Tag Archives: zulfiqar ali

P-10: Legacy campaigning in a by-election

So the final straight approaches and we are looking at our campaign and putting in place the finishing touches and allowing space for some extra elements. We have been often asked by visiting helpers what can they do to make a real difference. So here today for the first time I think i have the answer, which is not as obvious as I expected.

I am a huge believer in having what I call legacy campaigning: that regardless of the electoral outcome that you achieve some positives, some learning, training and apply that to the future.  I spend a lot of time urging new members to attend by-elections, seeing them as training porgrammes, and suggesting that people go with clear objectives of what they can do, might learn and will leave with.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I sit down to do some telephone canvassing on my own it is all too easy to get distracted, to put it off or to make just one or two calls and then do something else. So in place of that setting up a Phone Bank appears to be the solution to my lack of application.

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P-11. It’s Sunday Politics Midlands show live from Staffordshire University

Sunday morning at Staffordshire University on the Leek Road Campus and we getting ready for Sunday Politics Midlands who are hosting a live debate between the five leading candidates in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.  I’m here with Zulfiqar having a coffee before it all commences.

Sitting here in the coffee bar with the other candidates is always slightly curious – I’m trying to think of a witty line about watching the Labour candidate Gareth Snell having make-up applied… but I think I’ll leave that there

So what will Zulfi have to say? I’m pleased to say he’s standing on a strong ticket, he’s calm, he’s genuine and sincere. As a Cardiologist he gives you confidence that he’s in control and in command.

It’s so good having a candidate in whom you have confidence and don’t need to over-worry.  As a classic candidate he can get distracted by the needs of residents (this is good), he tries to do too much in too little time (this is good), and best of all he knows lots of people and gets stopped in the street (this is very good).

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Labour leaflet: It’s a lie to say Labour opposes Brexit

This is a Labour leaflet being delivered in Stoke. Here they are, trying to out-UKIP UKIP.

“Every major party except the Lib Dems are supporting Brexit here in Stoke”

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P-13: Time for another delivery, we think

If the plan was going to work, then it was going to happen sooner rather than later… and sure enough today the first deliverer came back. “I have just had a mouthful from a resident complaining about the number of leaflets from the Liberal Democrats.”

We have we think reached the tipping point of recognition from the electorate.  Dr Zulfiqar Ali is a former City councillor here in Hanley, Etruria and Shelton, he knows the city well and lives in it, and he has a strong and positive recognition amongst voters here.

Now our literature and canvassing campaign has broken through the sea of apathy with politics to gain traction with the voters of of the City.  What we now need is as many of you as possible to take to the telephone and get out on the doorstep and help us deluvery the outstanding result that no one expects. The voters recognise the campaign, recognise Zulfiqar, now we need to secure them to vote for him.

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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.

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P-15: You can make a difference by coming to Stoke-on-Trent

Could we have any more by-elections of late? Witney, Richmond Park, Sleaford & North Hykeham, Copeland and now Stoke-on-Trent Central. It’s certainly fair to say that the range of constituencies and the differing geographical demographics will give a good insight into statistical analysis of political opinion – like an on-going live poll.

But some by-elections perform specific functions, have a bespoke purpose and achieve singular status and significance. In the legend of the by-election wins of the 1990’s Ribble Valley ended the Poll Tax, Eastbourne saw the return of the Liberal Democrats to winning form, Christchurch ended full rate VAT on fuel – the challenge is to make Stoke-on-Trent Central the end of the rise of the far-right in Britain.

Now there are lots of concerns about where the world is heading. Donald Trump, climate change denials, rolling back equalities legislation, the rise of parochial nationalism and the start of overt xenophobia to name a few. I’m sitting in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, helping with the campaign to elect Dr Zulfiqar Ali as the Liberal Democrat MP for the local area.

Now then, Stoke-on-Trent faces many challenges and would massively benefit from having a new, ambitious, capable, hard-working local MP. But our plea is not just for the benefit of Staffordshire – rather this is a real opportunity to end the negative agenda and establish something optimistic, outward looking and liberal.

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P-16: What is Stoke’s daily paper saying about the by-election?

Now there are all sorts of barometers on how to assess what is happening in a by-election and journalists are always on the look out for snappy insights. Today’s journalist visitor to the City asked if Labour were consciously trying to lose the election with their weak and largely invisible campaign? Further, notices are now appearing in house windows refusing, rejecting and requesting no UKIP literature.

This is a City that faces many challenges, but most of all is looking for a party that can actually address and implement a positive industrial strategy. We are very clear that Labour have had their chance in is City for over 70 years and have completely failed. Liberal Democrats, who do not wish to see elected the political rabble that is known as UKIP, have a responsibility to run a vigorous campaign.

That was why Party Leader Tim Farron was at Staffordshire University yesterday urging students to register to vote and ensure that their voices are heard. The coverage on the front and other pages of The Sentinel highlights Dr Zulfiqar Ali’s campaign and concern that Brexit puts the economic future of the University at risk. For the city of Stoke-on-Trent a ‘hard Brexit’ risks the very Potteries themselves, the manufacturing and export industries here and the economic success of Keele and Staffordshire University.

