January 2024 Newsletter

 

This is an exciting year. A general election must be called this year, even if it not held till January 2025; and we have the mayoral and assembly elections due in May. I have just taken over as Chairman from Derek Hill and we have a new, and very keen, Exec Team.

The General Election is by far the most important event of the political calendar. Events have moved fast since our AGM and this report will set out the various very positive developments.

 

THE HARROW SEATS

 

Harrow borough contains 3 seats.

Ruislip Northwood and Pinner (we have 3 wards Hatch End, Pinner, and Pinner South; the other 5 are in Hillingdon)

This seat may just be winnable.

 

Result last time.                  Assessment of Boundary Change by psephologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, University of Plymouth.

Con   55.6%                                  55.3%

Lab   24.6%                                  25.1%

Lib    15.1%                                   15.2%

Green 3.1%

Others 1.7%

 

Looking at the recent YouGov poll, the Tory vote would fall to somewhere between 28% and 35% should the election take place now, probably nearer the lower figure now that Reform have confirmed they are standing.

Labour have published their list of target seats and RNP is not one of them, which should give us a clear run to attack the Conservatives. If we are ambitious, the seat may just be winnable. We got a flying start last Saturday (13th) when a large group of members and supporters delivered over 2600 leaflets in Pinner.

Our candidate in 2019 was Jonathan Banks who campaigned enthusiastically and doubled the LibDem vote. He is now chairman of Hillingdon. I am delighted to say he is again our candidate in RNP. The funds available to Jonathan are considerable, and we will be endeavouring to leaflet the constituency regularly. The agent is Pete Dollimore who is a local member on the London Executive.

Our view is that the seat is by far the best prospect in either borough. There is a curious symmetry between Hillingdon and Harrow. Each has a safe Labour seat (Harlington and Hayes, and Harrow West) each has a super-marginal (Uxbridge and Harrow East) so we should have something like a clear run at RNP.

Wikipedia points out that since 2015 the Conservative vote has been steadily declining and the Liberal Democrat vote rising, a quotation I would not be surprised to see in our literature.

We need to devote our manpower and resources to these 3 wards.

Actions:

Pub Night Friday 19 January - The Woodman, Joel Street Pinner/Northwood. 7pm

Eastcote Action Day - Sunday 4 February Picnic Café 249 Field End Road 10 for 10.30

Pinner Action Day Saturday 24 February - Venue tbc.  Save the date!

And if you can spend just an hour each month delivering leaflets in your area, please get in touch with Jonathan:

  • 07764 635379
  • jonathan@hillingdonlibdems.org.uk

Your help will really make a difference!

 

Harrow East

After our Vice-Chairman David was recently honoured by the Ministry of Justice, we have had to seek a new candidate. We are delighted to welcome Reetendra Nath Banerji who stood in Salisbury in 2015 and South Basildon and Thurrock in 2017. He taught at the London Academy in Spur Road, so has a number of links to the constituency. The new constituency takes in the Queensbury ward in Brent, and we are in touch with Brent LibDems on our strategy. We will be delivering leaflets to every house in the constituency. The seat is a super-marginal between Labour and the Tories. We got 7.7% last time. We have no illusions that we can overtake the other parties here. But Reeten is determined to promote the LibDems in the seat and, in particular, to deepen our ties with its various communities.

Indeed, Reeten has already entered the policy debate by explaining how the Lib Dems could achieve their goal of free social care taking away an unfair cost burden on many families.

Reeten has explained: “The Liberal Democrats publish a fully costed manifesto at every election, and the next General Election will be no exception. Everything we put forward will be demonstrated to be affordable. A huge barrier to achieving long-term sustainable funding for social care is a lack of political will and leadership. The government has however shown how things can be achieved by spending £4 billion on PPE that was not even fit for purpose and had to be disposed of during the pandemic. We need to treat the crisis in social care as a national emergency in the same way.”

Spending on social care has far more benefits than unusable PPE. It is an investment that frees up resources in other places in the system, not least the NHS, as well as allowing people the freedom to live their life as decently as they can.

We estimate that free personal care would cost £5 billion a year before savings are factored in, but with an estimated £3 billion of savings to the NHS alone, the real net cost would be £2 billion, which I believe could be found with even a modest growth in GDP”.

Action:

Reeten asks all members and supporters in Harrow East to join him (if they can) in an upcoming Bengali New Year celebration in Harrow.  This event will include a prayer for blessings from the Hindu goddess for the arts and learning.   Between 12 noon and 6pm on 18th February at the Salvatorian College, HA3 5DY.

 

Harrow West

Chris Noyce is our candidate (for the 6th time). Once again, we will deliver a leaflet to every home. This is a safe Labour seat. We got 9% last time, but Labour got over 50%, and should find it easy to hold onto the seat. Chris is however confident that he can improve our performance with a view to improving our position for the council elections in 2026.

Further newsletters will keep you up-to date with our planning for the mayoral elections, due in May and our strategy for the council elections, due in 2026. We will also keep you up-to-date with campaigning events in Harrow more widely. There is a new WhatsApp group for members and supporters and, if you would like to join, please contact Derek Hill on 07731-625091.

Last while our efforts depend above all on our members, we also need funds   You can donate on our website; or directly to The Harrow Liberal Democrats (Sort Code 30-93-92 A/C No. 01211988); or contact our treasurer Derek Hill on 07731-625091 who can help you. We are already receiving generous donations.

                                                                       

Philip Levy

Chairman Harrow LibDems