Monday 30 May 2011

Ipswich Town in Europe

This afternoon I visited the 'Ipswich Town in Europe' Exhibition at the Town Hall Galleries. I enjoyed it, as I was fortunate to have seen that great 1981 team ( the exhibition also marks the 30th anniversary of the 1981 UEFA Cup win) it is always nice to be reminded how great that 1981 team was.

The exhibition maybe centered on the 81 season but it also looks at all our travels in Europe from Malta in 1962, Barcelona in 77, Milan in 2001 and then our final trip to the Czech Republic.

The highlight of the trip today was the opportunity to have your picture taken with the 'genuine' UEFA Cup. The trophy was in town for the 30th anniversary dinner tonight.

Not the 'real' UEFA Cup

Most of the items on display are owned by the club, many are mementos given by opposing teams who we have played in Europe, pewter cups, crystal glass, plates - some are more 'regional' based, with a Delft plate from Twente Enschede. wonder what we gave the likes of Real Madrid and FC Koln? A pint of Cobbolds?

Did like the way Lazio Roma gave each player a male grooming kit!

A trick was missed by the Colchester and Ipswich Museum service, far more exhibits could have been found if they had asked supporters to contribute. A few years ago, a previous exhibition was put on that looked at sport and pastimes in Ipswich, this had far more public contributions.

The Cruyff shirt

My favourite piece? - just beating the Lazio Roma grooming kits, the Barcelona shirt of Johan Cruyff, given to Roger Osborne after he had marked the great Dutchman out of the game in a fantastic 3-0 win for Ipswich over the Catalan giants.

Sunday 29 May 2011

My week ahead 30 May - 5 June

Monday 30th May - 1pm Visit the Ipswich Town FC in Europe Exhibition (Town Hall) - A chance maybe to even hold the UEFA Cup.

Saturday 4th June - 1030am Campaigning in North West Ipswich

7.30pm Ipswich Labour Party - Election Victory celebration, Westgate Club, Ipswich

Last week I attended the Labour group meeting in Monday, this followed straight after a meeting with the Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder and Officers. Looking at plans for the Corn Exchange and Ipswich Sports Centres

On Tuesday, I along with many Labour members attended the funeral of Donny Edwards. In the evening I was at Sidegate Primary School. We looked at ways to get the swimming pool back up and running this year.

Thursday was a real boost for Labour in Suffolk, with over 50 members attending the 'Refounding Labour' meeting at the Ipswich Library. A number of topics were discussed, including campaigning and community involvement.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Waveney- sold down the river

For that last few years, Labour in Ipswich have at times felt hard done by, the largest party, the most councillors but still the council was run by the Tory and Lib Dem coalition.
If we felt hard done by, how do you think both the residents and the Labour members in Waveney feel tonight?
After the election at the start of the month, it finished Labour 23 seats, Tories 23, 1 x Green and an independent. Tonight the vote for both Chairman and Leader ended up 24-24. On the vote for Chair the casting vote went to a Tory, the outgoing chairman who was now not even a councilor. He decided on a new Tory Chairman, and the new Chair used his casting vote to keep Waveney under control of the Tories.
Some may say, they are the rules, live with them. But it is hard when the majority of people in Waveney voted Labour or Green.

What does that mean for us? Well the outgoing Waveney Leader Mark Bee is now the Leader of Suffolk County Council, but he will have to make sure he does not take his eye off Waveney, he may need to spend many hours on the road- never daring to miss a Waveney Council meeting - even if he is needed at Suffolk County Council HQ to sort out another mess they have got themselves into. More pressure on Cllr Bee, will he manage?

Sunday 22 May 2011

My week ahead 23 - 29 May 2011

Monday 23 May - 6pm Ipswich Labour Group meeting, working on our priorities for the year

Donny Edwards RIP

Tuesday 24 May - 11am Funeral of former Mayor and Labour stalwart - Donny Edwards

7pm Sidegate Primary School Finance meeting

Thursday 26 May - 7.30pm All member meeting, Re founding Labour at the Ipswich Library Lecture Hall

Saturday 27 May - 10.30am Campaigning in Rushmere Ward, Ipswich

Last week I attended a North East Ipswich Partnership meeting, where we were briefed on the plan to turn off certain street lights in Ipswich.

