Saturday, 31 March 2012

Meadowvale Close No Cold Calling Zone Launch‏

Last week I was invited to the Meadowvale Close No Cold Calling Zone Launch‏, it was a great afternoon and gave me an opportunity to speak to a number of residents about issues in our ward.

This was the seventh No Cold Calling Zone to be set up in Ipswich and the first in Rushmere Ward.

The scheme was the idea of 'Community Champion' - Sandra Gage. If every street in Ipswich had someone like Sandra living in it, Ipswich would be an even better place to live in than it is already.

Well done Sandra, the Officers from Trading Standards and PCSO's from Heath Road.

Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea, I went to meet residents not just to eat cake!!

Promoted by John Cook c/o Ipswich labour Party, 33 Silent Steet, Ipswich, IP1 1TF on behalf of Alasdair Ross and the Labour Party Candidates, . Hosted (printed) by (Google Inc) of 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 who are not responsible for any of the contents of these posts.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Election time- legal bit!

Election time- legal bit!

Legal Imprint

Anything from now until polling day that is published here and seeks to influence people to vote Labour is:Promoted by Alasdair Ross c/o Ipswich labour Party, 33 Silent Steet, Ipswich, IP1 1TF on behalf of the Labour Party Candidates, . Hosted (printed) by (Google Inc) of 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 who are not responsible for any of the contents of these posts.

Please note however, that The Labour Party is not responsible for the content of this website or individual posts as, unless specifically stated, I am writing solely in a personal and individual capacity.

Top of the Policies - Defence and security

On Monday I presented policy that I hope may go towards the future Defence policy of the next Labour Government - I had two minutes to submit my policy- calling for a complete overhaul of the Territorial Army.

On the vote afterward, I was not a winner with a Reservist soldier and labour activist, Dan Fox winning with his policy thoughts for 'Cyber Defence'

It was an informative and also fun evening, and slightly nerve racking as I was one of 13 speakers and two were sitting MP's.

The event was chaired by Jim Murphy the Shadow Defence Minister, and there was £75 behind the bar! So no £250,000 to speak to a shadow Minister needed. wonder what Dr Liam Fox would have charged?

The evening was one of a number of events run by Pragmatic Radicalism along with Labour Friends of the Forces.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'

On Friday, I visited the New Wolsey in Ipswich to watch 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists', a strange theatre experience with over 100 members of Ipswich, Suffolk and Colchester Labour present to see what has become known as the first major novel of the British working classes and is now a socialist classic. Strange as it felt more like an East of England Labour AGM that a normal Friday night at the theatre.

I must admit I had heard of the book but knew little of the story. Written by Noonan an Irish sign writer who used the pseudonym of Robert Tressell (after the painters table). it tells the tale of the lives of painters and decorators in a fictional seaside town (based on Hastings)

I found the play both entertaining and also educational, I can see why the 'great money trick' from the play is used in schools to help explain capitalism.

I now have the promise of the book (from my wife for Fathers Day) and I can't wait to read it. But if you get the chance to ever see the play - go. It certainly makes you keener to get out and campaign after watching it.

Tressell believes that the workers are the real philanthropists rather than their bosses. Wonder what he would have thought this week after we hear for £250,000 you can meet the Prime Minister and help set policy - guess they would call that philanthropy!

My week ahead 26 March - 1 April 2012

Monday 26th March 6.30pm - Defence and Security with Jim Murphy MP, I am speaking about the future of the Territorial Army at this event- The Barley Mow:‎ 104 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2EE

Tuesday 27th March 5pm - Sidegate Primary School Full Governing Body meeting

Thursday 29th March 2pm - Meadowvale Close, Launch of a 'No - Cold Calling Zone'

Any other spare time will be spent campaigning, not only in Rushmere but all over Ipswich as we attempt to get our message over to the residents.

This week we had the good news that a second planning application to turn the Golden Key into a supermarket was refused. Slightly more disappointing was that a Tory Councillor thought I should not be able to speak on behalf of residents. Fortunately I was allowed to speak and hope what I was said helped persuade the committee that the proposed development was not right for such a busy junction.

