Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jamie's Blog: Labour Conference 2012 Summary

Bit behind with the blogging it's fair to say...

Luckily I feel I have been let off the hook due to Spikes regular, informative and passionate updates from #lab12. Rather than imitate what he has already said I thought I would take you through some of the general themes and events I came across that I found particularly interesting since day 1:

  1. Ed Balls gave an incredible speech on Monday which conjured up the spirit of 1945 and reinforced the position of our economic policy: that every time in our history when faced with a crisis of this magnitude we have needed a long term plan for growth with Keynesian stimulus, that can fill the gap in demand and solve the 'paradox of thrift'. It is fair to say that Ed Balls is not prepared to announce a 'New Deal' or an Atlee- esque NHS moment, but he is reinforcing the message that the coalition is withdrawing funds from the economy too fast and has strangled confidence. He mentioned how we should use the recent 4G windfall to start building houses again and how he would introduce a zero based budget review after the election to re assess the necessity of every pound spent across the government. Logical stuff and a very impressed auditorium laughed it up when he declared we had 'Butch Cassidy and the Flat line Kid' in government and how the prime minister is so weak he is unprepared to sack Mitchell and has even given Hunt a promotion. Larry Elliot from the guardian has his analysis here.
  2. The Social Market Foundation held a really informative fringe about how a next Labour government should build a sustainable framework for higher education funding. Opinions ranged from those who thought that more market could be an option and help social mobility (not a fan) to one member of the panel (memorising names not a strength) who thought that the current system was fine but fee's should be reduced to a cap of 6,000 a year (which by my understanding is unofficially where Ed has positioned himself). There was of course large support for the opinion that the market has not worked and the experiment should end as more and more students are now turning down university or choosing degrees based on price rather than the best one for their future.
  3. Equalities Citizenship and Constitutional Reform: Extremely interesting policy seminar which opened the floor to delegates, many of which had stories to tell about real life implications for those who are disabled, from an ethnic minority, have faced gender discrimination etc. Naturally the seminar had no conclusions but produced many different idea's about what the party can do with regards to political correctness, positive discrimination, equal marriages, improved benefits for the disabled etc once the stagnation of the Conservative government is over. 
  4. A fringe meeting with the Big Innovation Centre Chaired by observer columnist Will Hutton was entertaining. It is a relatively new movement that aims to put innovation and an industrial strategy at the heart of the next labour project in order to enable us to be world leaders in internet business and green sectors among others. I won't waffle too much but i would strongly advise visiting their website as it is all about creating a strategy beyond cutting the deficit and coupling business and innovation with the long term needs of the nation.
  5. One major highlight that I was not expecting at all and probably my favourite fringe meeting of the conference was one held in a pub (not the reason why) about progress in the north and exploring whether regional or northern devolution was the answer to their lack of representation in central government and other issues. It's a pretty radical reform which was one reason it was exciting, but also rather than being a fringe meeting with think tanks or political celebrities it was full of northerners who were so genuinely passionate about the subject it was truly inspirational to be there. It was real, interesting, something I agree with and also a group of people and an area of the country who have complete reason to feel let down by policy makers of all colours over thirty or more years, but rather than being disillusioned or fed up they decide to fight, debate and campaign about their issues through politics and through the labour party.Great stuff! The Hannah Mitchell Foundation.
  6. Ed Miliband: future Prime Minister? It's possible and few thought it would be at this point which is why the party is in such jubilant mood. I won't babble on this as you've all seen the speech and read about it plenty by now. You've all 'seen it, heard it, felt it' and how incredible it was. One thing you may not have seen however was the Q & A he did the day after. This was interesting because many have pointed at the two as the moment he found his voice etc. He was incredibly witty, comfortable and demonstrated his sharp intellect but I don't think this was the 'moment he found his voice'. This has been happening for a while in my opinion: standing on the right side of most major national issues (phone hacking), good performances in PMQ's, and many different meetings and interviews the party faithful have seen but others haven't. My point is he has been finding his feet and growing into the role for a while but this was the moment it really sent shock waves around the media and hit home with the public. This moment was inevitable in my eyes and is the first step of many where he starts to become a bigger and bigger public figure before the election. 

Just a thought about the man I think will be prime minister. I doubt tomorrow's 'incompetent, out of touch, u-turning, pledge breaking, make it up as you go along, write it on the back of an envolope, miserable shower of a prime minister' will provide an equal showing.

I had an amazing time at conference and thank you very much to all the CLP who were kind enough to let me go when I'm sure everyone would have liked to. My blogging was a bit delayed but you can either blame the poor internet connection in my hotel and the exhibition or the fact that there was loads and loads of free wine at practically every fringe. Your choice.

I leave thinking one thing...with the right choices and plenty of hard work, we could really be in government in 2015.

Spike's Blog: Ed's Speech and #lab12

Ed Miliband’s speech, in my opinion, gives us (Labour, but also the country as a whole) what we need right now: a credible vision for the future – how we get out of recession, and how we create a sustainable model for the economy for the years to come. We need to reshape 
ourselves into ‘one nation’ – a task for which Labour is possibly the only party capable of leading the way. The Conservatives have certainly forfeited the right to this principle, even though it was Disraeli who first made it popular as a rallying cry 140 years ago.

Half way through the parliament (and 4-and-a-half years into the UK recession), I think this comes at just the right time.