I then attended the Labour Group meeting where I was selected to be the deputy portfolio holder for Culture and Leisure.

Wednesday saw the formal occasion of the Council Annual meeting, slightly spoilt by the childish behaviour of the Tory leader (read more about that here)

Friday evening, I visited my old Primary School (first time since 1973!)St Helens. I was part of a family team that managed third place in the PTA quiz, over £300 was raised for the school.

Saturday found me in Stoke Park, campaigning hard, always nice to deliver leaflets in a road that I have never been in before, today that lucky road was Downing Close!

Thursday 19 May 2011

John Carnall - Tory embarrassment

Last night I attended the Annual Council Meeting in Ipswich, the main purpose of the evening is to elect a new Mayor, and though most of the evening is about pageantry and tradition part of the occasion does involve politics as a new Leader and an executive are also elected..
Gavin McClure, a former Ipswich Tory Councillor attended the night as a guest and has a different take of the night to me. In his latest blog post, Gavin sings the praises of Tory Leader John Carnall.According to Gavin, "Cllr John Carnall started his tenure as Conservative leader in terrific form. When he challenged a constitutional point regarding the election of the Deputy Leader"

Now I thought Carnall was just trying to score cheap points and ended up making a fool of himself, after the meeting was over I found myself speaking to one of the invited guests. The guest informed me that hew saw himself as a Conservative supporter but that after the antics of John Carnall at the meeting, if he lived in Ipswich he would vote Labour!

He said it was obvious to most of the audience, that John Carnall had marked his copy of the agenda at item 5, and that he had prepared his comments and point of order but as the guest said, if he had noted that item 5 was not correct, why had he not informed the Chief Executive and the Council Officers earlier in the week? Cllr Carnall was correct, in that agenda item 5 was wrong but all he did by pointing it out at the meeting rather than before hand was embarrass the officers and at the same time attempt to embarrass the Borough of Ipswich.

From speaking to the guest, it was obvious all he had done was embarrass himself and make himself and his Tory group look like poor losers.

I can understand why he decided not to take his place on the executive - even if I do not agree with him but (as Gavin should understand) he was letting down the Ipswich electorate in not taking the Chair of Scrutiny, it is recommended 'best practice' for Scrutiny to be chaired by the opposition. Gavin actually improved the running of scrutiny during his tenure as chairman of that committee so I find it hard to understand why he supports Cllr Carnall on his refusal to take the Chair.

Where I do agree with Gavin, his on his opinion of the Lib Dems, on the first vote on item 6, they voted with Labour, when the Mayor had to put it to a vote the second time, they abstained ( I say thay abstained, Cllr Inga Lockington seemed to vote for, against and abstain - all at the same time!)As Gavin states, 'they look both ways again'.

The guest was certainly not impressed with John Carnall, wonder what he would have thought if he had known that he had also refused to allow David Goldsmith the former Deputy Mayor to carry on it that role? David had said he was happy to carry on (Jane Chambers, the outgoing Lib Dem Mayor should have become Deputy, but had lost her seat) but Carnall said the decision was up to the Tory Group not David and he/they had decided they were not even going to take up this ceremonial post let alone a seat on executive or Chair of Scrutiny.

Liz Harsant the outgoing Council Leader had some words of advice for the new Labour Leader of the Council, she would have been far better off trying to give her former deputy leader some advice on civic responsibility. John Carnall not only embarrassed himself, the Tory Group but also the Borough of Ipswich - his antics last night do not give me much hope that he will be the critical friend, that an effective opposition should be.

Sunday 15 May 2011

My week ahead, 16-22 May 2011

A new weekly update for my constituents, telling you what I will be doing this week on your behalf and an update on previous weeks.

Monday 16th May - 2.00pm North East Ipswich Partnership meeting - a meeting with local police, councillors, schools and Council Officers.

