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General Election

From Chris B

Friday, 27 February 2015

Thought it might be time to start a debate on the forthcoming election (makes a change from dogshit) and how it affects us here in Hebden Bridge.

Here's a starter: two very well respected old lefties (Mark Thomas and Tariq Ali) have both recently said that they will be voting Green. Discuss…

From Emma George

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The General Election. Now here's a debate to get our teeth into. I will be voting Green. But do you know what? As liberal and chilled as the people of Hebden are, we have a Conservative MP! Doesn't make sense to be totally frank with you. My other bug bear is the amount of people who don't vote. Everyone should vote! Even if they tick the' other 'box. Thanks for reading. Would welcome your thoughts please.

From Andy M

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Tempting, but: vote Green get Blue? :-(

From Julie C

Saturday, 28 February 2015

In a first past the post political system, and particularly in a marginal seat, it is important, I believe, to think strategically about how to use your vote, even if the Party's policies aren't your favourites.

I have spoken to many friends who say they don't believe my position, and they intend to vote for what they believe in. I can understand that, but I don't think they will be happy with the result that will follow around here.

Our Consituency is made up of a very mixed bag of Districts - including Hebden Bridge /Todmorden /Mythomroyd, but also Ripponden, Brighouse, Elland and Sowerby Bridge. Given those ingredients, it is important to think about which party most other areas of the Consituency will vote for too; not just who people around here would like to choose. What do you really believe are other areas voting intentions likely to be?

Have a good look at how people voted last time. It's about who do you realistically think you'd prefer as your MP of the previous front runners, and following from that, who do you want to get into Downing Street? Have a look at the link for www.May2015.com. It gives you the lowdown on all the polls, and the position in the specific constituencies.

From Catie G

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ummm, well I reckon that there isn't 1 candidate worth my vote. They all promise to do this and that and after they get voted in don't bother doing owt except fleecing the tax payer to line their own pockets.

So at the moment I am not sure about even bothering to vote. I hate political arguments as it gets down to people not listening to other people's valid opinions and them who shout loudest feel they are right.

Wouldnt it be wonderful if all the good things were taken from each political party and worked by each party as 1 team to benefit this country? Surely by now that should be a possibility. I dare say some people would say my opinion is wrong but it is my opinion so I feel it is right and I have a right to my opinion. Yup I've got it if any of the local candidates offer to clean up all the dog and cat crap in Hebden then they will get my vote.

From Ian M

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Having seen the utter amateurish performance from the Greens over the last week I seriously have to question how anyone could consider voting for them?

If there was any doubt before that they are just playing at politics then the last week has surely put that to bed!

From Tim B

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Julie, that is the reason why proper PR is needed and not our ridiculous FPTP system.

Why vote when you are second guessing what everyone else is voting?

From Geoffrey Fielden

Monday, 2 March 2015

In reply to Julie C. The constituency includes Hipperholme and Rastrick but does not include Sowerby Bridge.

From Mark H

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Scotland 2014 nurtured a huge % turnout by provoking all Scots to engage with politics. Introducing voting from 16.

Just watching Evan Davis introduce the UKIP youth wing. (BBC Newsnight) Let's all try at the very least to get our children, our parents, our friends and neighbours to get involved. Talk to them about how unreasonable you think it is for them to refuse to participate in the whole flawed process and challenge them to find a better way.

Make your trip to the ballot box a family affair

Otherwise the UKIPlings seem to have it all mapped out!

From Bob Deacon

Thursday, 5 March 2015

I consider this election to be the most important for decades. There is a real possibility of electing a coalition made up of the anti-austerity SNP and the LP. The Guardian currently projects they would have 323 seats very close to the required 326 for a majority.

This would mean that the damage done to our social fabric by the Tories could begin to be mended. Stopping further commercialisation of the NHS, beginning to build more affordable homes, reducing university fees, raising taxes from the better off and repealing hated legislation such as the bedroom tax would be on that coalition agenda.

So in England and Wales replacing a Tory MP with a Labour MP where it is possible is crucial. This in turn means in winnable seats such as ours a vote for the Greens is a vote the Tories. A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Tories.

