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Is this partnership between Labour and the Tories working?

October 21, 2009

column-picture1I have written a number of times in this column that it’s important to say when you agree with a political opponent.

So I am glad to be able to report that I agreed with every word my Conservative counterpart wrote about STAG – \’Save the Archery Ground\’ – this week, and about the public meeting held at the Masonic Hall on Sunday.

It was a fantastic effort by STAG’s committee to get over 250 people into the hall, and the campaign they are waging is very well organised, and of enormous importance to our constituency.

The national heritage dimension of getting the right sort of redevelopment for the Archery Ground cannot be emphasised enough.

But STAG is not the only group of activist, dare I say militant, local people who are mobilising at the moment.

There were literally thousands of people marching to Save Hastings Pier last Saturday.

The Hastings & St Leonards Against Academies group is trying to put the other side of the Academies story – so that parents, teachers and young people can make an informed contribution to the consultation that has been undertaken recently. They were in action at the Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association on Tuesday evening.

What have these campaigns got in common?

Well (and some may say that I am partisan in these matters) if you look closely, is there not a kind of partnership going on – a symbiosis between Labour and the Conservatives at different levels of government – that local people are coming together to oppose?

Take the Archery Ground. STAG is currently trying to persuade Conservative-run Hastings Borough Council that the planning application by the contractor Gladedale is not in the long-term heritage or environmental interests of Burton St Leonards.

As I understand it, Gladedale, a company which has very shaky financial foundations, is already a party to other regeneration projects in Hastings; projects which have the heavy involvement of the South East England Development Agency and which have been funded (often directly) by the Labour Government.

As for the planned Academies for Hastings: the Conservative-run County Council is trying to foist this model of school improvement on the local community at the behest of a Labour Government dead-set on getting as many academies in place as possible, whatever the local community thinks.

And then there is the Pier. How does this fit the theory?

Well, it doesn’t really. But there always needs to be an exception to prove a rule…

I firmly believe that the problems these local groups are highlighting will not be helped one jot by electing my Conservative counterpart at the General Election.

This is, incidentally, someone who won’t answer questions on key aspects of Conservative policy or the Conservative Party itself; someone who has not been willing to go on the record about her core political beliefs.

I believe that our constituency would benefit from having a strong, radical, independent-minded MP who will examine these and future issues, and speak up for us at Westminster.

A Liberal Democrat MP will be a good choice for the people of Hastings & Rye.

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3 Comments
  1. Walter P permalink

    I hope you’ll allow this comment to be published.

    I’m no big Labour fan, but my neighbour is a local member.

    He told me that a motion was passed earlier this year at a Hastings and Rye Labour Party general committee meeting to oppose the introduction of academies in the area. I would hazard a guess that many activists across the country feel the same way.

    The local Labour lot are also in favour of the compulsory purchase of Hastings Pier. You might remember seeing their banner at the Hastings Pier march.

    What will the Lib Dems do with Hastings Pier?

    • nickperrylibdem permalink

      Thanks for taking the time to contact me Walter. As per my email in response, it is my understanding also that the constituency Labour Party has voted this way. However, local Labour’s position is confused by the fact that the Labour MP is solidly behind the Academies.

      As for the Pier – we Lib Dems agree with the CPO in a back-to-back arrangement with the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust.

  2. great info.

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