Castle Marina advice surgery

Rehearsing bus services, the needs of the boating community, road safety, cycle lanes, tow paths litter and rough sleeping, oh and Brexit. 
With Lilian Greenwood MP, and Councillors Sam Webster and Georgia Power.

Published 26th March; a postscript from Cllr. Webster on the W1 and L5 services; I was going to put it in a comment, but the comments facility doesn’t take images.

Torment and tariffs

Jon Ashworth MP clearly struggled at lunchtime on BBC2 tv’s Daily Politics on lunchtime as he tried to set out Labour’s lines on Brexit and anti-Semitism. This after statements by Tom Watson and others, including Roy Hattersley. Yet he came through when he spoke about the visionary aspects of Labour’s policies (using gov’t to fix big problems), the bullying on social media and his personal distress over colleagues who had left the party.
The announcements to the Parliamentary Labour Party that the party would come out for the 2nd referendum and on the side of Remain, should its Lexit proposal not be passed in Parliament, felt like a distinct change, even if it was argued it was the conference policy all along.
Too late to stop people being burned off and one national poll showing 18% for The Independent Group, although I wonder really if that can be true – didn’t feel anything like that on the doorsteps on Wednesday.

Shocking that Theresa May wants to push back the meaningful vote until March 12th because if the legal default being Hard Brexit stands, there will be less that 15 days to pass the legislation for all the tariffs to be levied.
Meanwhile, Japan’s trade deal with the EU means Japanese manufacturers here can look to either low tariff or no tariff business with the EU from home or tariffs on cars etc, manufactured here. We are of course told the loss of a car factory in Swindon is nothing to do with the EU.
Whatever, now Conservative Ministers are threatening to resign if Hard Brexit is not ruled out in Theresa May’s next speech to Parliament.

Meanwhile another reason why one poll says Remain now has a 9% majority.

For a kinder politics

Three claims in particular distress me about the claims being made by MPs leaving the Labour Party to create an Independent Group.
1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country;  
2. that politics is broken;  
3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t.
To which –
1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country;  dressing up differences in vision for the country as betrayal is often cited but is anti-political;  and charges like this were made against New Labour when we were in power too; 
2. that politics is broken; party politics deciding affairs is the fundamental test by which you assess whether we have a free society;  party political allegiances are under strain at the moment, but that’s cos the referendum took away simple party loyalties away from MPs and cos the decision to Leave was ambiguous about how to leave; 
3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t;  except this is another anti-politics charge that has been made for decades, indeed probably from the time of Cock Robin.  And my main response to them is that Labour’s policy responses are much stronger responses to the challenges of today.

Polls are reporting lower scores for the Conservatives and for Labour with 10 points or so for the Independent group, to which I’m either surprised  or underwhelmed and I’m not sure which.  Cos on the one hand, 10 points is a lot and on the other, the SDP had much higher scores when its was launched in 1981.  
It is perhaps inevitable that social media responses – where people can make statements without being held to account – might be more trill than is warranted, but the trillness Is not not good for us in the Labour Party, as has been shown by –
– the Parliamentary Labour Party giving those leaving a round of applause, clearly believing they have been treated badly and that many of them are receiving poor treatment too; 
Tom Watson’s statement, with a particular emphasis on Luciana Berger being a victim;
– most tellingly, John MacDonnell dropping plan A (Monday – they all need to resign as MPs and stand for fresh elections) and adopting Plan B (Tuesday – the national party needs to listen to the concerns raised)
– Barry Gardiner expressing regret at the treatment of Luciana Berger MP by anti-Semites from the front bench.

Because there has been conduct in the party and from outside the party against MPs that has been too brutal.  Some of it has been anti-Semitic.  A lot of it has been macho.  Some of it – e.g. votes of no confidence in their MP by branches using emergency motions and thus not informing all branch members – has been wrong in principle and according to the rules of the Labour Party.  
So we should acknowledge that we can improve.

If we’d adopted a listening approach – 
– we could have refrained from saying MPs who have changed parties should resign their seats – 1) only 4 out of the most recent 64 have; 2) we need people in Parliament to be voting on Brexit; 3) people get elected as individuals; and everyone who stands know that they stand on that basis; elected representatives are just that and are not delegates to be withdrawn;  and there are no mechanisms yet designed that can make a delegate approach work; 
– we could have refrained from saying people have made decisions to leave lightly – cos people who have been elected have invested significantly in the Labour Party and for years, and cos they have deep convictions too;  indeed the testimonies of roots and life stories was the strongest part of the launch on Monday;
– we could have refrained from suggest they are careerist – especially when I think they’ve done something that will end their careers as MPs at the next election; and because people say this of all representatives;  it’s actually a dig at the way a free society decides who decides and a way of stopping people think about the issues;
– we could have refrained from saying MPs are mandated by the party national manifesto, cos before the Summer of 2015, loads of MPs were congratulated by not standing by the manifestos of Blair and Brown;
– we could have refrained from saying a vote for a Labour candidate was a vote for the Labour manifesto; cos whilst a win gives the party the opportunity to implement the manifesto, we certainly don’t say vote for the manifesto or don’t vote for us at all; and in 2017, we actually said, don’t vote for Theresa May, she’s not a good PM, has had a terrible campaign and she des not offer string and stable government.  
And we could do without those rolling out defences of those who have been anti-Semitic (e.g people haven’t been, or the favourite – “I’ll say what I want when being critical of Israel and no code is going to stop me”); cos the Labour Party has a problem (and it’s annoying cos we are supposed to be the best at being anti-racist).

