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  • Anita Day
    Article: Aug 22, 2017
    By Anita Day

    This weekend, Grantham, our largest town, was in the news twice…. and for all the wrong reasons.

    First came the shocking images of the National Front march through Grantham on Saturday, which made the national newspapers. Estimates vary of the number of alt-right supporters there - and some claimed that many were not local. But their rally was met by a counter-demonstration by Unite Against Fascism, and violence flared. Police managed to regain control and 2 people were arrested, but there was significant disruption to High Street traffic, and shoppers were warned to hide in shops for their own safety.

  • Anita Day
    Article: Jul 24, 2017

    Our younger daughter graduated from medical school in Nottingham last week. It was a wonderful day. The sun shone, the refreshments flowed and it was lovely celebrating their achievements with her 8 closest friends and their families whom we've got to know over the past five years. And theirs is an achievement to be proud of. This small group- a mixture of sexes, nationalities, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and orientations-have supported each other through, not only their challenging training, but life-threatening/life-changing illnesses, family traumas & deaths, and existential & emotional crises…. and have emerged as a 'band of brothers' who you feel will be friends for life. At least I hope so. As I watched each of them go up on stage to collect their diplomas, I felt very emotional and proud of them all, for each of them had ridden their personal rollercoasters of hard work and fun, despair and elation, fear.. and eventually a sense of accomplishment.

  • Anita Day
    Article: Jul 10, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    I'm sorry for the long gap since my last postcard. The last couple of months have been hectic - first the local County Council elections, then the General Election - and it has taken a while for me to gather my thoughts.

    Our County Council results were encouraging, even though we did not win any seats- we fielded more candidates than ever before, and won 2 second places in Stamford, where we gained nearly 18% of the vote. We also identified some parts of Grantham, Bourne and Spalding where notional candidates polled better than we had expected. So whilst it wasn't the breakthrough we had hoped for, our results have provided valuable information which will help us target resources better in future campaigns.

  • Anita Day
    Article: Apr 30, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    Dear Friend,

    Sorry that I haven't written for a couple of weeks, although you've probably guessed the reasons why, given events of the last 10 days.

    There we were… in the midst of the County Council Election campaigns, getting on with delivering leaflets, canvassing etc ….and then Theresa May dropped her bombshell!

  • Anita Day
    Article: Apr 12, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    I don't know if this ever happens to you, but occasionally I find myself doing an internal fist-pump! Generally it is caused by something I've seen or heard or read which resonates with me … perhaps a story of honour & courage, like the girl in Birmingham standing up to the EDL last weekend…. or the latest witty put-down of the US President on Twitter……or the incredible victory of a long-revered hero (Roger Federer, of course!). But usually, it is caused by something which encapsulates my beliefs and values.

    I've had a few occasions in Brexit discussions, of course, when someone has described feelings just like my own. But just this week, I had a fist-pump moment with an unlikely source. I happened to find myself on the Liberal Democrat website, on the page which displays the Preamble to the Constitution. For those who don't know it, it basically summarises what Liberal Democrats believe in. The statement hasn't changed in a while. And I've read it many times before. But somehow, on that particular day, it meant something. Without wishing to be sentimental - although actually I was - it reminded me of the reasons I am proud to call myself a Liberal Democrat. So I did an unexpected internal fist-pump! (Just in case you are interested in reading it too, you will find it here: http://www.libdems.org.uk/constitution)

    I had a second internal fist-pump when I saw the final list of Lib Dem candidates for the Lincolnshire County Council elections on 4 May. This will be the first opportunity for people (including EU nationals) to deliver a verdict on this government's actions- so it was important that we fielded as many candidates as we could, to give voters the chance to vote for a Lib Dem and allow us to gauge our level of support post-Brexit. Although we didn't manage to put up a candidate in every division, we did manage to field 8 candidates in South Kesteven (out of 14 divisions), and 5 (out of 9 divisions) in South Holland, which was great progress.

