This has been Alex’s first full year as candidate for Leeds NW – and it’s been a busy one.
We’ve reported before on his summer and autumn. There’s been no letting up of the pace as winter has approached.
He’s been active and campaigning throughout the constituency.
– against the proposed closure of the Holt Park Surgery, which was being pushed through with very inadequate consultation. Alex attended and spoke at the public meeting. He’s also launched a petition to present to NHS England – online, but also, as Alex always does, taking it out on to the doorstep..
– in Headingley, where he’s been backing the Labour Councillors in their campaigns against noise – and especially commercially organised parties – and in their efforts to prevent Wetherspoons opening another pub at the Elinor Lupton centre.
– in Weetwood he’s been continuing the series of Community clean-ups – four in all now, in Ireland Wood and Tinshill – the last of them in the Bedfords, before that with a team of ten in the woods behind Ireland Wood surgery.
– in Yeadon, where he and local candidate John Eveleigh, took up the state of the Marshall Street playground – getting replacement of the swing and cleaning up of the surface. And just to be sure – he and John went back to check recently, found there were littering problems, and immediately got the site cleaned up again.
That’s typical of Alex’s approach – get things done, then ensure they stay done!
Noise, clean-ups, the state of the playground – these are all issues Alex and Labour Councillors and candidates have picked up through a year out on the doorstep talking to residents.
Throughout 2014 – week in week out – he’s met thousands of people across the constituency, and listened to their concerns. And that’s continued – even though the weather has got worse, and the evenings have drawn in.
And he’s met them socially – over these last few months e.g.
– at events organised by the Labour Party, like the two Community gigs at the High Farm pub, or the pie and pea supper at Otley Labour Rooms,
– but also at the Otley Victorian Fayre, the Cardigan Triangle Art Day, Adel St John Fireworks, at the Hamara Community awards, at the Headingley Heart Apple day.
Too many to list them all.
We hope you’ve had a chance to chat to him. If not, he’ll certainly be about even more – if that’s possible – in early 2015.
A highlight of the autumn was undoubtedly the visit of Owen Jones to Leeds NW – speaking to crowded halls in Otley and Headingley.
Owen endorsed Alex – as just the sort of ‘independent-minded MP’ we need.
Alex will be part of a Labour government – and that’s important. He will give his constituents a chance to influence that – and he’s already doing this.
– In November he organised a roundtable for local environmental organisations to meet Labour’s shadow Environment minister, and to feed their ideas into Labour’s plans.
But Alex has priorities of his own – and he’s making them increasingly clear.
He’s begun to make a series of pledges about what he would do if elected
– on Trident and multilateralism – where he’d ‘certainly be arguing for Trident decommissioning in that post-election review’
– on the Living Wage, where he’s promised that ‘If elected I would campaign inside Parliament to make the minimum wage up to the Living Wage – so that people could live on just one full time job, so that it wouldn’t be just some employers paying the Living Wage by choice, but all employers by statute.’
– and most recently on how he would organise his own office – he’s made a ‘personal pledge – if elected, I will employ all staff, interns or not, on minimum-hour contracts at the Living Wage.’
On TTIP, the controversial EU/US Trade agreement, he has made his position clear
‘TTIP cannot be supported:
– If Corporations can bypass national laws and the Investor State Dispute Settlement is in the final text
– If TTIP puts up barriers to renationalise national services such as rail, energy, water or mail which provide vital universal services
– If TTIP prevented Government from awarding contracts on the basis of social value or community benefit and if it would be forced to give multi-nationals public contracts on the basis of cost
– If TTIP affects the ability for Government to increase the minimum wage or increase parental leave rights or other legally defined conditions for workers
– If consumer protection is levelled down rather than up’ http://www.alexsobel.org/alex_on_ttip
Alex is 100% behind key Labour policies – on, for example, abolition of the Bedroom Tax, where he’s been a consistent campaigner
– or on repeal of the NHS Act and an end to marketization, where he joined marchers in the summer.
But he has his own strong views – e.g. on proper jobs and the living wage, He’s not only been pledging his own position here – he was out with UCATT in November, highlighting the use of Umbrella companies, which exploit workers, at Leeds University.
You can expect more of on his detailed position and pledges in the coming months.
So it’s been a very, very busy early winter.
And it ended with a great social – with some enjoyable tasting of Ilkley Brewery Beers – last Thursday, and a final very successful doorstep session on Saturday – with our newest Party member, only weeks in the party, but out with Alex and members of the Leeds NW team working for a Labour government in 2015.
Today Alex will be hanging up his hat – and his stocking – and settling down with his wife and sons for the Christmas period.
But before he does that, he’s sending Christmas greetings – to all those of you he’s met this year, and, even more, to all the rest, whom he hopes to meet in 2015
‘It’s been a great year for me here in Leeds NW. Great to get out there and meet so many of you – and to get a sense of the issues which really matter to you.
I feel I’ve learned a lot – about what the next Labour Government needs to do, and what you, the voters of Leeds NW want it to do.
I’m looking forward to the challenges of 2015 – and, of course, especially to the hope of representing you all at Westminster after May. I feel as if I’ve been serving an essential apprenticeship to that, listening to you all on the doorstep day after day.
I’m already making pledges about how I would act as an MP – they’re pledges fed by my own strong principles, but also by what you’re telling me.
I want to be an MP who works for you at Westminster, as well as here in the constituency. I know you need an MP who will do both.
I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you in 2014 – and look forward to meeting even more of you in the months to come.
In the meantime, I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.’
And if you want to help Alex Sobel to win here in Leeds NW in 2015, why not sign up here
All of us here in the Leeds NW Team join Alex in hoping you have a great Christmas. See you all in 2015.