Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My election leaflet

I was sent an email today by Google Alerts, a really useful service that lets you know when a word or phrase that you are interested in is published on the internet. As a politician one of the phrases I have asked it to search for each day is "Louise Baldock" - obviously I want to read any references to me.

Today's notification (and I get one most days, usually, but not always, referring to my own blog entries) told me that my election leaflet had been reproduced on a website called "The Straight Choice" - this is not a reference to sexuality, but to the choices facing electors, although I was not quite sure where it was going until I clicked on the link.

It would seem that someone in Kensington and Fairfield has helpfully uploaded my leaflet to the internet. They have reproduced some of the text (although not quite accurately) but more importantly have scanned in the leaflet. Which means that I can link to it here for you to have a look at. I do of course have it as a PDF myself but am not able to upload PDFs on blogger (my host) so was not able to do this myself.

Interestingly there is a section for the person who scans in the leaflet to identify which party has been attacked in the leaflet, but my leaflet makes no negative to reference to any party, policy or individual. It is entirely positive in fact, so this section has been left blank.

Please do feel free to comment on the leaflet once you have looked at it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Common People

This is all over Facebook today - it is great, well done to whoever put it together

Common People - The Conservative Party's theme tune?

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Labour Party membership comes of age

Three years ago I wrote about my LP membership history, in this election it comes of age.

I do have some interesting memories of my first year of campaigning. My first general election in 1992 was spent leafletting, I was not confident enough to knock on doors because I didn't feel I could answer any detailed policy questions that voters might ask me - that is so sweet. Nobody ever asks detailed policy questions, I would have been fine, but I was very anxious not to let the side down.

I turned up on the first evening (having established where the campaign centre was in my ward) straight from work in my work uniform - a navy blue skirt and jacket, white blouse and floppy navy blue bow tie. Having proved to be an effective leafletter who could also read a map, I was encouraged to return again. (I had a lot of experience delivering charity envelopes for our local church, school, brownies and guides when I was young, Sunny Smiles, do you remember them? I was an ace Sunny Smiles collector). I went every single evening throughout the election campaign. I must have been the best dressed leafletter in Stockton.

I recall delivering leaflets in Hartburn village. It is a fairly well-to-do place, cottages with roses round the doors and some larger properties (although nothing compared to where I was to be found campaigning next!). I went up one path, of a detached house, in a cul-de-sac, to push a leaflet through, and the door opened. A man stood there with a rifle, broken over his arm. "Get off my land or I will shoot you" he shouted, I did not have to be told twice. Looking back, I didn't even report him to the police! That was the arrogance of the Tories back in 1992.

I also remember delivering leaflets in Blue Hall in Stockton North in 1994 in the Euro's. A sink estate, drowning under anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, criminal damage, graffiti, unchained alsations in most gardens. After 7 hours of leafletting in fear of being bitten or abused, attacked on all sides by unruly adults and their children, I sat on the kerb, desperately foot-sore, burst into tears and refused to deliver any more. They demolished the whole lot a few years later and built a new estate, I like to think the local councillors listened to my entreaties that day and took note.

(Just spent ages trying to delete a random full stop, only to realise it was a biscuit crumb on the screen, ha!)

My friend Kath took me out for my first canvassing experience later in 1992 in the true blue village of Hutton Rudby in North Yorkshire. Only a few miles away from where we lived, it might as well have been on another planet. It was a ward byelection in the district of Hambleton as I recall. Labour probably got about 10 votes to the Tories 700, (no doubt a psephologist could look it up for me). Kath was keen to support our LP comrades as they had worked in Stockton South in the General Election and we wanted to repay the compliment. We wandered around this fabulous village, delighting the residents who thought we were an adorable anachronism, "Oh my dear, the Labour Party, how positively marvellous to have you here." Of course they all voted Conservative, to a (wo)man but they were delighted that we had made the effort.

Kath got cross with me because I was helpfully handing people the milk from their doorstep and asking them what they fed their roses with, admiring the wallpaper in the porch and generally treating it like a Sunday afternoon stroll, which of course to all intent and purpose it was. I am afraid I was not very effective at the start of my door-knocking career.

We retired each Sunday (for we went at least three times to this vitally important marginal election!)to the pub on the village green for our Sunday lunch.

It was as gentle an introduction to canvassing as one could ever wish for and ensured that I was not scared off. I have canvassed in towns and cities and villages and indeed countries across Britain in the subsequent 18 years but my heart will always hold a soft spot for Hutton Rudby in the summer sunshine.

A few years later I heard Tony Benn talking about daring to canvass Number 10 Downing Street in the 1945 election and being invited to address the staff by the butler, and all the time he was speaking I was transported back to that similar experience.

It was bitterly disappointing for Labour Party supporters that we did not win in 1992, I recall crying all day in work on April 10th, sobbing over my accounts ledgers, in despair about the future lives of the people of the Jewels estate in Thornaby who were utterly downtrodden with deepest poverty. I remember Tory supporting colleagues coming into my office to marvel at me, snigger and wonder what all the fuss was about. They were laughing on the other side of their faces within months as sterling crashed, mortgage rates rose to 15% and their spouses were being laid off from work even as repossession rates rose. But that is a story for another day. Beware the Conservative Party.

Happy 18th Birthday to my LP membership - and elections, I love them, bring it on!

St George's Day celebrations

I have just got home from a fabulous St George's Day celebration in Liverpool Town Hall. Brainchild of the Lord Mayor, Mike Storey, the event highlighted Liverpool's history as a multi-cultural city, with the oldest Chinese population in Europe and a black community dating back to 1750. Joined by Liverpool residents who orginally hailed from all round the world, and many of them now living in Kensington, we were delighted to witness the signing of the Liverpool Charter of Mutual Respect. A cross party charter first suggested by Councillor Anna Rothery a year ago, if memory serves me correctly.

We were then entertained by Polish children singing, Ghanian girls dancing, an African drumming band and a wonderful rendition of Jerusalem from Danielle, a local opera singer. I didn't write her surname down, but those who know about such things will know who she is.

And we had a bowl of halal scouse, very thoughtful planning by the organisers.

It was a good evening, well done to the Lord Mayor for coming up with the idea of celebrating being English and St George by embracing new British Citizens and community leaders from other countries.

I met a lovely Kenyan couple living in Norris Green who are working closely with the community in Kensington, I have promised to come and spend some time with them and their members. It was also good to welcome many friends from Kensington and Fairfield's community groups - Cameroons, Congolese, Polish, Indian Christians etc.

And I had a good chat with the Arch Deacon about ongoing plans for St John's, St Mary's and St Cyprians - once I had recognised him in his civvies.

Everyone had a fabulous time and there were flash bulbs going off all night as people had themselves photographed in their cultural dress against the wonderful backdrop of the Large Ballroom.

Happy St George's Day!

Saint George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres (Spain), Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Milan, Pomorie, Preston, Salford, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Barcelona, Moscow and the Maltese island of Gozo, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations, and disease sufferers.

A true internationalist then!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Only in Liverpool...

The first person who has a reasonable explanation for this ridiculous situation, on the Strand in Liverpool, will get an ice cream. I took this photo about a month ago. Have just found it. Answers on the back of a postcard please to Liverpool City Council, somewhere on another planet...

Final scrutiny session at Liverpool Guild of Students

I had an hour this morning with a scrutiny panel at the Liverpool Guild of Students looking at their communications policy - how they communicate with their students. We finalised our recommendations - both in terms of the policy and also in terms of how the first ever scrutiny process has gone and how we might like to do things differently next time.

I have really enjoyed my time on the panel over the last six months and working with the Guild. I was pleased to be asked and they seemed to feel that having someone external who was familiar with scrutiny, when they had never done it before, was really helpful to the process.

That's co-operation in action!

You can take the girl out of Crosby...

Cherie popped by the campaign centre today and I was reminded that we had had our photo taken together a few months ago at the West Derby LP dinner. So I had a look for the picture and thought I would share it with you now. It was good to catch up with her today and she enjoyed her visit to Phoenix Primary School in Fairfield.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Post concerning Adam Webb


I have left a comment on David Bartlett's blog today in response to one posted by someone else. I think probably Tom Morrison - but it was anonymous, ironically!

It says "The problem with Cllr Baldock is that even when she pretends to be someone else she never changes her style of banter..
She changes her blog posts though, don't you love?"

