We are constantly working for you in the community, with many years of experience in local government we are well placed to represent you.
We are always ready to bring our influence to bear: drawing attention to issues in the community through our campaigning, and lobbying for change with our local political leaders across our constituency.
Devizes Labour was demonstrating on the streets of Devizes on Saturday 31st. Part of a nationwide protest to stop the “very British coup” - as John McDonnell calls it - as Boris Johnson attempts to close Parliament down, determined to crash the UK out of the EU on 31st October.
My sense from the people we chatted to on our way from the Market Place to deliver a letter to Clare Perry MP, was that they are very angry - and very worried - about this assault on our democracy. A rainbow of cross party support turned out for the protest which was organised by Devizes 4 EU.
Ultimately though, this goes beyond leave or remain, beyond deal or no deal: we have to challenge Government to uphold democracy, radically rethink how we do politics and bring in a Labour government to get started as quickly as possible on rebuilding Britain to put people and planet before profit.
Henry Hunt – a local Wiltshire radical hero
by Di Harris
200 years ago this August, two men local to Devizes were right at the centre of the dreadful Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt, a gentleman farmer born and raised near Enford and married to a woman from Devizes, was a radical campaigner for political reform. He had been invited to Manchester to speak at a public meeting about his passion for equal rights, the vote for all, parliamentary reform and an end to child labour.
His views were a threat to the establishment and it was perhaps no surprise that the government wanted to prevent him from speaking. Attempts were made to arrest Hunt and the hussars were sent into the crowd when a riot erupted. Eighteen ordinary, unarmed, working people were killed, whilst 500 were injured. Devizes MP Viscount Sidmouth was Home Secretary at the time.
Devizes hasn’t remembered Henry Hunt in the way it has Viscount Sidmouth, who paid for the Market Cross to be installed and of course has a street named after him. But a performance walk held this year on the anniversary of the massacre, 16 August, introduced local people to Hunt’s family home and early influences.
Henry Hunt and his fight for parliamentary reform must not be forgotten. He must be remembered whenever we are given the opportunity to vote or we see injustice around us or we see democracy under threat. We owe it to those people who died or were injured just for supporting his right to speak. And we owe it to Hunt himself who should finally be acknowledged and recognised locally for what he stood for.
There are five Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) covering Wiltshire and we are working together to support constituents and prepare for local and general elections. Only three of the 98 seats on Wiltshire Council are held by Labour and the Lib Dems are currently the official opposition to the Tories. We want to change this.
In October representative from Devizes, Chippenham, South West Wilts, Salisbury and North Wilts CLPs met to discuss local priorities and plan an agenda for joint campaigning on social care, policing, housing and education.
One of our Labour Councillors, Ricky Rogers, explained that Wiltshire Council is facing a £25M cut in its Revenue Support Grant from central government this year and more redundancies are on the way. Describing Wiltshire Council to the group he said, “It has gone from being a council that provided services to one that commissions them, continuing the dogma of privatisation. There is now a lack of capacity within the officers.”
For Labour to have a bigger influence we need more Labour Councillors and it is essential that we get our candidates for local elections in place early to start campaigning with Ricky and his colleagues. This countywide Labour strategy group will now meet quarterly with the next meeting planned for January.
If you are interested in standing as a Labour Councillor for election to Wiltshire Council let us know and we will get some training organised for you.
Devizes Labour Party is busy campaigning and canvassing support across the constituency.
We want to find out what issues (local and national) people are concerned about, and how your local Labour party can lead real change in our constituency.
We have had a lot of fun out and about in Devizes, Marlborough and Tidworth canvassing residents' views on what Labour should focus on, as well as running several street stalls in town centres. We will continue canvassing and having these "community conversations" over the coming months.
Local issues raised have included problems with roadworks, a reduction in medical facilities, a worry about homelessness and lack of housing for young people. Wider concerns include closure of several education facilities and a deep concern 're the way Brexit is going and how it is dividing our country.
We have already taken up some specific residents' issues with local Councillors and will be building all of these issues and concerns into our local Manifesto for Devizes constituency which will form Labour's vision for our community.
If you want to find out more please get in touch or head over to our Labour Facebook Group for more info about our canvassing and campaigning.
Updates for all of our events can be found on Campaign Bulletin