Cash for Cameron

Maybe instead of campaigning to save the NHS - we should have just has a whip round and bunged Dave 250 grand?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

North East Ipswich Area Committee - 20th March 2012

This week we saw our second North East Area Committee meeting and the first to be held in the North East of the town. The venue was St Johns Church.

36 residents joined councillors, Officers and the SNT Police Sergeant to debate a number of issues.

The meeting started with an informative presentation on the benefit of the Olympics to Ipswich, this was given by Council Officer John Stebbings. Some useful feedback from Rushmere resident and owner of the Lattice Lodge B & B was given.

The main part of the meeting dealt with parking issues at the Ipswich Hospital and neighbouring streets. Useful input from residents, councillors and the police. Ipswich Hospital have not been the best neighbour in the past but at least this time they sent their Security Manager, who was very responsive and will soon have car parking as one of his responsibilities.

Residents from Orwell and Pearce Rd also highlighted the problems they face as their streets have become a 'rat run' for commuters hoping to avoid Foxhall Rd. We hope to have a public meeting in Foxhall Rd in the next few months to try and help solve the problem.

That last part of the meeting was important but failed to have resident participation, we agreed to a verge protection scheme in Lindsey Rd and also (good news for Rushmere residents) it was agreed to purchase new football goals for Dumbarton Rd Recreation Ground.

I was pleased that a number of you attended but would hope we can increase not only the number of residents who attend but also improve resident participation in the meeting.

If you have any ideas on how to improve the meeting, please let us know - such improvements could include,such simple measures on where we all sit to the location of the meetings.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Golden Key - update

Greene King had their latest application to turn the Golden Key pub into a supermarket down. The application was refused at the planning committee at Ipswich Council this morning.

The meeting was not a pleasant experience and at one stage one of the Tory councilors seemed to think I should not be able to represent my residents. Fortunately I was allowed to speak and I highlighted the problems that extra traffic would cause.

I would not be surprised if Greene king appeal, but I will keep campaigning for what residents want.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

My week ahead 19- 25 March 2012

Monday 19th March 5pm- Rushmere Youth Club, committee meeting
6pm - Labour group meeting

Tuesday 20th March 7pm - St Johns Church, Cauldwell Hall Rd

Wednesday 21st March 10am - Planning committee
6pm - Ipswich Borough Full Council Meeting

Thursday 22nd March 5pm - Sidegate Primary School, Finance meeting

Friday 23rd March 7pm - Ipswich Labour Party attending 'The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists' at the New Wolsey

Saturday 24th March 10.30am - Labour campaigning in East Ipswich

As you can see from above a very busy week ahead, Tuesday will give us a chance to introduce Area Committees to the residents of North East Ipswich. I hope a number of you can come along to the meeting.

On Wednesday as well as the Full Council meeting, I will be attending the planning committee to speak on behalf of residents about the Golden Key planning application, there has been a lot of rubbish written about this application but for me the main issue is the proximity of the proposed shop to a busy roundabout and a busy garage.

This week I attended a scrutiny meeting, we were meant to receive a presentation from an officer of Suffolk County Council but only a few hours before the meeting we received a written report (via email). This is not the first time that we have received this sort of response from the County Council. But to make this matter worse, the presentation was meant to be on what Suffolk is doing to improve skills of our young people and the Cabinet Member responsible for that portfolio is Cllr Judy Terry - who is also a member of our Scrutiny committee, no surprise then that she also failed to turn up for the meeting as it would have been quite embarrassing for her to explain why the Officer she is responsible for had failed to turn up in person.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sidegate Primary, a five star school!

On Wednesday I joined my fellow Labour Councillor Neil Macdonald in celebrating Sidegate Primary School being awarded the highest food hygiene standard you can get in Ipswich. Sidegate gained the 5 Star grade and are now featured in the on line brochure along with Ipswich Town Football Club and Suffolk New College promoting the Food Hygeine standard scheme in Ipswich.

Must admit the food did look very tasty- a far cry from school dinners in the 1970's!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

My week ahead 12 - 18 March 2012

Monday 12th March 4pm - Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm - Labour Group meeting

Thursday 15th March 6pm - Scrutiny meeting, Grafton House

Saturday 17th March 10.30am - Campaigning in West Ipswich

The highlight of the week was on Wednesday when Rachel Reeves MP from the Shadow Cabinet visited Ipswich and she was joined by Iain Wright MP plus members of the Labour Party National Policy Forum,

It gave Labour members and supporters a chance to contribute to a debate on British business and the economy. A number of new ideas were contributed from the floor and probably the best part of the day was that it was obvious that both Rachel and Iain were very open to the suggestions from the floor.