It was a powerful speech, giving a little more about Ed himself and his family background, setting out the vision and philosophy, and ending with some specific policy commitments which flow out of this. The biggest, most enthusiastic applause came for the way he ‘nailed’ the Tories for their utter incompetence in government over the past 2-and-a-half years… which just seems to be getting worse as time goes 

What also came across was Ed’s confidence – personally as leader of the Party; and politically that Labour is going to win the next general election. “The next Labour Government will end the free market experiment in the NHS” was an example of this, and one that I particularly 

 So another big ‘thumbs up’ from the conference, which I am sure will help us to take another step forward in our journey back to power. 

 By the way, I was very proud to see our Windsor delegate Jamie on the platform behind Ed during the speech!


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Spike's Blog: Party Conference Day 2

Themes which came out in the Rebuilding The Economy debate: 'Certainty' and 'stability' - these are things which a (Labour) govt can provide, but the Coalition is not.  They are vital to enable people and companies to plan and make investments for the future, which is why the Coalition 'shambles' is having such a negative impact on the economy today.  Examples kept cropping up of this affecting such topics as: green energy, public transport, recycling, food production.

A second common thread was that even though Labour is not in government yet, there are still practical things we can do to make things better for the British public.  Interesting ideas included: a new Switch Together initiative to drive down domestic energy prices; and supporting food banks (scandalous though it is that these are now needed by so many people) via fareshare.org.uk.  More details will be coming out, I am sure.

The billed 'bust up' between the Shadow Chancellor and the Unions turned out to be something of a "love fest" in the end, underlining the drive for unity in the Party.  Great speeches were made by both Len McCluskey of Unite and Ed Balls (the best I have seen from him so far).  Ed asked, will history recall us as the people who wasted the talents of a generation of young people; dismantled the NHS, and so on?  Or the ones who rose to the challenge and built a better, fairer Britain.

Quite rightly he is still talking about making tough decisions, and he invoked the memory of the 1945-1951 Labour Government which continued rationing, and introduced prescription charges. But pointedly he steered away from public sector pay freeze as one of the decisions he had in mind.  It will be interesting to see what the media made of it.

Ps. Some humour: "Butch Cameron & the Flatline Kid" - Ed Balls' new one-liner put down for Cameron and Osborne - after Cameron had said the Shadow Cabinet was not 'butch' enough.  Presumably 40% of its members being women is partly what gives him this impression.  Ed mocked Cameron for telling Caroline Spelman she was "too old" (age 54) to be in the cabinet, then replacing her with a 56-year old man!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Jamie Curtis: Party Conference Blog

Day 1

Just sitting in the conference coffee shop watching John Prescott do a rather comical (intentionally on this occasion) interview for someone. One favourite line coming from his performance is 'here i am, oldest pleb in the business'. Its taking quite a few takes. Anyway thats today, yesterday...
I arrived around 14.00 and once i managed past the protesters and rigorous G4S security i started walking around the exhibition. As a first timer here you could just tell it is going to be an exciting, interesting and thought provoking few days with hopefully a truly inspirational hour or so on Tuesday that will send shock waves through the media and rival parties. Although there were some stands that did manicures and sold cuff links the vast majority were advertising causes such as nuclear disarmament, defeating inequality, a greener Britain and many different solutions to the key theme of our party in this age: lets get Britain working again.

After some time in the main hall and generally looking around getting a feel for the place. Me and Matthew headed over to the south east reception and met spike along with the various other delegates we knew or were about to meet. Harriet Harman was the first big beast to arrive and give her speech. She spoke about how the shadow cabinet would mentor 'MP's to be' and that no one in a safe seat should feel comfortable until they have gotten someone near them in a marginal elected. Inspiring stuff and exactly what the grass roots need to hear to know they have the backing of there leaders.

Then came Ed Miliband. The dry wit got us of to a start: 'you know this is my favourite region in the party' to laughter. 'but don't tell anyone else'. This is the second south east gathering i have attended with Ed speaking and i do feel we hear something particularly pertinent that he perhaps doesn't deliver to other regions. He constantly speaks of how the south have different traditions to the north of course, but the dividing lines laid out by the Tories that the south are aspirational and the north are layabouts is rubbish, and in fact values such as hard work, compassion, fairness and equality of opportunity to name a few are ones shared by the whole of Britain and it is our job to communicate that to the south.

Ed Balls delivered some funny stories about his experiences with Blair and Brown and then proceeded to talk about how the con-dem economic plan is failing. Won't waffle on about that too much but will tomorrow after he has given his speech today.

The final piece of the night was a complimentary curry courtesy of RSPCA. I am completely unashamed to say that animal cruelty has never been something that particularly grabbed my interest (although I am against it) and I absolutely went for the free curry. But it was thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly interesting hearing about the successes they have had including banning live exporting and the challenges they still have to come. Fox hunting was of course part of the speech. The RSPCA seemed happy with us on that one starting their address with 'we're not supposed to back any political part but...'


Spike Humphrey: Party Conference Day 1

Main theme for me from Day 1 is Labour is a UNITED party.  Contrast that with the Coalition who are falling out like petty children, and the 2 constituent parties which are both starting to fight amongst themselves, and both whispering about changing leader.

In my opinion, Ed Balls seems to want to talk up the DISunity in the Labour movement, by saying he will "talk tough" on public sector pay and spending cuts.  I imagine he thinks this will make him look 'credible' on the economy, and capable of making tough, unpopular decisions.  Personally, I think he has picked the wrong issue to do that.  The failure of the Government's cuts and pay freeze strategy is starting to make the Tories look incompetent on the economy.  This should be our focus - driving home that message... not promising to do more of the same but in a slightly watered-down version.

