Sunday, 20 June 2021

Save our trees!

Over the last few months, man residents have contacted us about Tory run Suffolk County Council and Network Rail cutting down trees.

Ipswich Labour run Ipswich Borough Council have a policy of replacing any tree cut down by planting two new ones in it's place. Unfortunately , Suffolk County Council don't allow for trees to be replaced on residential streets.

Often, we as the Borough Council get the blame as the County Council sub-contract to us the inspection of and then felling of the trees.

We fully understand that trees many not be suitable to be re-planted in some streets however they could be planted somewhere else in the Borough, the Tory County Council have promised substantial tree planting throughout the County but it seems in Ipswich they just want to remove as many trees as possible.

Network Rail, do replant trees but they could be re-planted anywhere in East Anglia, not just in the town they were knocked down in - again, this is not good enough.

Trees are vital for local wildlife, cleaner air and improving the local street scene, if you agree, please sign our petition, calling on the County Council and Network Rail to replace felled trees in Ipswich and to follow the example of Labour run Ipswich and replace every one felled with two new trees.

Petition is here

Sunday, 6 June 2021

More good news for Ipswich

More good news for Ipswich residents with the Council’s bid to improve safety in Maple Park having more success with £422,200 awarded from the government’s Safer Streets Fund. The money awarded will look to reduce crime and make people feel safer.

The Home Office were so impressed with the Maple Park project that they are now using it as an example of ‘best practice’ – the success of this ongoing project is down to the hard work of Ipswich Borough Council Officer, Ipswich Police, the three Labour Ward councillor’s for Westgate Ward, however the biggest thanks must go to the local residents who came forward to be involved. 


Improvements will include better CCTV – more cameras as well as improving sight-lines; alley-gating that will prevent access to the backs of house and flats; improving currently unused space to make it feel owned and used by the local community; better street-lighting and other measures. There will also be regular surveys of people’s perceptions of the success of these measures and other community-building initiatives.


Ann Clarke, Treasurer of the Friends of Maple Park residents group commented;


"There is a lively and vibrant community around the Maple Park area and it is fantastic to see that the Council have obtained this funding which will go to improving the safety of the residents in the neighbourhood and

 those visiting. Increased security measures and better lighting will be really appreciated by the community." 


As the Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, I am very proud of the team of Officers who have worked on this project , disappointed that (as of yet_) our Tory MP, Mr Hunt and the vast majority of the Tory Councillors in Ipswich have failed to comment on this good news. 


The Borough Officers, the local Police team, local Ward Councillors and residents deserve praise from all of us who are elected to represent Ipswich residents, whether you are Labour, Tory or Lib Dem.

A campaign that was based on deceit

 The main thrust of the Tory campaign to win County Council seats in Ipswich was based on deceit - even the Tory MP for the town took time off from attaching footballers, to join in - their message was for the Tories as Labour County Council councillor's  had failed to spend their budget given to them for local highway issues. 

The Tory Group in Ipswich, had researched very carefully to come up with the figure for unspent budgets, they used social media to say that they would have no problem spending the money if they were elected.

But this is the real deceit, if they had requested the figures from the County Council ( and one of the Ipswich Group is in the County Cabinet, so you would have thought he would have known anyway)  and done the research they said they had they would have known that in fact of 75 Suffolk County Councillors (majority  of whom are Tory) only only three had been able to spend all of their Local Highways Budget by 31 March 2021. My Labour colleague, Martin Cook has uncovered the deceit

In total £2.1m was unspent across Suffolk on 31 March 2021 and even after forward commitments into 2021-2022 were considered there was £1.3m left in the kitty. People will struggle to understand how this could be the case when there is clearly so much work to be done.

Those who failed to spend their budget included Former Tory cabinet members for Highways Mary Evans and Guy McGregor They were in good company with former Tory cabinet member for Highways and Thedwastre North councillor, Jane Storey who returned £49,880.18 unspent.

