The election season for the Harton ward has well and truly started now, with Councillor Jim Capstick in Friday 2nd February's Gazette pleading for independent candidates not to stand against the 'anti-Labour' candidates (read Progressives). He asserted that it's the "public wish" that anti-Labour voters are unified. I've got no particular beef against the Progressives and I think Coun Capstick is a worthy councillor, but I don't remember being asked about this anti-Labour unification. And isn't asking potential candidates not to stand for election in support of their principles just to allow the Progressives defeat Labour a wee bit cynical?
That's politics I suppose.
Labour's local publicity attack has also now got into gear, with former councillor Rob Dix's pamphlet hitting my mat today. The leaflet is a slick multi-colour glossy piece which spends plenty of space berating the Progressives for not communicating with local residents. He also manages some time for that old local election chestnut, the "strong voice".
The leaflet doesn't appear to be printed on recycled paper, which is further evidence that our borough's councillors still need to learn the meaning of 'sustainability'.
Under the witty title "Delivering for South Shields", postman Mr Dix allows the Labour council to claim credit for "The multistorey car park site will be demolished in February and should be completed in less than three months." Perhaps it was shortage of leaflet space that caused Mr Dix to fail to add how long said eyesore has been permitted to crumble?
In his leaflet, Mr Dix humbly informed us that at the last local elections "I came within 18 votes of regaining my Council seat" and also asked mischievously "when was the last time the Progressives...delivered an environmental improvement for your community?" I was somehow under the impression that this was a Labour dominated council, so surely the question should be pointed to his chums in the cabinet? No doubt the Progressives will respond to Rob Dix's claims.
With the likelihood that Progressive and Labour will be publicly pieing each other in the months to come, what have other prospective candidates got to lose by trying to slip through them with good old fashioned ideology and principles?
And, of course, a strong local voice.
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