Archive | July, 2012

One woman’s election experience – ‘It didn’t come easy!’

27 Jul

by Paula Sherriff

Hi everyone, really pleased to be able to contribute to this worthwhile and much needed site!

I was very proud to have been elected as a Labour Councillor in May this year. However, it is fair to say it didn’t come easy! I was elected in an AWS seat (incidentally really interested to hear other’s views on AWS?) The ward for which I stood had a candidate in mind and yes you guessed it – it was a man! I can go into details if you wish but, in a nutshell they made life very difficult indeed. Ultimately my selection was made by the DLP with Regional involvement. During a difficult campaign, I was subjected to abusive telephone calls, threatening behaviour and a number of untruths were circulated around the ward in question, generally questioning my integrity.

I had a couple of mini ‘wobbles’ but was determined to keep going and not give in to shocking, misogynistic behaviours. What really saddened me was that this treatment was being dished out from fellow party members, effectively going against everything the Labour party stands for.

I made over 5000 contacts between being selected and the election and improved the contact rate in the ward from 11% to nearly 50%.

I hope you are relieved to read that I was elected with a fairly sizeable majority despite an ex Labour party member standing against me as an Independent. Upon making my ‘victory’ speech I stated I was so proud to be a Labour party member but more importantly a ‘strong Labour woman’. I hope this resonates with many of you. We have a duty to and must try to stamp out this kind of behaviour within the party, there is simply no place for it!


Paula SherriffPaula Sherriff is a Labour Councillor for Pontefract North

Follow Paula on Twitter: @paulasherriff

The Durham Big Meeting

20 Jul

by Kate Osamor

Unite's banner at the Gala

Unite has produced a political strategy which outlines “our” view on how to ensure working class people can take up political positions within the labour party. Recent article/blogs have made claim that the strategy is a move for Unite the union to take over the Labour party. This is untrue and very misleading.

For years trade unions have backed the Labour leadership and supported the appointment of Labour MP’s, Sadly with little recognition. The policy involves Unite fighting for more for trade union-backed MPs, a restoration of democracy and for policies which would commit the Labour Party to improving employment rights and opposing all cuts.

Last week I had the pleasure of going to the Unite Political school, held at Durham University, to work on understanding the political strategy and how best to implement it. For 3 long days we discussed why politics matters, how to win Labour for working people and how best to win working people for Labour

We worked in small break away groups looking at identifying any barriers to success and how to overcome them, as well as pledging group/individual plans on how to apply the strategy in our workplaces and union branches.

The school coincided with The Durham Miners’ Gala, known locally as “The Big Meeting”, which is the annual celebration of the Durham coalfield’s heritage and trade unionism. First held in 1871, with unions marching into the city, the Gala has developed into an elaborate socialist iconography, where ‘working class’ people march together with banners and brass bands. As part of a Unite delegation, we marched through the streets of Durham on to the old racecourse, to hear political speeches from Ed Miliband (the first Labour MP to attend the Gala in over 20 years) and Tom Watson MP amongst other great comrades.

I was part of history and feel very proud to have attended both the political school and the Durham Miners Gala.


Kate Osamor is an activist in Unite the Union and the Labour Party

Diary of a ‘Rogue Officer’

20 Jul

Diary of a 'Rogue Officer'

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