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Local democracy tidbits

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 4:40 pm Written by:

I’ve spent the past two days leafleting for the Liverpool Green Party, both in the target seat of St Michael’s, and in Princes Park, the ward in which Becka is a paper candidate.

There are three councillors per ward, a term of three years, and an election for one of them each year. (Correction: The term is four years and one year out without an election.) This maintains continuity, as well as maximizing the chance of a hung council as the balance of power shifts from one party to another through a continuum.

While leafleting in St Michael’s ward I got harangued quite loudly in the middle of Lark Lane by a big white guy outside of his pub where he was smoking because I couldn’t be specific about the paragraph in the leaflet:

Greens will demand progress on broken promises to deal with Lark Lane traffic and to create a special planning policy controlling bars and restaurants.

“What are you delivering this sh*t when you don’t even know what it means, you prick!!!”

I sought clarification when I dropped the spare leaflets back at base. The rule is that planning applications have to be considered individually on their own merits, unless an area has been declared special, in which case the fact that there are already 14 noisy bars along a 90metre row of buildings may be taken into consideration when the application for the 15th is considered. Now I know.

The Princes Park ward, in which Becka is a candidate, is not a target seat and there’s no chance of winning (hopefully). But it’s necessary to put someone there or people who would like to vote Green don’t have an option. On looking up the election results in 2006 and 2007 I’d noticed that it came to 9% and 14% respectively. Somewhat surprisingly large, I thought. We wrote up a fairly incomprehensible leaflet last night, put Becka’s photo on it, got 500 copies printed this morning, and spread them about the place. (Okay, in the posh areas that were close to home and not frightening to deliver in.)

Last week the Labour council candidate came canvassing through here at Martin’s house on Cairn’s Street with Louise Ellman MP in tow. Martin sent them packing, but I ran out across the street a few minutes later with a laptop to show them my publicwhip voting quiz in preparation for the next General Election. They’re not going to forget about that.

Louise Ellman, you see, is the inspiration for the whole Publicwhip project with her vote cast in favour of the Iraq war. I wanted to be sure that we could keep history alive, so that as that entire unnecessary debacle sinks deeper into an abject catastrophe, we never forget how we got here: by stupidity, bad judgment, a culture of violence, and a political system that rewards all of the above.

The software behind Publicwhip contributed to the great, and Louise Ellman’s website is probably the only MP’s site that makes no reference to it. Perhaps she thinks it’ll go away if she ignores it.

Anyways, we delivered lots of leaflets, and there was one resident who said she was not going to vote for anyone because last night a young lad was beaten up and hospitalized by a gang of youths when he was minding his own business walking through “their patch”. They’re always intimidating white people there.

Having worked in a house in the street one block away and commuted to and from it twice daily (by bike), I can’t say I’ve noticed the issue. Still, it’s the sort of thing the police are good at dealing with, and they may have a more complete story.

Incidents of assault would be an ideal geo-located data stream to add to the Metroscope. In my life, the only place I have really properly been assaulted is in Cambridge City centre, literally yards away from patrolling police. In my opinion, age, gender, and how pissed someone is are the deciding factors for whether he is likely to beat someone up for no reason. Otherwise the assault is generally about money, debt collection, or the control of a captive market.

I couldn’t find any trace of the incident on the Merseyside Police website. However, under the list of air-support incidents for April 08, I found this case:

30/04/08 01.15 Southport Call from a female stating a male had cut his own foot off Area searched no trace of anyone injured. Call found to be a false call. Female traced and arrested

With data like this, I must make more time for my Metroscope work.

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