Sunday, 2 May 2010

ENews 1st May 2010

Welcome to Broxtowe Enews, brought to you by the Liberal Democrats and edited by our parliamentary candidate David Watts. A special welcome to any new readers this week.

It will only be a short edition this week. It’s not because of the hours I’m putting in for the election but simply there does not seem to be a lot happening this week! I could fill this up with election comments but this newsletter is about local activities and events and I don’t want to give people who have signed up over the past couple of weeks the impression that this is simply a party political list, which it isn’t.

1. Council Core Strategy

Having said that I want to start with the election, and to go back to something I raised last week, the fact that the local council had disclosed to Nick Palmer that Anna Soubry hadn’t made a submission on the councils Core Strategy consultation, which seeks the views of local residents about where new building might or might not take place. I said last week that I was deeply concerned about the council disclosing this, but having looked at the matter further I now realise that I was wrong. I hope that I will always be big enough to recognise when I have made a mistake and this was one such time.

On checking the position I was informed that the submission forms say on them that all submissions will be made public. If people have made a submission on that basis then clearly there are no confidentiality issues here. I don’t think that a council official should have told Labour that no submission had been received (council officers have to be completely neutral on political matters and not be seen to be helping one side or the other) but that is a minor point, and the more significant issue is that the Conservatives sent to submission in on this, despite Ms Soubry saying that she had done.

Someone contacted me this week to ask if I had made a submission. I can’t, because I sit on the council committee which will review them. I have to assess the comments made by everyone else, and if I submit my own answers I would be accused of having pre-determined matters and I would not then be able to participate. When we were debating this week in Beeston Nick Palmer told the audience that this was the reason why I hadn’t submitted a comment sheet even before I got a chance to say anything, although he left this particular fact off the email he sent round afterwards.

2. Castle College

I was very disappointed to read that Castle College is closing its venue in Middle Street, Beeston. Castle College has already moved a lot of courses from local venues to others in the city, and this will lead to a further decrease in placed for students staying in Broxtowe.

3. Development Control Committee

It has been my privilege to chair the Development Control Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council for the past seven years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. However I announced at the meeting on Wednesday that I have chosen to stand down as chair, no matter what the result of the general election. After seven years I felt that it was time to move on to new challenges.

4. Grants from the Borough Council.

Broxtowe Borough Council have announced that they are paying out grants of £9,000 to local organisations. The two largest beneficiaries are Eastwood Volunteer Bureau and Framework Housing Association.

5. ”Labours Only Hope”

On Tuesday evening I went in to the council offices. There I bumped into a senior Labour Councillor. He asked how my campaign was going and I said that it was going really well. His response was to say “Don’t say that. Ours is awful. In fact we were only saying today that you were our only hope.” This is the first time I have ever been called Labours only hope. I think what he meant was that they were hoping that I was taking more votes from the Conservatives than I was from Labour. An article in the Evening Post today says that where the Liberal Democrats do well we usually take more votes from the Conservatives than from Labour, and this has been my perception in this campaign. I do think that people are swinging to us from both other parties, but probably more from the Conservatives.

I did see that the Labour run blog Broxtowe2010 had an article yesterday suggesting that I will come second, beating the Conservatives. Their projection was 37% Labour, 33% Liberal Democrat and 30% Conservative. Of course all the polls in the world don’t actually count for anything, it’s how you use your vote on Thursday that counts. However this poll does run very counter to the usual Labour line that the Lib-Dems just can’t win here.

My personal view is that people will vote this time for what they believe in, rather than vote against what they don’t. I suspect that this election will be very close, and I predict that there may be as few as 500 votes covering all three main parties.

6. Volunteering In Kimberley and Eastwood

Sessions have been set up in Kimberley library for people who are interested in volunteering. These are run by Voluntary action Broxtowe and further details can be obtained on 0115 917 8080.

7. Your Vote

I do hope that you will vote for me on Thursday, but the most important thing is that people actually go out and vote. Most of the worlds population do not get to vote at all, and in this country many people gave their lives to ensure that we could each have a vote. Please honour their memory by using your vote this Thursday.

Thank you as ever for your support for this newsletter. I will post the election results on Friday when they are announced, but there will be no newsletter next Saturday. After the stresses of the election I’ll be having a day off.

Best wishes