Monday, 13 December 2010


The Tory flagship policy of a 'Big Society' was launched today via Eric Pickles 'Localism Bill' and has set the future agenda with a massive raft of cutbacks the like of which the country hasn't seen in years.

Tory controlled Sedgemoor District Council had been working on a funding gap of £1.4m based on an anticipated cut of 7.25% and will now have to look at further savings as the Government has finally announced cuts to Local Authorities of 9.9% .

Local Labour representatives have attacked the unprecedented harsh cuts of 9.9% .Cllr Kathy Pearce, Leader of Sedgemoor District Labour Group said "This is terrible news which will impact especially on children, families, the elderly, disabled, the homeless and the vulnerable, who will feel the brunt of the loss of many of our public services.

The notion of "the Big Society" is completely disingenuous. The bottom line is that services need to be adequately funded and need trained people to run them. What we will have is a mass collapse of the structures that keep our society functioning".

The Tory/LibDem Coalition Government plans were backed today by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg who said the 'Big Society' was the "same as liberalism" , doubtless compounding the feelings of frustration within his own party which surfaced last week over tuition fees.

Chairman of Sedgemoor District Labour Party , Cllr Brian Smedley, said "Most Libdem voters didn't vote for tuition fees and they didn't vote for this. Waking up in bed with the Tories is causing some pretty bad hangovers!"

"What we've seen so far with the student protests has just been a starter for 10 for the ConDem Coalition. The next front will be opened by the Trades Unions as the cuts hit the workplace and front line services and by the May elections next year people will need to decide which side they're on . When the Tories are in Government theres no room for an indecisive centrist party."

Labour and Tories are today neck and neck in the polls at 40% while the Lib Dems have slumped to an all time low of 8%.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Labour party PARTY...17th December

All members and supporters of the Bridgwater Labour Party are welcome to join us for Christmas celebrations at the Labour Club on FRIDAY 17th DECEMBER. There will be food, drink,music,a quiz, a raffle and an egalitarian redistribution of festive jollity.

Ed Milliband urges MPs to vote against Tuition fees

In a statement from the Labour Party in London, new leader Ed Milliband said " Next Thursday, MPs will vote on the Government's plans to treble Tuition Fees.

I hope that as many MPs as possible will vote against these unnecessary, unfair plans. They are cutting money for university teaching by 80%, much more than other services, and are making graduates pay the whole cost of most degrees. Students will be forced to choose the cheapest course, not what’s best for them - and will be paying back debts for 30 years. The plans are bad for universities and not the road we should be going down. The Labour Party will be voting again the plans. Labour would avoid the big cuts in the university teaching grants and share the costs of higher education fairly."

Bridgwater Labour Party Youth & Student officer Brian Smedley said "With the date of the tuition fees vote now known, Labour will campaign more than ever to oppose them. Bridgwater Labour Party is committed to working with Trades Unions , students and all community groups who are willing to fight back against ALL these ConDem cutbacks."

The Government’s plans are not necessary, not fair, and not good for higher education.

Not necessary because the short-term need for deficit reduction does not justify a long term change in Higher Education funding which will be bad for universities and not save any public money. The Coalition have chosen to cut higher education teaching by 80% when other public services are being cut much less.

Not fair because graduates will now have to pay the whole cost of most degrees (simply replacing the cut in funding), instead of sharing the costs with the taxpayer. Graduates will pay much more, and pay for 30 years. Middle income graduates will be hardest hit.

Not good for higher education. England’s world class university system has been built on a public investment and trust in the professional academic leadership of universities. This will be replaced by a market in higher education in which many students will be put off university and forced to choose the cheapest rather than the best course.

Labour says:

  • We would not make such a big cut in Higher Education teaching grants, so high fees would not be needed to replace lost income.
  • Graduates should share the cost of higher education; by moving towards a graduate tax the highest earning graduates would make a fairer contribution
  • We believe that universities should remain public institutions, receiving significant public funding

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Bridgwater Labour Party members joined a large demonstration in Taunton this weekend organised by Taunton and West Somerset Trades Council to protest against Tory Somerset County Councils plans to cut £43 million pounds from public services and around 1,500 jobs.

The demonstration marched from French weir to County Hall and received considerable support from saturday morning shoppers in the town centre.

At County Hall speakers received applause for their condemnation of the cuts. Unisons Nigel Behan said “This level of cuts will make Somerset as we know it unrecognisable. All areas of spending have come under the axe and there is not a family anywhere that will be unaffected. The people of Somerset are being made to pay for a situation that is not of their making and it is the most vulnerable that will be hit the hardest.”

Mr Behan added that the proposed cuts were also set to have an enormous negative impact on the local economy, with job loss and fear of redundancy dramatically reducing spend on goods and services. “This is very bad news for small businesses” he said. “There is a real fear that this will turn a fragile recovery into another deep recession”.

County Labour group leader Andy Govier (Wellington) said the extent of the cuts were unneccesary and stressed that not all councillors supported them.He said "the cuts would hit the adult social care budget , the special education service, subsidised bus services, bus passes and student transport which would all be axed, as will the library budget, forcing some libraries to close. Community policing will be cut, reducing the number of officers on the streets. 75% of funding for youth services will be withdrawn, as well as all funding for theatres and arts groups. Eight household recycling centres will close and the road repair budget will be so severely reduced that an increase in road deaths and serious injuries will be inevitable."

Other speakers stressed their opposition to the cuts, the desire to fightback and the alternatives to the approach taken by Tory leader Ken Maddocks.

Cllr Ross Henley (Lib Dems) pointed out that Somerset had previously been a 4 star authority whilst Mendip District under Cllr Maddocks had been flagged up as a failing council unable to protect public services. He stressed that not all Lib Dems supported the cuts nationally.

