We’ve been speaking to hundreds of voters over the last couple of weeks, in addition to delivering over 12,000 leaflets and sending out hundreds of posters to supporters, and two reasons strike me as central as to why it’s so important to vote Labour in this year’s local elections in Shipley but also across all of Bradford.
Vote Labour to prevent other parties holding Labour to ransom over Bradford’s budget
For the past year Labour has been leading the Council in a minority capacity. This means we don’t have a majority and when it comes to passing a budget we have to ensure other parties make up the shortfall in votes.
This year it has meant working with the Liberal Democrats to ensure there were enough votes to get the budget passed. The Green Party only have three votes, so despite leaflets about the many hours of budget negotiations and resistance to some of the cuts allegedly proposed, the fact is their vote couldn’t possibly get the budget passed. The Tories didn’t even bother to come to the negotiating table.
That left the Lib Dems, who voted for the budget before scurrying back to their wards and campaigning vociferously against the cuts they’d just voted to pass.
For this year, we’ve passed the budget, but next year it could be different.
There are another £20 million worth of cuts heading Bradford’s way from the Tory/Lib Dem government and it’ll be another hard round of negotiations.
This means other parties priorities have to be taken into account when Labour set the budget.
We’ve seen nationally and locally how little the ‘priorities’ of the Lib Dems count for anything, and if the Green Party end up holding the balance of power despite only having three seats, we could be forced to ramp up environmental spending and cut spending elsewhere in care services and educational services to pay for it.
This is what has happened in other places where the Green Party has held the balance, like in Scotland where they reneged on a previous pledge to back a budget and threatened to derail everything at the last minute unless the SNP spent millions more on environmental projects.
I’m a strong supporter of environmental action but in the middle of the largest spending cuts in nearly a hundred years I think Council spending has to be prioritised.
Voting Labour in Shipley and Bradford will send a message to the Council that the priorities should be Labour’s priorities, on protecting our services as much as possible, on rigorous efficiency savings through management restructuring, energy efficiency and procurement re-organisation, and on regenerating Bradford after a decade of neglect from the previous Tory-Lib Dem Council.
The more Labour councillors we send to City Hall the less we’ll be in hock to other parties when setting the budget for Bradford and the better we can protect our public services from government cuts.
Vote Labour in Shipley to fight Philip Davies
It’s amazing the number of people who vote Labour nationally but a different party locally, and differentiate between the two when it comes to the best way to get Labour representation in the House of Commons.
In Shipley we have a very right-wing MP in Philip Davies, who opposes the Minimum Wage, thinks mosques should fly Union Jacks to prove their commitment to the UK and campaigns against so-called political correctness that says it’s wrong to refer to black people as golliwogs.
To sum: much of what he stands for is the exact opposite of what anyone who identifies themselves as vaguely of the left, let alone the Labour Party, stands for.
In a way this situation is as much Labour’s responsibility as anyone else’s as we haven’t consistently made this point enough, but put simply:
The best way to fight Philip Davies is to vote Labour in every local election in Shipley.
Quite simply, we need Labour ‘bums on seats’ in Bradford to get our budgets with our priorities and values through, and we need Labour councillors in Shipley to provide a proper base from which to campaign against Philip Davies as the next general election.
At the last election we only had one Labour councillor in the entire constituency, meaning the Tories had a far bigger base from which to fight the election.
Going into the next election we need at least half a dozen or more councillors to stand a chance of overturning Davies’ majority.
It can be done, Labour had a large majority in Shipley as recently as 2001, but to do so requires more Labour councillors, and that requires more Labour votes.
The final point is that by electing me you’d be electing someone who cares passionately about Shipley and Bradford, works hard to get things done locally, has dealt with dozens of issues raised by local constituents and would continue to work hard if elected to represent the community where I live.
I believe a vote for Labour is the best thing for Shipley and Bradford in this year’s local elections and hope you’ll consider doing so on Thursday May 5th.
PS If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them!