We asked Labour Party members to tell us just that. Here are some responses: please send us yours!

Claire Page, Marlborough

Claire PageAs a teacher, I’ve been teaching remotely from home. I’m interested in mental health and I’m a counsellor as well as a teacher.  Two of the things I’ve found most rewarding during lockdown are courses I’ve taught online. The first is teaching counselling skills to adults, the second teaching a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to adolescents.

I’ve also got two twenty-somethings back at home for lockdown and I’m concerned how the fallout from the pandemic is going to affect their generation in terms of mental health as well as education and employment prospects. 

 

 

 

 

Trevor Cherrett, Devizes

Trevor CherrettI am a semi-retired planner who has worked across national and local government, academia and the independent and voluntary sector. I am Chair of the Wiltshire Community Land Trust, which offers support to communities wanting to build affordable homes for local people, in partnership with Community First and Wiltshire Council. I am also a member of the national Town and Country Planning association`s Policy Forum and the Rural Coalition.

Thanks to Zoom I have been able to continue with some of this work in the lockdown, as well as having the good fortune of living in a comfortable home with a garden and a pond, plus a long country lane to walk down and stay sane.

I have long been interested – perhaps obsessed – with the need for radical electoral and policy reforms in the UK, and have recently published a paper on this. I look forward to influencing change and sharing my ideas at a future Devizes Labour Party discussion.

 

Joe Brindle, Devizes

Joe BrindleAs well as supporting the start-up of the Covid-19 emergency volunteer group in Devizes, I've been pushing for a Green Recovery for Education in my new role as a Campaign Coordinator at Teach the Future.

We're asking that the Chancellor invests retrofitting all education buildings to net-zero as part of fiscal stimulus, doing this will create tens of thousands of green jobs, reduce the UK's emissions, ensure investment is spread across the country and help inspire students to live more sustainably. I've written an open letter signed by 1,105 students to the Chancellor on this matter.

Devizes Labour CLP believe that the “new normal” must fully embrace the climate challenge.

 

Ross Maltby-Tykot, Ludgershall

Ross Maltby TykotSince lockdown has started, I've been fortunate enough have the means to work from home. This is something I do not take lightly as I know this is not the case for everyone. When I am not at work, I have recently started reading more - usually political books from all parts of the political spectrum. I believe this is vital in forming your own opinions and understanding why people believe what they do. 

The main reason I identify with the Labour Party is the simple fact I believe in looking out for each other. I believe society can only move as quickly as its slowest member so we need to work together as a community in order to improve the quality of life for everyone and I look to strive forward in every way I can to do just that starting with my local community.

Ross has agreed to step up onto the Labour Party Exec Committee as our new Youth Officer, and plans for invigorating a new Young Labour group in Devizes CLP are underway.

 

Rachael Ross, near Pewsey

As lockdown started, I continued working from home switching my face to face leadership coaching work to online meetings – which definitely has its’ limitations. Between Labour Party local and regional work, I have been volunteering with my local Covid-19 group in Pewsey. Led by Phil Brady, Pewsey launched an amazing volunteer response including delivering weekly food boxes to our most vulnerable local residents as well as food shopping, dog walking, buddy phone support and signposting and advice. As we transition towards a “new normal” we plan to transform into a new charity with plans to work on community projects with young people in the Pewsey area.

Rachael Ross Picture credit Siobhan Boyle

Rachael Ross

Phil Brady, Pewsey Picture credit Siobhan Boyle

Phil Brady

 

Noël Woolrych, Devizes

Noel WoolrychI've worked from home (well office/workshop in the garden) for years so apart from investing heavily in technology to enable remote support, my work load hasn't really changed a lot.  On the cusp of lockdown our 3 yearold granddaughter was rushed into hospital with an undiagnosed virus which turned out to be sepsis.  In the mean time we had to rescue her brother after a frantic midnight call from our son who drives for HM Prison Service.  Enabling people to work remotely is something that I specialise in, but restoring a dental practice to enable them to continue work after being severly hacked - no data was compromised but significant damage was done - was a considerable challenge.  Running the town CCTV presented a change in direction as the pattern of crime changed.  However, because we invested in better technology just before lockdown, we were able to respond to Police requests for data much more quickly than in the past.

My role throughout the pandemic has been to support and enable people and businesses to continue to do their jobs.  Whilst my normal standpoint is to lead from the front, I chose to provide support and assistance to enable more people to do what they do best, thus helping a wider community.  For example not everyone knows how to setup and run video conferencing such as Zoom.  Providing support has enabled huge numbers of organisation, businesses, interest groups and families to keep in touch with eachother.

 

Dear Editor

We are astounded that Danny Kruger continues to support Dominic Cummings’ clear breach of the lockdown rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The anger, confusion and loss of trust this incident has created could lead to many more unnecessary deaths, as peoples’ faith in the Government’s ability to handle this pandemic is even further eroded.

At Devizes hustingsThe Labour Party has tried to support the Government in handling this crisis as people’s lives are at stake. But Dominic Cummings is not the Government. He is not an elected politician, he is not even a member of the Conservative party. He is a paid political advisor. Political advisors work for the government. In this case it would seem as if the government is being asked to work for Cummings as one after another Conservative MPs (including our own) has been sent out to defend him.

