When our special guest, Baroness Dean, launched the Plymouth Labour manifesto for us a month or so ago there was much excitement about plans to turn Plymouth City Council into a Co-operative Council. Championed by our friends in Lambeth and elsewhere we felt it was time that Plymouth, no stranger to co-operation, should embrace this approach.

Plymouth desperately needs a new vision of how a city should be run better. After half a decade of Tory dominance our city council creaks, its decisions taken behind closed doors, often against the interests of local people. Our manifesto proclaimed proudly that not only do we want to embrace co-operative values if Labour wins on Thursday, but that we want to throw open the closed doors of decision making and let citizens into the process.

This means we will web-cast council meetings allowing anyone with access to the internet the chance to see how decisions are made. We will review the way the Council spends its money so that more money can be driven to the frontline where the Tory cuts are being felt the most.

The Tory cuts to local government will see frontline services hit hard not only in Plymouth but across the country. Just as Lambeth asked its residents where the cuts should fall and how savings could be made, so will Plymouth. Being a co-operative council means engaging more people in the decision making, giving many more people the stake in the outcome and a part in the decision. This isn’t just a warm worded, rose-tinted glasses approach to governance, it is the way Labour should be operating and from Thursday, I hope it is the way Plymouth City Council will operate.

We have already been greatly aided in the election campaign by comrades and co-operators from across the country. We can achieve a Labour victory in Plymouth a new co-operative vision for our city, but only through hard work. Labour needs to win four seats from the Tories to take control on Thursday. It is going to be tight but it is a challenge we must meet head on.

There are many in our movement who will be spared the usual election mechanics on Thursday. Not all parts of the UK are voting. For those who have elections, you will have witnessed, like I have, people coming home to Labour and Tories switching. Other traditional Tories opting to stay at home or vote UKIP in the face of an increasingly incompetent and out of touch Tory-led government. This is warming but we should not let it dent our determination to get the job done on Thursday.

For those without elections I make this direct request of you. Can you help? Wherever you are in the country, you can help. Coming to Plymouth, or any of the other marginal councils across the country, to knock on doors and bring out the vote is very helpful, but GOTV can be done on the phones as much as on the doors. We have the phone sheets if you have the will to help.

If you can help please get in touch with me at plymouthlabour@gmail.com. There is a new dawn coming for co-operation in local government and this will, I am certain, form the foundation for gains at a national level in due course. I have been left in awe at the effort and determination of my fellow councillors, candidates and volunteers in Plymouth. I know that effort is replicated across the country. Let’s work towards a brighter future for all on Thursday. Let’s bring out that vote for a co-operative future and let’s work together to achieve something better.

Cllr Tudor Evans
Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Ham ward and Leader of Plymouth City Council Labour Group