Sunday, July 04, 2010

“On the knocker” for Lollypop Louise against the Nasty Nazi.

Yesterday afternoon I went to help out in the Goresbrook ward by-election in Barking and Dagenham. UNISON NEC member and long serving Lollypop Lady (aka "school crossing officer") Louise Couling is fighting it out with BNP Assembly member Richard Barnbrook for the seat. Louise had been elected as Councillor in May but due to a cock-up with the paperwork she had to resign and refight the seat.

Newham Labour members had turned out in the morning to help the campaign including Mayor Sir Robin Wales and East Ham MP Stephen Timms. The meeting point was the 3rd floor of “Transport House” which was only a few minutes walk away from Goresbrook Road. The Anti-fascists “Hope Not Hate” are based on the same floor and I met up there with my former branch secretary Jean Geldart who is spending part of her very busy “retirement” helping them out.

Looking out of the back windows of the building you can get some idea of the problems that have faced this community in recent years. Next door are some decaying Ford buildings. The Ford motor car factory at its peak use to stretch for as far as you could see.  An incredible whole 1 mile by 3 miles and employed 40,000 workers. It even had its own railway station and ferry. No wonder there has been huge difficulties - but let’s not forget that (a much smaller) Ford still produce a million car engines per year at this site.

The voter ID session actually went very well. People were in general very positive and promised to support Louise and Labour - and to keep Barnbrook out. We didn’t see any BNP canvassers although their Führer "I hate Londoners" Nick was supposed to be about. But complacency and a low turn out is a big, big risk and we need to get everyone out for Thursday.

Ring 07540 079 685 if you can help out this week and especially on polling day (this Thursday 8 July).

UPDATE: email from Margaret Hodge "Campaign HQ for the day will be 34 Amesbury Road RM9 6AB, Dagenham, which will open at 6.45am and close at 10pm. It's a two minute walk from Becontree Underground Station, on the district line.  However, the District Line caught fire at Barking on Friday, so we are not sure if it will be up and running again. If it's not, we will lay on minibuses from Barking Train Station throughout the day.

Barking is on the c2c line, which runs every ten minutes or so from Fenchurch Street, West Ham and Limehouse - it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to get here. Look out for people in 'Lollipop Louise' t.shirts.  If you need directions, more information or want to let us know you are coming, please phone  07540 079 685 or e-mail back (margarethodgebarkingATgooglemailDOTcom).

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