Let’s start a revolution in Linden Lea – 100% voter turnout!

There’s an election on May the 4th. I’m running for Labour at the Linden Lea Dorset County Council division and even with a 100% voter turnout I probably wouldn’t win even if I had run a hard face to face campaign. Some people ask me why I bother standing? We need an opposition to make those in power accountable. If I came within a hundred or so votes in Linden Lea against the incumbent Tory, you never know – they may work harder for their votes next time…

During my movements among people who identify themselves as ‘left wing’ I far too frequently find them non-voters. If the non-voters voted we wouldn’t have this silly Brexit rubbish as the far right dismantle the United Kingdom and destroy our economy. Looking to the US, we wouldn’t have the Toddler In Chief Donald Trump threatening to nuke North Korea, and potentially have a sane and stable president in the White House Instead.

That’s bonkers!

Among all the hand wringing and ‘remoaning’ going on there is a stark fact – that those who didn’t vote are predominantly young and the young predominantly wanted to remain in the European Union. Never mind that far right ogre Nigel Farage – it is the young who didn’t get off their bums to vote that led to this awful crisis we’re facing today. According to the London School of Economics, “those who did not vote were, by a ratio of 2:1, Remain supporters.” In short, yes we would be run by a pig loving old Etonian and his clueless Chancellor today but we wouldn’t be watching the people who dress up in jackboots and leather in the Tory playpen running the joint, with David Cameron walking out of Downing Street.

We are watching the news in South East Asia as the US President Toddler Trump handles nuclear button happy North Korea with all the deftness and diplomacy that my 2 year old daughter does our cat. Yet, again the statistics show that it would likely be President Hillary Clinton at the helm if US voters had bothered to vote on the day. Forbes Magazine stated, “The story of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, then, is not the Trump Movement erupting in the ballots, nor the fable that some “Reagan Democrats” flipped again from Obama to Trump. The story is altogether different, and very simple: the Democratic base did not turn out to vote as it did for Obama. Those sure-Democrats who stayed home handed the election to Trump.”

Some reasons

The US is somewhat different to Brexit. There is definite evidence that the Democrat establishment fixed the Democrat Primaries so Bernie Sanders didn’t get in. Their meddling really alienated many voters and Sanders voters didn’t support Clinton.

The UK is more nuanced and there is an awful lot of history to really do this section justice. I will touch on some of it in broad terms. Firstly, Tony Blair abandoned the left wing of the Labour Party. We can see this in his ignoring the million or so who marched over the Iraq War, and the advent of the middle class champagne socialist. According to a blog in the New Statesman written by Graham Jones MP, “Rather than serving as a vehicle for collective empowerment, the party strayed towards managerialism, centralisation and statism. For some of a younger generation, Blairism changed the path of their lives, giving them university dreams and the belief they could live lives more prosperous than their parents. But, for too many, it left a sense of detachment and disappointment, with leaders and ideas that could never relate to the realities of life.” Many never voted again.

I even hear today some people who say they support Jeremy Corbyn also say that they won’t vote because he won’t get in. Let’s face it, the newspapers and even the BBC hate Corbyn with a passion. They are for the most part run by upper middle class and the top 1% who would stand to lose out from someone genuinely interested in bringing equality back onto the UK political agenda. Given he wants to tax multinationals to the same extent that shopkeepers are and not let them dodge tax, I can’t say I’m surprised as they would have to pay up to £35 billion a year between them. News International is one of those, and the Barclay brothers who own the Telegraph aren’t short of a bob or two. The Guardian? Given its plummeting sales, is it even part of the argument? The Independent has gone out of circulation. The Mirror is owned by City shareholders and thinks being left wing is to be to somewhat to the left of The Sun. The BBC? It used to be a news organisation of standing, once upon a time…

Linden Lea – where a revolution began

TUC bannersIf you read the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs you will see that my division once spawned a national movement that is still extremely powerful today. Due to them, being a member of a Trades Union became legal, and the Trades Union Council was in a large part responsible for the formation of the Labour Party. When you see Jeremy Corbyn in Tolpuddle you will see just how much the man owes to the young farm labourers in that village. It may be argued that because of those farm labourers getting together and asking for collective bargaining from their employer, we have the NHS and Welfare State today where no one should go hungry and the best medical care available is given to everyone, free at the point of demand. These systems are being demolished by right wing haters.

