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In Praise of Principled Voting

From Mike Prior

Saturday, 28 March 2015

One of the features of getting old is that one can remember the political slogans of past decades. "Hold your nose and vote Labour" was a favourite of the International Socialists in the 1970s before being recycled by Polly Toynbee. Now it is once again being churned out to justify voting for a party whose policies one does not accept in order to head off the possibility of another party gaining power whose policies will be even worse. And I have to admit that through at least six elections it was enough to get me to put my cross against the Labour candidate. But not any more.

The revolt by Labour voters in Scotland has changed everything not just in that country but for all progressive voters in England as well. If the predicted wipe-out of Scottish Labour occurs then English Labour will never again be able to form a government without forming some kind of agreement with at least one other party. The implications of this have yet to fully sink in with most commentators and must be speculative. However one conclusion is obvious; the political map of England will have to change. It could result in the fragmentation of the English Labour party into regional groups, probably starting with the Welsh faction which is in danger of suffering the same fate as its Scottish sister.

There are already signs that the Greater Manchester party, the most powerful part of the once dominant northern city parties, is taking that route with its 'devoManc' agreement with Osborne. There could be an increasing role for progressive regional parties such as Yorkshire First which is largely based on disillusioned Labour activists. Or other national parties such as the Green Party could begin to pick up seats in places where it already has significant council representation, north and south, and become the only genuine national party.

But one thing is clear; May, 2015 should be the election at which principled voting should be the only choice. The Labour Party has, effectively since its foundation, been able to ignore the opinions of its membership with an iron-clad constitution designed for just this consequence. (The history of this is outlined here). I have never met a member of Labour who accepted the bulk of their party's policies let alone its actual behaviour when in power. Many accept almost nothing and counter any criticism of the fact that they still belong to let alone vote for Labour by the argument that they personally marched against the Iraq war or opposed Trident renewal and so on and so on. The fact is that it is this kind of political behaviour which has led the English left into its current impotent state.

Enough of all this. Let all progressive voters just read the policies of the parties who present themselves for election and then vote for the candidate who most fits those policies. It has been failure to do this which has contributed to the widespread contempt for politics and politicians which has become a growing cancer in the governance of Britain. Let's try just for to be brave and vote for our principles.

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Thanks to Mike Prior for his history of the Labour movement and for finally being honest enough to reveal his anti-Labour bias.

Couple of points.

Who on earth goes to the polling station expecting to support every line of their party's manifesto as that would be hopelessly naive. Grown ups go with an expectation that we vote for a party whose leader can actually explain his or her own policies that are on balance best for the country and the individual casting that vote.

With that in mind I'm not being seduced by a party with an incoherent leader and who can deliver exactly nowt.

I am voting for a very good Labour candidate who spoken to thousands of voters over the last two years. That is not an unprincipled position.

The are many reasons I want this appalling coalition government out - free schools, million people using foodbanks, sell off of the NHS etc - but the main reason is the promise by Rachel Reeves that her first task if he becomes a Minister will be to scrap the hated bedroom tax.

So for that reason alone I can walk down to the polling station on May 7, head held high knowing I have acted in accordance with my principles.

PS: I think Mike get a shock in Scotland as well entrenched and hard working Labour candidates may well do better that the polls predict.I may be wrong but Mike might well be too. As an aside to Mike's history lesson I am also old enough to remember the loathsome Gang of Four who were supposed to kill off Labour and the 1983 GE… if Labour can stay intact after that then they can survive anything.

From Eleanor Land

Saturday, 28 March 2015

So called "Principled voting" is what brought in this Coalition which has no principles whatsover. Unless "principles" are attacking the poor and vulnerable.

When people vote Green in this valley they get a Tory like Craig Whitaker who has done naff all for this consituency.

I shall be voting for Josh Fenton-Glynn who I believe is the best candidate for our MP.

From Allen Keep

Sunday, 29 March 2015

I thought only "grown-ups" could vote in the election anyway - but then if you are opposed to the Labour Party but a socialist you must be either "biased" or childishly naïve it seems. I'll probably go for the nose holding /gritted teeth approach myself. I certainly won't be voting for what seems best for "the country" but good to see that lining up with "progressive" rather than nasty capitalism is still so characteristic of much of the left inside the Labour Party. It was ever thus.