These analyses look cruel, shrill, out of touch and condoning of very poor bullying and racist behaviour. Having a tin ear rather than listening.

Smarter to celebrate the ambition we have – including re-implementing levies on banks that have cost public services £5,000 million and created the space to campaign against further proposals to cut Corporation tax by 2% at a cost public services £8,000 million.

Nottingham Labour Party launches manifesto


Striving to continue to be ambitious for Nottingham, despite the annual cuts to grant – £23 million this year.
20 top commitments.
The manifesto can be downloaded from the Nottingham Labour web-site.
Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s communities and local government spokesperson, praised what was achieved by the last Labour government and pointed to financial decisions that had been made by the Conservative government such as a £5,000 million cut in a bank levy.

A little too excited

So you’re starting the new campaign season in your ward and you want a sign?
Yep. Rainbow, with the tram introduced within the last 4 years.  

Oh and met a former member of the Militant tendency who all these years on is buying his first house and kinda feels he has moved on, but then says he’s sticking with Labour. 
And loads of households we’ve not found in before, and they’re all Labour. And one against anti-Semitism in the current politics – too right.  

And then someone who’s not only heard of hydroponics, but has a mate who tried it (in Long Eaton) and – downside – decided it doesn’t work. La de da. (But he liked that we’d campaigned against the CO2 towers.) And the point is – within 24 hours I’ve pitched a new green initiative on the doorstep to people who have heard of it, twice.  
And then meeting someone who thinks the Labour MPs who’ve left Labour should stand down and run again. But the peach being that last time I’d met him, he was a Conservative.  

So, on tonight’s results, a 400 majority at the next General Election and £5,000 in donations … er, I might just have got a little too excited … rose-coloured spectacles etc.
But a nice start to the new season and some great conversations on the doorstep.  
Come along and join us.

Betty Higgins

First woman leader of Nottingham City Council.
City Councillor – May 1971 – May 2003; Manvers ward, St,Anns ward; Leader – 1983-87 and Nov. 1990-May 94;
Drove through big changes to deliver the first free bus pass for older people and the less mobile in the ’80s.
Labour Party. Co-op. Fabian Socialist. Agent to Jack Dunnett MP.
Champion for the children of St.Ann’s.
And more, so much more.

Eileen Heppell A truly great politician who was fair and implemented policies which changed peoples lives and always a loyal Labour Party member. Betty was patient and kind to me. As a woman she was remarkable.
Roy Kennedy A true Labour and Coop giant.
Robert Pettitt Formidable lady.
Mick Warner To watch her operate was a master class.
Joyce Donn Honest and straight forward. Said what she meant 
And meant what she said.
Katrina Bull She was such an intelligent person, a joy to talk to. 
Martin Gawith A lovely, caring and consummate politician.
Dee Whitworth : a strong woman who, with Maggie Clark, created a women’s council to increase the representation on the council.
John Heppell A steadying hand during a crisis. She and her ex Frank had an enormous influence on Nottingham. One of the “grown ups” who were thin on rhetoric but got things done.
Eunice Campbell She was a great politician for Nottingham. A remarkable personality, a wonderful mentor. I am so pleased that I kept in touch with her.
Ron Stevenson  She was very supportive whilst I was the Labour Party City Organiser and always available to give advice and listen to any problems I needed help with. 
Lilian Greenwood MP : Betty was an inspiration
Josie Tanvir I loved Betty. She was a consummate politician, level-headed and down to earth, never losing sight of why she had entered politics, never allowing her head to be turned or her principles corrupted by the power she attained by her own skills and efforts. 
She always resisted any attempts to honour her in any formal way and was not interested in fuss or pomp. 
She had a sharp brain and a deflating wit.
I’m so glad I knew her. They don’t make many like Betty.
Peter Scoffings And one of the councillors who helped found Nottingham Community Housing Association, now with more than 7,000 general needs and supported housing projects and employing more than 1,000 people across the East Midlands (with the majority based in Nottingham).

Nottingham City Council statement.