Thursday 26 April 2007

My mum's election leaflet from 1977!

Visiting the Party Office on Wednesday I was presented with an election leaflet from 1977. It was for the Chantry Ward in Ipswich for the Suffolk County Council election. The Labour candidates were my mum- Annie Ross and Trevor Payne (Trevor's wife gave me the leaflet). The leaflet did cheer me up, I was a bit pissed off that the Tory candidates had taken credit for the Zebra Crossing that is to be placed on Rushmere Road when they actually voted against it! This leaflet put that into prospective as I was worried about something like that when in 1977 my mum and Trevor were campaigning for a single 6th form centre for that part of town- we are just about to start building this centre- 31 years later!

The leaflet also shows how much a Labour Government and Labour Councils have achieved- in 1977 Labour was campaigning for a nursery school in every area in the town - something we now take for granted with SureStart and free nursery places for all three year olds.

Some of the leaflet is still relevant, with the leaflet pointing out that a rural led Suffolk can not have the best interests of an urban Ipswich at heart- the same reason why we are still seeking unitary status. In 1977 the rural- Tory led County Council had closed Ipswich school swimming pools at the same time they had given a £5,000 grant to Woodbridge Golf Club for a sprinkler system!

The leaflet did also make me chuckle, and it does show that the Tories have changed (slightly). I am sure you all will have a smile on your face when you read the first paragraph from the leaflet:

"Did you know that the Conservative County Council is run by an assortment of Tory ex Army Officers; A General, a Brigadier, four Colonels and two Captains? They are supported by a motley company of Knights 'Gentlemen farmers,' the Honourable this, that and the other.

The other ranks do as they are told;

They are completely out of touch with Ipswich people, their actions prove it!"

They don't write leaflets like that anymore!

Rushmere Campaign Update

Tuesday saw another early start as I delivered leaflets in Colchester Road and Shetland Close, found time during my lunch break to do some phone canvassing, a good response from the electorate. After work and saw more deliveries before heading off to St John's to help canvass. Wednesday followed the same pattern though I managed to also fit in some daytime deliveries in Westgate.
Today also started with early morning deliveries but no time to phone canvass, after school I finished off a couple delivery routes and then managed to canvass most of Sidegate Lane - strange though as they had been canvassed by Mrs Smith the Tory candidate the night before who went on about being a 'local' candidate. Not sure how you can be local and not even live or work in the ward!

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Keep on fighting

Saturday and the pace of campaigning is still unrelenting - we start the day in Ravenswood, a large team out knocking on door's- harder than you think with the maze style of modern housing. No Ipswich game this afternoon, so went out delivering, spoke to a couple of residents and they all seem very concerned about the new housing development planed for the Hayhill allotment site.
Sunday was a rest day from the campaign as it was off to Norwich to see Ipswich gain their fourth point off the budgies this season. interesting to visit another town during the campaign. Round Carrow Rd were a number of election posters- but no Labour (or Tory) just a mix of Green's and Lib Dems, must be the yellow and green colours. No campaigning today but did receive my next bundle of leaflets to deliver!
Monday and it was out the door at six in the morning to get a delivery out before work, lunchtime was spent phone canvassing and another dose of leaflet delivery after work before joining a large group in Bridge Ward as we canvassed in support of Phil Smart- Just over a week to go now and the Tory manifesto/kebab menu arrives through the door- Lib Dems still not shown their face in Rushmere yet.

Saturday 21 April 2007

First Labour posters up- gives you a boost!

Though John Mowles once told me that "posters don't win you elections" it still gives you a boost when you see a Labour poster in a window and today on the estate, I saw my first three Labour posters of the campaign.
Friday morning saw the delivery of 3,000 more leaflets which then saw me spend the rest of the morning starting on delivering. Afternoon was spent getting out leaflets to members, for delivery later in the week.
Friday evening saw 10 of us on Rushmere estate, a number delivering whilst a group of us canvassed, Renfrew Road and the neighbouring roads. We also had a large team out with candidate Albert Grant in Alexandra. Just a quick beer at the end of the night as an early morning start today with some more leaflets to get out before joining the rest of the campaign team in the south east of Ipswich.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Still campaigning hard in Rushmere

