Monday, 22 October 2012

Last time the Liberals campaigned in Ipswich?

We might have seen a more recent Lib Dem leaflet in Rushmere Ward, Ipswich but I am not sure!

But it seems even then like today they are spinning lines about how they were pro our Armed Forces – Wonder if like today they were saying one thing about looking after our ‘heroes’ whilst actually making soldiers redundant

Sunday, 21 October 2012

From Fire station to houses.

On Wednesday last week (17 October 2012) Ipswich Borough Council Planning Committee gave planning co0nsent for Hopkins Homes to build on the old Fire Station site on Colchester Road.

The old fire station has already been demolished so Hopkins should start quite soon in building the first of 59 houses planned for the site.

I raised a number of issues with Hopkins Homes on behalf of local residents and they have agreed to those changes.

Ipswich Borough policy is to ask for 35% of the development be affordable homes. Hopkins Homes asked for this to be reduced to 25% as they had been informed that the County Council now required £388,000 in Section 106 money (this is the money that a council can ask for towards local amenities such as libraries) rather than the initial £106,000 they were asked for in December 2010.

As a Labour Group we are keen to see an increase in affordable homes but as a planning committee we understood that Hopkins Homes had been asked to pay considerable more that they first thought to the County Council.

It was agreed that Hopkins Homes could just build 25% in affordable homes but that now the Borough council would take control of the Section 106 money and look to use that to build other homes within the Borough.

I believe that this development will be welcomed by most Rushmere (and Ipswich ) residents.

My week ahead 22 - 28 October 2012

Monday 22 October 4pm - Culture portfolio meeting
6pm - Labour campaigning

Thursday 25 October 6pm - Scrutiny meeting, Grafton House

This week we continue to listen to the Ipswich Tories confuse the residents with their version of events on the building of Wind Turbines outside Ipswich. A Tory campaigner and former council candidate even accused me of telling lies in yet again another nasty blog post. It is disappointing that Ben Gummer and the Ipswich Tory Group seem to feel it is OK for one of their past (and probably future) candidates can continue to accuse me of telling lies and also to resort to name calling. sorry to dissapoint you Kevin, I have faced far more formidable opponents in West Belfast, Crossmaglen and Sangin. Do your worst.

Far more pleasing for myself it to see youngsters in Ipswich wanting their voices to be heard, I was invited to speak to a politics class at Copleston School this week and then today I attended an event organised by the Speakers Corners Trust – held on the Town Hall steps, in pouring rain but it did not stop the passion being shown by pupils from Copleston, Westbourne and Stoke High Schools. We are sure this will become a regular event.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Road safety in Whitby Road , Ipswich

Whitby /Beverley Road News

Over the last month a number of residents have been in contact about installing white lines at the Beverley Road/Whitby Road junction.

Give way lines are not always needed on residential streets. However, at this junction it is not as obvious who has right of way and with the proximity of the junction to Sidegate Primary School, the road safety concerns raised by residents have been considered.

Sandra Gage, one of our local campaigners, and myself approached the council highways department to ask that new give way lines were introduced at the Beverley Road/Whitby Road junction. Last week those lines were painted onto the roads. I am sure this will help improve road safety for not only residents but also the young children and their parents who walk along Whitby Road.

Sandra has also brought to my attention the need for more road safety measures at both the Khartoum/Woodbridge Rd junction and the Leopold/Rushmere Road junction. We have approached the council to see what we can do in those streets.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

My week ahead 14 - 20 October 2012

Monday 15 October, 6pm - Campaigning in Ipswich

Wednesday 17 October, 9.30am - Planning meeting, Grafton House

1pm - Talking to politics students at Copleston School

Friday 19 October 2pm - North East Area Committee, Agenda setting meeting

Saturday 20 October 10.30am - Campaigning in South East Ipswich

This week we had David Cameron moving (back) to the Right and Ben Gummer calling councillors, mediocre - would make you think that the Tories are getting worried.

We continue to campaign all over Ipswich (and Suffolk) for the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election - a sit is a Tory idea you would think they would also be out knocking on doors but so far we have only seen a fleeting glimpse of the Tory candidate in Ipswich.

We also have Planning committee this week where we hope that a final decision will be made on the development of the old Fire station site on Colchester Road. I will post about that after we find out what the outcome is on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

So we are mediocre

Ben Gummer has got himself into a pickle by stating many Councils consist of "self-governing oligarchies of mediocre people".

Now Mr Gummer is stating on twitter that the BBC have misquoted him and Ipswich Spy seem to believe him and have written a defence of him. The BBC themselves have no changed their headline here.

