Category Archives: Labour Party
North Ward / Waterlees Has Three New Councillors
Following the abrupt and expensive resignations of Cllrs Lay, Bucknor and Bucknor from Wisbech Town Council, a by-election has been held to find three replacements.
The political battleground was a straight duel between Labour and the Conservatives.
Labour threw everything and the kitchen sink at it. Volunteers were drafted in from far and wide and the most comprehensive campaign I’ve seen them run in recent years took place.
I think that letting the Bucknors have a free ride for years has seriously harmed their base in the area, because despite giving it their best and throwing lots of resources at it, they failed to make the mark they hoped. Nevertheless, they ran a clean campaign and did not get bogged down in the nastiness and vitriol seen from other quarters. They can be proud of their part in a well-fought and fair by-election.
I am pleased and proud that all three seats were won, comfortably, by the three Conservative candidates; Andy Maul, Laura Cobb and Andrew Lynn. All three are completely fresh faces to the local political scene and I am looking forwards to working with them for many years to come.
Are The Labour Party Finished?
Paul Nuttall (UKIP’s new leader) wants to replace the Labour party. A statement which is interesting on many levels.
It’s interesting on a national level, because the weakness of Corbyn as a Leader and the regressive policy moves of the party under his Leadership appear to actually make this possible. Okay, only remotely possible, but stranger things have happened.
It’s interesting on a local level because the Labour party pretty much HAVE been replaced here by UKIP, already. The tiny group of Momentum-types led by Sue Marshall are virtually indistinguishable from UKIP. They petition together, they hand out leaflets together, they stand aside so as not to run candidates against each other. UKIP, the “Independents” and Labour in the area are all the same, as far as I can see.
Nowhere is this more tragic than Waterlees, a fact that was underlined by a doorstep conversation I was having this week with a die-hard Socialist on Bath Road. The gentleman said he would never in his life vote for UKIP, a party which he thought the epitome of nastiness. I was encouraging him to go out and vote Conservative next week, instead. To be fair to him he considered it, but said in the end he would stay at home. “What makes me angry though,” he said, “is that I don’t have a Labour candidate to vote for. They can’t be bothered to stand one.”
Quite right. Years ago, Labour were front page of the local paper telling the Bucknors that they were “coming to take the seats back” next time and not to get too comfortable. In a ward which has the highest number of Labour voters in the whole of the Wisbech area, you’d think they’d be trying to win it back. Nope. UKIP had a free ride last time and have been given another this time. Don’t believe the guff about “honour”, there’s no honour in letting UKIP drop a new candidate into a ward where your voters are crying out for you to give them somebody to support. There’s definitely no honour in letting a ward with perhaps 25% Eastern Europeans be faced with the misery of another ‘Kipper telling them how unwelcome they are and how they are to blame for everything.
Nuttall reckons Labour’s Northern seats are there for UKIP to take. That’s certainly what they did here. With the collusion of some “Independents” they have given the Labour party an electoral kicking and then made them say: “Thank you” for it. Now, Labour are forced to wander aimlessly around the Market Place trying to scaremonger about the NHS, while people try to get on with their shopping. “I’m sorry, I can’t stop, I got one of these leaflets last week from UKIP and I threw that one in the bin too.”
Sue Marshall Chimes In
In the ongoing campaign being spun by different individuals looking to score cheap political points on the back of a lady’s illness, Sue Marshall has chimed in. Her ill-informed and inaccurate letter to the (you guessed it) Wisbech Standard needs a clear response.
So let’s have a look at some bits of her letter:
This means that the council had a duty to remove or mitigate any feature which made it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to gain access.
Yep. An issue the Council took very seriously and completed the required changes over a year ago – changes that Brenda Lay commended the Council on as per the minutes shown on this blog a couple of days ago. Changes that Alan & Brenda Lay expressed satisfaction with and said solved their access problems. Changes which were in the Council minutes, approved by the Bucknors at the following meeting.
Given the size and resources of the town council the stair lift might be a reasonable adjustment.
However more could and should have been done. If nothing could have been done to remove the steps and replace with a ramped entrance there are plenty of suitable and safe portable ramps on the market rather than expect Cllr Lay or any other mobility impaired person to use a plank of wood.
Absolutely right. Which is why the Council commissioned a tailor-made metal ramp, which was delivered over a year ago and which the Lays commended the Council on procuring and said had completely resolved their access issues. Here are those minutes again.
A drop kerb could and should have been installed outside the Town Hall entrance with a yellow box on the road to prevent parking. Parking in front of a drop kerb is an offence and can result in a fine.
It’s a lovely idea. The Lays never expressed the need for a drop curb or road markings, and had said that the resolutions as provided met their requirements, but Sue is right about this – those two things might be great ideas. They would be the job of the County Council, so it would be the County Councillor who would be best placed to action them if required. Who is the County Councillor for that area? Cllr Alan Lay is.
A wheelchair could have been bought for placement at the top of the stairs for mobility impaired people to transfer into from the stair lift if necessary, as in Cllr Lay’s case.
Another good idea. In fact Town Council made exactly this offer – to purchase a wheelchair and keep it at the Council to make things easier for the Lays. They declined the offer, saying that it was not necessary.
