Now that the election period has officially begun it is worth remembering that it is not too late to get involved. Not too late to register to vote, not too late to find out more about who you would most want to vote for and not too late to contact politicians and candidates. Here are a few reminders.
Firstly registration. Chances are if you receive Council Tax bills, even one confirming you are exempt from payment, then you will automatically already be registered. That is the case whether you live on site or in a house. If you are not sure or know that you are not yet on the list then it is not too late; you can register up to the 20th April. Ask GATE for help. It is worth noting also that you can register even if roadside, staying with friends, doubled up with family etc. Just ask GATE if the Leeds http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Register-to-vote.aspx or Government https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote websites can’t help.
Working out who to vote for is of course a whole other matter. Read more
Why does the health of people who live on the margins matter? Why do entrenched inequities in health access and outcome continue and what can be done? What common ground is there between people ‘on the margins’ and people not considered to be ‘marginal’? What role do healthcare commissioners have to play in reducing inequity? Read more
We hear this week that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has finally made his decision in respect of Leeds City Council’s application to extend the Cottingley Springs local authority Gypsy and Traveller site on Geldard Road, Leeds. He has refused the application.
This news is not surprising. From the outset of Leeds City Council’s proposal, it was clear that asking the Secretary of State to pass an application for extension into the greenbelt, albeit that the application came from the local authority not a private family, presented Mr Pickles with a significant challenge to his erroneous ‘protect the greenbelt’ political narrative. According to the latest statistics, building on the greenbelt is actually fine by Mr Pickles, so long as you are not a Gypsy. Read more
I don’t know how many shopping days it is until Christmas but I do know that there are fewer than 60 campaigning days before the next elections. In less than two months, the UK will decide both who the next Government will be and, just as important day to day, who runs their local Council. The politicians have certainly picked up the pace, setting out their stall for why we should vote for them. Leeds GATE has in return been progressing with our project to raise awareness, both of our members in politics and of politicians in Gypsy and Traveller issues.
As we at GATE have often criticised, Gypsy and Travellers rarely appear to be considered as part of the electorate by much of the political class. Our members are at best forgotten, and at worst, used as a hobby-horse to promote a populist agenda of some form. So far this year little seems to have changed but alongside others we are working to reverse this trend. Read more