P-14: Stoke-on-Trent Central will count the votes in two weeks’ time

Two weeks today the staff at Stoke-on-Trent City Council will be preparing to gather in the ballot boxes and count the votes that have been cast for each of the candidates. The simple truth is no-one knows what the result is, nor where the candidates will come, nor the number of votes cast. All we can do is assess what has gone before, run the campaign we want to run and seek to get out our supporters out on the day and ask them to vote for Dr Zulfiqar Ali.

Lots of people sit behind their keyboard and make bold  assertions as to what will and won’t happen – and to an extent that is what I am doing now. But I am at least doing that whilst being in Stoke-on-Trent, having lived in Stoke-on-Trent and yes having been elected as a City Councillor in Stoke-on-Trent.

So to those of you making predictions – perhaps you might bolster the information and sources available to you by coming up to Stoke-on-Trent, delivering some leaflets, talking to some voters, seeing the streets and the shops and assessing the situation on the ground. If you did that then you will see the unswept streets, the dumped rubbish in the alley sways, the derelict sites and the closed up shops. Now it’s not all gloom for you will also see the new larger terraces houses that have, in places, replaced the old tight workers’ cottage. You will see the new bus station, the football ground, the semi-pedestrianised Piccadilly and more. But in many respects these are trophy projects and much of the real change and investment in Stoke-on-Trent has come from the educational investment provided by Staffordshire and Keele universities, by Stoke-on-Trent College and more.

So what does this all mean for the election? It means for years Labour have had a grip on this city – electing any person they have put up as the prospective MP regardless. It means that for years Labour have dominated the politics of the council and had their hands on the local levers of power and so should – on paper deliver a Labour win. Yet in recent weeks years the Labour political consensus has fractured and alternatives have developed here and the residents have shown themselves prepared to change their vote.

However, the truth is that over the years no single Party has managed the organisational feat of mounting a City wide challenge. The underlying truth to this is that without the massive funding and support of the differing trade unions across the City, Labour would have collapsed sooner. So when the postal voters cast their vote next Monday 13th February, when the rest of Stoke-on-Trent go to the polls on Thursday 23rd February, there is a real chance they may vote for change.

And my assertion is clear – with the best opportunity ever in front of us, we have a responsibility to match the investment that the Liberal Democrat Party has made and to campaign to elect Dr Zulfiqar Ali as the new MP.  So I have cleared my diary and am out every day supporting Zulfiqar. I may be on my keyboard now, but am checking my theories and assertions by talking to residents, walking the streets and urging others to campaign for change as well. Labour have failed this City. Local people agree. Now we need to make sure that we provide a positive alternative.

So my direct request to you – stop typing and come campaigning. Thank you… and the oatcakes and cheese will be on me…

If you can come, sign up here.

* Ed Fordham is a party member and activist in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

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8 Comments

  • Ed.
    Firstly, Thank you.

    The work that you, Ian and others in the party is above and beyond.

    This election is pivotal for us as a party. We’ve won (and done well) in remain areas, but we can also do well in leave areas.

    Let’s keep Nutella and his mob out!

    Thanks Ed

  • Ian Patterson 9th Feb '17 - 11:04pm

    Breaking: LD gain on Cotswold Council.

  • Ian Patterson 9th Feb '17 - 11:19pm

    Breaking: another gain in North Norfolk.

  • Inspiring stuff Ed, I was at London party HQ tonight with others phoning Lib Dem members to support the campaign. We got a good response … and once they realised the potential we have for a good result … offers of help, donating etc 🙂

  • I was very disappointed to see leaflet talk of being against hard Brexit and that the referendum was not about leaving the single market. Where is the clarity we had in Richmond that Dr Ali would oppose brexit. Where is the call to the remain voter in Stoke Central. It all looks so sad and opportunist.

  • Antony Watts 11th Feb '17 - 9:53am

    My wife said to me last night “I would be willing to go and campaign in Stoke”.

    But how to do that?

    If you write a string article and a cry for help, wouldn’t it be a good idea to tell people how? Where? When? Contact?

  • @Antony Watts: That was a bit sharp, wasn’t it? Every other article on Stoke has had detail of how to sign up which I have now edited in. Simply asking the question would have been just fine.

    http://www.libdems.org.uk/byelections

  • Not sure the “Nutella” reference gets us anywhere.

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