Friday, 4 June 2010

By-election called

Following the election of Cllr Jenny Chapman to be the new Labour MP for Darlington, a by-election has been called to fill the vacancy caused by her resignation as councillor for Cockerton West ward. The by-election will be held on July 8th.

This is only the second by-election to be held during the current four year term of this Council, which is now in its final year. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, the existence of a Coalition Government will have on voter perceptions of both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

The Liberal Democrats have already held a competitive selection to choose our candidate. Four local members applied to represent the Party, among them Cockerton West resident, former Conservative Councillor and Chair of Growing Old Living in Darlington, Brian Jefferson. The selection sub-committee has made its recommendation to the Executive Committee and an announcement about who is our candidate will be made shortly.


james said...

The by-election takes place after the budget - so I suspect that there will be some association with the Tory cuts and the sickening capitulation of the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Dear me James. As I have stated before no country cannot live beyond its means and spend money that doesn't exist which is what the last Government did and we are paying the price for their irresponsibility.

Cuts have to be made because if the Government did not do so the IMF would come in and impose cuts which would be far deeper than the Government may introduce.

There is fat on the Government frame, national and local, which the Government are cracking down on and I support that. For example public servants who are in many cases paid more than the Prime Minister, Quangos which have obscure functions, hierarchies and the empires of bureaucrats which makes it virtually impossible for a decision to help people in need to be taken quickly. I know by the way what I am talking about.

The service delivery end of things - the teachers, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, our wonderful armed forces, the public servants who work in the community and who people depend on such as GPs, dentists, the police, fire brigade and ambulance service will I am sure be protected from the cuts.

There has to be a dual focus in the public services on serving the interests of people who need and depend on the public sector and supporting a system which is affordable to the people who pick up the tab i.e. the taxpayers

Having been out on the doorsteps in Haughton West the vast majority of people I have spoken to support the Government's stance and are frankly apalled at the mismanagement of the economy by the Labour Party.

james said...

Dear me, Alan. As I have said before, the multiplier effect of public spending has pulled the UK economy out of recession.

However, private investment is not returning - and given the outlook for the UK economy, as retrenchment of public spending results in lower levels of consumption, there will not be a wave of jobs created to replace those cut in the public sector.

In the North East, where structural unemployment is high, we will suffer particularly from the Tory hands-off approach to industrial policy. Already the Tory coalition has cut university places and the Future Jobs Fund.

We are not paying the price for government irresponsibility - if you think back, the recession was prompted by a banking crisis. No doubt, we are all supposed to forget this - indeed Cable is now merely going to "ask" the banks we bailed out to invest in UK businesses.

Orange Bookers like Clegg, Cable, and Laws have basically merged your party with the Tories. Are you happy with this Alan?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

James. I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

I am happy to have a stable Government which gets the country out of the economic mess we are in, reduces Government debt and manages the economy properly.

If the present Coalition Government does so and the indications are it will then yes I fully support them and am happy.

It isn't a merger it is a coalition. Merger means one party within another, changing their party name and embracing the rules of one party to form one political entity. Bit like when the old SDP joined the Liberal Party. That hasn't happened. Both parties retain their independence and separate identities.

Turning to the North East. We do need to bring down unemployment. We need to attract inward investment which creates more jobs in the private sector. Having a job gives a person pride and enables them to pay their way and narrows the gap between different areas. That is what must be achieved by Government.

I have concerns about the effectiveness of One North East in doing this especially in the Tees Valley.

I am strongly in favour of a Tees Valley Development Corporation which is run by business people similar to the old Teesside Development Corporation which did so much good work in creating employment, hope and optimism and narrowing the gaps before it was abolished in 1997. The TDC cut through a lot of local government red tape which hindered the regeneration of Teesside.

As an example the TDC had regeneration plans for the Middlehaven area round the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough. It could not get its plans through in time before it was wound up because Redcar and Cleveland Council objected to the development. So the area is largely undeveloped. We need that type of body back in the Tees Valley from Darlington right through to the sea.

james said...

Alan, a TVDC sounds like an interesting idea - I find it troubling that you believe that unelected businesspeople should be determining the development of the sub-regional economy rather than elected representatives. It also presupposes that the current coalition will be spending at a level that the Tories did during the 80s and early 90s... and let's not forget that since that time, the global workforce available to capital has doubled.

I think the only sustainable way of expanding the private sector is to promote co-operative and employee-owned enterprises as they are more likely to re-invest profits close to home.

As to the merger with the Tories - if the party structures remain seperate, I'll give you that. But multi-millionaires like Chris Huhne, David Laws, and Nick Clegg obviously share the same interests as multi-millionaires like David Cameron, George Osborne, Lord Ashcroft, etc...

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes......

Thanks James. The TDC cut through a lot of government red tape and got the regeneration work done quickly. Perhaps there is a lesson there for local government.

I think you will find James that the Lib Dems multi millionaires are in favour of social justice, equality and an equal chance for everyone. The aims of the Liberal Democrats are on the national website and that is what they are.

