In this blog I will be giving my political opinions on both issues at home and abroad. I will also focus on the issues that affect the people of Ipswich and in particular those who live in Rushmere Ward. I will also try and give an insight to how I will be campaigning in Rushmere and Ipswich as we fight against the savage cuts imposed by this Tory Government
Wednesday, 14 July 2021
Ipswich Tory MP - 'Twisting the facts?'
Wednesday, 30 June 2021
Good news for Brunswick Road Recreation ground - new play area
Sunday, 20 June 2021
Save our trees!
Over the last few months, man residents have contacted us about Tory run Suffolk County Council and Network Rail cutting down trees.
Ipswich Labour run Ipswich Borough Council have a policy of replacing any tree cut down by planting two new ones in it's place. Unfortunately , Suffolk County Council don't allow for trees to be replaced on residential streets.
Often, we as the Borough Council get the blame as the County Council sub-contract to us the inspection of and then felling of the trees.
We fully understand that trees many not be suitable to be re-planted in some streets however they could be planted somewhere else in the Borough, the Tory County Council have promised substantial tree planting throughout the County but it seems in Ipswich they just want to remove as many trees as possible.
Network Rail, do replant trees but they could be re-planted anywhere in East Anglia, not just in the town they were knocked down in - again, this is not good enough.
Trees are vital for local wildlife, cleaner air and improving the local street scene, if you agree, please sign our petition, calling on the County Council and Network Rail to replace felled trees in Ipswich and to follow the example of Labour run Ipswich and replace every one felled with two new trees.
Petition is here
Sunday, 6 June 2021
More good news for Ipswich
More good news for Ipswich residents with the Council’s bid to improve safety in Maple Park having more success with £422,200 awarded from the government’s Safer Streets Fund. The money awarded will look to reduce crime and make people feel safer.
The Home Office were so impressed with the Maple Park project that they are now using it as an example of ‘best practice’ – the success of this ongoing project is down to the hard work of Ipswich Borough Council Officer, Ipswich Police, the three Labour Ward councillor’s for Westgate Ward, however the biggest thanks must go to the local residents who came forward to be involved.
Improvements will include better CCTV – more cameras as well as improving sight-lines; alley-gating that will prevent access to the backs of house and flats; improving currently unused space to make it feel owned and used by the local community; better street-lighting and other measures. There will also be regular surveys of people’s perceptions of the success of these measures and other community-building initiatives.
Ann Clarke, Treasurer of the Friends of Maple Park residents group commented;
"There is a lively and vibrant community around the Maple Park area and it is fantastic to see that the Council have obtained this funding which will go to improving the safety of the residents in the neighbourhood and
those visiting. Increased security measures and better lighting will be really appreciated by the community."
As the Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, I am very proud of the team of Officers who have worked on this project , disappointed that (as of yet_) our Tory MP, Mr Hunt and the vast majority of the Tory Councillors in Ipswich have failed to comment on this good news.
The Borough Officers, the local Police team, local Ward Councillors and residents deserve praise from all of us who are elected to represent Ipswich residents, whether you are Labour, Tory or Lib Dem.
A campaign that was based on deceit
The main thrust of the Tory campaign to win County Council seats in Ipswich was based on deceit - even the Tory MP for the town took time off from attaching footballers, to join in - their message was for the Tories as Labour County Council councillor's had failed to spend their budget given to them for local highway issues.
The Tory Group in Ipswich, had researched very carefully to come up with the figure for unspent budgets, they used social media to say that they would have no problem spending the money if they were elected.
But this is the real deceit, if they had requested the figures from the County Council ( and one of the Ipswich Group is in the County Cabinet, so you would have thought he would have known anyway) and done the research they said they had they would have known that in fact of 75 Suffolk County Councillors (majority of whom are Tory) only only three had been able to spend all of their Local Highways Budget by 31 March 2021. My Labour colleague, Martin Cook has uncovered the deceit.
