Author Archives: Hina Bokhari

My first 100 days as a Councillor

When I joined the Lib Dems in April 2017, little did I know that a year later I would be the first BAME Lib Dem councillor elected in Merton.

I have many people to thank for my journey, but essentially this happened because I was trusted by my new Lib Dem family to help lead our success in Merton and show our values by the way I serve – which is what I’ve tried to do.

The election campaign was intense and emotional. West Barnes was a top target ward and a lot rested on us winning. But it wasn’t easy. Early on the two sitting Conservatives were still confident, delighting in using social media to patronise and ridicule us. Labour brought out their big guns: the neighbouring MP, local parliamentary candidate, Momentum activists and the Leader of the Council who made our ward his second home. He claimed he would ensure there were no Lib Dems on Merton council. This was a battle!

At times it was nasty. I was shouted at by Labour activists when I talked to residents, and people who declared they would vote for us were heckled in the street.

But our campaigns were local, relevant and consistent. We listened and acted on what we were told, committed to real change, and a fresh start. As candidates we were on the streets nearly every day for nearly 2 years, building on years of work by our sitting and former councillors and others. We were not here just to win, we were here to serve.

By the count I was exhausted, and there were moments I felt we may have lost. By midnight as the votes piled up it was clear it was between us and the Tories. By 4am, a recount. The Tories just couldn’t believe we had beaten all their candidates for the first time in 18 years. But we did! We won all 3 seats in West Barnes and had a real breakthrough with our first wins in Dundonald and Trinity wards too. Our best results ever, with a group of 6 councillors.

My first week in I did as I promised and started to make a difference. I organised an inter-faith Iftar (the meal Muslims have to end the day’s fast) during Ramadan – the first ever organised by Merton Council – for local community and faith groups at our local library. At my first Council meeting I proposed a plan to keep local parks free for a football charity, following a big campaign we had run in the election. Residents came to the meeting and brought banners and posters in support. We lost the motion but the next day we were on the front page of the local paper, and more importantly we’re still fighting!

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 22nd Jan - 8:50am
    Tom Harney, this is no deal. May has just fulfilled the minimum requirements (unspecified in the the only difficult, the Irish question) to enter a...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 22nd Jan - 8:41am
    Tony, I am entirely with Stimpson: Leave "concerns" had nothing to do with EU membership. Therefore, "reforming" the EU (how exactly?) will not alleviate them....
  • User AvatarStimpson 22nd Jan - 8:30am
    The key aims of any elections should be 1) Scrap Brexit. 2) Displace Labour as the official opposition. 3) Oppose vicious nationalism and social conservatism....
  • User AvatarTom Harney 22nd Jan - 8:26am
    I believe that the Prime Minister is being consistent. Her aim has been to get a deal which overcame many of the problems which would...
  • User AvatarStimpson 22nd Jan - 7:53am
    The UK has no business telling the EU to reform. The British public have acted in an utterly offensive way towards the EU by voting...
  • User AvatarStimpson 22nd Jan - 7:50am
    The most liberal countries in the Middle East are Israel and Saudi Arabia. This will not please the extreme left or extreme right - hence...