Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ruth Bergan - don't mention the Bypass(?)

Now in this post we're not going to do any transcribing of the interview Saddleworth News has made with the Green Party candidate for Stalybridge & Hyde, Ruth Bergan. The reason being is that there's no mention of the Bypass.

We're not entirely sure why this is, but we'll posit some possibilities:

  1. The interviewer didn't ask. So, far, the only other candidate who has not been asked about it is the Nazi David Jones, but you would have thought it was the ideal question to ask a Green candidate. But it's a strong possibility.
  2. The interviewer did ask, but Ruth refused to answer and/or asked to have her words deleted from the interview. Seems highly unlikely, but a possibility.
  3. Ruth thought it was best not to mention it. Although there were chances to raise the issue herself, in relation to transport for example, Ruth thought better of it for fear of 'losing votes'. This is also a strong possibility.
  4. Ruth thinks it's irrelevant - she simply doesn't think it's an issue in Stalybridge and Hyde. Inconceivable.

Historically, Green candidates in Tameside - and even Tameside Green Party itself - have been fainthearts in relation to this issue: it's simply not been an issue that they have taken up at a political level in the area. Indeed, at the Public Inquiry, a representative from Friends of the Earth in Stockport was the only person from a mainstream Green organisation to be combative about the issue and subject the promoters to scrutiny. In her local election address in this week's local papers, the prospective Green Party Council candidate for Longdendale - Melanie Roberts - makes absolutely no reference whatsoever to Bypass 2.0.

Politicians of all stripes are usually more than keen to tell us both what they are for and what they are against. You would have thought that the issue of a road scarring the beautiful landscape of Longdendale & Glossopdale, promoting more traffic and attendant pollution would be something a Green candidate would have something to say about. But not in the case of Ruth Bergan and Tameside Green Party.

UPDATE 5th May 2010: Ruth Bergan has responded personally to this blog post, and you can follow the discussion by going to the comments. We have offered her an opportunity to make clear her opposition to Bypass 2.0, and she has now taken us up on the offer - you can read the blog post about it here.


anonee said...

Failing to oppose bypass 2 simply provides greater confidence to Labour and Tory. Lets face it, the Green's dont stand a chance of getting power so the least they can do is stand up for their principles.

Mike Smee said...

It is well known that Tameside Green Party has been against the bypass from the start and, in addition, we have doggedly supported the Swallows Wood Campaign. If we have appeared to be ‘fainthearts’ on this issue it is simply that, unlike Friends of the Earth ,we simply do not have the resources available to provide people to appear at public enquiries, although, as you know, we provided observers.
As a single issue blogger, it is not surprising that you should overlook the other important issues raised during this election and yes, as ‘anonee’ has said, we are not likely to ‘get power’. However, as a national political party with a wide-ranging manifesto to try to explain in a very few words, it is sometimes necessary to pass over issues for which our support is well known locally anyhow.
Please remember that we are, as a party, totally opposed to all new road building and improvement because this always increases the volume of traffic and never reduces congestion. After the election, we would be delighted to come and explain this more fully to you.

Children of Lewin said...

Mike, thanks for your comment, but I'm afraid you present a fairly weak explanation for why this issue hasn't been raised.

I know that the Green Party manifesto contains a commitment to end road building, but how many voters in Stalybridge & Hyde know that? So, whilst all the other politicians explain why they are for Bypass 2.0, the Green Party candidate does not underline the Green policy. Seems more than a bit odd to me, and I'm sure many people would agree.

This is not necessarily a single issue blog - you'll see that we've covered other environmental issues over the past 3 years - but we are not in the business of politricks and you are. Saying people know where you stand on the issue is not enough, where were/are the press releases from the Green Party about the Bypass, responding to those from the local Labour Party?

It's a rum business being a politician, not making it plain your party's policy on such a crucial issue in a constituency. Perhaps that's why we believe that meaningful change comes in other ways, using other methods than standing for election once every 5 years or so. Good luck in Brighton!

Ruth Bergan said...

Defending Swallow's Wood from roadbuilding is at the top of our local leaflet and our priorities for better public transport for the region are also clearly highlighted as is the work of our members to ensure a decent cycle network in the region. We have made transport a key issue for our local campaign but it is also an issue Tameside Green Party works on outside election time. The Green Party is also calling for radical political reform, such as a proportional representation form of voting and an elected second chamber. The political system is an important way of achieving change, women did not fight and die for the vote for nothing.

Richard said...

Hello, I write the Saddleworth News site and thought I'd clear this up. I simply forgot to ask Ruth about the bypass when I interviewed her.

This was partly because the main point of interviewing the Stalybridge and Hyde candidates was to get their views on issues affecting Mossley, which has close links to Saddleworth and which I often cover on the site, rather than the rest of the constituency. However, I accept the main reason I didn't ask her is because of my incompetence as a journalist.

Anyway, I see Ruth has made her position clear in the comment above.

Thanks for reading the interviews though, I hope you enjoyed them.

anonee said...

I live in Mottram and have unfortunately seen no activity or leaflets from the Green party this year on this or any other issue.

Children of Lewin said...

Richard, thanks for clearing that part of the conundrum up. Your journalism's far from incompetent, the blog is very useful and it seems to be constantly updated. Thanks.

Children of Lewin said...

Ruth - thanks for popping along to have your say, I know you must be busy.

If you send a PDF or scan of your leaflet to the blog email address, I'll be happy to feature it on the blog, but we obviously subject things to scrutiny and say we what we think. Given anonee's comments, it may help to fill in the gaps in and around Mottram.

Also, if you want to make your position on Bypass 2.0 and the Longdendale Integrated Transport System clear, we'd be happy to carry anything you want to write (or record byway of an mp3).

Regarding Swallows Wood, with Bypass 2.0 there is no explicit plan to build anywhere near it (although the pro-bypass mob and selected politicians will have it lined up in their sights if they get their way). However, there *is* an explicit plan to build through other woods, across the Showground at Mottram, plus across acres of open countryside. That's where the battle now lies, and I think you have an ideal opportunity to make it clear to a large part of the local electorate where you stand (about 36 hours).

Ruth Bergan said...

To make our position clear, Tameside Green Party is opposed to the builiding of any bypass. We believe it is a scandal that the Labour council are so hell-bent on destroying our natural heritage. Traffic levels will grow to fill the road space, reducing air quality and increasing CO2 emissions. A bypass is not the answer, which is why Tameside Green Party has focussed on the need to improve public transport in the region.

My apologies to anonee that you have not heard from us this year. We have been most active in Stalybridge, Mossley and Hyde, we are a small party and we rely entirely on our volunteer grassroots activists for everything from leaflet design and printing to websites, fundraising and organising meetings. Like the national party, we do not receive funding from business or trade unions.

I have emailed our leaflet to Children of Lewin, awaiting response with some trepidation.

anonee said...

OK - thanks for the update will look forward to seeing the leaflet.