From Julie C

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Every 'principled' vote for an un-electable candidate is in reality a vote for the worst candidate.

Abandon that principle, and adopt the 'new principle' that you will help to elect the best electable candidate.

As no one person is an island, we can't pretend that an individual or a comparatively small group can decide who will be the successful candidate - if they could it would lead to dictatorship, or perhaps the Divine Right of Kings.

We are already seriously impacted on by the effect of an influential Tory dominated Press run by, and on behalf of a small wealthy elite.

I believe this locality should adopt the principle "I will vote for Labour, and the best electable candidate". Luckily for me, I personally think he's the best candidate anyhow so it's not hard for me.

From Mo Norwood

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Thanks Paul Clarke. I shall be voting on my principles as ever - (doesn't everyone ?)

I'm no great intellectual on all this - but I do know which candidate will serve this valley as a worthy MP and it is Josh Fenton Glynne without a shadow of doubt… if you have listened and talked with him that is obvious.

As for Labour in power- ending zero hours contracts? Limiting tax have? Sorting out letting agencies? Lower energy bills? Bring it on.

The people I talk to who are struggling on benefits or low wages need us to put them first.

From Tessa Gordziejko

Sunday, 29 March 2015

I'm getting quite irritated at the attacks made by Labour supporters on Green supporters and candidates. As if we have no right to be here. How dare we present the electorate with a choice? Is what I'm hearing. There's a sneering, arrogance behind such accusations which is exactly why we are here.

The fact is that if people want to vote for policies which are pursued by The Green Party they have the democratic right - one would go so far as to say duty -to do so. If the Labour Party gave voters the opportunity to vote for a genuine radical alternative to the Tories I would still be in it and working to make that alternative a reality. It doesn't really matter how radical our local Labour candidate is, if elected he would be part of a party which has undertaken to implement the austerity cuts outlined in Osborne's budget, continue a fiscal policy based on so-called austerity and which will run scared of being seen to be 'anti business' in taking on the big corporates.

No party has a right to anyone's vote. It must be earned by presenting policies which they believe in. The three main parties have jointly presided over a political arena which has seen unprecedented loss of trust, belief and engagement especially among younger voters. Many of those who will vote Green in the coming election have not voted before or for many years. That is not 'stealing' the votes to which Labour seems to feel it is entitled, it is increasing participation in democracy.

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 30 March 2015

Like Green candidate Tessa Gordziejko I am a little irritated but only with the Green's position that their bogus political purity is somehow above criticism or close examination by their political opponents.

If you want an example of arrogance check out her own national leader who went into two major interviews without actually bothering to learn how her party was going to pay for two key policies.

The result was two spectacular car crashes where she was billions short on one policy and in the Nick Ferrari interview produced the worse ever political performance of all time. Two examples of the very arrogance Tessa accuses others of.

Now given the Greens have only one MP so actually delivered nothing in the last parliament where can we look for this alternative that Tessa offers?

Well, we could look to Brighton which is the only council they control. There we can see an anti-union Green group who provoked a fight with the bin teams so rubbish piled up in the streets in a mini rerun of the winter of discontent. A Green group so dysfunctional/childish they had to bring mediators in to try and make then work in the interests of the voters. Or my personal favourite a Green council with one of the worst recycling records in the country.

That's the reality of the Greens in power and has put their only MP's seat in real danger.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Greens shouldn't stand but I think it is fair to say that unless the local Greens pull off the biggest surprise in British political history they probably won't win the Calder Valley seat.

So people in this thread and others are merely pointing out that voting Green will have consequences on May 7 and saying how they intend to vote which is hardly an attack. As someone said to me 'that's just common sense isn't it?'

As to the charge that Labour feels entitled to votes I think the answer to that is the fact that unlike the Greens they have spent the last two years knocking on doors reconnecting with local people face to face, street by street.

My point has always been I want people to vote but I also think forums like this really help us think about what might the repercussions of how we vote.

From Julie C

Monday, 30 March 2015

It's not about being mean to the Greens, or getting irritated. For me, it's about stark choices, yes principles. It's about survival, about the life I want in the future when I enter old age, the possibilities that will be out there for my own and other people's children and grandchildren.

The Green Party has plenty of big visions, I checked out the policies, lots of positive stuff, but no chance of getting into parliament here. At the level of local politics, in a specific Ward, Green has a chance of gaining a Councillor, but at National level, they can't win, so why vote for them at the General Election?

