Monday, February 29, 2016

Steps and cake - campaigning in Low Fell

Low Fell steps Feb 16

I was in Low Fell in Gateshead on Saturday to help with the action day in the ward. Low Fell is Lib Dem held though the majority is not large. It is home to a large number of Labour councillors who live in nice houses whilst representing less well heeled areas in other parts of Gateshead. On Saturday we spent the morning delivering target letters. I discovered that Low Fell is built on the side of a steep hill. Long flights of steps are needed to get to some streets.

cakes Feb 16

Those hosting action days are expected to provide lunch for the helpers. I was able to tuck into a large quantity of cakes before heading out to do some door-knocking. A good response.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tom Brake MP in Newcastle

Tom Brake MP in Newcastle Feb 16

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake was a visitor to Newcastle last week. I was part of the delegation to meet and greet him at Newcastle Central Station and we took him on the Metro to South Gosforth and then the Regent Centre. He then headed to Newcastle University to speak in favour of staying in the EU.

You can see photos from the visit on the above link.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Campaigning in Whickham North

Whickham North leaflets Feb 16

I was away last weekend (in Stockholm) so in my absence, my colleagues arranged for me to deliver lots of Focuses! On Wednesday, I delivered 370 in Whickham East. Yesterday, I headed down to Whickham North to deliver 200 Focuses in the morning then returned in the afternoon to do a survey of residents with Cllr Sonya Hawkins. We called on houses in the Glebe, where my Dad lives. I caught him heading to Newcastle to go to a club that had a free jazz afternoon. At over 85 years of age, we have retired him from delivering Focuses. Dad headed off for the music, Sonya and I continued door-knocking in the cold! We got a good set of survey returns.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Visiting Sunderland

Craig Martin Jonathan Wallace Feb 16

I attended an enjoyable pizza and politics event hosted by Millfield ward Lib Dems in Sunderland last night. Speaker was John Shipley, former leader of Newcastle City Council and now a peer. Host Niall Hodson took the opportunity to show off some of his campaign publicity. I wasn't the only PCC candidate there. Craig Martin, Lib Dem for Durham, was also enjoying pizzas!

Millfield Lib Dems piublicity Feb 16 (2)

Millfield Lib Dems piublicity Feb 16 (1)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Burning pizzas in Ryton

Ryton team Feb 16

Sunday saw the local Lib Dem team move into Ryton for the day. A group of us hit the doorsteps to do a survey of residents. Alas, one of our members called on the son of the Labour mayor Alex Geddes. Since we like Alex (I appreciate that in the Labour group, being liked by us is something of a popularity killer), the conversation went well.

food eaten at Ryton Feb 16

Meanwhile, back at HQ, we shifted a large quantity of sandwiches. Sadly, one of the pizzas we were hoping to eat was left in the oven for a bit longer than necessary. It emerged a bit incinerated.

Ryton Focus Feb 16

Once the survey was done, we spent the rest of the day mopping up a few leaflet patches. Job done by 3pm.

Scampi and Chips in Dunston Hill and Whickham East

Dunston Hill delivery Feb 16

On Saturday I headed down to Dunston Hill and Whickham East ward in Gateshead to be part of a team that delivered 1100 Focuses. In rain, snow and hail (which stings when hitting cold hands) we got the leaflets delivered, stopping only when we ran out. We did however take a break for lunch at the Harry Clasper in Whickham. Scampi and chips went down very well.

scampi and chips Feb 16

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Focus deliveries

Whickham South Focuses Feb 16

My colleague Cllr John McClurey kindly dropped off a box of Focuses for me a couple of days ago. I've done a couple of delivery sessions since then in Sunniside and Marley Hill. I have a couple of patches left to do in the Whickham part of my ward. I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow. Once I've delivered my patches, the spares will go back to John who will take the bundles of leaflets to our deliverers.

The lead story is about Labour's proposals in Gateshead to move to collecting general waste and recycling waste bins to once every three weeks. We've also included articles about Labour's proposals to reduced most grass cutting, the Fugar history project and the A1 improvements. I've already had people emailing me about the issues we've raised. And people were asking me about them when I was in the queue for the till in the Sunniside Coop this evening. It seems this is going to be quite a lively edition of Focus.

Selected as PCC candidate for Northumbria

I am pleased to announce that I have been chosen by local Liberal Democrats to be the party's candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. Below is the news release the regional party has just issued.

Gateshead's Dr Jonathan Wallace selected as Lib Dem Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Northumbria

Liberal Democrats in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear are putting forward a candidate for the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner who will campaign for the post to be axed and the savings ploughed back into putting police on the beat.

Dr Jonathan Wallace is Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council and has almost 30 years of experience in local government in the North East. He was born in Bensham, grew up in Lobley Hill, and was elected at the age of 23 to Gateshead Council in 1986 for Whickham South and Sunniside ward where he has been re-elected 8 times since.

Whilst Jonathan has extensive experience of local government, he does not come from a typical political background. 7 years ago he gave up paid employment to live the “good life” with his partner David in Sunniside, growing his own food and keeping bees, poultry and goats. His broadcasts about self-sufficiency on his YouTube channel have had over 4 million viewings. Jonathan graduated from Newcastle University in 1988 where he studied history, and was awarded a research doctorate in 1995.
“It is a great privilege to have been chosen by fellow Liberal Democrats,” said Jonathan, who is also Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council.
“My three priorities are to ensure front line policing is protected, bureaucracy is kept to a minimum through scrapping the post of police and crime commissioner, and seeking to reduce the increase in crime experienced under the current incumbent.
“Liberal Democrats want a more democratic system to ensure all communities in the area of the police force are taken into account when policing plans are drawn up, without the unnecessary overheads of the commissioner and her office.

“I am determined to challenge the Labour establishment in the North East. They have complacently controlled the region for decades without the North East seeing any significant gains. After years of crime falling locally, the incumbent Labour PCC has presided over an increase in crime rates and has been involved in controversy over the departure of the chief constable and her decision to axe funding for Victim Support in favour of funding an alternative organisation of which she is a director. I want to prioritise community policing principles which have taken a back seat under the current Labour PCC.”

Sunday, February 07, 2016

On the doorsteps in Chowdene

Ravensworth from Chowdene Feb 16 (1)

It was a rather breezy day to be out in Chowdene in Gateshead. With a gale blowing, I still managed to get round by leaflet patch. The Focus being delivered is joint with Low Fell, the neighbouring ward which we are also defending. Yesterday. Low Fell was delivered. Today was the turn of Chowdene.

I had a superb view from one street across the Team Valley to Ravensworth, the country estate which is partly in my council ward.

Anyway, the next ward to be delivered will be my very own Whickham South and Sunniside. I printed the back page of the Focus last night. Front page awaits more ink from the print suppliers.

Friday, February 05, 2016

On the doorsteps in Whickham South and Sunniside

A useful afternoon on Sunday: I was door-knocking in my ward of Whickham South and Sunniside. We got a positive response on the doorsteps. Issues raised included the traffic lights at Sunniside, the recent rain, my goats and how my aunt in Canada is doing. Clearly we were calling at a patch where, not only was I well known, some people had known my family for decades!

We will be doing another door-knocking session shortly but in the meantime we are ploughing our way through the pile of survey returns that was the result of Sunday's activities. There are quite a few email addresses to add to our email newsletter. And one of my forthcoming jobs is to complete and publish the next edition.