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National Politics Redditch Borough Council

Statement to clarify confusion regarding Morton Stanley Park

I am aware this is a very sensitive issue, but I do have to correct campaigners who have incorrectly named Morton Stanley Park in Redditch on a ‘hit list’ for toppling of statues, which was then published by the Metro and The Sun newspapers and others. Efforts are being made to correct these sources.

I want to make it very clear that the Morton Stanley Park in Redditch is not named after Henry Morton Stanley. It’s named after a local fish hook and needle entrepreneur called William Morton Stanley who had nothing to do with the abhorrent slave trade. He purchased land, which he then generously bequeathed to the people of Redditch in 1924 to be used as a park.

Furthermore, as a former new town that’s just over 55 years old, there are no statues of anyone at any of the parks in Redditch anyway, though the idea of a memorial to William Morton Stanley has been brought up in the past.

As the council’s Portfolio Holder covering culture, parks and open spaces I am keen to stress that Redditch has a rich historic and cultural background with strong working class roots. We are a town that thrives on equality of opportunity and benefits from cultural and ethnic diversity. I don’t think we have ever thought it would be appropriate to glorify figures in history who are marred in human controversy, and if we have ever done so I can commit to bringing these forward for review as soon as they are brought to my attention.

On a personal note, I am fully sympathetic to the debate around our nation’s cultural history. As someone who was raised in a mixed race household it was not until we encountered prejudice that I even noticed as a child my brother was supposedly different to me. In my heart he has never been anything other than my big brother, and I can only hope that our society as a whole can heal and come together with true and long-overdue equality in our hearts and real opportunity for all as the outcomes of our mutual love.

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National Politics

A CLEAR WARNING ON REDDITCH PARKS – ENJOY RESPONSIBLY

RISK OF CLOSURE

If there’s evidence of continuous failure to comply with public healthcare guidance I will not hesitate to ask for an urgent decision that all public parks across Redditch be closed.

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National Politics

CCA Board Elections

If you are a Conservative Councillor you should have received an email from the CCA about elections for the CCA Board. I would be grateful for your support to become its Deputy Chairman.

I believe it is time for a new generation of Conservatives to step forward into these roles so that our party, at all levels and in all places, can start to become more representative of the diverse electorate that just gave the Conservative Party a mandate to govern the UK.

Passionate about activist training, mentoring and enabling the talent within our party to achieve great things, I believe I am well placed to help the CCA engage with more Councillors in a more constructive way, especially as we have new and more diverse Councillors coming into the party.

I seek to change the clumsy processes Councillors must embark upon to access training, support and advice. I will champion more self-service and peer-powered systems, enabling Councillors to “level up” to borrow a phrase.

If you have not received your e-ballot, please email the CCA team at cca@conservatives.com or call them on 020 7984 8144.

You have until midday on Thursday 20th February to cast your vote. Results will be announced at the CCA Annual Conference on Friday 28th February.

As you know from my previous election victories, every vote counts, so please share this message with any Conservative Councillor colleagues you feel might be receptive.

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National Politics

Rachel Maclean returned as Redditch MP with over 16,000 majority – more than doubling her 2017 figures.

Delighted to have managed the campaign here in Redditch that has seen Rachel Maclean returned as MP with a doubled majority. Here’s the numbers from Wikipedia …

Categories
National Politics

Avoiding the rocks: steering a climate emergency by newspaper headlines is a dangerous course that can undermine the overall strategy.

“How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words”

Greta Thunberg at the UN Summit in New York

Bearing in mind that we need actions more than words to fight climate change, I’m surprised to see this story on the Redditch climate emergency:

https://redditchstandard.co.uk/news/borough-council-last-in-climate-table-despite-saying-its-ahead-on-green-issues/

It says:

REDDITCH Borough Council, which is aiming to position itself as ‘ahead of the curve’ on green issues has finished towards in the bottom of a league table of climate friendly local authorities.

Drawn up by the pressure group Friends of the Earth, each council was assessed in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling, and tree cover to find an overall winner.

