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Canvassing. . . it can be as intimidating as facing a quickie at Lord’s

April 19, 2015
HOWZAT FOR OPENERS?  Myself and MEP Daniel Dalton

HOWZAT FOR OPENERS? Myself and MEP Daniel Dalton

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.

THE TEAM: Rarin' to go

THE TEAM: Rarin’ to go

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’.


HAT-TRICK: Daniel Dalton, Jaimal Mistry, right, and myself at Ambur FM

HAT-TRICK: Daniel Dalton, Jaimal Mistry, right, and myself at Ambur FM

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!

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April 20 register deadline and the black-and-white ‘vote’ message

April 19, 2015

01 Sol_CampbellFORMER England defender Sol Campbell has put his face – as well as his name – to a new advertising campaign to encourage minority ethnic groups to vote in next month’s General Election.

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.

03 every vote1Campaign director Simon Woolley said that black and minority ethnic groups could affect the outcome in 168 marginal seats.

“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 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

April 9, 2015

0  30 03 15 BLOG

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).

1  30 03 15 john batmobileThe 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!

3  election boardsLike the pledge on the old green £1 note – I made a promise, not only to myself to but to all the constituents of Walsall South, when I started on this campaign journey.

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.

NOMINATOIPNI plan to fight the Walsall South corner on issues that mean most to you – NHS, pensions, employment, tax, immigration and housing – with a drive and determination to get results.

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.

4 Sue ArnoldI will be listening because what you say counts.

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


twitter: @sue4walsallsth

facebook: sue4walsallsouth


Community garden focal point for festival celebrations

April 6, 2015

open dayEveryone loves a party and the bearers of good news.

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.

Joy and sorrow on ‘the long Good Friday’

April 5, 2015
STICK AND STONES: With  volunteer Donald Ash

STICK AND STONES: With volunteer Donald Ash

IT’S a happy Easter Day to everyone and a time for reflection on the past week with particular emphasis on Good Friday  . . . when the focus was firmly on the members of our communities who’ve given their all over the years.

I visited my oldest volunteer on Friday. The inspirational 84-year-old Donald Ash from Bentley.

Donald delivers to the ‘close’ where he lives on his mobility scooter.

Sadly he recently fell on the ill-conceived stones outside his bungalow but it doesn’t appear to have slowed the octogenarian down any.

I’ll be looking to resolve the issues for him first thing on Tuesday morning  when everything opens up again (well starts to, anyway)

Next was Bebe  . . . a respected elder in the local community.



The younger Muslim ladies meet at her house and she advises and supports them.

Respecting our elders is so important. They have a knowledge bank and a vast experience of life.

This lady also fed me after eight hours of campaigning with the most delicious home-made kebab and chicken and Muhammad Waheed Rasab as well.

When it comes to champions, then Martin Bateman is at the head of the checkout queue.

I joined Martin, the Asda St Matthew’s community life champion, who is helping mastermind the improvement of Church Hill, Walsall, with the development of a bees- and butterfly-friendly wild flower meadow.

Once upon a time the area was paved with a picnic bench but this just encouraged anti-social behaviour so the local authority removed the bench.

Asda St Matthew’s along with Walsall Arboretum User Group prepared the area, bought the seeds and spent time sowing and raking them in.

FROM LITTLE ACORNS, GREAT OAK TREES GROW: Community life champion Donald Bateman

FROM LITTLE ACORNS, GREAT OAK TREES GROW: Community life champion Donald Bateman

We look forward to many beautiful wild flowers later this year and hope it will develop further over the coming years. Blooms are set to follow.

And finally. . . an urgent appeal for a pillar of his community with a normally cheery disposition.

Please take a look at this photo of 86-year-old Sidney Edlin who went missing from his home in Bentley, Walsall around 3pm last Thursday.

Sidney’s family and West Midlands police are worried about him. He often catches the bus to Walsall town centre and walks around the canals in Pleck and Rough Wood.

If you see him (he could be wearing a flat brown cap) call West Midlands Police on 101 or the Missing People charity on 116 000.

MISSING: Sidney Eldin

MISSING: Sidney Eldin

A Rose between two tour centre visitors

March 29, 2015

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HAT’S OFF: Bumped into Keith and Elaine enjoying a stroll in Walsall Arboretum. They joined our tour of the fantastic new visitors’ centre with Councillor Rose Martin, centre front row.

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Pick picture perfect . . .

March 29, 2015

campaign 99

PICK OF THE BUNCH: St Matthew’s Church in Walsall makes a wonderful backdrop for a litter pick with Martin Bateman and his wonderful Asda team.

And what’s more, I was privileged to have been ‘snapped’ by international award-winning photographer Chris Furlong from Getty Images on the campaign trail.

Pick picture perfect . . .
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