Monday, 24 November 2014

Standing Down

Last week I had to take a difficult decision to stand down as our parliamentary candidate in the Yeovil constituency.

Many of you who know me will be aware of the accident I had last year where I did some damage to my back. 

Following a visit to Hospital last week I have had to make a decision about my health, which with the recovery time following an operation early next year would take me out if the campaign for two months, slap bang in the middle of the election period.

This would not be fair to the activists in the party, and the constituents of Yeovil and South Somerset.

I want to thank the party members who have worked with me in the campaign so far, and wish them the best of luck seeking a replacement.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Open Letter from Labour PPCs

This week I joined over 100 Labour Parliamentary Candidates in signing a letter in Support of Ed Miliband.

It was published on Labour List a national blog. The text is below

Our country simply cannot afford another five years of an abysmal Conservative-led government. That’s why, as candidates, we’re out on the doorstep week in, week out in the towns, cities and countryside that we seek to represent, making the case for a better future under Labour.

We always knew this election would be difficult, but we also know that just four years after suffering our worst defeat since 1918, Ed Miliband has led our party to within striking distance of government.

At a time when the public are increasingly sceptical about politics and politicians, we’re proud to be led by a man that we know to be honest, sincere and decent. He will be a courageous, radical and reforming Prime Minister.

Ed is the only leader who understands the scale of the challenge that our deeply anxious and unequal country faces, and the only leader who has developed a radical yet credible agenda to meet it. He was the first to identify the dangers our economic malaise posed not just to the poorest but also to vast swathes of middle-income Britain. He was the first to call for a new culture of responsibility, including for those at the top. He was the first to highlight both the moral evil and the economic stupidity of Britain’s endemic levels of low pay and the importance of fair wages and dignity in work. He was the first to take a stand against Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. And he is the only leader that can save our NHS from the privatisation and fragmentation unleashed on it by the Coalition Government.

He has shown time and again, on press regulation, on bankers’ bonuses, on gas and electricity prices, on the minimum wage and on payday lending, that it is the Labour Party that is setting the agenda not the government.

We have watched in disappointment over recent days as an anonymous few have attempted to orchestrate a campaign of briefing to destabilise Ed and his leadership. It is a distraction from the real issues, damaging for our party and it has to stop. Now is the time to stand our ground and to work even harder for the Labour victory that our communities so desperately need. As candidates we will not be distracted from getting out there and doing all we can to work for a Labour government.


More updates from me soon.


Martin's Blog an update

Where you been?

So as several you have commented I have not been active on the blog for a couple of months. 

I have had several months away from the blog following the death of my mum. 

I was overwhelmed by the cards and messages of support from my friends in the Labour and Trade Union movement, and just wanted to say thanks once again.

I have had a few activities in my diary over the past weeks, including a very interesting breakfast debate with Yeovil Chamber of Trade, our NHS campaign day, and I also had the honour of laying the Party wreath at the Rememberance Sunday Event in Yeovil Town Centre last Sunday. 

So hopefully back to normal from now on.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Martins round up

So a really busy 10 days

As I said in my last update I visited some activities being provided for senior citizens based in the Blackdown Hills Aonb. It was fabulous to see a great band of volunteers, working with the group members to combat the isolation that is felt by so many people in rural areas.

At the beginning of last week I was guest speaker at the East Coker - Time to share group. With the title 'Amusing Tales of a Parliamentary Candidate'  it was good to meet the members of that group, and I got to judge the table top competition, of political memerobilia. There was a good selection, including two lumps of masonry from the Houses of Parliament! 

On Tuesday of last week I headed up to Coventry for a training course, and had a dreadful journey back on the Train from Birmingham. With cancellations, fake delays, and a general lack of consideration for the travelling passenger. The privatisation of the railways means that the train company was blaming network rail, network rail was blaming someone else, and the staff at Birmingham New Street (who were very good) had no clue as to what was happening. That's why I was pleased that we have seen announcements on rail franchising from Labour, which could potentially see the train networks coming back as one.

On Thursday I began my summer campaign calling for a guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours.  as well as press and social media, we are also visiting Crewkerne, Chard, And Yeovil with a petition. My team will be out and about every Saturday this August, so come and have a chat if you spot us. (We are in crewkerne this coming Saturday morning (16th August) 

On Friday I has my own experience with the NHS as I had an accident that led to me getting a nasty cut on the forehead. The people in A&E were amazing, but it did mean that on Saturday when were were doing our petition in yeovil I got a number of very strange looks, with half my forehead covered in plaster and bandage.

