Congratulations Commissioner Charles!

Friday saw Derbyshire Labour’s Alan Charles elected as the first Police And Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.

I would like to reiterate my sincere congratulations to him and his team on their victory, and equally the victory for the people of Derbyshire:- with their police service now safeguarded from the threat of privatisation.
I also know that in Alan we have a vociferous champion for public services in this county, who will fight the proposed reckless government cuts of 20%.

Alan gained 44.3% of electors first preference votes and 61.1% once second preferences has been share between himself and the Tory candidate Simon Spencer. See full results below:

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Election 2012 Results

Although Alan received this majority, this was on an official turnout of just 14.75% which is extremely disappointing – especially in a mature democracy such as ours.

So where does blame lie for this?  Squarely at the desks of Theresa May and David Cameron!

In the run-up to this PCC election – which cost £1 million here in Derbyshire alone – the government was rightly criticised for not doing enough to publicise these election and for virtually guaranteeing a low turnout by holding ballots in the cold and dark month of November. This, despite stating they wanted independent candidates to have a fighting chance. And worst of all has been its proven incompetence, at best, and maladministration, at worst, epitomised by the £350,000 spent printing Welsh ballot papers in English rather than both English and Welsh.

This costly and extremely flawed flagship policy is a further example of Cameron’s maxim for all government policy:

Insufficiently funded, incompetently executed and unpopular with voters.

So here’s wishing Alan and all his fellow Commissioners the best of luck in protecting our communities from crime, and from the long cutting tentacles of the Coalition Government.

Vote ALAN CHARLES tomorrow!

Cllr Dave Wilcox, Maggie and I with Alan Charles campaigning outside Glossop Market Arcades

Tomorrow sees polls open for people to vote for Derbyshire first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Whether you agree with the creation of these posts or not, this flawed election is very important. All who have the opportunity to vote should do so.

The Labour Party must rightly contest these elections; the alternative would be to let the Tories push forward with their plan for massive private contracts for important public policing including neighbourhood patrols – that’s despite the G4S  debacle this summer.

In Alan Charles we have a fantastic candidate. He has pledged to :

  • Fight against Cameron’s 20% cut to Derbyshire’s Police budget and protect local people
  • Keep Policing Public in Derbyshire – No G4S type privatisation here
  • Maintain Community Policing across Derbyshire
  • Protect vulnerable people and take seriously the blight of Domestic Abuse
  • Make sure Derbyshire residents see value for money in their Police Service

Polling station are open across Glossopdale from 7am to 10pm.
So please take take 5 minutes out of your day to vote ALAN CHARLES for Derbyshire PCC!

Youth and Experience: A winning package

As previously mentioned the new Glossop and Charlesworth Division is a two-member ward. This mean that the Labour Party will be fielding two candidates; and I am delighted to be able to tell you that our other candidate will be Maggie Mooney.

Damien and Maggie at this years Party Conference

Maggie was born in Stockport, the daughter of a railwayman.  She became a social worker, moved into adult education and held senior posts in Bournemouth and Halton Councils before becoming Chief Executive of Carlisle City Council in 2005.  Maggie retired last year and moved back to Glossopdale with her husband Brian. She has been enjoying not being in a politically restricted position and has been very active in local groups and the Party.

I’m  thoroughly looking forward to the next few months on the campaign with her.

Selection, the return of…

Labour Party members from across the Glossopdale gathered together at a hustings event at Glossop Labour Club last night to put the candidates shortlisted for the county council selection to one final test before picking a new candidate.

I am happy to be able to report that at that meeting I was selected, with more than two-thirds of the vote, as the second of two of Glossopdale Labour’s prospective candidates for the Glossop and Charlesworth county council seat in the 2013 elections, joining the wonderful Maggie Mooney. A team that will offer the right mix of youth and experience.

I am delighted to have been selected – it’s a huge honour and privilege, but now the work really starts to make sure that we win  this seat for Labour to return fairness to County Hall with a Labour Administration in May 2013.

I would just like to thank those that came and caste their vote on such a cold and wet Friday evening, those that sent messages of support in advance and afterwards, Anthony McKeown – the procedural secretary – for his organisation of it and of course Roger Wilkinson for his friendly competition.

Smiles all round: Damien after the vote with Derbyshire County Party Secretary Joe Murphy (L) and County Councillor Dave Wilcox (R)

County Boundary Review

Today has seen the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) publish its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Derbyshire County Council.

