Monday, 31 March 2008

election time- legal bit!

Thanks to Luke,
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Ipswich election campaign launched by Ed Miliband

The Labour campaign to win back Ipswich was launched at the Priory Centre on Queensway, Ipswich this morning by Cabinet minister, Ed Miliband. He met with a number of local residents and also a good number of Labour councilors and candidates (including myself).

Ed spoke about neighbourhood policing and measures that the Labour Government have bought in and are bringing in to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour. One of our priorities that we must have whilst campaigning is to get over to the public that many of the "good news" stories that the Tories are campaigning on are due to Labour Government money and policy.

Now it is down to the nitty gritty of campaigning- leaflet delivering, knocking on doors and talking to the residents- at least it is not raining!

You can read more about Ed Miliband visting Ipswich here.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

From the half way line!

Borussia Dortmund not playing at Dumbarton Road!
I enjoy getting out and delivering leaflets in the ward, you get to see what is happening and you can keep a lookout for issues that you can raise with the local council on behalf of residents. you also get to see thing that make you angry and also things that amuse you.

Today I was delivering in Dumbarton Road and a Sunday morning football match was being played on Dumbarton Road Recreation Ground, it looked like the second half was just about to start, I stopped to watch for a few minutes and could not have timed it better, the kick off is taken and a forward takes a planned shot from the halfway line- ping- and the goalie is stranded and in it goes- almost Beckhamesque in it's delivery! To make it better the goal scorer is playing for a team decked out in the latest Ipswich Town colours. Later on as I was finishing Dumbarton Road, I saw another goal but it seemed like the half way line special may have been a lone bit of magic as this time it was the team in the Borussia Dortmund colours who scored and they seemed to be cruising through the game. It did make the delivering a bit more enjoyable and I will aim to deliver my next leaflet to Dumbarton Road on a Sunday morning- next time it be an overhead kick that leads to goal or a Pablo Cournago style back heel!

Campaign starts (not that we have ever stopped campaigning since last May!)

The campaign for the May 1st Ipswich Borough Council elections, started on Friday when we had a mass campaign in Alexandra Ward. This was followed by an excellent pre election party last night.

Bu to be honest, we have not stopped campaigning for about the last 3 years, out most Saturdays somewhere in the town and delivering leaflets by the thousands to try and make the Ipswich public aware of the cuts in council services that the Tories seem hell bent on.

Though we do campaign all year long- unlike the other two parties! We will increase our campaigning over the next four weeks, I will be working all over the town but will be putting an enormous effort into winning Rushmere Ward. I hate the way the Tories now seem to take it for granted that it is their seat and that attitude means that no one in Rushmere will ever see a Councillor and little has been done to improve the lot of our residents.

So I going to give it my all, even if it just makes the Tories (forget about the invisible Lib Dems)come out and campaign- and if by chance a Tory comes to your door, ask them how their fellow Tories on the County have had the neck to vote for the appointment of a new Chief executive at £220,000 per year and to top it they then go and vote for a Unitary Suffolk- an option that is not even on the table!

Well if any Tories are reading this, you better get out and campaign in Rushmere as I am going to do my best to get someone who lives in the ward and cares about the ward elected.

A cross for Ross for Rushmere!

Friday, 21 March 2008

£220,000 for a Chief executive or keep a Day Care Centre open? You decide

Andrea Hill- £440,000 for two years and then look for another new job?

The Tories at Suffolk County council are playing a strange game!

They hire a new Chief Executive, nothing wrong with that you may say but they not only hire one but give them a £70,000 rise on top of the pay of the last chief executive. Now that should be enough to upset all those of us who live in Suffolk but what really hurts is that Suffolk County Council is almost certain to disappear in two years time as the Boundary Commission is currently looking at setting up a number of Unitary Councils within the County.

Now that £70,000 would have been far better spent on keeping day care centres such as the Crabbe Street centre on this side of Ipswich open.

It may be that the Tories are playing a more sinister game- is Andrea Hill being bought in from Bedfordshire to help fight the County/Tory case on Unitary- how much more money are the Torie's going to spend on fighting a losing battle (and that is our money- council tax-not theirs).

Funny thing is that Andrea Hill was about to be out of a job as Bedfordshire is about to be wound up!

