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):

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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“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.

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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.

My evenings have suddenly got a lot busier for the next 7 weeks

Hello again one and all

The horrible, right wing and downright unpleasant dross already being peddled on the front pages of our newspapers in support of Theresa May is the inspiration for the above track by Billy Bragg. He absolutely nails it.

As per my last blog, I’ve had a few days off over Easter, but here is what I have been up to over the last couple of days:

On Wednesday morning, I met with Cllr Cain and some officers to rubber stamp some mini parking schemes in the Lytham Road area. I have been blogging about this for over a year now and the original proposed scheme pre-dates me by couple of years, so I am delighted to say that it looks as though we can get moving on this in the near future.

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Works will start to drop kerbs on roads like this to increase parking capacity later in the year

We have to go out on a final statutory consultation with residents but I am sure that this will not be a problem – the overwhelming response to the last survey was massively in favour of the parking schemes, So, keeping fingers, toes, legs, etc, crossed, your parking woes should be coming to an end soon!

On Wednesday evening, I did a little door knocking on Rydal Avenue and Montrose Avenue. As a councillor, you really can get asked some tough questions on the doorstep from constituents, but it does allow you to really get to learn about peoples issues in the ward. Tonight I took away enquiries on street cleansing, “inconsiderate” parking and visitor parking passes.

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Door knocking on Montrose Ave

Today, it was again my pleasure to visit Woodlands School where I am a governor. I was able to have a look around the school today whilst the children were there and I must say, I really do think that the staff there are doing an amazing job. The kids really seemed happy and engaged and I was made to feel very welcome by all.

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Then this evening, I was back to the town hall to sit on the Audit Committee. If you are that way inclined and you love all things audit (there must be 1 or 2 of you ;p ), please find the agenda attached below.

There was a interesting item on the agenda regarding change management – I asked if the council had a change management framework and if so, how is change integrated in to the council plan 2015-2020 (incidentally, the answer was “kinda” and I know – I need to get out more ).

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And finally, the general election…

Are you sick of seeing the NHS being destroyed by underfunding – where people are stuck on trollies in the hallways for hours at the Vic A&E because the hospital is under resourced?

Are you sick of reading about the crisis in social care for the elderly where pensioners are trapped in hospital beds for weeks when they should be in care homes?

Are you sick of seeing schools struggling to cope with financial pressures and the re-introduction of grammar schools that will create a 2 tier education system where poor kids will be left behind?

Are you sick of seeing your council having to cut public services (such as free green bin collections) due to central government cuts but having to take the blame for them?

Are you sick of permanent austerity where the money in our pockets hasn’t kept up with the cost of living for years?

Are you sick of a government making a complete and utter hash of Brexit?

Well, you’ve got a chance to do something about it on 8 June – Get Up, Stand Up.

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That’s all for now folks, drop by again soon,

Jim

Listening to young people

Tenuous Easter music sorry! Great tune though (although I saw them in the Lancaster Sugarhouse in 1989 – he couldn’t sing for toffee. Anyway…)

Hello – this is just a really, really short update this week as I am off for a few days from tomorrow.

Anyhoo, Monday – I had a very productive and informative meeting at the offices of UR Potential on Central Drive to meet with some of the young people who use their services as well as staff and service users from Blackpool Carer’s and Headstart Blackpool – all groups dealing with mental health issues of young people in the town.

I attended the meeting as there is an item on young peoples mental health on the agenda of the Health Scrutiny Committee that I will be chairing later this month (26 April 6pm Blackpool Carers Centre, 147 Newton Drive – ALL welcome). It was incredibly useful to hear the first hand experiences of mental health referrals and treatment directly from young users of services – I will be using this feedback to ask questions of providers at the meeting.

If you are interested in seeing what services the above mentioned organisations provide, then click the links below (all well worth a look):

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pVPr8yIA

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Yesterday, Myself and Cllr Cain attended the Memory Lane Easter event run by New Revoe Residents Association – it was nice to see all the good folks down there as ever. I ended up judging the Easter Bonnet parade – I’m not sure that I am suitably qualified for this job but I gave it my best shot. Congrats to all who entered – there were some very clever designs.

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The incredible bonnets on display 

This brings me onto this evening. Myself and Cllr Cain held one of our surgeries at Bloomfield East Residents Association. It was another quiet one tonight but as ever, these surgeries allow us to touch base and see what each other is up to.

This week I have also been dealt with constituent enquiries on public housing and tipping and I have started to make plans for Blackpool Labour @ Blackpool Pride.

I don’t usually re-post memes, especially political memes, but I saw this earlier and I think that it’s worth a look:

bev

Spot on. I grew up on a Liverpool council estate in the 1970’s and 80’s. My father was disabled as he had been a bricklayer and he had fallen off a roof and my mum worked a few hours a week as a cleaner in a social club, so we were heavily reliant on benefits. We were skint. And I mean really, really skint – we would definitely have been classed as living in poverty. Thatchers government pulverized the working class with an iron fist – I remember the slum housing (the pic below is a real pic of the estate that I grew up on – I remember that burnt out van!), woeful, woeful healthcare and dreadful education aspirations at working class comprehensives (I was only 1 of 4 boys in a year group of around 200 to go to university (the first in my family)).

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The estate where I grew up – lovely wasn’t it?

And then in 1997, after many years of Tory not giving a flying **** about the poor of this country, things changed at last – Labour got into government.

Billions in extra funds were spent on education (with thousands more working class kids going to university), the health service, other public services and paraphrasing the line in the song, things really did get better. Hospital waiting lists went down, millions of children were taken out of poverty and the economy was booming. That slum above was bulldozed and decent housing was built instead. That’s what Labour does – it looks after everybody – the poor as well as the rich. People felt better off, better looked after and just downright happier.

But jump forward to the present day – we’ve had 6 solid years of Tory imposed perma-austerity with no end to it in sight that hits the poorest the hardest. 6 years of feeling steadily poorer and poorer. The health system is massively underfunded and literally struggling to cope, social care for the elderly is near collapse (just don’t get old at the moment folks, no, really don’t) and most people are feeling skint and under the kosh. Let’s not forget what an under funded healthcare and social care system means to people – actual pain and suffering, although for the rich with their private health care packages, that isn’t an issue.

Local councils are having to slash front line services to stay afloat and not to go bankrupt. Labour councils like Blackpool want to spend more on public services but our hands are tied by the cruel cuts imposed on us by the Tories – ironically, we then get the blame for the cuts in comments sections in the local press.

The country feels the same as when I was a kid and that’s a bloody shame – the Tories are simply not bothered about the lives of those struggling to keep afloat – if they were bothered then they would do something about it.

So well said, Nye.

Finally, and changing the subject ever so slightly, looking for something to do this Easter weekend? Well, please see below for info on what is going in in Stanley Park.

Until next time folks, take care and have a great Easter,

Jim

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