Labour wants to build its image at local level via campaigning on issues that matter to the community.  We saw concrete examples of how branches and CLPs had been building relationships with local people; starting or joining campaigns; and being seen to empower people to take action.  Our Heatherwood campaign feels like a superb example of doing all of these things, so that is a great boost to us in Windsor (and Bracknell) CLP, not to mention Ascot branch.

At the SE Region event in the evening, we had rousing speeches from Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Ed Balls.  All emphasised the South East is critical for Labour to get back into Government at the next General Election.  We will target key marginals in the region, with each one having a Shadow Cabinet 'sponsor' who will do all it takes to ensure Labour regains them in 2015 (or whenever the election is called).  Reading West is one of the targets close to us, and I believe we will want to support them (and Reading East as well) when the time comes.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bill Olney

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Bill Olney. He was a Windsor Labour Party Stalwart and stood for council a number of times. He was a respected community figure and will be missed by all who knew him. Windsor Labour Party will be making a contribution to Cafod at the request of his family.

Laura Binnie

Secretary, Windsor CLP

Monday, 28 May 2012

Friends of Slough Labour Party Quiz Night


Everyone and Anyone


 Quiz night with the Friends of Slough Labour Party (and possibly some live music!). Email friendsofsloughlp@gmail.com for more info.


Thursday, 31st May at 19:00 hrs.


52 High street, Chalvey, SL1 2SQ (opposite the Merco petrol station and plenty of parking).


Because you can answer questions like 'How many children did the author Charles Dickens have?' (or try) and win prizes.


Come along either on your own or in a team and pay only a £1.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Discussion on today's political situation

Join Slough Trades Union Council, general secretary of the GMB Paul Kenny and Simpson Millar's LLP Asha Wije for a discussion on the proposed changes to employment law as well its impact on workers and how they can fight back.

Meet at Chalvey Working Men's Club, 52 high street, Chalvey, Slough SL1 2SQ on the 1st floor at 19.30 on the 9th May.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ken Livingstone:

In just 55 days’ time London will be voting for a new Mayor. This is the closest ever Mayoral election and the outcome could come down to just a few thousand votes. This election is vital to London and to the whole country.

The national Labour Party has twinned Windsor constituency with Ealing and Hillingdon, the Labour Party Organiser responsible for that area is Jim Harvey and his details are 07921403641.

This is without doubt the toughest battle of my political career and it’s a challenge I’m determined to rise to, but I can only do it with your continued help and support.

If you are interested in helping please do click here to volunteer and someone will be in touch soon. 

Let’s win this election 



Ken Livingstone
Labour's Candidate for Mayor of London

P.S My campaign relies on small donations of £10 to pay for vital leaflets, direct mail and technology. Click here to donate if you can.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

March meeting!

Windsor CLP meeting for March will be at Clewer Lodge on the 15th, at 20.00. Paul Clarke from GMB will be attending and talking to members.

All other events and Constituency meetings can be seen in the calender on the events page above. 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Campaigns and fundraisers!

No local elections in Windsor this year, however PLENTY going on around in our neighbouring CLP's and friends in the south east.

To check out whats going on please visit the events page shown on the tab above and view the calender which shows all the events. Some of them are campaign events, a chance for you to help places such as Milton Keynes and Woking to get their vote out. However many of them are fundraising socials, including a dinner in Bracknell with Harriet Harman and in oxford with the shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

Please keep familiar with our events page as its a fantastic way for us all to keep on the same wavelength and communicate at the stroke of the keyboard about whats occurring near-by. Cheers!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"Government by myth and prejudice". A letter to the Royal Borough Observer, 7th January 2012.

"I was saddened and appalled at the Prime Minister's [PM] comments with regards to Health and Safety [H&S] regulation. He used the old chestnut and proven myth, of children having to use goggles to play conkers to justify a stinging attack on "the monster that is excessive H&S regulation" [Front page Jan 6th edition]. Prompting a condemnation by Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health who replied "Labelling workplace H&S as a monster is appalling and unhelpful, as the reason our legislative system exists is to prevent death, injury or illness at work, protecting livelihoods in the process."

The proposal to increase the speed limit on motorways and duel carriageways to 80 MPH is another example of policy incentives based on myth and prejudice, rather than sound evidence. A a comparable speed increase in the US in 1995 lead to a 16.6% rise in fatalities. A major role of Government is to protect the individual against the abuse of power, be it a criminal, an unscrupulous employer, or a speeding motorist.

The PM and this Government clearly is not concerned about the well being of the individual, they play to the gallery rather than base their policies on sound evidence. If regulation is worsened as a result, then many lives will be lost, numerous injuries and ill health will be caused. 

While I approve and welcome better regulation, prejudging any review in this way is dangerous Government by myth and prejudice. Reasonable regulation is the only way to control those with power, who have little regard for the health, safety and welfare of others."

Roy Reeves.
Chair, Windsor Labour Party

Monday, 6 February 2012


Welcome to the refreshed Windsor Labour site for 2012. We've moved some things over to Google Blogger as it is generally easier to manage than our previous Drupal site. We wanted to add a few things which the Google platform allows us to do more easily, so watch this space over coming months. We're transferring all the old blogs and content from the previous site too over the coming days.

(October 2011) Save Heatherwood Campaign

Archived (from October 2011):

Footage of the recent march to save Heatherwood Hospital. If you haven't already signed the petition 
then please keep an eye out for the stalls in either Windsor Ascot or Bracknell on a Saturday.

