A selection of elections

An exhibition on elections and electioneering in Nottingham and Notts which tells the not known enough story of the torching of Nottingham Castle as working people expressed their frustration of delays to a Reform Act which was an Act that was finally passed in 1832.
Documents on management of registers, and stuff on student union elections.
The stories of interesting election candidates.
Helena Brownsword Dowson, Secretary of the Women’s Suffrage Society in Nottingham, and the first woman Nottingham City Councillor, elected in The Meadows in 1920.
More surprising, James Morrison, elected as a Conservative MP for Nottingham East in 1910, owner of Basildon Park (so, very rich), but lauded for his work with a social security scheme in St.Ann’s and Sneinton.  Strange.
Then a Communist who stood for Mansfield a number of times.  A far more interesting story is John Peck, who was actually elected as a City Councillor in Bulwell East in the late eighties, (1987- 1997, moved to Green Party in 1990; contested 49 elections; having served in RAF bomber command in WWII).
But no mention of Feargus O’Connor, only Chartist MP ever to have been elected; or any of the Luddites and Hampden Clubs that led the revolutions and riots.
And no mention of any Labour Party candidates.
That’s when you wonder if the exhibitors have spoken to anyone local (dare I say, outside the ivory towers).

Or is it just that there were no interesting Labour Party candidates, or elections involving them?
Maybe Labour’s emphasis on collective working meant less emphasis on the individual?

Off the top, an alternative list might offer –
* 1945: the vindication of universal suffrage; and the tragedy of 1951 – losing despite winning over half the vote.
* Labour Cabinet Ministers from Notts – Don Cancannon and Geoff Hoon – though not from the city; city MPs have held Ministerial posts – Bill Whitlock, and also Graham Allen and John Heppell.
Perhaps this isn’t dramatic enough, so –
* Vernon Coaker – Labour’s best electioneer – winning Gedling when it was not expected in 1997, but holding it ever since, even in 2015 when Labour lost nationally by 7 points.
* The Ashfield by-election defeat in 1977 (which I think triggered the Lib-Lab pact) – a spectacular defeat in a safe seat when Labour held Grimsby the same day.
* Frank Higgins – local Labour council leader who pioneered radical local transport policies including “zone and collar”;
* Betty Higgins – first woman city council leader who in the early eighties doubled the city council’s rates (then a district council) to provide free bus passes for the elderly and the less mobile, that was to sustain the city bus services network that other cities lack;
* Dennis Pettitt, leader of Notts County which expanded public spending to defend those in need and the capacity of the council to deliver change; and was a D-Day veteran, co-created the first multi-racial party in Africa, was elected to Birmingham City Council where he pioneered recognition for the interests of gypsies, and campaigned for the disabled.  As Leader of Notts, he held off the councillor who’d lost the Ashfield by-election and held Labour Councillors together during the split between the UDM and NUM..

But my knowledge is limited, so I have listed elsewhere the Nottingham City Labour MPs and MEPs, sourced from wikipedia.

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Don’t boo, vote!

In America, we are waiting for the results with an expectation that Democrats can take control of the House of Representatives  and be a brake on the Presidency of Donald Trump.
What we’ve seen is a number of efforts to reduce the ability to vote –
* North Indians being asked to register in new ways;
* Georgians being challenged to fill out forms in the exact same way as before (carving out more Black people);
* the exclusion of over 1 million Floridians because they have once heard a criminal record;
* 20,000 from Dodge City having to travel out of town to vote in one place.

In Britain, efforts to disenfranchise people have included –
* the Poll tax,
* requiring every individual to register rather than a member of the household doing the whole house,
* universities no longer able to ensure halls of residence are automatically registered (followed by the concession of asking people to confirm they have moved there) and
* soon, a government proposal to require people to show i.d. as they turn up to vote.
All this when voting fraud remains remarkably low.
Meanwhile in The Netherlands, people are seriously required by law to register.

The surprise is seeing so many photos of long queues in America to vote.  Our reaction here would be to say that there aren’t enough poling stations.

We had a bit of this in The Meadows last year at the library (and was pleasantly surprised).  I think we need to tweak some of the polling districts –
* residents east between Ayton Close and Strome Close being allowed to vote at QWCC rather than Briar Close, and
* residents in the north-east of The Meadows and Hicking Buildings having a new polling station on Crocus Street (and getting ready for the hundreds of people set to move into new flats in the next 2 years).

The council is considering changes to polling districts and polling stations at the November full council meeting, but it’s only the emergencies caused by the new ward boundaries.  So may well get a new polling station for Castle Marina and bits of Castle Boulevard.  But the new Castle ward might only be allowed 3 polling district, when the combination of both sides of Main Marian Way might provide the basis for a fourth.

The changes I’d seek for The Meadows are not allowed  be addressed until after a major public consultation set to take place in 2019/2020.

TO BE UPDATED.

Fletcher Gate shooting

Disappointing news of a shooting into a club / bar from Fletcher Gate on the Saturday evening, but pleased to hear of an arrest and grateful that the woman shot in the arm looks likely to recover.
Frustrated that N Post gives credence to “Shottingham” on the say so of a tweeter who doesn’t say if they’re from Nottingham, but does invite us to like witchcraft.
More as more is known.

