Think and stop before you drop…

Hello all – this one is just a quickie, so here is what I have been up to over the last week or so (music picked for no other reason that the above gig was the best that I’ve ever been to and I am going to see them again later in the week 🙂 ):

Myself, Cllr Cain and the ladies of Revoe Residents Assn held our first planning meeting for the annual fun day last week. It’s on Saturday 19 August 2017 at Ibbison Court – there will be tonnes of stuff on for kids and adults to do, so keep the day. And fingers crossed, we won’t have the biblical weather that we had last year.

Myself and Cllr Cain also ran a ward surgery in the week and it was good to meet some of our constituents.  We had a few people turn up with issues including the hotel holiday zone consultation and overseas banking regulations – obviously the latter issue was not in our power to address but we were able to point the constituents in the right direction in terms of getting some advice.

In advance of a Health Scrutiny meeting looking at mental health issues, I chaired a short meeting in the week attended by representatives from mental health charities, youth work groups, the a commissioning officer from the local clinical commissioning group and an officer from public health at the council. This gave the reps from the charity and youth work group an opportunity to pass on their thoughts regarding what can be done better in mental health work in Blackpool in an informal manner in advance of the scrutiny meeting. I hope that all in attendance found it useful.

It was then my pleasure to be shown around the Mereside youth centre run by Blackpool Boys and Girls Club. This was of particular interest as they do lots of work around young persons mental health and in particular building resilience. Top stuff and thanks for the invite. They have centres in Brunswick and Mereside, so click the link below for more info:

bys

On Saturday, I was pleased to be invited by Becky at Revoelution to judge a kids poster competition in Revoe Park along with Cllr Cain and Andy Walker from Revoelution. It was a poster to warn people off fly tipping in the ward – any readers of this blog will know that it’s a nightmare issue locally. Anyway, we agreed the winner (see pic below) and this will be made into a poster that will be put up throughout the Revoe area, so well done the winner – I love the “Think and stop before you drop” motto.

revoepk2

Becky from Revoelution, myself, Cllr Cain and Andy from Revoelution on Saturday

It has just been my very great pleasure to open an Armed Forces Week event at the Memory Lane Cafe at Ibbison Court. The Memory Lane ladies put a huge amount of effort into the event and the room looked great, so well done they. I hope that all in attendance enjoy the day that includes tea dancing and afternoon tea.

2

Brenda from the Memory Lane Cafe outside the NAFFI

1

The Armed Forces Week event at Memory Lane Cafe

This event obviously ties in with Armed Forces Week. There is a ton of stuff going on in the town to remember those who have served and to thank those currently in service. Click the link below to see what’s on:

armed

Along with the usual types of enquiries that I deal with, this week I have also dealt with enquiries regarding planning issues, the holiday area consultation and residents parking in old Foxhall. With regards to the latter, myself, Cllr Cain and officers are planning a walk round of the area in the next couple of weeks to look at solutions to the parking issue.

Right, that’s me offski, so take care and drop by soon.

Cheers, Jim

She’s Lost Control

This song has been in my head a lot since last Thursday. I can’t think why. (Sorry any Joy Division purists, but I think that this version is better ).

Well, whodathunk? What a result. Against all the odds, Mr Corbyn pulled it out of the bag. I think that most of us in the local party were not expecting such a good result. So well done, Jezza.

Now before anybody kindly points out that we didn’t win, yes, it’s true, we lost. But not as much as Mrs May and the Tories. Oh Lordy – it’s one of the greatest political cock-ups in modern history. The words “shooting”, “yourself” and “foot” spring strangely to mind. Imagine just giving away your clear majority in the House of Commons. The election was called to wipe out the Labour Party but it has strengthened us up good and proper.  Thanks, Theresa. Good work.

By the way, apologies – sorry for the blog slacking – as you can imagine I have spent a lot of time campaigning over the last few weeks. Anyway, here are the selected highlights of the last 2 weeks (I won’t bore you with every single meeting,):

Adult Social Care has been added to the remit of the Health Scrutiny Committee that I chair, so a couple of weeks ago, I met with a senior council officer responsible for adult social care to talk me through the services that are available to the people of Blackpool. Like health, it is a very complex web of provision of different services on offer (such as home care for the elderly, residential care and various strands of mental health provision) but the overview was very useful and I look forward to getting my teeth into scrutinising the service in September.

Myself and Cllr Cain attended a Police and Communities Acting Together (PACT) at Ibbison Court. We were somewhat concerned to learn that crime was generally up compared to this time last year. Apparently this could be due to a change in how things are reported (hmmmm…..) and that a lot of police resource has been diverted to the fracking demonstrations on Preston New Road. I’ll let you know how things have progressed the next time that I see the crime figures for Bloomfield and fingers crossed, this might just be a blip.

