I’m delighted Kate Green has asked me to be her agent for the forthcoming election. It’ll be my fourth time. At least I’ll know what I’m letting myself in for. It’s a generally thankless role. You’re really there to make sure everything’s legal and accounted for and to step back into the shadows.
My first time as agent was 2010. Kate was stepping in to fill the shoes of Bev Hughes. Labour were facing a difficult election nationally and the Tories were targeting the seat as winnable. Kate was (and still is) an absolute force of nature. We had a great team with Antony McCaul directing the campaign. Together we smashed that election.
It was a fantastic team effort. I took the role incredibly seriously. I still do. You’re always a missed signature away from a disaster that lets down so many people. At the same time you’re trying to be a grounding force, keeping the campaign focused and together. There’s so many external provocations not to mention those from within the campaign.
The two subsequent elections in 2015 and 2017 were somewhat different. We didn’t see any serious campaign from the Conservatives really, or anyone else for that matter. They rather abandoned their candidates to get on with it on their own. It meant we had to generate our own energy. Given we took Kate’s percentage of vote to 66%, the other parties probably took the correct decision.
So we’re back again. We have the same team, we’ve had for the last two with Tom Ross in the Anthony McCaul role. It’s a winter election. I genuinely don’t have a problem with that. We do what we do and it’s the same for all parties. The political dynamics are different, but they always are. From the agent’s point of view it’s a logistical challenge as much as anything. I aim to come through it in one piece and so far, I have always managed to end the election with more friends than when I started including from the teams of other parties.
A Packed Agenda
Questions from members.
This section of our council has got bogged down with overly long questions and answers. In an effort to sharpen it up, the executive have began using written answers to a greater extent. It felt a little awkward at first but will result in more time for members.
- Dunham Park’s accessibility to non car users. (By coincidence I’d cycled to Dunham that day) I can certainly confirm that Peel’s towpath on the Bridgewater deteriorates to a mudbath on the last mile to the park.
- Recycling Rates
- Flooding in Timperley arising from the burst banks of Timperley and Fairywell Brooks.
- Delayed Transfers of Care (From Hospital) Trafford’s performance under the Tories was one of the worst in the country. It’s an area that has picked up a little and there’s a huge focus on it in Trafford. Councillor Harding, the lead member for Adult Social Care has published a written response .
Back to the main agenda
- Council Tax Support Scheme for next year.
- Various Constitutional Protocols
- Treasury Management
- Standards Report on Members Allowances – The Conservatives want to sacrifice some of our allowances. I receive £6754 per annum before tax, national insurance and a deduction to the Labour Group. (In Manchester the basic allowance is £17,322).
Many of the councillors in Trafford are worse off because of their council work.
And then I look at the charges of corruption against Conservative councillors in Lancashire and Cheshire. But it’s true, give them the keys to the council and it’s not the allowances that you need worry about!
- Motion condemning a No Deal Brexit. (passed)
- Bus Franchising – I wrote this motion (passed unanimously) See below
- Condemning No fault evictions (Passed unanimously)
- Attacked Labour policy democratising exclusive private education (defeated)
- Calling for disinvestment from fossil fuels as investments for the pensions of our workforce (amended)
I spoke against the motion. I am not going to shy away from declaring a disdain for middle class posturing. The motion did nothing to reduce the profits from fossil fuel extraction or to reduce demand for fossil fuels. It was just about making the Greens feel smug whilst at the same time making the workers poorer.
We have to make real practical differences if we’re going reverse global warming. Our deserts receive as much energy from the sun in six hours as the world consumes in a year. The resources are available to us. We have to ensure our energy comes from truly renewable sources (not wood pellets).
It really doesn’t matter who owns the oil companies unless we make the shift away in our consumption, however I’d personally rather not allow it to be in the exclusive hands of spivs and tax avoiders. I really didn’t like this motion. I described it as the equivalent of a municipal tote bag and the fact they employed pickets and props to support such a vacuous proposal suggests they’re running out of ideas. Labour’s Green New Deal is the way we should be going
Anyway back to that Bus motion. Since I drafted it, I think I can be allowed to post it here……..
Transport Poverty is an issue currently affecting economic growth within the city region, limiting residents access to employment opportunities and training whilst at the same time denying employers access to a fully flexible labour market.
The remorseless deterioration in bus services in Trafford since deregulation 30 years ago is not sustainable when set against the need to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
That for Greater Manchester to compete as a world class City-Region requires an integrated public transport network organised and commissioned to serve across our towns and not just on the most profitable routes such as the Oxford Road corridor.
Council therefore welcomes the decision of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on the 28 June 2019 to proceed towards bus franchising and to publicly consult on this and encourages residents and businesses to engage positively with consultation with a view to creating a bus network fit for the 21st Century.
I asked Adele New if she’d propose the motion. Adele lives in and represents Partington probably the town most ill-served by the current bus network. It was one of my better choices; Adele was superb!