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RED ROSE TINTED GLASSES?

14-04-2007

Wolverhampton voter Edward Cameron has decided to switch his support to Labour for the first time in the forthcoming local elections. Here he tells us why?

For the first time in my life, this May 3 it looks like I’m voting Labour. In both the last two general elections I voted against the Government in protest against firstly university tuition fees and later the war in Iraq.

It is only recently that I’ve been concerned enough about my own surroundings to be interested in who my local councillor is.

Where I live I’ve got a Labour one and so far he’s the only person to push a leaflet through telling me what he’s been up to, what he plans to do and ask me for my vote.

I’ve met councillors of all political colours and to be honest, with the exception of the BNP, there aren’t that many who are completely guided by their national parties. Sure there are a few with Westminster aspirations but in most cases they just seem to want to do right for the local area. Admittedly there are a few lazy expenses-scroungers too but that’s not for here.

It is with this in mind that I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for the Labour councillors.
The biggest concerns that people have with Labour - Iraq, the NHS, taxation, crime etc - are out of reach of local councils.

Even trade unions are finding their support is on the wane. In UNISON West Midlands’ annual report regional convenor Steve Beardsmore laments the relationship between the union and the party.

He said: “Cuts in spending by health authorities, universities and other public bodies have put both the union and its members under pressure. Hospitals having to make staff redundant makes a mockery of the Labour Government’s claim that it is the true protector of the Health Service.

"More and more members are becoming critical of UNISON's support of the Labour party and the Labour Government look increasingly threadbare.

"The call to vote Labour because it is not as bad as the alternatives looks more and more like a call to vote for Major because it is better than voting for Thatcher. Sadly there is no sign of an effective democratic socialist group emerging either within the party or outside it."

With all this unrest and the media’s claws out for Blair it’s no wonder that so many see May 3 as a chance to give him a bloody nose. But ultimately it will make no difference to the policies which affect and upset so many of us at a national and global level.

Instead it looks set to unseat a number of good men and women who have worked tirelessly to campaign for our rights at a local level, to clean up the graffiti, get vandalised bus shelters repaired and to get the stench of piss out of the lifts in our flats.

Give Blair a bloody nose if you must, but only if the councillor who’s probably never met him deserves it too.

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