Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour Westover) says “I’m sure everyone commemorates this day in their own way and on their own terms. Different thoughts will go through different peoples minds during the act of Remembrance. Those of us with family members in the forces now and throughout history will surely have them at the forefront. This year, during lock down, I had time to research a lot more of my family history and discovered that my Great Uncle Walter Cardiss had been killed at the battle of the Admin Box in Burma. Walter had been part of a vaudeville cabaret troupe in Leeds with his brothers before the war and all joined up to fight Fascism. In February 1944 he was with the West Yorks Regiment facing a Japanese infantry attack which had broken through the British and Indian lines and had reached into the heart of the administration sector, hence the name of the battle, destroying hospital and office units. The fighting was fierce and hand to hand and the line held shoulder to shoulder. And did hold. I know Walter was killed by a bayonet to the throat. I’m sure he’d have preferred to have been singing at the City Varieties in Leeds instead of fighting for his life in Burma. But sometimes, you can’t have one without the other. So that’s what I thought about this time. One small story like the millions of similar stories shared by people across the world who find themselves in that situation and who also lost friends, partners and relatives.”
Cllr Glen Burrows (Labour, Eastover) says “It is important to remember and honour the military victims of war, as we do on Remembrance Sunday, when the British Legion’s red poppies symbolise the sacrifice of so many British military lives. In 2019, the Legion agreed to include British civilians in this act of remembrance. But we should also include victims of wars throughout the world – including those that are still being fought. Peace memorials are more often described as “war memorials” ! In 1933, the Co-operative Women’s Guild introduced the white poppy to re-inforce the message of “never again”, which was the original message of Remembrance, and this is still worn by many today. We should re-dedicate ourselves to the aim of “never again” and finding peaceful solutions to international conflict. We must challenge attempts to celebrate and glorify war. This is the best way to honour the victims of war. “
The Tory government has made a remarkable climbdown in the face of widespread public hostility to their policies and will now spend over £400m to support poor children and their families in England. This came about as a result of a high profile public campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, a motion in parliament which attracted cross-party support and action in the constituencies of Tory MPs who voted against the policy including the increasing appearance of empty plates at Tory party offices including here in Bridgwater.
Let’s be honest, the last election was focused upon a primary issue being Brexit. In standing as the Labour party candidate for the Yeovil Constituency, I am not writing this letter to scorn on people who chose to vote Conservative or Lib Dem at the time. It was clear it was a Brexit election but also clear, that not only in Yeovil Constituency but all around the country, people were voting to get Brexit done and with no surprise, Marcus Fysh would be re-elected. Re-elected with a whopping majority and the gap between Labour in third place and the Liberals in second, seems to be an easier contest than the Liberals ever reclaiming this safe Tory seat. Continue reading “Is Yeovil now paying the price for one-dimensional voting in last year’s General election?”
Rebecca says “In the 80’s Thatcher starved the miners, in 2020 we have Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson starving the minors. During a global pandemic no less. Generating more torment to families who are already struggling and desperate. The Conservatives have shown nothing but contempt towards the working class, even more so during the Coronavirus crisis. When a premier league footballer has done more for starving kids in the last 8 months than the Conservatives, you know we have a massive problem. Even our own MP, Marcus Fysh, who claimed £60, 963.86 in expenses last year, has nothing valuable to say. When questioned why he voted against the motion, he said “The Labour motion was opposition day rather than one that could have any effect, and such motions are always voted down by the Govt as a matter of process.” Lets get one thing straight, the Conservatives voted against this motion because they are incapable of exhibiting human decency. They don’t care about our children going hungry, because they will never have to worry about their own children going to bed hungry. It doesn’t fit the Tory narrative to care about the working class. In the early days of the lockdown, we had a huge sense of community. We had a great support network in Yeovil. But just like that we now have a massive divide on who is responsible for feeding children. Providing vouchers for families during these uncertain times, doesn’t create “state dependency”, it creates a sense of safety and relief for those who need it most.”
Yeovil Labour Youth Officer James Bamford added “Marcus Fysh has reached a new low. If we can’t afford to feed school children this half term, we can’t afford to give MPs a £3,200 pay rise either. I am a 16 year old living in Yeovil and am utterly disgusted that this man apparently ‘represents’ us. According to Fysh, “It isn’t a principle that we should agree to, that the state is somehow responsible for everybody’s children.” Now read that again. Access to food as a child is a human right. How in the ‘land of hope and glory’ could this not be the case? Writing this I find myself at a complete loss: how could so many people be so cruel? Conservative MPs have children, according to his Wikipedia Boris Johnson has ‘at least six’ of his own. So how could they turn a blind eye to over a million of our nation’s? How could Marcus Fysh turn a blind eye to his own constituents? Well the truth is he hasn’t: he just doesn’t care. Marcus Fysh doesn’t care about me, he doesn’t care about you, and he doesn’t care about your children. And he’s made that pretty clear these last few days. When challenged by members of the community on social media, he has replied with either a one line copy-pasted response or an immature dig at the opposition. His representation of the Yeovil Constituency lacks substance, understanding and compassion. If it did, he would understand what a pivotal role the Lord’s Larder plays in our community and how its demand has risen exponentially since the start of lockdown. He would be concerned with the knowledge that the south west has the highest growing number of families in poverty. He would not be spitting in the faces of his constituents. In an interview, he said that he hasn’t been presented with any information which suggests that people in the local area will struggle to feed their children over the months to come. This cannot be true. He has been shown and he is choosing not to listen. It has been sobering to see local organisations step up to fill the role that Marcus Fysh has failed to do so. Preston Secondary School have said they will fund food vouchers for their FSM pupils over the school holiday, Yeovil Town Football Club are offering free meals for children next Thursday afternoon and Tintinhull Village Hall and Coffee shop have announced that children are welcome to come in during the half term and be provided with free soup or beans on toast. These are but a few of the local groups who have pledged support to children this half term. Solidarity is the greatest demonstration of community but it is tragic that this is even needed. The way our MP treats us is abhorrent. He is not fit for purpose. “