Sunday, 27 March 2016

The next 5 weeks ahead - up till 5 May 2016

The next few weeks will be spent mainly in North East Ipswich campaigning hard for the local Labour Party - so there will be no  'My week ahead' posts till after election day. (Some of you may cheer!)

For some of us the end of the election will just signal a short pause before we start campaigning for a vote to remain in Europe.

So from Tuesday (most evenings) till May 5th, you will see us out campaigning, most of you know that we campaign all year round and you would have spoken to us on our Saturday door knocking sessions but in Rushmere Ward, we may see the 'Lesser Spotted Tory' - there has been only one unconfirmed sighting since last May! So much for Mr Gummer speaking to residents, not even sure he lives in Ipswich anymore.

Ipswich Borough Council, I believe have done a great job in protecting front line services, in the face of severe cuts by a Tory (and at first Tory/Lib Dem) Government but also with the added handicap of having a Tory County council who are also intent on privatising all their services. A Tory County council that currently has no Tory County Councillors, who appointed a Cabinet Member for Ipswich, who has yet to turn up to a single Ipswich Area Committee even though he was invited and the Tory Leader 'I want to be Mayor of East Anglia' Colin Noble asked for the dates to be sent to him again.

Fact is the Tories do not care about Ipswich and will not even attempt tp pretend they do until about 2019, when Mr Gummer will suddenly crawl back out of the woodwork, move back to the town and attempt to get the Wet Dock Crossing named after him!

At the last North East Ipswich Area Committee, the Tory Councillor for Bixley could not think of one good thing this Government or Tory County Council have done for this part of the town - he had to mention the Wet Dock Crossing as if it was great news for North East Ipswich residents - getting the Tory County Council to sort out the daily congestion in Argyle Street or get a new Primary School built in East Ipswich would have been far more useful!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

My week ahead 21 - 26 March 2016

Monday 21 March – 6pm, Labour Group meeting

Tuesday 22 March – 11am, Activ-lives ‘Support our Hub’ event at the Town Hall
7pm- Suffolk Fabians meeting – ‘Democratic Reform’

Thursday 24 March – 7pm – Central  Ipswich Area Committee

Saturday 26 March – 10am, Labour campaigning in North West Ipswich

The wheels have fell off the Tory train this weekend, and for once we have silence from local Tory activists!

The problem with the Tories is to work out who is telling the truth!

Did IDS resign over the proposed cuts by Osborne?

Or as Cameron and Number 10 state, he resigned over Europe?

And if IDS was as bad as other Ministers are now saying why didn’t Cameron sack him ages ago?

The budget – I always thought when something was in the budget it meant it was going to happen – but now we hear the cuts that would have hit the disabled, may now be kicked into the long grass!

Now I think we all know what this spat is all about- Europe – and Gove may have spoken in both defence of IDS and Cameron – ‘leader in waiting’ Boris Johnson seems to be only noticeable by his silence!

Then I wonder how Ipswich Tories are going to react – most seem to be in agreement with IDS about the need to leave the EU but at the same time they are very supportive of the cuts being imposed by Osborne!

What we have is a party tearing itself apart – all for selfish reasons – leadership aspirations of certain Tories being more important to some than the future of our younger generations!

In Suffolk we have had the Tories oppose a motion that would have put a stop to the cuts to the Fire Service- on the day of the Council meeting, Tory MP for Felixstowe suddenly supported the campaign to save at least one fire station in the East of the county but her Tory councillors ignored her. The Sudbury Tories also voted for the cuts to be imposed – they seem to have forgotten the recent fire that decimated their town centre.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

My week ahead, 14 - 19 March 2016

Monday 14 March – 3pm, Visit to Ipswich Gymnastics Centre
4pm, Culture Portfolio briefing
6pm, Labour Group campaigning

Tuesday 15 March – 5pm, Early Warning Group

Thursday 17 March – 6pm North East Ipswich Partnership Working Group
7pm – North East Ipswich Area Committee

Saturday 19 March – 10am, Labour campaigning in North West Ipswich

We are now into dual campaign mode, with important local elections in May followed by even more important referendum on our continued membership of the EU.

There is no doubt in my mind the result in June will be close – and I wonder if Cameron made a serious error in not supporting the introduction of voting at 16. Like Cameron (and Gummer) I strongly believe we should remain as part of the EU and would have added Boris Johnson to those keen on staying in the EU before he put his own leadership aspirations ahead of the future of this country.

Cameron like many Tories knows that letting 16 and 17 year olds may hurt the Tories in future elections so like Johnson, Cameron may have put the selfish interests of his party ahead of the country.

Must be strange when the local Tories are out campaigning with Ben Gummer on his occasional visits to Ipswich, do they even ask about Europe? Do they have separate ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ leaflets?

I also hope our own national Labour leadership starts to campaign harder to remain in the EU, so far we have heard little from Corbyn and even less from John McDonnell. The only positive campaign so far to ‘remain’ in the EU has been led by former Labour Ministers whilst the likes of Livingstone and others from the left have been more interested in internal party politics.

The Tory/Cameron ‘remain’ campaign seems to be based on a ‘fear’ factor whilst the ‘leave’ groups is also confused with internal bickering and seems to have no concrete plans for what we would do in this country once we have left Europe – ( though Johnson and Howard attempted to say a vote to leave could actually mean we do not leave but just try and get a better deal).

So it is the Labour Party that must be the team that tells voters the positive reasons to stay in the EU.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

My week ahead, 7 - 13 March 2016

Monday 7 March – 6pm, Labour Group meeting

 Friday 11 March – 7pm, St Helen’s School PTA fundraising quiz

Saturday 12 March – 10am, Labour campaigning in South East Ipswich

This week we may eventually here what the Tory Government have decided they view is of future devolution for Ipswich and Suffolk – our Council leader and officers have spent considerable time and effort (along with neighbouring councils) talking to Central Government but as with many Tory plans it seems that the final decision had already been made before discussions started – we have gone from Suffolk/Norfolk to possibly Suffolk/Norfolk/Cambridgeshire and from no need for a Mayor to possible a Mayor of East Anglia! So at least this week we may eventually find out what was their plan was really all about.