Who Should I Vote For?

So it is less than 24 hours until the polling booths open and I need to decide who I am going to vote for.

In my ward I have 6 candidates each of who I would like to think should be canvassing me for my vote, they have all allegedly put themselves forward because they want to do the best for the community they live in. So let’s look at what I have had in the way of election leaflets from each of the parties.

  • Community Voice – 4 leaflets all black and white with 1 addressed and posted
  • Conservatives – Nothing
  • England First – Nothing
  • Labour – 5 leaflets 1 glossy, 4 colour printed with 2 of them addressed and posted
  • Liberal Democrats – Nothing
  • TUSC – Nothing

I have had no knock on the door from any candidate, I have been on annual leave for the previous 2 weeks and someone has been in the house each and every day.

Mike Barnes from Community Voice has obviously been out ‘doorstepping’ he even tweeted about it a few days back.

Twitter / @mike barnes: Another 4 1/2 hours on the ...

 

For some reason Mike has deleted this tweet, blocked a load of his twitter followers and protected his account so that only people who he ‘authorises’ can see his tweets. I find this a bit strange from a person who has never been afraid of self publicity. It has to be said I think there is a bit more to this story with ‘Lil and Sue’ than meets the eye, this will come out after the count tomorrow I’m sure.

Mike was even trying to take £10,000 bets on him still being a councilor on May 6,

  barnes-betting

I should point out that win or lose Barnes, who also said he will get more votes than all the other candidates put together, will be a councillor until 9 May as this is the day that the winning candidates are sworn in to office.

So back to who should I vote for? 

I vote differently in General Elections than I do in Local Elections, in a General Election it is about the party who I think will do the best (or least damage) for the country, locally it is the person who I think will do the best for me and my community, but how do I make a decision on who is going to be best for me and my ward if the candidates generally don’t tell me about what they are going to do when they become my elected representative?

4 of the 6 candidates in this ward have taken Pits n Pots up on the offer of a 500 word article and while we are getting between 16 & 20,000 visitors a day, publishing something on-line either on Pits n Pots or on your own website is not an alternative to traditional canvassing. I am under no illusions that people still want bits of paper through the door and want to look at the candidate in the eyes to see what makes them tick.

I want the candidates to knock on my door on the run up to an election, even if I set the dogs on them I want the choice on whether I speak to them or not, I don’t want to be ignored.

After every election there is a big hoo-ha made about what the % turn out was and why is it so low, maybe all parties need to look at actually engaging with the electorate on the run up to the election rather than just sticking a name on the nomination from so they can say the party fielded a candidate in the ward.

We deserve better from the people who hope to represent us.

Who am I going to vote for? that is between me and the ballot box but I can assure you that 3 of the 6 in my ward are not in the running straight away.

 

Stoke-on-Trent Needs Committed Councillors, Not Activists with a Grudge

I know that this blog article is going to make me mightily unpopular in some quarters of the Stoke-on-Trent political arena, but here goes.

Following on from my last post about the far right England First Party, which was fantastically well received, I climb up on my soapbox for round two.

You see i have a real worry about the upcoming local council elections, in fact I would go as far as to say it is boarding on a mortal fear, that our city will end up with a load of councillors that are in it for all the wrong reasons.

My fears were further realised following a disturbing telephone conversation with an ex-member of the Labour Party here in Stoke-on-Trent.

It appears there is a group of disenfranchised ex-Labour party members that are to throw their hats in the ring and are to seek election to the City Council with their number one priority to smear the Labour Party and its candidates as opposed to actually wanting to represent their communities.

I admit that I was absolutely flabbergasted by this revelation.

These people are to focus their campaign on what the Labour Party have done to them in the past, how the Labour party has broken their own rules [in their opinion anyway] and they are to publicly smear some of the Labour candidates.

I’m sure that you don’t need me to mention their names in this article, but you will know who I mean when I describe them as the usual suspects.

It would appear that the labour Party’s crime is to select 44 candidates to fight every available seat across the City.

