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General Election 2015

From Laura W

Monday, 28 July 2014

Since Calderdale started having an MP in 1983 we have elected a Labour candidate three times. This has depended more on the weakness of the Liberal vote than the strength of the Tory candidate's. We have never had a Liberal MP.

If anyone is thinking of voting Liberal for tactical voting reasons next time round please bear this in mind. I went down to the polling station last time still undecided whether it was best to vote Liberal or Labour to try to keep the Tory out.

This time I won't waver. Obviously this is my own personal choice but I would greatly prefer not to have a Tory MP next time round or a Tory government in power for another four years. Tactical voting only works if you know what other people are likely to vote. The Liberal Party are at an all time low in the polls. A lot of students and young people won't be voting Liberal this time for a start but I hope they will still vote because they have most to lose.

From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 31 July 2014

My problem in deciding how to cast my vote in 2015 is whichever of the 3 main parties I may decide to vote for I am likely to end up with Tory or Tory lite policies. The so called middle is very crowded these days, and the working class like me have been totally abandoned.

From Mo Norwood

Friday, 1 August 2014

Look at this - local Lib Dems making it clear which side of the fence they are clearly on...

From Cllr James Baker

Friday, 1 August 2014

We don't prefer the Tories to Labour. We would now still be working with Labour if they hadn't decided to throw us out of the Lab/Lib coalition that ran Calderdale from 2010 until 2013.

Also It should be clear and we are not part of the Conservative and Independent Cabinet. We're simply trying to ensure that the Council listens to local people and the Cabinet listens to the Council so that local people get the services they need.

The outgoing Labour Leader said that he would run an open and transparent Council but has shown himself incapable of doing that. Instead he and his colleagues have adopted a high-handed, autocratic approach.

We always have concerns about the way Labour operates but over the past few weeks they have displayed an arrogant determination to push ahead with controversial parking and road schemes against the will of the people of Calderdale. We felt their minority administration was no longer representing the will of the Council.

Labour should note that, despite winning more seats in May, their vote, and their share of the votes cast, dropped markedly. Local people tell us – as do election results – that they want Councillors and political parties to work together to run the Council for the benefit of local people. As Liberal Democrats, that's our preferred way of working, but it just doesn't seem possible for Labour to collaborate.

From Eleanor Land

Friday, 1 August 2014

This move by the Lib Dems is one which shows their true colours, blue through and through. Not content with propping up the most neo-con and extremist government in this country's history, they are now eagerly supporting the Tories in Calderdale.

Vote Lib Dem nationally and you get Tory policies, vote Lib Dem locally and what do you get? Tory policies. We all know what to expect from voting Lib Dem, as we can look at their record. Not a pretty sight.

From Cllr Tim Swift

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Both the parking issue and Hipperholme cross roads were due to be discussed at the full Council meeting.

If the Lib Dems were genuinely concerned about the outcomes of those debates, they would have waited for the vote and, if Labour's position was defeated, asked whether we intended to accept the will of the Council or not.

Instead they cooked up another secret deal with the Tories which they moved without notice. Having voted themselves into power, they then voted for an adjournment, stopping the two issues that are supposed to be so important from being voted on.

As a reward for their support, Cllr Battye is now chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Cllr Baker, chair of a scrutiny panel.

I leave it to others to judge whether they think this is a deal or not.

From Cllr James Baker

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sorry, I have to respond to Cllr Swift. Labour members voted in scrutiny meetings the week before against both the Hipperholme Crossroads compulsory purchase and the parking scheme from being debated in Council.

At the last scrutiny meeting, the lead member for Economy & Environemnt Cllr Barry Collin's stated that even if full Council voted against these measures the executive could still ignore it and go ahead.

That's why this happened. Labour were ignoring the will of Council after promising to listen and work on a cross party basis. It was clear Labour would not honour the outcome of a debate they had tried to stop happening.

The Conservatives offered us a coalition and cabinet places. We refused these because we are our own party with our own identity. The fact is Labour chair twice as many positions within the Council, as the Lib Dems do.

People should also remember Lib Dems were in coalition with Labour and would still be in that coalition if Labour hadn't broken the agreement.

From Cllr Dave Young

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Labour Cllr Tim Swift is absolutely right to point out that the vote of no confidence was moved before Calderdale Full Council discussed the two issues which were supposedly the reason behind it.

Our Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Barry Collins made it clear the will of Calderdale Council would be respected and if a vote was lost then the Hipperholme scheme would not go ahead. Presumably this is why the Tories panicked and chose that moment to go ahead to snatch power with the help of the 5 Lib Dem Councillors.