In total £2.1m was unspent across Suffolk on 31 March 2021 and even after forward commitments into 2021-2022 were considered there was £1.3m left in the kitty. People will struggle to understand how this could be the case when there is clearly so much work to be done.
Those who failed to spend their budget included Former Tory cabinet members for Highways Mary Evans and Guy McGregor They were in good company with former Tory cabinet member for Highways and Thedwastre North councillor, Jane Storey who returned £49,880.18 unspent.
Even former Tory Council leaders were not immune, Mark Bee had money left over as did Colin Noble who offered £48,460.53 cashback. The top spot however was reserved for Conservative Councillor Peter Beer (Great Cornard) who returned a whopping £66,825.64, more than any other Councillor.
The fact that Suffolk’s Local Highways Budget scheme is dysfunctional shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Tory-run Suffolk County Council fails us on highways projects large and small. From potholes that take six months to repair even after the work has been ordered to large projects like the Ipswich Northern Bypass, abandoned with £1m spent or the scrapped Upper Orwell Crossing (£8m wasted) the signs of failure are everywhere.
When even experienced, senior county councillors are unable to spend their Local Highways Budget it points to a systemic failure of governance.
We can rightfully blame the Tory County Council for failing us on highways however when it comes to deceit in election campaigning, the local Ipswich Tory group should take full responsibility and they were ably assisted in that deceit by our Tory MP, Tom Hunt.
I am sure they knew most Tory County Councillors had also failed to spend their budget they might have even known that it was a Tory who handed back the most - but they kept those facts from the electorate - deceit helped the Tories to win County Council seats.
Friday, 28 May 2021
You told them they were safe
Sunday, 16 May 2021
Thank you, Rushmere residents
Over a week ago, I was re-elected to Ipswich Borough Council, to represent Rushmere Ward. there is no hiding the fact that the Ipswich Labour party did not have a great night, we expected to lose some seats after probably over achieving when these seats were up for election last in 2016, but it was still very disappointing to lose a number of seats on the Borough and County Councils.
We also lost some very good councilors and many were also very good friends, but they will return and it is up to us who are left on the council to continue their good work.
Ipswich is a well run council, we have gone the extra mile to help our residents and businesses during the pandemic - but we still lost seats, why?
There is no doubt that the Tories locally are better organised than they have been for a while, and they now campaign in wards where they would never have been seen before. Unfortunately they also seem keen to copy Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and even Corbyn in acting as 'populist' politicians - hiding away from the real issues, real facts or bothering looking at the costs. More worryingly they also in some cases act like our local Tory MP and seek to divide our local communities, willing to allow certain communities to be used as scapegoats.
No surprise then, that they have allowed former UKIP candidates to stand for them in local elections, many of the UKIP policies were openly racist however I hope that those former UKIP members now elected as Tory councillors in the town, do not hold those racist beliefs that many UKIP politicians were proud to display.
I hope for the sake of this town, that Shayne Pooley and Tony Gould look to represent all their constituents fairly and we must give them the opportunity to show that they are willing to do so and not revert to UKIP rhetoric of 'send them all back'.
But back to why did we lose seats? - We have made mistakes locally, we have concentrated on protecting our town during the pandemic and maybe needed to spend some of our time on telling residents what we hope to do in the future, I am sure residents will be very impressed with what we have got planned for the next few months, however it was not possible to go public with what we have in the pipeline, in particular some interesting announcements about the town centre.
It is also obvious that Boris Johnson is popular, even if in the end it will be shown that he has lied to Parliament on a number of occasions and at times was more interested in his own wallet than the future of this country. He has benefited from a vaccine bounce, but we may see a similar drop in his popularity at the end of furlough. Worryingly, he may 'ignore the science' and we will continue with his 'roadmap' out of the pandemic even if the Indian variant starts to kill many of our population. as he is loathe to go back to a further lockdown.
Keir Starmer and his front bench have also struggled to get their message over to the population, difficult as Johnson has managed to fool voters in forgetting that the Tories have been in power for 11 years, a trick Mr Hunt attempts in Ipswich when talking about crime - who would think the Tories have had 11 years to sort it out but high crime rates are still not the fault of the Tory Government or the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, some even attempt to blame me!!