However, despite Cllr Henleys welcome support for the campaign, speakers roundly condemned the liberals backing for the Tories. Rob Thompson, a Taunton student, spoke particularly well and pointed the finger of guilt clearly at LibDem MPs such as Tauntons Jeremy Browne saying "He came to our college and promised us that he would not vote for the raising of tuition fees. People believed him . But he lied. No more so called 'tactical voting'!"

Glen Burrows from Bridgwater Trades Council and the RMT union said there was an alternative. "In 1945 this country was on it's knees but out of that the sons and daughters of miners and factory workers and railway workers built a welfare state. Today there is no financial crisis -this is a rich country with billions in unpaid taxes from the rich. This is an ideological attack by the ruling class on ordinary working people and the welfare state. "
She urged people not to accept the cuts but to fight back through the organisations they had built up from their Trades Unions to their local Community groups, from the Creche to the workplace.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


As the severity of Tory cuts becomes apparent- backed foolhardily by their LibDems stooges the people are starting to fight back! A series of demos and meetings are being organised across the county over the next few weeks. Sedgemoor District Labour party Leader Cllr Kathy Pearce has committed the Labour Group to support the campaigns and is calling for a united stand against the cuts

Kathy says "Join us in opposing the savage cuts proposed by the County Council. Why are the County Council acting in such haste, before any impact has been calculated and when they do not even know the final Government funding arrangements?"

"The scale of the cuts makes a complete mockery of their proposterous decision to impose a 0% increase in their share of the Council Tax, which has only exacerbated an extremely difficult situation. "

"We can only draw the conclusion that the scale of these cuts is being made because of an idealogical contempt of public services."

"Support the Rally on 6th November."

Friday, 22 October 2010


Sedgemoor District Labour Group have spoken out firmly against the Coalition Government’s decision to implement the greatest departmental cut to the Communities and Local Government budget by a whopping 51%, demonstrating an utter contempt for public services and the most vulnerable in our society.In the meantime, Somerset County Council’s announcements of 1500 reduction in jobs and up to 40% cuts in service budgets, even ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, has shown an complete lack of understanding of the impact on front line services locally.

Labour Group leader Cllr Kathy Pearce said "The previous Labour Government’s spending plans were on track to halve this country’s deficit by 2014. We believe that these cuts, being imposed by the Tories and Lib Dems, are being made on ideological grounds rather than necessity and will have a devastating impact on our communities and the economy."

Labour group secretary Cllr Brian Smedley said " I would like to see the Labour group supporting workers and communities taking action to resist these cuts. Groups like Bridgwater Forward and the Trades Council need the full backing of everybody in this fightback against Tories using these cuts as a shield to implementing policies that will take us back to the 1980s. No-one can any longer believe the Lib Dems and no one can trust them to do anything other than to prop up their tory masters".

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Somerset NHS workers say NO to privatisation!

Day 1Two thousand five hundred of Somerset’s most dedicated NHS professionals, working in the Community Health Service are angry at an attempt to ‘strong-arm’ them into leaving the NHS and becoming a “Social Enterprise”.

Angry Health Visitors, School Nurses, local hospital and other workers across Somerset Community Health Services met in Bridgwater on Wednesday 1st September, to launch a vital and urgent campaign to persuade the members of the county’s NHS Primary Care Trust to vote to stay within the NHS.

Community Health Services staff, many with twenty or thirty years’ proud and loyal service to the public service ideal, are also appealing for public support.

One Health Visitor at the meeting said: “We are being strong-armed and railroaded. No-one I know wants to be transferred to a private ‘Social Enterprise’ employer. We love the NHS and we want to remain a part of it. We are being told that this must be sorted by the end of September and there is nothing we can do about it. Well, we’ll see about that!”

A School Nurse said: “They are saying that Social Enterprises are good because they are a “not for profit community organisation”. Social Enterprises’ like any other business, could go bust, and would then be taken over by a private health care company.”

A token ‘consultation’ with both staff and members of the public has been rushed through during the peak holiday period, and the PCT are insisting that the final decision must be made at their meeting of 15th September. Staff are asking for more time for a proper consultation, involving staff AND public, which will end with the final decision being made by a democratic staff ballot.

The key Somerset PCT meeting is being held at Yeovil, headquarters of the Somerset Primary Care Trust, on 15th September. The campaign is asking for maximum staff and public support at the meeting, which is held at Wynford House, Lufton Way, Yeovil BS22 8HR, starting at 10.00am. Members of the public are invited to put questions to the PCT at the start of the meeting.

A staff petition is being circulated, which states: “We, the undersigned, are extremely proud to work for the NHS in Somerset. We cherish our reputation as having one of the top Primary Care Trusts in the country, and of delivering high quality services to our local population. We want to continue to work with you to transform our local health service from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ We are proud to work for the best ‘not for profit’ organisation, based in the heart of our local community. That organisation is called the NHS and we want to stay in it! Please hear our voices!”

The press release above was put out by Bridgwater Trades Union Council immediatly after the meeting Day 1 To get involved with the campaign and to send messages of support, people are advised to contact:BRIDGWATER TRADES UNION COUNCIL Secretary: Dave Chapple, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU Tel. 01278 450562


Day 1

Members of Sedgemoor District Labour Group have joined the Bridgwater Trades Council in expressing strong opposition to the government's privatisation agenda for the NHS, which could see vital services provided by Health Visitors, School Nurses and other hospital workers being transferred to a Social Enterprise employer.

Kathy Pearce, Leader of the Sedgemoor District Labour Group, stated that she shared health workers' fears that if the Social Enterprise does not make a profit, then it would be sold off to the private health care providers who have a history of pricing systems which disadvantage the elderly and vulnerable. Health workers are also at risk of losing their rights after 3 years if this proposal goes ahead.

"We are extremely worried at the speed of the proposed change and the poor quality of consultation over the holiday period, which is allowing this to go through largely unnoticed by members of the public. The NHS is the cornerstone of our society, providing equality of access to all, regardless of income. We cannot afford to let this slip through our hands."

