Monday 29 November 2010

Party of opportunity

Party of opportunity

In Ipswich we have known for a long time that the Lib Dems will say anything on the doorstep but then do anything the Tories want just for the chance of power (plus the extra pay as a Portfolio holder). Even during the election campaign in Ipswich I found a number of Lib Dem voters who thought that we were being unfair in our criticism of the local Lib Dem councillors, well now we can see that the Lib Dem MP's were also willing to say anything on the doorstep then once offered the chance of power with the Tories were willing to drop all their policies as they drove away in their ministerial cars. Local Lib Dem Councillors may find it harder this time to persuade voters that they are a party of principle.
A petition by failed Lib Dem parliamentary candidates (104 signing it but no Mark Dyson - failed Lib Dem Ipswich candidate) has now called on Lib Dem MP's to stick to their original pledge on student fees - wonder what notice Clegg, Cable and others will take of them?

Saturday 27 November 2010

UNITED - against the Tory Suffolk County Council cuts.

As I made my way to Endeavour House in Ipswich this morning I was concerned that the blizzard type conditions would lead to the Rally against the cuts to Suffolk County Council becoming a damp squib. But Jeremy Pembroke, ex banker and now leader of the Tory run Suffolk County Council you do have ability! Ability to inspire people to give up a free Saturday morning, brave the snow and protest about the savage cuts planned by the Tories, yourself and Andrea Hill.

A comment on one of my previous posts, declared that the rally would be hijacked by the SWP and the far left, that never happened, the march was made up of, council workers, their families, Labour Party members, unions (FBU, UNITE, Unison, CWU, NUT and others) and students. The march was well organised and the police not only had no problem marshaling it but were also thanked for their help at the end of the rally. No surprise in one way as we were also campaigning to save their jobs as they also face the Condem cuts.

It was not hijacked by the SWP but it seems that the Suffolk Lib Dems and those from St Margarets in Ipswich have allied themselves with our protest. Now we welcome support from all the community in this campaign to secure the services that Suffolk people deserve. But the Lib Dems have a number of questions to ask themselves, how can they protest against the cuts in Suffolk but be prepared to support Clegg and Cable as they prop up the Tory Government and to make it worse in Ipswich, 3 of their County Councillors are in a coalition with the Tories, and supporting such acts as selling off our bus service. The St Margaret's Lib Dems were even giving out their focus newsletter on the Cornhill from a table that was also collecting signatures to support our campaign against these Tory cuts, but the same Lib Dem's seem to forget that Inga Lockington is a portfolio holder in the Ipswich Condem council. You can't have it both ways. Kathy Pollard the Suffolk Lib Dem leader was heckled at the rally, and I am sure she is being very honest in her support for our campaign but I am afraid that whilst Clegg and Cable in Westminster and Cann, Lockington and Chambers at Grafton House in Ipswich support Tory administrations she will not be taken seriously.

Best part of the day? There were a number - the 'Who ate all the pies? - Jeremy' song from the FBU and the young students from UCS and Northgate who spoke so passionately about the the Condem plans for their futures (something Kathy did not mention in her speech) and on a selfish point, the brilliant turn out from the Ipswich Labour Party, and the opportunity to be photographed with the branch banner, a banner my own father had carried ion the early 70's.

The Labour Party banner today outside the New Wolsey

The banner in the 70's with my late Father, Peter Ross

A great day for the Labour movement in Ipswich - now to build on that consensus of support to put pressure on Gummer, Poulter and the local Condem councillors.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

March and Rally against Tory cuts- Ipswich Saturday 27th November

East of England Member of the European Parliament, Richard Howitt, joined with local Labour Party members to show his support for UNISON's campaign to save Suffolk County Council services from cuts and privatisation.

Members of Ipswich Labour Party have joined with UNISON and Trades Council colleagues to collect signatures against Suffolk County Council's "New Strategic Direction" of cutting jobs and services across the County. Next Saturday (27th November) there will be a march and rally in the town against the cuts, and Ipswich Labour members will be there in force to protect our local public services. Meeting at Endeavour House at 11am followed by a march to the New Wolsey Theatre (rally there at 12).

Please join myself and other Labour activists there - You will recognise us by the Ipswich Labour Party banner!

Monday 15 November 2010

Military Covenant - Tories break it already

The Tories campaigned during the last election on how they were going to mend the Military Covenant. Britain has a 'duty of care' to its armed forces. This began as an unspoken pact between society and the military, possibly originating as far back as Henry VIII's reign. The pact was formally codified as a 'covenant' in 2000 (by the Labour Government). It is not a law but is reinforced by custom and convention.

The Tories accused the Labour Government of breaking the Covenant and told everyone how they were going to mend it - so what have they done!

Well they have not done much but they have told us what they are going to do - cut pensions to War Widows and injured soldiers - George Osborne the Tory Chancellor has announced the proposed changes, it has even caused the Head of the Armed Forces to say that 'War widows and injured soldiers must be protected against the "worst excesses" of the coalition's cuts to pensions'

I was fortunate to serve alongside and get to know two brave young soldiers who lost their lives in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009 both were married and joined the tour late as they stayed behind in the UK for a few weeks as their young wives were both pregnant. A week after their babies were born they flew out to join us. This Tory Government is now saying if those young widows remarry, they will lose their War Widow pension. If that is not breaking the Military Covenant, I don't know what is: The Covenant states: " British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service."

I was also fortunate to work alongside Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who lost his life on bomb disposal duty, his wife Christina spoke eloquently after his death, and captured the feeling of many families who have lost loved ones. Now Osborne and the Tories want to cut her pension.

It is nothing more than a disgrace!

Friday 12 November 2010

Ben Gummer - an apology

"Following receipt of a letter from Ben Gummer's agent, I can now let constituents know that Mr Gummer has, by his agent's account got a fully staffed office at IP City Centre on Wherstead Road. Hopefully he will soon have an active website and we can look forward to the day when his twitter account is updated to reflect he is now the MP rather than candidate for Ipswich. If anyone is interested in helping Ben get on top of managing these issues, he is currently advertising for an office manager."

Ben Gummer
@ben4ipswich Ipswich
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich

The fact is that is it may be easy for the 'Evening Star' to find our MP, to ask him questions about the Iceni Project, Andrea Hill's pay (but very few questions about cuts planned by Suffolk County Council) It is far more difficult for Ipswich constituents to get hold of him compared to when Chris Mole was our MP.
With the planned reforms to the welfare state, it is more important than ever that our MP is readily available to constituents - an office that is easy to find, an up to date website plus surgeries where an appointment is not needed but where you can just drop into meet your MP. He could even share a surgery location with the MP for North Ipswich. Over to you Mr Gummer (and agent)

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Ben Gummer- hiding from the Ipswich public?

Ben Gummer has now been our Ipswich MP for over 6 months and you can find him (if you look hard) a weekly column in the Evening Star, and now each Sunday you can find him riding round the streets of Ipswich (avoiding the numerous potholes) on a charity cycle ride. Well done Ben - But and it is a big but! If you need help- with housing, the law or the numerous other problems that Ipswich residents can have- he is harder to find. Six months and we have a temporary office hidden down by the river, a website that had been dormant since June and even a twitter site that has him as a candidate rather than the MP.

Whilst he is hiding away, the Ipswich Labour Party are still getting many residents call on them requesting help, where we can local Labour Councillors are taking the issues up and when it is an issue that the MP would be best to deal with we are handing them information on how they can contact Ben. But after 6 months it is about time Gummer had an office in the town, dealing with the numerous issues that effect an urban population. Before the election, Ben 'talked, the talk' now lets see him 'walk, the walk'