Thursday, April 29, 2010

General Election Day 23 Wednesday

Went to the Workers Memorial Day rally in Manchester to commemorate all those killed at work-often because safety has been scrimped on to increase profit. I learnt that the Tories plan to allow big firms to have their own private health and safety audit and then prevent the Health and Safety executive inspecting. Supposedly cutting back on red tape-actually a recipe for more deaths and injuries at work. Workplace deaths are down 75% since the 1980's but 180 people are still killed at work every year

Then we heard about the incident in Rochdale. What can you say? everyone makes mistakes at times, if I had a pound for every mistake I'd made I could pay off all the Labour Party's debts. The response on the doorsteps wasn't too bad, most people just saying it only proves he's human.

The trick now is to forget the distractions, do well in the debate tonight and then push for every vote for the next 7 days-those votes are there to be had. Me, I am now off to Liverpool Wavertree

General Election Day 22 Tuesday

Postal votes arrive today so I have been busy in Withington, good response from voters. Major improvement in Campaign as I buy a kettle to replace the one with the top 'detached' which means it wont boil-an essential requirement of most kettles.

Evening spent canvassing in my ward-good response. bit odd as its the first local election in 10 years that I havent been the candidate but it means I can do more on the General Election.

General Election Day 21 Monday

Spent the whole day in Salford leafletting-getting fed up with the media obsession with process,hung parliaments and hypothetical situations. Its important we dont get sucked into this sideline but concentrate on the politics- ensuring the economy doesn't fall back into recession, meeting the needs of an ageing population, tackling our housing problems. Keep the debate on policy and we win.

I am also concerned that the first NEC meeting after the election is not until May 18th. If any important decisions need to be made its essential that the party is fully involved and for that reason I have asked the General Secretary if we can bring the meeting forward by a week.

After canvassing we went for a meal at the Agra Fort in Ellesmere Port. It had been specially prepared for us by Mrs Miah for the party workers and really was excellent-many,many thanks!

Monday, April 26, 2010

General Election Day 20 Sunday

Making good progress with postal vote leaflets, it certainly gets you out in the fresh air!

Incensed by the news that the civil service feel it appropriate to insult the Roman Catholic church in preparing for the Popes visit. Anyone who knows me knows its a long time since I have been a practicing catholic but I passionately believe all faiths should be treated with respect, even, and perhaps especially, if you disagree with their teachings.

When I was growing up we always knew there was a nasty strain of anti-catholicism in the british ruling circles (based largely on the fact that we were predominantly Irish and working class)-it clearly still persists!

PS apologies. I had a comment about the Lib Dem vote but being a bit clumsy(which is a little bit like saying Elvis Presley was alright at singing) I managed to delete it by accident. It is right that the Alliance got more in 1983, my point was that the Liberals came from nowhere in 1974 to get 19% then disappeared witin a couple of years.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

General Election Day 20 Saturday

Spent an hour filling red baloons with Helium in Ellesmere Port- an essential part of any political campaign before dashing off to Manchester for a meeting followed by a few hours in Withington.
There's a good mood of determination amongst the members and we know we have a big job in front of us.
We know there are still plenty of undecideds both locally and nationallyand we have to work hard for every one of them. In fact-the Don't Knows will decide it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

General Election Day 19 Friday

Canvassing in Salford followed by delivering postal vote letters in Withington. I was delivering in Burnage on the estate my Aunty Mary used to live on. To be honest it's a credit to the Local Government pioneers who built decent housing to tackle the poor housing that blighted our city.We will need to be just as radical in the future!

Then I went down to Greatledge printers to pick up leaflets for Ellesmere Port.Written on Thursday and E-mailed that night,they were ready for delivery by Friday tea-time. Greatledge are brilliant!

General Election Day 18 Thursday

Decided to have a break and went down to Crewe to help my mate Dave Williams who is the candidate there. He's doing a brilliant job of trying to regain the seat we lost at the By-election 2 years ago.

I spent the morning inviting people to come down and meet Dave and Andy Burnham, who would be arriving later. We then went out canvassing with Lucy and Nan-you certainly aren't going to say no to that pair! Lots of people coming back since the By-election.

Andy's visit went well then there was a young labour event with over 100 there. The party is doing a great job in Crewe and Nantwich!

General Election Day 17 Wednesday

Most of the day in Withington and a bit in Salford.

These debates are putting a bit of a straight jacket on the campaign,turning it into a three round contest and the final one will be the most intereting.

