Posts Tagged ‘councillors’

Nothing beats the drama of a local election count

04/05/2012, 02:57:12 PM

by Lucy Ashton

If you think the X-Factor is a stage for traumas and triumphs then you need to get out more – and attend your local election count.

While TV talent shows manufacture the drama, election counts are a real-life culmination of blood, sweat and tears.

The prize is having hundreds of thousands of people put their faith in you to control everything from their child’s education to the crematorium.

So there’s no wonder that in many years of attending election counts, I’ve seen everything from male candidates throwing punches to female candidates screaming at each other across the ballot boxes.


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Know your enemy

16/05/2011, 03:00:20 PM

by John Spellar

In a recent discussion on who we should be targeting, one Welsh MP told the old joke: “if you are standing on a cliff with a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat in front of you, who do you push off first, the answer is the Conservative – it’s business before pleasure”.

That priority is absolutely right because the alternative government next time will either be a Conservative or a Labour led government. However, a bit of a refinement of the approach is also probably necessary.

Of course, where you stand in politics often depends on where you sit and I’m sure that my thinking has been shaped by first winning a council seat on an outer London housing estate from the Liberals and understanding at a very early stage how duplicitous, irresponsible and thoroughly negative they are.

However, on a hard-headed practical view of the current political situation, any idea of easing up on the Liberal Democrats is probably premature. It’s certainly the case in Scotland that as the Lib Dem vote collapsed – most of it essentially being an anti Labour establishment vote – it mainly went to the candidates thought most likely to beat Labour, namely the SNP.

However, the picture is very different in other parts of the country. Across much of the North of England, and not just in the big conurbations, the Lib Dems have replaced the Conservatives as the main opposition to Labour. Indeed in many areas they are the sole opposition to Labour. This is also true in some London boroughs.

Therefore for Labour to consolidate our position and firm up our control of those seats, elimination of the Lib Dem political and organisational apparatus which is almost wholly dependent on their councillors is necessary.

This would also then feed into the bigger priority. If the Lib Dems have no hope in seats that they could win from Labour, then in order for them to survive they will have to focus their organisational and propaganda efforts against the Conservatives in many of their seats in the South and South West. We will then have turned round the Iain Duncan Smith paradigm of two coalition parties attacking the Labour party, to two opposition parties attacking the Tories.

Completely focusing on the Tories at the moment would be fine as the answer, if the question was, “how would you vote if there was an election tomorrow”.  However, courtesy of the fixed-term parliament bill we are fairly clear that it is not going to be till 2015. Therefore it serves our interest to consolidate our base over the next year or two while still focusing on our strategy of rebuilding Labour in the South.

It certainly is a sensible business model; it could also be a pleasure.

John Spellar is Labour MP for Warley.

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Wednesday News Review

11/08/2010, 08:58:56 AM

Blackburn: cuts

Grim up North

Labour Party councillors in Blackburn have failed to overturn plans to cut £4m from the council budget.Blackburn-with-Darwen Council is trying to save about £40m in the next four years as it prepares for a reduction in grants given to local government. – BBC NEWS.

Jimmy Reid

Tributes were paid this morning to Scots journalist and ex-trade union activist Jimmy Reid, who died on Tuesday night. The 78-year-old, who led the campaign against the closure of Glasgow’s shipyards in the 1970s, passed away in hospital at 9pm. He is believed to have suffered a number of heart attacks and had been in poor health for a number of years.On Wednesday, his former colleagues said they were in mourning for a “great Scot and a true internationalist”. – STV.


Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has separated from his wife Sarah, the couple’s lawyers have confirmed.
The couple said their “amicable” separation would be “an entirely private family matter… Our ongoing and overriding priority will obviously remain our son.” – Sky News.


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It’s time for a local discussion about what our representatives should do for communities, argues Fiona Gordon

22/07/2010, 05:30:11 PM

Like many people I feel that I am still recovering from the strangest general election campaign that I have ever been involved in.  I helped organise the Birmingham Selly Oak campaign not only in the month of the short campaign but for 3 years leading up to it. We won –   thank goodness, not least because the candidate was my partner Steve McCabe.

So I say all this not as a armchair socialist but an active campaigning member of the Labour Party.

Don’t you think it is strange that there are rules and regulations about selections and elections  in our Party but nothing at all about what we should get from our Labour representatives once they are elected?

I understand why the Labour Party has followed  a key seat strategy, concentrating on the seats we have to win to form  a government. I have been a Labour Party staffer and have been part of implementing this. But don’t you think it is time for a change. Politics is changing and the Labour Party needs to too.


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