Fenland Council’s Equality Officer and Planning Officers could and should have been able to advise the town council on their legal obligations and the measures to meet those.
The Clerk is fully aware of the Council’s legal obligations and every effort was made to accomodate the Lay’s access issues. Efforts which, in case I have not said this enough times, the Lays said resolved their issues, and Brenda Lay specifically commended the Council for.
I sincerely hope that Cllr Lay appeals any attempt to remove her as she is clearly the victim of discrimination due to Wisbech Town Council’s failure to meet its legal obligations to make its meetings accessible.
Brenda Lay’s problem with the six-month rule, much like Cllr. Michael Bucknor’s before her (when his own Labour colleagues were in charge of the Town Council,) is not a decision made by Wisbech Town Council. It is an automatic legal procedure. Whether Mrs. Lay wishes to appeal that law would be between her and the legal staff at FDC and whatever lawyers get involved. Wisbech Town Council has not failed to meet any legal obligations, as can be clearly demonstrated by the minutes of the Town Council, the work done at the Town Council building. In fact, the Town Council has made every effort to help Mrs Lay. The issue of disability access was resolved to her full satisfaction in October 2015, when she confirmed to Town Council that this was so. I refer to those very clear minutes once more.
As a footnote I would also point out this isn’t just an issue for councillors but also members of the public who also need to be able to access meetings and for any staff who may develop a permanent or temporary impairment that prevented them climbing steps.
A point that I also made a few days ago in my blog. One of the things that resolving Mrs Lay’s difficulties a year ago achieved, was better access in future for people with other similar disabilities. A fully-powered chairlift and a specially-crafted metal access ramp provide necessary accessibility for those with difficulty climbing steps. Rightly so. Which is why we were keen to do it. And did.
In my opinion all Cllr Lay’s fellow Councillors should support this end result and sympathise with disabled and temporarily ‘unabled’ Councillors, staff and the public who need to attend Town Council meetings.
Chair of NE Cambs Labour Party
In my opinion, Sue Marshall Chair of the NE Cambs Labour Party, you should take the time to check your facts before writing ill-informed letters to the newspaper. It would certainly help with your credibility.
CCHQ Press Release
After months of division and distraction, Jeremy Corbyn has won the Labour leadership election. Again.
But no one should be celebrating this victory. The policies that Labour are offering will do nothing for people who want a government that will deliver for them.
The Labour leader:
- Thinks the last Labour government didn’t spend enough.
- Wants to hold back good local schools.
- Wants to give up control of our borders.
- Wants to weaken our armed forces.
- Wants to scrap our nuclear defences.
There was only one winner today and it wasn’t Britain.
Labour are too divided, distracted and incompetent to build a country that works for everyone.
Instead of learning lessons from the past, they have engaged in a bitter power struggle that will continue even after they’ve picked a leader.
While Labour row amongst themselves, this Conservative government will continue to deliver a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
And that is exactly how we intend to carry on in the months and years ahead.
Sue Marshall’s Question
So the Chair of the local Labour Party (I think?) asked me a question on the Wisbech Discussion Forum, on Facebook.
I was surprised. I mean – local political opponents often have debates, and we often write about them (as I do here on this blog) but we don’t usually try and carry them onto a public forum if they are personal rather than policy-based. I don’t know what her goal was, really. My best guess is that she either read or was told about yesterday’s blog post, which referred to the fact that the North-East Cambs Labour party appear to be overrun by Momentum types. But I never referred to her personally in that post (although I have wondered aloud about if she was a Momentum member in Facebook discussions with her in the past.)
I wondered if this was some attempt to “play the victim.” That mean Steve Tierney, suggesting I am something to do with Momentum when I am not! That kind of thing. Well I didn’t mention her, but it would be fair to say that I do personally believe she is a Momentum supporter. She has asked me why, and since she has publicly done so, I feel justified in explaining why I might have drawn that conclusion. A very quick web search, it took me five minutes, produced the following.
Here is Sue Marshall on Facebook, sharing a Momentum link. Now in some cases like this you might think that having a similar view to Momentum on an issue doesn’t necessarily make you a Momentum supporter. But this post isn’t about a generic policy issue – it’s specifically a defence of Momentum as an organisation versus the (excellent) Channel 4 expose from Monday just gone.
Here is Sue Marshall sharing a Jeremy For PM video. Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say. Lots of Labour supporters like Jeremy Corbyn and are not Momentum supports. Fair point. However, a quick look at the Momentum North East Cambs website gives some information on the Jeremy4Leader and Jeremy4PM campaigns. This extract taken directly from the site:
Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader has transformed into Momentum – a network of people and organisations that will continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy’s campaign.
Momentum North Cambridgeshire covers areas including Peterborough, Wisbech, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and the rural areas in between.
Here she is sharing a Morning Star article about Corbyn. Not proof of Momentum affiliation, just interesting. Her having previously said she wasn’t “hard left” and it being the Morning Star and all.
Here she is sharing at attack on the non-Momentum wing of the Labour party during their ongoing “civil war.”
