So last day of campaigning for our four candidates wishing to be Shipley’s next MP. Of course a number of people will have already voted by post, but for the rest of us there’s still time to make or change our decision.
So with that in mind I thought I’d try to summarise what I’ve discovered about each candidate over the last month and a bit. Perhaps it might help us make the last ultimate decision on where to put that X.
For any newer readers there’s a lot more about these candidates available on this site. Just click their names on the tag cloud and it’ll bring up posts about them.
Philip Davies (Conservative candidate and previous MP)
Philip has been Shipley’s MP for the last 5 years. He narrowly won a 422 majority in 2005 beating Labour MP Chris Leslie. The Conservative vote also went down on 2001, but not as much as Labour’s. One thought is that many former Labour voters switched to Lib Dems on an anti-Iraq war vote.
Philip is a Conservative rebel. He has sometimes rebelled against his party in key votes, such as being one of only five MPs (all Conservative) to vote against the climate change bill .
You can read about how he spent his five years as Shipley’s MP, how he voted etc – on this site http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/philip_davies/shipley
Philip has spent a considerable amount of time running a campaign against political correctness. He wrote a lot of letters to the Equality and Human Rights Commission including one asking ‘why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this’.
Philip believes the UK is ‘better off out’ of the European Union. Which is why Lord Pearson (UKIPs leader) was campaigning for Philip in Shipley the other week and also why there is no UKIP candidate in Shipley.
He believes in the first-past-the-post voting system and opposes electoral reform and reform of the House of Lords.
My reflection on Philip:
Whenever I’ve spoken to or met Philip he seems like a decent human being. He has always responded to my letters and emails with an answer and has seemed quite approachable.
When I started this blog I was aware that we disagreed over many issues, however as I’ve researched more and looked further into what drives his politics I’ve been deeply disturbed by some his views and actions.
Philip is likely to be re-elected on Thursday.
So in Philip’s words… why should you vote for him?
‘I think people should vote for me for 2 main reasons. First and foremost I would like to think during the past 5 years I have proved myself to be a hard working and dedicated constituency MP who has got involved in the local community, gets involved in local campaigns, provides a high level of service to my constituents with prompt action and responses, and is someone who is prepared to be straight with people about what I believe in and is independently minded who is prepared to vote against my own Party when the need arises, and I have made it clear that I would not accept any promotion as a Minister so that I can ensure I can always speak out freely on behalf of my constituents.
The second reason is that we need a change of Government in this country, and because a Conservative Government would have the solutions to the major problems we face in this country, for example tackling the huge debts Labour have piled up and rolling back the central government state controls which have undermined our freedoms.’
Susan Hinchcliffe (Labour)
Susan is a regeneration manager for Buisness in the Community. She says she will work to bring more jobs to Shipley, thinking this is the biggest issue facing the constituency.
Susan thinks education is vital to ensuring the UK can compete in a global economy. She’s also keen to continue supporting early years education and not to see cuts in education spending.
Susan believes that governments should regulate financial markets and banks to mitigate the effects on ordinary working people.
She said that she will campaign against the detention of children and Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre. She said it’s wrong for children to be imprisioned.
She is in favour of electoral reform favouring the alternative vote system.
She’s passionate about supporting carers and improving elderly social care. She believes more needs to be done about climate change and global poverty.
She campaigned against Philip Davies’ attack on the minimum wage and the equality bill.
My reflection on Susan:
I’ve been impressed by Susan. She’s worked very hard campaigning to be Shipley’s next MP. I don’t agree with her on some issues, but she is approachable, likeable and has responded well to my many requests for information.
I was most impressed by her commitment at the Shipley hustings to campaign to stop the detention of children at Yarl’s Wood detention centre and if elected I will hold her to account on this.
And why should you vote for Susan? In her words…
‘Shipley should vote for me because I like to get things done, I work hard and I strive to be fair in all my dealings with people. I’ve also had a life before politics, 20 years of work experience. I didn’t have ambitions as a teenager to be a politician. However by wanting to get things done and by being an active citizen my participation in politics has gradually increased over time.
I joined the Labour party because of its stance on fairness and social justice and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved on things like the minimum wage, lifting children out of poverty and relieving pension poverty. We can’t take these hard won and progressive changes for granted though, we have to keep defending them to keep them. Only Labour is equipped to do this.’