My response reads "It is true that I thought better of my entry about this topic and decided to delete it. I do think it is fair to comment, given that Colin Eldridge has said he finds the comments unacceptable and has sacked this young man. But I changed my mind about my entry and decided to delete it. This was because I began to reflect on how the young man concerned, who I dont know and have never met and had never heard of until this week, must be feeling. I was pilloried on the front page myself so I have a degree of sympathy. I did not actually do a great deal more than report the facts as they appeared in the Daily Post but nonetheless I decided to take it down.

I would like to repeat once again that despite whatever you might believe, the anonymous posters are not me. I am perfectly happy to defend myself, be corrected, apologise if I make mistakes. I always have been. The proof is there, you will have seen apologies and corrections in the past and doubtless you will see them in the future. So I post in my own name.

I am well aware that members of the LibDem Party believe that I am responsible for most of the anonymous posts but it is not the case. I don't know who they are, although I could probably guess in most cases - they will all be people I know, I would think.

I do wish people would not post anonymously, that everyone would write in their own names - on any side of the debate. I wish there was more transparency and of course I wish I did not have to take flak for people who hide behind nom-de-plumes, but there you have it."

By the way Tom, I dont get upset by being called "Love", in fact I use it myself with affection all the time. What I was objecting to in the Council Chamber at the last meeting when I asked the Lord Mayor to intervene, was Warren Bradley using ageist terms to talk about Steve Munby. The "love" stuff went completely over my head at the time and I only knew about it when I read Larry's column in the Post a few days later. I certainly had no idea that Ron had shouted anything out, nor what it was, at the time. And I would not have taken any offence, none would have been intended. Hope that clears things up for you, love.

Fighting ASB in Molyneux Road area

Wendy, Liam and I went to a useful meeting last night with the police and local residents to talk about ASB in the Molyneux Road area. Residents are suffering from two distinct types of ASB. Noisy and thoughtless neighbours, partying, having drugs dropped off, barking dogs etc, at fixed addresses, and also young people, particularly young girls, getting drunk in the street and damaging vehicles, and in some cases causing deliberate criminal damage of houses/windows/doors etc. This second type of ASB moves around from street to street and can be unpredictable and it is of course more difficult to identify those responsible. However, the police have taken names, addresses, descriptions etc from those residents present last night. I must say our new Sergeant, Ian Devaney, is very dynamic! He has bought a camcorder for his officers so that they can video people they find on the street and take the footage back to the station to identify them. (I am not talking about covert filming, I am talking about where they have stopped people). They will be starting to use it from today. Hopefully we will see start to see some positive changes very soon. They also took the opportunity to give some smart water packs out, something still relatively new to the L6 side - Kensington Regeneration bought them for L7. We have paid for some to be distributed to key areas, through our WNF too, and the police are currently going door to door with them in Sheil Park for instance.

Great news as Riverside wardens move into L6

I am absolutely delighted to report that Riverside HA wardens are now expanding their area of operation to cover the L6 part of Kensington and Fairfield on top of the area they previously covered in L7 (the New Deal).
I met yesterday with Sue Tracy, head of the wardens, to discuss the boundaries of the area and to identify hot spots for fly-tipping, envioronmental blight, anti-social behaviour etc so that they can hit the ground running - the new patrolling started yesterday!
Wardens have ordered new uniforms in a teal colour - what I might call turqouise, to replace their red uniforms and to bring them into line with Riverside wardens elsewhere in the group, so residents should be on the look out for these very soon. In the meantime the familiar wardens in their red uniforms will be exploring L6 and looking forward, I am sure, to meeting a whole new set of residents.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good news for a local Wavertree business - and her customers

I just picked this story up, it was sent to me by Gill Passmore at the Chamber.
It is a good example of how we can make a difference when we all work together.
Gill has been great in the Kensington new deal area (which incorporated Wavertree Road) and we are all really going to miss her now that her funding, courtesy of our Labour Government has finished with the ending of the 10 year new deal project.
Well done Gill - and Tony - and best of luck to Stephanie Agugua at Le Stye

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ricky Tomlinson not standing in Liverpool Wavertree

Ricky Tomlinson is not standing for Parliament in Liverpool Wavertree

Neither is Jimmy Tarbuck, Cilla Black, Les Dennis, Tom O'Connor, Paul McCartney or Carla Lane, so far as I know.

