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May 4th Local Election

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Well the votes have been cast and are in the process of being counted.

Already we know that the Tory’s are leading in number of seats gained. A fair few from UKIP but even more from my party Labour.

I cant say that I am surprised by the collapse in the UKIP vote. Their Reason Detra  was a referendum on leaving the EU. Which thanks to David Cameron they got. And being the smaller party in favour of leaving the EU they were pushed to the sidelines in the sidelines int eh campaigning, and weren’t even the first to be spoken to when the result went their way.

The man who is Mr UKIP has stood down from the leadership. Ok not straight away their was a little tooing and froing where he was leader, then he wasn’t, then he was, then he wasn’t again.

Now UKIP’s leader is a man who’s bullshitted about having mates die at Hillsborough. Is under investigation for election fraud after claiming to live in a house that hadn’t been lived in for years to stand in a by election. A by election caused by Tristram Hunt stepping down after being offered any historians dream job.

So UKIP are being sent so far wholesale back down the hole they came from. And, to be honest it has been a long time coming and more then welcome.

As for leader the vote has held so far in wales and only dropped 65 seats in England as i write this.

Not a lot of seat given there’s over a thousand up for grabs this election. But, enough that councils have been lost and as I write one new Regional Major is a Tory.

I have to be honest here, I didn’t vote for my party this time. The first time in my voting  The person standing for my party in my area is someone I have no respect and in fact don’t like. I voted for an independent candidate. A woman who has held both local and county council seats for our area for over twenty years. A massive feat given that normally to get elected in our area all you have to do is wear a blue rosette.

I personally have know this lady for most of the time shes held her seats. My mother was elected to the local council in the same election and as the only Labour councillor she was basically an independent and worked very closely with all the independents. And this lady was the best of the bunch. Slightly annoying and in your face, but worked bloody hard and got the job done.

So on a local level I deemed my vote was best to go to the person who has a long track record of doing right by her constituents and gets things done, over someone who only joined a political party in their dotage and claims that peoples homes don’t exist cause their not easy to get to.

There will more then likely be another long post about the election when its all said an done, but in the mean time I’ll be Volunteering in my local Citizens Advice Office with one eye on the results and one on the training I’m doing to become an advisor.

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Corbyn Watson win.

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Well after three months of the labour party tearing itself apart led by the parliamentary party, we have a result.

Jeremy Corbyn won a resounding 59.5% of the voters first preference vote. That’s unheard of in the labour party. The party is made up of so many factions of the left brought together under one umbrella that its kinda amazing that the best part of 60% of the party could agree on one man for the job.

Before Corbyn got to the stage to give his winners speech two people had already resigned from the shadow cabinate. Now we’ll never know if Corbyn would have kept them in their jobs or given them others. Half the front bench quit within a few hours. stating that they wouldn’t work with some one as far left as Corbyn.

Well that to me just shows that they really don’t care about what grass roots members want. They only care about getting the biggest office and in front of the most cameras.

While Corbyn has chosen to put men in the three biggest jobs in the shadow cabinet, the rest of the cabinet is a nice mix of men and women from all parts of the party. In fact he has the highest number of women ever in any cabinet.

He has sent out emails to normal members asking what questions they would like him to put to Camaron at PMQ’s. Something no one has ever done before. Normally the questions are thought up behind closed doors by five or six people.

So far I’m impressed with what Corbyn has managed to pull off in 48 hours while preparing the oppositions response to an unfair trade union bill, and dealing with a parliamentary party that doesn’t want him there or respects the wishes of their grass roots supporters. The very people they relay on to work on their campaigns, taking time off from their normal lives to help return a labour member of parliament for their area.

One last note on Corbyn since he was announced as leader over 20.000 people have signed up as full members. There is now more members of the party then at any time in history. Something even the MP’s god Tony Blair couldn’t manage.

Tom Watson as deputy is going to cause some fire works. He only won the role after three of his rivals where eliminated from the running, using the preference system.

Watson isn’t known as a big Corbyn man but he said all through the never leadership race that he would find a way to work with whoever won the leader role.

Watson is mostly known for his work against the newspapers snooping and making things up. A lot of people outside the party only know him for that. Can’t really say what he’s known for inside the party as a lot of the people i talk to inside the party were supporting Angela Eagle or Caroline Flint.

And as Watson isn’t seen by them as a proper northener he doesn’t really register on their radar.

All in all so far while its not the outcome i voted for myself, i feel that the team so far is doing well against the odds and i look forward to seeing what happens at PMQ’s and what the team can manage in the days and weeks to come.

Voting begins

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So the ballot papers have hit our mats. Yes we’re in the home straight of this seemingly never ending leadership election.

If your like my Grandmother the filled in ballot will have been sent off within minutes of getting it. I’m pretty sure the postie was still on her street when she set off to post her filled in ballot. And as predicted i got a call as soon as she got back home.

“Gemma the ballots have arrived, fill it in now. The RIGHT way and get it posted today!!!”

Yes my Grandmother is bossy. If I lived closer to her I’m pretty sure she’d find her way to mine on a normal election day, march me to the polling station and stand next to me as i fill the ballot in to make sure I vote the “right way”. She has very firm ideas on what is the right way to vote and likes to make sure the family votes that way.

Anyway during the phone call i had to admit i havent got my papers yet. They went to my dads address instead.

A bit of a back story is needed here i think.

