Sunday 26 August 2012

My week ahead 27 August - 2 September 2012

Saturday 1 September 10.30am - Labour campaigning in North Ipswich

A short week with a bank holiday, but plenty of case work to chase up and a number of Ipswich Labour members are heading off to help in Corby with build up to the by-election.

We have had big campaign teams out all over the Summer, working with our candidate for the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Basham. The Tories have been critical of Jane in their blogs but seem to be doing no campaigning. Possibly they have been put off campaigning because they have found that many of their own supporters will not be voting in November as they are against elected police chiefs.

The Tory candidate is also a farmer from rural Suffolk, not sure that will be in the best interests of those of us who live in Ipswich or Lowestoft.

So whilst the Tories in Ipswich sit at home you will continue to able to speak to Ipswich Labour members as we campaign all over the town, weekends, weekdays and evenings.

I also hope to catch plenty of the Paralympics on Channel 4 over the next two weeks, and felt inspired by the disabled athletes I met at Northgate today.

We must have a Paralympic Legacy in Suffolk

Today I was able to witness the Paralympic flame arrive in Ipswich, a more intimate event compared to when the Olympic flame arrived in Christchurch Park.

But still inspirational as it also gave people an opportunity to attempt a number of sports – and as the Deputy Mayor found, they are not all easy as his partner beat him easily at the archery!

It also gave councillors the opportunity to speak to parents, families and volunteers who help provide sporting opportunities to those with disabilities.

The government has spoken at length about a sporting legacy to the 2012 Olympics, (not helped by the cuts to funding to local councils – the main provider of sporting facilities) This Wednesday we will see the Paralympics start in London and people will be inspired. We must see that the Sporting Legacy also benefits those who help or compete in disable sports.

I spoke at length to some of those who assist with the Orwell Panthers, an athletics club for the disabled – they do a brilliant job but need more assistance – I hope the Paralympics will inspire firms and businesses to help them. There also needs to be a closer co-operation between all sporting organisations, those for the able bodied and those for the disabled which will lead to a greater sharing of facilities and equipment.

Sunday 19 August 2012

My week ahead 20 - 26 August 2012

This is the time of the year where we tend not to have many meetings but it does give us the opportunity to get out and talk to residents. This week we have also been daytime campaigning, which has been a success - Ipswich Tories commented that it was not with doing it for them as all their voters work!

We have been campaigning for Jane Basham as she seeks to be elected as the Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk. Not many residents were impressed that the Tories have chosen a farmer - residents worried that those of us in Ipswich will be treated as second class citizens when it comes to policing, as like Suffolk County Council we will get a rural bias.

Today we had the good news that in September we will see Bradley Wiggins - Gold medal winner, Paul Weller and Gordon Brown fan - entering the Tour of Britain race that will start in Ipswich, I am sure we will get a massive crowd at the waterfront to see the start of the race. Hopefully something similar to the attendance we have had this weekend for the second Ipswich Maritime Festival. I we nt toady and there was a real buzz amongst the crowd - I would like to say a big thanks not only to the residents who attended the event but the Ipswich Borough staff who worked so hard, the Events team, security, Fire Marshalls, and street cleaners - you did a great job.

Maritime Festival

Comedy waiters join the festival

Friday 17 August 2012

What Tory Sporting Legacy?

What Tory sporting legacy

After a fantastic Olympics, Mr Cameron was quick to tell the public that the government will continue to fund (elite) sport – even if the promise is only to 2016.
Closer to home, Ipswich Tories (and I guess that means Cllr Terry) have also jumped on the bandwagon and told the public what a sporting legacy they have left the Ipswich public.

Not sure much of a legacy has been left – a further years of the Tories in power in Ipswich would have seen the council pull out of Maidenhall Sports Centre and seen the Whitton Sports Centre given away to an outside agency.

Ransomes Sports Centre is mentioned again, but no credit given to Ipswich labour from saving the club and sports ground from developers in the first place! But surprisingly after all the scare stories put out by the Tories they now seem keen to build some houses on the site, possible on the site of the now disused bowls green!

But Cameron and the Ipswich Tories will not persuade the public they are serious about any sporting legacy whilst Mr Gove has any sort of power.

The Primary Schools Sporting Partnership was one of the first casualties of Mr Gove becoming Education Minister but his next target is selling off school playing fields. Now I will admit Labour should have done more to protect school playing fields whilst in power and the Tories have used statistics to show that they have not closed as many as Labour – trouble is it now has come to light that those figures were wrong and to top it Mr Gove has agreed to the sale of a number of sports fields even though he was advised not to sell them. He has gone against independent advice more times in 15 months that Labour Minister’s did in 9 years.

