jewish children flee the Nazi Party, not sure currently that many Tory MPs can feel proud of their recent actions.

My own Labour Party also needs to realise the further we move away from ever being in a position to form a Labour Government we are also letting down the children that Alf Dubs has fought so hard for to help.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The world does not need 'populist' politicians

As we seem now to be in an era of populist leaders- those who will say whatever they think voters want to hear to get elected- with Trump at the head of this march to chaos we must remember this is no new craze – others have done so in the past – others have combined the populist theme with also finding a scapegoat for the problems we find ourselves in. Hitler is remembered for blaming the problems of Germany on the Jews and others but he also appealed to the normal German with his populist polices in particular his desire to give everyone work and to make being German something to be proud of again after the fall out from their defeat in 1918.

Closer to home, UKIP and Lib Dems have used populist policies – the Lib Dems of course came unstuck after promoting ‘no tuition fees’ then finding themselves have to put them up. UKIP combine populist policies plus blaming all our problems on Europe (and Europeans).

Just saying whatever the public want to hear does not always work, UKIP helped get us out of Europe but they still have little power in the country and have actually seen a loss of council seats since the Brexit vote. Lib Dems gained council seats by saying whatever the public want to hear- more often than not appealing to NIMBYS rather than promoting a ‘liberal’ manifesto. This helped then gain council seats but never saw them increase their number of MPs. They now tell people by voting for them we can end up back in the EU where in fact they know they will never be in a position to see us ignore the Brexit referendum.

Talking of Brexit, those who wanted out of Europe told the public what they wanted to hear- more jobs money to be spent on the NHS, control on immigration where in fact they knew that in fact most of those claims were lies.

In my own Labour Party, Corbyn is happy to tell members what they want to hear but seems to ignore the fact those who we aim to represent do not want to hear that. Some claim this is one of the great things about him that he will not follow the populist line but in fact he is- saying to members what they want to hear, ensuring he will stay as leader, never having to go against his principles but in fact it will see us move further away from ever being in position to implement the changes that are needed to make this country fairer.

Trump is a worry and part of chain of events that also includes the Brexit vote and the rise of Marine Le Pen in France.  We need to stand up against those who wish to blame others- we need to protest but is a rally enough?

Real change can only come by being in position to force through changes, it is right to protest against Trump coming to the UK but better to have a Labour Government in power so the invite would not have come in the first place. It is right to protest about the way Israel seems powerless to stop illegal settlements springing up in Arab villages but it would be better to offer solutions that would help set up a position where Arabs and Israelis can live side by side in peace.

It is acceptable to protest about some of the actions of the USA and the west but you then can’t ignore the actions of states like Russia. You can march against the way the Saudi Government are acting in Yemen but you also need to attack Russia for their support of the Syrian regime.

A rally can send a strong message to someone, it can show that people are not willing to stand aside when a wrong is potted but a rally, a protest must also come with a solution, with a policy that can work. We must also understand why a populist policy we do not agree with is popular.

Having a rally with a large attendance does not mean your view is right. UKIP, Trump, Pro Brexit, anti-Trump, Stop the War, (and Corbyn) can attract thousands to a rally but does it represent what the electorate want to hear or does it offer a solution, an alternative way- a way that appeals to all, not just those at the rally.

Hitler was the master of the political rally, playing not on only people fears but also pushing a populist view of the world. This weekend I was in Nuremberg, the Nazi rally grounds still stand as a stark reminder of what he said and what he id. You can spend all day in the Documentation Centre, leaning how Hitler used the public to gain power and then keep it. The part that Nuremberg played in promoting Hitler and the Nazi cause.

Nazi Party Congress Building

To stand on the saluting Dias above the Zeppelin Fields it is hard to imagine how Hitler felt when he faced 150.000 people who all believed in what he said.

The Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg

I have never been a fan of a political rally – to me you are speaking to the converted or appealing to the masses with lies and half-truths – a better way to make change is to talk to people, one on one, in small groups, to allow debate, to question and be questioned. Can you remember Trump ever answering questions? I am sure you can now work out that most of what the pro Brexit politicians said was lies, even the Corbyn rallies ever saw him answer questions from members- he just said what they wanted to hear.

For me rallies are for cult leaders, debates are for politicians. It is right to march, to protest but do with a solution, with a better option to offer.

Consequences of when a cult goes wrong

Politicians often have to do what is unpopular, close a crèche, make people unemployed, tell the truth about immigration or crime – admit there are problems we can’t solve straight away. That is true politics, telling the public things they do not want to hear- being able to do that and still be elected and trusted is a sign of real politician a real leader. Trouble is many politicians are happier to tell the public what they want to hear.

The Nazi Rally grounds - today

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Breakfast in Brooklyn

New York fights back ( thanks to Mary Emily O'Hara - @MaryEmilyOHara )

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Time to speak out?

Many people were concerned about Trump becoming President of the USA, but it is still a shock that how bad things already seem.

His decision to ban refugees from the US and then to introduce a 'Muslim' ban from certain Middle East countries is both shocking and dangerous and to many of us disgusting.

No surprise that the  Labour Party have spoken out against Trump with Yvette Cooper sending a letter to the Prime Minister that fully explains many of our fears and concerns. 

Some expected such actions by Trump but not many would have predicted that our own Prime Minister would find it so hard to criticise the actions of Trump and add to the fact that she was so keen to fly to Washington to meet him and then offer him a State Visit to the UK - What does she not get about 'he is not welcome here'? His visit could see major protests and put the Queen, our Police force and many others put in a very difficult position. It actually would be hard to think of any country where Trump would be currently welcome (maybe Russia!)

It has been pleasing to see some Tory MPs not only condemn Trump but also be critical of Theresa May, the South Cambridgeshire MP, Heidi Allen has been very vocal in showing her disgust in the way Mrs May has acted.

But here in Suffolk - our Tory MPs have been silent, not only in attacking Trump over his deplorable actions but also silent in their criticism of  Teresa May.

Wonder if Ben Gummer, Dr Poulter or Ms Coffey will use their local paper columns to condemn the actions of Trump and the embarrassing way Mrs May refused to condemn him? Guess we are more likely to get a second article about choral music 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Choral music - a priority?

This week in his local paper column our Tory MP for Ipswich, Ben Gummer used his weekly page to tell Ipswich residents about how important choral music is.

Now there is nothing wrong with any politician using their column to talk about non political topics but very surprising to do so in the week where the NHS teeters on the edge of complete collapse, the lack of funding of social care does not help the NHS cause (Mr Gummer has ministerial influence over social care) the Prime Minister choosing hard Brexit (Ben Gummer was a 'remainer') and in America, Mr Trump becomes President.

Ipswich Labour - talking about the NHS rather than choral music.

So many reasons that you thought his 'Star' column this week would be about politics, but maybe he has no answers? Ashamed of the state of the NHS? Does not want to remind people he wanted us to stay in the EU?

Or is this an example of Tory complacency, thinking Labour no longer provide a strong opposition - if that is what they think they may have a problem. Labour are not as united as we should be, we do have major internal issues but it was obvious yesterday when campaigning in Ipswich that Labour are still the party trusted most to protect the NHS. Also evident that in Ipswich, the Labour run council is respected for doing a good job with limited funding whilst the Tory run County Council are seen to not acre about Ipswich or its residents.

So Mr Gummer be as complacent as you want, but do not think the public have any faith in you or your party protecting the NHS - but I am sure they are now happy they are more informed about choral music!