"I urge anyone concerned about these proposals to write or make contact with the Primary Care Trust Headquarters at Wynford House, Lufton Way, Yeovil BS22 8HR, or to attend the meeting there on 15th September at 10am."

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Somerset County Council are proposing savage cuts of up to 65% in some support areas.

Please see the email below sent to all Children and Young People Directorate staff, which demonstrates the frightening scale of the cuts to be imposed. It would indicate the closure of the Local Service Teams (Education Attendance Workers, Emotional Health Workers, Team 4 (Social Care), Connexions, Parent and Family Support Advisers - all of whom work to support families/schools).

Spread the word, forward this link to let as many people as possible know what is happening under this ConDem coalition.

Don't get fooled again!!

Shaun O Byrne
Secretary Bridgwater Labour Party

I am writing to you so that you are kept as up to date as possible about proposed budget reductions in the County Council’s Children and Young People services. At a recent meeting of the Directorate Management Team, including the new Director, Louise Goll, with our partners (Members, Headteachers, Health and Children and Young People staff) outline suggestions for reductions were considered. The following broad outlines will be proposed to Members for decision after the announcements of Government spending plans later in the Autumn.

In broad terms, the local authority base budget for the Children & Young People’s Directorate is currently just over £66m and we will, in the first instance, be considering cuts of nearly £17m (approximately 25%) over three years. Children’s Social Care services account for nearly half of the £66m budget (approximately £29m including Disabilities services) and it is difficult to reduce this expenditure. Transport costs generally account for a further £11m and although we are looking at this budget it is currently overspending and is mostly demand led. Therefore, spending reductions will fall more heavily on the remaining services, the impact will be more like 65%.

The broad outline suggestions are as follows:

· Consideration to be given to adjusting the base budget for Children’s Social Care to reflect the current levels of demand locally and nationally. The proposal is broadly for half of the Children’s Social Care current budget pressure of £5m to be met by savings across the service and half through an adjustment to the base budget;

· A reduction by almost 75% in Partnership services, reducing the budget from £12m to nearer £3m. This will have very significant implications, particularly for local service delivery;

· A reduction in local authority funded school and pupil related services of approximately 50-60%, with remaining services developed in partnership with schools;

· Reductions of 40% in strategic and management budgets.

In the light of the above, it will be recommended that the Children and Young People’s Directorate should be organised in three services rather than the current four. These would be:

  • Learning and Achievement,
  • Strategy and Policy
  • Children’s Social Care.

This note is, in a sense, a ‘green light’ for further discussions between staff, their representatives and managers to begin to flesh out these proposals in more detail. It will be important to capture the learning from the developments in Children’s Services over the last few years and to use that to help inform plans for the coming years.

I hope that now you know these parameters you will be able to see more clearly your own position in relation to reductions, and be able to plan with us the future shape of the service. I also hope that this will not come as a complete shock to you, since the Directorate has had to involve many people as it begins to formulate plans in these very hard economic circumstances.

This note has been sent to all staff in the Directorate and copied to our Lead Member for Children & Young People, our four key Members, Chairs of SASH/SAPHTO/SAHSP and SGSG, Corporate Directors and the Chief Executive, Chair of Somerset Children’s Trust, Police District Commander, Head of HR and will also be sent to Trade Union Representatives.

Bob Clark

Interim Corporate Director

Children & Young People

Friday, 20 August 2010

Labour’s Kathy Pearce elected as Group Leader on District Council

Following the death of Roger Lavers, the Sedgemoor District Labour Group has elected Hamp Ward Councillor, Kathy Pearce as their new Leader.

Kathy stood as Labour’s candidate in the General Election held earlier this year and has represented the Bridgwater Hamp ward on Sedgemoor District Council for 11 years. She grew up in the Hamp ward, has always lived in Bridgwater and alongside her Council duties, currently works supporting parents and carers of children with special educational needs.

Commenting on her appointment, Kathy said “Roger’s untimely death has left a big gap in the Labour Group and big shoes to for me to fill but I will do my best to match the high standard of leadership he set. I am committed to continuing to fight for Bridgwater’s interests in the face of recent decisions made by Sedgemoor District Council which have been to the detriment of the town. We in the Labour Group will do everything that we can to protect our local services in the face of stringent cuts which will affect the weak and vulnerable in our society disproportionately."

The new deputy leader of the Sedgemoor District Labour group is to be Cllr Julian Taylor (left) who represents the Bridgwater Eastover ward.

Shaun O’Byrne
Bridgwater Labour Party
01278 732704

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Sedgemoor Labour Leader, Roger Lavers, who died recently had been the leader of the Labour opposition in Sedgemoor for the past 10 years and will be greatly missed for his leadership skills, his compassion for the people he served and for his dedication to the cause of holding Sedgemoors Tories to account.

Roger was born in 1943 and grew up in Plymouth. His formal education included an Engineering apprenticeship at the Naval Dockyard. He later worked at a small shipyard at Hamble,Solent and then for CEGB in Plymouth, Didcot, and at Hinkley Point.

As an engineer he became a Union activist in the AEU, a shop steward, and a union delegate. In later years he became a manager concerned with performance improvement.

He first became active in the Bridgwater Labour Party in the mid 1980's and stood for the District in the 1987 election when Labour was at it's lowest ebb locally bedevilled by in fighting and in fact even stood candidates against itself that year. Roger stood in the Eastover ward but was unsuccessful as the Party was reduced to a mere 4 councillors.

2 years later Labours fortunes were reversing drastically and the party was bouncing back with a new and united determination to get rid of Thatcherism. In 1989 he stood for Bridgwater North in the County Council election and won a great victory with Labour taking 3 out of the 4 Bridgwater seats.

He remained as a County Councillor until 1997, and during this period, was also elected to the District Council seat to represent Bridgwater Victoria (1995 to 2007).

His wife Christine had won a sensational victory in their home village of Woolavington and when she stood down in 2007 Roger took over the seat and fought a hard battle to keep the Tories out winning by a close margin at a time that Tory fortunes were reviving.

At the time of the Labour landslide in 1997 Roger was adopted as the Parliamentary candidate for the Bridgwater Constituency and at the same time became Labour leader on Sedgemoor.

Roger was also the Chair of Woolavington parish Council and at one time theMayor of Bridgwater 1999-2000. in Millennium Year, and in his robes, he abseiled down the tower of St Marys Church. Almost definitely the only Mayor of Bridgwater ever to have done this.

His key achievements during his time as Mayor was to press the Government to change the status of the Charter Trustees in to a Town Council and as an aide to this, Set up the Bridgwater Forum.

In his final years Roger campaigned hard to save the Sedgemoor Splash in the face of relentless Tory pressure to scrap the much loved amenity and one of his last actions at council was to launch a blistering attack on the Electoral review body for presenting a sham consultation process -which won applause across the council floor.

Cllr Kathy Pearce, Roger's deputy, is currently acting Labour leader.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


To no-ones surprise, Tory incumbant IAN LIDDELL-GRAINGER has won the safe Conservative seat of Bridgwater and West Somerset. In a night when Tory swings ranged from 8-10% it is of great satisfaction to note that in Bridgwater they dropped by 0.1% - clearly local factors and a clear indication that outside the dyed in the brain tory faithful, ILG is NOT appreciated.

The vote was as follows;-
Ian Liddell-Grainger Conservative ..........24,675 .....45.3%..... -0.1
Theo Butt Philip Liberal Democrat ..........15,426 .....28.3% .....+5.7
Kathryn Pearce Labour .......................9,332 .....17.1%......-8.5
Peter Hollings UK Independence Party ........2,604 ......4.8%..... +1.1
Donna Treanor British National Party ........1,282 ......2.4% .....+2.4
Charles Graham Green ..........................859 ......1.6%..... -1.2
Bob Cudlipp Independent .......................315...... 0.6%......+0.6

It's a great shame to see such a high Fascist vote in the constituency for a candidate who doesn't live in the area and well, is a Fascist, and although we won't see her again she's certainly left a bad taste in her wake and a whole spawning ground for her evil creed to be nurtured.

It was also an inevitable by product of a dirty campaign by the Lib Dems that they hoodwinked the electorate into thinking people should vote for them in order to get out the Tory- that combined with the National lib dem mania has put them in an undeserved second place and inevitably the big promise of a lib dem victory locally and Nationally obviously failed to materialise.

Kathy Pearce had a great team of helpers throughout the campaign which was hard fought in the face of a very difficult time in Government for the Labour Party yet held the local vote up by a margin of 2% to buck the regional trend of a swing against labour which generally dropped by 10%.

and at 03.43 with the final election results as yet unknown we'll sign out.


Despite the drizzle (not to mention the volcanic ash) that covers Britain today the General Election 2010 is off -probably the most important one for a Generation. in Bridgwater & West Somerset KATHY PEARCE was up at the crack of dawn to cast her vote at Westfield church in Bridgwaters West Street before heading off to the Minehead end of the vast constituency and back again throughout the day.

"Tory and LibDem rosettes seem to be noticeable by their absence at the moment - which to me shows the Tories are less than convinced by their absentee candidate and the Lib Dems are relying on their x-factor style TV hype as they have absolutely no Party members active on the ground here! "


Turnout in Bridgwater, like elsewhere in the country, is high. Very little sign of the opposition. Polling stations around the country opened at 7am and will close at 10pm - with the first results expected before midnight.

Bridgwater is expected to be declared at about 3am.

Final Opinion Polls showed Tories in the lead with 36% and Labour second on 29% and Lib Dems trailing on 27%. This would translate into a Tory minority Government and of course the Lib Dems failing to gain much more than 10 extra seats showing that in a First Past the Post election a Lib Dem vote is a wasted vote.

BNP candidate Donna Treanor hasn't been spotted at all-probably because shes standing as a council candidate where she lives in Croydon today as well! Which of course doesn't mean her candidature here hasn't unearthed a dodgy underbelly of racist supporters who have taken to the local blogosphere.

UKIP candidate was pictured voting early on but their campaign today has been dominated by ex leader Farages plane crash which occured this morning when he tried to take off with a 'vote Ukip' banner that got entangled in the planes tail and brought it down. His agent said he was 'drifting in and out of conscious, but still talking' (no surprise there). His injuries were declared as 'not life threatening'. Belgium has declared a day of mourning.

Every last available Lib Dem appears to have left the Bridgwater constituency (in a Mini Metro) to help in other areas where they have a chance of winning leaving Butt-Phillips wishing he'd been selected in the winnable consituency of Wells (where he lives)

Tory candidate Ian Liddel-Grainger appears to be trying to combat his non-visibility during the election campaign by driving at top speed around the constituency -but failing to stop for fear he falls victim to a similar stunt that held up his leaders photo op this morning when he went to vote. ( Two men, one dressed in a blazer and boater, unfurled a large banner at Spelsbury Memorial Hall in Witney, Oxfordshire. It featured a picture of the Conservative party leader with the slogan. "Britons know your place. Vote Eton - vote Tory." )


Polling stations are open until 10pm. Turnout is high.

Labour supporters have been greeting voters at almost all polling stations with seevral Tory, a couple of UKIP and only 1 LibDem presence . Response from the public has been positive.

The BNP have not put in a presence.

Kathy is having her tea break and is then touring the polling stations again.

The office at Unity House is staffed until 9pm.

The bar will be open late.



Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Bridgwater's much criticised Tory MP, Ian Lidell-Grainger, has finally turned up on the doorsteps to 'meet the voters' but has run into a storm of criticism which he has responded to by giving his public short measure and not helped his chances of re-election one bit.

On doorstep number 1 the elusive little stranger is asked about what he is going to do for them. He responds about how he will look after pensioners (much to the householders annoyance as she isnt a pensioner). Householder is not convinced and then tells him she's already voted Labour by postal vote anyway, he completely blanks her and storms off down the path, muttering.

Doorstep number 2 sees Liddell-Grainger challenged again ( a few doors along and out of sight of the first one) this time about the fact that he has not responded to his letter of 3 years ago. L-G gets on phone immediately, says 'oh yes they did respond'. Householder says why didn't he get a copy then. This is now definitely a recurring theme in his method of dealing with the fact that he probably hasn't actually responded .

Next stop and The Right Honourable Ian is challenged as to why he is keeping such a low profile. Does not cope with the question well and his parting shot is ' "well go on and vote Labour then".

Labour candidate Kathy Pearce, who has been out canvassing today in Williton and Watchet said "I'm quite moved by what a good response we've been getting as polling day draws ever near.People are incensed at Liddel-Graingers taking them for granted and equally outraged at the LibDems blatant misrepresenting the voting figures on their glossy leaflets and the fact they could con people into splitting the vote and keeping him in. As Gordon Brown said, it is time for Labour voters to come home. There genuinely feels like there are people out there who want to vote true to their beliefs this time and vote Labour with a chance of ousting Liddell-Grainger."

As Traditional Labour voters appear to be swinging back to the party in these crucial last few hours before the country could potentially take a disastrous step back in time to Tory rule, this could boost Kathys chances in a bedrock Labour area like Bridgwater and combined with a tactical anti-Tory vote to oust the unpopular former MP, the Conservative stranglehold on the area could be finally broken.

On the 'Wheres Ian Liddell-Grainger'facebook page today, independent voter Laura Costello wrote "I hope that all the people that have joined this group and have vented their anger about Mr ILG will use their vote on thursday to do the only thing that will get him out of our area, which is to VOTE LABOUR.

I have to be honest and say that I am not Labour supporter in general and do not support some of their general policies and actions, but see voting Labour in our area IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL GET MR ILG OUT.

I have to add also, that Kathy Pearce (Labour) seems the most likely do to the VERY BEST for our town and to WORK HARD; she has been bought up here and still lives IN THE TOWN (not in a posh pile in the countryside or out of the constituency) and she has shown she will work very hard on the LOCAL ISSUES we all most care about."

Her statement was supported by David Gliddon "Totally agree - and Kathy Pearce has been vocal about supporting Bridgwater and the loss of the Sedgemoor Splash. Where was ILG when the town needed him? "Helping" place the new pool at Chilton Trinity in 2012!! A more inappropritae site you could not have found."

'Wheres ILG 'facebook creator Tom Douglas had to apologise today for deleting pro-Labour comments from his website admitting "It was wrong to do that. Such feelings shouldn't overide freedom of speech". However, the LibDem lie machine stepped up it's attempts to split the anti Tory vote by diggin up the 'Electoral Calculus' website to suggest yet another way that the figures could be doctored in their favour.

Labour Party election campaign manager Brian Smedley clearly refuted this "The problem with the Electoral Calculus website: it assumes a uniform national swing and does not take any local factors in to account. Although the general election is partly about electing a new government, it's also about choosing who you want as your local MP in 650 very localised and individual contests which will be informed by the context and circumstances on the ground. Any website that doesn't take this into account is deeply flawed and best ignored. Kathy is a popular and elected local councillor already, with 10 years experience and was born ,lives and works in the area. The Lib Dems have been wiped out electorally in the local councils and their candidate is from Wells-even though he pretends his address is Cannington! Don;t trust them - vote for Kathy"

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


This week 'tactical voting' is all the rage. Several newspapers have printed their own guide to which party to vote for in which seat in order to stop Cameron winning and returning us to a new Tory Ice Age where climate change could only be a welcome relief.

Bridgwater is NOT mentioned in any of these 'tactical votes'. This is because it's considered a SAFE Tory seat and, not being a 'marginal', won't effect the General Election result . Of course things are different in say 'Taunton' where Lib Dems hold the seat by a just few hundred votes or in Somerset North east-a Labour seat with less than 1% difference between Labour and Tory -where a LibDem vote would let in the Tory.

So in this whirlwind of 'Tactical Voting' people are getting confused - especially by the deceptive Libdem leaflets which pick and choose statistics to make people think they can win here.

The key deciding factors in the BRIDGWATER & WEST SOMERSET constituency are the following;-

The last General election 2005;- Labour were in 2nd place to the Tories and therefore best placed as the party to 'lend your vote to' to get Liddel-Grainger out.

District Council Election results 2007;- Throughout the Constituency (thats west Somerset + the South part of Sedgemoor) Labour has 12 councillors-10 in Bridgwater but also 1 in Minehead and 1 in Woolavington. The Lib Dems have just 1 (in Carhampton).

County Council Election results 2009;-The County election vote swung to the Tories and they took most of the seats in the County wards within our constituency leaving the Lib Dems with 0 but labour with 1.

But the most important 'neutral' statistics to look at are on the BBC ELECTION 2010 website which shows that in Bridgwater Labour is the best tactical vote . This calculates the previous vote plus the 'Notional vote' which projects figures based on the boundary changes and shows Labour in 2nd place 25.6% to lib dem 3rd place on 22,6%. Combined this would topple the Tory projected vote of 45.4%. There are 4'other' candidates on the ballot paper - which combined are projected at 6.4% (Green, UKIP, BNP & Independent).

The Tactical vote in Bridgwater and West Somerset is LABOUR . Whilst the Lib Dems will try to con people that it's them, the truth is that if we want the Tory out people need to vote for KATHY PEARCE on May 6th

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Sitting pretty on an 8,000 vote majority, the Conservative candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset in next Thursdays General Election-Ian Liddell-Grainger (359th in line to the throne)has seemingly gone into hiding and apparently refused to face the voters.