"Quickly kids, before that nasty Mr Gove sells the field off"

Now there is plenty of money to be made out of selling off playing fields and with Mr Gove and his Free Schools experiment there will be far more fields under threat. In Ipswich we have had much written about the failure of IBC, SCC and The Ipswich Academy to come to an agreement about the building of the sports centre. Wonder if Tory run Suffolk County Council will be asking Mr Gove if they can sell off the sports fields at the Holywells site?

So Mr Cameron has now gone on holiday (Mr Gove must have taken a longer holiday, as we have not heard a peep from him – (about playing fields, teaching sport in schools or even exam results!)

Will Mr Gove now resurface? Will he reverse the decision to axe the 2 hours compulsory PE lessons in schools? If he does will he also ensure that Free Schools and academies also have to make sure their pupils also continue to be taught PE?

As Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham have stated – sporting legacy has to be all party – it has to be a long term plan – the Olympics were a success because of that – Blair, Brown, Livingstone and in particular Tessa Jowell started the whole policy and Cameron and John son carried it on – not sure what Hunt did?

In Ipswich we will continue to promote sport but as many councils find (not just Labour ones) it is hard as this Tory/Lib Dem Government continue to cut funding to local authorities )but at the same time telling the public that the sporting legacy is safe)

My final question – what is the Lib Dem views on Sporting Legacy? I ask as they seem to have had little input into the Cameron and Johnson declarations on sporting Legacy or been critical of the plans to sell off sports fields by Mr Gove. Probably concentrating on reform of the House of Lords!

Sunday 12 August 2012

My week ahead 13 - 19 August 2012

Monday 13 August 4pm - Culture Portfolio Meeting - working on the Olympic legacy
6pm - Campaigning in North Ipswich

Wednesday 15 August 9.30am - Ipswich Borough Planning committee

Thursday 16 August 10am - Campaigning in West Ipswich

Saturday/Sunday 18/19 August - Ipswich Maritime Festival

Saturday 18 August 10.30am - Campaigning in East Ipswich

The Olympics are almost over, I have been fortunate enough to witness some of the live events and the rest of the time has seen me either glued to the TV or the radio.

Our success has put Cameron and the Tories in a difficult position, even today Cameron has been making bold statements but two people have been noticeable by their absence- Osborne (who will have to fund it) and Michael Gove - the Education Minister (same holiday as schools?) who seems keen to stop compulsory PE Lessons. Then we have Cameron saying that all primary schools will have to play competitive sport but forgetting to mention that the Tory flagship Free Schools will not have to !

The feel-good factor has been fantastic over the last two weeks and we want to keep that glow we have all gained - a good way will be to get along to the Ipswich Maritime Festival - brilliant last year and expected to be even better this time. I will certainly be visiting - and not just the beer festival!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Ipswich - A sporting legacy

Ipswich – Sporting Legacy

Not many blog posts recently as I have become an Olympic addict – visiting live events in Glasgow and London and any other spare time spent in front of the TV with remote control at hand.

But I am drawn to contribute a post after comments about the legacy in sport left by Labour. Ipswich Tories have used the Olympics to again attack Labour and myself over the situation at Ransomes Sports Club.

There have been a number of serious issues raised about the management of the Ransomes Club, but as the club are now seeking legal advice it would be wrong of me to comment on them now.

Cllr Terry has been very critical about the probable eviction and has associated herself with the rumour that we wish to build houses on the site, this rumour has been exaggerated even further by Tory Kevin Algar who is accusing us of having a plan to build a council estate off Sidegate Avenue!

Now the only person who has ever mentioned building houses on the site was Cllr Terry when she was portfolio holder.

Now the mention of sporting legacy in Ipswich, the state of Broomhill is mentioned and the refurbishment of Crown Pools. What should be ,mentioned is that it was Labour who built, Nothgate Sports Centre, Gainsborough and Maidenhall Sports Centre plus Whitton and the Gymnastics Hub.

Only this year, I saw Beth Tweddle test her uneven bars routine at Gainsborough.

The Tories were against the original plan to build Crown Pools and only last year were looking to offload the Whitton and Maidenhall Sports Centres. Ipswich Spy (who seem to have lost any sense of impartiality) point out that it was Cllr Terry who as portfolio holder sport Culture and Leisure was planning to build an Olympic size 50M pool on the Portman Rd Car Park – what happened to that plan?

The Olympics have been a success and I am not surprised that Cameron and Boris have been using every possible opportunity to be seen at Olympic Park. Even Culture Minister. Jeremy Hunt decided to meet his mate Rupert Murdoch there (Rupert was there as a guest of Boris) but lets us not forget it was Tony Blair (and then followed on by Gordon Br own) who gave the Government support and backing to our 2012 Olympic bid.

But please can the Ipswich Tories stop describing themselves as the saviours of sport in Ipswich, because just like Gove if they had their way – there would be little if any money spent on sport and sporting facilities.