6.30pm - Ipswich Labour Group meeting - deciding who will be the portfolio holders for the forthcoming year.

Wednesday 18th May - 6.00pm - Annual Council Meeting - Grand Hall, Corn Exchange - voting in the executive and Leader plus Mayor Making for the 2011/12 Municipal Year.

Last week, we had our first Labour Group meeting and I also attended a meeting at Sidegate Primary school, where I had the chance to discuss future plans for the school with the new Head Teacher.

On Monday, I also met Ed Balls, Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor, he came to congratulate Ipswich Councilors on regaining the control of Ipswich Borough Council, it was also great to have fellow Rushmere Ward Labour Councillor, Tracey Grant alongside me to meet Ed.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Labour regain Ipswich

After what seemed weeks of non stop campaigning, election day was upon us and 14 hours of non stop delivering and door knocking paid off as Friday at the count, Ipswich Labour made 5 gains including Tracey Grant joining me as a councillor in Rushmere Ward.

When I was elected as a councilor it was a very proud moment, but Friday was also a special moment as I will now be part of the administration in Ipswich as we try and protect the residents of Ipswich from the coalition cuts.

The result on Friday was a reward for a year of hard work by the Labour Party in Ipswich, we were down last May but there was no in-fighting or bickering, we just increased our campaigning work and got on with the job of supporting the people of Ipswich. This feeling of unity has been evident from day one, and it was great to have Chris Mole our former MP, helping in Rushmere all day and then being at the count. Dan Poulter the North Ipswich Tory MP was at the count, he eventually was joined by Ben Gummer but once he was briefed on the possible outcome Gummer soon disappeared.

So why did we win? As the Tory Cllr Paul West said, it is hard to work our what exactly had a positive or negative impact on each party's vote, but no doubt the unpopularity of the coalition Government did hit the Lib Dems hard, but though the Tory vote held up in most wards, the strange decisions by the Tory run Suffolk County Council and Ms Hill did help get the Labour vote out.

Then there is hard work and a well planned campaign, without giving away too much! we worked hard in 12 of the 16 wards and even in the other four we still delivered leaflets and newspapers, and of course we increased our work on polling day in our 5 target wards.

But just hard work will not win an election, we worked hard last year but could not hold onto the parliamentary seat in the town. But we made even more effort this year to talk to everyone, not just labour voters - we knocked on almost every door and spoke to as many residents as we could. this worked. Compare that to the Tories and the Lib Dems, a resident in Rushmere informed that he a approached a Tory canvass team, and they refused to speak to him as he was not on their 'list'. A Tory supporting blog, said ‘probably because he was a socialist intent on wasting their time’. He actually is a leading member of the local community, one who is well known to the Tory Cllr for the Ward. That sort of attitude is not going to win you votes. The Lib Dems also seemed to only knock on a few doors in their two main wards and made no effort in the rest of the wards less a couple of leaflets in two other wards.

Some may say the Tories were very complacent, putting all their effort into Rushmere, and making little effort in the two other wards they lost, did they think they were safe? A leading Tory Gavin McClure even seems to admit that tactical decisions were wrongly made.

How about the Lib Dems, a national collapse was expected but I am sure in Ipswich they still thought it would be closer in Alexandra ward than it was and they were then in total shock when they lost St Margaret's to the Tories (remember the Tories put little effort into st Margaret's and none into Alexandra). A needless recount being called in St Margaret's by the Lib Dems, showed how desperate they got.

There has been a noticeable lack of campaigning in Ipswich by the Lib Dems over the last few years, and no real noticeable increase in this years campaign - that would have hurt them as much as the low opinion their national party and leader are held in.

I often wondered how they sat in coalition in Ipswich when it was obvious that most Tories had little time for them, the resignation speech of leading Tory Wells should have left them in no doubt. Even this weekend they have come under attack from a Tory blog in Ipswich and a leading Suffolk Tory
They may have been fooled by the way the Ipswich Tories did not campaign in the three Lib Dem wards and they even had Ben Gummer write a Pro Lib Dem Mayor Chambers column in the local paper (not that it worked). some Lib Dems may be happy they lost power, they always seem to be happier in opposition - never their fault then.