    South Kesteven:

    Bourne South & Thurlby: Ian Smith

    Colsterworth Rural: John Ramsbottom

    Deepings East: Adam Brookes

    Grantham East: John Bland

    Grantham North: Claire Lunn

    Grantham South: Ellie Symonds

    Stamford East: Harrish Bisnauthsing

    Stamford West: Anita Day

    South Holland:

    Crowland: James Finister

    Holbeach Rural: Philip Hammersley

    Spalding East: Kathleen Tanner

    Spalding Elloe: Mark Currier

    Spalding South: Jordan Swallow

    Our thanks go to everyone who put themselves forward to stand as candidates - many of whom are first-timers - but equally to the campaigners, election agents, and deliverers who have come together to make these campaigns possible.

    As regards our prospects… some academics are predicting that the Lib Dems could win 100 seats nationally (with the Tories net winning 50, Labour losing 50, and UKIP losing 100). However Lincolnshire County Council is currently strongly Tory, so they are clearly the favourites.
    But who knows. Let's give the elections our best shot! Let's have a real fist-pump moment on 5 May!

    Take care, and speak soon

    Anita

    PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here: https://southlincslibdems.org.uk/en/page/postcards-from-a-lincolnshire-liberal


    Membership Development
    South Lincs Liberal Democrats
    Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD
  • Anita Day
    Article: Apr 5, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    Last Wednesday was a sad day for many people. For those of us concerned about Theresa May's decision to trigger Article 50, we had feared that day ever since 24 June last year.

    Of course, we had always known that it would come. But at various times, some of us had started to hope that perhaps it wouldn't actually happen… perhaps the legal challenges would halt, or at least delay, the process?.... perhaps Labour would finally vote against the government (and in line with their rhetoric about safeguards)?….perhaps the realisation that triggering Article 50 might lead to the break-up of the UK would cause the government to re-consider?...... perhaps the march of 100,000 people in central London (shockingly almost ignored by the BBC) would weaken Tory resolve? Or at least, if it had to happen, perhaps the government wouldn't go down the UKIP-inspired 'hardest of all' Brexit routes? But of course, they did! And for those of us incredulous that the ministers in charge of negotiations are as ill-informed and ill-prepared as they seem to be, it was hard to accept.

    So we mourn, and wonder what we should do now. Some say we should continue to fight to overturn the decision; others that we should accept the reality and focus on making the best of a very bad job. Lib Dem policy is that the people should vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal in another referendum. It's a good idea in many respects- I believe many Leavers didn't understand the implications - but I worry about how practical it would be, given that a 'no' vote could potentially mean more uncertainty - would we then revoke Article 50, leave the EU without any deal, or force the government to re-negotiate?

    I also worry that a majority of the British people - who have only a passing interest in politics and do not follow events avidly on Twitter as I do - may now become bored of the whole thing, and start to 'move on'. If they do, they might not engage with a second referendum even if it were called, and in the meantime, we end up being seen, not as the party leading the Remain cause, but the party who become irrelevant because that's all we talk about!

    It's a tricky problem, and I don't know the answer. I will, however, say that in my campaign literature for the Stamford West County Council elections, I do not mention the word 'Brexit' once (although there are vague references to the 'uncertain world' now facing our children!) That's primarily because it's a local election and I want to focus on the local issues where I think we can make a difference to people's lives. But it's also because I reason that Remainers already know where we stand, & I want us to be known for other things apart from just Brexit. Am I right to have taken that approach? I've no idea… but time will tell, I guess!

    Take care, and speak soon

    Anita

    PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here: https://southlincslibdems.org.uk/en/page/postcards-from-a-lincolnshire-liberal


    Membership Development
    South Lincs Liberal Democrats
    Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD
  • Anita Day
    Article: Mar 24, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    Last weekend I attended my first Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York. If you've never been to a national conference…. well, it was simply phenomenal! I had expected there to be well-argued debates in which ordinary members could influence Lib Dem policy (tick!); thought-provoking fringe meetings (tick!); excellent training (tick!); opportunities to chat to knowledgeable Liberal Democrats (tick!); and time to laugh & have fun (also tick!).