Interesting point that Tessa seems to feel it doesn't matter to this seat if people vote Green because they wouldn't vote at all otherwise. Yes it's important that people engage with the process, but don't believe how they vote doesn't matter.

At present Calder Valley is 9th in the list of 150 most critical seats to the Tories, they had a 12.42% majority in 2010, at present their percentage is estimated to be down to 0.94% - so all the votes matter in this seat, it is a critical choice to weigh up.

From Susan Press

Monday, 30 March 2015

I can't decide whether it is simply naivete or a breathtaking arrogance which makes Tessa assert 'it makes no difference' whether our PPC is radical. Actually, the word she should have used is 'socialist' because that's what Josh is and always has been. Maybe she also thinks it makes no difference whether we have a Labour Government or not.

Well, apart from scrapping the bedroom tax, scrapping the NHS Act, an end to Free Schools, a freeze on energy bills, a million new homes, reduced GP appointment and cancer waiting times, mansion tax, bankers' bonus tax and 50 pence top rate for the rich, sure why would anyone want that difference?

Especially when they can vote for a Party which will at best deliver one MP whose future is debatable because of the appalling record of the Greens in Brighton.

Tessa is of course standing for Calderdale where thanks to the Liberal Democrats hunger for Coalitions we currently have a Conservative administration despite the fact we are the biggest Party. Unless Labour wins back control in May our plans for new council homes built by the council, almost £1M in flood defences, £7M in capital investment, a new roof for Todmorden Market, and the protection of £2.6m in discretionary services like libraries won't materialise. Recently, Calderdale Labour moved resolutions against fracking and the bedroom tax and most recently in favour of the Robin Hood tax despite opposition from Tories and Lib Dems. I'd say that is pretty principled.

Local politics is always at the mercy of national Government and Calderdale has had £100m cuts in the last five years. But it was Calder councillor Dave Young who proposed taking money from reserves so thousands of people locally did not suffer from council tax benefit cuts in 2013. And Labour who introduced a Living Wage for all council employees.

The same applies in Hebden Royd, where our Labour-led town council not only saved the Picture House but saved the jobs of over 30 people whose livelihoods are now secure as the cinema is such a success.

Labour is still recovering from the politics of Blair and the war in Iraq but it was the principles of Ed Miliband which stopped war in Syria and it is my view his decency and honesty can still win out on May 7. However, in order for that to happen we need to win seats like Calder Valley which currently has a 6000 majority for Craig Whitaker. I would like to remind people that in 2005 our then MP Chris McCafferty won against the odds precisely because of her opposition to war and Trident, against tuition fees and her independence as our representative at Westminster. I remember it well because I spent weeks on the phone at the Trades Club persuading people to vote Labour. We desperately need a Labour MP for Calder Valley and we need Labour to lead in Calderdale. A vote for the Green Party just makes that less likely. Your choice.

From Dorothy M

Monday, 30 March 2015

I was once both friend and housekeeper to a very principled and dedicated councillor, who worked tirelessly for the working people of his ward, particularly the fishermen of Lowestoft. He stood as a parliamentary candidate and I could think of no one who more deserved to gain a seat, such were his qualities.

Unfortunately, he was a Tory, so did not get my vote. No matter how fresh faced, 'nice' and engaging your local candidate might be, he/she is entering Parliament as the mouth piece for their chosen Party.

Presumably those who voted for Keir Hardie in West Ham South, in 1892, were also told they were throwing away their vote on a no-hoper from an obscure party with the audacity to pit himself against the Establishment.

I am voting Green.

From Richard Woodcock

Monday, 30 March 2015

I have to admit that I've been finding it difficult to decide whether to support Labour or the Greens in this election, but I think I have made my mind up and I'll be voting Labour; then after the election doing all I can to push for a fairer, proportional electoral system. I don't want to have to vote tactically again, but I believe that the first-past-the-post system leaves me no choice.

In the meantime, given the likelihood of a hung parliament, it would be helpful to me (and I expect to many others) if we could hear more at national and local levels about where parties actually agree with each other on policy, rather than the usual attacks on each other.

From Michael Prior

Monday, 30 March 2015

I am a little puzzled as to why my call for people to vote according to their principles should provoke the response from Mr Clarke that I am "revealing my anti-Labour bias". Could it be that he accepts my suggestion that most Labour activists including himself continue to doggedly vote for a party whose policies they do not really believe in?

