Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sean Parker-Perry - along with the other Longdendale Labour candidates that support the Bypass - have always made much of their 'mandate' in the area. They trot out the typical refrain of politicians, that they 'campaigned on the bypass issue' and therefore they were also elected on the back of it, as if it is the only point in their manifesto, and as though the electorate have a huge choice to vote for those who oppose it (or at least actively oppose it, eh Green Party? - NOT).
Indeed, both Johnathan Reynolds and Parker-Perry have made their views known to the Inspector at the Public Inquiry, as has Roy Oldham (although rather oddly, his evidence has yet to appear online, though it is available for all to see in the library). So let's take a look at what they say.
First Reynolds. You can read his letter here. The best bit reads:
"...In addition, I would like to make a point about the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Longdendale. As a newly elected Councillor in 2007, who had until very recently lived on Mottram Moor, I made clear my unequivocal support for the bypass during my election campaign and the reasons for this. My support for the Bypass was the subject of a specific leaflet I produced and distributed in Hollingworth and Mottram. Despite claims from the organised opposition that local opinion is not in favour of the project going ahead, I received more votes than all the opposing candidates combined. If local people are against the bypass, as some would claim, then they are certainly not registering this view through the ballot box. In fact, quite the opposite is true."
Of course, as we've pointed out before, most people in Longdendale don't vote, and since most of the candidates are for the bypass, there's not really any choice if you don't support it. No doubt Reynolds would point out that if you don't take part then 'tough', but you can't crow about a 'mandate' if the majority of a minority of the total population voted for you.
And then we come to Sean's letter to John Watson, which you can read here. He doesn't waffle and come over all pro like Johnny, but here's his bit:
"The elected members of TMBC who represent the Longdendale Ward have done so on a mandate from the electorate of supporting the bypass. Both I and my ward colleagues have run campaigns of clear support for the Bypass at each election and we have been returned with increasing majorities." (our emphasis)
Well, it seems that isn't the case this time. Because we've had Sean's leaflet through our letterbox. We've looked high and low, and there's no sign of any mention of the Bypass, let alone transport. Most of it is about how low the Council Tax is and it brags about vile crap like ASBOs and IKEA, as if they are laudable achievements. If you want to scrutinise it, we've produced scans below (click through for larger versions).
No doubt a lot of canvassing is going on, but you can bet that most of it is concentrated on known Labour voters. So if Sean wins this time, he won't be able to talk about a mandate, at least not with a straight face. We''ll be there to remind him - and everyone else at every opportunity...