Can we begin a revolution again in Linden Lea? Can everyone of voting age get to the polling booth on May the 4th and vote for the party that represents their views? Could they vote again in 2020 and have a government that represents them in power? It would be no bad thing if we had a 100% voter turnout in each election as you really wouldn’t believe the power of an X in a box. The Tories might be put in their place for good!

Printed by R Shrubb, 4 Bellever Court, Poundbury, DT1 3ST.  Promoted by D Rhodes, on behalf of R Shrubb, both at 5 Old Vicarage Close, Charminster, DT2 9TN.

Linden Lea bus problem?

Empty bus stop

There’s a common misconception that buses really aren’t necessary in rural communities, or so it appears as Dorset County Council routinely slashes bus services around Linden Lea. Looking at Crossways, a very working class community in Linden Lea, we will examine the cuts and show how it impacts us all.

£1.85 million cuts to transport budget

Earlier this year Dorset County Council has said that it is to cut all but two of the bus services it supports around the rural communities, including villages of Linden Lea, the council supposedly serves. Among those services to be slashed is the 101 bus from Crossways to Dorchester.

In a statement the Tory Cabinet member for Transport Peter Finney said, “As agreed by the county council last year, we need to save a further £1.85million from our public and schools transport budget in 2017/18 on top of the £500,000 saved from our subsidised bus routes in 2016/17… Our approach aims to develop a sustainable transport network for Dorset by prioritising the remaining subsidy on routes that serve the most people and contribute the most to Dorset’s economy.”

Very young and very old don’t contribute?

Dawn Badminton-Capps, Bus Users UK Director for England told the Echo: “All councils have a duty under the 1985 Transport Act to provide ‘socially necessary’ buses. These services are a vital lifeline, particularly to vulnerable people.”

As Tories seem to love to do, Finney is hiding behind the figures and ignoring the human cost of the cuts. Young people and old people use buses often because they haven’t driving licenses. Not everyone can afford a chauffeur when the DVLA takes their license away, and kids like their freedom to hang out in town. While poor pensioners and skint teenagers don’t ‘contribute most to Dorset’s economy’ they value their freedom. My stepfather lost his license recently due to a heart condition and my 82 year old Mum was terrified when the DVLA started asking questions about her eyesight. She saw herself permanently stuck in her home.

There is a growing tradition of families moving to the countryside to bring their children up and then children escaping to the cities as they reach a certain age. Many kids view the countryside as ‘boring’ in part because they just can’t access the towns they live near. The result is that communities don’t hang together in the way they used to as young adults of working age leave for good.

Subsidised bus services are there for a reason. They may never be full, yet serve those most in need. This is why we pay our taxes – to look after the vulnerable, young and old.

Contribution ain’t just money

Thatcher once happily claimed that society is dead. That meant that she had killed off the very social fabric that once held us together. This has been borne out in the spike in physical abuse of disabled people, the ‘scrounger stories’ you read in the papers, not to mention the bigotry and racist abuse that has become a real problem in the country.

No matter what the Tories will tell you, there are ways beyond the economic that everyone has to contribute to society. The elderly have wisdom and knowledge. How often does a new mum call their own mother or grandmother for help with their baby? Children who stay in their communities develop deep social networks that serve to help them and their communities. While sometimes village life can be a bit too cosy with everyone knowing everyone else’s business, this can be a good thing too. If someone hasn’t been seen for a while people will notice and check on them. The vulnerable are looked after by their peers.

There are things far more valuable than money in this world, and destroying the infrastructure that helps its very fabric to remain is unacceptable. Many of these cuts come from the top in distant London through this rubbish ‘austerity programme’, and we need to start fighting back.

What you can do in Linden Lea

Vote Richard Shrubb for Linden Lea this May the 4th and you’ll see a vocal opponent against the cuts that are serving to slash the very fabric that holds our society together!