Even former Tory Council leaders were not immune, Mark Bee had money left over as did Colin Noble who offered £48,460.53 cashback. The top spot however was reserved for Conservative Councillor Peter Beer (Great Cornard) who returned a whopping £66,825.64, more than any other Councillor.

The fact that Suffolk’s Local Highways Budget scheme is dysfunctional shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Tory-run Suffolk County Council fails us on highways projects large and small. From potholes that take six months to repair even after the work has been ordered to large projects like the Ipswich Northern Bypass, abandoned with £1m spent or the scrapped Upper Orwell Crossing (£8m wasted) the signs of failure are everywhere.

When even experienced, senior county councillors are unable to spend their Local Highways Budget it points to a systemic failure of governance.

We can rightfully blame the Tory County Council for failing us on highways however when it comes to deceit in election campaigning, the local Ipswich Tory group should take full responsibility and they were ably assisted in that deceit by our Tory MP, Tom Hunt.

I am sure they knew most Tory County Councillors had also failed to spend their budget they might have even known that it was a Tory who handed back the most - but they kept those facts from the electorate - deceit helped the Tories to win County Council seats.

Friday, 28 May 2021

You told them they were safe

Cummings might not be the person to trust- however, the truth will come out - but do we need to wait? Certainly the inquiry could start now. Johnson and Hancock should go now - they will be pushed out, but not ye the electorate- Gove and Sunak will see their opportunity for power and Cummings may even end up back with Gove!

A game of Tory musical chairs  taking place whilst people still wait for answers to know why members of their families died!

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Thank you, Rushmere residents

 Over a week ago, I was re-elected to Ipswich Borough Council, to represent Rushmere Ward. there is no hiding the fact that the  Ipswich Labour party did not have a great night, we expected to lose some seats after probably over achieving when these seats were up for election last in 2016, but it was still very disappointing to lose a number of seats on the Borough and County Councils.

We also lost some very good councilors and many were also very good friends, but they will return and it is up to us who are left on the council to continue their good work.

Ipswich is a well run council, we have gone the extra mile to help our residents and businesses during the pandemic - but we still lost seats, why?

There is no doubt that the Tories locally are better organised than they have been for a while, and they now campaign in wards where they would never have been seen before. Unfortunately they also seem keen to copy Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and even Corbyn in acting as 'populist' politicians - hiding away from the real issues, real facts or bothering looking at the costs. More worryingly they also in some cases act like our local Tory MP and seek to divide our local communities, willing to allow certain communities to be used as scapegoats.

No surprise then, that they have allowed former UKIP candidates to stand for them in local elections, many of the UKIP policies were openly racist however I hope that those former UKIP members now elected as Tory councillors in the town, do not hold those racist beliefs that many UKIP politicians were proud to display.

I hope for the sake of this town, that Shayne Pooley and Tony Gould look to represent all their constituents fairly and we must give them the opportunity to show that they are willing to do so and not revert to UKIP rhetoric of 'send them all back'. 

But back to why did we lose seats?  - We have made mistakes locally, we have concentrated on protecting our town during the pandemic and maybe needed to spend some of our time on telling residents what we hope to do in the future, I am sure residents will be very impressed with what we have got planned for the next few months, however it was not possible to go public with what we have in the pipeline, in particular some interesting announcements about the town centre.

It is also obvious that Boris Johnson is popular, even if in the end it will be shown that he has lied to Parliament on a number of occasions and at times was more interested in his own wallet than the future of this country.  He has benefited from a vaccine bounce, but we may see a similar drop in his popularity at the end of furlough. Worryingly, he may 'ignore the science' and we will continue with his 'roadmap' out of the pandemic even if the Indian variant starts to kill many of our population. as he is loathe to go back to a further lockdown.

Keir Starmer and his front bench have also struggled to get their message over to the population, difficult as Johnson has managed to fool voters in forgetting that the Tories have been in power for 11 years, a trick Mr Hunt attempts in Ipswich when talking about crime - who would think the Tories have had 11 years to sort it out but high crime rates are still not the fault of the Tory Government or the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, some even attempt to blame me!!