Cameron is looking distinctly uncomfortable-obviously feeling the pressure from his people who thought it was in the bag

General Election Day 16 Tuesday

Withington and Ellesmere Port today.
Eddie Izzard came out with us today before going to an USDAW branch meeting-that ensured a big turnout! It was a boost for us having him with us, he's a really nice fella.
We are reminding people that the Lib Dems are committed to cutting back on winter fuel allowance for the 60-65's and abolishing child trust funds-issues like this matter to our supporters.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

General Election Day Fifteen Monday

Good news that the Government is sending in the Navy to help stranded travellers-issues like this call for decisive action.

I would also like to see tough action from the Government to force the insurance companies to live up to their responsibilities-there are too many reports of stranded travellers being let down and forced to pay out thousands and this is yet another example of financial institutions being happy to take our money but not keeping their side of the bargain.

I spent theday in Ellesmere Port then back to Manchester for a fundraiser with Eddie Izzard-a good night was had by all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

General Election Day Fourteen Sunday

Spend all day delivering Postal vote info. in Ellesmere Port.

Wheels seem to be coming off the Tory campaign-in 1974 the Liberals came from nowhere to take 25% of the vote, wonder if that will happen again?

The airline crisis is causing real problems for people and is going to have major long term consequences.

General Election Day Thirteen Saturday

Direct mail delivery in the morning, Knock off at dinnertime to go to the match-not talking about that! then more direct mail delivery. It all begins to blend in to one.

General Election Day Twelve Friday

All the reaction to the debate seems to be that Clegg "won"-whatever that means. It does create major strategic problems for the Tories as it opens up a second front for them to fight on.

Cameron needs to be worried-the Tories have been expecting this election to be a cakewlk and if he doesnt deliver a majority Government his leadership will come under real pressure-watch out for Boris and George.

Me, I spent the dayin EllesmerePort and Withington,lots of members coming in to help-good feeling all round.

Treated Withington CLP to a £5 bet-if City win 4-1 tomorrow and Tevez scores a hat trick it will pay for the campaign.

General Election Day Eleven Thursday

Todays the day of the leaders debate-clouds of volcanic ash all over the country could be an omen!

During the day I go out in Withington, big direct mail delivery. The quality of our literature really is very good. Then its over to Ellesmere Port helping with the nomination paper. A quick couple of pints in the "White Swan,not exactly gripped with excitement about the debate. Heard some of it on the car radio, Gordon sounded good and strong. Clegg does nothing for me-seems very lightweight. Cameron is the one who seems worried.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

General Election Day Ten Wednesday

Well,Well... The Libdems want to cut back on winter fuel allowance-wait till the pensioners find out about that! Add that to the abolition of child trust funds and their willingness to support a Tory Government and there are some nasty plums in their pudding of a manifesto.

They make a big thing of having costed everything in their manifesto-not much use if all your costings are fantasy!

For me its been more voter ID in Withington and direct mail in Salford-life has a degree of predictability at the moment.

General Election Day nine Tuesday

Tory manifesto launch today and I was surprised at how weak it was-basically a rehash of all that 80's stuff about "empowering" people to run their own schools, veto council tax rises and electing mad people to run the police. What they dont get is that most people dont want to "run" things. They want to have their views respected and want to see our public services delivering high standards, what they dont want to do is spend every spare moment at budget sub-committeesor performance review groups

In actual fact the Tories are really about cutting back services and hoping the voluntary sector picks up the slack. Quite simply it won't

General Election Day Eight Monday

Manifesto launch today- Could have gone down but think I am more use here in Mancester. It was a good venue,highlighting the solid achievements of a Labour Government_ we have made a real difference for people in this country and should be proud of it.

Gordon Brown came to Ellesmere Port today visiting the Vauxhall plant, stressing the importance of manufacturing.

The manifesto concentrates on protecting the recovery reminding us that on all the tough decisions the Tories called it wrong.

General Election Day Seven Sunday

Lots of Direct Mail delivery in Salford. Knock off at 4pm and go down to the club to watch City put five past Birmingham. Bit hard on Brum who have been playing well this year but from my point of view-not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

General Election Day Six Saturday

I go over to Withington with my friend Jill and team up with local member Lucy for a good canvass-getting lots of posters up.
Then we go back to Salford to deliver direct mail- I pick up a West Indian take away from Kool Runnings so thats tea taken care of!

Picked the third in the Grand National but dont think my £1.38 winnings will change my life.

In the evening we went to the adoption meeting in Salford at the Willows,home of Salford Reds. Speakers incuded Gary Titley, Arlene McCarthy and John Merry, leader of Salford city council. Hazel and the local members are fighting a real campaign for every vote.