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P-17: Only 16 full days of campaigning left in Stoke-on-Trent Central

After the argument and trauma of the EU Referendum and the sharp division that it has caused amongst Labour and Tory Parties the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election comes at a critical junction.  If the advance of the far-right is stopped here in Stoke-on-Trent it will be because of the campaign lead by Dr Zulfiqar Ali and the Liberal Democrats.So with 16 full days before the final polling day the schedule is going to impossibly tight. 

This article is to give you a short rundown of the plans and the ambition for the next week.  If this week’s programme does not convince you that we are trying to win, then frankly nothing will.

1. TIM FARRON IN TOWN.  Today, Monday 6th Party Leader Tim Farron was in town to support Dr Ali’s campaign.  Tim was on the College Road campus of Staffordshire University to urge students to register to vote.

2. POLLING DAY IS MONDAY 13th FEBRUARY.  Today it is just 7 days before the voters of Stoke-on-Trent Central begin to cast their postal votes and we need your help right now to deliver our bespoke leaflets to those voters on an almost daily basis for this final week campaign.

3. REGISTERING TO VOTE.  Midnight on Tuesday 7th February is the deadline for any resident in the constituency to register to vote in the forthcoming by-election.

4. ASKING FOR A POSTAL VOTE.  5pm on Wednesday 8th February is the deadline for any resident in the constituency to apply for a postal vote. We have a delivery virtually every day to this group of voters.

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Why I’ve left the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election campaign

I’m sitting here in Stoke-on-Trent railway station waiting for a train to London. Yes I’m leaving the by-election – for 36 hours. Handing over the tasks, the jobs, the plans to other people whilst I hold half the information in my mind was pretty mad. And all the people I was dropping things onto, they already have jobs to do. But that’s the nature of the by-election HQ here in Stoke-on-Trent busy busy busy.

However I’m not leaving for a break, or any kind of desire to get away – I’m off to the funeral of a best friend who was untimely killed on his war to work just before Christmas in a car accident at the age of 33. So I’m off for a good old cry and a large number of real deep life-affirming hugs with some very special friends. There won’t be a dry eye in the house. I’m stopping myself from crying as I type this.

So I need another favour from you all. I’m asking you to step up and step in for my absence. We need your help on the street, on the doorsteps and on the phones. Do I matter so much? No! But every person, every delivery, every canvass makes a positive difference to our chances. And my mate, whom I’m off to say goodbye to, was positive if he was nothing else.

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Zulfiqar Ali can win in Stoke-on-Trent but he needs your help!

This week we have had activists in helping from Tunstall, Burslem, Trentham, Chell, Chell Heath, Stoke, Oakhill, Boothen, Fenton, Etruria, Shelton, Longton and as well as all these places from across the City of Stoke-on-Trent we have had a great number from north Staffordshire generally.

And yesterday when at the last minute we issued a plea for clerical help in the office I was grateful for those who came – they have us well on the road with the postal vote mailing, but we need more people urgently.

But in the course of a conversation with one of the activists (their second visit so gold star to them) they whispered “of course a few people think you can’t win and are in fourth place”.  At that moment I could have hugged her and the scales fell from my eyes.

Look round your own town, city, community, village and where you live. Who has been the dominant political party for the last 50 years and have they done a good job?   Here in Stoke it’s Labour and they have failed.  failed the City, failed the people, failed to achieve the positive change that was possible.  This City wants and needs something else.

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Stoke-on-Trent Central is important beyond the Liberal Democrats

It’s gone midnight and I’m sitting here in the Wheatsheaf Hotel, on Snow Hill in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent and I have been worrying about a number of things.

1. How do I get more hours in the day so I can deliver leaflets for longer?

2. How do we build the winning formula to get all our supporters out on the day on what will be a very cold day…

3. What will entice the hundreds and thousands of Liberal Democrats and, critically,  newbies to come and help here in this great and glorious city?

4. And most of all how do we make the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election the most positive and unexpected good news of 2017

I know this City, I love its heritage, I love its story, I love its structure and I love the unexpectedness.  And walking around you see the examples everywhere . Come out of the railway station and see the statue of Josiah Wedgewood, go up Hanley to see statues of Reginald Mitchell and Sir Stanley Matthews, the tributes to the Steel Workers, the Miners, the Potters and you can get lost in the myriad explanations of why Northwood is not Hanley or Birches Head and where Oakhill starts and Boothen ends.

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Dr Zulfiqar Ali’s campaign for Stoke Central gets underway

In the olden days when by-election candidates were selected, there was a press release with lots of biographical information and some lovely quotes from the candidate.

These days, Ed Fordham just tells everyone on Twitter.

I have heard massively good things about Dr Zulfiqar Ali. He’s an NHS consultant who lives in Stoke and fought the seat in 2015.

The Party President was one of the first to congratulate him. …

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Lib Dem PPC resigns over e-mail allegations

David Jack, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North, resigned yesterday after accusations that he sent a racist email to a constituent (but see update below).

David cited professional and personal issues as the reason for his decision to step down, but last night’s Channel 4 News gave details of an email allegedly sent by Mr Jack, which contained racist and abusive language. He has denied sending the email, claiming he was out drinking with friends at the time the email was sent.

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