We also still have the problem of Corbyn, most former leaders, tend to keep a low profile, whilst we have Corbyn who is very happy to go in front of the press to say where Keir went wrong in May! No humility at all. I for one hope that most Labour members will see by the way the far left have behaved over the last few months that it is now the time they are given the message from members, that they are no longer wanted in our party, never before have I seen a protest group within the party act like Momentum have - we are fighting elections whist at the same time they are having campaign strikes! Time they were kicked out, they are not wanted  in Labour by most members and in particular by labour voters.

What I can say to Rushmere residents, is that I will continue to represent you to the best of my ability- it doesn't matter if you did or did not vote for me, and as lockdown measures ease, you will see plenty of myself and our local Labour team on the doorstep over the next year.

Take care.

Rushmere Ward - Declared

One seat contested.

Turn out: 43.62%

Surname  First namePartyVotes
FLETCHERJulieLiberal Democrats 126
IONStephen Richard Conservative 1,159
MORRISRachelGreen 200
ROSSAlasdair Donald Mackenzie  Labour1,208

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Vote for Ipswich Labour this Thursday - May 6th

Less than 24 hours to go to Polling Day, unlike previous elections, many more of us will have already voted by post, however as it is a local election - every vote does count. we have seen some very small margins of victory over the years, I won Rushmere myself the first time by just 13 votes!

I am not sure what the result will look like in Rushmere this Thursday, I just hope that I have done enough for my residents since 2008 to maintain their trust and be elected for a further 3 years.

However, I have been in politics long enough to know that often people are voting on national issues- there is undoubtedly a 'feel good' bounce from the vaccine programme and as we now seem to be coming out of lockdown, but we must remember that we have one of the highest death rates in Europe and many families are morning lost members of their families, certainly major mistakes have been made by those in Government. Plus we have seen a return to Tory sleaze.

I would encourage those living in Ipswich to vote for your labour candidates on Thursday, there are very few safe seats for either party in the town, maybe the Tories have 2 safe seats, Labour the same and Lib Dems just one, however all have lost them or come close to losing them in the past.

I am very proud of how the Labour run council have acted during the pandemic and I believe we are the best placed to take this town forward as we get back to some sort of normality- from building homes, offering entertainment, and looking after residents - we have a proven track record.

For Suffolk County Council, Ipswich need strong Labour Councillors to combat the Tory wish to spend as much as possible of their budget outside the County town - the Suffolk Tories have been responsible for lack of funding in transport, closing Children's centres and can't even pay all their staff the 'Living' wage.

What is more worrying is how the Tory MP for Ipswich, Mr Hunt seems to love highlighting the differencse between our many communities rather than building bridges, his Facebook page is grim reading with many of the comments from his supporters making no attempt to disguise the fact they are racist.

Unfortunately a number of the current Tory councillors and some of their candidates at this election are not only happy to go along with the 'populist' agenda of Mr Hunt but seem to be as keen as he is to highlight the problems in the town rather than go the extra mile to improve the lives of all our residents .

So please consider, Voting labour in Ipswich this Thursday.

Labour run Ipswich Council building more homes for our residents.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Suffolk Tories fail to light our streets

 The Labour run Borough Council in Ipswich have called on Tory run Suffolk County Council to turn back on the street lights at night after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. So far the Tories have refused.

The Labour run Borough Council owns about 5% of the towns street lights, mostly footpath lights, and we will be turning those back on throughout the night.

So, it's disappointing to hear from a resident that the lights in the Angus Close/Sidegate Lane  footpath have not been working at all for the last two years.

When Cllr Sandra Gage took this up with the County Council, they admitted they had known since 2019 that the lights did not work, but they had found it too hard to get scaffolding  past the cycle barriers, so they had not bothered to fix them - or even inform the Borough who own them!

This is not good enough; these lights are owned by the Borough Council and we have a contract with the Tory run County Council for them to be maintained.

After pressure from Sandra, the County have now agreed to fix the lights - the Rushmere Labour team will keep the pressure on, to make sure they do.