I know they are not every one's favourite words but "mission accomplished" seems quite appropriate. Last Thursday was quite a day. We won the seats in Longbridge and Weoley, we know there were also 4 more gains but these were our own special targets.
We were really pleased for Eddie Freeman as he, Adrian Delaney and Peter Douglas-Osborn had worked like Trojans to unseat Jan Drinkwater. She was quite ungracious in defeat, making a remark along the lines of " I shall be watching to see you look after the community, not just yourselves". Why can't she see that this kind of poisonous and malicious attitude is the reason they have been so determined to get rid of her? Why do the socialists think that they and only they have the good of the community at heart? Perhaps when reality strikes and they start to understand how despised they are across the country then a small shard of contrition will enter their hearts and they can find the humility to admit that they got it wrong. Don't hold your breath.
Here in Longbridge we had an equally tough and, towards the end, a quite disgraceful personal attack on Ken Wood. You may remember our opponent using the BNP to strengthen his campaign. He also put out 2 quick leaflets claiming that Ken was unsuitable to be a Councillor because he is also PPC for Wolverhampton SE. He also alleged that being a first time Councillor would make Ken unacceptable along with several similar absurd attacks. As we have stated previously Labour always get vicious when they are running scared, we continue to find it strange that we were once called the nasty party. If you want to see nastiness, viciousness and a rat in a corner mentality watch a socialist under threat. The Longbridge/Wolverhampton thing even got into the Mail on the Wednesday evening, trust the Birmingham Mirror, sorry, Mail to back Labour up even when no-one else will touch them with a barge-pole. We also saw the attack on Len Gregory and Alan Rudge over bin bag clear ups during the strike. Disgraceful!
Up on Frankley things got even worse. When we talk about the elections for the parish council we are referring to the candidates and NOT the PC itself. When we found out about the BNP putting up 3 candidates we both went to the office and offered help and advice. The help was in the form of a leaflet drop. We were about to put out our election address across the whole of the estate and offered by put out the candidates leaflet at the same time. This was an unconditional offer, we expected nothing in return and did not ask for anyone to help us on a quid-per-quo basis. We have a policy when it comes to the BNP, we ignore them. We do not mention them in our leaflets as we believe it gives them publicity. We also had our fingers burned some years ago when we put out a leaflet urging people not to turn to them. The Birmingham Post got 3 headlines out of it calling us racists and our sensitive local mp raised it in the house of commons. He was swatted down by the speaker very quickly. So, we put our own policies and record to the voters and rely on this to get us through. It seems to be working as we have now won 4 elections in a row if you count the all-out in 04. We count it because it gave us the foot in the door and the opportunity to take the 2nd seat in 06, I think we all know what an immense impact Sue has had since her election. To get back to Frankley. We were contacted by Mr Bedser and asked to put our names to a joint letter calling on people to reject the BNP. We ignored this, firstly for the reasons already stated but also because we believed that this could appear to be an endorsement of Mr Bedser and would undermine our campaign to unseat him.
The next thing we saw was a letter to the people of Frankley from Ross Kemp railing against the BNP. At least this did not claim that only Labour could keep them out so we had no problem with it. There then followed a flood of literature, a leaflet called the Patriot, 2 leaflets from the candidates and some more leaflets from Mr Bedser criticising Ken Wood. There was also the Labour Election address with the red, white and blue banner at the top. It transpired that some of the "Independent" candidates were putting out Labour leaflets as well as their own. There was also at least one instance of other candidates being given Labour leaflets and being told to get them out. I am pleased to report that a lot of these were thrown away, even though Mr Bedser believed that they had gone out. As it was all this effort proved to be unnecessary, the BNP vote was down by about 200 across the ward and hardly made a dent in the PC Elections. Some might conjecture that it was all about the Labour vote more than anything else and we wonder if on reflection some people on Frankley may be feeling slightly used.
Thursday night/Friday morning was a joyous occasion for us and we went to the Council House in high spirits, even more so as the results kept coming in. The verdict from Stockland Green and then Oscott was a real bonus and adds to the weakening effect on the Labour team as they have lost some big names. It was a pity Gary Sambrook fell just short in Kingstanding but he will make it.
Just as an aside Keith saw Neill Elkes at the Council House on Election night. He is the reporter who ran the story about Ken on Wednesday evening. Keith thanked him for the terrific publicity he had given us. Gobsmacked or what?
The following night Ken and Barbara, Sue and Keith were at an Italian restaurant enjoying a celebration meal when we heard about Boris winning in London. Everything tasted marvellous.
On Saturday we took the campervan down to Stourport for a few days but it is now back to the grindstone. Today Sue was at a Fostering Panel. She has still got her arm in plaster so has to take taxis, Keith went to a Sub-group meeting for South-west Birmingham Community Association and we both have meetings tomorrow. Thursday evening will see all 3 of us together for the first time at a meeting of the Longbridge Consultative Group.
Sorry that this epistle is so long but there was a lot to say. Normal service will be resumed from now on.
Just one upcoming fixture. We will be at St. Andrews on Sunday when Sue will help present a cheque for £25000 to the community unit for the Kickz project. Keith will be wondering if he will see Birmingham's second club be relegated for the, how many times is this now?