Once they had won the vote they adjourned the meeting and spent two hours carving up positions and then took these 'so called' important items off the Calderdale Full Council Agenda.

Is this what the people of Calder Ward voted for on 22nd May 2014? – I think not . . .

From Graham Barker

Monday, 4 August 2014

For crying out loud...

It's happened. Get over it. Move on.

From Cllr James Baker

Monday, 4 August 2014

Dave - I think this argument would hold a bit more weight if you and your Labour colleagues had not voted in the scrutiny call-ins against the issues coming to full Council in the first place.

Cllr Collin's said he could press ahead with the compulsory purchase whether or not Council made the recommendation back. He then said something completely different contradicting himself. The same with parking, he said one thing in the meeting and another in a radio interview afterwards.

The point was none of the opposition Councillors, Lib Dems, Independent or Conservatives had confidence in the administration to do what it said it would any more. After ignoring budget Council on the parking, we thought you would just ignore Council again.

The adjournment was for the political groups to come up with their nominations and committee places (Labour got six chairs, Lib Dems three), and for Council officers to re-print a set of papers. The rest of the agenda was adjourned (not cancelled) until the next meeting.

Tim - Have a read of this:

"Labour will not be part of any coalition with the Tories, but instead will retain independence and the ability to pursue the policy objectives we campaigned for in the recent elections."

That was the statement Labour in Portsmouth made after voting with the Tories and UKIP to throw out a Lib Dem administration and vote in a minority Tory administration. Surely if Labour down in Portsmouth can vote in a Tory minority administration and claim they are not in coalition so can Calderdale Liberal Democrats?

From Eleanor Land

Monday, 4 August 2014

Perhaps our councillors could focus on something relevant to their constituents for once. One suggestion for something relevant would be why will the Eastwood Recycling Centre not be open until November, does it really take that long to reinstate it?

From Cllr Barry Collins

Monday, 4 August 2014

Just for the record: Labour itself referred the Hipperholme crossroads issue to full council for decision. At the start of last week's meeting, I promised that if the proposed scheme was rejected, the cabinet would accept the majority vote. However, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups then moved a motion of no confidence in the Labour leader, Cllr Tim Swift. Astonishingly, having won it, they blocked any further discussion of the matter.

On parking, it is quite correct that I told the previous night's scrutiny panel that, constitutionally, cabinet could (if it chose) press ahead with its original plans. As Cllr Baker acknowledges, I also said clearly, in a BBC interview, straight afterwards, that if full council asked us to reconsider, then we would do so. Why, therefore, did the Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats prevent full council debating this question, too? Clearly, their latest backstairs deal was not about democracy at all. It was about power, pure and simple. And it was a complete disgrace.

From John W

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

I so want a vote to count for 'None Of The Above'. Anyone standing?

From Cllr Janet Battye

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Just to underline and endorse what James has said - but also to reiterate that we'd just had enough of Labour on Calderdale Council. They stopped listening to local people eg. Hipperholme; they'd become very autocratic in their attitude; and were trying to unpick the budget agreed in Annual Budget in February. Enough is enough!

From Eleanor Land

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

I've had enough of the Lib Dems and their Tory chums in national government and local government, especially their policies which unfairly target disabled and poorer people. That is why I shall not be voting for them at any upcoming elections, national or local.

From Cllr Susan Press

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

It is understandable that Janet Battye has 'had enough' of Labour on Calderdale. We have 25 councillors to her Party's six and it must have been galling to lose hands-down across the Borough.

However, it is surely down to the electorate to make such decisions. It is called democracy

Her attitude is frankly astonishing in its denial of the fact that Labour overwhelmingly won a mandate in the Upper Valley in 2014. In my ward in Todmorden we have three Labour councillors. Thank you Janet for handing power to the Tories. I am sure voters in the Upper Valley will register their gratitude to you next May at the General and local elections.

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 7 August 2014

One of the discriminatory polices Eleanor refers to is of course the bedroom tax. In case anyone has forgotten, Cllr Baker is an enthusiastic supporter of it - so much so that he moved a motion in the council chamber for Calderdale to endorse it. He was supported in the vote by Cllr Battye. They lost and the council passed a motion of official opposition to this vile policy.

I wonder whether Cllrs Baker and Battye will be working with their new friends to overturn Calderdale's position of opposition to the bedroom tax in time for the next election?

From Paul Clarke

Thursday, 7 August 2014

It won't be a surprise to anyone that I have little time for the Lib Dems but their latest backroom deal is a new low even by their standards.

If it wasn't so serious it would amusing that they are so desperate to tell anyone who can be bothered to listen that they not in coalition in Calderdale with the local Tories. I don't know why that is as propping up the Tories has worked so well at a national level . Oops…I was wrong about that as it has left them trailing Ukip with 6% of the national vote.