Of course if we had proportional representation many of us would vote Green. But to do so now in marginal seats risks returning the Tories for 5 more years. In that situation I think the further damage that would be done to our social fabric would be irreversible.

From Mila Caley

Friday, 6 March 2015

I agree with Julie and Bob. I had some quarrels with New Labour, but having managed in the FE sector during that time, I know how much money was going into it and what fantastic opportunities we were able to give people who would not otherwise have had them. When I speak to my ex colleague doing the same job now, the situation is dire. Cuts like we never imagined. I think it is the same throughout the public sector. Labour and Conservative are not the same. We have to vote Labour in this time if there is to be any hope over the next 5 years. If the Tories get in again, think how appalling it will become.

I also agree with the person who commented on the Green leader's recent performance. Ok, feel sorry for her but she later said she forgot to look at her figures before the interview! And this is someone you would want to give power?

I think in the interests of humanity in this country in marginal consituencies, the vote must be what is needed to keep the Tories out.

When Labour get in we push for what we want.

Btw, I live and worked in London and have a great left wing Lab MP who will get in again, so a bit cheeky to write on HebWeb but I am a long time friend and visitor to Hebden and the Calder Valley.

From Iain Harrison

Friday, 6 March 2015

To assert that a vote for the Greens is a vote for the Tories is to deny democracy.

The reason we need to vote to keep the worst out instead of voting the best in is because we've been conned into voting like sheep instead of following our principles.

I'm no longer prepared to vote for a party or a candidate I don't actively support. Voting tactically has taken democracy away. We need to stand up for what we believe in for once!

The reality is that voters are faced with a choice of five parties:

Conservative - vote them in and you get Tory: the ones who loot the nation and stash our money on offshore tax havens.

Labour - vote them in and you get Tory Lite: they are just as pro-austerity as the Tories: they just start more illegal wars and they trample on civil liberties just as much.

LibDem - vote them in and you get whatever they think will line their own pockets: probably more Tory.

UKIP - vote them in and you get extreme Tory, but even more cretinous.

Green - vote them in and you get a different viewpoint, with a more human approach and anti-austerity approach. But the reality is they won't get enough seats to do more than influence, not rule.

All the sane opinion polls seem pretty clear about the likely outcome of the election: neither Labour nor the Tories will get a clear majority, and Labour will need the support of SNP and probably the Green(s) to get a majority.

Even combined with UKIP, DUP and the LibDems, the Tories won't get a workable majority.

From Mo Norwood

Sunday, 8 March 2015

I'm going to vote for Josh Fenton-Glynn. He is the candidate who has impressed me most in debates about the NHS and education. He has made a difference in local transport delivery and has consistently supported views I am committed to - on the economy, on taxation, on community, on fairness and justice and all those notions that actually do matter.

I am going to vote Labour in the hope that he will replace our current MP and we will have a true local representative who has the best interests of the community at heart. I am going to vote Labour to save the NHS, end the bedroom tax, catch the tax-dodging companies and bring back a little compassion into government.

From Joe Ridley

Sunday, 8 March 2015

I am supportive of a gradual evolution towards green technology as a means of providing the energy we need as a society. This however can only be achieved at a rate dictated by technology, and heading at breakneck speed down one green avenue or another is definitely not the answer.

To consider voting for the Green Party is a whole other world though. It is beyond my understanding how anybody would even consider endorsing a party that have proved their incompetence and political immaturity completely. See Natalie Bennet's recent performances and Brighton Council's track record for evidence.

As for the blind support of Labour represented here; where to start?
Save the NHS you say. Is this the NHS that gave us Mid Staffs under Labour rule?

The same NHS that gave us multiple baby deaths in Morecambe Bay under Labour rule for most of the period.

You can't save the NHS buildings or land because Labour sold them all under the calamitous PFI schemes that will indebt not just us but our children and grandchildren.

End the bedroom tax you say? Is that the same bedroom tax that Labour proposed in 2008? Ps. They didn't call it a tax at the time, because it's not a tax!