The absentee toff has been so noticeable by his lack of presence that a local man, Tom Douglas (not affiliated to any party) has set up a Facebook site 'Wheres Ian Liddell-Grainger?' and asks the question "What strategy is this? Media blackout? Zero public appearances... Why o why? Surely a prospective MP must engage in some electioneering if he is to regain a seat in the Commons? Can he really believe that the esteemed votes of the noble constituency will simply vote for him with no ounce of effort on his behalf? People! This is nothing short of an extremely insulting outrage! "
And now the 'Wheres Ian?'Facebook site has received coverage on the BBC! Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke (a Tory) said: "...Ian is a colleague I value and so if he's having a different campaign in Bridgwater then good luck to him. I'm sure Ian is campaigning as effectively as ever."
But this has cut no ice with the other candidates who have all attended public meetings largely to debate which one of them feels they are best placed to grab the, barely warm, seat of the 'Hide and Seek Member '.

Labour's Kathy Pearce, the main contender to Liddel-Grainger , needs 8,500 votes to oust the Tory. "Labour came in second place in the last General Election in 2005 and I am determined to unseat this guy . I haven't seen him at all during the campaign. He's either treating the voters with contempt or is too nervous to face them after he let them down over the Splash!"Kathy's task has been made harder however by a late surge by the Lib Dems (in 3rd place but with such a little power base in this constituency that they've had to bring in a candidate from Wells who has resorted to putting out glossy lib dem leaflets distorting the voting figures and confusing the anti-tories. Kathy said "People want to get rid of Liddel-Grainger and to do that in THIS constituency people really need to get behind Labour . The alternative is a split vote and that lets in the Tories.

The REAL voting statistics;-

2005 General Election;-Conservatives 21240
Labour 12771
Lib Dem 10940

2007 District Elections
Labour 12 Councillors
Lib Dem 1 Councillor

2009 County Elections
Conservatives 10 councillors
Labour 1 Councillor
Lib Dem 0 councillors

The candidates for Bridgwater and West Somerset are: Theo Butt-Philip, Liberal Democrats; Bob Cudlipp, Independent, Charles Graham, Green; Peter Hollings, UKIP; Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative; Kathy Pearce, Labour; Donna Treanor, BNP.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


One problem with the media inspired Lib Dem 'surge' is that it's confusing voters in this constituency. Labour are clearly the best placed party to take the Tory seat , came second last time, have 12 District Councillors to the lib dem 1 and have wiped out the lib Dems to such an extent that they've had to import a candidate from Wells who pretends to have a Cannington address!! (lib Dems regionally don;t even advocate a tactical vote for him!!)Sadly- but not unsurprisingly, the Lib Dems have , as usual, resorted to lying and distorting the figures.

As the 3rd glossy lib dem leaflet was mailed to homes in Bridgwater and West Somerset this week claiming 'Labour Can't win here' and showing 'figures to prove this' we can reveal clearly the depths to which the lib dems have sunk in order to con the voters into squandering their anti-tory votes.

Lib Dems can't use the real figures -from the last General Election in 2005 which show tory on 21240 Labour IN SECOND PLACE on 12771 and Lib Dems 3rd on 10,940 - because this would show the truth-that they are in 3rd place and it;s THEM who can't win. And....they can't use the District Council Election results from 2007 because this would show Labour 12 councillors and Lib Dem 1 (the rest being Tory or Independent) and finally they can't show the 2009 County Council Election results for the constituency as this would show 10 conservative, 1 Labour and NOT A SINGLE they chose to pick a selection of votes based on libdems standing in areas where Labour didn't stand and added up the lib dem votes there!! Oddly, if they'd added the votes where both Labour and libdem stood , the results would have been 4757 con, 2073 LABOUR IN SECOND PLACE and 2031 Lib Dems in 3rd place.

"The LibDems are the dirtiest of all the parties in elections" said Labour Candidate Kathy Pearce who has been knocking on doors and is now on her 3rd leaflet since January with an army of dedicated footsoldiers "Because they had Clegg on equal footing with Brown and Cameron on the TV debates it gives the impression the Lib Dems have an equal chance of winning, but the way the British voting system works is they have to get hundreds of thousands more votes in key areas to actually take enough seats to win. That isn;t being made clear to people and-as usual with the lib Dems- giving false hope to people. The reality in Bridgwater is that Labour is in 2nd position with a strong organisation on the ground and a Lib Dem vote would just let the Tories in."

Kathy has been stepping up her door knocking to counter the Lib Dems scandalous misinformation face to face with the voters. "From Minhead to Bridgwater we've been getting the message across and have been getting a really wonderful and positive response. What is clear is the people DON'T want the Tories back, DO want rid of Liddell-Grainger and are gradually realising that the Lib Dems are nothing new and just-as ever offer false hope."

Friday, 23 April 2010


Labour candidate Kathy Pearce has signed up to a mutual declaration of NO PLATFORM FOR THE BNP with Green candidate Charlie Graham through the auspices of Bridgwater Trades Union Council and Bridgwater Hope Not Hate. This follows the disgraceful Election Hustings at the Holy Trinity Church in Hamp, Bridgwater, organised by the 'Mothers Union'which invited the BNP. Their candidate Donna Treanor (who lives in Croydon) turned up and shared the platform with UKIP (whose views weren't far off their own) and the opportunistic Lib Dem candidate Theo Butt Phillip (from Wells). Tory canddiate Ian Liddell-Grainger (who hasn;t turned up to any public meetings so far) put the cat amongst the pidgeons by saying in the West Somerset Free Press that the BNP had to be invited or it wasn't 'democratic' (He also didn;t turn up anyway).

Charlie Graham -the Green candidate - walked out of the meeting - which had to have 2policemen stationed on the door.

Kathy - who had sent her apologies to the meeting anyway before she even knew if the BNP had been invited said "I'm not prepared to share a platform with any party that would deny the right of democracy to a section of the constituency. I was not at the meeting but I would have walked out too, partly because the media interest the BNP generate overrides any other issue. She turns up to one meeting and everybody's interested in it!"

