Tag Archives: dr zulfiqar ali

++Stoke on Trent by-election – Lib Dem vote share more than doubles

Congratulations to Zulfiqar Ali and the team at Stoke-on-Trent for more than doubling our share of the vote at the by-election caused by Tristram Hunt’s resignation.

Labour held the seat.

After the result was announced, Liberal Democrat president Sal Brinton said from Stoke:

The Potteries decided there was no need to have UKIP’s official leader in parliament when UKIP’s unofficial leader is already in Number 10, pursuing a hard Brexit. We would have done even better but for many voters, drawn to the Lib Dems, who felt they just couldn’t risk being represented by a UKIP MP, so reluctantly backed Labour. Paul Nuttall called this seat Brexit Central but it turned out to be the end of the line for UKIP.

There is also little comfort for Labour, whose vote share has more than halved here in less than two decades. This is on top of an incredibly tough night for them in Copeland. It shows that if we are to turn out this divided and uncaring Conservative Brexit government, the Liberal Democrats will be the ones making the progressive case to keep Britain open, tolerant and united. We started from a low base here but our vote is picking up and this is yet another sign that the Lib Dem fight-back is on.

Here is the result in full plus some sexy bar charts tweeted by the Press Association’s Ian Jones:

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 21 Comments

P-0: Polling day for Stoke-on-Trent

And so it arrives… finally. Always too short, yet campaigns last forever. At the beginning they take ages, in the middle you wish it was over and at the end you want more time. The day after you are left with a sense of regret at the gap that re-opens in your diary.

So what precisely has happened and been going on?  Let’s go through the outputs.

1. The Conservatives have selected a councillor from Stoke-on-Trent and he’s young, enthusiastic and done himself no discredit.  What we know is that, assuming he loses, he will duly be given a safe seat to be a Conservative MP.  It’s how the party structures work for the Tories.  But do not lose sight of the electoral roots of UKIP. A breakaway more extreme Tory Party.

2. The Green Party stood a local Stokie as their candidate – genuine and sincere, but unable to add to the dialogue in a City that needs a focus on renewables, resources and the environment. In advocating progressive politics, this election has not worked for them.

3. It is entirely possible that we will see, tonight, live, a Party Leader lose an election. In the myriad chaos of a General Election Nigel Farage was able to stand and lose. But tonight, Paul Nuttall will, I predict, be seen to commit political suicide. His ambition, his bravado and his arrogance deserves to rebound in way that I hope will crack UKIP asunder. Is this the first Party Leader, in a major league era (thus excluding Farage) to lose since Archibald Sinclair? And let us note, that Archibald Sinclair came third when he lost…

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

P-3: Could the Labour campaign be any more selfish and arrogant?

Go round Stoke-on-Trent at the moment and there are a number of noisy clusters of posterboard and cortex signs – but slightly curiously when you compare them to the electoral register, residents there you will find none.  Now what I am referring to is of course the age old power of the Trade Unions.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no union basher – when it comes to staff and workers right, on pensions, on health and safety and working conditions the history of the trade union movement has much to its credit.  But it’s modern and indeed recent historical context of the political engagement of the union movement is less honourable and, I believe, deeply corrosive.

The Hanley branch of the Unite Offices is currently a forest of Labour and Snell Boards, the Communications Workers Union is almost a barricade of Labour monster boards, specific houses around the city have posters clearly supplied by Usdaw – in short, those workers who fund the union, in turn are funding the price of Tristram Hunt’s resignation and resulting by-election.  (And yes, I know about the political level but that levy has not authorised the main high street building locations that are resplendent with posters).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

P-4: David Vigar comes to Stoke-on-Trent

When I was growing up in Lincolnshire one of the great ‘urban myths’ in the school ground was that Jimi Hendrix played Spalding. Only recently did it emerge that in fact this was no myth, but a hard solid evidential truth. On Spring Bank Holiday Monday May 29th 1967 he played at the Buld Auction Sheds. Now it is a matter of some legend as to whether people were there or not.

In fact, given the truths emerging in Stoke-on-Trent I am wondering if Paul Nuttall saw Jimi Hendrix in Spalding back then – I better check his website… (joke)

So why is this important? Well in the folklore of Liberal Democrat by-election campaigns I am going to put my neck on the line. In the way that Leeds Central, West Derbyshire and perhaps cruelly given the geography Newcastle Under Lyme were important.

Leeds Central was lost in 1999 by 2,293 votes and felt painfully close
West Derbyshire was lost in 1986 by just 100 votes
And Newcastle-Under-Lyme in 1988 by a mere 799.

Now in all of these instances the Local Party and in fact the entire Liberal Democrat Party has had to go through a process of mourning and claim that they had the badge of honour – “I was at X election.. we nearly won…” and their eyes sink regretfully. Now please help us make sure that Stoke-on-Trent Central is not on that list of regrets.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

P-5: The oatcake crisis at Stoke-on-Trent Central HQ

Problems often arise with a campaign – and today was one of those days when problems came in threes.

1. We ran out of delivery and residents and deliverers complained that we were doing some houses for the second and third time.
2. We ran out of canvassing that we had prepared and printed and ready and now have a data backlog
3. We ran out of bacon, cheese and tomoatoe to go with the oatcakes… yes really.
Given we need to be ready for the rest of the day and tomorrow and the final weekend I can’t talk for long and need to crack on.  The campaign HQ is at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheaf Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4LW and is open from 10 am – 9 pm daily.  You know where to come… I will leave it there.
Ed
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

P-6 Why Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham matter to Stoke-on-Trent.

In the world of politics “one more heave” has all the images of failure. It conjures up the notion that if you keep trying you succeed eventually thus creating the cycle of failure, by always trying again.

So in that sense, I have changed my own personal politics over time to ensure that every election is specific and that I get something out of it regardless of the result. Indeed, when I mentor candidates I often tell them “that you learn much more when you lose than if you win”. This has the added advantage for me as a Liberal Democrat of being involved in a range of elections and constantly learning.

But if you were in politics solely to win votes, then look elsewhere and outside the liberal family. I realise now, reflecting on nearly 30 years of political activism that many of the things I have achieved have been significant but have not come through a ballot box victory. Many of the ideas I have espoused have been taken up by others, sometimes of other political traditions, and implemented albeit differently. In this respect, I have regarded my politics as fruitful and I reflect positively. So I didn’t ever regard it as one more heave. I regard it as a long term commitment to the values I treasure and hold dear.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

P-7: The final week: Etruria railway station is a joke

I’m departing Derby and calling at Peartree, Tutbury and Hatton, Uttoxeter, Blythe Bridge, Longton, Stoke on Trent Longport, Kidsgrove, Alsager, Crewe… no more will I call at Etruria Station on the slow train… (to recall Flanders and Swann).

Ah the nostalgia of going back to a place you know and love is that everything has changed and nothing is different. But as I sit on my train to Stoke-on-Trent (the train signal board cited above doesn’t have hyphens!) I reflect that Etruria railway station has closed since I was there.

Now in most by-elections, there comes a point when you campaign, know that you might win, that it is going well. Back in February 1998 (literally 19 years ago this week) we were canvassing in Etruria, Garner Street I think, and a resident came out, pledged their support to us and said “Etruria Railway Station is a joke”.  The student activist who was canvassing (a very young Russell Eagling) came bouncing back to the campaign to announce were going to win for those very words “Etruria Railway Station is a joke” was the headline on our recent leaflet in that area.

Since then Etruria Railway Station has had a special place in our election story banter, and it has become synonymous with the notion that when the voters quote your leaflets back at you – then you know you are cutting through.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments
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