You know what, politically I’m all over the place! I can’t seem to find a party that truly reflects my hopes and beliefs. Up until the middle of last year, I was certain the the Labour party was the party for me. But after the last local elections, it dawned on me that too many of the Labour party activists blame the parties national performance for their own failings!
I can remember being in a particular meeting discussing the fall out from the disastrous local election results and hearing way too many people blaming the abolition of the 10p tax rate for the loss of local Labour Councillors. No mention of the fact that the party was disenfranchised and publicly appeared completely split.
I have had some time out of the party, time to reflect, to asses the political situation in Stoke. It is my firm belief that Labour in this city need to build on the work of Stoke South CLP. Party members like Tom Reynolds, Mark Davis, Mike Barnes and Denver Tolley show what can be achieved by Labour in this city. It is rumoured that Stoke South work closely with the West Midlands Regional Labour Party headed by Regional Director Ian Reilly, well I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is then Stoke Central in particular need to follow suit, and sharpish!
But they won’t will they, because the Stoke Central dinosaurs want the party to stand still and to revert the city back to when the likes of Barry Stockley was the council leader. I have spoken to a fair few people from Stoke Central and they are convinced that they know best and that the local party should be setting policy and will resist improvement, transformation and change. They keep telling me “we are right – they are wrong!” referring to the rest of the Labour party in the city.
Stoke Central are losing votes to the BNP, left, right and center and this proves that the electorate are rejecting the Labour party out of hand! Stoke Central must find better caliber candidates. It must be time for Stoke Central to turn away from the old (Stockley, Crowe, Beech ect) and from now, concentrate on the future (Heggie, Davis, Reynolds, Barnes ect). Unless this starts to happen the party I have supported nearly all of my life will not play an active part in the running of this city. In my opinion, neither should they.
The introduction of the City Labour Party has so far not worked. Even though there has been excellent input from the likes of Sarah Hill and Margaret Lilley. My information is that these two in particular have come in for some real nasty treatment. Maybe a City Labour Party would work and might even unite the party, if the so called dinosaurs and dissenters were no longer on the scene.
Stoke South work closely with the city’s best MP Rob Flello, who is from the West Midlands and is no doubt close to the regional party and Ian Reilly. Thing is, it is working in Stoke South, there the trend is being bucked. People are not turning toward the BNP. Jane Heggie and co are getting the party supporters out. There is real communication with the electorate, the message is getting out. Surely if it is working in Stoke South, it could work in Stoke Central if, and it is a big if, they are willing to promote change. Surely if change doesn’t happen the dinosaurs will preside over the death of the Labour party in this city. If that happens the only benefactors will be Alby and the BNP.
Alby Walker has come out and stated that he will stand against Mark Fisher in Stoke Central and given the way the electorate have turned away from Labour locally in favour of the BNP (two of Stoke Central’s ward are completely run by the BNP) it must be a real concern for Labour that they could be in for a hard fight to retain this seat and to prevent this constituency from returning the first BNP MP.
If they do not accept change and welcome the vision of Ian Reilly’s Directorship, the enthusiasm of the likes of Rob Flello, the systems adopted by Jane Heggie and the candidates with the caliber of Davis, Reynolds and Barnes, the Labour party should watch Stoke Central, very, very carefully indeed.
I openly say here, that I would love to rejoin the party in the future, but only when there is unity across the city and the focus is on defeating the opposition, not each other.
As a footnote, Labour’s Alison Wedgwood, who has been selected before to stand as an PPC, is getting very popular and has a very high profile among the people of Stoke on Trent, for the work she is doing to keep the Wedgwood factory producing in this city. She might make an excellent candidate for somewhere in Stoke on Trent…………………….
Now for the EU! What does the EU do for this country? It costs us in the region of £12billion and we receive about £6billion back in grants and the like. What I want to know, and I call on the likes of Roger Ibbs and Mike BarnesÃ‚ to give their opinions on the pros and cons of European Union Membership. The Pitsnpots readers need some guidance!
I asked a business man, who has travelled Europe as a high flyer for a multi national company, before going on to owning a £40million turnover company, what he thought would be the consequence of coming out of the EU. He looked at me and smiled, and said “well at least we would get our fishing waters back!”
It is in times of recession that we always analyse things like the money EU membership costs us as a country.
The UK already pays too much into an EU budget which is fundamentally flawed. Since joining the EU the UK has paid around £78 billion more into the EU than it has received back in EU spending. Over the next 15 years, even if the UK rebate is maintained the UK will pay £155 billion more into the budget than it receives back.
UK contributions to the EU are already increasing. By 2010 our gross contribution to the EU will hit £12 billion a year. The Government already spends more financing the EU than on promoting trade and industry through the DTI. Presently the UK spends more on the EU than on Work and Pensions and on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), which deals with housing, homelessness and scientific research.
Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium and Denmark all get much more out of the EU than they put in. Only Germany has put more into the EU than the UK.
When you consider the above facts, this weeks “British Jobs for British Workers” row really takes on a new meaning. I have said in my Sunday comments for a while now that in my opinion, we as a nation should offer the first chance of any job vacancies to our own “British” workers. Now when I say British, I don’t mean white only! I am fiercely proud of our multi cultural society and would never advantage one creed over another. People who are resident in this country should have first chance of any jobs. IfÃ‚ the position can not be filled by a UK resident then by all means invite migrant workers to fill the post.
This week saw a series of wildcat strikes across the country and for a short time I thought that the protest could turn in to some sort of civil unrest. Thank god for the intervention of ACAS, once they were involved, the union Unite and the company were brought to the table and a deal was brokered.
Some 102 jobs will go to British workers – around half of the new posts will be for skilled workers including welders and riggers and foreign workers will receive the same pay as British staff. They will return to work on Monday.
Acas and the unions must make sure that this is no one off deal, if it is, this conflict will occur time after time. British workers want to work, they want to be top of the pile, not bottom of the heap. British workers spend in this economy, live in our communities and help to make the fabric of our society.
I have no issue with migrant workers, but they do have a different agenda. To go where the well paid work is, live as meagre existence as they can while they are here (in barges etc) and then send their earnings back to their families. This will not help our economy to recover. There is no racism here just a need to let our workers work. Our country is in a deep, deep recession. Our companies are leaking jobs all over the place. No protectionism here, no racism, just a desire for our government to look after us and to care for our society.
I am disgusted that the far right BNP has tried to hijack this issue! They have had their activists and propaganda machines out trying to infiltrate the picket lines and claiming to be the saviours. There is even BNP leaflets out there saying that they are the only party to support the British Workers.
We must not let the BNP claim this as their victory. It was a victory won by the workers themselves and I am proud that they have spurned the BNP and their attempts to hijack this issue.
Watch this video:
These workers are typical of all the wildcat strikers across the country. Now watch how the BNP portray the situation:
You know try as hard as I did, I could not find any footage of picket lines or even individuals accepting the BNP’s involvement.
This is not about migrant workers, this to me, is about ensuring our country recovers from the nightmare of recession, as soon as possible. The company I have run for the last 15 years is hurting along with many others. Just this week I have had to let two of my work force go. If things don’t pick up soon I can see us needing to operate a four day week.
I’m off to prepare for more snow by ensuring that I have brought enough wine into the house from the garage, in these Siberian like conditions, you have to get your priorities right and take the relevant precautions!
This is my Sunday comment and I commend it to the blog!………