Posts Tagged Sarah Ludford

Campaigning across the generations

It’s been a madly busy week.

On Saturday we had an action day in Clerkenwell, with dozens of helpers piling in. They got all our leaflets out by lunchtime, and canvassed chunks of the ward too. Meanwhile I stole away to enjoy the launch of Black History Month at St Mary Magdalene Academy. Over lunch I chatted to three generations of women from the Martin family. Originally from the Caribbean, they work as a carer, a civil servant and a special needs teacher: amazing women who contribute a huge amount to our community. There are some fascinating events during the month: I’m looking forward to the talk about the Rev Samuel Ajayi Crowther on 15 October.

On Sunday I was celebrating with a different community as I joined a party of Turkish friends to support Halkevi’s fundraising concert at the Hackney Ocean. Halkevi do fantastic work with the Alevi community of Turkish and Kurdish origin, and it’s no surprise they’ve outgrown their current building. We enjoyed music from singers including Sivan Perwer ‘the Pavarotti of the Middle East’, as well as a (non-singing) appearance from our MEP Sarah Ludford.

It’s Freshers Week, and I dropped in to help out at the LSE Freshers Festival on Tuesday. The whole of the Clement Building on Aldwych, normally full of quiet study rooms, was packed with stalls and students. Outside there were promotions from everyone from Streetcar to the Ministry of Sound. Inside, students collected stickers from each society they wanted to join and then got charged a £1 at checkout; every efficient. On the third floor we were in a room with the other political parties and the Politics Society. The Tories were in suits; Labour in plain sweatshirts and long faces; Lib Dems with yellow bunting, in high spirits. Also in our room, bizarrely, was the Manga Comics Society stall. Surrounded by comics, the guy on the stall was intently reading the FT. Only at LSE!

We had queues of people wanting to join the Lib Dem Soc; good news as LSE has a Hall of Residence in Islington South. Although many are overseas students (one friend swears that LSE stands for Let’s See England) there are enough homegrown voters to give my campaign even more of a boost.

From students to seniors: yesterday the St Luke’s community centre in Finsbury was celebrating Older People’s Day. I’ve got lots of friends there, as I’m a member of the St Luke’s timebank, but I’ve never seen the centre quite so busy. We had everything from massage and health checks to ‘giant knitting’ on huge wooden needles, live music and yet more stalls. Freshers eat your hearts out.

I always love meeting people, but what’s made all the events this week special is the mood of excitement, as people are really interested in my campaign and looking forward to their chance to vote. Earlier this year, there’s no doubt that the expenses scandals had put a lot of decent people off voting. Now the mood has changed again. There’s a real sense since we got back from conference that we are now in the countdown to the General Election. Liberal Democrats have even overtaken Labour in the national opinion polls.

We’ve had teams out door-knocking every day this week, in very different territory, and, as ever, meeting some great people. Like the Asian mum and business woman on an estate in Clerkenwell, the science student recently moved into the Angel, or the cheerful grandmother in Barnsbury, people can’t wait for their chance to vote Lib Dem next time.

Bring it on!

Leave a Comment

Euro elections: Sarah says thankyou

There’s a nice letter from Sarah Ludford in the Tribune, thanking Islington voters for helping re-elect her as London’s Lib Dem MEP.

So far Sarah seems to be the only local MEP to actually bother to thank the voters for electing her!

Leave a Comment

Sarah’s my number 1

On Thursday night I was part of a posse of 16 Lib Dems out canvassing in Islington with our #1 Euro candidate, Sarah Ludford.

Sarah’s not only our MEP but an Islington resident and former local councillor for Clerkenwell, so she was very much on home ground. It was inspiring to see her in action, connecting with the bread & butter issues that people were raising and showing how positive action in Europe could help. The trail of orange posters going up in her wake was very encouraging!

As well as all the campaigners, Sarah had a UK TV crew and an Italian journalist in tow. He told me that earlier in the week he’d been shadowing a Labour candidate, and been met with slammed doors and abuse in the street: none of that for the Lib Dems.

The TV cameraman kept filming the back of our feet as we walked down the street (like those old title scenes for ‘The Bill’) – most unfair: now there’s another bit of the candidate’s wardrobe to worry about. I’m not sure when our heels will hit the screens but when I find out, I’ll post a link.

Meanwhile, I’ve just caught up with Sarah’s appearance on Sunday’s BBC Politics Show (about 30 minutes in) as part of a rather noisy panel of Euro candidates.

I know I’m biased, but Sarah seemed to me to be miles ahead of the others in giving clear and honest answers to the questions rather than launching into a rant. She pointed out, for example, that 2M Brits benefit from being able to live and work elsewhere in the EU; and how she has used EU laws to force our own government to clean up the river Thames.

I’ve already cast my postal vote for the Lib Dems for the Euros, hoping to get not only Sarah but also Jonathan Fryer elected, and the best possible result for the whole Lib Dem team.

If you are still a floating voter, then try VoteMatch to see how the parties meet your priorities.

Comments (1)

Euro elections – don’t forget your vote

The European election campaign is officially underway.

