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Why I’ve left the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election campaign

February 3, 2017 2:04 PM
By Ed Fordham in Liberal Democrat Voice

Zulfiqar AliI'm sitting here in Stoke-on-Trent railway station waiting for a train to London. Yes I'm leaving the by-election - for 36 hours. Handing over the tasks, the jobs, the plans to other people whilst I hold half the information in my mind was pretty mad. And all the people I was dropping things onto, they already have jobs to do. But that's the nature of the by-election HQ here in Stoke-on-Trent busy busy busy.

However I'm not leaving for a break, or any kind of desire to get away - I'm off to the funeral of a best friend who was untimely killed on his war to work just before Christmas in a car accident at the age of 33. So I'm off for a good old cry and a large number of real deep life-affirming hugs with some very special friends. There won't be a dry eye in the house. I'm stopping myself from crying as I type this.

So I need another favour from you all. I'm asking you to step up and step in for my absence. We need your help on the street, on the doorsteps and on the phones. Do I matter so much? No! But every person, every delivery, every canvass makes a positive difference to our chances. And my mate, whom I'm off to say goodbye to, was positive if he was nothing else.

Why bother? Dr Zulfiqar Ali is a stunningly impressive candidate for us. Calm, unflappable, articulate, committed, political, loyal and determined. And I can say - absolutely lovely and great company. If we run the campaign we plan to run, if Stoke listens and the residents meet him, he can pull off a stunning result for you all. So more than anything else it will be an electoral boost for us all, but also it will be the success of an individual who is a superb advocate for Liberal Democracy.

So my ask is pretty simple:
1. Book your train ticket now or get in your car and clear your diary. The Postal Voters polling day is Monday 13th February so we don't have much time.
2. Get onto your connect account and start the telephoning of the voters of Stoke-on-Trent Central - they await your call.
3. Urge others, make a donation, spread the word, support Zulfi's social media campaign.

So, I will dash to London to pay a heartfelt homage to one of my besties, before rushing back to make him proud of the campaign we are running to stop the far right. Please cheer me up by turning up this weekend in numbers beyond our hopes… I hope to be there by 10am Saturday morning and will join the queue to get into the HQ that hopefully will have formed due to so many of your answering this call.

Love you all, love liberalism. Come and help elect Zulfi and we can share the love.

It's The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheaf Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4LW and the event page for the weekend is here .

* Ed Fordham was councillor for Stoke West 1998-2002, stood for Stoke-on-Trent Central 1997 and is working full time for Dr Zufiqar Ali