But when you read the quotes from Ben, it does not make good reading – so has he is a very junior MP, the only councillors he would know are those from Ipswich (or possibly from Suffolk Coastal) and I would say the only councillors he really knows are his own Ipswich Tory councillors – so are they mediocre Ben?

But to be fair to the Ipswich Tories it is us – Ipswich Labour he was having a go at – with this quote – his description of Labour run Ipswich Borough Council - as all too often "getting in people's way" and "frustrating ambition."

Then he comes up with his real Tory idea- businesses should have their own elected councillors! Seems to me that this is a step back to the 19th century rather than improving democracy.

Gummer then informs the meeting that some councillors can’t understand balance sheets – well I’m learning Mr Gummer as I try and make the budget work at Sidegate Primary School whilst your Government cuts how much we get to spend on education our children.

I’m not a businessman, Mr Gummer but I work hard at understanding balance sheets and business – guess bankers understand them – but would you trust them?

I do understand how soldiers work, what it is like to be shot at and mortared, not sure Mr Hammond the Defence Secretary does- so Mr Gummer- should he step down? Of course not, it does not have to be an ex-soldier to be secretary of State for Defence- and glad about that as we could end up with Tory MP Bob Stewart in charge of the army- totally out of touch when he was a soldier (at least Labour are recruiting soldiers in touch with what the army does – Dan Jarvis)

Closer to home on top of the Ipswich Spy defence, Tory activist Kevin Algar agrees with Ben and puts in a nasty attack on Labour Councillors, probably not realising that Ben may have been on about the Ipswich Tory councillors.

Further afield, Ben has upset Tory Councillors and was publicly criticised on twitter by Tory Councillors and activists from Leicestershire and Warwickshire. With the Tory Councillor from Warwick giving Ben some advice: Can I suggest Ben Gummer MP (2010) needs look beyond London & Ipswich & review his comments about Cllrs..Dont make enemies of you workers ‘

The 2010 inserted into the tweet indicates to me that not impressed by such a junior MP giving advice to councillors who may have worked for residents for years. Another Tory is not impressed by Ben’s excuse that he was misquoted- he wonders what he expected the BBC to write.

Ben does state that Swindon is a good council- maybe we can arrange a lift there for him – in 2015?

Not sure Mr Gummer’s speech will help the residents of Ipswich, maybe if he had told them his views on wind turbines that may have been more beneficial.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Soldier humour shines through

It was an honour yesterday to meet soldiers from the USA and the UK as they rode into Christchurch Park,Ipswich on route to their final destination in London. They had been set off from Norfolk by the Duke of Edinburgh.

You soon forget their disabilities as soldier humour takes over – but it is a remarkable achievement that many of these men are so able to undertake this challenge, they can because of the mix of the fantastic medical help not available right from the front line back to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and the soldiers desire never to give up.

Good to see a number of Ipswich veterans there to meet them, and as usual your never far from a Green Jacket, and I met a former soldier from my own unit who was part of the BLESMA support team.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

My week ahead, 8 - 13 October 2012

Monday 7 October, 3pm – Soldier Ride UK, Christchurch Park – Soldiers who have lost limbs in combat on a charity bike ride from Sandringham to Colchester

4pm – Culture Portfolio meeting

6pm – Labour Group

Friday 12 October, 7pm – Labour fundraiser with talk by anti-fascist campaigner Ruth Smeeth, Kingfisher Pub

Saturday 13 October, 10am – Labour campaigning in North West Ipswich

Times are hard and for some almost desperate as this Government lurches from one u turn to another, whilst ministers (and Boris) just go round making statements without any policy or plans to back them up as seen with Boris on Stansted and Hunt on Abortion. Even football can’t put a smile on my face with the national game imploding thanks to the FA, Terry and Cole and even here in Ipswich Evans, Clegg and Jewell seem to have a much idea about running a football club as Osborne does about running the economy. But dark times can bring out the best in people and this week I went to Copleston School and spoke to their 6th Form Politics students – they were interested, engaged and also willing to contribute to make our town better – so the Tory Government has managed to get the youth of this country interested in politics again – and so on Saturday in the town centre we had 4 teenagers join us campaigning.

I hope to harbour their enthusiasm, anger and ideas in improving the North east of Ipswich, through working with the North east Area Committee.

On the football front the downturn in the fortunes of Ipswich Town FC has seen moaning, despondency but also supporters getting together to have their voice heard, we even saw the return of the paper fanzine, mixing humour, protest and hope. I was privileged to be part (small part) of the team who produced ‘Turnstile Blues’ – it was a hit, sold out on the day and even forcing the club to get a policeman to warn a seller he could be arrested as selling the zine may be a breach of the peace! – Clegg must be worried.