    It was wonderful to see Lib Dems passing motions to re-open the Dubs child refugee scheme, and demand NHS 'passports' for EU doctors & nurses. But it was also good to hear the discussions on Trident, over-crowding in prisons, the crisis in health & social care, education policy, NATO, EU associate citizenship, press control, and more. I particularly enjoyed a fringe meeting at which 2 politicians (one Lib Dem; one Labour who had voted against her party whip on Article 50) came together to discuss how to achieve social justice at a time of economic deficits (given that the economic situation will probably worsen post-Brexit).

    New members commented that debates felt really inclusive, & respectful of differing opinions. But, more than anything, I loved the spirit of the Conference! There was a noticeable buzz about the place - our biggest ever Spring Conference received more press publicity than the Tory & SNP conferences which were running at the same time - and a real feeling that we are gaining political momentum (the highest membership this century & higher donations in the last 3 months than Labour!) Ordinary members are starting to talk about the Lib Dems becoming the party of government, not just the opposition! It was inspiring! If you haven't had the chance yet to hear Tim Farron's conference closing speech, here is a link…. it's 45 mins long but well worth the effort: http://www.libdems.org.uk/tim-farron-conference-speech

    That buzz continued last night when we had a gathering of current and past members & supporters at the home of Harrish Bisnauthsing, who is standing with me in Stamford in the County Council elections on 4 May. It was a pleasure to meet some people for the first time, alongside those I know well, and to enjoy some of Harrish's famous Mauritian curries! But there was a serious purpose too.

    As Tim said in his speech, it feels like the tectonic plates of UK politics are shifting… and, with your help, we intend to 'encourage' the shift right here! ;-)

    Take care, and speak soon

    Anita

    PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here: https://southlincslibdems.org.uk/en/page/postcards-from-a-lincolnshire-liberal


    Anita A D Day
    Membership Development
    South Lincs Liberal Democrats
    Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD
  • Anita Day
    Article: Mar 14, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    When people ask where I live, I usually say Stamford, although I actually live in a village a few miles outside it. That's partly because they will have heard of Stamford (unlike my village, it was voted the best place to live in 2013!), but also because, in many ways, it feels like my spiritual home.

    Many friends live there, and it is the place in which I stroll, shop, eat out, meet friends for coffee or lunch, explore with visitors, or see cinema, live music or theatre. Theatre has been a particular delight! Having been involved in community theatre for 15 years, I was keen to join Stamford Shoestring Theatre Company when we moved into the area, and I quickly fell in love with its wonderful Arts Centre venue, its friendly & talented members and all-round top quality productions. Their play last September, Good People - in which I was fortunate enough to play a Bostonian professor with a rather unpleasant husband - remains one of the finest productions I've ever been involved in. And last week, we saw the excellent Tartuffe, which starred several friends from the company, and made me long to return to the stage… one day… when my life is a little less manic!

    Last weekend, we also attended a book-signing by celebrated local author & friend, Hilary Spiers, which took place at Walkers, a small independent Bookshop. As I walked around the shop, it seemed to sum up the essential charm of the town… beautiful & historic, certainly, but with a quirky, proud, independence.

    But the problem with picture-postcard towns is that visitors can leave thinking that everything is wonderful for their residents… when in fact, just as with all towns, there can be significant problems lurking beneath the surface. Stamford is really a town of two halves: one half appears affluent and looking forward to its next Georgian Festival; whilst in the other, there are issues around rising household bills, debt and social deprivation - Stamford has a foodbank too, perhaps not as large as Grantham's but just as important to those who need it.

    And there are the concerns shared by all residents: access to doctors following the creation of the Lakeside super-practice; the availability of social care for the elderly; sufficient secondary school places within the town; the onslaught facing small shops, pubs & restaurants following the changes to business rates, the pension rules & living wage; the fall in the pound putting up prices, and new parking restrictions which may deter coach parties from spending money in the town! Supporting our small businesses will become even more important in the months ahead.

    I'm honoured to have been asked to stand in May's County Council elections with Harrish Bisnauthsing as Lib Dem candidates for Stamford West & East respectively. Fifty years ago, Stamford became the country's first ever conservation area. We want to ensure that the decisions made by the County Council in Lincoln reflect the needs of Stamford people today!

