Thursday, July 27, 2006

A good day to celebrate good news

At long last, the people of Kingstanding can have a real councillor working for them, as the High Court in London declared the correct result from May 5th's election battles and corrected the mistake to removed the 'councillor who never was.' For all her promises of hard work, Sharon Ebanks never bothered to turn up to either of the full council meetings during her brief tenure.

Sion Simon makes a fair point about the need for Labour recognising that there are issues in the white working-class wards. There will always be the bile-filled nutters who use the BNP as an outlet for their hatred of other human beings, but there is a percentage of the BNP vote that feels ignored and we need to be making our case to them. They are typically working-class voters who have always voted Labour, but some do feel let down and abandoned by us, so seek the solace offered by the cheap policies of the BNP, while others simply don't vote. We need to remind them that Labour does deliver for them and prove it by ensuring that their concerns about crime, the local environment, education and employment are properly addressed, as well as tackling the lies put out by the BNP. That's our challenge - to show that real political parties - not those based on lies and hate - are able to make a real positive difference to their lives.

Odin's Eye will be back with her own special brand of political insight and her generosity of spirit, but we must be ready to prove that Labour is the only viable choice for Kingstanding and the rest of Birmingham.

Congratulations to Cath Grundy on resuming her rightful place in the council chamber.


Praguetory said...

Why are Labour politicians only able to acknowledge these points when forced down their throat?

You call what he says a good point. Can you provide more detail? That Labour must "recognise that there are issues..." is trite at best.

What are the issues that he sees and what is he going to do about them?

Anonymous said...

She sounds like a good councillor from what I have heard on the radio. Let's hope that in future campaigning throughout Birmingham Labour can focus on the issues that matter to people day to day rather than being divisive within communities which only helps organisations like the BNP.

PoliticalHack said...

One of the biggest issues for Labour is in visibility and making sure that people know that their councillors are doing their job and telling them what's happening in their immediate area.

There is also a perception that all the focus goes onto the inner-city (largely minority ethnic)wards, without any attempt to explain that this is where the highest level of deprivation is. The BNP feed on this and gives the local residents a chance to blame somebody else - somebody obviously different - for all the ills of the world. I'm general about the issues, because the specifics need to be identified in each ward and addressed. There isn't one common problem - other than the universal concerns about crime and cleanliness that affect all wards.

Anonymous said...

A bigger issue is the arrogant Labour 'we know what's best for you' attitude.

Simon said...

I'm wary of reading too much into the BNP's high vote in Kingstanding and other wards. Ultimately, this year they had about the most favourable electoral circumstances they could have had or possibly will ever have, stood a full slate as a 'show of strength', and still lost 40 out of 40. The last thing we need is people talking up their chances like Margaret Hodge did in Barking. Yes, we need to take on board voters' concerns, but BNP voters did not make up more than (I think) 25% of the vote in any single ward.

PoliticalHack said...

The BNP did run a full slate across Birmingham, but many were just paper candidates who did no actual campaigning. They are targetting a few wards as potential gains - Kingstanding is one of them.

Simon said...

Yes, I know. But the fact they were able to stand a full slate of candidates (which they couldn't manage anywhere else in the country, I don't think) was intended to make a statement about the depth of their support in Birmingham. Not even they expected more than Kingstanding with perhaps Shard End as a long shot, but given the circumstances in which they were campaigning they ought to have got a lot closer in those two wards (and perhaps others) than they did. Their share of the vote in Kingstanding was actually not much increased from 2004, and in numerical terms they were actually further away from winning a seat.

The best response I saw to a BNP challenge was from Paul Jones, a Labour councillor who squeezed them out by about 10 votes in Amber Valley. He said, "We've beaten the BNP now and we'll beat them again in the future. I've not lost an election yet and I wasn't about to lose one now." That is as much commentary as they need or deserve.

Anonymous said...

If political hack thinks Sion Simon has a "fair point" I suggest he keeps his mouth shut about the BNP etc. And it was courtesy of their fellow labourite Margaret Hodge that the BNP got the biggest boost to their election campaign. The only concern this lot (labour) have is that they may lose seats to the BNP - they don't give a dam about racism.

Praguetory said...

PH - I fear you will be caught between a rock and a hard place trying to keep white working class and anon happy at the same time. Good for you for not staying silent.

Unfortunately it is entirely feasible that Birmingham politics will continue to polarise further along racial lines. The Tories should be making greater efforts to get minority candidates elected in winnable seats, but they won't. In May Labour's vote rose in ethnic areas but fell in white areas. Are white Labour councillors becoming an endangered species? And what would that mean? Could be a vicious circle.