Wednesday, 9 May 2007

2007 Elections in Kirklees

Where do I start. Perhaps by taking the good point, the one good point, the BNP failed to gain any more seats, even in their stringhold of Heckmondwike, although their vote increased in some wards they didn't make any electoral breakthrough.
The great disappointment was not getting a second Save Huddersfield NHS councillor, Ian Slattery got a commendable 1,184 (18.64%) votes taking second place but Labour managed to retain their seat. In Ashbrow ward where Mel Mills was standing for the first time as an independent Save Our Services campaigner, she got a respectable 251 votes (5.67%). Not to forget them, Respect got a paltry 169 votes (3.36%), 9 votes less than the by-election they contested in 2006 in the same ward and 70 votes less than the 239 (4.16%) the same candidate got standing for Save Huddersfield NHS in the 2006 local elections (albeit in a different ward).
Labour despite being slaughtered nationally have managed to win back control of Kirklees council (after being led by the Tories last year and the Lib Dems the year before), part of the reason why this was acheived was Labour's opposition to the Liberal-Tory-Green cuts budget that was due to cut weekly bin collections, nurseries and other services (even though Labour's alternative budget was more cuts, just of different less emotive services), another reason was the party's succesful positioning itself as not being the Labour party, instead having 'Save Weekly Bin Collections' or 'The People's Choice' as the tag lines on their banners during the elections.
After speaking to several lecturers of mine who live in the Crosland Moor & Netherton ward, many appeared to have voted for Labour as a vote against the BNP, believing the vote recived by Ian was incredibly good and as a factor which may convince more people to back the campign in the future.
From my point of view, we did seem to have a lot of support in the run up to election day and it was disappointing to lose by so many votes in that ward, however, we have come out of the election campign much stronger. We've had much more active support during the campaign with various people living in the ward helping with the election campaign and several people interested in joining the Socialist Party. We've also seen the emergence of the nurseries camapign into a fledgling political party, contesting an election and receiving a decent vote. Given the short timescale they had, to leaflet the whole of Ashbrow for the election is a commendable achievement and the fact that the candidate is speaking at the Campaign for a New Workers Party conference this weekend is even more significant, a fighting left alternative in Kirklees has definitely had it's foundations set.
Although Labour have won the council on promises of stopping cuts, they as we have already noted will only make cuts in other areas, the party is wedded to Blair's neo-liberal project so thyinsg we found large opposition to such as building schools for the future programme of privatising education and building academies will continue as will other cuts. Only a new party of the working class in the immediate future can fight these cuts as all the main parties stand for these cuts.

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