    Take care, and speak soon

    Anita

    PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here: https://southlincslibdems.org.uk/en/page/postcards-from-a-lincolnshire-liberal

    PPS: I'm very conscious that this week I've been talking about just one town - sorry! I hope that those who don't know Stamford didn't find it too uninteresting!

    But I want to send out the call! Please contact me if you fancy writing a 'guest' postcard for a future week about your local area, or another topic that you think might be of interest to our members and friends. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts, and I think others would too! So please get in touch! A

    --
    Membership Development
    South Lincs Liberal Democrats
    Tel: 07410 709338
    anita@southlincslibdems.org.uk
    @AnitadayA / Facebook: Anita.Day.LD
  • Anita Day
    Article: Mar 6, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    I have been involved with Foodbanks for several years (long before I became politically active). The subject is emotive - last December whilst collecting in Bourne, a woman told me that she didn't believe in them because they encouraged scrounging- and there seem to be many myths around how they operate, and whether they help.

  • Anita Day
    Article: Feb 28, 2017
    By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

    Last week's by-elections in Stoke-on-Trent & Copeland - both Labour, & strong Leave areas - were interesting.

    In Stoke, Labour won comfortably in what was primarily billed as a 'Stop Paul Nuttall' vote despite 70% Brexit support, and where Dr Zulfiqar Ali, the Lib Dem candidate, doubled his vote-share and came over as having more integrity than the 2 main protagonists combined.

    But the Copeland result was more remarkable… and more depressing. Why did Copeland vote Tory? And how did the Lib Dems beat UKIP into 4th place? Perceived wisdom was that: this was a fight between campaigning for the NHS (Labour) vs safeguarding the nuclear industry (Conservative); Jeremy Corbyn's leadership makes the Labour party unelectable; the 62% Brexit support last summer meant that Labour were always going to do badly (despite Corbyn's seeming support for a hard Brexit); and a list of things per Shami Chakraborty including:

    • neglect by previous Labour MPs (probable)
    • a revolt against the establishment (but aren't the Tories the establishment??)
    • 'apocryphal' stories that Corbyn opposes nuclear power (actually, per his 2015 policy document, this is fact!)
    • a disunited Labour party (true)
    • the media (huh??)
    • Peter Mandelson (huh??)
    • attacks on Jeremy Corbyn (yes, well…)
    • the weather (affects Labour voters more than others, it seems)
    • its remoteness (see above)
    • Labour not being given the opportunity to communicate its policies (Really?! Speaking as a Lib Dem, when I look at the typical composition of a Question Time panel (and the prominence given to UKIP vs us in the media), I find that a bit rich!)

    I jest, but the fact remains that a government gained a seat in a by-election for the first time in 35 years (and for a comparable swing, you'd have to go back to 1878)! So why?

    My own view is that this is a story which is partly about Corbyn, but mainly about the decline of UKIP… not because Copeland voters did not support UKIP policies any more, but because they no longer had to! Theresa May's descent into a 'more UKIP than UKIP' political agenda offers Kippers a home in the Conservative party. I don't think it is a coincidence that UKIP's vote share fell by 9% whilst the Tories rose by 8.5%, and I suspect that we will see further declines in the UKIP vote in coming months.

    Given the lack of any proportional representation in our voting system, Labour's ineffectualness and UKIP's demise, I fear that the establishment of a one-party state for the foreseeable future has become much more likely.

    So what should we do?

    Firstly, let's communicate clear policies on the issues which underpinned the vote last summer: the impacts of austerity, NHS, social care, education, housing, job security, lack of opportunities in former industrialised communities. Let's not allow the government to use Brexit as a distraction!

    Secondly, moderates from all parties need to work together, whether in formal alliances or not. The Lib Dem battle-cry 'Open, Tolerant, United' never mattered more, and we need to show we mean it!

    Take care, and speak soon

    Anita

    --
    Membership Development
    South Lincs Liberal Democrats
    Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD