He after all made a very restrained entry into the political arena – by rejecting the soup at a Tamworth Conservative Association annual dinner held at Drayton Manor (the former home of Tory moderniser and Victorian prime minister Sir Robert Peel) – aged just FOUR months.
But it is good to see newcomers to the election process taking an interest.
And so it proved as I manned a very busy stand at Walsall College for its Voter Registration event.
There was lots of enthusiasm and interesting conversations and hopefully some new voters as well.
It was great to see Justice Secretary Chris Grayling at the event too.
Mum Sarah admitted: “We weren’t thinking of bringing him to the event but unfortunately the baby sitter let us down right at the very last minute.”
Footnote: Young Harry slept through the soup and main course but roused himself for the speech by then Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. A ‘blue boy’ with a green conscience.
Footnote 2: If you are interested in being helped to get into apprenticeships and traineeships with real work experience, there is an ‘Employers Event’ at Walsall College on Wednesday April 29 at 4pm at WACC Beeches Rd, Leamore, WS3 1AG. Call 01922 663000 extn 3010 for more details
Unlike Villa’s superb FA Cup semi-final triumph this afternoon against Liverpool (which guarantees another trip back next month for the final) – Walsall FC had to settle for second best against runaway League One champions Bristol City.
But our boys’ brave show – and the extraordinary work being achieved behind the scenes at the Bescot Stadium – is not going unnoticed.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid gave the Saddlers a real pat on the back for their performance in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final on March 22, when he officially opened the club’s new community room which was given a £15,000 facelift by more than 30 volunteers from HomeServe.
The work took around four weeks to complete and included replacing and refitting the kitchen and girls’ and boys’ bathrooms, installing new flooring, radiators, ceiling tiles and fixtures and fittings and decorating the room.
The Culture, Media and Sport secretary of state was joined by myself and Walsall North parliamentary candidate Douglas Hansen-Luke for the opening ceremony which also included meeting the Walsall Academy junior team.
Mr Javid said talking to everyone at Bescot had been “incredibly uplifting and inspiring.”
He added: “”One of the perks of my job is being able to meet those like the Walsall Saddlers and private companies like HomeServe, that care about their community, who work tirelessly to achieve one common goal.”
But the real star of the show for me was Swifty the mascot.
The community room is great new facility for the local area, and everyone should be thrilled at what has been achieved.
It’s two years since the 28-year-old was bludgeoned by a ‘heavy bladed weapon’ in the early hours of April 13, 2013.
Now detectives have issued a new appeal to track down the three people who approached the silver Vauxhall Corsa driven by Mr Abbas.
Police reckon the food order taken by phone at Moon Palace in Old Birchills was bogus and that the dad of two was cornered and attacked as he arrived an address in Madison Avenue, Alumwell.
Mr Abbas was taken to hospital with serious head injuries but died later.
So far the investigation has seen 10 people arrested and questioned, but all have been released without charge.
Detective inspector Gary Plant, of West Midlands Police, said: “It has been two years since Yasser received his fateful injuries but the investigation is ongoing and will be reviewed on a regular basis until his attackers are brought to justice.
“People out there know who is responsible for the death of this young man and for the sake of his family – who are still very much grieving for his loss – I am appealing to those persons to come forward and help us.
“I believe answers remain in the local community and anyone with information can come forward in the knowledge that it will be dealt with in strict confidence.”
Alumwell is in the Walsall South constituency and I’d like to join the police appeal for anyone with information to contact detective inspector Plant on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
I make it 18 days to the most important General Election for this country since the end of World War II.
Canvassing is part and parcel of the all wannabe and actual politicians — earnestly striving to connect with the electorate as polling approaches.
This week saw me “out on the knock” with someone who knows what it’s like to stare down the barrel of a loaded gun — in this case a fast bowler ready to leave you quivering in your protective head-gear as you face the opening ball of a new innings.
I was joined on the doorstep of Walsall South homes by none other than former Warwickshire, Kent and Gloucestershire cricketer Daniel Dalton —an all-rounder who often opened the innings, especially in the limited-overs version of the beautiful game and played alongside current England batting legend Ian Bell.
Retired now, Daniel tells me he learned that there are new challenges to overcome — this time as West Midlands Conservative MEP in Brussels.
The ‘opposition’ comes in a different form but the question can be just as effective as a quick bowler’s yorker or a leg spinner’s ‘wrong ‘un’.
The MEP, whose constituency stretches from the East of England to the Welsh border, has a key aim in terms of repatriation of powers to the UK, and a reformed relationship with the EU.
Daniel will oppose new legislation which increases the EU’s powers or increases the cost of doing business in Europe, he explains.
We had an engaging afternoon with our local election candidate colleagues, finishing off with a visit to Ambur FM in the vain hope of meeting visiting star Gurdas Maan.
My hectic timetable proved my undoing with seeing him. Although I was caught out least I got the chance to say hello again to talented Ambur radio presenter and choreographer Jaimal Mistry who I last saw on Diwali.
They say you’re in until you’re out at cricket . . . I’m hoping to carry my bat on May 7!
The ex Spurs and Arsenal favourite, right, with almost 650 league and cup appearances in a 19-year footballing career, has joined black celebrities who have painted themselves partially or totally white – symbolising the colour being “taken out of Britain” if African British and Asian British communities don’t vote.
