Like a twisty, turny, tangled thing

I've talked before about some of the entertaining jumps and twists politicians have to make in Ilkley. Our local MP is Housing Minister, yet has to oppose building in Ilkley. While the local Labourites equally have to oppose their own party's council policy.

Sometimes it gets downright silly. Remember that stuff on the precept? Well, it looks like Labour is going to make a political issue of it. Or so says Labour candidate Sandy Macpherson. Only...he's not standing against Parish Chair Funky Gibbons in a parish election, which the precept affects. 

He's standing against him in a Bradford council election. Now the issues in this election would, presumably, be rather different. The issues, you might think, for a BMDC election, would be the council's intention to build 800 houses on the green belt (in Macpherson's own Ben Rhydding no less), and their slashing of services (until they miraculously found £1million down the back of the sofa) in Ilkley and other outlying (read-'Tory') areas. All of which rather put Labour on the back foot.

The same thing is noted in the campaign against the new housing. The main twitter campaigner against the scheme* has spent much of the past two weeks vociferously attacking Kris Hopkins. Yet Hopkins is against the Ilkley building. Not a single tweet against the Bradford Labour party. It's not an example of best tactics. 

Would it put more pressure on the Bradford council to a) support Labour in the next council election or b) threaten to abandon the party because of its support for housing, imperilling their ability to win the seat back at the general election?

So this blog is left in the position of wanting a Tory victory at the next BMDC election (to help end the prospect of new building in green belt) and the Tories being swept from power in Ilkley itself, to end the lack of accountability and transparency in budget setting. Of course the latter actually requires someone to have the balls to stand against them, rather than whining from the edges about gerry-mandering

I almost sound like Nick Clegg.

*edited for factual accuracy and politeness

7 responses
Your analysis of the political hoops that local politicians are having to jump through makes interesting reading. For Sandy McPherson and Mike Gibbons the issues are somewhat clouded by the actions of there parties at local and national level respectively. I suppose in Ilkley we tend to have a rather parochial view of of what goes on across the district and we forget that some communities are likely to have more housing imposed upon them than us. Bradford DC has to find space for a large number of houses and in fairness they should be spread across the whole district. Kris Hopkins seems to believe that all the new housing should be built on Canal Road in Bradford, which as anyone who knows that area is just utter rubbish. Still I suppose that he has to say these things to propitiate those areas where he gets much of his support eg Ilkley. I think that you are being unfair on Sandy, who is very much his own man and has been active in campaigning against the development on the 'greenbelt' surrounding the town. I think that he would be an excellent district councillor and would stand up for Ilkley. Mike Gibbons has said virtually nothing on the subject and leaves all the running on the matter to fellow Tory Parish Councillor Paul Kitching. This is a huge mistake because as district councillor he really should be taking the lead particularly leading up to an election. The problem with Mike is that he is out of his depth at district level and really should stick to what he knows best, brass bands, agreeable concerts and trying to keep the town stuck in the 1950s. He is a nice guy but far too thin skinned to have any success at District Council level. The local Lib-dems, Greens and UKIP have said nothing about the subject and never will. It is a subject that they will always steer clear of. Sandy, at least, has an opinion on the matter. So I disagree with your assertion that we should vote Conservative in the local election because to be frank with you Mike Gibbons is not the man to represent the town.
Thanks for the detailed response. The problem I'd still have is that a Labour victory would strengthen the party's hold on power in Bradford, which presumably would increase the chances of current plans going through. Not to mention the ludicrousness of Labour seemingly basing their campaign on the (equally ludicrous and indefensible) precept increase, which is, of course, nothing to do with the district election. The current Labdoorsteppers ('our henry' leading) are not mentioning housing as far as I can see-and why would they? However, I don't disagree with your analysis of funky Gibbons. A man happiest on the top deck of a vintage bus waving at the carnival. You're right, too, about the absence of other players. ukIp is one man, after all, and the LDs seem non existent in the town. Thanks again.
I'm not convinced that the 'problem' with the parish Council is simply the precept. Perhaps, it is more to do with their attitude towards the town. Only 3 of them were actually elected in 2010 as no other party stood against them in 4 of the wards. The rest simply went through on the nod. They all stood as Conservatives and clearly believe that they have a 'God given' right to do what they feel appropriate. I know that this single party state occurs in many communities, but that doesn't make it right. The town will always have an inbuilt Tory majority but over the last 10 years or so their majority has slowly reduced. The parish council which is largely made up of small businessmen and is entirely conservative with a small 'c'. The town is changing but the Parish Council does not recognise this. They have residents money to spend but make no effort whatsoever to consult about the way it is spent. They waste money which could be used to bolster the essential public services that need protecting. Mike Gibbons has been on the Parish Council for many years and asks voters to judge him on his record on that body. If this is how he wants to be judged then he can hardly complain when other parties choose to to highlight his and his councils profligacy. They are extraordinarily good at self congratulation and rely on the largely politically inert electorate not to challenge them. The question has to be has Mike Gibbons done enough to deserve being returned to the district council? My view is no he has not. In reality he will be elected but he really needs to know that many people in the town do not agree with the way that he has conducted things in this little Tory fiefdom. In 2012 Ann Hawksworth polled less than 50%. The days of massive Tory majorities may well be over but do Mike Gibbons and the Conservative Parish Council realise this
Don't disagree with any of that, as you'll see from other posts. Do you fancy contributing to the blog? Drop me a line, bertram.woosterATgmailDOTcom
Oops, that's Job, the owner of the blog!
Oops, that's Job, the owner of the blog!
its the best offer that I have had all year! and sounds interesting. Will email later this week