I am glad that he will be voting according to his principles. Against NHS privatisation? Great (But it was Labour who brought the market into the NHS and increased private sector involvement to 4.5% whilst the coalition has increased it to 6%). Against free schools? Great. (But it was Labour who invented academy schools the precursor to free schools.) Against austerity? Great. (But can he ask Ed Balls to spell out just how much public spending he will cut to achieve his debt reduction strategy. Austerity-lite perhaps). And could he ask his heroine, Rachel Reeves, to explain just what she means by "We are not the party of people on benefits. We don't want to be seen, and we're not, the party to represent those who are out of work." I think she is referring to Labour here though I might be wrong.

Sure the minority Green council in Brighton has got itself in a mess by some of its members refusing to accept government-imposed cuts. I suppose it's better that the whipped councilors in Labour municipalities just vote as they are told. And, yes, Nathalie Bennett got into a mess in an interview because she tried to answer a question with a straight answer. Much better to have had the media-training of Labour leaders which enables them never to answer a straight question with a straight answer. Did you hear the master class in evasion by Ed Balls on Today?

Yes, Mr Fenton-Glyn is a nice lad and born locally as Labour supporters never tire of telling me. And in private he might sound terribly radical. But will he vote against the whips of his Party and reject Trident renewal?

As I wrote in my first post, thanks to the Scots the political system in Britain is breaking down. I am not suggesting which party to vote for, just that people should vote according to the policies of parties not the rhetoric of the twentieth century.

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 2 April 2015

"I am proud of the contribution that immigrants of all origins, races and faiths have made to Britain over the years. But for that contribution to benefit all our citizens and not just some, immigration has got to be properly managed and there have to be the right rules in place. That's why I have been determined to change Labour's approach to immigration since we lost the General Election in 2010.

"When people worry about the real impact immigration has, this Labour Party will always respond to those concerns, not dismiss them.It isn't prejudiced to worry about immigration, it is understandable.

"So let me say how we will act to address peoples' concerns.People want there to be control of immigration. And I agree.

"That means strengthening our borders, with proper entry and exit checks.And we will introduce those checks. It means longer controls when new countries enter the European Union:we got it wrong in the past and we've learnt from it.

"And my point today is also that control doesn't stop at the borders.It is also about fair rules when people get here. Fair rules means people integrating into communities and learning English. Fair rules means that entitlement to benefits needs to be earned. You should contribute before you claim. So when people come here they won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years."

Ed Milliband speaking in Great Yarmouth - a popular spot for UKIP. Is this what the Labour left are comfortable with when they argue he is so different from Blair?


From Iain Harrison

Monday, 6 April 2015

The discussions about whether or not to vote tactically is all very well, but the way to change the outcome of an election is to get more people to vote, not to persuade people to vote for a "second best" candidate in an attempt to keep the "worst" out of office.

If 10% of the people who didn't vote int he last election were to bother, all bets would be off.

I've met Josh and he seems a good candidate, and he may well have a political viewpoint close to mine. But he represents a pro-austerity, pro-trident party.

A party that introduced PFI, Academy Schools, looted pension funds, bought aircraft carriers costing billions that can't carry aircraft, fought illegal wars, undermined civil liberties and many more horrors.

Yes, they brought in minimum wage and tax credits. But that's about as far as it went. They spend too long sticking to Tory policies and do no re-nationalising.

It's no good voting for a party on the basis of what its policies were 40 years ago. You have to look at what it stands for now. And that's "Tory lite" in my view.

I'd be very happy to give Josh my vote if he were standing as a Green Party candidate.

It's time to vote for what we honestly believe in, not trying to second-guess the outcome of the election. I hope that the ronsealed PC World manager gets voted out, because he only represents Craig Whittaker (not his constituents) but I'm not prepared to vote for a party that I can't support to make that happen.

From Jonathan Timbers

Monday, 13 April 2015

It would be so comforting if Labour were Tory-lite and the Green party was a credible social democratic party that was determined to tackle climate change.

Neither unfortunately is the case.

