Chair’s Report

Apologies for not getting out a report earlier, but have had a bad dose of the dreaded lurgy and retired to my bed. However, better late than never. However, the curry night was again a success, even though there was some panic in the kitchen as the caterer’s van had broken down and we were desperately looking around for some rice. However, all ended well, and I am sure people passing the WI Hall wondered what was happening given the cheering and booing emanating from the hall.

However, the next few months are going to be busy ones as we lead up to the local Dorset County Council elections. As agreed at the last Branch meeting, three groups are in place that will produce leaflets covering housing, the local economy and public transport. However, we still require an Agent for the Bridport election given that it is generally agreed that we will only run paper candidates for Beaminster and the Marshwood Vale. Given this position we will be asking for a volunteer to act as our Agent at the next Branch meeting on the 18th January. We will also be able to discuss the content of the leaflets provided by the three groups, as well as amending or adding to them as necessary. We must also discuss as to how we leaflet the wards concerned, especially Bridport. This again will require volunteers to leaflet at least in their own street, as well as looking for weekend campaigning in areas we traditionally look for support. Also at the next Branch meeting we will be looking for volunteers to stand in the Beaminster and Marshwood wards.

Leafleting is of course crucial in Bridport given the hold the Lib Dems have over the Town and increasingly the Greens. Whilst of course as a Branch we have nearly 600 members, the Labour Party standing in the country is still well behind the Tories and we must make a real effort locally if we are to succeed in winning seats on the DCC. We also as a Party face a Parliamentary by-election in the North West, on which in my opinion much will depend how successful we are locally.

Also UNITE Community Union are organising a Public Meeting in Bridport Town Hall to discuss the future or otherwise of the NHS. This will be held on the evening of Wednesday 8th of February. At present the start time is not fixed, but it will be an evening meeting and more detail will be made available when a time is finalised. However, it is essential that as many members as possible attend. Also members along with UNITE Community Union had a presence in Bucky Doo Square on Monday 9th January demonstrating against the proposed cuts in Dorset NHS.

Whilst we have been making every attempt to make Branch Meetings more interesting, the Branch Meeting on the 18th will be mainly a business one in which we plan and put forward candidates for the coming Local Elections. As said previously, we now have nearly 600 members, and if even half that number turn out to leaflet in the coming local elections, we can cover the whole of Bridport quite easily. Looking forward to seeing you all on the 18th January, 7pm the WI Hall.

Richard

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