May’s rush to polls shows she cares more about confrontation than consensus over Brexit

You could have knocked me over with a feather. When a resident in Fishmore strolled down his drive this morning to say that Theresa May had called a general election, I couldn’t take it in. After all, she had only recently said there would be no elections until 2020.

I guess she had a bad Easter. I distrust her motives. She wants to crush the opposition and thereby crush democratic debate.

Whatever the reasons for Theresa May’s volte-face, we are facing a general election on 8 June.

Continue reading “May’s rush to polls shows she cares more about confrontation than consensus over Brexit”

Thirteen candidates for Ludlow Town Council elections on 4 May

Shropshire Council today published the list of candidates for the town and parish council elections on 4 May. In Ludlow, there are 14 candidates standing for 15 seats in seven wards. Eight candidates will be elected unopposed. A further three will need to be co-opted after the election.

There are more candidates standing than four years ago. All but one of the current 15 councillors were either elected unopposed or co-opted. But only three of the current candidates are new to the council, the rest are sitting councillors. I am disappointed with this, particularly after the efforts by the town council and the People’s Alliance for Ludlow to attract new blood.

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Constituency shakeup – Ludlow joins Leominster and Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock move into Wrekin

In 2011, MPs decided to cull their number in the Commons from 650 to 600 across the UK. The reasons given were to reduce costs, to make parliament more efficient and to even up the size of the constituencies. The suspicion at the time, and it lingers in some quarters, was that the move would boost the longer-term electoral chances of the Conservatives.

The Electoral Commission, which has been chewing over these matters for a while, has now published its proposals for consultation. The Commission’s plans have major implications for Shropshire. If these proposals go ahead, Ludlow will partner up with Leominster in a new constituency. Bridgnorth will join Wellington in an enlarged Wrekin constituency.

Continue reading “Constituency shakeup – Ludlow joins Leominster and Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock move into Wrekin”

Philip Dunne triumphs on a bad night for the Lib Dems

I am not going to pretend this has been a good night for the Liberal Democrats, not nationally or locally. But first let me congratulate Philip Dunne for winning a third term of office with an increased majority.

Philip Dunne          Conservative Party           54%       26,093

David Kelly            UK Independence Party   15%       7,164

Charlotte Barnes     Liberal Democrats            13%       6,469

Simon Slater           Labour Party                    12%       5,902

Janet Phillips          Green Party                      5%         2,435

As I type this at 4 in the morning, the Lib Dems seem to be getting the blame for everything that went wrong in the coalition and no credit for things that have gone right. Good, hardworking Lib Dem MPs are losing their seats.

It’s a cruel cull – but that’s politics.

It hasn’t been good here in Ludlow. Charlotte threw everything into a gutsy campaign but she was swimming against the national tide that drowned so many prominent Lib Dems. I take my hat off to her for her energy, enthusiasm and endless ability to burst out laughing on the doorstep.

I can’t disguise that it grates to come third behind UKIP. I am a liberal through and through, and to come third behind an anti-liberal party hurts.

It’s a cruel result – but that’s politics.

There is a lot of reflecting to do after this morning’s results. I would have liked to have seen rainbow coalition – a structure that would have changed politics for ever. But at this hour of the morning, I think seeing my bed might be more achievable.

Why you should vote tomorrow – if you don’t engage democracy is dead

Like most people, the first time I marked my cross on a ballot paper I was not long out of school.

I’ve never forgotten the hustings in Northampton Market Square in 1974. The Labour candidate stood the soap box to the left, handing out hymn sheets for the Red Flag. The Tory didn’t even turn up.

Ahead of me the young Lib Dem candidate poured out a passionate argument for going into the European Community because it would end wars in Europe.

I wanted to vote for that. I believe that war is sometimes necessary. Winning war is heroic but it is never a success. Our failure is in preventing war. I was passionately against nuclear weapons. I still am.

This was my first vote. In complete buggeration, my father had not included me when he returned the family polling card to the town hall. Continue reading “Why you should vote tomorrow – if you don’t engage democracy is dead”