So that's okay then

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dream, St Helen's

I took a short break from campaigning in the elections in Liverpool Wavertree to take Mum and Roger to visit a public art sculpture on the site of a former colliery close to St Helen's - Sutton Manor.

Towering 20m above the ground, very close to the M62, the NorthWest's answer to the Angel of the North is a very impressive statue. Dream was created by Jaume Plensa in conjunction with Channel 4.

I wont tell you loads about it, you can read the link above. But I thought a few photos might be interesting to share, the marble of the statue contrasted beautifully with the cloudy sky.

It is fabulous, definitely worth an hour of your time to take a walk up there and contemplate. We also enjoyed the iron benches set around the trail, commemorating the colliery - especially the one celebrating canaries. I bet there are not many monuments to them more generally.

Sheila's Wheels!

My friend Sheila had her car stolen a year ago this week.

It was never seen again, vanished into thin air somewhere in Liverpool.

Police were baffled, "Probably," they said "it had been burnt out or shipped abroad".

Her insurance company paid up and the world moved on, although she was sorry to lose the car and her nice coat and some personal belongings.

She had a call this week. The car had been found almost a year to the day it was taken!

You will remember that a catastrophe in Liverpool City Centre where a crane, working on the construction of a new apartment block toppled over into another block. Construction workers are still working on the site.

They finally entered the basement at the end of last week, for the first time, and there, sitting quietly in the gloom, was Sheila's car! It was unmarked, still had a full tank of petrol, and Sheila's things were still inside.

The car of course belongs to the insurance company now, but they have said she can have her coat and belongings back. What an amazing story.

And the insurance company? Sheila's Wheels - really, honestly! What a great story!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Runners and Riders!

(A horse racing reference there, it being the Grand National weekend at Aintree, that should bring a few extra readers to the blog and they need to know this!)

This is the list of candidates for the Kensington and Fairfield ward. No BNP candidate standing again, so we keep moving forward in terms of building community cohesion in our area. Great news!

There are five candidates
I am number 1 on the ballot paper (candidates are in alphabetical order) which is always a good place to be.
The other four are
Liberal Democrat (male)
Liberal Party Candidate and Local Resident (female)
The Conservative Party Candidate (female)
Green Party (male)

Sadly however the BNP are fielding candidates in
Anfield, Clubmoor, County, Everton, Fazakerley, Kirkdale, Norris Green and Old Swan

You will perhaps remember the points I made in 2008 questioning why the LibDems had not fielded a candidate in Norris Green when they knew this would put the BNP into second place? Someone posted anonymously in the comments to say they were gong to be the candidate but sadly had to drop out at the last minute. That comment turned out to be posted by a LibDem in Picton ward and was clearly not true. And just to prove it, guess what! The LibDems are not standing there again this year. Disgraceful!

Neither are they standing in Liberal stronghold Tuebrook and Stoneycroft this year, nor Clubmoor - where the Liberals come second, or Kirkdale or Everton.

Imagine. The LibDems run this council and one would assume they would like to carry on doing so, yet they dont even offer a candidate to voters in 5 wards. Add that to the 11 who have retired this year and we see a party in total disarray.

For my money, it is incumbent on all serious contenders, particularly those in power, to offer a "referendum on our record" option to every voter in the city. By not standing in a sixth of the seats, they are denying many voters that opportunity.

For the record, Labour, the Green Party and even the Conservative Party (Tories) have managed to field 30 candidates, a full slate.

Official Labour candidate for Kensington and Fairfield ward, Liverpool City Council

The letter came yesterday, advising me that my nomination papers have been successfully and formally accepted by Mr Returning Officer and I am the duly nominated Labour Candidate in the Kensington and Fairfield ward in the Liverpool City Council elections.

Exciting times!

You wont be surprised if I dont make many new entries over the next month. I will be far too busy working in the ward and across the Liverpool Wavertree Parliamentary Constituency.

We need to return a Labour MP if we are to stop David Cameron getting the keys to number 10. And I hope the good people of Kensington and Fairfield will also want to return this Labour councillor so that we can keep on top of all the good progress we are making in the ward.

I've got my poster up - thanks to the PM for sending it to me in advance so I could be ready. What about you?