The Tories want to dismantle the Human Rights Act and, incredibly, perhaps take us out of the European Convention of Human Rights altogether. Although the leadership want to stay within the EU, they may blunder their way out of it for short term electoral gain. They will continue the bedroom tax and their huge crackdown on welfare. As a result, we shall see more and more people using foodbanks whilst the value of the minimum wage plummets. For ideological reasons, they will continue to shrink the size of the state and promote a dog eat dog society, where the poor are looked down on, even though rising levels of inequality will weaken our economy.

Despite drawing on very credible sources, like the New Economics Foundation and the tax justice network, the Green Party has developed a set of policies that turn silk purses into sow's ears. They have no economic or political strategy for introducing any of them successfully. In any event, they would rely on other parties of the left and the centre (or wherever the Lib Dems are these days) to implement them. Sadly, they remain nothing more than a protest vote and not a credible alternative.
The only possible result of such a protest in Calder valley is Craig Whittaker. Personally, I can think of more effective ways of protesting than seeing him re-elected.

I feel somewhat differently about local elections. In fact, I am deeply disappointed that, despite their much talked about increase in membership, the Green Party are not standing for the town council in Hebden Bridge. Nationally it says it is committed to active parish and town councils. The town council and the surrounding parishes are developing a neighbourhood plan to give us all more control over planning decisions, yet the Hebden Bridge Green party seem not to be interested in rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in. However, there are two Green party candidates in Mytholmroyd. Perhaps they can show the way to their colleagues in Hebden Bridge.

I appreciate where Ian is coming from in his criticisms of the last Labour government. I would add to them its lack of an active industrial strategy. The early years of New Labour saw a marked decline in manufacturing because of the instability of exchange rates. Labour market interventions to help people make the transition between jobs were wholly inadequate. Families lost hard earned savings retraining for poorly paid work.
To its areas of strength, I would add Surestart, which has hugely benefitted my family – a development quite as important as the NHS itself, in my opinion.

I am glad to say that there are strong signs that the Labour party is seeing itself as a social democratic party once again, prepared to intervene in the economy and challenge corporate power. Miliband's intervention on Syria prevented parliament voting for war. I take this as a sign that it has lost its taste for liberal imperialism. It will keep the Human Rights Act and stay in the European Convention of Human Rights. It will get rid of the bedroom tax. Locally, it will start building council houses again.

Believe me, I think Labour is far from perfect, but it's very different from the Tories, and in Josh we have a candidate likely to follow in Chris McCafferty's independently minded footsteps.

I will continue to follow the Green Party's development with interest. I am sympathetic, but at the moment it's way off beam.

From H Gregg

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

It seems to me that a move towards consensus politics would be a good idea.

I'll leave it to you to work out how to achieve that.

From Iain Harrison

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The only way to elect the candidate and party that you want is to vote for that candidate, vote for that party.

Jonathan, you seem to inhabit a parallel political universe. None of the policies of the "past" Labour Party have been disavowed by the current one. They have not said they will reverse any of them in their manifesto.

The Green Party is a left-of-centre party. I wish I could say the same about the Labour Party.

Your reply seems to owe more to political bias than to reality. Yes, Labour would be better than the Selfservatives as a government, but judging by past form and by their manifesto, not a lot better. The are Tory Lite, however little you or I might want them to be.

We desperately need a change in approach from political parties, and I want to see a proper proportional representation electoral system, not the unrepresentative Party List AV stitch-up that was offered in the referendum, and rightly rejected. But as long as the dinosaurs keep getting elected on the basis that they're the most likely to get elected, they're not going to offer us a real say in who we elect.

I'll say it again: the only way to elect the candidate and party that you want is to vote for that candidate, vote for that party.

From Allen Keep

Friday, 17 April 2015

I understand the tactical reasons for voting Labour as opposed to Green and I don't think it is unprincipled to do so even if you prefer the latter's policies. It is also nice to see a more respectful and sympathetic perspective on the Greens from Jonathan than the somewhat hysterical and sectarian diatribes against them I have seen from other Labour supporters recently.

What continues to disappoint me however is that while we can argue until the cows come home about what the degree of difference is between Labour and Conservative (not very much at all in my view) the left continue to delude themselves about Milliband and a supposed leftward shift in the party that he represents.

All this does is to cheerlead someone into office who (apart from being totally uninspiring, ineffective and frankly very irritating) has left any understanding of where the real power for progressive change in society lies far behind - if he ever recognised it at all. Worse, it sows illusions in someone who is certain to attack those the left would champion and support.