It should make pay talks for the rest of the staff who work for the county more interesting- a £70,000 precedence should be a good bargaining point for the union.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Rushmere is a Lib Dem free zone

As it is now 22 months since we last saw a Lib Dem leaflet in Rushmere (let alone a member of that party actually campaigning on the doorstep in Rushmere) I thought it may be the right time to declare Rushmere as a Lib Dem free zone.

Thanks to Kerron Cross for the picture- maybe we should all print one and put it in our windows!

Check out Kerron's website here

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Deliberately misleading or a spelling mistake?

Liz Harsant- the Tory leader- not a Tory misleader (just a spelling mistake!)

Now I know I am not the best at spelling (or typing)but I can't believe the Tory Council leader in Ipswich (Liz Harsant) is blaming a factual error in their last Tory leaflet (and only leaflet for about the last 10 months!) on spelling!

The full story can be found on the Evening Star website here. Liz Harsant may feel unlucky that she has been asked to explain the "mistake", but she is the only Tory councilor who actually gets much of a mention in the leaflet as the rest is all about the 'young' Gummer.

In the leaflet Liz was quoted as saying that every council house in Ipswich has been upgraded to the 'Ipswich standard' , which dictates maintenance necessary to meet national minimum standard requirements.

However it is now confirmed that 1,670 homes in Ipswich are still waiting to be upgraded and estimated completion is not till December 2010!

Liz will next blame the schools for not teaching spelling up to a correct standard!

She states that the leaflet should have read - "all council houses are being upgraded" rather than what it did state - " all council houses have been upgraded".

Seems more than a spelling mistake to me.

Mr Gummer is meant to be happy to make a statement about the 'mistake' in his next 'Changes' leaflet. why wait? Put it on your Ipswich Tory (really only about Gummer) website, and what about the Liberals? Well I know certain Liberals read this site, are you going to join Labour in asking Mrs Harsant to make a formal apology- or are you going to stick to your normal modus operandi - and claim it is the Liberals who have forced their Tory partners to get all council houses to the 'Ipswich standard' , - even if 1,670 houses have another 2 and half years to wait!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Military Covenant- Tory commission- a right wing author and no money!

Frederick Forsyth- right wing friend of Mr Tebbit!

Cameron and the Tory Party are going to make the state of our Armed Forces an election issue. Over the last 12 months, much of the media has started to get rightfully behind our Armed Forces and the Tory Party have tried to make themselves seen as the party that is most in tune with the needs of the Armed Forces.

The media has made much of the supposedly broken 'Military Covenant '(with the help of a number retired Generals and Admirals who were deafeningly quiet when they themselves were in the higher echelons of the Ministry of Defence!)) Cameron has now set up a commission to look at the state of the Military Covenant, the commission is led by the right wing author- Frederick Forsyth and also includes a number of ex military men such as Simon Weston, one of the survivors from the ship that caught fire at Bluff Cove during the Falklands War.

As an ex military man, I am concerned about over stretch of our Armed Forces, I believe that we need to make sure we look after our Armed Services, their families and veterans- but that will take more money- the Tories will say they have all the answers but look at their Commission website to spot the obvious holes in their plan- the most obvious failing being at the bottom of their introductory page:

" 4. Any recommendations made by the Commission must be paid for within existing and planned defence budgets."

Well as the MOD is not just over stretched but overspent- I can't see the Tory option of repairing the Covenant but spending no money in the process is going to work!

As someone who spent most of his 24 years service under a Tory government, I remember well the times we were under equipped- with the excuses of "it went down on the Atlantic Conveyor" or "it was destroyed in the fire at Donnington" used when we were still walking round in equipment from the 50's. Simon Weston should remember more than most that the Guards Regiments left for the Falklands with blue civilian rucksacks as most of the Army was still walking round with 1958 webbing. Tory Secretary's of State for Defence never seemed to speak to the rank and file, I can remember being hid away on a range in Germany with any one else who they thought would say the wrong thing when Mr Hesseltine turned up (wearing a new combat jacket- when we were in old kit) and Nicholas Soames was only interested in a lunch in the Officers Mess with his old Eton cronies. it was not till Labour's George Robertson got into the post that the rank and file soldier were deemed worthy of meeting the minister.

The Armed Forces are not looked after better by a Tory Government and we need to get that message over not only to the general public but also to members of the Armed Forces, their families and veterans.