Tag Archives: guildford

Thoughts from Guildford

The results of the GE have not been easy to digest. As one of the many target seat candidates who almost made it, the results hold a double dose of sadness. Sadness that in Guildford we came so close yet didn’t succeed this time and also for our nation that it’s ended up with a government so unrepresentative of the values that I still believe it holds at its core – fairness, openness, welcoming of diversity and a desire for integrity in its politicians.

Locally and nationally we will review the election campaign in due course, but I want to share two of my take-aways from this election.

Never underestimate the passion and resilience of Lib Dem campaigners!

In recent years Guildford have struggled to build a team. Yes, we took the leadership of Guildford Borough Council in May but when the election was called my campaign manager and I questioned how we could deliver the scale of campaign needed. Our action days have been poorly attended, our delivery network had shrunk significantly, and the team of active campaigners had shrunk to 10 maybe 15. We couldn’t envisage what happened once the election was announced.

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Who will be fighting Richmond Park and Guildford in a snap General Election?

More selection news from seats the party used to hold comes in as we prepare for a possible snap election.

In Richmond Park, held by Susan Kramer until 2010, Sarah Olney has been selected to fight Zac Goldsmith. From the local Guardian:

Sarah Olney was selected on July 22 as the party believes new Prime Minister Theresa May might consider going to the country before 2020 to take advantage of Labour in-fighting and to precede a possible recession.

Ms Olney, who campaigned for GLA member Caroline Pidgeon during May’s London Assembly elections, said it would be a huge honour to represent the

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Kelly-Marie Blundell on walking the high wire: “It was absolutely terrifying but not so bad after the first fall”

You will be relieved to know that Guildford Liberal Democrat candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell survived her tightrope walk in one piece. She was very brave indeed, getting back on after she fell off. That sort of persistence, courage and determination is definitely what you need in an MP.

The event has been covered in the media, on the BBC’s Election Live page (at 15:26 today):

Kelly-Marie on the High Wire

 

And on the Guildford Dragon:

Guildford’s Lib Dem candidate for Westminster showed her skills at holding the balance of power this morning (April 22) with the help of the Moscow State Circus.

33-year-old Kelly-Marie Blundell’s only previous experience has been walking the political tightrope between left and right.

She said: “I have never even done anything like this before, not even gymnastics.

“It was absolutely terrifying but not so bad after the first fall. Actually, it was easier than I thought.”

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Why Lib Dem Councillor Zoe stood down and what we should learn about our expectations of councillors

Liberal Democrat councillor Zoe Franklin is clearly a talented, caring and committed local servant. Her blog tells us that she’s someone who cares deeply about child poverty, the cost of childcare, and she likes to keep residents informed about what’s happening.  It’s a great shame, then, that she’s standing down as councillor for the Stoke ward in Guildford.

She’s written on the Guildford Dragon about why she’s made the decision not to run again for election. The toll the job takes both personally and financially just got too much. Her story of how she became involved sounds very familiar:

I

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Lib Dem candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell to walk tightrope at Moscow State Circus

Kelly-Marie and friendKelly-Marie Blundell is nothing if not courageous and tenacious. For those of you who don’t know her, she’s our candidate in Guildford, a member of the party’s Federal Policy Committee and prominent member of the Social Liberal Forum. She’s been behind many of the excellent motions on welfare reform and food banks which have been passed at Liberal Democrat conference in the last few years.

She’s leading a lively campaign in Guildford, a seat held between 2001 and 2005 for the party by Sue Doughty. Just the other day, I saw that she was committed to many hustings meetings. But she’s managed to fit in fulfilling a lifelong ambition. Tomorrow morning at 9am, she’ll be doing this:

Clearly we are putting our parliamentary candidates under too much stress if this is what they do for a rest!

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My Guildford campaign photo diary

As the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford, I get to do a range of things, some of them quite remarkable.

Being a candidate is an amazing opportunity, and I’m incredibly grateful to the huge team I have behind me in Guildford; including our Executive and Campaign team, our Councillors, our organiser and a myriad of volunteers.

But there’s some things you just can’t prepare for when you look at standing in a General Election. I doubt any other voluntary role (except maybe a UN ambassador) affords anyone as much fun, strange experiences or feelings of fulfilment.

Here’s some of my campaigning highlights;

Last year, I got to wash a bus. Not just for the photo, although that was useful, I actually found it really fascinating. Who knew washing a bus would be so complicated?

Here I am with Antony Hook (MEP Candidate for South East) and Councillor Julia McShane as we put forward our best brush strokes at  Safeguard’s 40th Anniversary Gala

14.03.29 Bus washing Antony Hook, Kelly-Marie Blundell and Julia McShane

 

The advent of smartphones means there are a range of campaigning experiences caught on camera that just weren’t in 2010 and earlier. In particular, I like the interesting  and beautiful things one finds in the gardens and homes of people you canvass. Here’s a few things, no identification of homes though!

Guildford-20150208-00576

 

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LDVideo: Kelly Marie Blundell on what she’d do as MP for Guildford

kmb-nickbelfitt2Kelly Marie Blundell is one of the Liberal Democrats’ brightest young stars. At every conference, she’s been involved in making policy aimed at protecting the most vulnerable people in our society whether it’s about food banks, the work capability assessment, a fair benefits system or mental health. She’s such a persuasive, compelling, passionate speaker and would be a force to be reckoned with within both a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary group and in Parliament itself. She also has freakishly neat bookshelves.

She’s our candidate for Guildford, a seat that we held between 2001-5 with Sue Doughty. Now the town has the chance to elect another fantastic Liberal Democrat woman.

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If used properly and proportionately, CCTV can be a vital deterrent to criminals

I did intend to write a less controversial article after my previous contribution attracted far more attention and comments than I expected it to. Knowing that what I’m writing about now falls onto a similar strand of sensitivity, I expect I’ll fail miserably.

When I arrived at Surrey in 2002 to study, we were told it was the safest county in the country. Indeed, this was one of the attractions of studying there, as well as the very beautiful and leafy campus in one of the most unspoilt but bustling southern towns in the country. However, …

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YouTube ‘cos we want to: an SDP special

If the SDP had lived on*, 2009 would have marked its 18th** 28th birthday – which spurious segue is all the excuse we need to dust off three video clips tracing its rise and fall.

Let’s begin at the beginning, with the explosion of the ‘Gang of Four’ – Roy, David, Shirley and Bill – onto the scene, here holding their first press conference in March 1981:

For a year or more it really did seem as if the SDP might truly break the mould of British politics. But the party was shattered by the results of the June 1983 general election, winning only six seats. Here’s the start of the BBC’s election night results programme.

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Opinion: Meeting Vince Cable (sort of)

I attended the Guildford Lib Dems Summer Supper last night organised by Sue Doughty the former Guildford MP and PPC and her team. The guest of honour was Vince Cable who has been a frequent visitor to Guildford and supporter of Guildford Lib Dems over the years.

Despite living about 20 miles away, in Sandhurst, I have helped out with canvassing etc. numerous times in Guildford. The incumbent Tory MP only has a majority of a few hundred and it is nice to help out in a constituency where we have a very good chance of taking the seat back …

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Vince to tread the boards

There’s seemingly no end to the Lib Dem deputy leader’s talents – the party’s guest star at Prime Minister’s Questions, appearances on Strictly Come Dancing, and now, to top it all, Our Vince will make his debut appearance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford next month

with a 45-minute talk about the state of the economy, as well as more general musings about his “life and times”. Afterwards, I’m told, the audience will be given the chance to pose direct questions. “It is rather like a reinvention of the public meeting,” explains Conway. “I had thought about approaching

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