Siobhan Corria: Diary of a first time councillor

May 22, 2012 10 Comments »
Siobhan Corria: Diary of a first time councillor

In her first few weeks as a Llandaff North councillor, Siobhan Corria reveals what she has been up to.

On 3rd May I was elected as a Labour Councillor for Llandaff North. It was a long time coming, I had been campaigning non stop since October 2010.

I became active within the Labour Party following the formation of the Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition in Westminster. I started campaigning for Julie Morgan in October 2010 as she was hoping to represent Cardiff North in the Welsh Assembly.

Once Julie was elected, I focused my efforts on winning my seat in Llandaff North in the local elections. With my co-candidate Dilwar Ali, we knocked thousands of doors across our ward. We spoke to residents on the doorsteps about the issues that needed addressing. We were visible in the community, fighting hard to regain the seats for Labour from the Liberal Democrats. The austerity measures being delivered by the ConDems in Westminster really spurred me on when I felt too tired to canvass, or if I felt like I hadn’t seen my children enough. I am a social worker in Newport and I see first hand how desperate some people’s lives can be. I felt I needed to get elected ensure good public services in Cardiff and make communities stronger and safer. I am an unashamed socialist and I could feel I would get elected if I worked hard to engage with residents and address their concerns.

Election day was stressful and busy, with lots of friends helping us by sitting on polling stations, knocking up the voters and even baking cake! We knew that we had to get our vote out throughout the day and early evening, however, we were also aware that Cardif City was playing at 7.45pm and we were cautious not to disturb people.

The count seemed to drag on for a lifetime and I was convinced we had lost to the Independents who peddled the motto ‘people not politics’. The relief when the count had concluded and Labour had won both seats was immense. It was also a bit daunting to think of the responsibility I had taken on. I was so pleased that I would be able to spend more time with my family as campaigning had seemed to take over my life. But it worked and I am now a Councillor for the first time.

In fact, Labour had managed to get 46 Councillors elected in Cardiff which meant we took control of the City. I’m not convinced anyone expected such a resounding win.

We met as a group the day after the election and elected group officers. In the days that followed although I had returned to work, I spent a great deal of time in the evenings sending emails, making contacts and generally planning the issues that needed immediate attention. I was not officially a Councillor until signed my declaration which I did one week after the election.

Once I had signed the declaration I could really crack on with the case work for Llandaff North. I visited residents in Lydstep Flats, addressed issues regarding Gabalfa Primary School, Llandaff North allotments and the bane of my life – fly tipping. I also attended the Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting where I reassured residents that we were newly elected Councillors, committed to working hard on behalf of every single resident.

I was also elected by the Labour group as the chair if the Children and Young. person’s Scrutiny Committee. I have to say this is my proudest achievement. I worked for eight and a half years as a youth justice officer in Cardiff before taking a social work post in the looked after children’s team in Newport City Council. I am passionate about improving the outcomes for children in Cardiff and I am determined my experience and skills are used to really ensure our services meet the needs of children and young people. I am determined to do my best.

My first full council meeting was an exciting experience. Whilst I knew it was a pretty straight forward AGM, I still felt nervous. But the end of it, I was dying to get up and speak. I feel so passionate about standing up for people, I can’t wait to ask my first question in council – to do my best to improve services and inevitably outcomes for the people of Cardiff. It’s my home city, where I was brought up and where I am bringing up my own children. I want to engage with people throughout the city so that the Labour Party can really provide services that people need and want. I don’t want to be a manager of austerity and I will not accept that people’s Standard of life should be compromised by the Tories and Libs in Westminster. I Will do my very best and make my trade unionist father proud by challenging injustice at every level.

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  1. Michael Fogg May 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Bravo Siobham! You have worked extraordinarily hard in Llandaff North, and both you & Dilwar deserve your victory. I'm convinced that you'll work your socks off for both your constituents and the whole of the Cardiff populous.

  2. @hintofsarcasm May 23, 2012 at 7:57 am - Reply

    "The austerity measures being delivered by the ConDems in Westminster really spurred me on when I felt too tired to canvass" You do realise that you are now a local councillor, and not an MP, right?

  3. Mike Cridland May 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    So will you still be an councillor in 5 years? Or is this just a stepping stone in your political journey? Its a valid question. People were finding hard to makes ends meet even in the "Good old days" when they got demand notices to repay thousands of pounds.They want decent services cleaner streets, and most of all they want to be safe, I remember the last Labour administration and state of both the social services and schools are a matter of public record

  4. InCardiff May 24, 2012 at 1:01 am - Reply

    walesonline – the diary of a new councillor could be an interesting thing to read, but I've not read such a politically biased piece of writing for ages (and such a piece shouldn't have to be) – but then again, given your past record, I wouldn't expect anything different!

  5. Siobhan Corria May 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    @hintofsarcasm – yes I understand I'm a local councillor not an MP.

    Mike Cridland – I have no political plan, just getting on with the job in hand.

    InCardiff – sorry you didn't enjoy the article.

    • Edna Newsman June 1, 2012 at 7:33 am - Reply

      So much raring to go is not really what real local politics is about though I am afraid. Its about working together with your colleagues, meeitng Council Officers, looking at existing procedures and policies and seeing what you can agree can be of benefit to your area. You cannot save the world, or Llandaff North singlehanded, or make promises you cannot keep. Politics is all about compromise, and these days very much about budgeting and planning. Let us see how you fare in 12 months with a busy life, job and family,,,,,,,,,,

  6. Peter W June 1, 2012 at 11:43 am - Reply

    What's great about Siobhan is that, as a councillor and as a resident, she passionates about the issues of the community she lives in. Just seems odd that people who live so far away are so keen to lecture her on Llandaff North.

  7. Chester Coomb June 2, 2012 at 2:36 am - Reply

    No wonder people don't want to enter politics if they are going to get beaten down by naysayers before they have even served a month on the job. Give the girl a break. She seems passionate about her local community and she should be applauded for standing up and wanting to do something for her local area.

  8. Ralph Cook June 2, 2012 at 6:41 am - Reply

    I am sure Siobhan will be an asset to the Council and the people of the City. There is a great deal of new talent in the Labour Group (and to be fair, amongst some but not all the other Groups making up the Council). This talent has been recognised and will be nurtured so that it is able to exert influence in deciding the future direction of the City. This is clearly demonstrated by the selection of four new Members to join the Cabinet and the election of Siobhan as a Chair of a Scrutiny Committee. With such a range of new Members the "do as little as possible" approach of the last two Administrations which has left Cardiff in a dire predicament is now clearly a thing of the past. And for the critics of past Labour Administrations please open your eyes – Cardiff has stagnated over the last eight years, Labour might not have got every thing right n the past but no one thought Cardiff was stagnating when we were last in control of County Hall.

  9. John-Paul October 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Sad to read some of the negative comments as I know Siobhan to be a very hard worker and genuine in wanting to help her community. It's good to see younger people getting involved in politics.
    It's easy to knock people like Siobhan, if you don't like what she is doing then I suggest you drag yourselves away from your computers and get out there and see if you can do better.

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