Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    April 28th, 2014jamiewakerdgcandidate, elections, local candidate, whitley

    Today the Statement of Persons Nominated for election as a Borough Councillor for Whitley has been published and it confirms who will be standing for election in the ward of Whitley.  The candidates (and the wards they actually live in) are:

    • Jamie Wake – Independent Candidate (Lives in Whitley Ward)
    • Janel Blatter – Liberal Democrats (Lives in Katesgrove Ward)
    • Rachel Eden - The Labour Party Candidate (Lives in Norcot Ward)
    • Nicholas Brown – The Conservative Party Candidate (Lives in Whitley Ward)
    • Keith Johnson – Green Party (Lives in Park Ward)

    Surprisingly, UKIP have not fielded a candidate in Whitley and although the TUSC had listed Philip Dixon on their website as a candidate, he does not appear as a candidate on the Statement of Persons Nominated.  With Howard Thomas and his Common Sense Party having moved to UKIP there is also no Common Sense Party Candidate this year.  This leaves myself as the only alternative in Whitley to the main stream political parties this year.

    Looking across all the wards, Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Greens have fielded candidates in all wards though it’s worth noting that some of these will be ‘paper candidates’.  This means that they are just a name on the ballot paper.  Those individuals are asked to stand to give that particular parties supporters a choice.  This is usually because a party will be directing its resources to its target wards.

    UKIP have fielded candidates in all wards except Battle, Norcot, Southcote, Thames and Whitley.  The Roman Party. AVE are standing again in Battle.  The TUSC were listed as fielding two candidates on their website - one in Whitley and the other in Katesgrove but have instead fielded just one in Caversham.  There are three independent candidates standing: Myself in Whitley, Mark Ralph in Peppard and John Dickson in Thames.

    There is also a by-election in Park Ward this year so my guess is that Labour, Tories and Greens will all be targeting that ward.

    The full list of candidates can be found here on the Reading Borough Council Page http://www.reading.gov.uk/council/elections-and-voting/voting/

    The full document can be found at:  http://www.reading.gov.uk/documents/electoral/27714/StatementofPersonsNominated28apr14LocalElections.pdf

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    April 21st, 2014jamiewakerdgPress Releases

    jamie wake - Independent candidate for Whitley in Reading local elections 2014Whitley resident, Jamie Wake, is announcing his intention to stand in the 2014 local elections as an Independent Candidate for Whitley.

    With the main parties in Reading announcing their candidates, Jamie wants to remind voters that there are alternatives to the main parties standing in May’s Local Elections. There are a number of residents standing as independent candidates to represent the wards in which they live in. Jamie intends to stand in Whitley Ward.

    Jamie says “Standing as an Independent candidate means that I’m not subject to party politics and can genuinely meet the needs of local residents rather than the needs of a political party.”

    Independents are able to respond to the local community in a way that serves the community interest and not a party political interest. This doesn’t mean that an Independent does not have any political views but that national concerns often do not translate well to the local scene. Independents act on the true concerns of their local electorate who are now beginning to see the benefits of having a representative who is not bound by party rules and regulations.
    Jamie ventured into Community Politics in 2009 after Chairing the Kennet Island Residents Association and joined the Lib Dems for their record on LGBT Equality. He stood as the Lib Dem Candidate in Whitley in 2011 but decided that he would stand in 2012 as an Independent Candidate.

    Jamie says “I became disillusioned witnessing the political point scoring and scaremongering between all local parties in Reading and decided that this wasn’t what I signed up for to make a difference in the community. All of the local parties have their good and bad points but it becomes tiresome watching their spats being played out on the pages of our local papers. To me that’s time wasted that could be spent dealing with local issues.”

    Jamie is known for the LGBT Campaigning he does in Reading and has recently retired as a trustee of the Reading Pride Charity. He was a vocal supporter of the Equal Marriage Campaign and organises Reading’s Annual Hate Crime Vigil. His involvement helped him decide not be aligned with any political party.

    “My membership of to a political party could 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. Standing in this year’s Local Elections as an Independent Candidate 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.”

    Whilst local political parties will be starting to announce their manifestos, Jamie offers instead a set of 7 promises. They are to:

    • Continue to listen to residents and be accessible at all times
    • Represent the rights and needs of Whitley on the council and make sure that my vote on the council is used for the benefit of Whitley Residents
    • Protect valuable services used by people in our area and ensure that vulnerable adults and children get the care and/or support that they need
    • Work with residents, local police teams, Neighbourhood Action Groups and other Councillors to cut crime in Whitley
    • Fight for investment in Whitley to help build cleaner, stronger, safer communities
    • Continue to fight against discrimination in Whitley as well as Reading
    • Be here all year – not just in the lead up to an election

    Jamie’s website can be found at www.jamiewake.org.uk

    NOTE TO EDITORS

    Picture image available on request.