Today’s publication follows a ten week public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each electoral division in Derbyshire.

The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Derbyshire’s 64 county councillors should represent 58 single-member divisions and three two-member divisions.

Please find a copy of the report hereYou’ll find the bit relating to Glossop on page 18.

These new divisions will be the ones that Glossopdale Labour will be contesting in the May 2013 county council elections.

What does this mean for Glossopdale?

The headline is that will now only two divisions Glossopdale rather than the three we had previously.

These are:

  1. Etherow [1 Councillor] – includes Gamesley, Hadfield and Tintwistle.

This remains largely unchanged from the last election.

  1. Glossop & Charlesworth [2 Councillors] includes Howard Town, Simmondley, Whitfield, Dinting, Charlesworth, Chisworth, Old Glossop and Padfield.

This is where the largest change has happened. The current divisions of Glossop South and Glossop North & Rural have been in effect merged in an extremely large division which take in everything not covered in the Etherow division.
This will be a single division but represented by two councillors, marking a change from one-seat division of the past.

A Dickens of an evening

Last night saw Glossopdale Labour host a Dickens themed evening at Glossop Labour Club, in this the bicentennial year of the great British novelist Charles Dickens’ birth.

The evening included a raffle and quiz set by the knowledgeable Kath Holtom – my former secondary school Social Social teacher (and Deputy Head) – with the tour de force being the delicious homemade foods including a veggie stew, a pea and ham soup and homemade breads. The latter made by my mum’s fair hands.

The evening open to members and non-members a like – there were a few of these – was great success. So expect more of these social events in the near future.

A new role

This morning saw the first meeting of the Glossopdale Branch Labour Party (BLP) since the election on 5th May 2011. One of the first items on the agenda was the election of a new Secretary of the Branch Party, a position which I was subsequently elected to. It is the role of Secretary to hold well attended, effective and regular BLP meetings – this is something I look forward to achieving and I would just like to thank the members of the Branch for putting their faith in me, I hope it is something I will be able to return.

The position having become vacant due to the long standing Secretary Cllr Anthony Mckeown standing down on being appointed the Deputy Leader of and Executive Member for Community Services on High Peak Borough Council which will require a lot of his time.

I would like to thank Anthony whole heartedly for his hard work and dedication to the Branch and its members over the ten years he has held the position. In that time he has built up a great bank of knowledge that I will be sure to make use of as I grow into the role.

Despite the impressive gains in Glossopdale, with Labour now holding ten of the fifteen seats in the area there will be many challenges over the next few years for members in Glossopdale and the High Peak. The new Labour minority administration has many difficult decisions to make in the wake of the extremely financial settlement from central government.

We as a Branch will seek to involve, improve and ensure that the services offered by the Council meet the needs of local residents both now and in the future as we seek with your help to be your voice in tough times.

The Red Peaks

We’ve all had some time to digest the results of the 5th May, and what a result – one that turned our streets and hills red. High Peak Labour exceeded are expectations to take 21 seats in the 43 seat council i.e. one short of an overall majority.

How the parties performed in the 2011 election, compared with the previous polls in 2007, in the number of seats won and lost.

In Glossopdale, Labour now holds 10 of the 15 seats in the area thanks to gains in the Old Glossop, Padfield, Tintwistle and Hadfield South wards.

What next
The Labour Group met on Sunday morning to make some initial decisions. One of its first decision was to it re-elected Caitlin Bisknell as Leader of the Labour Group and Anthony Mckeown as Deputy Leader. The Group was informed that the Liberal Democrat Group and Independent Group would not stand in the way of Labour becoming the controlling group by forming a minority administration, i.e. they would not to go into a formal coalition or informal agreement with other parties or members.

The group will meet again next Sunday to make some further decisions. Decisions – by election – such as the make-up of the Executive and the Group’s appointees to the Council’s committees and external bodies.

Old Glossop has a new voice!

Well what a brilliant result for Labour, for the residents of Old Glossop and for Garry  Parvin who was returned as one of the Councillors for Old Glossop ward!

Congratulating Garry on his successful election at the count in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens

The people of Old Glossop will now have the strong Labour voice in the Council – in which Labour is the controlling group – as we promised and will have in Garry (finally!) a fantastic and hard-working ward councillor.

The numbers
As you can see from the table below the election was closely contested with only 34 votes between gaining both the seats and the incumbent Chris Webster remaining in the place.