|Left to Right – Elliot Galvin, Phil Meadows, Peter Edwards, Laura Jurd,
Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Simon Purcell, Michael Connarty MP and Corrie Dick.
2015 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Photo Credit: Hayley Madden
People will have their own views on the bigger picture. These are just some sideways reflections by Sebastian on four people with connections to the UK jazz community:
Michael Connarty. The Scottish Nationalist landslide has removed from Westminster a brilliant advocate for UK jazz. Michael has been continuously in the commons since 1992, first as Labour MP for Falkirk East and then after boundary changes Linlithgow and East Falkirk. His energy and his enthusiasm for the music during 23 years have been among the driving forces behind the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Group. He is owed a debt of gratitude for all he has done. He remains Chair of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
Bob Blizzard. Bob was contesting the seat of Waveney in Suffolk which he held for Labour between 1997 and 2010. He fell foul of the national voting trends. He has declared that he will not contest the seat again. Like Michael Connarty, he has been a consistent and tireless advocate for jazz, and was a very effective Chair of Jazz Services.
Andy Williamson. The ebullient and dynamic saxophonist (@bigbuzzard on Twitter) and former kidney transplant patient was standing in his first election as candidate for the Greens in Devon Central. where he took the party’s share of the vote from 2% in 2010 to 9% yesterday. One of the good guys.
Yvette Cooper. The link for UK jazz and the Shadow Home Secretary and Labour MP for Labour MP for Pontefract and Castleford is slightly more obscure. Laura Jurd, Gwyneth Herbert, Conor Chaplin, Fini Bearman and Dave Morecroft are a mightily impressive bunch, who have one thing in common with each other and with Yvette Cooper. They all attended Alton Sixth Form College in Hampshire. Yvette Cooper, if she stands, will be a mightily impressive candidate for new leader of the Labour Party.
And Alton College also featured in last year's Will Michael Jazz Education Awards in the form of an important contribution to the Diploma winning submission from Hampshire and Southampton Music Hubs (musiced.org.uk)