We’re knocking on doors seven days a week in Islington. Voting cards have gone out, and the first election addresses are hitting the door mats. Having worked alongside a hall full of Lib Dem activists over a very long weekend sticking and stuffing thousands of the things, I thought I’d be happy never to see another one of our election leaflets. But actually it was really good to see it arrive – proof that our hard work had paid off.

Of course if you look at the headlines you’d be forgiven for not knowing the Euro elections are happening. The revelations about MPs expenses – which have now got well into the ‘couldn’t make it up’ category – have knocked other politics out of the news.

People are right to be angry about the expenses scandals. Unlike Emily Thornberry MP, the residents I speak to are angry, not bored. This is an area that needs more scrutiny, not less.

The Euro elections are important. All the big issues that affect us – the economy, climate change, migration, and our rights as citizens and consumers – are better addressed by neighbouring countries working together. There’s a real concern that if ordinary voters are apathetic, extremists will get elected. So it’s important to vote on 4th June. Naturally I’ll be voting Lib Dem to re-elect our excellent MEP Sarah Ludford, the only MEP from Islington, as part of a strong Lib Dem team.

If you’re still a floating voter, then the clever people at VoteMatch have updated their website to help you decide.

Leave a Comment

Clerkenwell action day

We had a great campaign day in Clerkenwell today.

Mind you it started a bit madly. As I was getting ready to leave the flat, I got a casework phone call and ended up making a dash for the bus with a heavy bag of target letters for one of the student halls. So much for the serene image that candidates are supposed to project…

But things got better and better as we went along. Spring weather, a great turnout of activists ranging from our MEP Sarah Ludford to Marisha’s little boy Abrial, meant we got the whole ward delivered in a day: and time for some surveying too.

Great value lunch at the Union Tavern (corner of Lloyd Baker Street and Kings Cross Road) – £8 a head for a full lunch, and they were very accomodating to a dozen hungry Lib Dems.

Basements in this part of Clerkenwell used to flood regularly with water from the Fleet and its underground tributaries. There’s actually a drain cover in the middle of Lloyd Baker Street where you can hear the river running by. When the first digging for the Metropolitan line cutting was done about 150 years ago, the engineers tried to block off the river with disastrous results – filthy water erupted all over the neighbourhood. Thankfully despite all the railway works around Farringdon, we don’t have quite such dramas today.

After lunch we went surveying. My team was on the Peabody estate off Clerkenwell Close – honey coloured brick outside, pristine walls inside, and very friendly residents. There’s a lot of respect for the hard work of Lib Dem councillors over the years – and a lot of anger and disappointment with Labour.

I was shocked to hear from one woman who works with the family courts that Labour has increased the court fees for care proceedings from around £150 to around £4000! All added expense for hard-pressed social services departments, and the opposite of investing in children’s services.

Peabody built some of the first and best social housing in London – but they predate lifts, so it was good afternoon exercise. (I’m relieved we could use the lift up Michael Cliffe House’s 23 floors earlier today. Walking down delivering is one thing, walking up is another). The warm welcome at the top of the stairs made the climb in each block worthwhile. Although we were glad of a sit down with tea and cake back at HQ.

Then it was time to go – not forgetting my bag of student letters. Luckily the hall is opposite the bus stop for my trip home.

So feet up tonight? Well, briefly. I’ve had some more tea and a quick shower; the green jacket has been swapped for a little black dress, and now I’m about to cram my tired feet into heels to go off to the Londra Gazette Ball….

Leave a Comment

What has Europe done for us? #1

Last year I wrote a couple of Guardian items, arguing for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

Not a stereotypical Lib Dem position, I know. So let me make it clear, I’d vote yes, and campaign for others to do the same. Europe has brought us peace and prosperity, and is the best way to tackle cross-border problems like pollution, climate change and organised crime.

London’s Lib Dem Euro candidates, led by Sarah Ludford and Jonathan Fryer, are all about making Europe work for us and for the values we share: a fair, free and greener society. And they’ll be getting my vote in the Euro elections this June.

But I think British citizens should have a say on Euro membership; I’ve had the vote for 25 years, and I’ve never had a vote on Europe. No-one under 50 has – in Britain at least.

The Euro-elections mean there’ll be plenty of debate about Europe: even though MEPs are not actually the people who can decide on the UK’s EU membership. And no doubt the Euro-sceptics will be rolling out all their favourite anti arguments and myths.

So it seems a good time to list a few of the good things we Brits have got out of Europe. And why, in my view, we’d be crazy to say no to Europe, even if we get the chance.

For example: the European Commission has earmarked €3.5 billion to construct new gas pipelines and electricity networks. These will link up member states and help it easier for us all to avoid possible future crises from being over-dependent on Russian gas supplies. This is combined with more work on devellping offshore wind projects and carbon-capture facilities; by working together we can get more of Europe’s energy from renewable sources.

Leave a Comment

Sarah Ludford recognised for human rights work

London Lib Dem MEP Sarah Ludford has won a ‘Big Brother’ award from Privacy International for her work as Vice-Chair of the EU Human Rights Committee.

Comments (1)

Older Posts »