Thursday 31 May 2007

Democracy? Just left on the last Ipswich bus!

It may have taken them nearly a month but the Tories and Lib Dems in Ipswich are after taking revenge on the local Labour Party. Trouble is, the residents of Ipswich will also suffer.
Why the need for revenge? A number of reasons - the collapse of the Lib Dem vote in Ipswich, the failure of the Ipswich Tories to make any gains in Ipswich- if anything they seem to have gone backwards from their results in 2004 and 2006.
Labour did well because we ran an organised campaign and we had issues that concerned the public of Ipswich- the likely destruction of the Ipswich Bus Service by the local Tory/Lib Dems and the way the Suffolk County Tories are attacking those who need help most- the elderly- with the closure of day care centres.
The Tory/ Lib Dem answer is not to campaign for what they believe in but to get rid of any dissenting voice, last week they got rid of the lone Labour member on the council executive and this week they really twisted the knife in- getting rid of both Martin Cook and Phil Smart from the board of Ipswich buses. So now the Tories will feel they can do anything they like.
So now we have to really fear for the health of the excellent Ipswich Bus service and in the meantime they can spend money on a publicity war with the (also Tory run) County council over unitary status and then also tell residents that they will re-open Broom Hill lido at the same time that Crown Pools is closed for the half term week as they refuse to spend any money on a pool that is already open.
In the Balkans they have a saying that "Revenge is a dish better served cold" well in Ipswich they couldn't even wait for the dish to go luke warm.

Thursday 24 May 2007

Michael Howard, UEFA and the Poll tax!

Former Tory leader, Michael Howard has come under fire from the European Football authority- UEFA.
Howard, as a Liverpool supporter (how did he get a ticket?) was at the Champions League final in Athens. when asked by the BBC, he was very critical of the Greek authorities and UEFA and he stated correctly that the stadium was not suitable for a final. . But the best bit of all was the answer by UEFA spokesman, William Gaillard when asked by the BBC to answer the criticism from Michael Howard. William answered,

"It is very easy to say it is not a suitable stadium, coming from the man who invented the poll tax!"

Classic! To be fair to Howard- the stadium was not fit for the game but in defence of UEFA, the final needs to be shared all over Europe - and most of the grounds that will be used for Euro 2008 are smaller than the ground in Athens. Any final involving an English Club, will see the amount of tickets available to supporters not being enough to cater for those who wish to travel. Maybe Mr Howard should have given his ticket to a supporter who goes to every Liverpool game.

Sunday 20 May 2007

What are the Lib Dems and Andrew Cann playing at?

Ipswich will continue to be run by a Tory administration - with Lib Dem support. The local paper- the Evening Star did mention that the Lib Dems would have to decide what direction they would take after a poor election result. - would they stay in the administration with the Tories? Or join in power with Labour? Or decide that their principles were more important than token power and join neither.

We can only wonder how long they debated their future plans, but all the Labour Group received was short letter asking us to apologise for a number of supposed crimes! The letter had no date for when a reply was needed and seemed lacking in any concrete proposals. so they may in future state that they did ask Labour about sharing power but in reality they quickly jumped back in with the Tories. As one of their Councilors was already talking about her plans for when she became Mayor - it seems that the decision had been made before the election!

Where does this leave Andrew Cann - for those not from Ipswich - Andrew Cann is the son of the late Labour MP for Ipswich, Jamie Cann (pictured above). after his father died, Andrew did join the Labour Party but soon left in a blaze of (self) publicity to join the Lib Dems. In 2005 he won a seat on the County Council for the Lib Dems but failed in 2006 to win a seat on the borough council. He did manage to win Westgate this year- with a majority of 13.

The Lib Dem elation at this result was short lived as the work they put into Westgate made them forgot about all their other seats/targets in the town and so they lost Whitehouse, had their majority in St Margaret's slashed and were pushed into third place in Holywells.

Andrew does have the ear of the local press and already since the election has been in the local paper criticizing the Tory run Suffolk County administration but forgetting to mention that he is now part of the Tory led administration that runs the Borough of Ipswich.

Andrew Cann has also made it quite clear that he would like to be the Lib Dem candidate at the next General Election.

Why? It does seem to be that Andrew does hold number of Labour members responsible for not helping his father as much as he thinks they should of.

I was not in the party then, so I cannot comment on that, but much of my political learning come from hearing Jamie Cann and my late father discuss politics over a pint in the Duke of York. I remember both of them during the dark days of Militant, continuing to fight for what they believed in and not taking the easy option of leaving the party. this enabled Ipswich to continue to be run by Labour for 25 years - most of that during the dark days of Thatcher.

I for one can't believe Jamie would have left the party over some difference of opinion.