We do need investment in the North East and Tees Valley especially which creates more jobs and opportunities and raises people up and we need that now.

james said...

"the Lib Dems multi millionaires are in favour of social justice, equality and an equal chance for everyone"

Why are they backing Tory cuts then? Cuts to job creation schemes, to university places, to the active industrial policy adopted by Labour in its last year in office.

You should read the Orange Book - many of the articles are written by current Lib Dem govt ministers. You might understand a bit more about why your party has jumped into bed with the Tories (

Securing and expanding employment and enterprise means using public spending to ease the effects of the financial and economic collapse, and to rebuild the private sector on a more just and sustainable basis - not caving in to the ideas of the Tories and the interests they represent.

The Lib Dems have joined with the Tories in a ludicrous story of how Labour supposedly wrecked an economy it didn't even control and made every effort to resuce. Clegg even praised Thatcher's assault on working people. He's led the Lib Dems into a coalition which will ensure that multi-millionaires like himself can continue living it up whilst the opportunities of the majority are held back by a Tory Age of Austerity.

I had expected much more vocal criticism from Darlington's Lib-Dems of the turn their party has taken in parliament, especially since Mike has rightly described the Tories as the party of privilege. I don't know if you like Mike came to the Lib-Dems by way of the SDP split from Labour - but the same mistake cannot be repeated of failing to challenge the Tory agenda.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

James. It is a fact that the country is in debt to the tune of £640 Billion and the interest charges are £40 Billion. There is no money as Liam Byrne rightly said in a note to his successor.

Kenneth Clarke bequethed a healthy economy to Labour in 1997 after years of hard slog and here we are back to having a sick economy. A lousy legacy for future generations wouldn't you say?

The state of the economy frightens the hell out of me and I am thinking here of my two sons. Will they get jobs?

I find it incredible that a major political party are in so much denial that there is anything wrong and the fact that they went on merrilly borrowing to pay for their spending.

I repeat it will take generations to repair the damage caused by the sheer utter irresponsibility of the last Government.

I don't really care about blue books, orange books, sky blue pink books or whatever. All I want to see happen is the damage done by the last Government is put right and the economy restored to health and prosperity for all people.

james said...

The UK is pretty typical when you look around the world, Alan. Most of the large economies that make up the G20 are using deficit spending in 2010.

What you say reminds me of the embarrassment you caused yourself with your DBC debt figures in a letter to the Echo a while back.

If you have debts, you go out to work and try to pay them off - yes, you cut back on expenditure, but not on those things that help you gain income. That's pretty much the approach of the new coalition.

My fear is not the level of debts but the willingness of people such as yourself to countenance Tory rule.

I will say it again:

"Securing and expanding employment and enterprise means using public spending to ease the effects of the financial and economic collapse, and to rebuild the private sector on a more just and sustainable basis"

I can't believe your opposition to Labour blinds you to the class interests behind the Tories - how many of their MPs have come from the banking sector that gambled on giving mortgages to unemployed Americans? How many of the leading Liberals, for that matter, have their roots in small businesses or the trade union movement?

If you think your sons will be safe under a Tory Age of Austerity you are either more ignorant or affluent than I can comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes.....

I think we should agree to disagree James.

I wasn't the least bit embarressed over my letter to the Northern Echo concerning the Council's borrowing liabilities. The statistics came from a Council report which was in the public domain.

I am not ignorant or indeed affluent.

james said...

If you are neither ignorant nor affluent - why are you supporting the Tory cuts which are going to plunge us back into recession?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Savings in Government spending must be made in order to reduce the huge deficit which has built up through income being reduced and expenditure outstripping income and having to be financed by borrowing. The situation is very grave indeed. Lord Myners the City Minster in the last Government made this very point yesterday.

I am sure the Government will have at its disposal the finest economic experts to advise and guide them on how best to avoid the country going back into recession. Politicians do listen to the experts you know and do not act unilaterally as a rule. Although Government history in the early to mid 2000s is an exception to this where Government decision making was founded not on the finding of experts but more on spin.

I am in favour of cuts to those Government service which restricts the freedom of the decent, law abiding people of this country in addition to the ones given earlier.

james said...

Alan, the idea that economic advice is neutral is absurd. Economists take sides - for the many or for the few. Myners is a former banker, unelected, and brought in to appease big business. So, no wonder he's backing Tory cuts - but they won't solve the deficit.

There are plenty of economists - including those like Pettifor and Blanchflower that were quick to identify the financial crisis would turn into a global recession - arguing that stimulus spending aimed at turning the UK into a low-carbon economy could boost the private sector, reducing unemployment and increasing tax receipts. This "Green New Deal" would be paid for through borrowing, yes - but also tax increases on the wealthy and big business.

But this course of action - growing the number of people in employment - obviously wouldn't benefit the super-rich, and that's who the Tories look after.

The Tories have never believed in the NHS, in more people getting access to education, etc. - and they will use deficit reduction as an opportunity to reverse the gains that ordinary people made during the twentieth century.