A tale of two phone numbers

I often read the comments on the thisislancashire.co.uk website. I’ll be honest, I’m fairly new to all this politics business and I don’t pretend to know everything about it but what I do know is what I think would work for Blackburn. I am Blackburn born and bred, but now I do live in Darwen (simply due to the cheaper house prices and the nightlife).

My first encounter with Jack Straw was at a residents meeting which my Mum dragged me along to (literally dragged, it was on a Friday night – I mean who organises these things?!).  Once I was there I actually got quite into it.  A discussion very close to my heart came up (thanks to my Mum) – youths.  At this point I was working at a local law firm and knew the youths in the area and often asked them why they committed crimes, or why they thought it was funny to rip someone’s fence down “for a laugh”.  I found myself faced with Jack Straw and various Councillors and an audience and I stood up and said my bit in response to a comment from one of the local residents, “it’s all the parents fault”, something that I feel is not necessarily true.  After a bit of a “heated debate” Jack said to me, “talk to me at the end”, followed by some grey haired man laughing at me and said, “if I knew so much about how to put the local area right why didn’t I get involved”.  I told him why, “because I work full time and have a part time second job at the weekends as I am struggling to pay my mortgage and I am trying to fund my university degree otherwise I would!”  I sat down and my Mum whispered, “You’re in for it now”.

At the end of the meeting I was approached by a really nice lady and man, they introduced themselves (I had no idea who they were) and told me just how impressed they had been and asked for my opinion on various local issues.  This man was Michael Law-Riding, the Tory candidate for Blackburn. Michael told me he’d really like me to help him with his campaign and asked for my phone number and said that he’d definitely be in touch.  I also had a few comments from Councillor’s that where there -the grey haired man who was laughing at me, turns out he’s the leader of the council, Michael Lee, another Tory.  I finished the meeting having a chat with Jack Straw.  I’d never met him before but my grandparents knew him very well when they were alive.  We had a good chat and he also asked me for my contact details.

I don’t judge people by what others tell me, I make my own opinions, same as I think everyone should.  Jack Straw rang me and offered me a job; I’m still waiting for Michael Law-Riding’s call and Michael Lee, you were right, I can’t do anything about my local community and changing it for the better by sitting at home on my computer slagging everyone else telling everyone how wrong they are and how they shouldn’t do things that way.

So I dedicate this blog to the both of you, the two Michaels, because this year I’m standing as the Labour candidate for Livesey with Pleasington, hoping that I will be given the chance to make a difference and starting off with the basics – following through with something I say I’m going to do not just talking about it.  And for those people who chose to comment on the thisislancashire website this is for you – in the words of Michael Lee, “if you think you can do a better job why don’t you stand for council?”

Vote for someone who will actually do what they say they’re going to do! Vote for me on Thursday 6th May 2010.

Do the Tories plan to fund the shires with Blackburn money? My letter to Michael Lee on council funding

Recent comments by Tory front bencher Caroline Spelman don’t bode well for Blackburn with Darwen Council. Here’s my letter to Conservative council leader Michael Lee:

Dear Michael,

Caroline Spelman, Tory Shadow Secretary for Communities and Local Government, is quoted in the Sunday Telegraph (4th April) as complaining that the Government grant to local councils unduly favours town and cities against shire counties and districts.

The argument does not stand up to examination. Are the Tories in favour either of increasing the total grant for councils (in which case where is the money coming from?) or taking it from towns and cities to redress the alleged imbalance?

As you are aware Blackburn and Darwen has benefited greatly from the Government allocation, the second highest in the country, allowing us to address the 18 years of Tory underfunding.

We have benefited from Building Schools for the Future Funding, new build for our hospital, additional money to address the problem of potholes, millions to help tackle the worst housing in the Borough, millions to tackle skills shortage and to address unemployment, millions to help small businesses and millions to address transport issues.

We saw money for concessionary fares being given away to districts and County. Are you in agreement of taking this a step further and supporting a reduction in our grant from Government in favour of districts and County?

Are you, David Foster and Tony Melia in favour of grant and services being cut in Blackburn and Darwen so that money can be re-distributed to shire counties and districts

Do you agree that Blackburn and Darwen should be losing money in this way?

If not will you state publicly that you are opposed to Tory policy of changing the way our town is funded?

Kate Hollern

We’ll be posting his response here as and when we receive it.