Andrew may have thought he was being clever by not taking a place on the ruling executive of the Ipswich Borough Council - but Andrew YOU ARE a member of the Tory run administration- what ever you would like the public of Ipswich to think.

Saturday 19 May 2007

Election over- campaign starts!

Just over two weeks have passed since the election and we have already had two campaign sessions!
Today saw us meet up to discuss how we felt our campaign went and how to improve it in the future, over 20 members and we went on for almost 3 hours and we managed to cover most aspects of this and our next campaign.
What we do need is feedback from constituents, on what literature they received, did they read it? How did they rate the different parties?
We start campaigning in North East Ipswich this Monday, last year we started straight after the last election but both the Tories and Lib Dems did very little till after the new year. Maybe different this time - why? The possibility that the next election will be for a Council that has just gained Unitary Status (we should find out in July) and also both the Lib Dems and Tories must be very disappointed with their election result. the Lib Dems gained Westgate but lost Whitehouse and almost St Margaret's - only 1 in 5 of their voters from 2006 voted for them in 2007. The Tories failed to build on their victories in Bridge and St Johns in 2004 and must be worried that they may lose these seats in 2008.
So expect to hear from the other parties this year- makes a change!

Saturday 12 May 2007

Goodbye Tony (and Hello Gordon)

Tony now traveling the World to say his goodbyes to world leaders whilst Gordon travels the country to meet Labour activists (and the rest of the population).
Tony Blair (and New Labour) were often criticized for spin, forgetting their roots but it may seem strange then that Tony makes his leaving speech from the Labour club in his own constituency and Gordon launches his campaign from some trendy art gallery in London!
I am looking forward to Gordon as leader and I for one do not believe we need a leadership election, I believe the campaign for deputy leader will allow members to give the party (and Gordon) a message about the future direction of the party.
For Tony, he has made mistakes but we must not forget that without him we may never have had 10 years of a Labour Government and I do believe it is time for change and that by doing it now, we have a great possibility of a fourth term in power.
A new leader and the campaign for deputy leader can help reinvigorate the party and with a much more positive effect than Cameron had when he became Tory leader. It also could put the final nail onto the Lib Dem coffin as Simon Jenkins article in the Guardian last week suggested it was time for them to disband. He writes,
What are Liberal Democrats for? They are the flotsam of 20th-century politics drifting on into the 21st, coagulated from ancient clubs, cabals, splits and defections from other parties. Not since the 19th century have they cohered round any great interest. They represent no mass movement, no breaking of the political mould. Ask a Liberal Democrat what he or she is for and you get only a susurration of platitudes.
Go on Gordon and who ever is deputy leader- finish them off!

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Not elected but the tide is turning!

Sorry for not reporting on the election result more quickly but had to leave for an expedition the morning after polling day.

The Result?
We lost but we did increase the Labour vote, reduced the Tory majority and we also saw the Lib Dem collapse.
Result 2007
Rushmere Ward - Ipswich
Labour- Alasdair Ross - 905
Tory - Eileen Smith - 1014 - elected
Cathy French - Lib Dem - 269
Brenda Cavanagh - Green Party - 165

So the Tory majority is now 109 and in 2006 it was 177 so we have reduced that by 67, our vote went up by 100, with the Tory vote only going up by 32- the Lib Dem vote went down by 361!
Turnout and percentages will follow in a further post.
So we did not see a Labour collapse in Rushmere, but an increase in our vote.
We saw a similar pattern all over Ipswich with the Tories making no gains, the Lib Dems gained Westgate off us by 13 votes but all the effort they put into this meant they lost Whitehouse back to us and they almost lost their flagship ward of St Margaret's to the Tories!
So the Council keeps the same shape and we are now ready to push onto 2008 where we make see all out elections if we gain unitary status.
Thank you to all those who have voted for me or supported me, I will continue this blog as we continue to campaign in Rushmere and all over Ipswich.
Keep the faith.

Wednesday 2 May 2007


Not many posts recently as any spare minute has seen me campaigning in Rushmere and also all over Ipswich.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday saw me in St Johns and on Sunday it was off to Westgate to deliver a hard hitting leaflet which set out the many lies that the Fib Dems have been using. Monday it was back into st Johns. Rushmere has not been forgotten with leaflets being distributed all over the ward and also some door knocking. Many residents seem to be concerned about the Tory plans to build flats anywhere they can.
Now it is the last few hours, I am slightly worried about the postal votes that went out a week later than normal, it will be interesting to see what effect that will have on the vote.
You might not see many more posts before next Tuesday. Straight after the election, i am taking a group of children on an expedition to the Wye Valley. As the count has been moved till Friday morning, it will not be mentioned on here till Tuesday.
At least that will be able to give me time to analyse the results in Ipswich and nationally- just to finish by saying: