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!