Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Vote for decency in Stockport this Thursday
There are two wards close to where I live where the choice tomorrow is one of decency and honour over the rotten face of local politics. In other wards, like my own, it's actually between competing political programmes. I will therefore be voting for Sheila Townsend of the Labour Party, though I respect Tom Dowse of the Conservatives, who I regard as a good neighbour and not just a rival in politics, to paraphrase Justin Trudeau.
In Manor ward in Stockport Charlie Stewart is standing for Labour against the current Liberal Democrat leader, Sue Derbyshire. I worked alongside Charlie last year and know him to be honest, hard working and deeply honourable. I contrast this with Councillor Derbyshire whose behaviour and conduct over a whole range of issues has finally come to a head, resulting in resignations from her group and the kind of childish infighting that gives politics a bad name. The issue is supposedly over who-said-what over the relocation of Stockport Market. In reality, it is a demonstration of very poor leadership. Not least for entrusting the portfolio of economic development to a loose cannon called Patrick McAuley, the very councillor she is now attempting to smear and attack at every turn.
In Offerton ward the choice between light and dark couldn't be more pronounced. Janet Glover has worked in public service as a midwife, nurse and teacher. Over the last year she has been embedded in the local community and achieved countless positive outcomes for residents who have no-one to fight for them. Housing Associations need to be put under pressure to do repairs, crime needs a community response that a leader can convene. Politics requires this of you and Janet has displayed her qualities in spades.
The other choice is dishonest and represents all that is truly wrong about local politics.
At stake is the way Stockport is governed, how public services can be reformed and run effectively and how strategic decisions can be made for the long term, not just to preserve councillors' careers.
I hope that on Thursday night we will be cracking open the jelly and ice cream.