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    April 14th, 2014jamiewakerdgelections, local candidate, whitley

    Well it seems the local election season in Reading has now begun and I’ve decided to stand again in 2014 to represent Whitley as an Independent Candidate.  I made the conscious decision in 2012 to stand an an independent candidate as I didn’t wait to get bogged down in party politics.  I want to represent the people that vote for me and meet their needs – not the needs of a political party.

    As you will see throughout this website, I have made a number of promises to the residents of Whitley.  To me, they’re rather simple but I’d like to give an explanation and the resoning behind some of them.

    • Continue to listen to residents and be accessible at all times
      This underlies why any residents decides to stand in an election.  To me, it’s to make a difference for the community that I live in.  I can do that by simply listening to residents – my neighbours – and respond to the issues that they present.  This means being accessible to them.  Whether that is in person, by phone, by social media or skype.  Living in Whitley, I talk to people on the bus, in the street and in the local bar.
    • Represent the rights and needs of our area on the council and make sure that my vote on the council is used for the benefit of Residents.
      Again, this is why most people stand in a local election.  I believe that you can only do this if you are not a member of a political party.
    • Protect valuable services used by people in our area and ensure that vulnerable adults and children get the support that they need
      Working in Social Care, I see the results of austerity measures on the people I cae and support for on a daily basis.  I’m passionate about ensuring that those who are vulnerable recieve the care and support they need, when they need it. What I do find distateful, is the game of political ping-pong that political parties play when discussing social care.  We need to be innovative if we are going to meet the needs of older people.  This means working together to create a solution that needs to be cost affective, that protects the vulnerable and meets the needs and outcomes of an individual requiring care services.  It’s a problem that requires a solution and Local Authorities should be engaging with Social Care Professionals and Service Users to solve this problem.
    • Work with residents, local police teams and Neighbourhood Action Groups to cut crime in our area
      I believe that together we can tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.  I’m a strong supported of neighbourhood watch for example.  Residents need to be empowered to report anti-social behaviour and crime.
    • Fight for investment in our neighbourhoods to help build cleaner, stronger, safer communities
    • Continue to fight against discrimination in our ward as well as Reading
      As many know with my involvement with the Reading Pride Festival and the Annual Hate Crime Vigil, I abor discrimination in all its forms.  I was subject to dog whistling tactics during the 2011 election about my sexuality. Yes, I’m openly gay but that doesn’t make me or any other individual a second class citizen.  We should celebrate and embrace our towns rich culture and diversity.
    • Be here all year – not just in the lead up to an election
      One of the complaints I hear where I live on Kennet Island is that elected officials only seem to be visble in the lead up to an election. I want to be visible.  Afterall, I live here and to keep my other promises I need to be visible all year round!

    So who else is standing in the 2014 Local Elections for Whitley Ward?

    So far, I can determine that the following candidates have indicated that they are standing:

    • Labour – Rachel Eden
    • Conservative – Nick Brown
    • Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – Philip Dixon
    • Lib Dem – Janel Blattler
    • UKIP – TBA
    • Green Party – Keith Johnson

    I will add names and any other candidates as they become announced.  With Howard Thomas defecting to UKIP from The Common Sense Party, I’m not sure on the Common Sense Party’s status.

    Some of these candidates will be actively campaigning in Whitley whilst others are just what’s knows as ‘Paper Candidates’.  This means that a lib dem supporter, for example, will have a lib dem candidate to vote for.  I personally belive that this is a waste of an individuals vote and disrespectful to the voter if political parties are just doing it to put name on a ballot paper.

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    January 5th, 2013jamiewakerdgdiscrimination, equal marriage, gay, homophobia

    As many people know, I’ve been pestering our local MP’s here in Reading about their stance on Equal Marriage for LGBT people and whether they would be supporting equality for their LGBT constituents.  For a year I’ve been tweeting Rob Wilson without response which I’m assured is nothing unusual and even through the Reading Pride twitter account we only received a letter TO Rob Wilson from Prime minister David Cameron confirming his commitment but still failed to give an indication as to how Rob would vote when he does with his conscience as all Torys will be doing when the time comes – dangerous considering how many people within the Tory’s hold what I would consider bigoted views.

