This was held, via Zoom, on Friday last and thanks to all those who took part. It is also possible to view to the main party conference, see link below. For our AGM the results were -
President: Ravinder Singh-Chumber
Chairman: Stephen White
Deputy Chair Political: Dylan Gill
Deputy Chair Membership & Finance: Dale Mitchell-Claxton.
A short financial report is being prepared and will be sent to all those who request it. Also an overview report appears below.
Perry Barr Constituency Association report.
Political activity in Perry Barr can be divided simply in to pre and post Covid-19, (C19). As can be appreciated post C19 political life has come to a stop! But then so has all forms of 'normal' life. The politics of Perry Barr will always reflect that it is part of Birmingham. However, at the recent General Election both vote share and number of votes to us in Perry Barr improved. The General Election came without much warning so Perry Barr, like other constituencies, had to make the best of it. We were not able to select our candidate but had Raaj Shamji appointed to us. Luckily he was keen and the small, very small, group of activists worked effectively. On a personal note just as soon as the General Election campaign began I was taken ill with a long term complaint. So it was all things considered a credible result for us. The present Perry Barr MP has been in post since 2001 so voting patterns and allegiances have become well established. This is likely to remain so. Also we thought that once the General Election was over there would be several years of stability. It would have then been possible to work long term on campaign projects. However, C19 has changed this. The lockdown and subsequent suspension of all political activities has upended so much.
Occasionally people contact me and once again the division is simple. There are those who think the C19 regulations do not go far enough while others say they have already gone too far. It is a fact of life that there are always those who wish regulations upon others but never themselves. It is also fair to say the public have grown weary of C19. Basic questions arise like how can Chancellor Rishi Sunak outspend a virus? With Brexit not only were the public consulted via the referendum but a promise was made: 'Get Brexit Done'. However, here we are with C19 and six months into lockdown the public feel they are ignored and, as yet, no idea from Government as to how to get C19, 'done'. But does this matter? Yes it does, all this will come to weigh upon us when political activity starts again. It's all well and good reminding ourselves of the 80 seat majority. It's also reasonable to remind ourselves that for one party to gain an advantage another must lose out. So the Conservatives nationally are in a position of strength but locally we here in Perry Barr are not. Any mistakes made by the Government will impact upon us in a different way to central government. So what to do?
First we must recognise there is a government of 'things'. But real politics is more than just a relentless construction programme with eye-watering costs and, sometimes, doubtful practical benefit. There is also the philosophical side of politics. The government of 'ideas'. We have seen moves by the Scottish Parliament to take the monitoring of thought and interaction between people on social media to new and ridiculous levels and our own Government's 'Online Harms White Paper' is in a similar vein, see link below. Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Advisor said: we don't have the virus, 'under control'. What sort of thinking lies behind that statement? This from a man who started out saying herd immunity was the way to go, what sort of a journey is that? No government can control the weather or the phases of the moon either! The role and reach of government needs to be understood by the public and Parliament alike so as to be endorsed by the former.
We must also be ready to help our Government fight the culture wars that have been declared upon us by some very unsavoury forces. This requires us to be sure of ourselves as a nation and to have much thought about where we want to go. This will need to be the subject of future discussions.
Party conference link, copy and paste to a browser - https://www.conservatives.com/conference
Free speech link copy and paste to a browser - freespeechunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FSU-Briefing-–-Online-Harms.pdf