This is the Momentum logo stitched to the Corbyn logo. Only the bit on the right was shared by Sue Marshall, but I thought it was an interesting comparison.
Here’s Sue Marshall on Facebook asking Momentum Stevenage for some information to assist Momentum North Cambs. Looks fairly clear at this point, but I guess could still be argued that she was only asking on behalf of somebody else?
Okay, so up until now its quite a lot of clues that Sue Marshall might be a Momentum person. But its not conclusive. If you were going to really stretch the imagination they could all be coincidences rather than actual proof of a connection.
Now there is nothing at all wrong with Sue Marshall being a Momentum activist. What political affiliations people choose is entirely up to them. But Sue Marshall asked me, publicly, to explain why I thought she might be anything to do with Momentum. The suggestion appearing to be that this conclusion was mad, that I was plucking it from thin air without a shred of evidence. I hope that my brief web search has illuminated just why I and others might think Sue Marshall was something to do with Momentum locally.
Sue, if you are reading this, I hope I have adequately answered your question and would like to wish you a very fine day.
Sue Marshall continued to deny her connections to Momentum despite all of this. Quite a few people were telling her “You’ve lost, give it up” and her last attempt was to criticise me because I bothered to answer the question she publicly posed and to suggest I had spent a “long time” looking into her. Um – it was a few minutes. A couple of simple Google searches, Sue. Which was the least I could do when you had demanded an answer of me so publicly. I even asked her to confirm she definitely wanted an answer before I gave it, because I knew it was quite damning. She confirmed she did. Really brought this one entirely on herself.
Anyway, for all of the connections I found, they pale into insignificant before on that turned up later posted by David Gutteridge. Sue Marshall had just denied she was a Momentum member again and he posted this doozy:
That’s Sue Marshall in the red, in the middle. Oops.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
I know that some of my political opponents watch my blog, or are told when I post something of interest. Nothing wrong with that.
So this message is for them.
The Minor Injuries Unit is too important for political games.
It would be easy to make it political. I have information I could easily use which would do so. But I am choosing not to do so because we all have to STAND TOGETHER on this.
Trying to make it “Political” with a capital “P” is a very very bad move. Trying to make it about “national cuts” (which it is NOT) or to turn it into a point-scoring election issue in advance of next year’s County Council election is also a very very bad move.
We have to be ONE VOICE. United. Standing together. If we are not we will lose, and our Town will lose its Minor Injuries Unit and potentially the whole hospital. Our disunity will be used against us, our differences capitalised upon.
PLEASE. Labour. UKIP. Independents. Anybody else. For this one issue if nothing else, put aside the Politics and just campaign for common sense and for the good of our town. If you do this then you will have my 100% support and I am sure the support of all my colleagues. Nobody but nobody wants the MIU to close.
WE ARE ON THE SAME SIDE. Don’t throw it away!
What They Really Think
I don’t know if anybody remembers that Labour bloke who wanted to be Police & Crime Commissioner? Dave Baigent. You know, the one who did the crash-and-burn hustings where he kept talking about “cities” and telling us how important we were to him – after everywhere else.
Well I think we had a lucky escape. Here is he back in his job as a Cambridge Councillor, telling Cambridge City Council how racist we apparently all are.
He is then followed by a couple of others, including Peter Roberts who was once a candidate for Parliament here. Mostly they continue the condescending statements about Fenland and its residents.
it’s not until Independent Councillor John Hipkin speaks that we get a different sort of view. He says: “75% of Fenland folk voted to leave? is that because they are stupid? There is a slight tendency, amongst Cambridge folk to pat themselves on the back for being so clever…” Ya think? :)
Thank Goodness the people of Fenland didn’t elect them. Now we can see what they really think of us, once they are safely back in Cambridge and expressing their views while not begging for our votes.
Meanwhile, according to blogger Richard Taylor, these SAME guys have just voted to INCREASE their Councillor’s Allowance by 25%. Yep. These poverty-busting anti-austerity Cambridge luvvie Labour guys voted to whack about quarter onto what they earn. Meanwhile, their opposition, the Lib Dems (remember them?) abstained. Didn’t vote against. Just abstained. Champions of the people, huh? You couldn’t make it up.
Angela, Andrea and Suzanne
As a Conservative, I should support Jeremy Corbyn’s continued leadership of Labour, because he is a gift to us. At a time when the Labour Party could have made sweeping gains, taking opportunity from my party’s internal divisions and Leadership battle, they are instead making most of the negative news instead.
But – it’s not good for the country to have a feeble opposition. It’s not good for Conservatives not to have a strong opposing voice to keep them on the straight and narrow. And it’s not good for young people to be drawn like the pied piper’s subjects to crazy hard left ideas.
So I’d like to wish Angela Eagle all the best. I hope we end up with Suzanne Evans for UKIP, Angela Eagle for Labour and Andrea Leadsom for the Conservatives. Now that would be a healthy political scene. And we’d see three strong woman leading all of our main parties – without needing any “help” or fiddling of the system for it to occur.
What Is Happening To Labour?
Labour MPs Call on Corbyn to Resign:
Momentum’s “Save Corbyn” Protest: