Interesting Articles

I do tend to tweet a lot (follow @Krupesh4Brent!). Now and again, I retweet interesting articles I’ve read on the web. Here are the last 10 [politically relevant] articles I have linked;

  • Cuts will bleed Council reserves dry in 5 years says Senior Tory – LINK – Brent has traditionally had low levels of reserves. That it is why it is financially important that in an era of increased risks to Brent Council, we keep sufficient reserves to cover those risks.
  • Disability rights groups protest at DWP against Paralympics sponsor Atos – LINK – Atos is a French IT company that carry out Work Capability Assessments with disabled people. Unfortunately, the Labour Party is not innocent in all of this as we did as award the original contract to Atos, but pressure to attack benefits from the current Government has exacerbated things. The Coalition has gone even further by naming Atos as a main contractor for carrying assessments for disabled people’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) entitlement. PIP is the benefit that will replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Mark Ferguson on LabourList on a Lab / Lib Coalition being a non-starter – LINK
  • Save Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E – LINK – The Brent Labour Party has provided campaign materials for people to join in on the campaign against the current proposal that will permanently close the A&E Department serving the most deprived part of the Borough.
  • Fleet Street Fox’s article on tax and cuts to disabled people – LINK
  • Lib Dem Peer says their Party should consider disposing Nick Clegg – LINK
  • Mark Steel on Atos – LINK
  • Retiring Andrew Strauss may bat for the Conservatives at the next election – LINK – after quitting cricket for good, the ex-England captain is being touted as a future Tory MP.
  • Welsh health survey: One in three take no exercise – LINK – This is an article related to Wales, but it is a trend I am very worried about. The positive effects of regular physical exercise are well documented.
  • Caught Yellow Handed – LINK – I was reminded last week about this document highlighting Lib Dem Hypocrisy through their actions in Parliament and their leaflets and campaign work in their constituencies. Brent Central Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has a starring role.
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP (Photo credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty)
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Looking Down Under

English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gil...
English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard at a Q & A Session in Rooty Hill, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sparked celebrations filled with jubilation and also tearful emotion among disabled people, their carers and charities that help disabled people.

The Australian Labour Government has championed this progressive move in care provision for disabled people. Two federal states have caved in to the Prime Minister’s demands to provide additional funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In stark contrast, our Tory Liberal Government has stalled care reforms and is using “scrounger” rhetoric to justify cutting benefits to disabled people.

The national disability charity Scope have recently reported that almost half of disabled people feel that attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year.

“For Scope it’s impossible to ignore that the results comes as Government continues to focus the welfare debate on a few benefit scroungers in a bid to make the case for radical reform.”

Brent Council Liberal Democrats and A&E at Central Middlesex

Yesterday night at Full Council, the Labour group supported a motion that condemned the lack of consideration shown to Brent residents given that this department serves people living in the poorest part of Brent.

Sadly, the Brent Council Lib Dems and Tories both failed to support the motion and voted against it. It is worth noting that there were a couple of Lib Dem Councillors, namely Barry Cheese and Ann Hunter that did at least abstain and could not bring themselves to vote against the motion.

However, the erratic behaviour of Lib Dem Leader Cllr Paul Lorber during the debate of the motion sent shockwaves in the Council Chamber. He claimed that A&E is mostly for drunk people anyway and chose to attack me for being “relatively new” and “inexperienced” rather than address the arguments I made in the debate about meeting the needs of the poorest in the Borough and the concerns that residents in Brent were raising over A&E closure.

What’s more, is that Brent Tory Cllr Reg Colwill joined in with his contribution to the debate.

Such age discriminatory comments are very out of touch and perhaps shows the greater need to have more young people in elected and prominent positions and change the age demographic and profile of Councillors.

I’m sure there would have been a formal punishment had it been a younger Councillor making a similar derogatory comment based on age to an elderly Councillor.

This is proof that there is a lot of progress to be made in changing the attitudes and mindset of Councillors as well as wider society towards young people.

Lib Dem membership collapse in Brent Central

Membership for the Liberal Democrats in Brent has fallen by 42%. More than in any part of the country. This is in Education Minister Sarah Teather’s constituency.

Source: LabourList

Indeed we have seen the actual effects of this in terms of campaign methods. The Liberals are nowhere to be seen in wards such as Dudden Hill with even their elected ‘serving’ Councillor living in Brighton. Instead, with a slump in activists and members they seem to be using their increase in income from huge donors (her Register of Interests shows that £33,000 has come to Sarah Teather since she became a Government Minister) to pay for mass leaflet campaigns. Leaflets such as this – LINK.

They are even having to pay for deliverers. People I’ve spoken to in Dudden Hill who used to deliver for the Brent Liberal Democrats no longer want anything to do with them.

Liberal activists that are left in the Party may justify their existence in the Party by consoling in the belief that the actions of their Party are Tory inspired. However, this is simply not true. This article points out that the Tories in Parliament are more rebellious than the Liberals!

Brent Party votes in London 2012 elections

There is no doubt that London election polling is different to local or Parliamentary elections. Nonetheless it is a fantastic indicator for elections. For example, the London 2008 vote in Brent North and Barnhill in particular showed us that it was possible for Labour to make substantial gains in Brent at the expense of the Tories. We were proven right and Mikey Pavey’s landslide victory on May 3rd 2012 in the Brent Barnhill by-election was an amazing triumph for Brent Labour.

Here are the results in percentages Ward by Ward. I will comment below the graph on certain key results that may have wider implications.

Alperton

In a ward where the Liberals currently have two Councillors and Labour has one, Labour polled first by miles (63.4% of the vote!). The Tories even beat the Lib Dems who came third in this seat. Labour is on course to take all three Council seats in Alperton in 2014.

Barnhill

In a usually straight Labour Tory battle, the Tory vote collapsed. The Lib Dems didn’t field a candidate in the Barnhill by-election at all but in the Party vote they polled 9.1%. My suspicion is that many Liberals who were deserted by the Brent Council Lib Dem Group voted for the Conservative Party candidate in the Council vote.

Brondesbury Park

In a ward which currently has three Lib Dem Councillors, the Liberals were battered into fourth place behind Labour, the Tories and the Greens. Well done to the greens who won 11% of the vote there.

Dollis Hill

Perhaps this was due to there being a fresh Council by-election victory for the Liberals in Dollis Hill Ward, but it the Liberals polled higher in Dollis Hill than in any other ward in Brent with 14.1% of the vote. However, they were still beaten by Labour (56%) and the Tories (16%). It is interesting though that in the Ward where the Liberal vote now appears to be the strongest in Brent, they only sneaked in a by-election victory in March 2012 by 37 votes!

Dudden Hill 

My Ward. I share this ward with one Labour Councillor and a Lib Dem. In this ward, Labour polled 54.4% and the Tories 14.8%. This means there are less Tory votes for the Liberals to prize away, as is their usual tactic.

Kensal Green

The Liberals polled well here in the last Council and general election, but came a miserable fourth in this Ward.

Kenton

In the only ward in Brent where there are three Tory Councillors, the Conservative Party did well here.

Mapesbury

The Lib Dems currently have three Councillors in this Ward but signs for a Labour gain in the future are positive. Labour membership in this Ward has spiked up since the Lib Dems entered Government and the Liberals polled third behind the Tories and Labour in this Ward.

Queensbury

In what is known as a Labour vs Tory marginal Ward, Labour won more than twice as many votes than the Tories in this Ward.

Stonebridge

This is our strongest Ward with Labour winning 78.9% of the vote. The Lib Dems were battered into fourth place behind us, the Tories and the Greens. There narrowly polled ahead of the Christian Party who won 2.9% of the vote in Stonebridge. This is 0.2% less than what the Liberals polled. This is bad news for Brent Central MP Sarah Teather who did poll better than expected in Labour heartlands in Brent in order to win the Brent Central seat in 2010.

Sudbury

Labour currently has one Councillor in this ward and these poll results show that Labour is on course to gain at least another in Sudbury. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Paul Lorber is in a very nervous position and it will go down to the wire for the Sudbury Council vote in 2014.