In a past post i’ve mentioned that my mother was very active in the local party as i grew up. so active in fact a lot of the older folks in our clp where called auntie and uncle by us kids as we saw more of them then our real family. As the clp is run by people who aren’t very good at dealing with change I can predict what will happen at every meeting and the time it will take. Having been bottle fed, napped and finally taken part in the meeting over the last nearly twenty eight years i chose to stop going to the meetings. I believe the final straw was they stopped the holding the meetings in a pub. Yes once i was old enough i drank my way through the meetings. Hard to let your mouth run away with you and insult people you’ve know your whole life if your mouths fall of straws!

So when i moved and realised i would be living within spitting distance of a couple of these older members who i have a hard time saying no to when they corner me, i left the membership address as my Dads. I still get any important post.

And more importantly for me I haven’t had to deal with what I am assured is a true mountain of snail mail related to the election. Getting twenty thousand emails daily is bad enough. OK i might have over egged the number there but it sure feels like when the phone keeps beeping to tell me i have a new email.

Back to now. Having made my admonition to my Grandmother i waited for the expected lecture to happen. Instead i got told to get my arse over to my dads and get the ballot filled in now. Remembering to vote the right way. and to call her when its done to make sure she likes the way i voted.

I’m now dodging her calls as it’ll be a couple of days before i can to dads to fill in my forms. Luckly for me shes in her eighties and is a little scared of the internet so the chances of her seeing this, and my head losing touch with my body are slim to none.

But, even though the ballots have now hit our door mats there are still hustings going on and planned to go on till the last second before the poll closes.

I might be a lone in holding this view but surely once the papers have been sent out all hustings ect should be stopped. It should be treated like a normal polling day. No campaigning allowed.

Again going back to my Grandmother even though she has filled in and sent her ballot back tonight she’s been at a hustings and plans on going to others over the next few weeks.

Why i ask. Because her friends will be there. People she only sees at conference. And there’s food and drink on offer.

If you ever want to hold a political event have food and drink on offer and you’ll be stampeded. At conference if you plan your day right you never have to pay for food and drink. but thats another story.

So i guess at the end of the day, the old people are going to the events having already sent their forms off to have a good chin wag while younger people like me are still scratching our heads wondering just who to vote for.

I still don’t know who’ll get my vote. I may end up voting just as the polls close going with the candidates my Grandmother is backing.

Labour leadership election.

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Its been dragged out for five months and there is sill nearly a month to go.

I don’t know about anyone else but i’m getting sick to the back teeth with it.

I’ve been a member all my life. Yes i know you cant join till your fifteen, but i think your member as soon as you start pushing leaflets through doors and for me that was pretty much as soon as i could walk. At the age of four i was pushing leaflets through doors while my eight month pregant mother watched on holding the huge bag of leaflets yet to be posted.

Growing my my mother was a labour councillor and worked as an party organiser. So for me My first party leader was John Smith. i meet him not long before he died. My mother had spent a week driving him around and had my sister and i delivered to the train station to meet him before he went somewhere else. while we waited we had choc ices. being six and three at the time we got it every where and there wasnt time to clean us up before the big man arrived.

with out a pause he took a hankie from his pocket clean my hands then shook my hand. My little sister didn’t want to shake hands with him so i stuck my other hand out to for him to shake. with a laugh he did then was ushered onto the train.

My best memory of a labour leader and i’ve meet all of them since more then once. Not one of them can torch to the big man in my mind.

So to get back to the point the four that are standing this year are nothing like him and the party will be worse for it. how many of them could you imagine laughing while carefully cleaning up a child before shacking their hand. a child they had never met before and never will again?

Maybe its the way she’s been portrayed in the media and by the other candidates but i find it hard to believe Liz Kendell would know what to do in that situation.

Not that its the be all and end all of my decision making.

And i wouldn’t vote for her anyway. Having looked at her policies and listened to what she has to say i find it hard to believe that she really does want what’s best the party. More like she wants what’s best for her on the after speaking dinner circuit.

Jeremy Corbin is seen as a communist and generally not a safe person to trust with the party.

I’m not sure i believe that. there has to be more to the man for so many grass roots members to support him and turn up to his events in such numbers that they end up out on the street looking in.

I have found myself agreeing with him on some issues and liking the way he’s dealt with the others when they’ve tried to interrupt his answers to questions. often questions they themselves have asked.

Yvette Cooper. I don’t know what i can say about her. pretty much before this election campaign the only thing i knew about her was that she was Ed Balls wife. And so far that’s still pretty much all i know about her. she gets drowned out of the debates by the others. So i cant see how she’ll survive PMQ’s where the whole house is in uproar when she gets lost in the voices of three other people.

Andy Burnham. The lad from up north. Probably the best known of the four contenders. I first met him ten years ago and can remember being blown away with how down to earth he was. I’ve met him a few times since then thanks to my Gran’s local party inviting him to a lot of their events. He’s a great speaker and has got a room full of the most stubborn people you will ever met rallying behind his every word.

Could that translate into a nation wide movement. I don’t know. He has a lot of baggage from the last labour government to over come. even more so when you take into account he was the minister for health. health hasn’t had good press since before he came to the post, and the Tories won’t be able to stop themselves throwing any failures that happened during his time in office in his face every chance they get. So weekly at PMQ’s.

So in seven hundred words I’ve scratched the surface of these four and well i still don’t know who i’m voting for. I’ve managed to narrow it down to three. If i cant get a first place in my mind, i might just give the ballot to my Gran to fill out for me. She’s had her mind made up from the beginning and if i was less stubborn myself i might have gone with her choice before now.

Just a quick one line to say I’ve know who I want to be deputy leader all a long and that’s Angela Eagle.  I have a lot of respect for her and having family who have dealt with her in the past and to some extent in the present who only speak good of her, (which if you knew my family you’d know how much of a miracle it is they agree about her!) i think the party will be safe with her in the deputy seat.