Those of you who have not yet returned your ballots have until Friday 12 noon to get them back to regional office in Warrington, or you can bring them to the final hustings and count at the Salford Suite in the Civic Centre at 1pm next Sunday, the 4th of March.
I have included below a copy of my speech below so you can see what was said at the meeting. I hope it is of interest. As ever, if you have any queries please don't hesitate to get in touch with me - my number is 07880 780182 - and please do return your ballot.
I am also holding another two meetings over the coming days to give members a chance to ask any questions they might have.
The meetings will be:
- Monday 27th February; 7:30pm; The Blue Bell, Monton Green, Monton, Eccles
- Tuesday 28th February; 7:30pm; The Lion, 201 Liverpool Rd, Cadishead, M44 5XH
I hope to meet you there.
This election is the biggest challenge facing us for many years and your involvement is vital if we are to win.
Speech to members 25th and 26th February......
A Labour Mayor for a Labour City
1. Good morning. It’s a great honour to be here.
2. It’s impossible for me to cover everything in 5 minutes so feel free to contact me afterwards.
3. My name is Peter Wheeler. I want Labour to win the Mayoral election and I believe that I am the candidate to do it.
4. The referendum result was a clear shot across our bows – if we take the voters for granted – if we don’t have a clear message – if we don’t campaign hard – we WILL lose and that would be a tragedy for the people we represent.
5. I knock on doors – I listen to our voters – and I hear time and time again that they are looking for change. They feel the Council doesn’t communicate and doesn’t listen. Either we make the changes or the voters will do it for us.
6. So what sort of change, what sort of Mayor do we need?
7. We need a Mayor who will give the Council clear political direction – based on Labour Values. That’s not a luxury – it’s the only way the Council and the Party will get through the current situation. That means working as a Labour team – Councillors, MP’s MEPs members and Trade Unions all pulling together to deliver for local people.
8. Councillors are often unsung heroes, working on the frontline for Labour. I want to make it easier for working people to be involved – more evening meetings and time limits so we are not in the ridiculous situation of 7 and a half hour Council meetings!
9. I want a strong voice on the Council for women. No apologies for saying that I want half of my first cabinet to be women – women pay half the Council Tax in Salford – suffer more from the cuts – and it’s well passed time that their voices are heard.
10. I will also restore to the Labour Group the right to elect the Cabinet – too much patronage is a bad thing.
11. The biggest part of the Labour team are the members and Trade Unions. – I will organise quarterly report-back meetings for members and communicate with you via email and post – I will establish a Mayors Trade Union Forum, meeting regularly with local trade unionists ensuring Salford is a Trade Union friendly City –
12. I will work with CLP’s and MP’s to improve how the Party works and how we campaign in our communities. We need new members, fresh ideas and fresh legs to ensure we get our message across. I will lead a major membership drive across the city.
13. That’s the team – here’s the change. WE WILL get much better at communicating and responding to people’s concerns – at a strategic level, but just as important at an individual level. Too often people’s experience of the Council is being ignored or being passed from pillar to post. It’s not good enough and it’s going to change with proper systems and monitoring. I will be visible and approachable throughout the City
14. I will be at Community Committees and I will be establishing a series of Mayors forums for the different communities across the City – young people, small businesses, LGBT, disability groups, ethnic minorities and faith groups to name a few – Direct access to the Labour Mayor. Not just listening but engaging with people, treating them as adults, telling the truth and admitting when we’re wrong.
15. I’m already listening and acting on peoples priorities and learning from good practice in other Labour Councils. Transport is a problem. Chapel Street played a big part in losing the referendum. We will be having an urgent review of Transport Policy – bus lanes, car parking, the role of rail, exorbitant bus fares – we will be looking to support our town centres and employment in the City.
16. Unemployment is at its highest since 1995 when the Tories were in last in Government. I’ll put in place a jobs taskforce – including employers and trade unions – to protect existing jobs – attract new ones and develop the skills we need for future jobs. Salford can’t afford another lost generation.
17. We will build more social housing and ensure tory cuts do not blight large parts of our City again. We must move with the times. Oldham has a Mortgage guarantee scheme to help first time buyers – we can do the same.
18. We know what needs doing on Crime – more Police on the streets and closer work with communities
19. Children’s and Old people’s Services must continue to improve.
And there is so much more.
We face a massive challenge – we must win the argument in every part of the City in favour of high quality public services and social justice. That means we must change and show people we have changed – if we can do that we will win and build a city we can be proud of.