All political parties have political advisors none of them are indispensable. For Danny Kruger to argue that sacking Dominic Cummings would be a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson beggars belief. If this is true, it is testimony to the paucity of talent in the current Conservative party.  Braeside home made poster

At the Pewsey hustings, before the General election, when issues of Boris Johnson’s honesty were raised by a member of the audience, Danny Kruger defended Johnson as a friend.  Now Kruger is our MP he is defending another of his friends. Cumming’s argument that he drove 60 miles to visit a beauty spot to test his eyesight, is just not credible. Danny Kruger wasn’t elected as MP for Devizes to defend his friends. He was elected to represent his constituents.

A recent poll suggests that 81% of those polled believe Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules. Many of Kruger’s constituents have written to him and complained, and all of us have received the same standard letter back. None of our concerns have been addressed and none of our personal sacrifices acknowledged.

If Danny Kruger believes that one man’s career is more important than ensuring the rest of the country comply with strategies to beat this pandemic then Danny Kruger should think again.

Yours sincerely,

Rachael Ross, Devizes Constituency Labour Party Chair and General election candidate 2019, Vice Chair Sylvia Card, Secretary Steve O’Neal, Vice Chair Membership Ivor Blackmore, and Labour Party Exec Committee Members Rod Evans, Di Harris, Laura Naylor, Robert Oguaju, Steve Osborne and Noel Woolrych

meeting1Members of the Devizes Labour Constituency Labour Party have made their choice for Leader and Deputy Leader in the forthcoming Labour meeting2leadership election, with Keir Starmer being the choice for Leader and Dawn Butler for Deputy Leader.

Forty-two party members eligible to vote for the CLP choice spent an hour and a quarter discussing the various candidates in a good-humoured and open forum. There were members with strongly held views, members with personal knowledge of some of the candidates and members who were new to the process, but everyone had an opportunity, and many took it, to express their views. 

There were those who were disappointed that some candidates were on the Deputy list, not the Leader list. And there were some people whose views when they arrived were overturned whilst listening to what others had to say.

meeting3Some remained keen to vote for their personal choice however whilst others  - on the grounds that democracy needs a wide choice of candidates - meeting4wanted to know which candidates were definitely on the ballot paper and which needed support from CLPs to get there.

But it was generally agreed that Labour’s new leader and deputy leader must have what it takes to stop infighting. They must have charisma and be able to engage with people – not only party members. They must have authenticity and believe in what they say, and not be prone to cave in under pressure to do what they feel is wrong but yet able to change their views when evidence shows them a different way. They need clear and firm moral principles, resilience to deal with the media and they need to be able to persuade people who voted Tory in the 2019 General Election to return to the Labour Party in the next election. 

Ivor and RachaelAfter a transferable vote ballot it was clear that there was much more clarity in the room about the leadership candidate than the deputy, with several people not using all four of their votes for the Leader candidate – for them there was one or maybe two choices and no others, whereas all the votes were used for the Deputy Leader. And the result for Leader was very close indeed with Keir Starmer beating Emily Thornberry by just one vote after two rounds. There was a wider range of voting for the deputy leader, though Dawn Butler was the clear winner, with more than double the votes of her nearest rival, Angela Rayner.

The ballot for members opens on Friday 21st February and closes at noon on Thursday 2nd April. So there is still time for everyone to make up their own minds about who to vote for. Information about the candidates and recordings of hustings can be found on the Leadership Election Hub at labour.org.uk

Photos by Bob Naylor

Ray TaylorRay Taylor died on January 9 aged 82 after a long ilness. Ray1

Teacher, rugby player (Club Chairman & President), cricketer, former chairman of the local branch, keen twinner, Town and District Councillor, Mayor, champion of the underdog.  The list of his community involvement is endless.  Above all he was a true socialist at heart, originally from Stocksfield, near Newcastle upon Tyne he made Devizes his home.

His sporting involvement was legendary and many tributes were paid to him by the Devizes Rugby Club where he was player, Chairman and President.
He taught locally at both Dauntsey's School and The George Ward School.

When he retired he bacame involved in local politics representing Labour at both the Town and former Kennert District Councils; he also served the town as Mayor.  The was responsible for introducing the town's annual Civic Awards. He introduced a youth council to facilitate young peoples' involvement and understanding local politics.He intruduced the ancient custom of "Beating the bounds" (of the parish) as a fund raising activities.  He was a keen and active member of the Twinning Association with many friends in Mayenne and Waiblingen.  He was very active in local politics and served as Branch Chairman for several years. He was a keen environmentalist frequently seen around the town on his bicycle.

Laterly his health declined with the onset of Alzheimer's.  His family and friends will miss him.

 

 

Election 2019 Devizes Constituency

Emma Dawnay – Green Party: 2,809
Danny Kruger – Conservative Party: 32,150
Rachael Schneider – Labour Party: 7,838
Jo Waltham – Liberal Democrats: 8,157

The turnout was 51,223, which equates to 69.81%

To say that this was a great disappointment would be an understatement.

However, we would like to thank all those who voted for us and to acknowledge the huge amount of work behind the scenes that party members put in, the long hours, the miles walked and the enthusiasm to see democracy facilitated.

We are very grateful for all the hard work that Rachael Ross put in standing as our candidate.

To quote President Bill Clinton "The people have spoken, but it will take a while to determine exactly what they said.".

We offer our congratulations to Danny Kruger MP and look forward to working with him in the future.
We wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Brexit New Year.