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Local election blues

by Laurence Rowe published Apr 24, 2007 09:31 PM

Living in Manchester, local elections tend to be fairly irrelevant. The council seem competent and real power lies with the Chief Executive rather than the councillors. With no Tories, the Lib Dems provide the only opposition (along with a solitary Green). In Longsight the Lib Dems are fighting hard, with at least three leaflets through my door over the past month or so.

Though nationally Labour are expected to do badly, this analysis is unlikely to hold for Manchester. With boundary changes in 2004 every seat was up for election. Longsight and a few other seats went from having 3/3 Labour councillors to 3/3 Lib Dems, in protest against the war. In 2006 (no elections in 2005) Labour won back the contested seat in Longsight (along with three others). The Lib Dems will have to pull out all the stops to prevent the same happening again.

Their latest leaflet leads with a story warning that Labour plan to introduce a congestion charge in Manchester (which nationally the Lib Dems think "essential") followed by "Thinking of voting Labour?.. 650,000 dead" with a picture of a wounded child and Blair next to Bush. All in all sensible tactics. The abandonment of principals has lost my vote though.

Labour then? Their leaflet has John Reid on the front. Head of the department that wants to deport an  HIV+ family of failed asylum seekers to Malawi. Malawi has no capacity to treat HIV+ patients, so deportation is an effective death sentence. Besides, with Blair clinging on to power, voting Labour is clearly immoral.

That leaves my vote with the Green then (come on! I could never be a Tory.)

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