Labour may offer a few drops of honey to sweeten the medicine and some rich-bashing rhetoric to claim ideological credibility but do they offer anything significantly different? In an interesting article here George Monbiot refers to the opening of Labour's manifesto as an extreme and catastrophic betrayal without parallel in Labour's history. That's quite a claim as there are a lot of contenders going back over successively less progressive and more right wing Labour governments since 1945. But certainly in committing themselves to reducing the deficit year on year one thing is inevitable – cuts in the former. That can only mean more pain and austerity for our side while the "anti-war" Milliband seeks to find £100 billion for a Trident replacement.

I will celebrate the defeat of the Tories and their collaborators (should it happen) as much as anyone - I hate them intensely. I won't be expecting much different from Milliband however and neither should the Labour left.

From Michael Prior

Friday, 17 April 2015

Jonathan Timbers asks a very simple question: Why is the Green Party not standing for Hebden Town Council? The answer is also very simple: in the past four months, we have been overwhelmed by a flood of new members and have been hard put to cope with them. We now have much the same membership in Calder ward as the Labour Party. These new members are mostly young and are not embedded in the ways of Valley politics. They are the generation who will vote on principles and not on any tired mantra of 'holding their noses and voting Labour'. But be assured, next time we will be on the ballot and confident of winning.

From Bob Deacon

Monday, 20 April 2015

Swap Your Vote

There is now a straightforward way that those preferring to vote Green but wanting to keep the Tories out of Calder Valley can have their cake and eat it.

Go to this webpage

There it says:

"Labour has a reasonable chance of winning this seat. We suggest you vote Labour here and if you are a Green supporter swap your vote with a Labour supporter willing to vote Green elsewhere." (These Labour supporters will be in safe Labour seats)

Just press a button and its done. The vote swap page tells us that:

"For privacy reasons we will not actually put you in touch with another swapper, but we do aim to ensure each swap is matched. Currently we have a waiting list of Labour supporters offering to vote Green, which means your swap will be matched immediately".

In other words the total vote for Greens (which matters in demonstrating overall support within the country) will be the same as if you had voted Green in Calder Valley but because you may have helped secure that one extra crucial seat for Labour you will have increased the chance of Green MPs working with a progressive alliance in Parliament.

Just think how you might feel on election night if the loss of Calder Valley was the one constituency that gave Conservatives one more seat than Labour. (For a reminder of how close things are go to www.may2015.com Labour are 0.6% ahead in the polls today)

From David T

Monday, 20 April 2015

I've voted at every General Election since 1964 but only once or twice have I voted on principle and every other time I had no option but to vote pragmatically, or tactically as it is now inappropriately termed, and as I will again this year. My reason due solely to our appalingly undemocratic electoral system; I would add that for the last 45 years I've been a member of the Electoral Reform Society.

From Brian P

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

I have come to believe totally in the famous quote by the notable anarchist Emma Goldman: 'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal'.

Putting an X on a ballot paper once every 5 years does not make an individual politically active. Taking direct action as part of a mass protest is often far more effective in achieving success for just causes. The poll tax riots of the 1980s were much more productive in scrapping the iniquitous charge than waiting to cast a vote for a party who 'promised' they would reform things. On a wider scale, the sheer power and momentum of the people in bringing down the Berlin Wall and other Iron Curtain country regimes was awesome and inspirational.

I actually believe that by voting it gives credibility to a corrupt establishment driven system where society is based on power being wielded in a 'top down' approach rather than power (or authority) emanating from a 'bottom up' process.

When I hear the media describing Ed Milliband as 'Red Ed' and Trade Union leader Len McCluskey as 'Red Len' I nearly choke on my coffee. It's ludicrous, they are no more 'red' or 'true socialist' than Cameron. Have the Labour party stated that they will repeal the Tory anti-strike laws? Of course not. This is because they are in the pockets of big business. Trade Unions for example, mirror large corporations with their corporate style hierarchies, chauffeur driven union bosses on six figure salaries - funded by members subscriptions. They do deals with the employers about what jobs can stay and whose can go without any mandate from the members or individuals who are affected. They basically become unofficial HR departments. In my view, union member subscriptions should not be used to fund hierarchical structures and HQ overheads. They should be used to build up substantial strike pay funds so that action could be taken to withdraw labour in disputes with the severe financial hardship mitigated by a 'fighting fund'.