Tuesday saw me out lone canvassing in Rushmere- not always the best thing to do but the reaction of local residents made it worthwhile- They seemed to want a local candidate. Wednesday and it was some work on editing new leaflets and then out in the evening in St John's, again a good reception for Neil MacDonald, the residents seem to appreciate that Neil and sandy Martin live in the ward.
Today it was off to Dundee House for a visit to their coffee morning, they soon put you in your place! They had very few complaints and all appreciate the service they get from the excellent warden but council cuts are being noticed by the residents, they have gone from 3 cleaners to 1 in the last year. these are the sort of cuts that most residents don't see. A number of visitors to Dundee House did mention the speed of vehicles on Humber Ducy Lane and all are agreed that it is only a matter of time before there is an accident where a child gets run over if something isn't done soon.
Tonight I was out canvassing in Rushmere, the state of the NHS was one topic raised and also the Ipswich Bus service - strange that! according to our local paper, the Tory candidate- Mrs Smith has not had the proposed curs to the bus service raised once whilst she has been campaigning- she must be visiting very few houses! I wonder how they will explain the Bus manager telling Suffolk County Council today that increased rent at the bus depot will lead to cuts in services. Lets just hope the message gets over to residents that there will be even more cuts if the Tories stay in power.
Friday will see a large push all over the town as we try and speak to as many residents as we can.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

We campaign hard and the Tories try and take the credit!

Monday was a busy campaign day, a visit to the party office to drop off canvas sheets whilst other members were delivering a leaflet about the new Hayhills development. The evening saw us in the South West of the town, 18 of us canvasing. A good response on the door, none of the negativity that we are reading about in the national papers. We finish off over a pint at the Steamboat and then we hear the news (good).
After a determined campaign by local residents (many of them parents of Sidegate School pupils)and assisted by myself and St John's councilor Neil MacDonald we seem to have been successful in getting the much needed zebra crossing that will make it safer to cross both Rushmere Road and Woodbridge Road.
How did we find out about? That is the bad news - through a Tory leaflet- they seem to be taking the credit - no mention that the Tory Councillor for Rushmere voted against funding for the zebra crossing when it came before the council the first time. It seems strange (if not surprising) that it has been announced so close to the local election. Then again the Tory leader has admitted that she is playing politics- by that she means that they can lie in their manifesto- as if this is acceptable behaviour in election time!
I would just like to say well done to the residents of the Roundwood Road area who did not give up in their desire to get the zebra crossing- they deserve all the credit- the Tories?- all they deserve is to be defeated at the ballot box.

Cleanest town in England- can't have walked down Bramford Lane on a Sunday!

Sunday saw 17 of us (including our friends from Ealing) hit the streets of Westgate. This ward is the Lib Dems main target so it is one of only 4 wards in the town that has seen a yellow leaflet! Martin Cook our candidate has put everything into the campaign, including highlighting over 150 locations of graffiti in the ward. This does not sit very well with the Tory/Lib Dem council who have been celebrating winning the cleanest town in England award -now I am very proud of Ipswich- my home town but this award is one it is hard to be proud of when you see the state of the streets in Westgate. It must make local residents wonder what the Lib Dems are on about as they take all the praise for winning the award- forgetting to credit the council workers who do the hard work. They also forget that the town could be even cleaner if they (Tories and Lib Dems) hadn't wasted over £100,00 on a botched attempt at trying to privatise the Ipswich street cleaning service.

Saturday 14 April 2007

Ipswich win! Plus a good turn out campaigning.

What an afternoon- a great win over promotion chasing Derby County- late goals- bookings and two sent off, soon followed by the Derby manager.
All this on top of some fantastic warm weather and a great turn out for a mass delivery in Whitehouse Ward. The ward is in the north west of the town and we lost it to the Lib Dems a couple of election ago- reasons? Much has to do with the ward (like Whitton) now being outside the Ipswich parliamentary constituency - instead of an Ipswich Labour MP- they are now represented by a Tory who will spend all his time in the rural part of Suffolk. The residents of these North West wards feel disenfranchised. But maybe we had also got complacent- but that certainly was not the case today as over 3,000 leaflets were put out and further work was planned for the ward over the rest of the weekend with a party from Ealing expected later in the day to lend a hand.
So with the good turnout campaigning, the sunshine and an Ipswich win- roll on tomorrow as we will be campaigning in another part of the town.

