A defector from Labour to the Greens in South Tyneside is to challenge the man who took his job at May’s Local Elections.
Matthew Giles, 24, was formerly the youth officer for Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, but he lost a ballot last September to Adam Ellison, who has now taken over the role.
Now Mr Giles has left Labour and will stand for the Green Party against Mr Ellison in Hebburn North on Thursday, May 7.
The recording studio sound engineer, of Mill Crescent, Hebburn, joined the Labour Party four years ago but believes his anti-war and anti-austerity views have in recent months put him at odds with the local party.
Despite his departure from Labour, he has pledged to “run a positive campaign with no sniping”.
“I don’t think my views fitted with the party. I was offered the chance to be a Labour candidate in Westerhope, in Newcastle, but I wanted to represent the place where I lived, but I couldn’t get considered by the party locally.
“I felt I was being prevented from going further because of my views and my refusal to toe the line.”
Since joining the Greens at the end of last year, Mr Giles said he had found the party “a perfect fit”.
“It’s been an incredibly positive experience, and the people involved with the party locally are really enthusiastic.
“On the doorstep we have heard from people wanting to vote Green but have been unable to because of a lack of candidates. They end up voting Labour as the lesser of two evils.
“I’m planning to run a positive campaign, with no sniping. We’re under no illusions we are going to win everywhere but it’s about building up our base and giving people the chance to vote Green in every ward.”
Meanwhile, in his role with the Tyneside branch of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Mr Giles is helping organise a rally in Newcastle on Saturday against Pegida, the anti-Muslim organisation.
It is to be attended by campaigning comedian Russell Brand and controversial MP George Galloway.
Wilf Flynn, secretary of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, said he felt Mr Giles was “jumping onto the Green bandwagon”.
“I can’t accept that Matthew wasn’t given a chance with the Labour Party, he was on our Local Government Panel and he could have stood against Adam when he beat Ian Harkus in Labour North.
“I find it strange that Matthew is not standing in the ward where he lives – Hebburn South.
“Perhaps he didn’t feel he could take on Eddie McAtominey.
“He was our youth officer and then lost the next time on a ballot to Adam. Matthew knows his own mind but I feel he’s jumped on the Green bandwagon.
“I don’t have a crystal ball but I don’t foresee a wedge of Green MPs after the next election – but every vote taken away from Labour will make it more likely that Cameron gets a majority.
“I know Matthew wouldn’t want that.”
> I do dislike this constant emotional blackmail – if you don’t vote for us its a vote for the Tories – that Labour seem to be constantly indulging in.
The fact is, quite a few people who did vote Labour did so simply because there was no viable left wing alternative, and they wouldn’t touch Ukip with a bargepole.
The Greens have evidently filled that vacuum and now provide an alternative for those who see Labour as virtually identical to the Tories – Matthew Giles’ comments about his anti-war and anti-austerity views not fitting in are probably quite widespread among the new Green supporters.
Source – Shields Gazette, 24 Feb 2015
> The rest of the results from Tyne & Wear…
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
It was a day that promised much for UKIP with rumours of winning a seat in Woolsington early on. Flopped again, though.
They did come second in a number of seats, registering particularly highly in Walkergate with 843 votes and Benwell and Scotswood with 823, however outright victory eluded it.
In all 27 seats were up for grabs at Newcastle City Council, 16 previously held by Labour and 11 by the Lib Dems.
At the end of the count it was almost a case of “as you were” with Labour winning 17, the Lib Dems nine and Independent candidate Bill Corbett landing a spectacular success in Westerhope, taking the seat from Labour.
In some wards the Lib Dem vote collapsed but overall party leaders were visibly relieved that its support held up well compared to other parts of the country.
However its Chief Whip Tom Woodwark was the major casualty of the day when he lost out to Labour in South Jesmond.
Overall Labour won 45% of the vote, the Lib Dems 21.7%, UKIP 13.5% and the Tories 9.9%.
North Tyneside’s former elected mayor Linda Arkley failed to make a civic comeback after losing in the Tynemouth ward to Labour’s Sarah Day.
The seat was one of the most hotly contested and the Conservative candidate missed out on being elected by just 37 votes.
Current mayor Norma Redfearn said she was “overjoyed” Labour had managed to retain overall control of the council as well as gaining two additional seats in Wallsend and Chirton.
She said Labour had weathered many a protest vote in the past and were not worried about UKIP coming second in nine wards.
Their surge was down to the current Government’s record on job creation and the bedroom tax, she added. UKIP gained a 20% share of the vote overall although failed to win a seat.
Party member Marianne Follin, who also stood in Tynemouth, said: “It’s been said we are the fourth political party and we’ve proved that now.”
> What ? That you’re in 4th place ? Behind the Lib Dems ? Nothing to boast about there !
The council is now made up of 44 Labour councillors, 12 Conservative and 4 Lib Dems.
Labour remained in control of Gateshead Council despite a strong UKIP showing.
Leader of the council, Mick Henry, thanked the public for their support to his party despite the Government cuts his borough currently faces.
He said: “Nothing has changed. Considering that we are suffering a 37% cut in the budget and we have had to take actions as a council, I am pleased that the Gateshead public have shown support for us in the circumstances.”
When asked about the number of votes secured by UKIP, Mr
Henry said: “Next year will be different.
“The European elections have helped them on this occasion and we are hoping it will be different next year.
“It’s the Liberal Democrats we need to worry about, and the actions of the Government.”
> It’s the Liberal Democrats we need to worry about – not a phrase you hear very often…
> The national media seems to be intent on boosting UKIP on the basis of these local elections, and even locally the Newcastle Journal was making statements like:
“Asked for his response to Ukip’s success in Sunderland and the Yorkshire town of Rotherham, where the party won ten seats, Mr Balls said: …”
Pardon me ? Ukip’s success in Sunderland ? Did I miss something ?
They didn’t win a single seat ! That’s success ?
Neither did the Greens or Lib Dems, so they must be doing very well too, right ?
The truth is – and the Newcastle Journal and other local media have failed to point this out – before these elections UKIP had 2 local seats across the whole of Tyne & Wear, both in South Tyneside.
After these elections, they only have 1… and that perhaps only because that particular seat wasn’t up for election.
So across Tyne & Wear, which UKIP had been making noises about targeting, they won nothing and actually lost 50% of what they did hold.
Now there’s success and there’s success… and there’s also dismal failure. I think I know which category UKIP’s performance falls into.
As I interupted Ed Balls earlier, perhaps we should return to him for a moment…
“So we have to understand that challenge (of UKIP). People want to know we will have tough controls on immigration, that you’re not going to be able to come here to work in our country and send benefits back to families at home “
In other words, some people are voting for UKIP, so lets steal their policies and hijack the closet racist vote.
Surely they learnt their lesson with New Labour’s desperate attempts to win the middle class vote ?