Sunday, 9 May 2010

Post-election feeback

For those of you who don't already know I was not the successful candidate for Drake Ward, instead current councillor Steve Ricketts was re-elected. I was not shocked with the defeat as it is very difficult, as an independent, to get into politics. What did seem clear is that people were voting with the general election in mind and went for tactical voting rather than voting for the individual they actually wanted to be their councillor.

Before I chat a bit more about Tactical voting I wanted to share a few observations from the count and declaration of votes held at the Plymouth Guildhall. Basically here are my own personal criticisms:

All of those involved with the event were given free parking permits and the car park adjacent to the Theatre Royal car park was closed to the public; what exactly is it about councillors that means they don't have to pay for parking or can't use public transport? Why should the tax payers of Plymouth lose a days parking revenue?

Why were over 75% of successful candidates obese or morbidly obese? What example does this set to the people of Plymouth? Have these overweight politicians read the Governments change for life initiative?

Why is the Guildhall bar still a private tenure? Shouldn't the bar have be run by Plymouth City Council (PCC) for PCC taxpayers? Why are the Guildhall kitchens still out of use so that any major or minor function requires food to be brought in externally limiting the potential use of the building? Why has the newly refurbished guildhall tower not been opened up to the public?

Why did the count need copious amounts of expensive looking floral displays throughout the guildhall that, no doubt, were paid for by taxpayers?

Why is the Guildhall still not properly promoted as a a venue, it is poorly advertised on the internet, overpriced when you consider its lack of facilities and underused because of its limitations. Perhaps PCC should take some ideas from the newly refurbished Devonport Guildhall to see how a building can be fully utilised to offer the best to the community.

Anyway, I digress, back to the results; Tactical voting has also affected the general election with people cowardly voting for Cameron even though they may have actually preferred to see Nick Clegg as leader. What saddens me is that we are now stuck with an almost identical local council as we had before and we still aren't clear as to exactly who is going to govern us nationally either. It seems that already people have forgotten about the MPs expenses scandal; we have seen no criminal action against any accused MP and even in Totnes, where we saw one of the worst examples of abuse of expenses from Anthony Steen, another Conservative was elected in for the area.

In many ways I am relieved that I did not get voted in as I know that although the role of councillor is meant to be part time I, no doubt, would have attempted to change the ward overnight and would have been ploughing in way more hours that I could have coped with. I had been excited at the prospect of tidying up the ward, looking at the idea of introducing gull guards to replace the ridiculous Hessian sacks we have at present. I was even looking into the idea of a new community centre within the ward to provide more opportunities for both old and young.

So now it is back to normality and time to concentrate on both the art of dance; we will be re-applying for Community Interest Status and will be expanding into our current timetable to include some youth classes in conjunction with Neighbourhood policing as well as some specialist classes for voluptuous ladies who want to develop their self confidence and posture whilst toning up and increasing their fitness. The Pole Dance Community also requires my time; we are slowly introducing standards and guidelines into the pole dancing industry to clearly define modern fitness as an amazing way to stay physically and mentally fit..

As for Drake Ward I am afraid I expect to see little change. If our 2 current councillors, Ricketts and Fox, haven't made changes in the past I doubt they will introduce them now. Expect to see the same problems with litter and fly-tipping as we have seen over the last few years, expect the same council decisions to misspend our money and sell of our assets and don't necessarily expect to get a reply to any e-mails you send - I hope that I am proved wrong on this one but doubt that I will be.

Thanks to those of those who did vote for me and who offered me support throughout the election. Thanks again to my husband for being my election agent and to my Mum and Chris for helping me to canvass. Thanks also to David Santillo for offering me support and advice. There is of course one thing I can continue to do to support my ward and that is to continue to frequent the fabulous local real ale houses throughout Greenbank! (see previous posts for a list of pubs and links to their locations). I think I also have every reason to hassle my councillors to do their job properly!

Sam x

p.s. If you do want to know more about what I will be getting up to in the future check out my Herald blog - Pole Star Health Tsar.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Election support.

Since my blog yesterday I have received some more e-mails offering support and assuring me of more votes for May 6th. I also noticed a lovely letter of support in today's Herald from former Independent Candidate David Santillo, click here to read the letter. Thanks to David for the assurance he has provided to all the Independent candidates in this years Plymouth local election. I hope David understands how much his advice, and communication throughout the run up to the election, has been appreciated.. As this is the first time I have stood in an election I have had to learn quickly about the process of standing as well as the regulations and restrictions that accompany the role.

I must thank Mike, Ian and Tamsin from the Plymouth electoral office for putting up with my numerous phone-calls as I have checked out pre-election information and deadlines.

I also want to thank my Husband for acting as my election agent and helping me with my flyers and posters and I must thank my Mum for walking several miles with me during canvassing. Also thanks to friend Chris and his children for also helping me to deliver flyers door to door. Let's hope all our hard work pays off on Thursday and I get the chance to proudly represent Drake Ward and turn it into the beautiful, litter-free ward it deserves to be.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

More updates

I mentioned in  previous blog that a few people I had spoken to wanted to see a list of candidates standing in their area; click here for a full list of Plymouth local election candidates courtesy of the Herald.

I have just done another few hours of canvassing and seem to have picked a day when nearly everyone is out although I have met some very lovely cats! I did manage to speak to a couple of local residents who have indicated that they are going to vote for me so the walk was not completely wasted. I am shocked again by the amount of rubbish in and around local properties, some streets in Greenbank look so messy it is shameful. As a Greenbank resident I don't mind picking up the odd bit of rubbish but I do get frustrated with the amount of fly-tipping that seems to go on in the area as well as the overflowing bins I see daily. The bins at the junction of Mount Street and Armada Street have been left uncollected for over a week now and the seagulls have already started to attack the clear plastic P.C.C. bags so no doubt there will soon be rubbish strewn all over the place.

With less than a week till the election I feel confident that I have done most of work that I wanted to make my election campaign successful. I will be rounding my election campaign up on Wednesday night with a tour of a couple of the local pubs within Greenbank and any of you are welcome to join me, the aim is to have a last minute chat with local residents as well as supporting the great local, friendly pubs within the Ward. I will be commencing proceedings at the Hill Park Inn at 7.30pm then going to the Clifton for 8.15pm, the Providence for 8.45pm, the Friendship for 9.30pm and then finishing off in the Seymour Arms at 10pm (times are approximate).

Please be advised that this is not a pub crawl as such - sensible drinkers only please!! If you happen to be a fan of real ale then you can be assured that all the aforementioned pubs have an impressive selection of ales between them. (f you want to know more about real ale just visit the Camra website.)

By the end of Thursday al the votes will have been cast but we will have to wait until Friday for the results as the parliamentary count takes place first.

If any of you have any questions for me prior to the elections feel free to e-mail me

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Re-opening of Devonport Guildhall

Please feel free to read my previous posts or click here to read my personal blog about my visit to the grand re-opening of the Devonport Guildhall last night.

More news to follow very soon.