I believe the anarchist approach is the way forward to achieve meaningful change.

From Michael Prior

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bob Deacon suggests using the vote-swap site for anti-Tory voters. Well, Bob, I might consider it if the swap was one Labour vote in Brighton, where Labour is trying as hard as it can to evict Caroline Lucas, for one Green vote here. But the site makes it clear that it is a swap in a 'safe Labour seat'. Pull the other one.

Bob also makes a rhetorical, if rather unlikely, question about 'how you might feel on election night if the loss of Calder Valley was the one constituency that gave Conservatives one more seat than Labour.'

Perhaps I could reply with other, much less unlikely, questions?

How will you feel about voting Labour when a minority Labour government renews Trident with the help of Tory votes when the SNP, Plaid and Greens refuse to cross that line?

And how will you feel when the same government cuts local authority budgets and welfare payments in pursuit of its debt reduction targets?

From Ginny Mansouri

Thursday, 23 April 2015

If you would rather vote Green but want to keep Tories out, did you know that there is a website that will help you? The Voteswap website will arrange for someone in a less crucial area to vote Green for you if you agree to vote Labour here to keep the Tories out. Have a look at their website. The vote here is very tight between Craig Whittaker and Josh Fenton-Glynn and i know who I think would represent Calder Valley best!

From Julie C

Thursday, 23 April 2015

There is a reasonable possibility of Green winning a seat in Brighton, Kemptown - Solihull and Bristol West, this makes them possibles for Labour/Green vote swaps.

These are all seats which are not particularly likely ones for Labour to win.
In Solihull for example, in 2010 it was split at 42% each between Liberals and Tories, the Labour Party only had 8% - Green did not have a massive showing, but it is a target seat for them this time.

Brighton, Kemptown had no Labour showing last time at all, and being right next to the other Brighton seat makes it realistic.

Bristol West was 48% Liberal last time with 27% to Labour, I'm sure Labour would love to win this one, but I understand Green have serious support.

Our Constituency is not on Green's radar at all. The party has support in Hebden Bridge, but not elsewhere in the District. They have no showing in places like Ripponden and Brighouse for example.

Some voters believe there is no difference between the 2 parties who have a chance of winning here, I probably can't convince them they are wrong.

For those Green voters, however, who can't stand the thought of Craig Whittaker as their MP, and believe that Josh Fenton-Glenn is somebody they could trust please have a look at what he says, and come along to the Hustings on the 29th at Hope Street Baptist Church.

Have a look at Voteswap.org to see how to swap your vote and use your Green vote effectively.

From Ginny Mansouri

Saturday, 25 April 2015

I just wanted to let you know Michael, that Josh Fenton-Glynn has said that if elected he will vote against Trident.

From Michael Prior

Saturday, 25 April 2015

I am sure Mr Fenton-Glynn is a nice lad whose political career would be greatly enhanced by 5 years in Parliament. He might vote against Trident renewal though it would destroy his ambitions to do so. But we vote for parties in this country and my question to Bob was how will he feel when the party he votes for votes for Trident renewal.

Why not just for once vote for what you believe in not for a party which has other ideas.

Incidentally, as an addendum to the above, according to The Independent:

Yesterday the Labour leader suggested that his party would spend more on defence than the Tories. He told the Chatham House think tank: "I am not going to sacrifice the defence of our country on an ideological commitment to a significantly smaller state."

Still, I guess Josh could persuade Ed to change his mind.

From Eleanor Land

Monday, 27 April 2015

I am getting rather fed up with the patronising comments about Josh Fenton-Glynn's age, e.g. he is a nice lad. I have met Josh and I believe he is definitely the right candidate for MP for Calderdale. He is determined to achieve results for his prospective constituents if he wins in May. To be frank I haven't a clue how old he is. I judge people by what they say and do.

From Neti P

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

This is an interesting article which shows the rise and fall of the Labour progressive movement.

It takes the wind out of tactical voting.

From Mo Norwood

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Heartily support Eleanor Land…

Having listened to all the candidates in the Calder Valley, Josh Fenton Glynn is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to understanding the issues we face here. I also appreciate the way he has not even needed to react to all these sly digs. Well done… a man with dignity and integrity.

His age is an asset not a hindrance (and anyway he has wisdom beyond his years.)

He has my vote.
Mo (age 61)