Not sure the Tory Shadow Cabinet ever held such meetings in Ipswich with Tory members - and they did have 13 years to do so. We have only been out of power since 2010 but have already held two such meetings.

Today has seen Clegg suffer a defeat from his own grass root supporters, but where do the Ipswich Lib Dems stand on the NHS Bill? Maybe the question should be where do the local Lib Dems stand on any issue?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

North East Ipswich Area Committee

Area Committees

We have introduced these as we believe they will give you- the residents of North East Ipswich, more opportunity to get involved in decisions that will affect you.
Our first meeting in North East Ipswich will be held on Tuesday 20th March 7pm at St John's Church Hall in Cauldwell Hall Road.

More on the meeting here: North East Area Committee

We hope there will be a chance of residents to ask councilor’s questions but if you want a very detailed answer it would be best to submit your question to the council this week, you can do that by sending your question to this address:

Please attend if you can, the more residents who can attend the better, we are planning to hear what Ipswich has planned for Olympics and issues such as parking at the hospital will be discussed.

Ipswich Buses - only safe under Labour

Ipswich Labour have always promised to do all we can to help save the Ipswich Bus Company.

Ipswich are now one of only eleven municipal bus companies left in this country with Edinburgh and Blackpool being the two largest.

John Carnall the Tory leader even stated a few days before the local election in 2011 that his intention was to sell the Bus Company off. Labour won so that put a stop to his plan, but the company is under plenty of pressure from outside influences.

The Tory run Suffolk County Council took away the Park and Ride franchise when the Ipswich Tories were in power and have since cut back on the rebate given to IBC for pensioners fares and taken the 'Explore' card away completely whilst the Tory Government is about to reduce the diesel fuel rebate it hands to bus and coach businesses.

Yesterday Rachel Reeves MP and Iain Wright MP visited the Ipswich Bus Company along with David Ellesmere and were very happy to see that Ipswich was still maintaining a municipal bus service.

But do Ipswich residents still want a council owned bus company? I think they do and it is far better than the alternative that Iain Wright told us about, in Hartlepool they no longer have a bus service run by the council and the council also can no longer afford to give the private bus company money toward subsidising routes - so what does Hartlepool now have? No buses after 6pm during the week and no weekend bus service at all. If that's what you want in Ipswich- Vote Tory but I am sure most of you would like not only to keep our 'Green' buses but to improve the service - then you have to vote Labour.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Why do the Tories want to destroy all the good work done by Labour?

And why do the Lib Dems just sit on their hands and do nothing? Or in most cases put their hands up to vote when their Tory masters tell them to?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

My week ahead 5 - 11 March 2012

Wednesday 7th March, 2pm - Campaigning in Ipswich
7pm - Fabians AGM

Thursday 8th March, 7pm - Mayor of Ipswich Charity Quiz

Friday 9th March, 5pm - Labour Campaign meeting

Saturday 10th March, 10.30am - Labour Campaigning in West Ipswich

This week we put forward our budget to Full Council, as expected the Tories put forward an amendment proposing a 3% Council Tax cut. It was a cheap stunt and if it had gone through would have seen £140,00 taken from Public transport, more staff made redundant at Ipswich Borough council and most scandalously handing over the HEARS service to Suffolk County Council.

Showing yet again that the Tories have no wish to help the young, the old or the poor.

The Lib Dems seemed to have learnt something off the Tories, they just now abstain or allow Cllr Lockington the opportunity to show that she has no clue to what is going on beyond the leafy ward of St Margaret's.

The week finished yesterday in style with a great session meeting residents in Rushmere and St Johns. then the surprise of returning to the Golden Key for a beer before football. The surprise? We found in the car park, Ben Gummer and 3 Tory Cllrs having their picture taken - Ben Gummer has already written a letter stating that the pub should not be turned into a store. Has Cllr Terry now joined him (and Ipswich Labour) in supporting local residents? If so will Cllr Terry declare an interest when the planning application is debated at the next planning committee?