They stand accused of not producing a manifesto on which to fight the election and they are definitely guilty of fielding candidates that are not legitimate and have been selected by the Regional Office so the dissenters claim.

One poor candidate that has got it coming to her is Alison Wedgwood, her crime? She doesn’t live in the City according to this group. “We are going to nail her” was the phrase used. She won’t be the only one.

This group are marketing themselves as “Ëœoriginal Labour’ ““ you know, a throwback to those halcyon days when the Labour Party that the ultimate power in our city. A time when all 60 candidates were Labour and the only arguments, and there was a few, were between themselves.

But those days were blighted by some of the most monumental cock ups in our city’s history. The Cultural Quarter, World Gate, the Britannia Stadium deal to name just a few ““ hardly the city’s finest period of history, do we really want to go back there?

In fact it is rumoured that Barry Stockley, the Council Leader at the time of those Keystone Kops like incidents will stand in the election alongside the usual suspects against an official Labour candidate thus ending his long association with the party.

None of current crop of Labour councillors were in office at the time of the darkest days in our council’s history.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying vote Labour in this post.

As I have said in the past we will have a real choice of candidates in these elections ranging from mainstream parties, community councillors from the City Independent Group and Community Voice, and true Independents who seek to serve their communities and wards and to help make the areas in which they live a better place.

But we have a duty to vote for councillors who will make a real difference to the city.

By and large we will have a single councillor to represent the majority of wards across the city and we will be stuck with them for four whole years. If we vote in the wrong calibre of person we will be able to repent at leisure.

I therefore ask a genuine question.

Do we really want to vote in a group of individuals or are standing against a party, it’s rules and regulations [or the lack of them] and it’s candidates?

Do we genuinely care if this crew were thrown on the scrap heap for having a different ideology to that of the modern day Labour party?

Why should we the general public get embroiled in a war between factions when the likelihood is that it will be us that get caught in the crossfire whilst the two opposing sides will be battling it out?

Are we really bothered who is right and who is wrong in this dispute?

Activists fall out with their parties every day, just like in the case of Shaun Bennett. But the fundamental difference here is that Shaun has walked away and is standing for the City Independents. He hasn’t spat his dummy and is standing on an anti-Conservative agenda.

It has been said that the Community Voice group is made up largely of ex-Labourites and that’s true. But Community Voice have their own identity. They have their own set of political principles. They will seek election on a set of their own pledges. To their enormous credit they rejected a number of advances from this “Ëœoriginal Labour’ group because they did not want to go down the anti-Labour route why? – Because they have their own vision.

And what of the suggestion that the City labour Party have no agenda?

My understanding is that the Labour collective will have a very definite set of priorities, policies and pledges that will be communicated to the electorate during the election campaigns.

So in summary I find myself pleading with all communities to use their votes wisely.

The majority of us will be represented by a single councillor, we will be stuck with him or her for four long years, so let’s get the right ones in eh?

Whether you are far left, left, middle, right or god help us far right, let’s get people into the chamber who want to put communities ahead of their own personal vendetta’s.

We want people who will support, represent and help the elderly, the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society and we want councillors who are progressive and can improve the areas in which we live.

If I lived in a ward where there is an “Ëœoriginal Labour’ candidate standing I would be “Ëœnailing’ them to be open and transparent for their reasons on why they are seeking election. I would be “Ëœnailing’ them on what they intend to do to stand up for their ward. I would be nailing them to say what their priorities are.

And if one of them gave an answer which contained what the Labour Party did to them, or which rule it did not follow, or how the candidate selection was wrong, or why a certain candidate should not be standing ““ I would shut the door in their faces. Their leaflets would be flushed down the toilet so that it can meet the other sewage that lurks in the city’s drains.

No doubt my politics will be “Ëœnailed’ as a result of this article. I simply do not care. Anyone who reads my articles [10’s of thousands] and the people who know me personally [hundreds] know that I have socialist principles but when it comes to the local election, my family and I always vote for those who we think will best represent our community and who will do the most for the people who live in it.

Apart from the BNP and heaven forbid the England First Party that applies to pretty much any candidate.