Catch tax dodging companies you say? Like, say for instance Google or Amazon or Boots, for example. Companies who have driven innovation and efficiency to deliver products to us the consumer at the best value. You do realise that increasing their tax load will simply increase our (the customers) cost?

Bring back a little compassion you say; I guess you mean invading a foreign country with no legitimacy leaving thousands dead and a hellish chaos that continues to this day.

Hopefully, Labour are finished in Scotland and their days are numbered in England too.

They will not be missed.

I forget the other 'compassionate' side of Labour. Perhaps if you succeed in voting in a Labour MP we will develop a culture of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children as has happened in Labour run Rotherham, Doncaster, Rochdale etc. Very compassionate.

From Eleanor Land

Monday, 9 March 2015

I shall be voting Labour because I believe they are the party most likely to safeguard the NHS. The Tories and the Lib Dems both believe in partly privatising the NHS, as evidenced by their disastrous top down re-organisation. This has resulted in chaos. I now have to wait for 5 weeks plus for a non urgent appointment with my GP.

The last Labour government under Tory Blair did introduce PFI contracts, which was a stupid idea. However now they have rid themselves of the Tory New Labour project, the party under Ed Miliband seem to have rediscovered their roots.

In 2015 we now have the opportunity to vote for an excellent parliamentary candidate i.e. Josh Fenton-Glynn. I cannot wait to see the back of the current MP, who in my opinion has done very little for this constituency.

From Joe Ridley

Monday, 9 March 2015

The facts don't support all the hyperbole and rhetoric surrounding the sacred NHS and it's supposed guardians in the Labour Party - are you seriously suggesting Andy Burnham should be Health Secretary again?
The NHS outsourced 4.4 per cent of its budget under the Labour party during the last government; but less than 2 per cent under the Coalition. Seems fairly clear to me.

Don't believe the hype…

From Mo Norwood

Monday, 9 March 2015

With regards to the tax evaders and tax dodgers, it is quite possible to live comfortably without using Starbucks, HSBC, Boots, Vodafone, Ebay, Amazon, Marks and Spencers, all of whom could pay tax and still make a profit.

I won't find it so easy to live without my NHS hearing aids, free GP appointments and local hospital services+ The £30+ billions of tax we are owed have been stolen from us. Ed Milliband has said that a Labour government will work to limit the tax havens. He deserves that chance.

From Eleanor Land

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

No political party is perfect, I am under no illusions with regards to the last Labour government. Becoming Tory lite was a bad mistake and starting an illegal war was stupid, but they did many good things such as the minimum wage and lowering child poverty.

The coalition however has been a complete disaster for the poor and vulnerable. It's main claim to fame has been to make the super rich 5 times richer since 2010, raise child poverty and generally punish the poor and disabled for the recession caused by rich bankers.

Just think what the Tories could do with a majority govt.

The only innovation the likes of Google, Amazon and Boots have delivered is a tax dodging one, which ends up lining a few rich people's pockets at the expense of the welfare of the many. I do wish people would stop making excuses for disreputable behaviour.

From Pedro de Wit

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Is the NHS really free? A higher-rate taxpayer earning £50,000 pays roughly about £15.000 in tax and National Insurance of which about £2500.00 is spend on health. What is free about that?

People without an income get the NHS free but this could equally be the case in an insurance based system. There is no NHS in the rest of Europe (in fact the only other country in the world with an NHS is Cuba) but health care standards in the rest of Europe are often higher than in the UK and no-one is refused treatment because he/she can't afford the premium.

This discussion is not about which type of healthcare system is best but please stop telling me that the NHS is free, because it isn't! At least not to the ones who pay for it.

Taxpayers fund the NHS and the amount of funding required will only be going up no matter which party wins the election. They all claim that they will make the NHS more efficient but since there is no real appetite for drastic change in this country when it comes to the NHS it is likely that they will just end up fiddling with details and never achieve the changes that are really required.

From Ron Taylor

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Pedro, the whole point of the NHS is that it is free at the point of need/use. Of course, it is paid for through the taxation system (apart from certain charges). How else could it be? Those who enjoy higher incomes pay more than those on lower ones. That's is why it is cherished by most UK citizens.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bringing the two threads of this discussion together; whether to vote green and how to defend the NHS is this fascinating development reported in the New Statesman. A Bill has been crafted to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and restore the NHS as a public accountable service by the Green Party.