    None of the other political parties are any better mind you.  Both Labour and the Lib Dems are no longer whipping their MP’s.  Labour’s shadow cabinet did a U-turn on 10th December on this matter allowing Labour MP’s to also vote with their conscience and according to Owen Jones in the Independent this U-turn was not proposed on a matter of principle but largely because 3 shadow ministers (including Stephen Timms and Gavin Shuker) had threatened to resign.  According to Owen, 3 Shadow Cabinet ministers – Angela Eagle, Stephen Twigg (both gay) and deputy leader Harriet Harman had argued passionately in favour of maintaining the line.  Suprising since Labour’s vote on the repeal of section 28 was a whipped vote.  The Lib Dems also followed suit offering their MP’s a free vote.  Nick Clegg criticised David Cameron for allowing a free vote but then announced that a whipped vote would not be very liberal.  I won’t waste my time even mentioning UKIP.  In my opinion, this decision by all party leaders was the wrong one.

    rob-wilson-response-equal-marriageBack in Reading, Rob Wilson finally responded – not to me – but to another tweeter.  I love the fact that he said everyone is getting the same response – sorry, Rob but you had failed to respond to me and Reading Pride.  As you can see from the short exchange to the left, Rob Wilson wants to hold local meetings about it!  Why Rob?  You either agree with Equality or you don’t.  It’s that simple!  Replace the word gay with words such as disabled or Asian and we would not behaving this conversation.  Then again, if we look at the public whip website, they record Rob Wilson as voting very strongly against equal gay rights.  Tim Harris once told me that this record is wrong or misunderstood and I have waited for an explanation.  Perhaps, Rob may change these statistics if he votes in support of equal marriage for LGBT people?  Then again….

    I also wrote a letter to MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma following comments he made in an interview to the Reading Chronicle.  I wanted clarity on how he intended to vote as his comments seemed to suggest that he places religion over equality.  I wrote the following on 17th December 2012:

    “…Dear Alok Sharma,

    I am writing to you following your recent quotes in the Reading Chronicle about Equal Marriage for people who identify themselves as LGBT.  For your reference, you are quoted as saying:

    “In many respects civil partnerships are recognised by the legal system in the same manner as civil marriage and the introduction of same-sex marriage would therefore not, in my view, amount to a revolution in the law.

    “However, I will never vote for legislation which forces religious organisations to conduct same-sex marriages and I will seek guarantees on this point from the Government.”

    I was wondering if you can help clarify what you are saying? As you will recall, I have written to you twice with regards to equality for LGBT people with my last letter asking if you will be supporting the thousands of people in West Reading who are LGBT to obtain same-sex marriage and therefore equality – your previous letter did not confirm how you will be voting when you vote with your ‘conscience’ of offer any reassurances to I or other LGBT people  in West reading of your commitment to equality for all of our many diverse communities.  Please can you confirm that you are not going to ignore a number of constituents?

    Please note that Civil Partnerships are not recognised as civil marriage otherwise they would be called marriage, would they not? Could you also explain how you priorities equalities – ie Religious freedom over marriage equality?

    As you can appreciate, I can choose to follow a faith but I do not have a choice over my sexuality and I have found your quotes in the paper to be insensitive to people, like myself, who have persecuted by society.

    Imagine changing the word gay and replacing it with the word disabled or the colour of an individuals skin? Whilst this sort of discrimination was widespread many years ago, I am pleased to see it is no longer acceptable and I hope the discrimination that LGBT people continue to receive becomes no longer acceptable either.

    I will be watching this debate very closely and see how elected representatives such as yourself and Rob Wilson represent your LGBT constituents.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jamie Wake…”

    response-from-alok-sharma-equal-marriageUnlike Rob Wilson, Alok Sharma responds very quickly (I had to wait a number of months before Rob replied to my email about the OK2BGAY campaign – mind you, neither MP’s pledged their support for it) and I received a letter on 20th December.  You can read it in its entirety to the left.

    Sadly, Alok didn’t confirm his support for his LGBT constituents in the same way that he confirmed his support faith-based organisations in Reading but says he is minded to support marriage equality if he receives a cast-iron guarantee that religious organisations aren’t discriminated against.    He won’t be making a final judgement until he has seen the detail of the legislation.  I wait patiently to see how he votes.