General Election Day Five Friday

Back to Manchester and working in Withington. The mood is very upbeat with lots of young supporters getting involved. There will be a lot of ups and downs over the next three weeks or so and it really will be the case that every vote counts. I think we are all going to be up very late on election night.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Workers Memorial Day

I omitted one key detail from the article about workers memorial day-it is on Wednesday, April 28th.

Workers Memorial Day

The recent tragic deaths of James Shear and Alan Bannon, the fire fighters killed rescuing people in the tower block fire in Southampton, highlight the importance of Workers Memorial day- a day when we remember those injured or killed at work and resolve to do all we can to tighten up legislation and good practice to ensure everyone can go to work and come home safely.
There will be events to mark the day all over the country- just google for details.
If you are in Manchester there will be a march from the Mechanics Institute on Major St.( just off Princess St.) starting at 11.30amto a rally in the Peace Gardens at Noon

General election day four Thursday

Down to London for the clause Five meeting. This is where the NEC, Cabinet, National Policy Forum reps and Trade Unions come together to agree the Manifesto. Ed Miliband and the policy staff have been consulting widely to arrive at a draft and today was our first sight of it.

The meeting was held at Church House, at the back of Westminster Abbey. When you arrive party staff give you a secrecy declaration to sign swearing that you wont leak any details of the manifesto before its launch on Monday( a bit late as the papers all had details yesterday).

I was then given a numbered copy of the draft-to be handed in at the end of the meeting.

I had arrived an hour and a half early to study the document and there are some strong proposals in it which will really benefit working people-thats probably as far as I can go without breaching my oath of silence and being struck down by lightning!

Gordon Brown introduced the discussion and various cabinet ministers answered questions about their sections. The whole thing lasted 2 hours and then it was a quick couple of pints and then back home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

General election-day three-wednesday

A bit of a bitty day-direct mail delivery in Salford in the morning, Telephone Conference about the manifesto at dinnertime then went to do my monthly blood platelet donation followed by canvassing and leafletting in Withington.

During the telephone conference, which included Ellie Reeves, ann Lucas and Stephanie Peacock I made the point that we need to stress the economic competence issues-I doubt this will necessitate a major re-writing!

Tomorrow its off to London for the Clause Five meeting where we agree the manifesto. Personally I would rather stay here knocking on doors but I think this is one that the members would expect me to be at.

General Election Day Two Tuesday

Spent most of the day in Manchester Withington. Its the one non labour seat in Manchester, Won last time on the back of an untruth that Christie's hospital was under threat. Guess what... its still here-and thats because it never was under threat.

We've got a great candidate in Lucy Powell and the local party have been working really hard
and we are going to win. So,as well as doing my bit in Salford I will be helping out in Withington.
We are also going to be helped out by Eddie Izzard-should be interesting.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

General Election Day One

So, its official. Gordon has gone to the palace and the country will be voting in 30 days. I have spent the day helping Lucy Powell in Withington- putting up posters, leafleting and canvassing. The response has been very good with a strong anti-tory feeling. The Tory strategy of hoping for mass collective amnesia isn't working in Manchester!

I have received notice of the Clause Five meeting in London on Thursday- this is the one where we agree the manifesto. I am looking for some real substance dealing with the major issues-jobs and the economy, the NHS, crime and housing-to name but a few.

The polls are tightening and I see Ladbrokes are offering 5 to 1 against Labour having the most seats. Very generous and well worth a tenner!

Monday, April 05, 2010

General Election 2010

So it looks like Gordon is off to the Palace tomorrow and we finally get to make a choice - a choice between a Labour Government, that made the correct economic calls when the going got tough and the Tories who have shown they are simply not up to the job.

They are a very right wing anti-trade union organisation and I firmly believe that if they get in Britain will be a much worse place for working people than it is today. It's our job to prevent that from happening - good luck to everyone working towards a Labour victory.

Stalybridge and Hyde

Been busy for the last month or so trying to get selected as the Labour candidate for Stalybridge & Hyde. It's only over the last year that I thought I would have a go at being an MP if the opportunity arose. I am convinced that issues like 10p tax and the expenses problems would be less likely to happen if we had more MP's who lived like the majority of our voters live.

Stalybridge & Hyde is a lovely place situated between Manchester and the Pennines, and I met lots of good Labour Party members - however I wasn't successful in getting selected. The important thing though is that the members got to make the decision and as long as that happens, democracy in the Labour Party is in good hands.