But, and here is the paradoxical point, the only way to ensure such a Bill stands a chance of being supported is, in marginal seats, to vote Labour, not Green!

Andy Burnham has said in no uncertain terms that a Labour government would repeal the Health and Social Care Act, and end the "Tory market experiment in the NHS".

Voting Green in Calderdale will let the Tory back in and reduce the chance of a Labour lead government which is the only realistic scenario for such a Bill being supported. Sorry Jenny… in a proportional representation election you would get my vote.

From Julie C

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Latest prediction, in poll of polls, of overall result has a hung parliament with the Conservatives leading Labour by 27 seats, Green is still expected to only have 1 seat and UKIP about 4, Liberals hardly figure either, with the SNP on 50+. To those who imagine it doesn't matter if the Tories are back in charge, please think again.

From Sarah B

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I totally agree with Julie and Bob. I don't want another 5 years of Tory-coalition rule so to me it's very straightforward - I'll be Voting Labour whatever their flaws (and I agree with Eleanor, I think they are the party most likely to protect the NHS).

At least in a marginal seat such as ours we have the ability to influence who will play a role in the next government – let's not squander that opportunity. Would-be Green Party voters, please think about doing so for the Local Elections, not the General.

From James Baker

Friday, 13 March 2015

I don't think Labour will protect the NHS. Here in Calderdale the main reason our A&E is under threat is because of Labour. Their economic incompetence resulted in them signing off an awful PFI deal that resulted in us paying over 12 times what the Hospital was worth. The local NHS trust is now struggling with an eye-watering £10 m a year interest repayment.

I don't doubt Labour care about the NHS and want to protect it. What I question is whether they have the economic sense to create an economic that is doing well enough to support the type of health service we would all like to see.

From Allen Keep

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bedroom tax supporter James Baker makes a fair point, as do others, when they point at Labour and their PFI initiatives - and similarly we can look at how Labour also paved the ground for the creeping privatisation of our schools. Labour does have a lot to answer for.

Unlike James, I worry less about a particular party's ability to control the economy as unless we have one in the election prepared to challenge the root and branch nature of the system, and we don't, it makes little difference.

What is making a fundamental difference to the delivery of health care to our people is the dismantling of the principles and fabric of the NHS before our eyes.

We all know who did this and who colluded with it.

From Eleanor Land

Sunday, 15 March 2015

PFI was definitely a bad mistake but the Coalition top down re-organisation has been even worse for patients.  We have growing waiting lists, a crisis in A&E (which has been missing its waiting targets for every week of the winter), and GP's messing about with organisation and paperwork instead of seeing their patients.  We are back to the 1980s and early 1990s in many respects.

I suggest voters think very carefully before voting for either of the Coalition parties, if they don't want to see the NHS completely dismantled.  Both parties have MP's who will make money if this happens.

From Ralph Nimmann

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Reading all the discussion reminds me of people singing while walking through the dark when they are afraid - and Labour are afraid. They are obviously desperate at the moment and do not realise that they are being abandoned by the people of Scotland and elsewhere because the Labour Party has abandoned its principles.

Thus they will spend forever picking at the Green Party. They, not the Green Party, are their own worst enemy.

If Labour wants the Green votes, they could adopt the Green Party policies.

The Hebweb readers out there will build their own opinion, and they'll be the ones deciding the election.

The Calder Valley is much greener than you may think. In order for the Green Party to win in the future, we have to vote Green this year to build it up (like in the Hebden Bridge / East Todmorden "Calder Ward", where the Green Party won a clear 2nd place in the 2014 local election).

From Ian M

Monday, 16 March 2015

Now that's what I call a classic bit of political spin. "Winning second place"

From Steve Sweeney

Monday, 16 March 2015

Coming second in Calder had more to do with the collapse of the LibDem vote in 2015 than any surge in the Green Party vote. The LibDem vote fell from roughly 39 to 15%.