Friday 13 April 2007

Campaign update - Friday 13th

Day started with final deliveries in Woodbridge Rd, on my way home spotted my Tory opponent in my own road - delivering her leaflet - for some reason, I never received one!
This evening saw a large group of us hit Rushmere and St Johns ward. It seemed the best canvass yet with plenty of support for our "save the buses campaign", also highlighted was that we had managed to get our message over about the Zebra Crossing in Woodbridge/Rushmere Rd- the people of Rushmere seem to now know that Mrs Terry our Conservative councillor voted against the crossing.
Finished canvassing with Khartoum Rd, I have been trying to sort out a situation with a fence for the local residents- unbelievable that the housing association have fixed the hole by placing a gate there instead.
The night finished in the Golden Key, where a couple of drinks helped brace us for another weeks campaigning.

Thursday 12 April 2007

Conduct After Capture

I have wanted to put a comment on this blog for a while about the capture of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines. First of all I was in Scotland so that delayed me and then they were released and then we have had this bodged attempt of getting their (the British servicemen) version out.
It now seems it will drag on as Cameron and the Lib Dems seek to gain some publicity over the matter.
Going back to the initial capture of our troops, there was an awful amount of crap put out in the media- mainly in the Tory supporting papers. we also had letters pages that often included attacks on those captured- comparing them to soldiers captured in the Second World War. Now as an ex soldier I feel I can put matters straight on a number of half truths. All members of the Armed Forces attend an annual lecture on the principles of the Geneva Convention, they do not all undergo Combat survival and Conduct after Capture training. Special Forces and to a lesser extent RAF Pilots do- other than that some other regiments do carry out their own training. My own regiment was one of them so I undertook a 3 week course and then went onto become a Combat survival instructor after undertaking a course run by our special forces. So I think I know what I am on about! The Geneva Convention lecture takes about 90 minutes there may be some further pre deployment traing but not much.
The Geneva Convention is not something that the Iranian Government was abiding by- even without taking into consideration the stories that have come out since they were released, the filming of the prisoners, removing their uniform- all against the Geneva Convention- but we still have Daily Mail readers stating that they let their country down by not just giving their name, rank, date of birth and religion!
Then we have the cock up this week of the stories being sold- Navy fault, Des Browne fault- someones going to have to take the blame- it was a mistake but in the Navy and Des Browne's defence- large amounts of cash were being offered that family members would have ended up taking and selling second hand stories- we would probably had those who did sell their version, buying themselves out of the service then selling their story.
Also annoying are the likes of ex soldier- TV expert types- Bob Stewart- the best (or worst) example- they seem to forget that they are still bound by the Official Secrets Act- what they really hate is that someone who is not an officer may have the audacity to sell their story. They also know that they have a limited TV life- Stewart is a Balkans veteran, he will soon be replaced by a Gulf war veteran - if he was any good, he would have gone onto greater things after his time in Bosnia.
There does need to be an inquiry into the capture of our troops and as an ex military man the questions I would like to know is why was there no helicopter support, why not two boats and what were the rules of engagement.
In the end though after the lessons have been learnt we should be thankful that no one was injured and that the situation did not escalate out of control.

Wednesday 11 April 2007

Welcome to the new state of Humber Ducy Lane!

Busy day on the campaign trail, started with delivering some more mail in the roads near my house and then moved onto Humber Ducy Lane to deliver a leaflet about the stupid and expensive new street signs in the Bixley part of Humber Ducy Lane.

The leaflet was well received with a number of phone calls from residents who all agreed with me. The Tory council now states that the signs were to make the road have a more 'rural' feel! When I ask will the local fox hunt turn up to jump over them! To see how stupid the signs are just have a look at the picture at the top of this entry.

