Thursday, 28 August 2008

Phone canvassing last night with David Morgan, who will be fighting the European elections next year with Glenis Willmott, he was enthusing about the Democrats convention in Denver. He was very surprised with the number of people still willing to take calls and take to people they don’t know.
Despite what is said about political cynicism and the lower numbers of people turning out to vote, people are still interested in the world around them. In particular, they are concerned about the older people and people with disabilities in the town. With Conservative proposals to charge those with residents permits in the town increased amounts for 50 visitors permits, people immediately knew the adverse impact that this would have on older people and people with disabilities who rely on social care and health staff to provide daily support.
Now that the town "on the street parking" has increased, with bus fares also having increased people are really worried about the effect this will have on the town centre. Lib Dem promises in 2007 to reduce parking charges have metamorphosized to reduced car parking charges on Sundays. Far, far too little for the town to really flourish.

David mentioned that where he came from the Council has cut parking charges to encourage people to use town facilities. What a shame Lib Dems and Tories don't keep their promises.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

So yesterday, it was all go at the Kings Heath Residents Association funday. With excellent weather and the ubiquitous bouncy castles, the event had good chances of success. The ever so eager Tory, Ivan Sljivic the chef let residents down by not providing a promised barbeque. Several phone calls later produced no result and a number of volunteers had to be press ganged into service. Generally, Kings Heath folk seemed to be well disposed to the keen Conservative up till now (well disposed but weren’t going to vote for him). His broken promise might make a difference to peoples perception of both him and the Conservatives in the area.
Liberal democrat councillors (Borough and County) did not even grace the event with customary swanning in and swanning out. I guess they must have been too busy avoiding meetings that they are paid to attend. With Cllr de Cruz on the heady total of attending seven meeting since being elected and having let down the Brookside residents association by promising to face paint and then cancelling the week before, the Lib Dem record of letting people down just keeps getting longer. Cllr de Cruz is currently averaging £1000 per meeting that she attends. Nice money if you can get it.
The Labour Party was at the Kings Heath Fun Day proving free face painting for children and campaigning against the increases in parking charges in the town. In the community, working with the community, one of the first stalls to set up and one of the last stalls to leave, we had lot of good conversations with people, particularly about the proposals for a new secondary school in the area. People are concerned that the new school should be for the existing communities and not just for new communities on the Dallington Grange development. With Labour being the only party campaigning for the school (both Lib Dems and Tories oppose building on the Dallington Grange site), local people look to us to ensure that their views are taken on board.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Some of the good things in life are still important

While phone canvassing last night and talking to people about the County Council proposals for residents and on the street parking, the strength of feeling coming through really hit me. Some of the people I talked to did not have a car and always used public transport, however they still felt really strongly about what was happening to our town.

With yesterdays headline about some USA citizens trying to sell their votes on ebay, it would be easy to assume that people weren't interested in how things could improve. However, talking to people about the Conservative County Councils consideration of effectively allowing restrictions on visitors permits (no pay, no visit if it's more than 50 per year - not even one a week) the people I spoke to automatically thought about the impact the policy change would have on the most vulnerable in the community. Those needing district nurse or other health professionals attention.

However the Council is legally required to do an equalities impact assessment on the change in policy, and surely would have considered this in advance of publishing the policy change. For the people I spoke to last night the key issue was about fairness. Not about being politically correct. Just about being fair.

I can't speak for the rest of the world but I live in a place where the value of fairness still means something.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Sharing the same virtual space is better than sharing physical space when ...

It seems BNP occupying the same County as us have conveniently short memories when it comes to threatening a variety of Public Citizens in the town. It also seems that my blog attracts their attention. For those who don't know about the regular 7am call myself and other councillors had to endure (yeah ... and the rest), here's the link.

This kind of attention just shows that you're getting under their skin :-)

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Just when you thought you were not in the picture ...

It does seem that others see me as a contender.
At least it's a change from the 7am harassment calls from these that use citizenship and democracy as opportunities to abuse individuals and communities and divide local people from working with each other.

Selection at Last

So at last the selection process for the Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Northampton South is up and running. A lot of people have been telling me that it's been a long time coming. After an eternal desert of communication from the Labour Party Regional office, members in Northampton South have been faced with a veritable flurrie of letters about parliamentary and County selections. So if the question is "Anjona are you going for it?" the answer is "Yes!".

I hope to share with you my thoughts and ideas about the needs of the constituency over the next few weeks.

However, another cruical issue that has come to a head are the County selections. With the County selection process going forward it is really important that anyone wanting to stand puts in their forms as soon as possible. I was talking to a member today who was considering putting his name forward (Aziz Rahman). It just struck me that no matter how hard we work as a Labour Party to make processes fair and inclusive, there is still the opportunity to go the extra mile to ensure everyone has a fair crack at the whip. As a Party we can only go forward by rebuilding the movement that is the Labour Movement. This is not about the triangulation of a coalition of people who do not want Tories and Liberals making decisions. It is a coalition of people who genuinely want a fairer town to live in and want to ensure that all of us have the necessities of life and the opportunities to fulfill our dreams.