May 3rd Local Elections

This is a bit late but then again I’m kind of unwell right now so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. My blog, my rules.

I stood as a candidate for the Green Party for the first time ever this year in the Lozells & East Handsworth ward. It’s a very safe Labour seat so I wasn’t expecting to win, but I feel it’s important that the party is there and available so people can have some element of choice. I came third, beating the Liberal Democrats and coming in 125 votes behind the Tories – Labour won by a massive margin but I’m just happy to have taken part. I’m also really happy to see how well the Green Party has done in the West Midlands. A year ago we had 3 councillors on 3 councils. Now we have 12 councillors on 7 councils! We’ve gained in Nuneaton, Dudley, Chelmsley Wood and Worcester. I’m so proud to be a part of it.

My local ward, a old Tory safe zone, is now controlled by Labour as is the city of Birmingham. We’ve been struggling under the weight of a nasty ConDem coalition for 8 years and they’ve finally been booted out. I’m not getting too enthusiastic about things changing under Labour but I am hoping things won’t continue to get worse.

The ConDems have destroyed social care in Birmingham and it desperately needs salvaging. After one wave of huge cuts which was followed up by the decision to only award support to those assessed as having ‘super critical‘ needs they got hit by legal action and it looked like things would get a bit better. Then in February this year they announced a further £62m in cuts, £30m from adults & communities (which deals with all disabled people over 18) and £22.5m from children, young people & families. The latter cuts coming only a few short years after the tragic death of Khyra Ishaq because, in part, of the poor state of children’s social services in the city. Why these cuts? When the deputy leader, Lib Dem Paul Tisley, was asked why they had cut these areas and not others he explained they had “…sought to identify the things that people value the most.” Implying that supporting and safeguarding the vulnerable was not high on their list of priorities. This is one of many reasons I am extremely glad these people are no longer in power.

Birmingham also voted ‘No’ to having a elected Mayor. Whilst I’m happy we aren’t getting one (I feel it undermines the council and places a lot of power in one person) I’m disappointed in the lack of information given out to residents. I think democracy only works when people are able to make an informed choice and given the lack of information provided it was impossible for many to do that.

Regardless, I feel more positive going forwards. Cameron & Clegg have been given a kicking which will hopefully make them realise that the country won’t stand idly by whilst they treat us like fools.

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