Whilst i was doing Humber Ducy Lane, John Mowles was delivering a leaflet for me in the Khartoum Road area and other members were also delivering targeted mail in the ward.

This evening it was back over to St Johns with the candidate Neil and Sandy Martin. Whilst knocking on doors a number of residents mentioned that they had seen local police walking around the locality- the first time in years. All due to the move back to local police stations part of a Labour Govt scheme. I have to mention that as today also saw the release of the Tory manifesto on their website (the first time their website has been updated since January). In their manifest they seem to be taking credit for a number of schemes that came about because of a Labour Govt or because they inherited them from a Labour Council!
Reason for the title? the Humber Ducy Lane signs- rather than give a rural feel it seems more like an East European border crossing - pre 1989!

Tuesday 10 April 2007

leaflets, door knocking and the campaign is in full swing

Today was a busy one on the campaign trail, collecting leaflets from Party HQ this morning and delivering 300 plus leaflets this afternoon. the leaflet was about the spate of graffiti on Sidegate Lane.
Tonight it was off to St John's to help knock on doors. Not many people in but not much change in voters intentions. spotted the Tories out delivering leaflets. Back home and in shock by the football score at Old Trafford, a few quick e mails on campaigning, hear that the Tories were knocking on doors in Stradbroke Road- hope the residents asked about the Zebra crossing.
More leaflets to get out tomorrow and back to St Johns in the evening.
Tory leaflet out in Rushmere but not yet reached my door!

Sunday 8 April 2007

Graffiti in Rushmere

Whilst out delivering leaflets this morning I was shocked by the rise in locations where graffiti can be found, a whole fence has been covered in Aberdeen Way.In the lower end of Sidegate Lane there are six locations where graffiti has been sprayed. I will be supplying a list of the locations with a full set of photos to the Borough Council’s Streetcare Department and will demand that an urgent clean-up plan is started immediately.I’ll be checking progress regularly with Council staff to ensure that the graffiti I have found is tackled as quickly as possible and I’ll be reporting back to residents over the coming weeks.It’s quite clear that the Liberal Democrat and Tory run Council is losing the battle against graffiti, fly-posting and vandalism. It’s taken them months to sort out less than a dozen cable TV cabinets but it’s obvious from just Sidegate Lane that this is just the tip of the iceberg.It is obvious that this is becoming a serious matter within the whole town, in Westgate ward the Labour Councillor, Martin Cook has found over 150 locations where graffiti has been placed!

This has to stop now and the Council needs to turn back the tide before things get even worse. Unfortunately the focus on keeping the town clean has slipped since the Liberal Democrats and Tories wasted £106,000 on a failed attempt to privatise the Streetcare Department and started a programme of staff cutbacks.

The attached photos show a couple of places in Sidegate Lane where graffiti has been located.

You can report graffiti, fly-posting and litter using the Council’s Cleaner Ipswich Hotline on 01473 433000.

Saturday 7 April 2007

Back from Scotland

Returned yesterday from the Duke of Edinburgh Award trip to Scotland - amazing weather and managed to get up a number of peaks, including Ben Nevis.
But now it is back to the serious job of getting the Tories out of Ipswich.
This morning I joined twenty other Labour activists in the south West of the town as we delivered leaflets and knocked on doors. the good weather had reached Ipswich and the reception we got from residents was also on the 'sunny side'.
A good win for the Town in the afternoon made it a good first day back.
In Rushmere whilst I was away, a leaflet was put out telling the residents of Khartoum road that we are chasing up a number of matters that have been bought to our attention whilst meeting voters. Tomorrow, I will be out delivering leaflets on the Rushmere Estate and the rest of the week will see myself and other members in all four wards in the east of the town.
I now expect to be facing a Green candidate as well as a Lib Dem and the sitting Tory. the Green Party seem to be very buoyant at the moment. it may have something to do with people realising that the Lib Dems are just Tories in yellow coats. At least three of the Lib Dem candidates are former members of the Labour or Conservative Party!
The Green Party ended up destroying the Lib Dems in Norwich, we mat have seen the start of something similar in Ipswich.