Friday, 9 May 2008

"real” local politics

The situation regarding Chairs and Committee places at Hartlepool Borough Council is an interesting example of “real” local politics in this country. Labour, Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats are now so close together in almost all major policy areas that it doesn’t really matter which party you vote for. All three are taking their major policy direction from the European Union which now dictates 80% of all new laws introduced into the UK.

The Lib/Lab/Con is also united in their determination to hold onto the cosy club they have developed in Town Halls up and down the country. The lib/lab/con club operating in Hartlepool exists to make it very difficult for Independents or even worse any other political party, from getting any significant influence over the local government process.

The Lib-Dems and Tories would much rather see Labour controlling all the Committees in Hartlepool than have Independent or UKIP Councillors anywhere near positions of authority.

The “real” politics of the situation in Hartlepool is that Labour will remain in control for as long as the Liberal Democrats AND Tories continue to allow them to do so or until the combined seats of the Lib/Lab/Con are less than all the others on the Council. Having a majority of none Lib/Lab/Con Councillors is of course is extremely unlikely to happen as the three parties work quite closely together to keep out individuals and other parties not in their club. The use of a spoiler candidate in Grange Ward by the Tories for example gave the illusion of a democratic choice but actually have the overall effect of ensuring the Labour Candidate would be elected. A fine example of the Lib/Lab/Con working to support each other against outsiders.

A discussion on another forum has speculated it might even be hatred of me personally (and UKIP in general) that drives both the Tories and the Lib-Dems to support Labour. If Keith Fisher had beaten Carl Richardson and UKIP had succeeded in toppling Arthur Preece (who has NEVER spoken directly to me in the 6 years I have been a local Councillor!) it might have signalled a major change for Hartlepool Politics. However, I think the Tories and Lib-Dems would STILL have supported Labour as the Lib/Lab/Con would much rather have each other than some upstart independent or a new political party muscling into their play pen.

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