The campaign, produced by Operation Black Vote, comes as latest stats show 28 per cent of black Britons were unregistered to vote in the 2010 election.
“I think there is a great deal of cynicism out there among black and minority ethnic communities that we feel we are powerless,” he said.
Homeland actor David Harewood said black voters “don’t feel represented by politicians”. And he added: “But the thing is if you’re not registered to vote, they won’t ever listen, it’s a chicken and egg.
“I’ve done some fantastic things in my career but one of the best things I’ve ever done is register to vote.”
I couldn’t agree more with the OBV campaign – and the same applies to women as well.
Before 1918 no women were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections.
Sadly in 2010 only 39 per cent of females aged 18-24 turned out. Come on ladies, we need your support too.
Tomorrow – yes this Monday – is the cut-off day for the May 7 election if your are registering your vote for the first time.
In this election – every vote is very important. For many people the right to vote was hard won.
Every Vote Counts is a project by national charity United Response. This website is designed to provide easy to understand information on politics. It was created with input from people with learning disabilities.
Please, if you want your democratic say, then go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote for more details
I promise to pay the ‘bearer’ (the good people of Walsall South) more than full value for putting their trust in me
IT’S four weeks today to Walsall South’s own version of Groundhog Day – the 15 or so hours when the good people of this parliamentary constituency have the opportunity to glimpse into the future and, unlike the film, can take a firm grip on their own destiny.
As Old Father Time (it could just as easily be Old Mother Time) counts down to Thursday, May 7 – the date chosen five years ago for the UK’s 2015 General Election – there has been plenty to remind me of what has gone before and what is still to come for WSD (Walsall South Day).
The images above are a snapshot of this campaign journey . . . from my dear husband John’s daily routine of washing the Batmobile and making my election rosette (what would I do without him?) to delivering my election boards with one of the tireless supporting team, Councillor Rose Martin.
One thing’s for sure, there’s no turning back now. . . my nomination papers have been lodged with the electoral office.
And with the Grand National almost upon us (Aintree, this Saturday), my election agent Peter Washbrook – the man legally responsible for my campaign – was there to bear witness to my entry into General Election Maiden Stakes!
I promised to give the ‘bearer’ full value of myself and from myself.
And as we go into the final stages of the race to return a Conservative-led government on May 7, I have signed a ‘contract’ with the people of Walsall South and tasked myself to do the following things if elected.
- Firstly I will give 10 per cent of my Mp salary to Walsall South charities
- Be visible and fight for Walsall South in parliament, securing the town a better deal
- Communicate regularly with constituents through surgeries
- Be a voice to challenge at local, regional and national level whenever the polict conflicts with the ‘best interests’ of Walsall South.
My background means I know the town and its problems well, a knowledge that grew when I set up and ran the Walsall Advertiser for many years.
My focus is firmly on Walsall people and Walsall concerns. I have a dream and a commitment to make the town the best it can be.
It is a personal honour to be chosen to stand in South Walsall and if elected I pledge to channel my energies to make that difference to your lives – to ensure your problems are heard and actioned.
I know how important it is to be heard and will work closely with individuals and businesses, understanding the vital concerns affecting ordinary working people who are the backbone of this town.
My strong social values mean I will work tirelessly to create a flourishing environment in which all have the opportunity to grow and propser.
Together we can do it – we can win WS Day.
I promise to pay the ‘bearer’ (the good people of Walsall South) more than full value for putting their trust in me
P S I welcome your views at any time, feel free to contact (in strictest confidence) on
phone: 01922 513534
The last week or so has seen celebrations in a number of faiths starting with the Hindu Shri Ram Navami at the end of last month; the Jewish Passover (Pesach) on Saturday and Christ overcoming death with his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Tuesday, April 14 sees the arrival of Vaisakhi (or Baisakhi) – which is especially important for the Sikh community as it marks the establishment of the Khalsa and is celebrated around the world by Sikh diaspora.
The festival also coincides with others remembered on the first day of Vaisakh, in some regions of India such as Puthandu, the Tamil new year.
Vaisakhi is a harvest festival for Punjabis and, according to their calendar marks the start of the Punjabi new year.
The Punjabi calendar is based on the Bikrami calendar and is used by all communities. Hindus use the Punjabi calendar as their religious calendar too. Fairs are organised on Vaisakhi day in Punjabi villages.
Celebrating Vaisakhi nearer to home, Walsall’s Caldmore Community Garden sees an open day this coming weekend – presenting the area’s cultures and religions.
The harvest and community celebration on Saturday begins at noon with a Bhangra dance workshop for all ages (repeated after 2pm) and continues with tabla concert, the story of Vaisakhi, and stories of Sikhs who settled from the Punjab.
They’ll be activities for the children, plenty of food, and lots of opportunities to help and enjoy the garden.
The event is organised together with Caldmore Gurdwara, Walsall Housing Group and Caldmore Village Festival Group, with the help of Near Neighbours’ funding.
With warm weather forecast all week, hope to see you at Caldmore Community Garden in Carless Street, Walsall (WS1 3RH) between noon and 4pm.