By the way, please click the link below, for how to contact your local beat bobby and PCSO’s:

pact

Myself and Cllr Cain also had meeting with officers regarding the use of mobile CCTV camera’s in the ward. We had assumed that the 8 camera’s that were bought for the Bloomfield ward were gathering dust on a shelf in Layton depot. However, this is not the case and they are regularly used to monitor the ward for criminal behaviour such as fly tipping – so be warned – Big Brother might be watching you!

Last night, I attended a briefing along with fellow Blackpool councillors and officers and our counterparts from Fylde and Wyre authorities on the Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are five-year plans showing how health and social care organisations in local areas will work together to implement the NHS Five Year Forward View – which outlines new ways of delivering health and social care and achieving financial balance by 2020.

Anyway, this will have a massive impact on ALL of us living in Blackpool over the coming years, so please do click the link below for more info;

stp

Tonight, I met with the council’s member training officer as I have recently been added to the member training panel. As you can imagine, councillors need lots of training on many issues as we can find ourselves having to deal with many situations out there in the community. Without the proper training we will make mistakes and miss opportunities to do the right thing. Training may include topics such as dementia training, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to name but three. The member training panel is there to identify what the training requirements are for councillors and how that is delivered. I’ll be able to do a more detailed post on this after the panel meets for the first time.

So, then. The Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP. The Northern Irish political party that Theresa May is having to use to prop her up her ever so strong and ever so stable government. They have some very questionable and downright morally wrong policies including that they are anti gay marriage. It’s 2017, for God’s sake! What is their problem? Really? If two people love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together as a married couple, who the bloody hell are bloody politicians to say that they can’t? Get over it! Sorry – was on the edge of a rant there but this leads nicely onto…

Blackpool Labour at Blackpool Pride

pride

A very damp Labour Group in St John’s Square @ Pride

What a fab day! I’ve done a few of these now and they are always a great day out and it really is a pleasure to show support for the local LGBT community.

However, this year was a little different – we were actually being cheered on the street! People were actually shouting things like “Yay, here comes the Labour Party”. The reception that we got on the parade was honestly unbelievable so thank you anybody that cheered us on. As per the above, we are more than ready for round two with Mrs May (although a break from campaigning for a few months would be nice!).

In the last couple of weeks, as well as the old chestnuts of antisocial behaviour and flytipping, I have dealt with constituent enquiries on disability assessments, designated use of residential premises (from B&B’s) and parking schemes.

Anyway, that’s me for now (as I have an episode of The Handmaids Tale to catch up on), so drop by soon,

Take care, Jim

All together now

It would be hard to start a blog this week without saying just how upsetting I found the attack on the gig in Manchester on Monday. I happened to check online news as I was going to bed that night just as the first reports of the blast were being reported.

The news played on my mind for hours and I had a very poor nights sleep. Then when I got up the next morning to read the updated news of the confirmed casualties, it was just horrible. Horrible.

I am sure that you have read this numerous times of the last 2 days, but my heart really does go out to those affected by this vile attack and they are very much in my thoughts.

I must say though that the response to this outrage by the people of Manchester has been truly GLORIOUS – a massive coming together of people of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds to stick fingers up to the pathetic losers who do this sort of thing and say “You will not win.” Manchester, you are beautiful.

manchester d

Crowds at the Manchester vigil yesterday coming together in solidarity

Which brings me onto something else…much to my surprise, I found myself and Donald Trump saying much the same thing yesterday.

I had been chatting with my 18 year old lad about what would happen if instead of calling attacks like the one on Monday “terrorist attacks”, everybody and especially the media, called them “complete, sad, pathetic tosser attacks”. Part of the power of the terrorist lies in the word terrorist itself – take that away from them and they lose part of their perceived power. Image the front pages of the press with “Complete sad, pathetic, tosser attack” and the line “The complete sad, pathetic, tosser, Joe Bloggs, was a student living in…”, etc. I can’t help but think that there would be far fewer pathetic failures of humanity prepared to blow themselves up if they knew that this was how they were going to be referred to afterwards.

Now, I realise that this will never happen (as I’m not insane (* I think)) but in the little world inside my head, this would work.

Anyway, about an hour after chatting with my lad, he linked me a news report where Trump had made the following statement regarding the attack:

“I won’t call them monsters. Because they would like that term, they would think that’s a great name; I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are, they’re losers. And we’ll have more of them but they’re losers – just remember that.”

Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about having the same mindset as Donald Trump on something – it makes me question my rationale but I am sticking with it.

So, what I have been up to over the last few days?

Well, delivering general election letters from your MP Gordon Marsden. Lots of them. Flipping loads and loads of them. It took me the best part of Thursday and Friday evenings and then Lizzie had to drive me around on Saturday afternoon to finish them!

As per my last post, Gordon has a campaign office at 293 Church Street – if you can help with anything, be it folding letters, delivering leaflets, or for the bolder of you, door knocking, then please do drop in and the staff there will be delighted if you can help. Canvassing was suspended for 3 days due to the Manchester attack, but I understand it will resume from Friday.

shop

The campaign shop on Church Street

I also attended my first formal meeting at Woodlands School as a governor. This being my first meeting, there was a reasonable amount of stuff that went over my head, but I am sure that I will pick stuff up as I go along. I have been given the role of governor responsible for safeguarding. This is a hugely important role as I will be scrutinising safeguarding procedures at the school to make sure that all the kids are properly protected. I intend to take the role very seriously – quite a lot of training will be involved.

This evening, I attended a Public Protection meeting – the bulk of the meeting was to consider applications for taxi drivers licenses – this is obviously of a confidential nature, so I will just park this here.

I have also dealt with constituent enquiries on issues including fly tipping (no surprises), dog fouling, aggressive dogs, vandalism of lamp posts and nuisance tenants.

Actually, my travels around the ward delivering election material has allowed me to report several fly tips myself on and around Central Drive and Lytham Road – these have already been cleared.

cen

Tipped armchair on Central Drive

Right, it’s late and I need to be up at 6am to cycle into work, so it’s nighty night.

Until next time, take care, Jim

The Labour Party Manifesto – something for everyday people

‘ evening all!

I just thought that I would crank a quick blog out before my tea, so here goes. Right over the last few days, I have…

Last week, myself and Cllr Cain ran one of our surgeries in Bloomfield East. We were pleased that a few people came to speak to us and we took enquiries away on nuisance parking, nuisance bins in the street and an enquiry from residents of Yorkshire Street regarding permit parking in that part of Foxhall. All of the enquiries have been logged and officers are looking at them – we should be able to revert back to you soon. Incidentally, you can next catch up with us at the next PACT meeting at Ibbison Court (off Central Drive) 6pm 5 June.

I also attended my first meeting at Woodlands School as a governor last week. This was only a first informal strategy meeting (the formal meeting is this week) but my fellow governors struck me as a dedicated bunch who were passionate about getting the best outcomes for the kids at the school. I look forward to getting my teeth into some of the work streams there.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended annual council. Annual council doesn’t really have much in the way of meaty  decisions/matters that affect the town as its’ main function is to retire the existing mayor, and the new mayor takes over. So after a years solid graft for the town, Kath Rowson has passed the mayoral chain over the Ian Coleman – I am sure that he will do a sterling job (see below):

mayor

This evening, I attended a briefing on Better Start Blackpool. Better Start aims to improve the life chances of babies and very young children by delivering a significant increase in the use of preventative approaches in pregnancy and first three years of life. The Better Start Partnership in Blackpool has been awarded £45 million, led by the NSPCC, the inclusive partnership is made up of the Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group, Blackpool Hospital Teaching Trust, Police and the Community. It brings together local families, communities, and agencies from across public, private and voluntary sectors.

Better Start is accessible to residents of the Bloomfield ward – it offers an incredibly wide range of services from early pregnancy up to 3 years old covering everything from health visits, advice on diet/alcohol, a scheme to encourage new fathers to read to their kids – there really is a wide range of services on offer. Take a look at the website below for a lot more info:

head

As you might imagine, I have also been doing my bit to get Gordon Marsden elected as your MP over the last week. As well as door knocking, on Monday night I spent some time phone canvassing from the campaign office at 293 Church Street. I have to say that the response on the phones was overwhelmingly positive and I really enjoyed talking to residents.

By the way, if you can spare any time and you want to see Gordon as your MP for the next 5 years (making it 25 years in total!), why don’t you pop into the office on Church Street – it’s just by the old Dan Kerr bridal shop. The campaigners in there will be really chuffed to see new faces so why don’t you nip in? Go on, they won’t bite.

And staying with the general election, have you seen the Labour Manifesto yet?

“Labour’s manifesto offers moderate, commonsense solutions to Britain’s problems – and would unlock the amazing potential of this country.” – Owen Jones. Have a look:

mani

If you want a quick at a glance look, CLICK HERE. It really is a manifesto that will genuinely improve the lives of those struggling to make ends meet and suffering from massively underfunded public services like the NHS, social care, education and the police. Please do have a look, it’s really good stuff and it would improve the lives of the good people of Blackpool. It’s something for everyday people (see the music video link now? Pfft you took your time! ;p ).

Anyway, that’s me for now, so until next time, take care, Jim.

Good evening, sorry to disturb you, but…

Hello all

I’ve said that so many times over the last few days. As per the title of a blog from a couple of weeks ago, I have been a very busy bee knocking on the doors of the good people of Blackpool South to get Gordon Marsden re-elected as our MP.

(The above music picked for no other reason that I really like the band – awesome live).

So far, I have been out in Bloomfield, Tyldesley, Highfield and Marton – the response has been generally good but this looks like it will be a much closer race than the last election so literally every vote counts. Please do tell all of your friends and family to get out there and vote Labour on June 8th.

saturday

Out campaigning with this motley crew at the weekend

Incidentally, if you, or someone you know isn’t registered to vote, it’s easy-peasy – just click the link below. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what government does to you.

vote

I also attended  a PACT meeting at St Peter’s Church in the week along with Cllr Cain (although I turned up 20 mins late after having been sat in the wrong venue!). As ever, these meetings are a great way for us to pick up the concerns of residents – as well as usual issues such as ASB concerns, much of the conversation focused on Neighbourhood Watch schemes. One of our officers has taken away the contact details of watch coordinators with a view to hopefully creating a local ward network of watch groups.

Incidentally, myself and Cllr Cain are holding our next surgery 6pm tomorrow (Wed 10 May) at Bloomfield East Residents Assn on St Heliers Road should you need to speak to us.

I have also had a planning session with the Health Scrutiny Committee officer to re-schedule our work over the coming months. The whole Purdah situation (see my last blog) has really kiboshed the agenda’s for the next few months and we are trying to crowbar many important items into the meeting agendas. Anyway, some of you will be pleased to know that we are dealing with the 2 mental health items on the next meeting – young persons mental health and general mental health referrals.

This evening after work, I had a drive around the ward looking for fly tipping. It actually wasn’t too bad this evening – I only actually found 3 tips – but I cannot get my head around people simply chucking their old rubbish right into the street. It’s beyond me. The council offer a very cheap bulky items collection service so there is absolutely no need to tip. Look at this – I photo’d this tonight – literally on the pavement on a residential street (I have logged it for clearance). Anyway.

2

And finally, are you doing anything over the first weekend in July? We have a look at this:

blues

It’s free and I’ve been to the last couple. I have to confess that I am not really a jazz and blues fan but I have really enjoyed them. Give it a go – there will undoubtedly be something there that you will enjoy.

Anyhoo, until next time, take care, Jim

Purdah She Wrote

Greetings all

I trust that you are all looking forward to the long weekend? I know that I am – Easter already seems a very long time ago.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to of late:

Early this week, myself and Cllr Cain had one of our catch up meetings. As you might image, campaigning in the Bloomfield Ward for the forthcoming general election was our main discussion point, but we also managed to cover some fly tipping issues and some ASB issues in the ward.

On Tuesday night, I attended a Public Protection Committee meeting. This is a sub-committee of the Licensing Committee and as the name implies, considers matters of public safety relating to licensing matters. Some of the matters discussed are of a confidential nature, but most of the subject matter of the meeting can be viewed by clicking the link below:

pp

Which brings me onto Wednesday night.

For any of you that haven’t heard of purdah, this is a convention whereby government (local and national) do not deal with any matters that could be considered political during the period before elections (you may have seen the government trying to stop the publishing of a report on air pollution citing purdah – they failed!) . As such, both local and central government departments are now in the purdah period.

Why am I explaining this? Well, on Wednesday night I chaired the Health Scrutiny Committee – the three juicy items – young persons mental health, a progress report on the Harbour mental health facility and a finances report from the Blackpool Vic – were all pulled from the agenda due to purdah. D’oh! The meeting took 17 minutes.

This was especially annoying as I had met with a group of young people a few weeks ago to take away their personal stories of mental health provision in the town – it was something that I was really looking forward for the committee to get it’s teeth into as it is a massive issue. Many of the young people were also planning to attend the meeting until the agenda item got pulled – so apologies to them.

However, as soon as the general election, I will get this item back onto the agenda for a forthcoming meeting. It will be scrutinised soon, worry not.

Yesterday afternoon, myself and several other local Labour activists did a bit of door knocking for the election in Bloomfield Ward.

canv1

“On the knock” in Bloomfield Ward yesterday

Gordon Marsden has been working hard for you for the last 20 years and it is SO important to get him re-elected this time – it could be a close fight in Blackpool South and every one of your votes matter. I can’t understate how important it is that you get out there on June 8th and get Gordon back in. And tell all your friends and family to as well (unless you fancy a Tory MP).

Can any of you help out? You don’t need to be a member of the Labour Party to do so. If any of you can take posters or garden stakes (the ones that look like estate agents boards), then give me a shout using the comment button above.

canv2

My house!

Anyway, that’s me for now. I’m off to see the band Future Islands in Liverpool tomorrow – hence the above video. The lead singer looks and dances like a drunk uncle at a wedding, but I really like them.

Until next time, Jim.