Leigh Redman says:- When you vote on Thursday 2nd May don’t get caught up in the spin. A Labour vote is the only way to get your voice heard.
‘Firstly let me thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my first leaflet, I have had a tremendous amount of feedback from members of the community that have realised the time is right for a local voice that will represent them on Somerset County Council, I will continue to listen.’
‘Enough is enough, you have an opportunity to ensure your voice is heard, our community is important and is overlooked to often!’
‘We have a great area with local people working to make it better for you, Browne’s pond, Hamp Community association, pedestrianisation of West Quay, our town center development these are all examples of the way local people are working for the good of our area, I will continue to support & fight for initiatives that will help you.’ Continue reading “Bridgwater South-A straight Labour v Tory choice”
Labour Leader Ed Miliband has urged the people of Somerset to deliver a resounding rejection of the Tory-led Government’s policies, which are being implemented at a local level by the Conservative controlled county council.
Mr Miliband said;
‘On Thursday people across the country have a choice to make about who runs their services. I think it is incredibly important to elect Labour councillors who understand the tough times people are facing. In Somerset, more and more people are turning away from the Tories and their Liberal Democrat partners and recognise that my message of One Nation Labour is reflecting their priorities’.
For further information please contact Somerset Labour leader Andrew Govier on 07919 540789
As the election campaign reaches its final few days it’s now clear that the Tory and Lib Dem parties in the county lack both the will and desire to run Somerset. With big names like failed former Leader of the Council Ken Maddock, and former Lib Dem cabinet members such as Cathy Bakewell, retiring from front line politics in the county, Anna Lynch , Labour candidate for Taunton South, makes the case that only the Labour Party has the purpose needed to turn the county council around and begin putting the people of Somerset first.
The declining ambition of our opponents is apparent from the news that twenty existing councillors, from both the Tories and Lib Dems, will not be defending their seats. This is an unheard of number standing down and reflects the true state of both parties, with reduced enthusiasm and activism at all levels. The Lib Dems were unable to even find a full slate of candidates to contest the county elections, surrendering the mantle of the true opposition to the Tories in Somerset to the Labour Party.
The following councillors will not be contesting their seats:
Since the nauseatingly chummy Rose Garden Summit that launched the Con Dem Coalition in 2009, the jokes about the closeness of a Conservative Prime Minister and his Lib Dem Deputy have been fairly obvious – the two were joined at the hip, people said, they were married, they were Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Today, though, David Cameron and Nick Clegg seemed to demonstrate a worrying psychic connection. Apparently completely unplanned, both men turned up in Somerset on the same day to try and bolster their respective party’s County campaign. If the idea was to convince people that there was any substantial difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals, the day couldn’t have got off to a worse start.
It’s three days and counting till Election Day, and the Somerset Labour campaign machine has gone into overdrive. Across the county, Labour’s most extensive slate of candidates in history is poised for a frantic final push.
In areas the Tories and the Lib Dems usually take for granted, prospective Labour councillors are fighting to win – like Rowbarton & Staplegrove, Taunton, where charity worker Brenda Weston is leading the charge.
Brenda brings years of political experience to the table, having previously served as a councillor on both Taunton Deane District and Somerset County Councils, and she was at the forefront of the successful campaign to save Priorswood Library.
Core principles that put people and the planet first
“Councillors owe it to those they represent to ensure our money is spent wisely, fairly and transparently”, Brenda says. “Decisions should be based on core principles that put people and the planet first, ensuring that services represent the best social, financial and environmental value”.
But Somerset’s complacent parties have repeatedly shown that they don’t share these values. “At County Hall, the Tories and the Lib Dems have wasted public money. Our services – and our pockets – have suffered as a result. South West One is a costly shambolic experiment and we are paying for their unlawful action over the library closures. Cuts at waste recycling depots mean we pay twice to get rid of rubbish – often at inconvenient times – and pay for fly-tipping clearance.”
Tory-Lib Dem Coalition wreaking social and economic havoc
With two and a half million unemployed, nearly a million of them young people, the Tories’ idea of sound governance is to give 13,000 millionaires a tax cut and hit 660,000 households with a tax penalising anyone who happens to have a spare room.
We have to wait at least another two years before the next general election. But that doesn’t mean people can’t make an elite-serving Cameron-Clegg Coalition sit down and listen to what we think of their social vandalism.
A chance to hit back at the Tories and Lib Dems
Here in Somerset, next week’s County Elections are a chance to hit back at the Tories and the Lib Dems – the Coalition parties who’ve spent nearly three years making life harder for millions, pushing the poorest even further into poverty, and doing scandalously little while unemployment has shot through the roof.
Labour’s candidates, one for every seat in Somerset, are passionate about helping the unemployed. Being out of work in rural England is especially grim – there are less jobs to go around anyway, and finding employment can be incredibly difficult and demoralising.
Everyone should have the chance to earn a living wage
For the most frightening example of Con Dem cuts not only doing social damage but actually endangering lives, look no further than the emergency services budget, currently being butchered in the name of austerity.
