I am afraid I find the declaration by Cllrs Colin Cross, Bob McShee and Tony Rooth that they think party politics has nothing to do with local government a touch disingenuous.
Between them they have stood as party candidates for a total of 26 years, apparently quite happy with that situation. All were elected in 2015 with the help of honest party members who will have done much hard work for them. But now, apparently, all will be better if they are simply their own men.
For me, the party labels tell you something about the candidate’s philosophy. To be a member of a political party means you subscribe to a vision of society.
Simplistically, Tories generally believe in the market as “good”, see market solutions such as out-sourcing to be the best way of delivering services and want a low tax economy.
We Labour people think that it is right to look at the needs of the wider society and plan delivery of services for them. We generally think it right that the rich should pay more to support the poor or the disadvantaged. We want to work towards a more equal society.
What has this to do with local politics, you ask? Well, let’s look at “bus wars”, a topic which has dominated the past few weeks of local news.
The current situation is exactly what Tories want to see – competition between bus companies.
Neither Arriva nor Stagecoach have any right to run bus services for the people of Guildford, so let them complete and see which can do the best job.
Labour people, on the other hand, see this as a destructive and wasteful war which puts too much resource in one area while not serving bus users across the borough as a whole.
If Arriva does force Stagecoach out of business it will not be for the long term good of bus users of Guildford. We prefer to look at what services are needed and try and provide resources to run those services effectively.
Your party allegiance really does affect how you understand “bus wars” – or for that matter academy schools, housing, provision of homelessness services, the future of the town centre, support for sport and culture, and so on.
These are all political issues as well as local ones. Will our friends Colin Cross, Bob McShee and Tony Rooth see these issues in a suddenly different way, now they are free of party allegiance? Or are they simply pretending that being independent is better than party allegiance because of their own disagreements with party colleagues?
Guildford Labour Party