In line with expectations we didn’t win a fourth term in Government, but then neither did the Conservatives. In consequence we learned an awful truth about coalition Government. This is not about triangulating a set of policies at the point of alignment on the political spectrum between the two coalition partners. This isn’t a Government that’s a little bit Conservative and a little bit Liberal, far from it. The presence of the Lib Dems in Government has emboldened the Tories to proceed with haste down a full blooded right wing agenda. It’s put the NHS under threat, and it’s putting a stop to all those initiatives Labour had introduced to improve life chances. Had the Tories won outright, it’s unlikely they’d have proceeded with such haste and contempt for the most vulnerable.
Most predictable consequence of Conservative Govt.
The number of patients waiting more than 18wks for treatment in the NHS shoots up as soon as targets scrapped – Link to Daily Telegraph Article
General Election in Stretford and Urmston
It’s only a touch over 12 months since Kate Green was selected as Labour’s candidate for that election. It didn’t take voters long to realise that we’d got a candidate of real quality and the increase in the size of the Labour majority is testament to her. She’s making a genuine contribution to parliament and the constituency. It was a real privilege to have been her agent in the election.
It was a good campaign and all the candidates played their part in ensuring it was a civil contest about real issues.
At the same time as winning the parliamentary seat we made gains in the council elections in Urmston with Kevin Procter and Sale Moor with the return of Philip Gratrix. We will be seeking to build on these successes when the local elections come round on May 5th 2011. I’m delighted to have chosen to be the candidate when the locals come round in Gorse Hill.
I don’t regret putting Diane Abbott and Ed Balls as my first two preferences in the leadership election as I feel they enhanced the contest. The final outcome was always going to be between Ed Miliband and his brother David and I’m delighted that Ed emerged the winner in a very close contest. Ed is developing into a very measured and engaging leader and has every chance of taking the party forward and back into power at the first opportunity. It’s clear he has learned the mistakes of the past and he’s not getting diverted from the core truth, that the Conservatives are taking unnecessary risks with the economy and pursuing their own agenda of reduced public services.
Trafford – A year of Calamity
It’s been a year of fiascos for the Conservatives on Trafford Council.
Their attempts to close down two well regarded High Schools (Lostock and Stretford High) were thwarted at the final hurdle by the Schools Adjudicator’s accurate assertion that it was all about pursuit of money rather than educational matters.
The Lancashire Cricket Club / Tescos project has turned into a complete shambles and is now subject to an application for a judicial review into the planning permission for the cricket ground and Tescos and the refusal of a Supermarket at White City on the same night. Nobody who witnessed the planning committee of that night will be surprised at this outcome but the consequences have put at risk much needed investment from the regional development agency.
We’re seeing the butchery of library openings whilst at the same time witnessing the commissioning of glossy council propaganda that would in itself pay for an expansion of library provision when it is most needed.
Our Town Centres have taken further hits during the year, although Labour pressure has at least got us the return of free parking at the Newton St car park. Indeed a feature of the year has been Labour campaigning forcing concessions or actions out of the Tories. We’ve reduced the impact on our parks from that the Tories originally planned but there’s still threats we face, not least to Gorse Hill Park’s football pitches.
Best Council Speech of the Year: Councillor Tom Ross (Stretford) on the in-year cuts and how the Conservative Government was repeating the errors of the past.
I found this the most inspiring speech of the year. Tom used his economic expertise of the 1920s in illustrating the effect of the Geddes Axe on taking us into the Great Depression and how the Conservative Government was repeating those errors. I’m not really capturing the power of the speech which was coherent and pointed and won praise from all sides of the chamber.
Worst Interjection of the Year: Councillor Viv Ward (Flixton) in arguing as chair of planning that since Old Trafford Football Stadium had been built over 100 years ago, Rock concerts should be permitted to be held there;
Clearly the biggest win of the year was the campaign to save Stretford High School and Lostock College. It was a campaign that not only achieved its ultimate objective but brought about a renewed sense of collective pride in these institutions and gave chance of a new beginning particularly for Lostock. That school is so well placed to benefit from Media City including the new Coronation Street set that it really does seem to have a bright future with its specialism in the performing arts.
We seem also to have repulsed the threat from the Stadium Point all-nighter venue. This was the wrong place on Trafford Quay for such a massive development that would have brought misery to the Quays. It’s beginning to look as though the plans have been abandoned although you can never be sure. We’ll certainly be ready if it re-emerges.
Lostock Health Centre is nearing completion which will mean the return of much needed health provision to the neighbourhood.
Lostock Skate-park is going from strength to strength and we’ve seen the award of further grant towards providing the equivalent of nursery slopes for the skate-boarders so it can be of value to even more young people.
We’re still making progress with the control of drinking in the street ahead of matches at Old Trafford.
I pay tribute to the police for achieving an exceptional performance in this patch. Their performance is amazing:
Burglary Down -21.7%
Vehicle Crime Down -51.0%
Personal Robbery Down -23.7%
Serious Violent Crime Down -50.0%
Anti Social Behaviour Down -27.3%
Criminal Damage Down -28.2%
Best Overall Performance
Inspector Sutcliffe and the Stretford Neighbourhood Police Team
It really is appreciated. The reduction in crime hasn’t come about by accident and it’s a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of all involved.
And very close Runners up – Equal
Trafford’s Extreme Weather Team – Gritters and snow clearance
Trafford’s Bin Collection Service – for the service they’ve provided over the Christmas Period and during Extreme Weather
Mike Cordingley – A personal view