    Before any of my Tory friends jump on me, this blog piece is not about reinforcing the view that the Tory’s remain the nasty party – that’s a stigma you have to remove yourselves.  It’s also not an attack on any other party as I also don’t believe any political party has come out looking well in this whole debate.  My right to marriage should not be up for debate.  I beleive the church has come off even worse so – especially after the announcement of permitting Gay Bishops and not Female Bishops.  Many faith-based organsations do want to perform marriage for same-sex couples.

    Like anyone that campaigns for LGBT equality, I will be watching this debate very closely and am in the process of launching the We Vote Too Campaign which will monitor and challenge those elected MP’s that fail to represent their LGBT constituents.  With some elections being won on such small margins, wouldn’t it be funny if the LGBT community was mobilised in such a way to vote to prevent the homophobe winning an election?  “…Vote for anyone but xxxxx…”

    Well there you are, my first blog post of 2013 and yes I know, I haven’t blogged for a while!  I’ll try to rectify that this year!

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  • scissors
    April 29th, 2012jamiewakerdgcandidate

    As voters, many of us would probably think that we only have a choice of 4 political parties to choose from when the Local Elections come round.  I know I certainly used to think that.  But I believe that it’s important for the electorate to realise that there are other options.

    Of course there are other parties such as The Common Sense Party, The Roman Party. Ave! and of course UKIP but In Reading there are 4 Independent Candidates standing in this years Local Elections.  They are:

    • Myself in Whitley
    • Michael Turberville in Katesgrove
    • Jamie Chowdhary in Peppard
    • John Dickson in Thames

    Independent Candidates and Councillors are able to respond to the local community in a way that serves the community interest and not a party political interest.  This doesn’t mean that someone who is independent does not have any political views but that national concerns often do not translate very well to the local scene.  Independents act on the true concerns of their local electorate who up and down the UK are now beginning to see the benefits of having a representative who is not bound by party rules and regulations.

    I wish all candidates the best of luck in this years local elections – especially the other Independents who are standing here in Reading off their own back for the right reasons.

    That’s why I’m standing this year – to give the residents of Whitley – my neighbours – a genuine alternative.

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    Reading Vigil Against Hate Crime

    Leading the Reading Vigil Against Hate Crime

    Last night, I had the privilege and pleasure of organising (and obviously attending!) Reading’s Vigil Against Hate Crime which was held in the Oscar Wilde Memorial Walk.

    It was a great turn out and it began with a short speech from myself (Transcript below) followed by a candlelit walk, 2 minute silence and a balloon release. Balloons had to be released one by one to abide by Reading Borough Council Regulations (no string either!) but that added to what could only be described as a magical moment. As the balloons were released, they formed a spiral as they headed up into the sky and then formed a star. If that wasn’t magical enough, the precision timing of a huge flock of white birds flying above only added to the magic. It was a poignant moment that I don’t think you could create again if you tried.

    Here is the Transcript of my speech:

    Tonights vigil is the first in Reading and joins the many others taking place at this very moment in time.

    To remind you, tonight is about tackling the issue of hate together – taking a moment to stand with those who have lost loved ones and giving our support to those that need it. Our message is a simple one – it’s one of Hope, Remembrance and Positive Action.

    So why are we here? Because people are still being attacked on our streets and extremist propaganda encourages people like David Copeland to try and hurt so many in horrific attacks.

    Even this week, we have heard about the horrific murder of Stuart Walker and the hospitalisation of two men in Leicester.

    These vigils have been organised for the 17-24-30 campaign. Their name represents the days that the 3 London nail bombs were planted:

    17th April – Brixton Market

    24th April – Brick Lane

    30th April – The Admiral Duncan, Soho

    3 people were killed and more than 130 injured during Copelands 3 bomb attacks including a 23 month old baby with a nail in his head.

    Please follow me on a candlelit walk to remember those we have lost to hate crime, to put our differences to one side and work together in unity to give Reading a voice to say No to Hate Crime.

    Although a symbolic event, I see Reading’s vigil growing each year and perhaps next year we can organise a choir and some speakers to address the crowd. Sadly, only the LGBT Community came to the event including representatives from Reading Pride and SupportU. It was also great to see members of Reading’s Political Parties in attendance including Cllr Daisy Benson, Group Leader of the Reading Lib Dems, Cllr Tim Harris from Reading Conservatives and Richard Wood, LGBT Officer for Reading Labour. Everyone sharing a common cause. I had invited the Reading Council Racial Equality but I don’t think they were able to attend so hopefully next year they’ll be able to attend.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those that did attend.