We also still have the problem of Corbyn, most former leaders, tend to keep a low profile, whilst we have Corbyn who is very happy to go in front of the press to say where Keir went wrong in May! No humility at all. I for one hope that most Labour members will see by the way the far left have behaved over the last few months that it is now the time they are given the message from members, that they are no longer wanted in our party, never before have I seen a protest group within the party act like Momentum have - we are fighting elections whist at the same time they are having campaign strikes! Time they were kicked out, they are not wanted in Labour by most members and in particular by labour voters.
What I can say to Rushmere residents, is that I will continue to represent you to the best of my ability- it doesn't matter if you did or did not vote for me, and as lockdown measures ease, you will see plenty of myself and our local Labour team on the doorstep over the next year.
Rushmere Ward - Declared
One seat contested.
Turn out: 43.62%
|ROSS||Alasdair Donald Mackenzie||Labour||1,208|
Wednesday, 5 May 2021
Vote for Ipswich Labour this Thursday - May 6th
Saturday, 3 April 2021
Suffolk Tories fail to light our streets
The Labour run Borough Council in Ipswich have called on Tory run Suffolk County Council to turn back on the street lights at night after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. So far the Tories have refused.
The Labour run Borough Council owns about 5% of the towns street lights, mostly footpath lights, and we will be turning those back on throughout the night.
So, it's disappointing to hear from a resident that the lights in the Angus Close/Sidegate Lane footpath have not been working at all for the last two years.
When Cllr Sandra Gage took this up with the County Council, they admitted they had known since 2019 that the lights did not work, but they had found it too hard to get scaffolding past the cycle barriers, so they had not bothered to fix them - or even inform the Borough who own them!
This is not good enough; these lights are owned by the Borough Council and we have a contract with the Tory run County Council for them to be maintained.
After pressure from Sandra, the County have now agreed to fix the lights - the Rushmere Labour team will keep the pressure on, to make sure they do.
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Ipswich Tory MPs insulting words
Monday, 29 March 2021
Network Rail – ‘We got it wrong’
Over the last few weeks, Network Rail have removed a large number of trees beside the railway line close to Belvedere Road, Moat Farm Close and Brunswick Road - with chainsaws and large lifting equipment. Now they admit they got their communications very wrong. They sent a stock letter saying they were just going to be cutting foliage back with hand tools. They should have explained exactly why they needed to cut down so many mature trees.
After being challenged by your councillors, they have claimed that those trees will be replaced at ecological projects somewhere in East Anglia. That’s not good enough - we are demanding that they plant replacement trees in Ipswich.
They have also still not fully apologised to residents. We will carry on contacting them on your behalf. In future they should consult with residents first before undertaking such work.
Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Has Ipswich ever had a more embarrassing MP?
As you can never tell if Mr Hunt has taken any posted comments on board, I decided to email him and he replied- twice- but with his last email stating he would not be responding again.
In his email he did not apologise for comparing the Ipswich Labour Party emblem (1924) with the North Korean Workers Party emblem ( 1950s) and it was obvious he could not understand any hurt that it would cause to Labour members and voters like myself whose father had fought in the Korean War.
Mr Hunt did admit he had sent messages to at least one local Tory with a previous attack on the Cambridge Labour Party for having a similar emblem to the North Korean WP, so he could not even be original in his attack on the Ipswich Labour Party. Best bit was he seemed to imply he just sent it to the local Tory Leader for interest, he was not asking him to use it to attack myself again. So he would take no responsibility for two local Tories using it to defend him/attack me! Make a mistake, you should own it! Best thing about when the Tory Leader used it, he left Mr Hunt’s name on the message. Not sure MI5 or MI6 will be calling to ask for his services.
Now I have received his replies, I feel now I can answer the points he made in his Facebook post/rant/attack.
He did not like my comment that he was playing to the ‘right-wing crowd’. His explanation was > I think I'm simply expressing the views shared by the vast majority of my constituents, We don't like it when people come here illegally and then when here commit criminal damage and threaten members of staff.
