Posts Tagged ‘Bristol’

We do not need to divide the country to get through difficult times

15/04/2013, 06:49:16 PM

by Helen Godwin Teige

Ed Miliband came to Bristol on Saturday, so I, my husband. our two toddlers and my sister went along to see Ed and listen to what he had to say. He did an ‘on the stump’ speech and answered questions from members and non-members who had gathered in the busy St Nicholas Market in Bristol.

I am pretty sure Ed won some votes for both himself and the Labour party on Saturday. He took questions on everything from mental health, vocational qualifications, and the bedroom tax to legalisation of drugs and Trident. Bristolians are an understated bunch but they know what they are interested in and we felt Ed answered each question well; he listened, gave real and honest answers and didn’t sound as policy light as the press are desperate for him to be.

He was here on the back of the local elections but there were key things that he mentioned that I think Labour need to drill down into and build deeper policies

1. Mental Health

The stigma of mental health needs to end. The increase in dementia cases means this is on the agenda in a big way but mental health affects all ages and  is a vast subject requiring more research, treatment and occupational health. We need to take the lead in accepting people with mental health problems and ensuring their place in society is understood and valued.


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Bristol needs a better deal for buses

30/01/2013, 03:57:42 PM

Last week Amanda Ramsay won the “top of the policies” vote at Pragmatic Radicalism’s top of the policies event in Bristol, chaired by Maria Eagle MP, shadow transport secretary. The winning proposal was for a “Better Deal on the Buses”, to bring buses under a new regulatory framework

People like me who live in Bristol would like to be able to leave our front doors, walk just a few minutes to a bus stop and easily reach work, meetings, job interviews, the main shopping areas, visit friends or just explore the outskirts of the city. That’s what Londoners enjoy, so why can’t we in Bristol?

I want to see cities like Bristol negotiating better deals with the likes of First Group, to deliver more routes, better reliability and lower prices.

It’s time to use the powers granted to metropolitan cities like Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol by the last Labour government, to regulate fares, routes, frequency of services and improve customer relations.

Private bus operators outside London enjoy a whopping £2 billion a year in tax payers’ money, but in Bristol it’s often cheaper when two or more people are travelling to take a taxi than to ride a bus. It causes traffic congestion, more dangers for cyclists and a weaker bus system itself, as customers vote with their feet and often only freedom pass users are passengers, meaning no income stream.


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We must keep fighting the NHS reforms

19/12/2012, 04:51:46 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

I met with some very interesting campaigners last week in the west country, inspiring me with their tales of victory in overturning moves to privatise eight Stroud NHS community hospitals and health services (including 3,000 nurses and other health workers).

I was at their celebratory social and picked the brains of one of the campaigners, which should help me with my work. The lawyer was there who made their case possible. See for more information.

It is a tale of not accepting the hardships this government is trying to inflict on all who rely on the NHS for free health and social care services whenever they need them, not just now but until the day we all die.

In less than five years this government’s health reforms will no doubt see charges introduced for a GP appointment, maybe even charges to stay in hospital overnight. Yet I cannot recall anyone mentioning this to me on doorstep campaigning for the Labour party, or in social or family circles. People are either unaware of what lies ahead or maybe feel they cannot change things that are already in motion, I really don’t know.

My guess is most people really do not have a clue about these changes, about to become much worse when the government ushers in secondary legislation on competition, licensing and pricing. A clever but insidious way of detaching the marketisation of the NHS from the act itself: it is very difficult to over turn secondary legislation.


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Why Bristol said yes to a directly elected mayor

07/05/2012, 02:00:19 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

With one of the government’s key policies from the Localism Act now in utter tatters and nine out of ten English cities rejecting the idea of directly elected city mayors, will the prime minister still go ahead with the idea of his ‘cabinet of mayors’?

Will Liverpool, Salford, Bristol and the 15 other city mayors already elected, from the likes of Leicester and Doncaster, all still be offered a direct hotline to Number 10, or was it all just a PR stunt from the PM?

If you follow the government narrative prior to their policy for elected mayors collapsing, Bristol will now be catapulted into a super-strata, becoming a new fast-track powerhouse, reaping the benefit of the much promised extra powers for cities that voted ‘yes’.

With Bristol opting to say ‘yes’ to a directly elected mayor, there will now be a city-wide election on 15 November, under a supplementary voting system, the same day as the police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections across England and Wales.

Curiosity abounds as to why Bristol said ‘yes’ and the other nine cities said ‘no’ last Thursday. One senior commentator said: “good on Bristol for being a proper city, baffles me that the referenda results were that bad.”

“It’s clear that those campaigning for an elected mayor did not make the case – except in Bristol – and even there turn-out was as low as everywhere else, so it was passed by a small minority of the electorate,” says Professor Steven Fielding, Director of the Centre for British Politics at the University of Nottingham.


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