Labour held the two seats it was defending in yesterday’s council by-elections. In Failsworth East, Oldham, in spite of a 7.3 point drop, their share of the vote was 58.4 per cent. The Conservatives came second with 25.4 per cent, and UKIP third with 11.7 per cent. In St Thomas’s, Dudley, Labour held the seat with a slight increase of 3.4 points, to 60.8 per cent of the vote. UKIP came a distant second with 26.7 per cent, and the Tories third with 10.3 per cent.
To see the full results in all six wards being contested go to the LabourList website.
An estimated 200 people turned out on Monday 30 January in Witney’s market square to protest against Donald Trump’s order preventing travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The protest was organised at short notice by Patty Dohle, who later posted “What can I say? I’m blown away by the passion and solidarity I saw tonight! ”
I’m sure that amongst local members and supporters as in the party nationally there will be a range of feelings and reactions to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as our leader. Some will be enthused by the prospect of a more radical agenda for the party to pursue and put to the public, others out of sympathy with the apparent agenda, and some fearful of the effect of a shift to the left on the party’s ability to win elections – and all of us know the onslaught the overwhelmingly Tory supporting press is going to unleash. I want to argue that none of us should leap to early judgements.
I have said at previous meetings that Jeremy Corbyn’s policy positions are not extreme, but represent elements of mainstream thinking in this country. His alternative approach to reducing the deficit has support from many professional economists; his aim of encouraging British companies to focus more on the long term and less on immediate profit margins is widely shared (see much of Will Hutton’s recent output). Tackling inequality is surely common ground for us all (and even the governor of the Bank of England and the head of the IMF agree that current levels in this country are damaging and unsustainable). And bringing the railways and energy companies into some form of public ownership have wide support. There is of course room for debate about how these things can be best achieved – and I’m sure we will be having that debate, vigorously, over the coming months.
I am determined that the party locally will continue to welcome all strands of opinion within the party, and will encourage debate which is lively, and respectful of different viewpoints. Only by working together can we have any chance of limiting the damage this Conservative government is doing to our country.
If you have joined recently, whether as a member, affiliate or registered supporter – I very much hope you will stay with us, and work together on our campaigns, locally and nationally.
With all good wishes,
PS: this blog from Duncan Enright on the new leadership is well worth a read: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/duncan-enright/jeremy-corbyn_b_8127606.html
And if you haven’t already seen it, Jeremy Corbyn has set out his approach in an article in the Observer:
At the Hustings last night, members present voted to nominate Yvette Cooper for party leader (Jeremy Corbyn was a not too distant second) and Stella Creasy for deputy leader (Tom Watson was a very close second). We used the single transferable vote system to determine the winners.
Our thanks to those who spoke on behalf of the candidates: Andrew Smith MP (for Yvette Cooper and Ben Bradshaw); Ken Livingstone (for Jeremy Corbyn); Parmjit Dhanda (for Andy Burnham); Laura Price (for Stella Creasy); and Duncan Enright (for Liz Kendall and Tom Watson) – all of whom were delegated by the respective campaign teams; and to Judith Wardle (Caroline Flint) and Geoff Saul (Angela Eagle) – who we approached locally to present campaign material. Over 60 members and supporters came, asked probing questions, and contributed to a stimulating and informative debate.
Members may want to take the views of those at the meeting into account when they vote – but of course it remains for members to make their own decision who to vote for in the ballot.
Many congratulations to Laura Price, who on Thursday was elected as Labour Councillor for South Ward on Witney Town Council, coming second in the poll for three seats, and gaining from the Conservatives. Laura is already County Councillor for that Division, and will now join Duncan Enright to make a formidable team, representing the people of Witney, and Labour, on this all too Tory-dominated, inward-looking and complacent Town Council.
Our congratulations too to our candidates Mel Jones and Stephen Parkinson, who despite not being elected to the other two vacant places polled extremely well – indeed they came within only 30 votes of the third placed Conservative. You can see the results in detail here: http://www.westoxon.gov.uk/media/1220719/Witney-Town-Council-South-Ward-Result-25-June-2015.pdf .
Many thanks to all those from across the constituency who helped achieve this result – leafleting, knocking on doors, phoning to encourage Labour supporters to go out to vote, providing a presence for Labour at the polling stations – and to our candidates. After all the efforts for the May elections, it is a tribute that members and candidates were able to find the energy for this short but intensive campaign. It’s great to be winning in Witney!
The 2015 Annual Brian Hodgson Memorial Walk took place on Sunday 21st June, starting from the top of Tower Hill, Witney, visiting Minster Lovell Hall (pictured below) and finishing at The Lamb in Crawley for a very welcome sandwich lunch.
For new members – Brian Hodgson was a much loved and respected Chair of the CLP who died some years ago. He was also very active in many left wing causes nationally, and a chair of the Ramblers Association.
Members of the CLP assembled yesterday at the home of Chris and Jane Johnson for a celebration – not of victory, alas, but nevertheless a celebration – of the hard work put in over the last months by all members; of the good fight fought by the Town and District Council candidates; and of Duncan Enright’s increase of 3,000 in the parliamentary vote.
Duncan was inspiring and upbeat as always, and the general mood was one of determination to do all we can to mitigate the hardship that will be imposed on the most vulnerable members of our society over the next five years.