We in the Conservative administration of Redditch Borough Council have never been sent any table by Friends of the Earth, but we have seen a Green Party one that actually ranks Redditch quite well:
https://westmidlands.greenparty.org.uk/council-climate-league-table/

CouncilScore (out of 11)Position
Worcester71st
Malvern Hills62nd
Cannock Chase5Joint 3rd
Redditch5Joint 3rd

Also, in the Friends of the Earth methodology there is a fault in calculating tree coverage, which they themselves admit:

Tree cover – this was calculated using GIS mapping to overlay local authority areas over the National Forest Inventory , and from that calculating woodland in each local authority area. The NFI is known to under-report tree cover in urban areas, so Friends of the Earth is carrying out further research to provide a more accurate estimate, which we will publish later this year.  

With around 4m trees in Redditch, we have a very high level of tree cover, but it’s not properly reflected in this table – so yet again Redditch is not getting the proper recognition it deserves.

The Council’s climate change panel has been tasked with setting a target date for carbon zero as part of a Climate Action Plan – which is something Friends of the Earth are calling for, so I do not accept the newspaper’s characterisation that we have “failed” to set a date when actually we are working to come up with a date that’s ambitious and realistic, and we are carrying out what Friends of the Earth has asked us to do.

I personally hope that date is well ahead of 2050, and I even hope we can beat 2030, which the work of the panel will be able to establish rather than plucking a date out of thin air to pander to media headlines. 

There is a real danger that councils will start to operate their climate emergencies based on headlines and perception, rather than doing things that are effective but perhaps not as glamorous. We cannot steal yet more childhoods by warm words and newspaper headlines. The time for action is now – and Redditch Borough Council is embarked on evidence-led action that will make a difference, not aiming for what will win a quick headline.

Finally, I don’t buy that “21 places from the bottom” counts as ‘near bottom’ – bottom 5 would be ‘near bottom’ – if anything we are actually mid-table, which is still not good enough, but let’s not make out we’re ‘near bottom’ when actually we’re not.

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National Politics

The 21 Conservative rebels who have had the whip removed – and how their constituencies voted on Brexit

SurnameForenameConstituencyConstituency VotedMP Voted
BebbGutoAberconwyLeaveRemain
GrieveDominicBeaconsfieldRemainRemain
GyimahSamEast SurreyLeaveRemain
SandbachAntoinetteEddisburyLeaveRemain
MiltonAnneGuildfordRemainRemain
SoamesNicholasMid SussexRemainRemain
BenyonRichardNewburyRemainRemain
BurtAlistairNorth East BedfordshireLeaveRemain
StewartRoryPenrith & The BorderLeaveRemain
GreeningJustinePutneyRemainRemain
NokesCarolineRomsey & Southampton NorthRemainRemain
HammondStephenRunnymede & WeybridgeRemainRemain
ClarkeKennethRushcliffeRemainRemain
GaukeDavidSouth West HertfordshireRemainRemain
JamesMargotStourbridgeLeaveRemain
Clark GregTunbridge WellsRemainRemain
VaizeyEdWantageRemainRemain
HarringtonRichardWatfordLeaveRemain
LetwinOliverWest DorsetLeaveRemain
HammondPhilipWimbledonRemainRemain
BrineSteveWinchesterRemainRemain

8 of the 21 rebels were out of step with their constituencies.

Spotted an error? Email mike@mikerouse.uk

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National Politics

Have your say on the Conservative Party Leadership election

Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Hunt

As a Councillor for the Conservative Party, I will have a vote in the upcoming leadership elections. As these are important elections that will decide on who the next Prime Minister will be for all of us I have decided to consult with local residents to see who they would like to see become our next Prime Minister.

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National Politics

Comments to BBC News Channel on the Conservative Party Leadership Contest

Footage from BBC News Channel 20 June 2019

On Thursday 20th June I spoke to the BBC News Channel about the Conservative Party leadership contest. Within minutes of me finishing the results of the final ballot amongst MPs was known and we were presented with what many of us saw coming – a Hunt vs Boris final.