Cllr James Newport reports….
May 4th was a good day for the Tories across the country as we saw a tsunami of Tory wins at County Councils. Essex County Council was no different and our own Lib Dems in Rayleigh saw defeat after much campaigning we just didn’t do enough to persuade voters that we could be the liferaft that saved them from NHS Cuts, Cuts to education, Air Pollution, Pot Holes, Congestion….
The turnout figures in Rayleigh North and Rayleigh South were 36% and 32% respectively. To give an idea of how the parties each faired here is a breakdown of the percentage share of the vote each party took.
Find the full story on our blogs here
It’s nice to have a positive idea to support – and you can add your support to James Newport’s Ice Rink idea at http://www.jamesnewport.co.uk/ice-ice-baby/
Lib Dem Councillor James Newport advised:
“I want to get the Town Council to consider the idea of an Ice Rink in Rayleigh over the Christmas period, but need the support of our residents. I’ve create an e-petition to collect all those names of residents who will support the idea. Once I reach 1000 signatures I will commit to carrying out a feasibility study to present to the council. Come on residents – let’s all get our skates on!”
Conservative Councillors on Essex County Council voted down Liberal Democrat proposals to:
- Help tackle the ‘bed blocking’ crisis on our local NHS. The Lib Dems wanted to increase the money going into social care to help patient people to recuperate in their own homes. This will free up beds in our overloaded local hospitals.
- Put some more money into road repairs and deliver important safety schemes
- To invest in new youth services including school lunchtime sessions
- Tackle Conservative cuts to school transport and recycling centres. We are against petty rules that ban residents recycling decorating material for example.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Essex County Council Mike Mackrory, said:
“The Conservatives missed an opportunity to address some of Essex residents’ highest priority concerns – including the number of patients kept in expensive acute hospital beds when they should be at home or in care. There is a crisis in our NHS and social care – we need urgent action now.”
“Overall this budget is further evidence of the need for radical reform. The Conservative Party’s repeated cuts to care and underfunding of the NHS have brought us to the point where many people only receive help when they are at crisis point. It will take more than gambling on an Essex lottery to solve the problem.”
Liberal Democrat Councillors expressed concern at patients taking up expensive acute hospital beds while wards in community hospitals were empty. They proposed making use of these for temporary care, speeding up the delivery of home care and action to increase supply of care in areas with a shortage of home carers or residential beds.
Chelmsford West County Councillor Jude Deakin spoke powerfully about her father’s experience of waiting to be discharged from hospital because of delays in arranging care.
The Lib Dems didn’t just want to increase spending, we came up with a costed programme of how the County could afford these measures, but the Conservative block voted it down.
Queuing traffic on London Road
On London Road sitting in traffic? Or perhaps queuing going up Crown Hill, then again you could be on Rawreth Lane queuing to turn into Hullbridge – all of these are familiar commuter routes that we all endure. Getting from A to B in and around Rayleigh has become slower and slower with some residents reporting journey times of 1hour to get from Down Hall Road to Rayleigh Weir ‘for no apparent reason’.
All these cars on our roads have led to Rochford District Council declaring in February 2015, Rayleigh Town Centre becoming an air quality management area (AQMA) due to the levels of vehicle exhaust emissions. More than 18 months on, the air quality targets are NOT being met. I’ve questioned why London Road, Down Hall Road & Rawreth Lane are not included in the AQMA as we all see the volume of traffic queuing on these roads frequently. Is it because the council’s own policy restricts new residential development in air quality management areas. Apparently these areas were destined for extra development in the ‘core strategy’, so they were not included in the AQMA! This seems to us to be the wrong way round!
Air pollution has a major impact on human health. It is associated with a range of deadly diseases including cancer, heart disease, strokes and asthma, and is the number one environmental cause of death in the eu, responsible for over 400,000 early deaths in 2010 alone. [Source: www.clientearth.org]
We, the Lib Dems are vigorously challenging the council’s approach to air quality measurements. We believe that every resident is entitled to clean air and not just in selected areas. The council’s existing data on pollution is a minimum required standard. We want the best for our residents and we propose that more areas are monitored for pollution and over a longer period of time. Our council needs to up its game and exceed the expectations of all our residents.
With great sadness we advise that Richard Boyd, one of the leading lights among local Liberal Democrats during the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond, passed away on 2nd October.
Richard was a great Councillor who built up the Liberals, as they were then, from one Councillor (the late lamented Bernard Crick), to the large group who eventually took control of Rochford District Council. By that time he had moved to Essex County Council where he also lead the Liberal Democrats into power in a coalition with Labour.
He was an intelligent, genial and quick-witted leader, a friend to all the team and respected by all. Richard was a great communicator, ever popular with the residents for whom he worked so hard. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Richard was born in India in 1945. He created and ran his own aviation supplies business and had well over thirty years in politics as a councillor (district, county and then parish) in Rayleigh for over 29 years. He was chairman of the Essex Police Authority, becoming a Deputy Lieutenant for Essex (1998), and an Alderman in 2006. He ran Disability Essex for more than a decade, for which – and for much more – he was awarded an OBE. More recently he was a member of mental health and employment tribunals.
Richard leaves his wife Maureen and a broader family to whom our thoughts go out at this sad time.
There is no denying the Lib Dems do their best to keep everyone informed, with websites like this, Focus Newsletters, Twitter and Facebook. But we are not the richest party – by far! Unlike the other main political parties we do not receive substantial funding from big business or the trade unions. Every so often we need to raise funds just to keep the ‘wolf from the door’. At the moment we are selling Lib Dem Christmas Draw tickets. They come in books of five, each ticket costs £1.00, so five pounds the book. There are 30 prizes including a £2,000 holiday voucher and half a case of champagne. To purchase tickets please send a cheque made out to ‘Rayleigh / Castle Point Constituencies Liberal Democrats’ (that is Democrats with an ‘s’), please send it to Rayleigh Lib Dems, 22 Beech Avenue, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 8AE, together with a stamped self addressed envelope. For other details of how to pay please phone or text Steve on 07799.345795. Good luck!
Tim Farron, speaking at the Lib Dem conference, made a play to woo Labour voters to switch allegiance to the Liberal Democrats to provide a ‘strong opposition’ to the Tories.
The Lib Dem leader praised some of the policies of the ex-prime minister Tony Blair, saying Labour has ‘left the stage’ under Jeremy Corbyn.
He said his party would raise taxes to save the NHS to ‘give people the care and treatment they deserve’.
Recalling his own experience of battling for a better home for his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s, he called for a merger of the NHS and care service to stop ‘people slipping through the net’.
And Mr Farron also called for a referendum on the Brexit deal the government strikes, so voters can see what leaving the EU would actually mean for Britain.
Making a pitch for moderate Labour voters, he said the Lib Dems were the only party that could stop Theresa May winning a majority at the next election.
He said despite opposing Mr Blair on Iraq he ‘admired’ him for investing in the NHS, new schools and creating a minimum wage.
‘I admire him for those things’ he said before joking: ‘I see Tony Blair the way I see The Stone Roses – I preferred his early work’.
Lots of new members sign up for the Liberal Democrats. Would you like to know more? Would you like to join?
The local Lib Dems have benefitted from several membership ‘surges’, one after the dreadful 2015 General Election and again after the Brexit vote. But we are still very keen to hear from you. We want to hear from all our supporters, from those who are able to help in even the smallest way and of course we would welcome new members.
Here are some of the reasons why other new members joined:
Entrepreneur and founder of www.equal.london
I’d been in the Conservatives since I was 14, but moved over to the Lib Dems early this year. It’s the second time I’ve left the Tories – the first was to try and force the party to become more centre-ground, and I knew that my leaving would make the headlines. This time I moved over quietly. I had no particular axe to grind with the Conservatives, but felt that my work to bring them more central was done, and that I could walk away and be a member of a party that is more relevant to my sensibilities.
After seeing the Lib Dems work in Coalition, and seeing them step up to the responsibilities of government. I felt I had more in common with them. I hadn’t realised the Lib Dems could be a party of government before the coalition – and I know they took a huge hit for doing it – but I think they proved themselves and were a great party for the economy and a great help for business.
My hope is that the Lib Dems become a natural home for those people who fall to the centre of the two main parties. I have a lot of friends in the Tory and Labour parties who I think are very close to the Liberal Democrats’ philosophy. I’d really like it if they would consider joining up to strengthen the party and to help it take the position it actually deserves – second or, potentially, even first place.
Have readers (of a certain age) got that déjà vu feeling of late?
We have an authoritarian female Prime Minister – then Thatcher, now May.
A left wing Labour leader – then Foot, now Corbyn, with a Welsh wanabee – then Kinnock, now Smith.
Plucky Liberal leader – then Steel, now Farron.
It is difficult to place UKIP (unless you go further right, a lot further right maybe…)
One rather frightening piece in the jigsaw is the thought of replacing Reagan with Trump….
So, after her mini re-think, our new Prime Minister Theresa May has given the ‘green light’ for EDF to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point – together with their Chinese backers. We are bound to say that this looks like a very bad deal for Britain. The future subsidy for the power produced will make the plant a white elephant.
Don’t take our word for it see what the experts say:
“Appalling value for money” is the way Professor Paul Edkins, deputy director of the UK Energy Research Centre described it, pointing out that the energy market had changed in recent years and that renewable energy costs had halved, also that new storage systems have led to the reliability of new green energy (power available even when the wind doesn’t blow).
Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone said “Hinkley is now very bad value for money for the British Taxpayer and should be abandoned immediately”.
The only crumb of comfort is that it will only form 7% of British power supply and cost, in theory we only pay when the power plant is up and running (‘in theory’ because we have seen such agreements change before).
The present Bradwell Power Station
Locally many of us are very concerned by the prospect of the Chinese designing and building their own nuclear power plant at nearby Bradwell. Here is the present Bradwell Power Station: The national security concerns have been well rehearsed regarding the Chinese involvement. All credit to the Chinese ‘tiger’ coming from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and largely peasant farming culture to modern country in just a few decades. However extra caution is justified when trusting newly acquired technology in the field of nuclear power plants – the most critical science on the planet. Not taking anything from the Chinese ability to mass produce cheap consumer products, but some of their modern technology has been found wanting. The critical nature of the Bradwell plant which will demand openness and transparency throughout construction and operation makes us uneasy. This issue is about more than just money.