By Ray Shemilt, the Labour candidate:
I don’t know about you, but I often feel that, rather like BBC Spotlight, our County Council doesn’t realise that Bude is part of Cornwall!
Am I the only one to have asked a Council official to visit, only to be told: “It’s a bit of a long way to come”?
In Bude, we are in need of a councillor who will work for Bude. A councillor who will fight for decent jobs here, not forced zero hours, summer-only contracts; who will fight for decent homes that Bude folk can really afford to live in, not second homes that pay no tax; who will fight for proper funding for schools not the impending cuts (losing around £346 per pupil at Budehaven); who will fight for improved transport links for all.
We need a councillor who will fight locally for the NHS. Our nearest hospital is in Devon – 2 hours 45 minutes away on public transport – £60 for the hour’s trip each way by taxi! We all rely on the excellent Minor Injuries Unit in Stratton to assess and treat wounds and infections yet, like other MIUs across Cornwall, its future is in doubt.
Earlier this year, Labour Party members from Bude made several early-morning, 90-minute trips to County Hall, Truro, to fight for the future of Stratton Hospital. We demonstrated outside and attended Council meetings where we demanded answers to difficult questions. We did it because we in Labour want the best for Bude.
If elected as Bude’s Labour Councillor, I will work to:
- ensure Stratton Minor Injuries unit, still under threat of closure, remains open.
- remove unsightly and dangerous plastic pollution from our beaches. ,
- prevent sewage overflow into rivers and sea
- ensure the building of council houses and that “affordable” homes are truly affordable for local people on local wages.
- end the loophole that allows second homeowners and holiday let landlords avoid paying any council tax
- ensure that ALL Cornwall Council workers – including those in “arms length” companies are paid the real living wage
- subsidise transport for support workers, young people between 16 and 25, and WASPI women.
- support disabled people’s rights – especially in parking/access issues.
A bit about me …
I came to live in Bude in 2005 with my wife and daughters as I wanted my then young daughters to have a better quality of life. I achieved this by doing a council house exchange from Sussex just in time for my eldest to start her secondary education at Budehaven Community School.
Prior to coming to live in beautiful Bude, I worked in a management role for a London based fashion house until 1990 when I opened a shop of my own in Arundel Sussex and later retrained as a Specialist Interior Decorator working as self-employed during this time producing special paint effects.
By the early 2000s, I started to experience physical problems, but it was not until I came to live in Bude that I obtained a proper diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Physically I became almost immobile at this time; this also had a very bad impact on my mental health. I have found that getting involved with my favourite subject – politics’ – in particular social democracy of the left – has helped in relieving both my social anxiety and depression. I now feel that I would like to contribute further to my local community and so am standing to represent Bude on Cornwall Council
I have been interested in politics since my school days when I was taught British Constitution back in the times of Harold Wilson, at which point I realised we were run by a group of elites, so I read Marx and found my true home; during my teens I was an active member of CND and attended marches when I could. I was a member of the Labour party back then and maintained my membership until Tony Blair and Bush invaded Iraq in 2003. At that point, I had had enough and resigned. I re-joined the party when Jeremy Corbyn got onto the leadership ballot in 2015 so I could support and vote for him. I attended the first fledgeling meeting of the newly formed Bude Branch, and earlier this year was elected Disabilities Officer for North Cornwall CLP. In this post, I regularly support local people with disabilities (not just Labour members) in enabling access and challenging discrimination.
I am also involved (as Treasurer) with a local self-help group called “Happy Hour” for people with anxiety and depression, we meet twice a week to support each other and arrange days out etc. We have managed to source grants to enable us to do this. We formed the group after Bude lost its dedicated mental health support worker.
It was quite a struggle for me to decide to stand, as an ordinary person, for Cornwall Council but I know I can count on the support of family, friends and the Cornwall Labour community.