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    Yesterday I learnt that Lorna McArdle, chair of the Reading Pride charity, is to present a petition to Reading Borough Council that reads:

    We the undersigned believe that the residents of Reading would significantly benefit from a LGBT support centre in the town centre open at accessible times to provide health, relationship, employment and legal advice and offer counselling and other services.

    We call on Reading Borough Council to acknowledge this need and offer genuine assistance to establish and maintain an LGBT centre within Reading.

    There is currently a paper petition and an e-petition which can be found at http://www.supportu.net/survey/index.php?sid=15698.

    A motion is also tabled by Cllr Tim Harris that reads as follows:

    SUPPORT CENTRE FOR LGBT COMMUNITY

    Councillor Harris to move:

    “This council believes that the residents of Reading would significantly benefit from a support centre in the town centre open at accessible times to provide specialist services such as health, relationship, employment and legal advice and to offer counselling and other services to the LGBT community.

    This Council undertakes to provide genuine assistance with accommodation and £10k in start up costs for “Support U” to establish such a centre which once instigated should be self-financing and run by local LGBT community members.

    Both the petition and motion are to be presented at a council meeting on Tuesday 18th October 2011.

    I’m pledging my support for this centre for a number of reasons. I make no secret of my sexuality or the way it has been used against me in the past. It was the recent homophobia that I encountered that encouraged me to launch the OK 2B GAY campaign in Reading. The SupportU centre will provide a central base for Reading LGBT groups and organisations and most have received little or no funding from Reading Borough Council who have historically allocated higher funding to organisations that represent religious or racial groups rather than those discriminated against because of sexuality. Some organisations have even had funding decisions reversed by the new administration and there is speculation that this happened after a particular organisation was seen supporting a political group canvassing in the Redlands Ward of Reading!

    That aside, Reading Borough Council does not do very much for the LGBT community. There are committees that represent Ethnic Minorities and religious groups and yet there are none established for the LGBT Community. I have raised this with Reading Borough Council but have never received a reply as to why.

    SupportU aims to provide the following services:

    Family help groups
    Drop in days and nights for the family unit to discuss issues arising from children and/or grandchildren being in same sex relationships.

    Gay parents advice, people needing advice regarding access to their children due to their sexuality and conflicts within the family unit.

    Transvestite Groups and Transsexual Groups
    A relaxed meeting place for those seeking advice for changing sex or cross-dressing. This will be run by people already going through the process or considering it with guests from the NHS or private hospitals. With the inclusion of a hairdresser on the premises it will not just give TS and TV’s a safe place to feel welcome to get their hair done, it would also alleviate the fear of discrimination and intimidation.

    20-25 group
    A social club for the over 19′s so they can meet others in a safe place. This will also be in association with local LGBT venues.

    Educational Services
    Classes in the arts, literature writing, dance, theatre and other recreational activities.

    3rd Party reporting
    Support U have had confirmation that Thames Valley Police would use the facilities as a 3rd party reporting centre.

    They also wish to house the following services within the centre:

    BeYou – Helpline – They would be looking at supporting and improving the service as they have seen a 40% increase of calls in the past year.

    BOLGaF – Berkshire Older Lesbian, Gay Forum
    A social group for the older generation to meet up and support

    Reading Pride – An organisation that provides an annual festival to celebrate acceptance

    Broken Rainbow – Domestic Violence help for same sex couples

    Kenric – A social group for lesbians

    Gay Berkshire – This group is made of a network of governing and voluntary organisations regarding Housing issues, Police advice, NHS advice and support, and voluntary help organisations.

    NHS – advice and support

    TVPS – An informal HIV advice provider for the Berkshire area.

    LGBT Disability Network – A social network for the disabled that are LGBT

    Albert Kennedy Trust – working with 16-25 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people who are homeless or live in a hostile environment

    Plus:
    Support U would provide a referral service to other local businesses to assist the community with enquiries relating to services that the charity doesn’t provide directly. Some of the examples of these are:

    Council – Benefits and social housing advice.
    Solicitors and Lawyers – Offering a business opportunity for solicitors to advise on Civil Partnerships, Wills, and Gay Fathers or Mothers Advice, people needing access to their children due to sexuality.
    Job Agencies – Offering advice on CV writing and how to approach looking for a job.
    TVPS – HIV testing and advice
    Unions – offering union representation and advice
    Doctors
    IVF Clinics
    Fostering Services
    Faith provisions

    As you can see, these are very much needed services that are needed by the LGBT community that also compliments services that are being cut and I hope you will show your support by signing the petition above and coming to the Civic Centre in Reading on Tuesday.

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