(September 2011) Conference Report Day Four

Archived (from September 2011):

Today was started with a debate on Crime and justice followed by a great speech by Andy Burnham on Young People. An amazing headteacher from Speke was the highlight of these debates telling conference how each pupil matters and how she turned around a failing school.

The afternoon was dominated by the Open Day Q&A with Ed Miliband where members of the public were invited to ask any questions. The session went on for a good half an hour longer than expected and spanned questions about David Miliband to strike action.

(September 2011) Conference Report Day Three

Archived (from September 2011):

The main theme of the debates today was ‘The Promise of Britain’ which ended with Ed Miliband’s Leaders Speech. The speech was obviously well received by the audience but had a lot of substance and was worth listening to again later on Newsnight. The sunny terrace of the venue overlooking the Mersey was packed after the speech with delegates discussing predator vs producer companies, ‘something for something’ and other details from the speech. One of the fringe highlights tonight was a Beatles Tribute band at the Cavern Club by the Save our Pubs and Clubs campaign.

(September 2011) Conference Report Day Two

Archived (from September 2011):

Started with a debate on Prosperity and Work where the keynote speech was to be Ed Balls. However he was overshadowed by the stunning speech given by 16-year old Rory Weal from Maidstone CLP. If you didn’t hear his speech click on the link below. The evening was spent at a Europe Reception and a housing debate with Ken Livingston. Not many of the other old guard politicians are present this year. Hugh Grant was speaking at a phone hacking fringe meeting at the same time as Ed Miliband was speaking at the Europe Reception. It was a hard choice but we decided to listen to Ed Miliband again. The night was rounded off by a Diversity Party at a local Indian Restaurant. Liverpool is a great conference city especially in the sunshine.

(September 2011) Conference Report Day One

Archived (from September 2011):

Venue right next to Albert Docks where the Blue Bar has changed it’s name to the Red Bar for the week. Nice touch. Ken Livingstone was well received as he started his campaign for Mayor in next year’s election. ‘Refounding Labour’ debate was interesting with the changes in party finances benefitting smaller CLPs, relevant of course for Windsor CLP. Ed Miliband had a busy night speaking at all 3 of the fringe meetings that Windsor Labour attended including Labour Women, Trade Union Labour Group and Labour South East.

(September 2011) Save Heatherwood Campaign

Archived (from September 2011):

Wed, 28/09/2011 - 7:30pm

There will be a public meeting next Wednesday at Windsor Boys School organised by Windsor and Slough Against the Cuts. It is being coordinated by Marc Green a local activist and Green Party member and all parties have been invited to speak on this issue that has cross-party consensus.

As you may have read in the local press, there are three options being considered for the future health provision in East Berkshire and two of these will mean the closure of Heatherwood Hospital. There will be public consultation on the plans in October/November. This meeting will be an opportunity to see what can be done to ensure that local views will be taken in to account.

Windsor Labour will be reporting back to local members on this meeting and we look forward to hearing your views on this.

(April 2010) Support for Liberal Democrats has collapsed in Windsor

Archived (from April 2010):

The Liberal Democrats’ desperation in Windsor is apparent with their standard ‘Labour can’t win here’ line in leaflets distributed to residents. Voters in Windsor can see through the misleading leaflets to the truth – at the last election in Windsor (the Park ward by election in January this year), the Lib Dems suffered a massive 18% drop in their vote whilst the Labour vote surged by 11%.

Residents are voting with their feet to the real alternative in Windsor – the Labour Party. Our manifesto which can be found at: windsorlabour.org.uk offers people a real alternative including plans for pretty cool innovations for the town such as creating facilities for home workers at the library and making Windsor a tech hub. All this whilst still fighting for the retention of services against cuts which are too hard and too fast.

The fact that the Lib Dems abstained from the council budget vote illustrates that they are not prepared to represent residents properly. This weakness will be punished by locals on May 5th.
This blog was also sent as a letter to the local papers on the 26/04/11.

(April 2011) Parking in Windsor is Still a Complete Mess

Archived (from April 2011):

In recent leaflets delivered to local houses, the Tories have claimed success over parking problems in Windsor with “New Parking Spaces Across the Borough”. The evidence would point to the contrary. A walk in the centre of Windsor in the evening still shows streets lined with cars all the way down double yellow lines, showing that there is insufficient space for all the residents, with no enforcement. In addition, local businesses around St Leonards Road and Vansittart Road have suffered under Councillor Tom Bursnall’s ill-thought out resident-only schemes which now leave streets empty during the day with visitors unable to park on them, thus driving down trade. The park and ride scheme is completely under-used, yet congestion on Arthur Road is horrific and town centre street parking is bizarrely almost free.

The short-term sticking plaster policies of this local council are designed more about getting the next term in council than about actually sorting out long term solutions for the town. We need this to change. A comprehensive plan which is sensitive to the realities of our area but reduces congestion and pollution is long overdue but cannot be delivered by the Tories or Lib Dems. They have played electoral ping pong with this issue for too long, affecting businesses and the lives of people here. Let’s make that change with the vote on May 5th and get rid of this incompetent Tory and Lib Dem council.
This blog was also sent as a letter to the local newspapers

(April 2011) Councillors should look closer to home for savings

Archived (from April 2011):

The recently trumpeted 0.5% cut in our council tax bills delivers nothing to most people in the Royal Borough who actually want services from their council. Most residents have seen this cut as a cynical political statement rather than anything genuine. One wonders how much time and how much money were wasted trying to achieve this headline ‘reduction’. Perhaps the council could look closer to home for savings.

When the Tories came to power in the Royal Borough, one of the first things they did was to raise their own allowances by a staggering 91%, before deciding that 60 people had to lose their jobs to achieve efficiency savings.

Surely, leadership comes from the top. Returning Councillor allowances to the 2007 levels would save us well over £200,000; a gesture which may actually make people believe “we’re all in this together”. The candidates for the Windsor Labour Party will campaign for this reduction in Councillor allowances if elected to the Royal Borough council on the 5th of May.
This blog was also sent as a letter to the local newspapers.

(April 2011) 2011 Manifesto: Changing Windsor in Changing Times

Archived (from April 2011):

2011 Manifesto: Changing Windsor in Changing Times

Welcome to our manifesto pages for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead local council elections on the 5th of May 2011. For Maidenhead Labour's own site, please follow the link on the menu bar at the top of this site.

It's an exciting time for Labour in Windsor and we hope you like our ideas. We launched the manifesto at a press event on the evening of the 12th of April. We really welcome comments and feedback. You can leave feedback through our 'Contact Us' link or directly contact any of the candidates listed under 'Local Council Elections'.

A pdf of the manifesto is attached to this page for you to download: <link>
Some highlights include:
* Campaigning to reduce basic Councillor allowances to the 2007 levels, saving over £200,000
* Making Windsor a technology hub - encouraging web and creative companies to come to the area
* Allowing home-workers to work from the library by putting in WiFi and hotdesking facilities
* Enhancing the use of mobile technology in the Royal Borough across council services
* A proposed 'Traffic Free Sunday' in Windsor
* A permanent museum in Windsor
* An annual live music festival across pubs and open areas
* Encouraging modern art installations and exhibitions across the town

(early 2011) Council elections in Windsor - Labour candidates announced

With the local Royal Borough council elections taking place on the 5th of May, the Windsor Labour Party is pleased to announce that we will be fielding 15 fantastic candidates across the area. For full details of each candidate, please have a look at the "Local Council Elections" link: (see information below)

For the candidates in the Maidenhead area, please look at Maidenhead Labour's site at:http://www.maidenheadlabour.org.uk/local-elections.html

Windsor Local Election Candidates 2011:

Ascot & Cheapside - William (Bill) Olney

William (Bill) has been a long time resident of Windsor and was a local publican of more than twenty years. Bill has been a parish councillor and has always had an interest in the local community and helping elderly residents.
“I am concerned about the council spending cuts and how they will be a blight on working families lives”.
William is standing in the Ascot & Cheapside ward and can be contacted at:bill.olney@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Castle Without - Kate Pattinson

Originally from Maidenhead, Kate has lived in Windsor for 20 years. Having previously worked as an IT Project Manager, she recently completed a History degree at Royal Holloway University and currently volunteers at the Windsor Museum Store. Kate has three children who all attend local schools. Her interests include walking, live music and as a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party, local and national politics.

Kate is standing in the Castle Without ward along with Sona George Olikara. She can be contacted at:kate.pattinson@windsorlabour.org.uk

Castle Without - Sona George Olikara

Sona George Olikara was born in 1977 and has been residing at Windsor for the past year and a half. He graduated in 1998 with an Engineering degree and has also completed his Post Graduation (MBA) in Business Management. He is currently working as an IT Programme Manager for a project with a large local company. He has always been a strong Labour Party supporter, believes in its ideology and principles and has been involved in politics since his college days. He loves Windsor for it being traditional yet trendy, warm yet open, its schools and its people and this was the main reason for him to move here from London.
As a strong advocate for change, he strongly believes that if given a chance he can contribute positively in developing Windsor and helping its residents. His strengths are his organizational skills and his ability to develop a great rapport with people around him and build relationships.
Sona is happily married to Betsy and has two sons, Noah and Ethan. He is also a very active volunteer at the British Heart Foundation, loves travelling and is an avid collector of manuscripts. Currently learning Spanish at East Berkshire College, he is also an avid twitterer and his twitter id is: @SonaLabour
Sona is standing for election in the Castle Without ward, along with Kate Pattinson. He can be contacted at:sona.olikara@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Clewer East - Yvonne Olney

Yvonne is an Accountant and lives and works in Windsor. Yvonne has two grown up sons both having been through the Windsor schools. She is a keen runner, having completed three London Marathons and is keen on promoting sports and healthy lifestyles for all.
“I believe that a strong society is one that looks after and appreciates its old, and encourages and stimulates its youth.”
Yvonne is standing in the Clewer East ward and can be contacted at:yvonne.olney@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Clewer North - Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews is a long-established Windsorian who has been an active Labour member for nearly 40 years. In 1992 he played a major role in setting up the charity Windsor & Maidenhead Crossroads Care which provides breaks for unpaid family carers, and he is now Chairman of the Trustees. A former BBC TV producer, he now enjoys writing community plays about Windsor's local history, several of which have been successfully performed in local venues with the help of Windsor residents. He is a beekeeper and an allotment gardener.
Tony is standing in the Clewer North ward and can be contacted at:tony.matthews@windsorlabour.org.uk 
Clewer South - Laura Binnie

Laura Binnie - who stood in the 6th of January By Election in Park Ward, Windsor is standing again against the Lib Dems’ Richard Fagence in the Clewer South ward.
Laura has 3 children in local schools. She has worked in the Oil Industry for 17 years but has now opted to be a stay at home mother. She is studying for a maths degree and is in her final year. In her spare time, Laura also volunteers at St Edwards Church. Her hope is to be elected and support the residents in assuring that essential local services are protected by providing a "truly progressive alternative" within the council. Cuts cannot be allowed to take place without debate and, if elected, her wish is to ensure that this happens.
Laura is standing in the Clewer South ward and can be contacted at:laura.binnie@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Datchet - Jenny Ward

Jenny is a long term resident of Datchet and recently retired. In the past, she worked locally for an international magazine and for the last six years for the NHS Trust, as a patient records clerk. She has served as a school governor and is a member of Unison.
Jenny is standing in the Datchet ward and can be contacted at: jenny.ward@windsorlabour.org.uk

Eton & Castle - George Davidson

George has lived in the centre of Eton with his family for the past six years. He is standing in the Eton & Castle ward. He is the only candidate in the local election who is not employed by Eton College and who has a permanent home in Eton. George can provide an independent voice in dealings with the council and the college, for example in relation to the controversial ‘Rafts’ development. If elected, he wants to make Eton busier for traders and quieter for residents.
George stood against the Conservatives’ John Redwood in the last general election and has previously served as a Councillor in Slough as Deputy Leader of the Council, so has considerable experience in public office and getting results for local people.
George is standing in the Eton & Castle ward and can be contacted at:george.davidson@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Eton Wick - Mark Olney

Mark grew up in Eton Wick where his father ran the Three Horseshoes pub. Mark has lived in the village for the past 18 years with his wife and 2 grown up sons. He is a Primary School Teacher and previously represented Eton Wick as a Councillor for seven years. During this time he fought for better services for the residents of the village both young and old alike. Mark had to reluctantly give up his role as a councillor when taking up the position of Deputy Headteacher at Eton Porny First School. Mark now works for a neighbouring authority and can once again stand for election in the ward. “I feel Eton Wick has been neglected over the past 6 years in terms of cuts to funding to improve parking, public transport and road improvements in the village. I feel the voice of the residents and their concerns over local services have been largely neglected. I would welcome the opportunity to put this right.”
Mark is standing in the Eton Wick ward and can be contacted at: mark.olney@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Horton & Wraysbury - Peter Ward

Peter has lived in the locality for many years and has been a member of the Labour Party for over 27 years. He works for the NHS and is a member of Unison.
Peter is standing in the Horton & Wraysbury ward and can be contacted at: peter.ward@windsorlabour.org.uk

Old Windsor - Ahamed Mashoor

Ahamed is a long-term resident of Old Windsor where he lives with his family. He works as a physiotherapist in the NHS.
Ahamed is standing in the Old Windsor ward along with Roy Reeves and can be contacted at: ahamed.mashoor@windsorlabour.org.uk

Old Windsor - Roy Reeves

Roy has lived, worked and is now retired in the Old Windsor area. He is Chair of the Windsor Constituency Labour Party, Branch Secretary of the GMB Union and is on the Old Windsor Day Centre management committee. A former Head Gardener at Eton College and Gardener at Windsor Castle, he believes in encouraging people to be involved in local organisations, but not if this is at the expense of council workers’ jobs.
Roy is standing in the Old Windsor ward along with Ahamed Mashoor and can be contacted at: roy.reeves@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Park Ward - Brent Curless

54 year old Brent Curless has lived in Windsor for over 20 years and as a keen member of The Datchet Dashers can often be seen out running on The Long Walk. He will be running his 14th London Marathon this year and is passionate about people being fit and especially that our children have the facilities for and encouragement to an active outdoor life. He is also an advocate of open access to the countryside and would like to see more of The Great Park opened up to the general public including the river bank that runs through Windsor Castle.
Brent lives in Fountain Gardens with his Wife Penny who is a local magistrate and his three children who all attend Windsor schools. As a property developer he is keen that we have excellent quality in our built environment and with our transport links. He is also someone who would like to see a reduction in the number of cars in Central Windsor – especially at the weekends and has some new ideas on how to bring that about.
Brent is standing in Park ward and can be contacted at:brent.curless@windsorlabour.org.uk 

Sunningdale - Ajay Nehra

Ajay lives and runs two local businesses in Sunningdale and Sunninghill. Having moved to Sunningdale in 2000 he is fully aware of the local issues that exist in and immediately surrounding the village. He has been an active Labour Party member and business supporter. Ajay stood for Sunningdale in the 2007 local elections and visibly improved Labour Party support in the area. Ajay has two young sons and is anticipating raising them both in Sunningdale schools.
“I am concerned with the lack of support in dealing with local issues in Sunningdale and particularly with the delays in getting the work done.”
Ajay is standing in the Sunningdale ward and can be contacted at:ajay.nehra@windsorlabour.org.uk and followed on twitter at:http://twitter.com/ajaysunningdale He also has his own blog at:http://www.ajaynehra4sunningdale.com/ 

Sunninghill & South Ascot - Spike Humphrey

I have been living in Sunninghill and then South Ascot for the past 5 years. I work for a British company; my job is to export pharmaceuticals around the world. I have a 25 year career in Marketing, most of which has been in the South East region. While I have been a life-long Labour voter, I decided to join the Labour Party and become more active in political life about a year ago. The issues I feel most concerned about are that the policies and overall direction of the present government will lead to increasing inequality and unfairness in our country. I believe this is out of tune with the values of the mainstream majority of the British people. I fear the speed and depth of the spending cuts are too great. This will not only remove important public services, but also demoralise the people who are left in place to deliver what remains (in the health service, education, the police force, and so on); hence we will all suffer the consequences. I also see the coalition's present economic strategy as misguided and ultimately self-defeating, since what it is doing is to contract the economy and seriously weaken consumer and business
Spike is standing in the Sunninghill & South Ascot ward. He can be contacted at: spike.humphrey@windsorlabour.org.uk 

(January 2011) Labour South East Gala Dinner

Archived (from January 2011):

Some of the Windsor CLP at last weeks gala dinner with Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP.

(January 2011) Jan 2011 Park Ward By-Election

Archived (from January 2011):

Thank you to all at Windsor Labour and our friends at Ascot and Maidenhead CLPs for this really encouraging result. We may not have the infrastructure and resources of the other parties, but with good planning and enthusiasm we managed to get our message across to the voters in Windsor.

(December 2010) Big Society Fails at First Major Challenge

Archived (from December 2010):

The snow chaos in the past couple of weeks provided the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead the perfect opportunity to show off its status as one of the "vanguard" communities for the "Big Society".
Across the borough, people struggled through roads and pavements that were not cleared or ploughed. After having had a trial run at this in January 2010, unfortunately our council was once again caught off-guard with unseasonal winter weather... in winter. Cue the army of volunteers to clear our streets with their shovels, marshalled by our local Councillors in a triumph for David Cameron's Big Society... er no. In fact nothing. People walking their dogs were amused and slightly dismayed to see that the Queen had two snow ploughs going up and down the Long Walk in Windsor, whilst cars slid around the snow covered main road it crosses.

A few days later, the temperatures dropped and the pavements froze over. With no pavements cleared of snow (even in the town centres) and reduced to ice skating rinks, pedestrians were forced to walk on the road. It was noticed that in places where people had taken the initiative and cleared the snow in the first place, the pavements had dried out and not iced over, leading residents to wonder what our council has been doing over the past 12 months since the last snow and exactly what are they paying their council tax for.

Even if our local Conservative Councillors had taken the initiative and actually used their Big Society concept a bit more, it generally takes more than spades to clear the snow. Local people can't afford their own snow ploughs - excepting of course, the Queen.
This blog was also sent as a letter to the local Windsor papers.

(2010) Homelessness in affluent areas

Archived (from 2010):

At this time of year, particularly with the current weather, many peoples’ thoughts turn to the homeless. You wouldn’t think it a major problem on the streets of areas like Windsor, but some homeless people are drawn to affluent areas and people can be less than sympathetic to their plight.

There will always be people who are not willing or be able to be in the hostels provided whether it is pet ownership or alcohol and drug abuse issues. Mental health problems can also play a part in self exclusion from help. Their lifeline in this borough is the churches that provide a rota of night shelters.
But this is just the visible sign of homelessness in the South East.

Many families with older children still at home well into their twenties realise how difficult it is for children to leave home with high housing costs. Imagine if that youngster didn’t have the family network that many take for granted. Family breakdown and young adults leaving the care system leave us with youngsters who don’t have these advantages. They become reliant on ‘sofa surfing’ and local authority B&B and hostel places.

Yes, these youngsters are off the streets, but will this ever address their long term needs?
For those still at home, low housing stock is an obvious contributor to this continuing problem and in areas where land is at a premium, new affordable housing will always be a major challenge. Legislation has tried to address this by forcing developers to provide social housing within new developments. But there is still a shortfall. Even with the Fair Rent act, private landlords are still able to charge rents which are too high for a young person at the beginning of their working life to afford.
So what are options for those without family support?

(December 2010) Volunteering

Archived (from December 2010):

What a fabulous set of pupils from Windsor Girls, who gave up their Saturday night to volunteer at the Butterfly Ball at the Castle Hotel last weekend. People of all ages volunteer day in and day out around Windsor and will continue to do so, whether they get reward points or not. You get a lot out of volunteering personally as it makes you feel connected to the community you are a part of. Wanting to contribute to society with no reward is an admirable thing and should not be politicised as the ‘Big Society’.

The messages from the ’Big Society’ are getting a bit confused in the telling. On one hand, Adopt-a -Street is taking pride in your area – at the same time street cleaning is being used as stick for non-compliant benefit claimants. The council are at pains to say that the Big Society is not about getting charity and volunteers to provide council services on the cheap, so we must ensure that this is not the case.

In the States, disadvantaged communities are served by large charities, such as the United Way, who operate in large companies to fund and man community projects. Employees contribute with time and fundraising. This is all well and good for the areas which have a large company in their community but this help can disappear as a company is relocated or closes down. With the lack of a coherent welfare state these people are dependent on charity and volunteers. I believe the majority of British public are not keen to go down this route to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
As always – these are just my views – I’d be happy to listen to yours.

(December 2010) Maidenhead Labour's website

Archived (from December 2010):

We're really pleased to be able to add a link to Maidenhead Labour's website at the top of our front page today. Please have a look at their site: http://www.maidenheadlabour.org.uk

We have many joint activities between our local parties, especially as we are in the same council borough, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. As such, we have many local issues that are the same. We also allow members to come along to each others' meetings and social events.

(December 2010) To tweet or not to tweet

Archived (from December 2010):

I've been asked whether I have a twitter account to add to this site. I do, but I never use it! I did try, but as a 42-year old mother I feel that no-one really wants listen to my daily moans and words of wisdom.
But standing for public office means that I have a chance to air my views and opinions to a wider audience. This is why I would be privileged to provide a voice for residents who don’t believe their views are being represented. A Labour vote has always been seen as a wasted vote in Windsor, but with the Con-Lib coalition, it really is the only alternative vote to swingeing cuts in our local services. No vote is a wasted vote.

The cuts being proposed nationally at the moment are too deep and too quick and I want work to ensure that front line services can be protected to keep Windsor the great place to live that it is.

