Solidarity with workers at Oscar Mayer, Chard

Tuesday, 10 November 2020Leave a reply
Oscar Mayer ‘Ready meals’ plant in Chard

Labour Party members and Trades Unionists across South Somerset have come out in support of workers at the threatened Oscar Mayer ready-meals plant in Chard. A statement from the Unions warned that the closure should concern everyone in Chard, in South Somerset and in the wider area. Yeovil & District Trade Union Council held an online discussion on the subject on 5 November, attended by Rowena Hayward of the GMB union, which has members employed at the site, and a staff representative. All delegates expressed their concern, noting that the closure, if it goes ahead, would be very damaging to the local economy due to the loss of purchasing power by people becoming unemployed and by the loss of business by companies supplying the plant with a wide variety of goods and services. The statement continued “We were especially concerned at the fears of foreign workers with non-settled status who may fear for their future. The loss of 860 jobs in a small town like Chard, with a population of about 12,000, would be devastating. Some workers travel considerable distances to get to work, so once again the effects would be widespread.  This is also another nail in the coffin for manufacturing in the UK and comes as very sad news.”

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Bridgwater Remembers

Sunday, 8 November 2020Leave a reply
Bridgwater Remembers 8/11/2020

Today the Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Tony Heywood (Labour, Eastover) placed 2 wreaths on the town’s cenotaph. One from himself as mayor and one on behalf of the people of the town. He was joined by just 5 other people. The MP, Ian Lidell-Grainger, the Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council Cllr Peter Clayton (Con, Burnham North) and Klaus Galeitzke Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Bridgwater Branch. Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) Leader of the town council filmed the event and the Police arrived 5 minutes later. The event was held at 0830 and everyone was 2 metres apart in accordance with Covid regulations. Two minutes silence was observed, started and finished by Klaus Galeitzke who said “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”

What are we Remembering?

Brian Smedley at a memorial service to Czech world war 2 resistance fighters

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.”

Glen Burrows “Re-inforce the message of ‘Never Again'”

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.

Labour Reacts to Latest Tory U-Turn: This time it’s ‘Free School Meals’

Sunday, 8 November 2020Leave a reply
Empty plates adorn Bridgwater Tory Offices

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.


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Congratulations USA

Saturday, 7 November 2020Leave a reply
The USA elects

Joe Biden has won the US Presidential elections. It’s the end of Donald Trump and the world has turned a corner against populist demagogues.


Free School Meals Row Escalates as Empty Plates Appear at Tory Offices in Bridgwater

Sunday, 1 November 2020Leave a reply
Empty plates adorn Bridgwater Tory Offices

In a rarely witnessed shocker, Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, has replied to a letter from his constituents. In this case the Bridgwater group of Labour Councillors who sent him an angry rebuke for voting against free school meals. In it they highlighted the anomalies between some of his constituents who lived on less than £7,400 a year while he drew expenses of over £80,000 calling his vote a ‘callous betrayal of hundreds of thousands of poor families’.  At the same time empty plates appeared on the door step of the local Conservative party offices in Bridgwater, presumably from angry constituents, bearing slogans such as ‘Hungry kids can’t learn’ and ‘child poverty up 800,000 under the Tories since 2010′.

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Is Yeovil now paying the price for one-dimensional voting in last year’s General election?

Wednesday, 28 October 2020Leave a reply
Terry Ledlie -Chairman of Yeovil Labour Party

Is Yeovil now paying the price for one-dimensional voting in last year’s General election? Asks Yeovil Labour Party Chairman Terry Ledlie.

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?”

Labour Councillors’ Anger at Bridgwater MP School Meals Vote

Wednesday, 28 October 2020Leave a reply
Trying to get in touch with the right honourable member.

Bridgwater Labour councillors have written angrily to their Member of Parliament Ian Liddell-Grainger following his vote  last week to reject the extension of free school meals. In a letter signed by all 14 Town, District and County councillors representing Bridgwater seats they accuse him of being ‘disingenuous’ in his response and ask him if he now regrets his decision. The public backlash against the Tory vote has led to Conservative MPs being banned from local pubs and shops, others saying they want a revote so that they can change their minds and local councils being left to pick up the bill from scant resources. The Tory vote has been compounded by the fact that MPs already have their own meals subsidised and many Conservative voters and members now increasingly worried about the drift of the party which they have supported well off the radar to the far right.

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Monday, 26 October 2020Leave a reply
Save St Andrews Ward demonstration, Wells Picture: 24/10/2020 Kate Pearce

Exactly one month after Somerset CCG announced their decision to close St Andrew’s Ward in Wells, which is the last remaining mental health ward, not only in Wells, but in the whole Mendip area, Save Somerset’s Community Services organised a rally on Cathedral Green, Wells, which was attended by at least 55 people on a rainy Saturday afternoon. We were reminded by Vanessa Gordon from mental health charity Heads Up that Wells used to have 60 mental health beds back in the 1980s. The population size of Mendip District in 1991 was 97,400, but in 2018 it was 114,881; we have an increasing population and ever decreasing number of mental health beds and services. People in crisis who have been admitted to a mental health ward require support from family and friends as part of their journey to recovery. Locating the ward in Yeovil means that this aspect of patient recovery will be much reduced, resulting in a prolonged recovery and a reduction in the availability of beds at a time when demand is already outstripping availability.


From Starving Miners to Starving Minors

Saturday, 24 October 2020
What’s on the menu today then..??

The Tories are having a bad reaction across the country to their decision to vote against extending  free school meals to disadvantaged children during the holidays  last week. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been banned from his local pub as a result, several Tories have resigned  and a petition to protest against MPs using public money for their own free food is currently doing the rounds gaining increasing numbers . Now, Yeovil Labour Party Womens Officer Rebecca Chedzoy (Hazelgrove) has launched a fierce attack on her own MP Marcus Fysh for joining the rest of the County Tory MPs in their vote.

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.”

A New Low

James Bamford (Yeovil Labour Party Youth officer)

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. “

Somerset Tories Under Fire Over Child Food Poverty Vote

Friday, 23 October 2020
“Shall we let them have some more….?”

Less than a year ago Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell Grainger was winning his seat to Parliament with a whopping 25,000 more votes than his nearest rival, Labour’s Oliver Thornton. A 7% increase on the previous massive vote. Mr Liddell-Grainger is clearly massively valued and appreciated by his loyal constituents. It would seem he can walk on water, do whatever he wants and the voters will just pile on vote after vote to make sure he’s the one there in Westminster saying exactly what they themselves would be saying if they’d had the chance. Yet….this week eyebrows are furrowing and  nostrils are temporarily widening as his most recent votes have included voting against an agricultural bill which would  have protected food standards in the UK and voting against Marcus Rashford’s popular and inspired free school meals bill to end child food poverty. And people aren’t happy! What is happening to the Teflon Tory?? Is it all downhill from here or is it just a temporary blip on his trajectory to universal popularity?

Continue reading “Somerset Tories Under Fire Over Child Food Poverty Vote”