Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It has to be Barack

With the endorsement of John Edwards earlier today it surely spells the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign. It has been a fantastic battle and one of the most exciting primary races for a generation, but it's quite clear that Barack Obama will be the Democrat nominee for president.

Hillary will do herself no favours if she stays in beyond the end of the primary season in early June. It is clear that the momentum with super-delegates is with Barack and that he'll soon have enough support to take him over the line. The issues of Michigan and Florida are raised continuously along with their exclusion. It is clear that even if they were included Barack would win, and he wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

However, the one worrying thing about Barrack’s candidature for president is his polling among blue-collar workers. The Democrats need to win over that crucial demographic. What has also concerned me is his failure to really win any of the big states except his home patch of Illinois, it's all very well winning the small states but the big ones is where the vote is come election time.

I started off a Barack supporter and remain one, the next few months will be crucial. The Republicans are so unpopular in the USA that now is never a better change to enact real change in America. However, in John Mc Cain you have a maverick candidate who leans to the left on some issues to the ire of the Conservative wing of the Republicans. He may have difficulty motivating his vote to come out on election day which played such a crucial role for Bush in 2004.

The battle is nearly off, and then it's on to the big one Barack V McCain

New Mayor of Merton

I was elected as Mayor of Merton on Wednesday night and I'll be in for a busy year ahead. The mayor-making ceremony went quite well, though being dressed up in robes is never the most comfortable of experiences. The ceremony in itself is not the easiest but I think I just about managed it on the night. It is a great honour for me to become the new mayor, the youngest to be elected to that position and the first born after 1965. The next year promises to be a busy year ahead but it's a great opportunity and I'm greatly looking forward to it all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ward results for GLA/mayoral election

The results by ward are out for the GLA election. Looking at my own ward of Pollards Hill; Labour were ahead on all three counts in my own ward of Pollards Hill and by a bigger margin then at the 2006 local elections. The results cab accessed on the following link:

Monday, May 05, 2008

Down to the wire

The Premier League is down the wire, with Chelsea winning today at Newcastle it goes down to the final weekend with both teams on the same number of points and possibly the most exciting end since 1989. Although I'm bitterly disappointed at Liverpool losing last week to Chelsea in the Champions League,in this country we possibly have the best teams in the world at present, and this has been replicated through having an English Champions League final for the first time ever.

As for who'll win, my money is on Manchester United to win the Premier League and that Chelsea will get their revenge in the Champions League final.Hopefully next year Liverpool will be challenging for the Premier League, but it will only happen when we clearly the disastrous team of Hicks and Gillett out of the club.

Marks & Spencer opens new store in Colliers Wood

Today, I visited the new Marks and Spencer in Colliers Wood which opened last Thursday. This is actually the first full range Marks and Spencer in London Borough of Merton(we have a Simply Food store in Wimbledon) and the store itself is one of the largest Marks and Spencer in the country. The store adds to the growing retail environment in Colliers Wood, which now seems to have every major chain present in various retail park along with providing hundreds of new jobs to local people. The one downside though, is that it's likely to impact on traffic coming into the area and with free parking provided it's likely to encourage even more car journeys. This will need to be watched carefully, but overall it's a significant boost to retail in the borough and is to be welcomed.

The aftermath of the local elections

Having spent the bank holiday weekend recovering from an arduous election and the shock of seeing Boris win the mayoralty, it has not been the best weekend and along with many on the left it has been a pretty depressing time.

London under Boris means we'll have to face new realities and adapt to new circumstances. The thought of Boris in charge of London doesn't fill me with much confidence and the days of progressive politics in this city are at an end for the moment. I believe that London has a lot to thank Ken Livingstone for; especially the transport improvements; the neighbourhood policing teams and of course London becoming the host city for the 2012 Olympics. Ken, despite his mistakes, had a track record of success. Likewise his policies on affordable housing was something I welcomed as making housing affordable is of vital importance in a city which has some of the highest property prices in the world. One thing I will guarantee, is that Boris Johnson will not have the same commitment to affordable housing. Tory councils across London including Merton will be able to get away with providing low levels of affordable housing.

Despite the success of Boris Johnson, this is still an evenly balanced city. Labour despite the mayoralty saw it votes rise in real and in percentage terms. In losing Ken received more votes then in 2004, sadly more of the suburban Tory area of London voted then the strong Labour areas.

The other disturbing part is the election of the repugnant BNP to the London Assembly, despite their vote only marginally rose from 2000. It was however, enough to see Richard Barnbrook elected along with giving them a platform for their polices of hatred and division.

The rest of the country meant it was not a great night for the Labour Party. Lessons have to be learnt from the result which were poor with a few notable exceptions(Slough, Oxford, Ipswich and Liverpool, spring to mind). As a party we need to have seriously consider how to re-connect. The whole 10p tax issues has not been an unmitageted disaster. What would be disastrous is recriminations, if this happens, we haven't a chance in hell of winning a fourth term. These are difficult times, and lessons need to be learnt. The party does need to be focus more on addressing issues have had an impact on support for Labour. Unlike some in the media, Cameron hasn't got the next election in the bag and the Labour party can recover from its present position.

I also believe that the current economic circumstances will change. People are feeling the pinch at the moment and the economy is going through a rough patch. There is no denying that things are challenging for many people, especially those with mortgages. However, things are in no way comparable to the early nineties with interest rates and unemployment a fraction of what it was under the Tories.

This is not the beginning of the end and we have to remain confident that things will change. Politics has its up and downs, I've had many up's, but sometimes you have your downs, last week was one of those. We lost on Thursday, but we can return to winning ways.