Rothwell Councillor David Nagle the latest Elmet and Rothwell member to endorse Karen. David is a Garforth and Swillington member and former chair of Swillington parish council. Until this year he was also the long-standing treasurer of Elmet and Rothwell constituency Labour Party. David said:
“I have know Karen for many years, both as a councillor and as a friend. I have always respected her and I am happy to endorse Karen as parliamentary candidate for Elmet and Rothwell. Karen will do a great job, I am certain as our next MP.”
“Good luck Karen. You have done so much in Rothwell, especially supporting local groups and organisations. Look forward to your first Prime Minister’s questions”
We’re working with Peter to help make Rothwell the first Dementia friendly place in Leeds and want local businesses and service providers to sign up to learn how to be more supportive to people with dementia.
I’m at the full meeting of Leeds City Council. My new ward colleague David Nagle has just given his maiden speech about our fight to save the allotments in Rothwell.
I spoke on setting up the Rothwell Town Forum and this is gist of what I said:
I was elected last year as a Rothwell councillor and it was obvious to me that the town of Rothwell, like many other areas, is crying out for new life. Some of our shops are struggling and we need more footfall down Commercial Street. I’m passionate about helping to do this. Which is why I called a public meeting to start a Rothwell Town Forum.
We have a fantastic asset in our town centre with some great individual shops which I totally support, god forbid we should end up with our high streets being full of nothing but identical chain shops replacing our much loved individual local shops and no Olywn Fox providing true local service, but instead only Currys with its know nothing assistants; and no Brew tea rooms, but only Starbucks on every street.
We have to make the most of what we have in Rothwell and not only fight to keep our individuality but help our centre to realise its full potential and draw people here. I want to see us build on the unique character that Rothwell has whilst at the same time bringing it into the 21st century. We need to offer people something which cannot be matched by out of town shopping centres or the internet.
We also have other pockets throughout the district including in Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton with fantastic shops which also have huge potential and also need our support.
There was a huge amount of enthusiasm at the first meeting for the need to do something, despite some of the challenges and setbacks traders have faced in the past. This will only work with the community coming together to help themselves and I’m sure that we can do it.
Some great ideas came out of the meeting like the need for improved signage, a directory and newsletter promoting all local businesses that could be distributed to every house in Rothwell, experimenting with late night opening for one night a week, looking at what could be done to improve the semi-pedestranisation of Commercial Street, how businesses could work together with joint promotions, perhaps creating a ‘Rothwell Pound’ – a special currency that can only be spent in Rothwell, a community notice board and better business support and advice.
And we’ve got our role to play. Keith did a great job chairing the “Commission on the Future of Local Government.” But we’ve got to ensure that it’s more than just words and truly embrace entrepreneurship. Too often our local traders face petty bureaucratic restrictions and as a council we aren’t flexible enough to meet the real needs of people.That has to change. And we here should be that change.
We had a good Rothwell Labour Party meeting this week. We had a lively discussion about what we all thought about recent national issues, including the devastating recent Euro election results, the expenses scandal, ID cards and elected mayors. We also talked about the issues local to us such as the incinerator which is to be built near us, that our MP is retiring, the fact that Oulton residents are feeling the effects of having lost their library, are amongst some of the subjects we got around to discussing.
I’ve been out enjoying the sunshine (and not too much rain) while out on the Euro campaign trail. It’s so important to ensure that we re-elect our Labour MEPs so they can carry on the good work they do for us. Let’s not let them pay for what has been happening in Westminster. The stark reality is that if enough Labour voters stay at home or protest at the Euro elections we could end up with a BNP MEP. After so many brave Britons gave their lives to liberate Europe from fascism it would be a travesty for Yorkshire and the Humber to be represented in Europe by a fascist party. Our Labour MEPs are busy campaigning all across Yorkshire and the Humber and I organised a campaigning session with Richard Corbett MEP in Elmet and Rothwell this week to ensure that our supporters here come out and vote Labour.
Let’s remember that this is a European election (we’re not having local elections this year in Elmet and Rothwell). We should vote for the party which will best represent us in Europe where there are clear policy differences. Let’s not forget that the Tories want to isolate Britain from Europe and have chosen to force their MEPs to sit inside a new European party grouping alongside fringe extremist parties.
It’s a blow that bus company First has axed two Leeds night buses including the 921 Leeds – Swillington, especially as this could compromise public safety. The story is in tonight’s Yorkshire Evening Post. I would have thought that with the recession more people would be in need of public transport. I would be very interested to know how widely the service has been promoted to potential passengers before the axe fell?
When I was a councillor for Garforth and Swillington I always campaigned for improvements to public transport and was pleased to have fought for my constituents best interests for example a Swillington bus re-routed to serve sheltered housing, so older people didn’t have a long walk to get to a bus stop, and getting bus shelters as some of our older folk were being battered by wind, hail and rain.
Many of us feel that Leeds has been getting a raw deal on public transport under the Conservative and Lib Dem Leeds City Council who are not fighting our corner, and this is just another deterioration of our services!
I’m very sorry that our local MP Colin Burgon has decided to stand down and not run at the next general election. As a member of the local party I have received a letter from Colin explaining his decision and expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the local party for the real team effort over many years that saw Colin take the seat for Labour in 1997 and retain it since. There is also an article in tonight’s Yorkshire Evening Post about Colin’s decision to stand down.
Colin has been a hard working MP for local people and one who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. I admire him for both these reasons and thank him for the long service he’s given the local party (26 years) not just his time in office but also including the long hard years leading up to our victory in Elmet. I’ve known and worked with Colin for a lot of years, having lived in Elmet and Rothwell for 17 years and was pleased to be one of the team of local members who have put the work in time and again year in and year out.
I had the privilege to serve as a Leeds City Councillor for the Garforth and Swillington ward for six years from 1998 to 2004 and more recently stood as candidate in the Rothwell ward, and so have worked alongside Colin on many local issues over the years such as fighting opencast mining, campaigning for better road safety and fighting to save two of our police stations from closure.
It‘s just a shame that Colin is going out the way he is. I’m proud that we’ve had a Labour government for the last 12 years and to have helped to be a part of what we have achieved as a party together. Colin’s comments on “New Labour” are unhelpful because it has been our willingness to change and adapt with the times that has allowed us to be able to serve as a party in government. We have an unprecedented third term in office thanks to our modern approach.
Colin is right that the link with the Unions should never be broken and I’m proud of always being a Unison member when I was a local government officer and more recently being a member of the T&G. I also feel strongly that we should never forget our values. The worldwide economic crisis we face is worrying for us all, and no-one is going to solve this overnight. I’d rather place our current economic problems in the hands of a person with the experience of Gordon Brown than a lightweight like David Cameron any day.
If Labour is to win a fourth term It is essential that we win seats like Elmet and Rothwell. I’ll be working hard campaigning to win whoever the candidate to replace Colin Burgon is.