Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • A New Year and a New Start

    January 2nd, 2012jamiewakerdgcandidate, community

    Well it seems that I can now use that popular excuse that I have been too busy to write on my blog recently and having scanned my previous entries, I see that I last wrote an artical in November!

    For those of you that either follow me on Twitter, Facebook or know me in the flesh outside of cyberspace, you’ll know that December was a relatively busy month for me and I have used the month to reflect on the choices I have made during 2011 as well as put some thought into decisions that I need to make in 2012.

    As it happens, I used the month of December to take some time out to decide what would be the right direction for me with regards to the community campaigning that I do in Whitley and for the LGBT Community in Reading.  Since my accident I have spent a lot of time with my thoughts though I’m never sure if that’s a good thing or not!

    As many of you know, when I originally made the decision to be more active in community politics, I found all of the political parties to be much of a muchness.   I could have joined any of them as they all seemed to engage in playground antics so I chose to join the party that appeared to do more for LGBT equality that the others – I ended up choosing the Lib Dems and stood in 2011 as the Candidate in Whitley where I encountered homophobia and scaremongering.  Thankfully, I used this experience to launch the OK 2B Gay Campaign and started to make some noise about LGBT Equality which was starting to be heard by most of the local branches political parties – even the party that I had joined.  As part of the OK2bGAY Campaign, I shared Tory MP Rob Wilson’s poor voting record on LGBT Equality and the fact that it took him a number of months for him to write back to me.  I also felt the need to remind the newly appointed Labour LGBT Officer of some of his partys failings which was followed by Duncan Bruce labelling me as acting as the only gay in the village on his blog.  (I love comedy catchphrases as much as the next man – though I’m sure I recall Reading Labour pulling up Reading Lib Dems on a members use of an Ali G Catchphrase.)  That aside, I wish the Richard the very best in his role and I hope at some point that all of the LGBT officers in Reading’s political parties band together to tackle discrimination, in-equality and make a difference for the LGBT Community.

    I also took some stick from a few Lib Dems in Cyberspace when I shared my views of the in-equality on the gay marriage consultation and the so called end of the blood ban.  I fail to see the need for a consultation on Gay Marriage and if we’re a country that promotes equality for all, then it should just be passed as law.

    In Labour and the Lib Dems defence,  Labour appointed a LGBT Officer (coincidentally following rumours of homophobic and transphobic Whistleblowing on various blogs) and at the Reading Lib Dem’s AGM, a motion was put forward to create a dedicated team that ensures that LGBT people in Reading have their needs represented – publicly and not hidden behind closed doors, to give LGBT people a voice on the council and to ensure that any local manifesto also includes campaigns that demonstrate a commitment to LGBT equality.

    I’m not sure if Reading Tory’s have a dedicated individual for LGBT campaigns though if you believe everything you read in the Reading Newspapers, they appear to have enough problems to contend with at the moment.

    I am pleased though that every party voted in favour of a LGBT Support Centre in Reading and it was suprising that even Cllr Rob White (Leader of the Greens) turned up and raised his arm in the air to vote rather than sit on them.  I helped Lorna McArdle write her speech and produced a video for her and I wish all the best with the project which will based at South Street.

    I’m not making the statements above to be harsh or score any sort of political points, just to demonstrate that all parties are just as good and as bad as each other.  None of them set out to make bad decisions but they’re all obviously going to be desperate to keep and/or gain seats on the council and the spats between them all are played out each week in our Local Newspapers.

    Is that what I signed up for when I wanted to make a difference in my community?  No.  That’s why I have made the decision to not be alligned with any political party and leave the Lib Dems.  I obviously have personal reasons for handing my membership back but those reasons are simply that – personal.  My membership to a political party could also be seen as a conflict of interest when it comes to the LGBT Campaigning that I do as well as the work that I do in my community.  I am now sat back on the Committee of the Kennet Island Residents Association and have just become a Trustee of Reading Pride so I’m sure you can see my difficulty!   I informed the local party in December of my intention.

    I do need to add though that there are some really good committed Cllrs accross all of the parties in Reading but then again there are also a few bad ones who do not turn up to Council Meetings and claim credit for other peoples hard work.

    That being said, I do intend to stand as an Independent Candidate in this years Local Elections though.  Being independent means that I can continue to demonstrate my commitment to the needs of my local community rather than the needs of a political party.  This gives the community a genuine alternative that represents them and doesn’t waste time on political playground antics which could be better spent on making a difference.  My manifesto will be released shortly which has been devised following feedback from residents here in Whitley.

    In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!