But let's take a look at the facts of this (non) coalition.

The first is that the Lib Dem rump on Calderdale Council used their six – yes, the figure is that low now – to give power to the local Tories. That is a fact even the most sectarian Lib Dem can't deny.

The second is that their chaotic, ill thought out power grab has left the upper valley with no seats in the new cabinet. I'm sure the people of Calder ward, who have never elected a Tory, can be assured that those lovely lower valley Tories - backed by Lib Dem votes -will look after our interests.

One of the leaders of this coup was Calder cllr Janet Battye. This seems an unusual political tactic as it is worth remembering that in the May 2014 the Lib Dems vote in Calder collapsed as they finished a distant third, and it is difficult to see how voting to give power to the Tories, who are hated by many in Calder ward, will help them rectify that disaster.

One of their cllrs makes much of the fact that they were offered cabinet seats in the new (non) coalition but declined them. This high handed delusion is laughable as let's cast our mind back to May 2014 when the Lib Dems lost 16 out of 17 seat on offer. Worse still in many of those seats they finished last, and I think the scale of their disaster was underlined by the fact that even with a well-respected and moderate local candidate in Luddendenfoot they came last.

The point is if they had taken the cabinet posts they were offered as part of this backroom deal they had no mandate to do that based on this electoral horror show and would have been even more of a political laughing stock than they already are.

It is also worth remembering that the Lib Dems are boasting they have secured some concessions as part of this squalid backroom deal. So let's get this straight - a deal is done where cabinet seats and concessions are offered for their votes/soul but it isn't a coalition. Hmmmm.

I should say to the last remaining Lib Dem cllr in the Upper Valley that voters will watching her voting record closely so - if we pretend for a moment it isn't a coalition - we can assume she will be even handed in how she votes. I must admit to being pessimistic about that.

The Lib Dems can spin this anyway they want but they used their few remaining votes, including that of our last Calder Lib Dem cllr, to give power to local Tories which I'm sure electors will remember when we come to cast our votes in 2016.

From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The bedroom tax by any measure has been an unmitigated disaster, very little savings have been made, but it has achieved abject misery for poorer people, which appears to be the motivation behind the Coalition's policy.  Even that consummate liar Clegg is trying to dissociate himself from the disaster, our local Lib Dems couldn't be that daft, or could they.

From Paul D

Friday, 8 August 2014

Returning to Laura's original point, I think the lib dems locally are pretty much finished although nationally it could be even worse. But it's not enough to wish them away, Labour need to do more, much more - people are tired, some cynical, the disconnect between question time and everyday life is almost gross. The political class (centrally) talk a language that distorts into a whine on the radio or tv. The need to move away from the overhyped mainstream media and political chaterati is clear, but it also requires grass roots reclamation of the debate as we all hear and understand it. So yes, the coalition has been a stinking sore on our political landscape - then what?

From Mary K

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Actually, having come to Hebden Bridge in recent years and spending a lot of my own time on events in and for the town I have to reiterate what Cllr Battye said,

"we'd just had enough of Labour on Calderdale Council. They stopped listening to local people"

Labour in Calderdale is nothing like Labour elsewhere. The personal politics masquerading as party politics are just astonishing.

I look forward to voting and, though I've often supported and even volunteered for Labour in other parts of the UK, I can't bring myself to vote for Labour in Calderdale.

I like this town. I like the people. I do not like the lack of professionalism and the level of personal (and I would argue, inappropriate) actions taken in the name of politics by some of our labour leaders.

From Gary Scott

Sunday, 10 August 2014

None of the three parties really come out of this looking particularly good. Labour brought this on themselves, Lib Dems took the opportunity for revenge after being thrown out of the agreed coalition, and the Tories rubbed their hands with glee. Around 15% of the electorate voted Tory in May, yet now we have a Tory led council.

Please do remember that there is an alternative to these similar flavours of neo-liberalism. The Green Party had a record vote in May, and offer a real alternative.

From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 21 August 2014

I noticed in this week's HB Times, that our local Liberal Dem councillors and their two parliamentary candidates for Calder Valley and Halifax, have written a letter calling for the bedroom tax to be scrapped.

Why have they seen the light I wonder, it couldn't be a cynical move to improve their chances in future elections could it.

There are many explanations and figures to explain why they introduced this unfair tax, and why they want to get rid of it. However, unsurprisingly, there is no apology for the abject misery it has caused to many poorer and vulnerable people and the fact they have made very few savings with this policy. Maybe instead of signing up eagerly to the next sociopathic policy thought up by the Tories, they could do a little research first.