The 2 progressive candidates put out a joint statement through HOPE NOT HATE and backed by the Bridgwater Trades Unions Council.
PRESS STATEMENT, 22nd April 2010

We, the undersigned were disappointed by the decision by the Mothers’ Union at Hamp Church, Bridgwater to invite the BNP’s prospective parliamentary candidate to address its meeting on Wednesday 21st April.

This is the first recorded meeting in Bridgwater’s proud history to have been addressed by a member of a fascist group. That this should have been organized by a local church group is deeply disturbing.

The BNP is a fascist party, similar to Hitler’s Nazis, and its aims are to sow division through racial hatred. Its leaders believe in white supremacy and authoritarian government. To allow them a platform to express such dangerous, twisted and abhorrent views is to grant them the same status and legitimacy as candidates from normal democratic parties. It is also an insult to many who fought fascism in Europe in the 30s and 40s.

There is no legal obligation for an organization to invite a candidate to speak whose views they find to be dangerous and morally repugnant.

We applaud other groups in the constituency who have organized election meetings, such as the Bridgwater Senior Citizens Forum and Minehead Christians Together for taking the principled decision not to invite the BNP candidate.

We call upon all other organizations and candidates in the Bridgwater & West Somerset constituency to refuse to offer or share a platform with fascists.


Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Nominations have closed for the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency in the forthcoming General Election at 1600 hrs today, Tuesday, April 20th. Labours Candidate Kathy Pearce - the key contender to the incumbent Tory MP Ian Liddel-Grainger , has 6 rivals to beat in this crucial contest for the future of the country.

The candidates are:-

PEARCE, Kathy – The Labour Party.
Kathy is Bridgwater born and bred and works as a Family Support Worker. She is a District Councillor and deputy leader of the Labour group. Labour came second to the Conservatives in 2005 and the party has been campaigning since the start of the year in a bid to capitalise on the unpopularity of the Tory candidate in the wake of his total failure to get involved in the 'Save the Sedgemoor Splash' campaign which Kathy was a leading activist in trying to stop the Tories on Sedgemoor closing the popular local pool.

LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Ian – The Conservative Party ;- The Tory sitting MP with the 8,000 majority seems unassailable-especially at a time when Cameron and his Etonian cohorts are riding high in the Polls - but the Tory lead has been dropping as more and more people see through what they offer and fear a return to the disastrous 1980s when Thatchers Tories devastated working class communities, battled with Unions and tried to impose the Poll Tax on us. The Tories say they are the party for 'change' . Peoples chins drop . Led by old Etonians ? Liddel-Grainger a descendant of Queen Victoria...we know what change they mean!

BUTT PHILIP, Theo – Liberal Democrats;- Despite their so-called 'surge' Nationally the Lib Dems are in 3rd place in Bridgwater & West Somerset. As a party they have been wiped out at town and district elections over the past 10 years and are a spent force even having to import their candidate from Wells.However, the main danger is that voting Lib Dem will simply split the anti Tory vote and let Liddel-Grainger keep his seat!!

HOLLINGS, Pete – UKIP;- The far right UK Independence party are fielding a candidate whose election address opens with anti-Immigration sloganeering and doesn't go much further. UKIP - whose slogan 'straight talking' is a poor cover for downright rudeness as evidenced by former leader Nigel Farages recent abusive tirade against the Belgian people, and thinly disguised xenophobia. The only party led by a Lord they are far from the party of the people they claim to be and are largely based on the former Europhobic Far Right of the Conservative Party.

GRAHAM, Robert Charles – Green Party ;- Charlie Graham has thrown his environmentalist hat into the ring again and attached to it a proud and decent record as an anti war, anti nuclear and anti nazi campaigner - but with barely 2,000 votes last time round and no electoral success in the local elections his Party has a mountain to climb to make any impact and would benefit clearly from the PR system promised if Labour get back in.

TREANOR, Donna – British National Party ;- The far right BNP are standing for the first time in a Bridgwater Parliamentary election. Candidate Donna Treanor has never been to the town and knows nothing about it. A Scot who lives in Croydon she is well known for her anti immigrant tirades on the web . Oh and still dressing up as 'Madonna' for the Sun newspaper. Oh and on a recent visit to Somerset (she went to Yeovil instead) she announced she would 'reveal exactly how much the council spends on Ethnic Minorities' (oh dear....)

CUDLIPP, Bob – Independent;- Local man Bob has stood as an Independent Conservative in the past and is a thorn in the side of his former party.A last minute decision to stand it seems. Fairly described as 'a bit of a wild card' the best we can hope is that he takes dissilusioned Tories and doesn't distract serious voters......


In a shock declaration on the TV Politics Show, the Bridgwater & West Somerset LibDem candidate Theo Butt-Phillips (who lives in Wells) said that if elected he would "Vote to repeal the hunting act in a free vote ". This puts him at odds with popular opinion yet clearly reflects how the parties and candidates stand on the issue. All 22 Labour candidates and all 15 Green candidates in the south west would retain the hunting ban while the right wing parties (Conservative & UKIP) show a majority for repealing the ban. In the case of the libDems 13 would retain 3 would repeal and 4 are undecided.

Ivor Annets from the League Against Cruel Sports was so shocked by the 'progressive' candidates stance that he asked "Would you also bring back badger baiting!!? 80 % support the hunting ban so why do you want to put the clock back!?" The Lib Dem replied "Leave it to the farmers and local hunts who know the best way to deal with it. Let the Countryside get on with it".

Labour campaign organiser Brian Smedley said "While trying to play to the Tory vote or maybe just plain confused - Butt Phillips has clearly shot himself in the foot and alienated many of his potential supporters. A Lib Dem vote always was and still is a wasted vote for an opportunist bunch of unconnected individuals who couldn't hold a line if their laundry depended on it!"

