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.

Here the City of Stoke is still regarded by Labour as their personal fiefdom, and people know that Labour expect to win in election after election after election.  But in recent years the political culture has fractured and split and left the way open for alternatives.

Now take a look at your own constituencies and see where we came in 2015.  If you have looked at Stoke-on-Trent Central and seen that we came fourth and think that on paper we can’t win, perhaps we should reassess our strategy.  But I am telling you that we have a chance to do well and to challenge for this seat.

People in this city know that Labour nationally and locally are on the slide. They know Labour are scared of losing.  They know Corbyn is not a credible voice.  They see what Labour have done here.  They know that Labour can lose and people here are so fed up are they that turnout has dropped below 50% in a general election.

So if we Liberal Democrats don’t get up and fight this with every fibre and sinew we have and Labour lose, then I tell you with all candour, there could be a risk of a win by a nasty extreme right win rabble rouser.

The Tories have given up here. Thatcher’s treatment of the Stoke Miners and ongoing disregard for manufacturing, for the pottery and steel industries means this City cannot and will not elect a Tory MP.  So that leaves it to us to stand up and fight and ensure that the far right are beaten and that there is a constructive alternative to Labour.

So, if you look at your own constituency and see where we came at the General Election I think you should come and help.

If we were third or fourth or worse you will want to see the campaign of optimism, of effort and commitment, and if you came first or second in your seat then you will I’m sure come and help cos you know the drill well.

But I say in all honesty and if necessary I will tell everyone personally, this parliamentary seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central can be won by Dr Zulfiqar Ali and the Liberal Democrats on Thursday 23rd February, but it needs you. And it needs you now.

Nominations close on Tuesday, postal votes go the following week, we have thousands of students to get registered, we have terraces a-plenty waiting for you. It is just up to you.  Labour will lose. The Lib Dems can win. Come and help us stop UKIP in their tracks.

You know the drill, just turn up to the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Snow Hill, Shelton Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4LW (just near St Mark’s Church, Shelton) we are open 10am -9pm seven days a week.  We look forward to giving you a warm North Staffordshire welcome.

* 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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  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Jan '17 - 12:56pm

    A very positive message , much welcome !

    Ed, as the other day, and misunderstood , I think, I believe knowledge is power in many instances, like this one and so look to ask and find out when approaching things rather than go in all guns blazing!

    I am initially able to start phone canvassing, something from my own perspective and situation I can make a real contribution too. Is that needed yet ?

    And would you , if at all possible, or other colleagues, mention how Labour have let the area down, extending from my point above, such things when communicated by canvassers, make a difference in my view.

    I like this approach. It seems to be like Howard Deans fifty seat initiative in the US, a statement against so called no go areas.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Jan '17 - 1:08pm

    Well said, Ed! But as most of your arguments also apply to Copeland, where we have a long-standing Labour majority but equally a Labour MP who decided to jump ship, I ask for an immense turn-out of members to help here also. We must not let Theresa May get away with it, as I argued in my article (Maybe not!…), because there are so many good reasons why voters here and in Stoke should vote for us and not for any of the other three parties. But there will be a possibility of a low turnout, unless we can enthuse people enough – and it’s up to us to spread the enthusiasm and commitment that you, Ed and I and Rebecca Hanson and your candidate feel already.

  • Is the HQ at The Wheatsheaf in Sheaf Street, Shelton?

    Postcode? (for satnavs)

  • The only barrier to us having a chance of winning this seat is activists not thinking we can win and not going to help. When we won Manchester Withington in 2005 our biggest challenge was persuading people that all the effort was worthwhile. For every by-election we win, we improve our chances of winning again in our own areas.
    Already feeling guilty that I have not been yet, but this will be rectified very soon, and I intend to bring a car load!

  • Crewegwyn – ST1 4LW ( It’s in the article… 😉 )

  • The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Snow Hill, Shelton Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4LW (just near St Mark’s Church, Shelton) we are open 10am -9pm seven days a week. We look forward to giving you a warm North Staffordshire welcome.

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Jan '17 - 4:26pm

    The first, second and third rule of asking for help is to tell people where to go! I am going to Stoke tomorrow because I have a postcode I can put in my Satnav!

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Jan '17 - 4:27pm

    Sorry! Katharine!

  • Good luck. But how are the Lib Dems going to win over Brexit voting people whilst arguing their votes should be ignored?

  • To David in above comment. Look at recent Council by-elections that we have won with BIG majorities in area that voted leave. People voted leave fro all sorts of reasons, some based on the lies told by leave ie £350m for NHS, 78 million going to migrate here from Turkey ( i traverl to Turkey alot and have had my ear bent by Turkish people saying why was this lie told!! ) Many leave voters did not vote for leaving single market, in fact leave was saying we would stay in!!

  • David, our policy of a referendum on the terms is the best policy for both Leavers and Remainers. If the Govt deliver then the referendum on the terms will sail through. Without it the Govt will not be held to account on their negotiation and will know that they wont be held to account: they will be able to do anything they want to.

  • “how are the Lib Dems going to win over Brexit voting people whilst arguing their votes should be ignored?”

    That’s not what we are arguing. If we wanted to argue that, we would argue that MPs should ignore an advisory referendum and vote according to their consciences and beliefs – which would mean a big Remain majority, since MPs are professional people and the majority of them know how big a disaster Leaving would be.

    But we are not making that argument. Instead we are offering a sensible compromise. That is to accept that the (narrow) result of the referendum should be accepted in that terms for Brexit should be negotiated. Then the people should have the final chance to continue or abort that course of action. As Tony Lloyd says, if Brexit still looks like a good idea to all the people who voted for it, then Brexit will sail through.

    If you are a Brexiter, answer me this. Why don’t you have the courage of your convictions? If you are so confident that the nation will not change its mind, why are you so frit to offer them the chance to do so? Do you want Britain to be forced to leave, even if a massive majority have come to recognise that it would be a mistake?

  • Peter Martin 31st Jan '17 - 10:15pm

    I’ve just checked the betting for Stoke-on-Trent and find that UKIP are odds-on favourites, but that Labour still has a good chance of winning. The Lib Dems and Tories are outsiders with little or no chance.

    So the Lib Dems need to return the favour they received from Labour supporters at Richmond and vote Labour to keep out UKIP.

    That’s the choice. You would prefer a Labour win to a UKIP win, wouldn’t you? Or, maybe you really wouldn’t?

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