Well, no one said it would be easy, but I certainly didn’t expect my first real action as a Councillor would be to vote for a new leader, both of Bradford Labour and Bradford Council.
Nonetheless after our tragic loss of Ian Greenwood in Little Horton that is exactly the situation I have found myself in.
As you read this I’ll be being inducted as a Councillor for Windhill & Wrose, and soon we’ll be having our AGM and starting the process of choosing a new leader, who will also become the leader of Bradford Council.
Talk about high stakes!
It’s a huge responsibility (both voting for the leader and being the leader!) and obviously I cannot say too much about it really. The threat from Respect is both real and serious, and needs to be countered as soon as possible. If we don’t get a handle on how to fight them within a couple of elections they could outnumber the Liberal Democrats and genuinely hold sway in the Council. We also need someone with the vision to take Bradford forward amidst a double-dip recession and huge Tory/Lib Dem government cuts.
I’ll be honest and say I won’t be envious of whoever gets the position, but there is no point in being in politics to sit on the sidelines and cross your fingers in the hope that things get better. This is a period of immense importance for Bradford as it struggles to regenerate after a decade of Tory/Lib Dem mismanagement and other cities in the region pull further and further away.
Although there is no way of knowing it now, my vote for the next leader of Bradford Labour and Bradford Council could well be the most important action in my political career.