Light a Candle – Go Vote

Having been following the mid-term election campaigns for some weeks, and then viewing the coverage of killing 11 Jews in a synagogue, and the mail bombs sent to leading Democrats, I worry that the United States is about to go into a deeper political darkness.
A friend we celebrated yesterday said rather than curse such a darkness, you should light a candle.  The best way to light a candle is to vote, and if an estimated 90 million people cast votes in the 2014 mid-term elections, let us hope an extra 10, 20 or even 30 million candles be lit on November 6th.

– –

Found it re-assuring to see Channel 4 tv’s Jon Snow had gone to Pittsburgh in the USA to cover the murder of 11 Jews in a synagogue.
Was disappointed to hear him ask the Mayor what could be done to get the temperature of exchange by the political classes in the USA brought down a notch.

On one level, as if journalists and news media aren’t also a significant part of the problem.
On another level, cos the actual challenge is to equip people so that they don’t reward people who tempt them with messages of hate.
On another level, cos not all in the political spectrum are casting problems to an equal extent.

Cos the Alt-Right have triggered the anti-Semitic murders in the synagogue on Squirrel Hill.
Cos the Alt-Right have triggered the mail bombs to notable Democrat supporters.
Cos the Alt-Right were responsible for the death of a civil rights activist in Charlottesville last year.

Cos Donald Trump is culpable.
Cos when people are murdered in a synagogue in a hate crime, the response is not to suggest a degree of culpability cos they hadn’t employed a security guard.
Cos the first response to hate bombs being sent to opponents is not to say that you’ll tone down your language, but to say agents of justice will identify and try those responsible.
Cos the first response to Charlottesville should have been to condemn the anti-Semitism (remember “the Jews will not replace us”).
To paraphrase the movie “The Contender”, “culpable, but not responsible”.

A further challenge to the politics of the United States (and to all of us – cos they are that important) is is demagoguery and Nationalism.
– I don’t agree with those who call Trump a s fascist, but many pf the tests set out for fascism are ticked by Trump.
– Trump redefining the Republican Party as a Nationalist party, on top of the previous phase of what’s called Neo-Liberalism (but I see as globalism being used to give more to the very rich) rather than a conservative party grounded in the public health provision and the common endeavour of the two world wars.  (A phenomenon we’re seeing in the UK with the British Conservative party.)

So what should the common endeavour be?
Promoting a free society, where people are able to organise as they wish to win mandates to become the government of the country, principal authority or any other local authority.
A democracy – all responsible adults having a vote is very radical – underpinned by a full electoral register and proper elections.
Judicial systems and community safety.
Rights and responsibilities, that come with citizenship, for all irrespective against class, gender, race, sexual identity.
Full employment in proper jobs, and tackling all the other giant evils – with social security, housing for all, free education and free health at the point of use.
Tackling the opportunities and challenges that come with globalisation, people living longer, climate change and peak oil.
Proper conduct in public life, including being accountable for what you publish in social media (see Nolan principles below.
Audit systems and freedom of information to enable better debate and better journalism, especially over the ambitions and use of public assets and resource.
Politics overseeing how we organise and live, but not replacing it – everything is not political.
7_NOLAN_PRINCIPLES

Is the above only supportable by democratic Socialists?  Well, Socialism would go further – “no unjustifiable inequalities”, test what we do against deprivation, and greater emphasis on industrial democracy, public ownership and co-operation.

We don’t need a fresh constitution either – although “love, life and the pursuit of happiness” carries a certain zing (More fully”… in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity …“)
160120_FASCISM_FacismIntro-chart.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge
TO BE REVIEWED.
P.S. Not sure calling Donald Trump a Fascist is particularly helpful.
The Washington Post has done a check and think Trump falls short.
I think more a demagogue.

25 years service as a Councillor

EPSON MFP image
Seven years as Bridge ward City Councillor; on top of 18 years serving Mapperley Division and ward, that makes 25 years in total.

There should be award, or a medal, or a grand thank you!  Hey, what about an OBE?
Well, not really.  The role is a vocation and we should expect little else beyond proper allowances, pensions and logistical support.

And there’s the experiences and stories to recount!  And I do recount them.  And I notice people getting more and more bored as I tell, them.

Ah, but what about all the casework and achievements!
Again, it’s what’s expected, and it’s kinda hard to say what is it that you have achieved, without the help of anyone else, especially when you have co-Councillors and work with others.

Ronald Reagan once said achieving in politics and using politics to achieve isn’t difficult, the challenge was in making the achievements something that you alone was responsible for.
There are times when a particular outlook and resolve as an individual can make a difference for the good, but even then it draws upon widely held values and others’ capabilities.

Enough.  Let’s focus instead on what there is to do, take pleasure in ward events like today’s, note that I picked up 6 requests today and say thanks to the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated for REMAIN today.

P.S. Original posting showed 1989 photo with Neil Kinnock, rather than the 1993 elections address.