So where do we go now? Back on the streets campaigning, we will look at the results, learn, target and go again - I am sure the Tories at least will come back strong at us, but a tip for both opposition groups - talk to residents - it works!

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Vote Labour - May 5th

Suffolk County Council are running scared, the Tories have made 3 U Turns in the last 2 weeks, but do not be fooled, every Road Crossing patrol will not be saved and the Libraries are still under threat. The Ipswich Tories - scream, "Don't blame us, it is the other lot" - but don't be fooled, the mask slipped today and John Carnell, the Deputy Leader of the Tories stated that if they retain power this week, they will sell off 'our' Ipswich Bus Company.

Only way to stop them - Vote Labour tomorrow, and if your in Rushmere Ward, Ipswich - Vote Tracey Grant

Monday 2 May 2011

Nasty leaflet fron the Nasty Party

Whilst out talking to residents in Rushmere Ward, Ipswich this morning, I was handed the latest Tory leaflet - and it does not make good reading.
It just stinks, a total negative leaflet with false claims and just a feeling of nastiness. what makes it worse is that Ben Gummer our MP is stupid enough to add his name to the leaflet.

They start with claiming that we should all vote for Stephen Ion, as our Labour candidate, Tracey Grant does not live in the Ward. Ion also lives outside the Ward, but to prove their point they draw a map of Ipswich showing where Tracey lives!
Nasty - will they be doing the same in Stoke Park? - Will they be telling their supporters to vote for Labour and Barry Studd as their Councillor/Candidate - Pope, lives on the other side of the town? No, I am sure they won't.

When we get over the negative bits, we then get into the supposed positives in voting for Ion.
According to the leaflet he has been working hard for Rushmere Residents for the last 15 years, funny as he stood in St Margaret's (where he lives ) last year, and he has also stood (and lost) in St Clement's, Priory Heath and St Johns (never living in any of them).
He also claims to have been working closely with the current Tory Councillors, funny as an earlier Tory leaflet in Rushmere this year had a Mrs Kelly helping Judy Terry - no mention of Mr Ion.
He also claims to have reintroduced 'grass grid' reinforcing on some of our verges, funny how he has done that and he is not even a Councillor! Has he used his own money?
Then he mentions the poor state of Humber Doucy Lane - what he does not mention is that money was wasted in Humber Doucy Lane on stupid signs and flowers- but all in the Bixley (Tory safe seat) part of the road.

It seems to many that Mrs Kelly was going to stand for the Tories (she lives in the Ward) but was replaced by Stephen Ion earlier in the year and that over the last few years, he has not been helping Rushmere residents but standing (and losing) in seats all over the town.

Then there are the two topics that are not mentioned - if he has been talking to residents and working with the Tory Councillors over the last few months you would have thought he would have mentioned the loss of the School Crossing Patrol outside Sidegate Primary School or the proposed closure of Rosehill Library- but surprise, surprise - no mention of either.

The Tory agent complained earlier in the year that I had been unfair to Mr Gummer in one of my blog posts, about the lack of an office and a website, to be fair to Mr Gummer he now has an office but still no website (almost a year since being elected) and on the webpage you can find - no phone number for his office. So you would think someone so quick to complain would make sure his own party's leaflets were correct.

Some would say that because the Tories have had to revert to drawing maps of Ipswich and producing negative they are getting desperate - I think we all know they are desperate when Judy Terry announced a U Turn in the County plans for Suffolk Libraries. To announce it yesterday it meant that most of the consultation responses had not even been read, what a waste of time and money - Mrs Terry and her Tory colleagues are running scared.

On Thursday, I urge you to vote for Tracey Grant, who will be a fine Councillor for Rushmere and I am sure I will be able to form a strong partnership with her, that will benefit the residents of Rushmere- oh by the way - I do live in the ward, so no need to print a map next year Mr Ion.