Sedgemoor Labour Launches Election Campaign at Bridgwater Arts Centre

H Day
It’s ‘H-Day’ for Labour as the troops go into action.

It was like D-Day, Dunkirk, Anzio and Balaclava rolled into one as Sedgemoor Labour outlined it’s top secret election strategy, publicly, clinically and obviously with maps, at a launch event at Bridgwater’s prestige Art Centre, recently saved from closure by the Labour controlled Town Council.  Leader Brian Smedley unveiled a strategy that had only ever been used once before -in every election since 1974 -which was to consolidate the base (Bridgwater) advance on all fronts towards the enemy (sort of ‘Cheddar’ direction) and liberate territories occupied by the opposition (mainly Highbridge) whilst harrassing behind the lines through partisan activity  from the Quantocks, across the levels and up into the Poldens. The message was simple ‘People of Highbridge, your day of liberation is near’. And when that was over, some other people gave some more serious talks.

Housing will be a Priority

Mick Lerry speaking at the launch event

Leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council, Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) spoke about one of the key areas Labour can deliver on “Housing will be a priority for Labour Councillors in the District Elections on May 2nd 2019. The demand for Housing to make sure that local people can rent and buy is so important, after years of decline in house building. With the scrapping of the borrowing cap, Councils can now start to borrow again to build Council houses for social rent. This is a political decision that needs to be made and Labour Councillors will make sure that Council houses will be built in Sedgemoor. Private development is failing to meet the demand necessary to build 655 houses a year, to provide homes for people. There are over 700 people looking for one bedroom properties to live in, due to the bedroom tax. Brownfield sites should be used and the development should be small estates, rather large estates. It is also important to make sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place, such as roads, schools and community hubs and over development should be avoided. Homes of multiple occupancy must be monitored to avoid such over development that puts pressure on the local infrastructure, for those living in the area. Modular houses can also be used to speed up the process of delivery of the much needed homes for the local community, which are sustainable and well designed.”

Reaching out to the youth

Diogo Rodrigues with fellow Fairfax candidates Alec Glassford and Hilary Bruce

Bridgwater’s dynamic young Mayor, Diogo Rodrigues, who is standing for District in the south Sydenham seat of Dunwear and for town in the North Sydenham seat of Fairfax (East)  spoke passionately about putting faith in our young people. Diogo said Brexit was dividing us and we needed unity which he believed only Labour could bring. “The campaign should be about local issues and the work of Bridgwater Town Council shows that we have delivered what we said we would, especially in the area of young people where we have set up a youth council which can make its own decisions. We need to replicate this on the District Council and I’m particularly keen to introduce a portfolio to youth as its so important. We have to prove that our politics is different and that people can trust us to deliver what we say we will.”

Fighting for the environment

Kathy Pearce talks about environmental issues
Deputy Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Kathy Pearce (Westover) gave a brief summary of key projects which councillors had been involved in, such as increasing bio-diversity and public access on to the 45 acres of public open space known as The Meads and working with other organisations to protect, enhance and promote our local waterways which are so important as a natural resource and potential for increasing tourism. She added “In terms of policies, there are opportunities ahead to really make the difference to our local environment.  Bridgwater Town Council recently became the first town in Somerset to pass an Anti-Fracking Motion and with a heavy Labour involvement, Sedgemoor District Council is now implementing a Single Use Plastics policy . The next phase will be increasing recycling,  implementing Climate Change policies and  working towards our ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and achieve Transition Town status.”

Keep the Positive Momentum

labour women
More female candidates than ever before standing across the district

North of the Poldens, Labour are standing in every seat as well. Steve Vincent from the Wells CLP said “I am really proud to announce that this is the first time ever that every voter in North West Somerset will have the opportunity to vote for Labour in the upcoming District elections. We have managed to put together an impressive list of candidates with one in every ward and three standing in our most winnable ward of Highbridge and Burnham Marine. What we really need to do is to make sure that in 4 years time we aren’t back to square one, searching desperately for people to stand. Let’s use this as a building block for the future of the Labour Party in our region and keep the positive momentum.”

Glen Burrows, Chair of Bridgwater Labour Party and who is standing for Town Council in Eastover, where she lives, added  “The increased number of women and young candidates shows that the Labour Party is reaching out to under-presented sections of our local community. We look forward to their election with confidence.”

Making a Difference ‘Right here, right now’

polden labour
Labour candidates for the Poldens    – no longer ‘blue remembered hills’?

Bridgwater Branch Secretary Gary Tucker who is standing for District in Puriton & Woolavington and for Town in Dunwear South said “The campaign ahead is just like the candidates- diverse. Over the long-term, we have been building a presence in Sedgemoor through the amazing work of the Town council, successes in opposition with various motions, and continuous campaigning meaning we have become a regular sight in our communities and the people are well-used to us being around. The leaflet campaign will enter a
second phase with the Bridgwater Rose being released at the end of April but in between, I urge candidates to keep featuring in their wards. Conversations are the key to winning and changing the hegemony of the anti-Corbyn narrative that exists and the divisive Brexit. Have conversations with voters about their local issues and concerns and show them that another way is possible. The lying narrative around Corbyn and the harmful distraction of Brexit has caused important local issues to be ignored. Labour locally will not ignore it. Show them that the only Labour can make a difference right here, right now.”

For a full list of Labour’s District candidates click here

For a full list of Labour’s Town candidates click here

For the Labour manifesto click here

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5 years ago

The day they taught Brian Smedley PowerPoint is like the day they gave William Shakespeare a pen. The world got better and moved a hundred steps forwards all in one go. Sorry to have missed it… Onwards!

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