Sunday, December 01, 2019

Delivering Birtley

Delivering Birtley Nov 19

A productive day in Birtley today. We delivered most of the ward with our next Focus. A few patches were held back as some volunteers are able to help through the week instead of today. It did mean they missed the frost and ice and the opportunity to slide up and down people's drives!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Something's missing from the Brexit Party

Brexit Party Leaflet freepost Jarrow Nov 19 1

I was given today a copy of the Brexit Party freepost leaflet for Jarrow. Have a look at it and see if you can spot something significant that is missing.

Brexit Party Leaflet freepost Jarrow Nov 19 2

Spotted it yet? There is no mention of their candidate, not even in the imprint. I'm not an agent but I'm rather surprised Royal Mail allowed this.

Recent deliveries

Dunston Delivery Nov 19

Election leaflet deliveries are now in full swing. On Tuesday I was in Dunston. On Thursday I was in Sunniside, Friday in Whickham and today I was in central Gateshead. We had new members with us today and they are returning for another stint tomorrow.

Delivering Watergate Nov 19

Video: Whickham Lights switch on

I filmed this on Tuesday at the Whickham Christmas lights switch on, starting at Rose Villa and then moving on to Church Green.

Whickham Christmas lights switch on

Whickham Xmas lights switch on Nov 19 (3)

On Tuesday, the Whickham Christmas lights were switched on. The event was organised by Lighting Up Whickham who also raised the funds for the decorations. The tree was paid for by Chris Joyce, manager of the Woodmans on Fellside Road. As usual, I was there to do the photos.

Whickham Xmas lights switch on Nov 19 (2)

Whickham Xmas lights switch on Nov 19 (4)

Whickham Xmas lights switch on Nov 19 (11)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Delivering Birtley

Vicky Anderson Nov 19

We were in Birtley today to deliver Blaydon constituency Lib Dem leaflets. Lots done but lots more still to do. I particularly liked Vicky Anderson's t-shirt!

Whickham eFocus no. 126

Just published this evening, the Whickham area eFocus, edition 126. Contents include:
  • Remembering the fallen at Remembrance services in Whickham, Dunston, Swalwell and Marley Hill.
  • Whickham Christmas lights switch on 26th November.
  • Clean air zone consultation ends on 25th November.
  • Church Green has been planted up by volunteers.
  • Swalwell fair on 30th November.
  • Your Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates.
You can read eFocus on this link.

Low Fell eFocus no. 46

The latest edition of eFocus on Low Fell was published last week. The key stories included:
  • Low Fell's Christmas lights 'switch on'
  • Residents pay their respects at Low Fell remembrance service
  • Peter Maughan runs to be Gateshead's MP 
  • Low Fell Business survey - results are in!
  • Well done to St Peter's RC Primary School!
  • Focus Team meet with Police
You can read eFocus on this link.

A very wet Saturday

Swalwell Community Centre Nov 19

It rained all day on Saturday. It rather ruled out leaflet delivery. Nevertheless, after our Whickham advice surgery in the morning, Vicky Anderson and I were able to get to Swalwell for the Community Centre's Christmas fair where Cllr Sonya Hawkins was helping out.

Corned beef pie Nov 19

I recommend the corned beef pie.

Whinnies Community Garden Vicky Anderson Nov 19

From Swalwell we headed to Sunniside for the Whinnies Community Garden Christmas fair. This was outdoors but the rain had failed to dampen spirits or keep people away!

Delivering in Rowlands Gill

Rowlands Gill delivery Nov 19

I had one patch to deliver in Rowlands Gill and an opportunity arose on Friday in the late afternoon to get it down. It was getting dark when I arrived. The patch was done in an hour. Fortunately the rain stayed away!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Delivering in Kibblesworth

Delivering in Kibblesworth Nov 19

Today's leaflet delivery was in Kibblesworth. Just a modest sized patch this time, fitted in between feeding the goats and going to full council.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Giving the comedy show a miss

I decided I had better things to do last night than to watch the Jeremy and Boris comedy show on ITV. I had a beekeepers' meeting to attend and when I got home from it, I had more of Parliamentary Campaigner to write. So there was no time to watch rubbish on television.

From what I hear, neither side delivered a knockout blow to the other. That in effect meant Johnson won. Whether or not the performance of the two has any impact on their vote is still to be seen. Remember Cleggmania following the leader debates in 2010? It didn't translate into votes.

Delivering in Gateshead

Gateshead Lib Dem leaflets Nov 19

I had a chairs' meeting at 2pm of the corporate resource scrutiny committee which was called to check out the agenda and reports for the next committee meeting on 2nd December. Fortunately it was a short meeting as I needed to get away to deliver a patch in Gateshead constituency for Peter Maughan. Job done in an hour. I'm back home now but I've got another meeting back at the Civic Centre at 5.30pm and then one in Whickham at 6.30pm.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance, held to remember all transgender people who have been murdered for who they are.