The Green Party has recovered from some of their poor years such as 2010 and 2012 but they still have not got to their peak share of the votes in the years 2006 and 2007 where in both cases they came third.

From James Baker

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Allen - I voted against the bedroom tax at the last Council meeting. My support for it ended when it became obvious it wasn't achieving the aim of helping more families in over crowded houses get the housing they need.

I put my hands up, I was wrong to have supported it in the first place.

On the Greens, Labour are terrified of them at the moment.

From Nina Smith

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ralph talks about building for the future. There's no way the Greens are going to win in the Calder Valley, but they might take enough votes from Labour to let the Tories in. Is that really want people in this town want? I don't think so. Tactical voting may not the very pure, but its a necessity in our first past the post electoral system.

From Julie C

Monday, 23 March 2015

Translating the 2014 local council results into approx general election votes gives a reflection of how people in the different parts of the Comstituency tend to vote.

I'm not sure if the Wards translate exactly into Constituency boundaries, especially Luddendenfoot. (Ryburn includes the western edge of Sowerby Bridge.)

  • Tod - Labour. (Easily). Con and Lib equal 2nd.
  • Calder - Labour.(easily) Green 2nd, Lib 3rd, Con 4th.
  • Luddendenfoot - Con (just) Labour 2nd.
  • Greetland - Liberal. (Close) Con 2nd.
  • Elland - Labour. (Close) Con 2nd, Lib 3rd.
  • Ryburn - Con (easily) twice Labour vote.
  • Rastrick - Con (easily) Labour 2nd.
  • Brighouse - Con (just) big UKIP vote equal to Labour.

Each Ward is approx eight and a half thousand voters, Calder is the biggest, followed by Ryburn.

The difference this time might well be a bigger turnout, more UKIP and Green votes, and less Liberals. Tod, Calder, Luddendenfoot are the only Wards with a sizeable Green presence, tiny showing if at all elsewhere. The battle for the seat is clearly Conservative v Labour, so tactical voting is important. Don't let the Tories get in please.

From David Thompson

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Before the last General Election, Craig Whittaker, your Conservative Candidate and MP for the last five years, met Michael Gove at Calder High School. Mr Gove said that the condition of the building was the worst that he had seen, and if he became Education Minister he would make sure that the situation was rectified. Mr Whittaker assured us, his electorate, that if we voted for him and he was elected he would hold Mr Gove to that promise.

We did elect him and Mr Gove became Education Minister.

Now, five years later, and with another general election looming, the school building is in the same deplorable condition, and against the wishes of staff and parents, attempts have been made to implement doctrinaire policy by forcing the school to become an Academy.

Absurdly, Mr Whittaker, presumably, suddenly realising that another General Election is imminent, managed to get his photograph in the local press staging what was called a "roof top protest" on Todmorden High School roof, for publicity purposes. Aren't MPs supposed to react to protests rather than staging them?

Mr Whittaker is on record, before he was elected, as saying that he had a "burning desire to walk the corridors of power". He may have walked the corridors of power, but he doesn't seem to have actually used any power he may have acquired to help the students at Calder High, does he?

From Julie C

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Everyone knows it's close - looking at the Ashcroft Poll of the most Marginal seats - it's overall predicted result among those Marginals is 34% Tories, Labour 31%.

If you look at the breakdown of Tory support by age, it tends to be highest, 40%, among the over 65 year old voters. Among the youngest, 18-24 year olds, 27% support the Tories.

The strongest Labour support is among the 25-34 year olds at 36%. The youngest voters are the only group giving significant support to the Greens at 12%, whereas only 1% of the oldest group support Green.

The people who tend to actually turn out and vote are more likely to be old than young. It shows just how important it is for people to get out there and defeat the Tory party, starting here with our local responsibility for getting rid of Craig.

From Bob Deacon

Thursday, 7 May 2015

One last minute appeal to those planning to vote Green today.
The 7% of those planning to do so in the Calder Valley will mean we will still have a Tory MP tonight. 37% are planning to vote Tory. 33% are planning to vote Labour. See www.election.38degees.org.uk

Contributions to this thread will be edited to keep the discussion helpful, courteous, effective and interesting - Ed