I think my next talk might have to be Health and safety for parliamentary candidates!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sick of waiting for a GP?

Sick of waiting for a GP?
As a local Labour PPC I spend a great deal of time meeting with local people, listening to their hopes and concerns. Something I hear more and more about is the National Health Service.
People tell me it’s getting harder to see the family doctor. David Cameron scrapped Labour’s guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours- and now 60 per cent of patients say they can’t see their GP within two days.
Sign Labours petition to guarantee GP access within 48 hours at
Thousands of nurses and frontline staff have been lost from the NHS since David Cameron
became Prime Minister and disturbingly, experts say that A&Es don’t have safe staffing levels.
If you are unfortunate enough to be waiting for a treatment like a cataract removal or knee
operation, these are now being rationed.
David Cameron is responsible for this crisis. He has wasted £3 billion on a damaging NHS
reorganisation he promised wouldn’t happen. And Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have been too weak to stand up to David Cameron and have backed the Tories all the way.
Meanwhile cuts to elderly care are sending more elderly people to A&E and making it harder for them to get the care they need at home.
Labour rescued the NHS after years of Tory neglect before and we’ll do it again. We’ll repeal David Cameron’s NHS changes that put private profit before patients so that NHS
professionals can focus on your care.
And we’ll get started by guaranteeing a GP appointment within 48 hours and on the same day for those who need it.
But the General Election isn’t until next year and that’s why I’m organising a campaign now to call on David Cameron to guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours straight away.
Please take a moment to sign my petition to guarantee GP access within 48 hours

Monday, 28 July 2014

Weekly round up

A late posting as for some reason had no internet on Sunday 

So last weekend saw the national Labour policy forum meet to decide on our policy and pledges in the run up to the General Election Next year 

Over the coming months we will see the results of this announced.

I submitted two ideas to the forum, and wanted to briefly detail them here.   

The first was a proposal that all energy companies be forced to offer there lowest rate to prepay meter users. Many people who are on low incomes, or whose landlords insist, have no option but to use these meters, paying a higher price for their energy. This should be stoped and my proposal call for this.

The second was a bit more complicated. Recently there have been many calls for the railways to be renationalised, the Tories have mucked up the franchising process, and Directly Operated Railways (a government entity) have been running the east cost railway  very successfully making a profit, following the decision by national express to walk away as it was not making enough money from the franchise.

My proposal took this one step further. I proposed that the railways become mutual (similar to a building society, or a member owned cooperative) that way both the people running the railways, and the passengers would have a greater say in the operation of the network. Any profits could be reinvested, and users of socially important ( but loss making) services would have a greater voice. Price rises would be kept to a minimum as there would be no profit hungry share holders demanding ever increasing dividends.  

We have alreadey seen that this idea might have some traction. So watch this space.

Just before the national policy forum I attended the Unison ( my trade union ) labour link national forum, where I addressed the delegated on public transport in mixed rural and a
Urban areas, and how the slashing of services at weekends and night time, has let to people bein unable to find work, and an increase in rural isolation.

This week I will be looking at countryside issues, and visiting parts of the Blackdown anob to see how older people in this area cope with social isolation in rural areas.

That all for now


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Weekly update.


So a busy week for Labour in Yeovil, with several thousand leaflets being delivered for the by election in the Town Council West ward. I spent much of the previous week over a hot printer preparing leaflets for Murray Shepstone our superb candidate.  The team have been out delivering, and with over 4000 voters in the ward it's a lot of miles of shoe leather. So a big thanks to everyone who has been supporting The big push. As I write this the result is still to be published, so good luck Murray

At the start of the week I was contacted by someone who has been affected by the bedroom tax. I was able to guide this person to the correct source of support, as they are now behind with rent payments, and have been tempted to resort to payday lenders to cover the shortfall.  Labour has already pledged to axe this unfair Tory lib dem idea. But people are still struggling, and will do until we elect a Labour govt in May next year.

This week was also the week of our monthly constituency meeting, and was the first one I have been unable to get to since I was chosen as Ppc. I was sorry to miss it as we are planning our summer activities . One thing to look out for is our new NHS campaign. A labour innovation, and being damaged by the Tories every day.

This weekend I will be meeting members in Yeovil, and on Saturday night I have been invited (in a personal capacity) by Taunton Thespians to do the audience warm up (and draw the raffle!) when they visit South Somerset with their open air production of 'Taming of the Shrew'  they will be at Muchelney Abbey, with the show going up at 7.30.  Tickets are going fast, but still available from 

That's it for now.