Archive for the ‘Eric Ollerenshaw’ category

Recruiting for 2011/12 MP Shadowing Scheme. | OBV

May 11, 2011

Recruiting for 2011/12 MP Shadowing Scheme. | OBV.

Having had the privilege of being on this great scheme last year, I can highly recommend this to any one who wants to know more about how our democracy really works, and wants to embark on a Political Odyssey of their own.


Congratulations! – Class of 2011 | OBV

January 18, 2011



Congratulations! – Class of 2011 | OBV.


Fantastic to see how much my fellow Shadows have grown over the last few months. Some very inspiring words not least those from amongst our own ranks.

It is a credit to the whole team at OBV who have made all this possible. I very much look forward to continuing to work with them and all the Shadows to help achieve our shared goal of more a representative Parliament.

Back with a jolt

October 15, 2010

Having completed my first full day of shadowing some weeks ago I had been eager to get back to Westminster to continue my journey into the world of politics.

The recess had meant there had been little emanating from the capital to feed my growing political appetite.

The silly seasons did throw up a few tidbits however. I thought David Milliband’s “house meeting guide” was particularly hilarious and had it not been for the equally funny accompanying you tube video they might have actually been able to spin the whole thing as tongue in cheek. Perhaps future tittle might have included “How to organise a piss up in a brewery” and “How to recruit friends and control people.”

All frivolity aside my return to the thick of it came with an unexpected jolt.
On my way home from Bestival Music Festival I got a phone call from Ben Gummer MP for Ipswich, whose election campaign had provided me with the perfect crash course in grass roots politics.

He explained that due to voting commitments in the House he was no longer able to attend the launch of a memorandum of understanding on Hate Crimes at the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality’s (ISCRE) AGM scheduled for the next day. He asked whether I could go and deliver a message on his behalf.

The next day Ben sent me a copy of his letter to the AGM and asked me how my speech was coming along and informed me that Simon Wooley the head of OBV would be the keynote speaker at the event. So no pressure then. Needless to say I quickly puts some words of my own down on paper to bookend Ben’s letter.

Shortly before leaving for Ipswich Town Hall I spoke with ISCRE who had prepared some briefing notes for me to prepare my speech. So it was that I came came to only get my hands on the full content of the speech a matter of minutes before the event began.

I took my seat at the front of the packed hall next to Simon and began scribbling and annotating furiously.

Luckily the timely reappearance of the prodigal young dance group gave the respite I needed to calm the nerves before taking to the floor.

Those familiar with public speaking will know that delivering your own words even with a great deal of preparation can be a daunting task. Delivering the words of others at short notice is harder still.

Well I got through it without out too much stammering or stumbling and even managed a few laughs.

Simon’s speech was inspirational as ever and had the room buzzing for rest of the evening.

All in all it was a tremendous experience and I was glad not to have been the headline act. A supporting role suited me just fine, but it gave me taste of where I want to be in a few years time.

It was great to meet so many people from the local community and I hope to continue to be involved with these organisations going forwards.

The next day I was up early to get the train down to Westminster for my second day of shadowing Eric Ollerenshaw, but that’s a story for another blog…

First day at the House…

May 18, 2010

Today MP’s descended on Westminster to choose a Speaker. For many of the fresh faces of politics it would have been their first act in the Commons (except for those who had pressing Bingo commitments).
In all seriousness and beyond any joking from the Front Benches, those assembled today in the Commons realise they have a huge task ahead of them, repairing not only the damage to the economy, but the damage to the nation’s trust in Parliament.
The full scale of that damage which has been starting to come to light over the past few days, will no doubt be brought into sharp focus in the coming few weeks.
With 272 new MP’s in Westminster, of which there are 72 new women MP’s and 16 new BME MP’s, we must hope that a new kind of Parliament can be achieved, one which more closely represents the electorate and which can win back the trust of the British public.

back to the beginning

May 15, 2010

In the heat of the campaign it appears I’ve neglected to explain myself and this Odyssey. Now I can remember what free time feels like perhaps I should start at the beginning…

I suspect like many people, up until recently, I had been somewhat politically apathetic. In light of “ThisGate” and “ThatGate” and the seemingly constant squabbling and points scoring in Westminster, it’s no wonder many have come to believe that all politicians are the same.

It was a desperate state of affairs and it was built on despair for what was happening to this great nation.

Then the realisation came that if we give up on democracy then democracy dies. Further, if not happy with the way things are, simply moaning and griping wasn’t going to help.

So I took a good long hard look at what I thought was working and what was not. The issues may well chime with many: the improvements in NHS funding, the size of national debt, the reasons for going to war in Iraq, complexities of the various benefit systems (and the “benefits trap”), the decline of the role of family, the ever growing state control and the erosion of civil liberties, to name a few.

To me there seemed to be only one Party facing up the size of the problems on a local and national level, and being honest with the electorate. The Conservative Party.

Much to the dismay of some of my friends I volunteered to help with the Conservative campaign in Ipswich, a truly marginal seat here in East Anglia. Having met Ben Gummer, the Conservative candidate, at a number of community events and discussed his views on local issues I was quickly convinced he was the man for the job.

So it was that a number of things started coming together. As well as joining the military grade and immensely enjoyable campaign operation in Ipswich, I was unexpectedly accepted onto an MP Shadowing operated jointly by OBV and Communities and Local Government.

The scheme is designed to improve the political representation of ethnic minority communities in local and national politics, and make politics more accessible and in turn more representative.

I have to say when I saw the calibre of the other applicants during the interview process, I was sure that I stood little chance. It came as a very pleasant surprise when I was invited to attend the induction day at Westminster.

Since then as I have explained it’s been something of a roller coaster ride, not least of which has been the 28 hour polling day marathon!

The Election result may not have been what any one voter would have wanted, and the Coalition born of it will certainly present many challenges, and opportunity for mistakes as well as success. There is great deal of work to be done, and we must hope that this Government is up to the task.

My task is slightly more straight forward. I have been privileged enough to have received a unique opportunity. First and foremost I must do my up most, in concert with my fellow Shadows, to make politics more accessible and do my part to help re engage a disillusioned general public. And who knows, perhaps find my way in to public service…