P-12: Thanks to all those helping in Stoke who are not yet Liberal Democrats

So the weekend is always busy – but right now it’s like a gathering of the clans. People coming in from across the country to help the Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Zulfiqar Ali. Now I have done a lot of campaigns and by-elections and seen a fair range of Liberal Democrats. But today has surprised and impressed me…

People are turning up to help Dr Zulfiqar Ali who have never been involved in Party politics – when asked they are desperate to stop the rise of UKIP, against the rise of the far right, against hatred and against fear. These are predominantly young people, they are angry at the way their country is going and they want want a new direction that is positive and inclusive and welcoming.

In addition we have regular hardened party activists who know and understand what is at stake in this election. They know that the harder you work, the better your vote will be. Now the politics of Stoke-on-Trent is unlike many other cities – people have backed opposition groups in the hope of change and been disappointed. In addition they have seen Labour parachute in candidate after Labour candidate to be their MPs. Now this is not a plea for pure localism – Stoke has a proud history of welcoming people from different communities – but occasionally it would be good to have someone who has made Stoke their home before they were elected.

One helper today was talking of his time working at Shelton Bar Steelworks – there Ukrainians and Poles worked decades ago long before the concerns of today’s migration debate. In addition he spoke of the Chapels of Hanley that laid on services in Welsh for the miners who worked the pits and mines. So what do all these stories mean, why do I repeat them? Because this city is not a city of division, it is not a city of hate. This is a city of welcome, of inclusion, of positivity and of the future.

So for these reasons and more it is critical that we work to reject UKIP and stand up as a progressive party, against hatred, against division, against isolation.

So for these reasons and more, thank you to those who came, liberals, democrats, liberal democrats, anti-fascist campaigners and more – thank you all again.

Please come back and help Dr Zulfiqar Ali in his campaign and the voters will make their choice based on a positive alternative.

* Ed Fordham is a councillor on Chesterfield Borough Council and runs Brockwell Books of Chesterfield, selling many thanks, not least ephemera he bought from Liber Books over the last 25 years.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • nigel hunter 11th Feb '17 - 8:37pm

    It has come to my notice that some of the polls organizers are involved with Conservative supporters ie Ashcroft, Shakespeare and Zahawi. As such can these polls be trusted to give an accurate picture of Conservative support? Mike Smithson mentions ‘If the Tories do not win easily in Copeland it will raise questions about their current huge national poll standing’Whilst he was talking about somewhere else it is still relevant to Stoke. Words are a powerful tool when used by experts to give the result you want rather the accurate result. To me I would say the only Poll that matters is on the day That is why the effort put in on the ground by us to win the voters hearts and minds is paramount to win the day in BOTH constituencies.

  • On Friday I submitted an article on the numbers in Stoke Central but it was rejected. I had suggested that with enough people helping we might find nearly 15,500 people who would say they might vote for us. I also suggested that a possible result might be Labour on about 9,000, UKIP on about 8,000 and us on about 10,000. This did not take into account a much reduced turnout. With a turnout of about 33.3% Labour might get 6000 votes, UKIP 5300 and us 6700, which is just below our highest number of votes in 2010 of 7039.

    It would be great to receive an email a couple of days before the by-election from HQ telling us how many people we have on our “shuttleworths” to encourage us with the knowledge that there are more than enough there for us to win this by-election.

  • I have been energised and filled with admiration for the way you’ve updated us and encouraged us to be a part of the events in Stoke Ed. Even if unable to make Stoke, it will bolster determination for many to well in local elections that fast approach.
    Your comments about Stone’s history in welcoming immigrants echoes my thoughts on the UK nationally. Tapping in to this history is no bad thing.

  • Leekliberal 12th Feb '17 - 7:28pm

    I can remember when in a Parliamentary by-election in 1986 the Liberal candidate came within 800 votes of winning the neighbouring seat of Newcastle-under-Lyme which had been held by Labour since 1929. It’s not that often that an individual activist can make a difference but the number of our near-misses should tell us to put in that extra canvassing/leafleting session. Even if we don’t win it would be sooooo nice if we could beat UKIP into 3rd place!

  • Leek Liberal: we will win. I remember Newcastle under Lyme 1986, early morning leaflet in the sunshine etc etc for one. If I recall we actually won on the day, but lost because of the Labour postal vote machine. Lesson there.

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