Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Kirklees Local Elections Reflections

The 2014 Kirklees Local Elections were unusual in that every Party that was defending a seat held their seats. The much overused 'Time for Change' election slogan went unheeded by the majority of electors.

UKIP stood in 5 seats in Kirklees. They got their worst result in Newsome. Their Candidate seemed quite a pleasant sort of bloke when we met and chatted with him briefly on Polling Day. He was standing in the corridor of the Polling Station at Newsome Church Hall to greet and chat with voters and I'm sure that probably didn't go down well with everybody. They got some reasonable votes elsewhere, spurred on no doubt by their media fuelled coverage for the Euro Elections. What the longevity and depth of their support is remains to be seen I guess.

Highs and lows for the Green Party. Obviously we were pleased that Karen Allison held Graham Simpson's seat in Newsome with a comfortable majority. After years as a committed Green Party activist she is now a Green Party Councillor.  
Selfie by Newsome Labour Candidate Sheikh Ullah who I bumped into at Lockwood Petrol Station - NOT an endorsement!
  It was disappointing that we didn't take the last seat off the Tories in Kirkburton Ward. The usual lies and half truths from the Tories in their pre poll leaflet about the Green Party. One particularly annoying claim was that the Conservative Candidate was,

" the only Parish Councillor to have argued consistently that the Parish Tax should not be increased"

Actually he emailed every Parish Councillor in November last year suggesting it be raised by 2.5 % which coincidentally was just a little more than the eventual agreed rise. He then turned up at the Parish Budget meeting and proposed a standstill budget from the floor with no prior discussion or papers provided. No one supported him not even the other Conservative Parish Councillor who was present. It was such obvious cynical politicking and so predictably appeared on his last election leaflet. Shameless stuff really.  I'm just glad that we can be proud of our campaigns win or lose. It is always a tough fight in Kirkburton, but we always make sure we learn from setbacks and continue to tell the truth.

In Newsome, Labour's Candidate was Sheikh Ullah, who fought a pretty clean campaign compared with the one Labour ran in 2012. A prepoll leaflet they put out had a very dubious graph entitled 'Polling Report' on it which would make a Liberal Democrat blush. It still showed us winning but fortunately not by as a big a margin as we eventually won by.  Again, as in, Kirkburton we need to learn from every election we contest and this is no different in the Newsome Ward.

Dodgy Newsome Labour 'Polling Report' graph
 The count was the usual unpleasant experience. You're always wondering if all the effort you put in comes off in the end. At the end of the day we are exactly where we were numbers wise and so is everyone else. One Conservative Councillor quipped that we could have skipped the election and saved everyone the effort and the money.

The pleasing thing for us is to have a new Councillor, who is well equipped to do a good job having been a council employee and a long time Green Party activist. The important thing now is to make a difference for people and make best use of the votes and faith they have placed in us.

Karen Allison takes her seat in the Council Chamber

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