Labour candidate Kathy Pearce included suporting the Hunting ban in her Top 10 campaign issues when she launched her candidacy and is a passionate opponent of hunting. In a statement she said;-

" I strongly support the current hunting ban, on the following grounds:

1. I have always believed that in a civilised society, the act of hunting is unacceptably cruel and barbaric. Whilst I acknowledge that there are occasions when pest control is necessary, exemptions within the Hunting Act are designed to allow farmers, landowners and managers to carry out humane pest control on their land. I agree with the League Against Cruel Sports that this should be carried out by trained markesmen, who are competent in such activities.

2. The predicted dire effects on the rural economy have not come to pass. A recent Ipsos Mori poll has shown that 72% of the rural population do not want hunting with dogs to be made legal again. There is evidence to suggest that there has been an increase in interest in drag hunting, which could be down to the fact that the cruelty element has been removed.

3. I strongly support the findings of the recent poll carried out by the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare that:

75% of the public support the ban on hunting
84% support the ban on deer and stage hunting
85% support the ban on hare hunting and coursing.

I therefore believe that the Conservative proposal to repeal the ban would indeed be a retrograde step for this country."

Monday, 12 April 2010


On the day that Gordon Brown launched Labour's Manifesto under the slogan A FUTURE FAIR FOR ALL , Bridgwater & West Somerset Labour candidate Kathy Pearce stepped up her own campaign to wrest the Constituency from Tory Misrule with her second leaflet.

Kathy's first leaflet has already gone out to 27,000 homes across the Constituency, which stretches from Bridgwater in the East through Watchet and Minehead to Porlock and Exmoor in the West, and has already firmly established her as the key challenger to the Tory incumbent Ian Liddel-Grainger who is proving to be less of an asset to the Conservatives than his 8,000 majority may seem.

The second leaflet drop , combined with canvassing and a poster and billboard campaign, kicked off on Bridgwater's Hamp estate where Kathy grew up and went to school and where she has been a popular local District Councillor for the last 10 years.

Kathy said "Everything we have achieved in the Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency is because we've had a Labour Government from Sure Start supporting Families to the Introduction of the Minimum Wage and it's places like Hamp that would take the brunt of any future Conservative Government cuts - and I don;t want that to happen , so I'm fighting to win here and I'm proud to be part of the Labour Party and our Manifesto and the promises launched today!"

The key points in the Labour Party manifesto include:


Promise of "a choice of good schools in every area". Where parents are not satisfied, they will have the power to trigger a ballot on bringing in a new school leadership team from a "proven and trusted accredited provider" through a merger or takeover. Up to 1,000 secondary schools would be part of such an accredited schools group by 2015.

Every pupil leaving primary school is "secure in the basics," with a "three Rs" guarantee of one-to-one and small-group tuition for every child falling behind. In secondary school, every pupil would have a personal tutor and a choice of good qualifications.

Every young person to be guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75 per cent going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30.


Legally binding guarantees for patients including the right to cancer test results within one week of referral, and a maximum 18 weeks' wait for treatment or the offer of going private.

Preventative healthcare through routine check-ups for the over-40s and a major expansion of diagnostic testing.

All hospitals to become foundation trusts, with successful ones given the support and incentives to take over those that are underperforming. Trusts given freedom to expand into primary and community care and to increase their private services, where these are consistent with NHS values and if they generate surpluses that are invested in NHS.

Promise to introduce a new National Care Service to ensure free care in the home for those with the greatest care needs. A cap on the cost of residential care so that everyone's homes and savings were protected from charges after two years in a home.


"Swift action" to be taken when police do not perform well. Where a police force or local basic command unit (BCU) consistently fails local people, Labour would ensure "either that the senior management team including the borough commander or chief constable is replaced, or it is taken over by a neighbouring force or BCU."

Legislation to give victims of anti-social behaviour financial support to pursue legal injunctions, with the costs met by the police, council, courts or other agency that let them down.


Pledge not to raise the 20p in the pound, 40p and 50p rates of tax. Renews previous promise not to extend scope of VAT to food, children's clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares, but stops short of saying rate will remain at 17.5 per cent.


Pledge to build a hi-tech economy, supporting business and industry to create one million more skilled jobs and modernising our infrastructure with High Speed Rail, a Green Investment Bank and broadband access for all.

Target to achieve about 40 per cent low-carbon electricity by 2020 and create 400,000 new green jobs by 2015. New rules for takeovers, with government allowed to intervene in "public interest" in those affecting utilities and infrastructure. Would require a super-majority of two-thirds of shareholders in corporate takeovers.

Northern Rock could be turned back into building society under a drive to boost "mutualism". Labour would secure the best deal for the taxpayer from stakes in publicly controlled banks; introduce a new global levy on banks; and reform the rules for banking to ensure no repeat of past irresponsibility.


National minimum wage to rise at least in line with average earnings, and a new £40-a-week "better off in work" guarantee. Higher "living wage" paid by Whitehall departments to lowest-paid workers such as cleaners.

Create 200,000 jobs through the Future Jobs Fund, with a job or training place for young people who are out of work for six months. Benefits cut at 10 months if they refuse a place; and anyone unemployed for more than two years guaranteed work, but no option of life on benefits.

Paid paternity leave doubled from two weeks to a "father's month". Labour would work with employers to see how it could be taken flexibly – for example, by taking first two weeks round time of the birth and the remaining two during first year of baby's life.

Pledge to introduce new "toddler tax credit" of £4 a week from 2012 to give more support to all parents of young children – whether they want to stay at home or work.


"Double referendum" on same day on whether to move to Australian-style Alternative Vote for elections to the House of Commons (in which voters mark candidates in order preference) and to a democratic and accountable House of Lords. A free vote in Parliament on reducing the voting age from 18 to 16. Legislation to ensure parliaments sit for a fixed term and an all-party commission to chart a course to a written constitution. A statutory register of lobbyists, with MPs banned from working for lobbying companies and required to seek approval for paid outside appointments.