How does he know what his constituents opinion is? He has blocked many on Facebook, does not answer on twitter and when I looked down the replies to his posts, many were from people outside Ipswich - Kent, Essex, Mansfield, Felixstowe – so not sure he will know how many are from Ipswich.
He also used the line – when people come illegally – no mention that these people are refugees- some may be economic migrants but others will be fleeing war torn countries – interesting the same day, he was retweeting a Tory post that highlights that a refugee from North Korea was to stand as a candidate to be Tory Councillor in May – Did she come here illegally? Should he not just want to send her back to where she came from, as many of the comments on his Facebook post seemed to wish?
His next paragraph was his bizarre attack on Ipswich Labour for our emblem being similar to the Workers party of North Korea, which I have already commented on.
In my original tweet that seemed to cause this rant – I said he would be better of spending time on Ipswich issues such as the Northern by-pass. This caused the local Tory Leader to tweet in a supposedly humorous way that did I not know that the by-pass had been shelved, Mr (student politics?) Hunt liked the tweet.
What was funny – in his Facebook post, Mr Hunt stated > As for your advice for activity on local issues Cllr Ross, perhaps you ought to give my Facebook page a follow or look at my website.
I took the advice of my MP and guess what? On his website, he declares > I will continue campaigning for a Northern Bypass to ease congestion through the middle of Ipswich.
Does he not know it has been shelved? Scrapped by the Tory run Suffolk County Council? Maybe he should have told me to take a look at his 'out of date' website?
In his letter to me he indicated that by reading my social media posts that he had decided I was defending and explaining away criminal behaviour. How wrong he is.
In fact, I expected my tweet on the subject to see criticism from the left as I stated that as I knew Napier Barracks well, having spent my 20th birthday there and operating from the camp as recently as 2009, that I doubted the arson was due to the state of the accommodation.
In later tweets, i did comment that how a COVID outbreak had been dealt with by the private security firm had been given as reason for the unrest. Again at no time giving this as an excuse for the criminal behaviour, what is probably more telling, that even when the COVID outbreak became common knowledge, Mr Hunt failed at any time in his post to mention COVID, as if that would dilute his message of dealing harshly with illegal immigrants.
Some of the comments on the post by Mr Hunt stated that they thought I wanted the camp closed and the asylum seekers/ human beings/immigrants- choose your own title - should be put up in hotels. Again I never mentioned anything like that, in fact it was the Tory MP and Tory Council leader for Folkestone who demanded that the camp is shut.So do I still think Mr Hunt plays to the 'right-wing crowd'?
I am afraid the answer still has to be 'yes', when he commented on Millwall fans booing players for taking a knee in support of 'Black Lives Matter' - he defended the Miwall supporters, I expect he would say he was speaking on the behalf of his constituents, however a week later Ipswich played the first of two games at home permitted by a relaxation in lockdown rules. On a miserable (football wise) afternoon, when both teams took a knee, the vast majority of the crowd stood up and applauded in support of the players, i am not sure if Mr Hunt was in the Directors Box, could not see him as he may have been sat down and too far away to ear him booing!
If you want further evidence of why I think he craves the support of those on the right just look at some of the comments to his original post attacking me, some are disgusting, some outrageous, some sensible but very few are factual, however at no time does Mr Hunt comment or attempt to put the true facts.
Terms used, and quite often include > 'illegal immigrants' 'Send them back to where they came from' 'they only look after the scum who can't be bothered to work' and then 'they support anything or anyone who is not from the indigenous population' ( hate to see that person go on 'Who do you think you are? he might be in for a few shocks).
So if you read this Mr Hunt, I do believe you go after the Far right vote, your comments do not help build relationships between our many communities and in fact I find your comments embarrassing and would not expect them from any MP- Tory or Labour. At times you sound more like a UKIP candidate than a Tory MP.
As a son of a Korean veteran and former Labour Councilor, I found your comment comparing the Ipswich Labour logo to that of the North Korean Workers party disgusting.