Laura Binnie

(November 2010) Guest blog: Steve Hedley, CEO Trinity Homeless Projects

Archived (from November 2010):

Steve will be speaking at the next Windsor Labour meeting on the 18th of November. We invited him to write a guest blog for our site.

HOMENo one ever came to us saying they want their own home. ‘Place’ is what people say, “I want my own place”.

To talk about ‘being somewhere’ rather than ‘having something’ leaves less to be disappointed about, less to get worked up about, less to hope for. The feelings of home may best be captured when you want to go there. The instant justifications provide a list of the very things we all wish for; a place to call my own, full of my things, warm, safe, familiar, a place to close the door on the rest of the world and be myself, put my feet up, follow my rules. Typically the opposite is true if you are homeless; no where to go, owning nothing, unsafe and unfamiliar, vulnerable to the world, unable to relax, not knowing the rules. Having a place is a big step towards having a home. You make a place a home by caring for it, by being stable, things people suffering the effects of homelessness struggle with. People are fearful when they first come to us. We call ourselves a hostel, which either conjures up images of a Dickensian workhouse, or a doss house that’s more dangerous than sleeping on the streets. What people find instead are small, warm houses run by friendly, welcoming staff. A space where you can relax and recover and spend as much time as you need to address the reasons that have caused you to become homeless. Getting a place to make a home is difficult enough for people not on the property ladder, even more difficult if you qualify for Social Housing and nearly impossible if you don’t. Yet getting a place to make a home requires first finding that place inside you that wants a home, otherwise getting a place will often mean losing it again as you don’t have the desire or the skills to turn that place into your home. The way we work at Trinity is; People come to us wanting a place and they leave able to make a home.

(November 2010) Long standing Windsor Labour member, Ann Matthews passes away

Archived (from November 2010)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ann Matthews. Ann was a long-standing member of the Windsor Labour Party and a prominent activist. She served until recently as the Treasurer of the local party and campaigned in the recent General Election. Ann passed away last night after a period of illness. We pass our condolences to her family and friends.

(November 2010) Social meeting with speaker Gavin Hayes at The Trooper Windsor

Archived (from 25th November 2010):

All are very welcome to join WIndsor CLP at a social meeting at The Trooper 97 Saint Leonards Road Windsor SL4 1HX. Principally the meeting is meant as an opportunity for new, existing or future members to meet and get to know each other. We are keen to get as many people down as possible. We will be using the conservatory space at the rear of the pub.

As the party looks to move on with our new leader it seems the right time to open up the debate about where we are heading and our guest speaker will be Gavin Hayes General Secretary of the pressure group Compass he will be giving us a short talk on his paper "Transforming Labour".
You can find out more about Compass here http://www.compassonline.org.uk
Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know your coming.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

(September 2010) Technology at the Heart of Government Policy

Archived (from September 2010):

(image copyright BBC)

David Rogers, the Windsor CLP conference delegate, gave a speech on Monday on the subject of "Technology at the Heart of Policy". The speech is still available to watch via the BBC iplayer (from 1:54:00):http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00v2r4b/Labour_Party_Conference_20...

The speech was very well received and BBC South Today spent time with David the following day, highlighting his support for tax breaks for the computer games industry and interviewing him about how he had found conference.

Afterwards David said "I'm happy that people agreed with what I had to say. We should really support and encourage technological growth in this country. It will help to solve a lot of problems."
Here is the original transcript for David's speech (click more if you are previewing this blog post):

Technology at the Heart of Policy
Conference, David Rogers, Windsor CLP.

Labour must put technology at the heart of policy, and recognise that it stretches across everything we do.

To recover our economy, we need to invest in the future. And that future is high technology: Technology to enable jobs, technology to revive our manufacturing industries and technology to help society.

We can only do this by ensuring we have the right skills. Without training, engineering apprenticeships and science graduates, we will only ever be consumers of technology.

Enabling communities
We should think laterally about how we can achieve economic growth through the use of technology. It is a travesty that we do not support rural communities to be more connected. We need to facilitate more remote and home working which will have tangential benefits on our transport network, the environment and for local businesses.

We must not allow deprived communities to become further disadvantaged by becoming a technology underclass. More so, we should transform high-unemployment areas such as Merthyr Tydfil, Port Talbot and County Durham through enabling new jobs from home which could support businesses in London and the South East who are crying out for staff. In this connected world, why should it matter where you live?

We have to drive the use of mobile applications in all areas of local and national government, which will help the disabled, the elderly and increase inclusiveness in our communities. At the same time, we have to understand the technology we are embracing. We cannot give away our private health records to companies in exchange for a computer system and our critical national infrastructure must remain secure.

Generating prosperity and enhancing our economy
Our focus must be on generating prosperity and enhancing our economy. We should be proud of our existing high tech industries and create the environment that allows them to grow. Most people do not realise that nearly all of the world’s mobile phones run on chips designed by a British company based in Cambridge.

We should make bold technological policy moves which will protect the environment, driving fundamental changes to car technology and embedded systems so that we are at the forefront of innovation.

I join the people of Dundee, Oxford and Brighton in asking why are we removing R&D tax credits from the computer games industry? Creative industries are a huge area of growth! We should nurture small developers and technologists and help them protect what they produce. Labour can be proud of its work on Opendata and open government. However, as a party, we need to revisit the digital economy act and ensure that we balance the rights and freedoms of individuals with the absolute need to protect the copyright of content developers.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that are going to live in a high technology future. Labour should lead us into this and put Britain at the forefront of science and engineering.