Somerset’s Tories have enthusiastically pushed the Coalition’s slash-and-burn cutbacks agenda ever since Cameron and Clegg came to power in Westminster. They’ve cheerily slashed budgets, fired staff and nearly crippled vital services for two and a half years. Until now, though, they’ve not done anything so straightforwardly dangerous that it could risk lives. If the Tory’s latest cuts to the Fire & Rescue Service budget go through, that will change.
This week, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has spoken out against proposals that would see Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue lose 149 frontline fire fighters in a bid to cut costs. Taunton’s Fire Station would be particularly badly hit, losing half of its full-time fire-fighters, putting a greater burden on the already hard-pressed part-time – or ‘retained’ – personnel who will have to take up the slack.
Fingers pointing at senior county Tories
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue service isn’t run by Somerset County Council. Instead, it’s controlled by the local Fire Authority, made up of elected councillors from all four local councils in both counties – Somerset County Council, Devon County Council, Torbay Council and Plymouth City Council.
That doesn’t let local Tories off the hook, however – the Chair of the Authority is none other than Mark Healey, Conservative County Councillor for the Huntspill ward (including Woolavington, Puriton, Cossington, Chilton Polden, Pawlett and West Hunstpill).
People in West Somerset have been contacting Labour candidates for the county elections about the badger cull – and have been told of Labour’s opposition to the killing.
The shooting of badgers is due to start in West Somerset in June, in an attempt to control bovine TB. Many local people are worried about the prospect of high-powered rifles being used in areas near villages and fear it could deter tourists from visiting.
an untested solution which may increase the problem
Labour’s policy is clear – and is based on evidence. Leading scientists have described culling as an untested solution to the problem, which may increase the problem as badgers wander further afield once shooting begins.
Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, said: “bovine TB is a terrible disease but the Government’s plans to cull badgers are bad for farmers, bad for badgers and bad for the taxpayer. We need a science-led policy to manage cattle movements and develop a vaccine to tackle TB in badgers and cattle.”
Dunster Labour candidate Andy Lewis said: “feelings about the badger cull are running high in West Somerset. People have been contacting us to find out where we stand. Our position is clear. Shooting badgers is not the way to tackle bovine TB and the cull should not go ahead.”
Labour’s Leigh Redman, leading the charge against the Tories in Bridgwater South, has lifted the lid on one of Somerset’s most pressing social issues – a severe shortage of affordable housing.
Since the Con Dem coalition has spent its two and half years in power protecting the super-rich, pushing the poorest into destitution and making life harder for the average-earning majority, it’s not surprising that people are finding it more and more difficult to afford the roof over their heads.
Across Somerset, and especially in towns like Bridgwater, major housing problems are lurking just round the corner. We’ve seen decades of underinvestment in social housing. The system was struggling even before Coalition-brand social vandalism began to bite. Now, as the numbers facing financial hardship substantially grow, County Hall needs to take action – and it’s something Leigh Redman is taking deadly seriously.
‘Housing crisis brewing’
“There’s a genuine housing crisis brewing in Somerset”, said Leigh. “The average house price is now many times the national average wage, and rent prices, already steep, and set to rise even further. This isn’t good socially, economically, or for the county at large”.
“It is quite fitting this week that George Osborne should shed a tear” Says Shepton Mallet Labour candidate Chris Inchley in his blog ‘Back to The future’ “Unemployment is up by 70,000, youth unemployment stands over a million and is higher than total unemployment when Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979, sadly Osbornes tears were not for these millions of people, but one at her funeral.”
Chris believes that It has become obvious to anyone that this governments economic policy now is in tatters. He adds “The OECD some time ago said Osbourne needed a plan B and now even the IMF has called for changes to the economic policies of Her Majesty’s Government. Although it must be said that the IMF has only recently changed its approach. The Labour market continues to be more flexible, we are seeing the spread of zero hours contracts moving from the supermarkets into the service industries such as catering. There are also many people in part time work.”
Where is the growth?
Chris feels that George Osborne has lost his last piece of statistical safety as unemployment rises. “Exports tumble, despite a 20% fall in sterling. RPI inflation runs at 3.2% while wages have fallen 10%, not back to pre-crash levels until 2020, according to the Resolution Foundation. With all this poor economic news where is growth going to come from? The Government has to breath life into the economy before the situation gets a whole lot worse.We have also seen lower high street spending have underlined the fragility of the economy. It is becoming obvious that Osbourne has no solutions to our economic woes. He has played his hand and he has failed. No one but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats believes in Osbournes plan.”
‘Labours job is to produce a genuine alternative’
Chris observes “All the old divisions of the 1980s are resurfacing, we live in a country that is economically failing and becoming increasingly socially divided. A more brutal country where fear rules and I fear that as the general elections approaches the governing coalition will focus on social division as a way of diverting the focus from their economic failure. Labours job must be to produce a genuine alternative, tinkering is not enough, neo liberal economics have failed. We need to rebuild the economy around production and skilling the workforce The current policies aren’t working, we need an alternative that grows the economy, that retrains the workforce and invests in new technology. Frankly, It looks like history repeating itself and this time North Sea Oil will not pay for welfare.”
Chris Inchley is the Labour candidate for Shepton Mallet in the Somerset County Council election on May 2nd.