Wednesday 2 May 2012

Why I'll be voting Respect in today's local elections

Its very simple. Local politics in Bradford has been extremely disappointing over the last decade or so. The Lib/Con alliance was disastrous, and I remember having to fight off the closure of important resources such as community centres and old people's homes. Then Labour got in, and with cuts backed by members of the Green Party, I had to fight against the closure of community centres and old peoples homes.

Even if some services inevitably had to go because of the national Tory austerity drives, the manner in which local authority leadership has been exercised has left a lot to be desired. Dismissive of community and especially of community activists is one way of putting it. Another would be 'contemptuous and arrogant'. The three main parties have continuously let down their constituents. Over the years they have been timid in standing up to big business - giving tens of millions of pounds of our money to people such as SERCO and many private sector 'consultants'.

I want a shake up. I want councillors who actually listen to local people. Whatever people think of George Galloway, he has allowed local activists to stand for the Respect Party, good people who have a track record of fighting for issues that affect Bradford folk.

Sarah Cartin, James Clayton, Ruquayah Collector and Mohammad Shabbir are personally know to me as wonderful human beings who care greatly for the city. These choices lead me to support all the Respect Candidates - as they have taken huge personal risks in standing. Some have even been threatened.

There are some outstanding people standing from other parties too - Ann Cryer for Labour in Ilkley, the impressive anti-cuts candidate Alex Newsham (Green) in Baildon and even the honest, straight talking John Pennington (Conservative!) in Bingley.

Often in local elections, the individual should come before the party - the only question should be; is this person a good, honest person who is able to do the job?  Respect have shown that they have carefully picked great candidates in key seats - Dawud Islam in Clayton and the inspiring Alyas Karmani, up against Ian Greenwood in Little Horton.

I wish Respect well, and I hope that progressive candidates of all parties will work with whoever is elected for the common good of this great city.

Now, get out to the polling stations today and make your vote count!

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