John Harris (Liberal Democrats)
John is a Lib Dem councillor in Richmond, North Yorkshire. He’s a former science teacher and is married to Baroness Harris of Richmond.
He believes strongly in protecting human rights and civil liberties. He believes that the UK needs to increase its manufacturing. He also things education needs to be accessible to all and about more than just exam results.
John regularly defaulted to Lib Dem policy on issues such as the economy, poverty and education. He believes in electoral reform favouring a proportional representation system. He offered no comment on reforming the House of Lords, but it’s reasonable to assume he would agree with Lib Dem policy on this.
My reflection on John:
John seems a solid candidate, but at the Shipley hustings he struggled the most to present himself well to those gathered. I’m concerned that he’s a councillor in Richmond, N Yorks, as his knowledge of Shipley Constituency is limited – this showed at the hustings.
Also the Lib Dems are the only party that have failed to even leaflet my street. I understand from others that their leaflet came in a plastic bag, which is a little concerning for a party that suggests that it’s doing its bit for the environment.
I don’t believe either John or the local Lib Dem party members have done enough canvessing and campaigning in the constituency for John to be elected as Shipley’s next MP. In Bradford East however (where many of the Lib Dem activists have been).
John has been the candidate that has taken the longest time in responding to the emails I’ve sent him.
I’ve been very disappointed by the Lib Dems locally – in 2005 they got my vote in the Shipley constituency.
And why should you vote for John? In his words…
‘I hope the electors of Shipley will vote for me because:
I’ll be a hard working MP who will represent the interests of all electors.
I believe members of our communities should work together for mutual benefit.
The Liberal Democrats have a workable set of policies to bring about a fairer society.’
Kevin Warnes (Green Party)
Kevin is a Green Party councillor in Shipley ward. He’s worked hard as a local councillor and was re-elected in 2007.
As you would expect Kevin is passionate about issues such as climate change, transport and our use of energy. But, don’t think that’s all the Green Party and Kevin stand for.
Kevin believes we need good education and the government needs to fund this. He gave the strongest response to the detention of children at the Shipley hustings, saying not only that they shouldn’t be detained in Yarl’s Wood, but also in prisons full stop.
Kevin believes the economy should put people first and protect the vulnerable in particular. In fact generally Kevin believes that our economy needs to be managed to bring fairness and protect vulnerable people and the environment.
The Greens would invest in public services. This would largely be paid for via some savings (such as scrapping Trident), but also through improving and increasing taxation. Kevin believes you get what you pay for.
If elected Kevin would only accept half the current MP salary. He also believes in the ingle Transferable Vote system of proportional representation for general elections. He would push for a 100% elected House of Lords.
My reflection on Kevin:
I’ve been impressed by Kevin. He’s a likeable and intellegent candidate. He’s helped me see that the Green Party stand for a lot more than just environmental issues. He was passionate, challenging and well spoken at the Shipley hustings – managing to correct and challenge other candidates whilst also showing them respect.
He gave an excellent answer to the question why should we vote for him at the Shipley hustings. Unfortunately my battery was flat on the camera so I haven’t been able to upload this to youtube.
Kevin has the biggest hill to climb to become Shipley’s next MP. The Greens only got 1665 votes in 2005 out of the 47,000 cast. If you placed a bet on Kevin as Shipley’s next MP and he won tomorrow – you will find yourself to be very wealthy.
And why should you vote for Kevin? In his words…
‘Because I have been a successful local councillor for the past six years, and for all the policies contained in our party manifesto that will be launched tomorrow! Why waste your vote on the old parties when we could put Shipley on the map with one of the country’s first Green MPs?’
So there they are the four people asking you to vote for them. I’ve now made my decision who to vote for. I might let you know that tomorrow and why I voted how I did, although I suspect those reading this post will be able to work some of that out.
On Friday I’ll post about the result and then I’m hoping to set up a survey to ask what next?
Happy voting tomorrow!
In light of a couple of emails I’ve had from Philip Davies today. I would like to point out to anyone that’s reading that I have put in my reflection on the candidates and their positions in this final post. Please use your own intelligence and recognise this bit of personal reflection. It’s very hard spending a month and a bit finding out about stuff not to be ultimately unbiased. These are the things that will influence my vote tomorrow. For you I cannot speak.