As a veteran and one who was proud to serve for over 24 years in the army, you remind me of those jingoistic MPs, stood up in Parliament, waving their union jacks as Tommy Atkins is sent off to war, but nowhere to found when he returns.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook- room slops, but prove it to our face
The widow's uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
Sunday, 31 January 2021
Embarrassing comment from an embarrassing MP
Yesterday Tom Hunt, our Conservative MP for Ipswich decided to post a critical attack on me of his Facebook page - I have been critical of him via twitter, so I must and do accept that I may be criticised in reply, but he decided to not reply on twitter but to use his facebook page, it was not till someone phoned me that I became aware he had done so.
Much of what he said was inaccurate and actually by reading many of the comments to his post it proved my point - he does seem to playing to right wing crowd in fact that comment may have been slightly on the conservative side as many of the comments seem to have come from a 'far right crowd'.
However his strangest comment was one that has actually upset me - disagreements on political issues are to be expected and are nothing new but this comment was very bizarre and the more I look at it, the more it upsets and angers me;
His comment was:
"And also , what is it with this bizarre Ipswich labour party banner in his profile picture on twitter that makes it look like he's campaigning for the North Korean Communist party"
Now the banner he is on about is the Ipswich Labour Party banner, and the emblem is from 1924 – 'a quill, a shovel and a torch’ - in fact when comparing emblems an old Tory one seems closer to the North Korean emblem than this.
North Korea and an old Conservative Party emblem - more in common?
But the more I thought about it the more it upset, if he had seen the full picture, he would have seen my late father holding the banner. My dad volunteered for the Army, straight from school and ended up fighting in the Korean War with the Argyll’s. 31 of his comrades would not return from South East Asia. So I find it personally disgusting that he compares my party banner with that of North Korea.
I suggest Mr Hunt, walks to the far North East corner of his constituency and visits the Millennium Cemetery, where he will see a memorial to those from Ipswich who fought in Korea. I am sure my dad is not the only Labour voter on that memorial and I am sure there will be trade unions members, socialists, and even Conservative voters, names on that memorial. They all would understand the threat of North Korea, and am not sure that they would be impressed with Mr Hunt comparing the two emblems.
For Mr Hunt to compare the Ipswich CLP banner with that of North Korea is disgusting and not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a Member of Parliament.
For over 100 years, thousands of Ipswich Labour members have worked hard to improve the lives of their families and their friends, many will have volunteered to serve their country, others would have been conscripted, some would have lost their lives fighting for this country but that does not seem to bother Mr Hunt, but as a son of a Labour member who fought in Korea, I am disgusted by his behaviour and actually embarrassed to think we have this man as our MP.
Mr Hunt, I have no doubt in my mind that it does not matter how long you are the MP for Ipswich, you will never give as much of your life to the people of Ipswich as my father did – soldier, veteran, NHS worker, Optician, Charity organiser, School governor, councillor and what I remember most is how he helped the very first Bangladeshi residents settle in this town where you seem at times intent on stirring up trouble between our various communities within the town.
Your comments yesterday on Facebook and your behaviour at times over the last year have been embarrassing.
Feel free to comment, Mr Hunt – unlike you I will inform you that I have posted this reply to your initial post.
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Labour always strong on defence
The latest attack on the Labour Party has seen Tory MPs including our own ineffective MP for Ipswich, Tom Hunt attack Lisa Tandy for commenting on a publication by a Labour supporting group on the future of the Armed Forces.
As usual the Tories just focused on a few short snippets from the report- seeming to forget that the most savage cuts in troop numbers to the Armed Forces since the 1930's have taken place under the Tories in the last 10 years. The forces are fully stretched, even before assisting the NHS in this pandemic.
The Tories are not the party of the armed forces, they pretend to be. So thought this would be a good opportunity to remember the former Labour MP, Edith Summerskill who during World War 2, lobbied for women to be allowed to join the Home Guard to help defend our country - a view that did not go down well with many of the Tory backbenchers.