I wonder if the Labour Party in Gateshead will be welcoming this day. Their attempts to pass a transphobic motion at Gateshead Council was to say the least deeply embarrassing for them. Their shameful illiberal position is sadly a stain on Gateshead. Though Labour dropped the motion following terrible local news headlines, they did announce that it will be brought back. We will fight it when they do.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Candidate round up

So, the nominations have closed. And in Blaydon, yet again, there has been an increase in the number of candidates. This time local voters will have a choice of 8. Liz Twist is defending for Labour (she was first elected in 2017) and challenging her from the other two main parties are Vicky Anderson (Lib Dem) and  Conservative Adrian Pepper (all the way from the City of London and Westminster constituency - hopefully someone gave him a map of where we are). There is also a Green and a Brexiter. Minor candidates are a "Liberal", "Space Navies" and a 5G conspiracy theorist.

Meanwhile, in Gateshead constituency, the Brexit candidate has withdrawn his nomination. In Jarrow the "SDP" are standing. Meanwhile, the Brexit candidate for Tynemouth lives in Australia. I hope he gets back in time for the count!

The good news is that the election is only 4 weeks away. Think of all those lovely dark nights, cold weather and rain!

Flying start for Vicky

Vicky launch event Nov 19 1

Vicky Anderson got off to a flying start in the battle for Blaydon last night. Members gathered to back her campaign to become the next MP for the constituency. Good luck Vicky. Sadly, today's rain has restricted leaflet deliveries!

Transphobic Labour will be furious

The Lib Dems today are announcing plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Details are below along with the party's criticism of the Conservative position and their attempts to kick the issue into the long grass.

In Gateshead however, it is Labour that have taken up a transphobic position. Earlier this year they submitted a motion for debate at the Council which opposed the proposed reforms the Conservative government were proposing (the same reforms now kicked into the long grass by the Johnson administration). There was such an outcry in the transgender community against Labour's motion that they were forced into a humiliating uturn. The motion was withdrawn and buried, not because Labour disagreed with it, but because there was a backlash which was putting the spotlight on Labour as a party of illiberalism and reaction. Its leading proponent promised it would return but it has not seen the light of day since. At least not yet.

I suspect Labour in Gateshead will not be fans of the proposals announced by the Lib Dems today, but here they are anyway:

  • The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will implement reform of the Gender Recognition Act as a priority, after the Conservative Government failed to bring forward measures despite promises to do so.
  • Under the plans, to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, the Act will be amended to make the gender recognition process simpler and fairer, by:
    • Removing the requirement for medical reports
    • Scrapping the fee.
    • Recognising non-binary gender identities.
  • Last month it was reported that the Conservatives had “shelved the plans” and intended them to be “kicked into the long grass”.
  • This is prolonging uncertainty and creating unnecessary anxiety for trans people at a time when transphobic hate crime is at a record high.
  • The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future where every person’s rights are respected, including expression of their gender identity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Labour indecision could cost them dearly

Labour have been all over the place on Brexit. From calling for the immediate implementation of Brexit, to opposing calls for a confirmatory referendum, to negotiating a new deal that makes the UK a rule taker rather than rule maker, to calling for a referendum on their own deal with no clear view of whether or not they would be campaigning to leave or stay, Labour's attempt to be all things to all people is coming unstuck at the seams. It is part of the reason for Labour losing about a quarter of their vote since 2017, at least according the the polls.

Comrade Corbyn is off to Scotland today to whip up support for Labour. But North of the border, Labour's position is even worse than in England. Labour's hold on their 7 seats there is at best problematic. A credible outcome in Scotland is that Labour are left with no seats at all. Labour's hint that they could, in government, allow another Scottish referendum on independence is alienating  voters who in the past voted Labour but are unionist inclined. Other voters who are inclined towards Scottish independence but also voted Labour in the past can't be blamed when they ask what point is there to voting Labour when they can get their option of an independence referendum by voting SNP.

To win a general election, Labour have to win big in Scotland. Without the majority of seats north of the border returning Labour MPs, their best hope is simply to be the largest party in the Commons. Even that is a big ask given the poor performance of Labour both in elections this year, and in opinion polls.

A month from today we will know the outcome of the election. We shall see if there is a Labour recovery. I do take opinion polls with a modest pinch of salt but they do indicate the direction of travel of voters. And at the moment, Labour are not moving in the direction they need to win. Their indecision is costing them dearly.