Lib Dems hold Dollis Hill Ward by-election by 37 votes but a lot to be proud of after increasing our share of the vote

The results of the Dollis Hill by-election on 22nd March 2012 are as follows.

Labour       1168        (45.1%)      up from 38.4% in 2010

Lib Dem    1205        (46.5%)      up from 40.8% in 2010

Tory            140      (5.4%)         down from 16.9% in 2010

Green          79            (3%)             down from 3.9% in 2010

Turnout was 29.8%.

As you can see, Labour put up a pretty good fight in our attempt to gain this seat from the Liberal Democrats. We fought a positive campaign and increased our share of the vote. Parvez was an excellent candidate and very personable, hard working and gracious in defeat. The Tory vote collapsed in Dollis Hill Ward and it seems the Lib Dems benefited from this.

Congratulations to Parvez and all the candidates for the hard work they put in and to the newly elected Councillor Alison Hopkins.

UK Government debt reaches £1 trillion under Tory Liberal Coalition’s economic plan

Figures out today show that debt under the Tory Liberals has increased and passed the Trillion Pound mark.

Graph obtained from Coffee House Spectator blog

The Tory Liberal approach to tacking the budget deficit, cutting too far and too fast without having a plan for growth has already produced high levels of unemployment, growth revised downward from 1.6% under the Labour plan to address the deficit to 0.6% under this Tory Liberal plan.

Unemployment has not been this high since David Cameron was an advisor to the Thatcher Government. In addition, youth unemployment is having a damaging impact on our next generation.

Inflation is also higher than in previous years with the cost of living rising and the Government making things worse by increasing VAT. All this further supports Labour’s call for a five point plan for jobs which I have blogged about in the past here – LINK.

Labour win in Wembley Central by-election! Krupa Sheth becomes Brent’s youngest ever Councillor

Brent Labour has claimed a sensational by-election victory in Wembley Central Ward in which Krupa Sheth has become the London Borough of Brent’s youngest ever Councillor.

The results are as follows:

1st  – Krupa Sheth (Labour) 1402 votes

2nd – Afifa Perez (Lib Dem) 1022 votes

3rd – Madhuri Davda (Conservative) 349 votes

4th – Martin Francis (Green) 130 votes

The Liberal Democrats chose to attack the candidate. On their leaflets, the Liberals labelled Krupa on the forefront of their leaflets as the ‘Brent Labour Council Boss candidate’ (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!)

Credit where it is due to the Tories and their candidate Madhuri Davda who ran a much cleaner and respectable campaign and did not resort to the same electoral tactics.

People don’t need us to spell out the hypocrisy of the Brent Liberal Democrats, fighting for local services on one hand but supporting the decimation of them in Government with the other. They can see it for themselves.

We ran a positive campaign promoting our candidate at the forefront rather than starting our campaign position of inciting hatred towards others. I’ve known Krupa for over two years now and am personally delighted to have her as a colleague at Brent Council.

Lib Dem claim that they tamed the Tories in Government will not work

We’ve already seen a glimpse of what is to come in the future with Liberal Democrats claiming to have tamed the Tories over the NHS reforms.

Fast forward to the 2015 General Election.

Both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives will start turning on eachother. The Tories will say that they were unable to sort out the mess left behind by Labour because the Lib Dems were a constant pain in the you know where.

The Lib Dems will say, thank god we were there to tame the Tories. Without us, they would have done some really nasty things like I dunno… treble tuition fees, cut off access to justice to the vulnerable through changes in the legal system, oversee the social cleansing of London.

I’m afraid this won’t wash off for the Lib Dems because the fundamental problem that they have caused and been party to is this decision to cut the deficit within one Parliament.

So the Lib Dems will come out with things like because of us the NHS reforms were improved and that they reigned in some of the crazy Tory ideas.

However,  the initiative to reign in the Tories should have been at the very start of this marriage and instead of holding up their hands and signing up fully to the Tory plan to reduce the whole deficit over a Parliament, they could have negotiated at the very least somewhere in between their pre-election rhetoric and the Tory plan.

This fundamental sell-out on the economy means that I will not be buying any excuses from the Lib Dems and you shouldn’t either.