South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats fired the opening shots in the 2011 Local Election campaign when they launched their ‘Action for our Area’ manifesto in Bradley Stoke’s Town Square on Saturday morning.
Local MPs Steve Webb and Don Foster joined local candidates and activists to promote the document that promises to “create a Council that works for you … not for the Government”.
Voters will go to the the polls on Thursday 5th May to elect representatives to South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) and Parish/Town Councils, including Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC).
SGC has been controlled since May 2007 by a minority Conservative administration, while the Town Council currently has a comfortable Conservative majority (twelve seats against the Lib Dem’s two and one independent).
The three SGC wards in Bradley Stoke and Stoke Lodge are represented by five Councillors. Of the current incumbents, four are Conservative and the other a Lib Dem.
In looking to regain overall control of SGC, the Lib Dem manifesto states:
“When we ran South Gloucestershire – and when no party had complete control – things were better. Residents had a real say in things. Now, the local Conservatives are simply doing what they want, irrespective of whether you want it.”
“If you give us power in 2011 we will work with you to help you create the sort of green, clean, fair and safe communities you have told us you want to live in, with a Council that listens to you and gives you real power over your own lives and communities.”
The manifesto highlights six key things that the party will endeavour to fix, under the headings:
- Green (e.g. sort out the current recycling shambles)
- Clean (e.g. Wage war on litter)
- Fair (e.g. Campaign for fairer taxes)
- Secure (e.g. Cut crime by tackling drug and alcohol abuse)
- Open & Approachable (e.g. Listen to you, not only by asking your views but acting on what you say)
- Giving you Power: (e.g. Transfer power to Parish Councils and community groups)
Perhaps inevitably, the document makes a jibe at Bradley Stoke Councillor Robert Jones (Conservative) for his infamous “perhaps we’re not making enough cuts” comment on social networking site Twitter.
“The Tories are nervous about giving away their power to others, on the one hand claiming to want to decentralise while on the other trying to tell local authorities, schools and others what they should do. They risk cutting so much that we lose things we really need.”
“Remember the local Conservative Councillor who announced on Twitter – that if people were not protesting, then they had not cut enough? The Liberal Democrats are all that stands between you, and that sort of Conservatism.”
Local candidates for the May elections have yet to be formally announced but The Journal expects a close fight for Bradley Stoke North seat (the only SGC seat in Bradley Stoke currently held by the Lib Dems), where current Town Mayor Ben Walker (Conservative) looks likely to stand against the incumbent, Jon Williams.
Cllr Walker, a resident of Stoke Gifford and not currently a South Gloucestershire Councillor, featured extensively in a recent (Conservative) South Gloucestershire Matters newsheet, being described repeatedly as a “Bradley Stoke North campaigner”.
More info and related links:
- South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2011 – 2015
- 2011 District and Town Elections (The Journal)
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