Last night, at a meeting organised by the Green Party, the Calderdale Liberal Democrats announced that they would not be standing a local election candidate in Northowram and Shelf, in order to give the Green candidate there a better chance of winning.
Choosing to not stand a candidate in an election is a serious undertaking, and this is not a decision that has been taken lightly. People feel a connection to the principles of the Liberal Democrats, and they want to vote for candidates that reflect those principles. To our Liberal Democrat Voters in Northowram and Shelf, we hope you understand our reasons for doing this.
The planet is in a state of existensial crisis. To avoid the most catastrophic consequences of rising CO2 levels, political parties need to work together. Governments need to work together. In places where progressive green values are not being met, radical actions need to be taken to ensure we do work together. This has to be something less cynical than asking other political parties to stand down so our own party can gain more power. We need to bring green voices to the council.
For these reasons, we are making this first step. We will not field a candidate in Northowram and Shelf. We ask that people vote for the Green Candidate in that ward. This offer has been made without expectation of anything in return.
Good Luck Elaine.
We are calling on the government to immediately reduce the requirements for new housing sites in areas that have recently and repeatedly been flooded.
Cllr Paul Bellenger (Liberal Democrat, Greetland and Stainland) has launched a petition calling on the government and local Member of Parliament to support changes to the planning rules.
Cllr Bellenger said: “We are launching this petition to allow local people to have their say on this important matter and show to the government the strength of local feeling.
“Flooding incidents over the last few years have shown us that these are not rare events, but are becoming more frequent. Allowing houses to be built in areas that should now be seen as likely to flood is just creating problems for the future. People living in any such new houses will have to go through the heart-breaking experience of having their home flooded and the effects of flooding on existing homes will be increased. We need to take action now to stop this.
“The number of new housing sites to be included in the Local Plan is driven by government policies. Those policies need to be changed to take more account of the changing local situation. The government should ease the pressure on Calderdale Council to find housing sites by reducing the number of houses it thinks will be needed. If this number isn’t reduced then the problem will simply be moved around.
“Action really is needed now” said Cllr Bellenger.
You can sign the petition here
The Liberal Democrats have today announced plans to fund at least 34 extra Police officers across Calderdale. With a tax on legalised cannabis covering the costs.
This commitment amounts to 20,000 more police officers across England and Wales, enough for an extra two officers per ward. The Liberal Democrats will also fund an immediate 2% pay-rise for serving police officers.
Liberal Democrat plans stand in stark contrast to Labour and the Conservatives, who have made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them.
At the same time, Liberal Democrats are warning that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk letting hundreds of criminals to escape justice in Calderdale after analysis revealed the extent to which UK police rely on vital EU crime-fighting measures.
The region's police forces and prosecutors have used the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to bring over 563 criminal fugitives to justice over the past five years, the analysis reveals. [ West Yorkshire Police force alone extradited 314 criminals to justice in their home country in the last 5 years.]
The EAW allows the speedy extradition of wanted criminals, but senior police have warned that the UK risks losing access to the scheme because of Brexit. If current trends were to continue, that would mean more than 563 criminal suspects could avoid extradition in Yorkshire over the next five years.
Calderdale Tree Planting Day and Social Fund
On 2nd September 2018, Pakistan Planted 1.5 million trees in a day - Let this be an inspiration as to what we can achieve.
An annual tree planting day. Community groups, religious groups, businesses, school children, sports clubs, the young, the elderly, political parties, and all other groups coming together to plant trees and celebrate our environment.
Why do this?
Trees are our lungs. They clean the air and provide oxygen for us to breath. They also combat climate change by capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. They also slow the flow of water down into streams and rivers. The woodland cover in Calderdale is just 3.8% compared to a national average in England of 10%. By increasing our tree coverage, we can help the environment, and improve our wellbeing.
RESPONSE TO AMENDED CALDERDALE PROPOSED LOCAL PLAN
SITES IN GREETLAND
(Please note that references can be added to this report. However time restraints and external pressures have not allowed me to do this over this weekend period)
Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor James Baker has been selected to contest Halifax in the event of a snap general election.
Commenting Cllr James Baker said:
"The Liberal Democrat's clear opposition to Brexit resulted in us beating both Conservatives and Labour in the last national election.
"Our membership in Calderdale is higher than ever and we are ready to contest a general election is one is called."
"Anything is possible in this election, never has the political landscape been more uncertain."
"Whilst Labour has no clear position on Brexit, the Conservatives have transformed themselves into a no-deal supporting Brexit party. In contrast, the Liberal Democrat's principles and values are clear. We want to stop Brexit. We are internationalists who know the only way to tackle issues like climate change, immigration and cross-border crime is to work together with other countries."
"Tens of thousands of people voted to remain in the EU in Halifax. Many more who voted to leave have changed their minds."
"People who believe in an open and outward-looking UK within Europe have been left politically homeless. I want to ensure these voters have someone standing up for their interests in this election. "
"I believe that Britain can be a leader in Europe. That we don't have to run away like cowards from the EU because we are scared that it controls us."
"We must avoid retreating into a little England mentality of isolation, loss of influence and division. We can be brave, strong and influence Europe. Our nation is at its greatest when it looks out to the world, and Halifax will be at its greatest as part of a strong UK within a strong EU."
"That is why I am proud to be standing up for bold Liberal values and I'm ready to contest a general election."
Joint political Statement on anti-Semitism in Calderdale.
As local political leaders we stand united in our commitment to tackle all forms of discrimination, whether it is homophobia, racism, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism.
On Saturday 3rd August the Calderdale Trades Council has invited Chris Williamson - an MP who has been suspended for remarks about how the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism - to speak at a meeting in Hebden Bridge. The topic on which Chris Williamson has been invited to speak is the Labour Party’s handling of anti-Semitism. An extract from their advertisement for this event reads:
“Corbyn and McDonnell’s backtracking over delivering Brexit, on accepting the redefinition of anti-Semitism demanded by the IHRA and the witch hunt against Corbyn supporters and expulsions of members with records of decades of anti-racist activity raises the question that if Corbyn will not stand up to the right in his party - and the media pressure now, how will he stand up to the advocates of capitalism if Labour wins the next General Election?”
We believe this event seeks to undermine the IHRA's internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism. We also believe it seeks to dismiss cases of anti-Semitism as a witch hunt. Inviting an MP suspended for saying Labour has been ‘too apologetic’ about anti-Semitism to this event sends out a harmful message that anti-Semitism is not to be taken seriously.
We believe this event will contribute towards creating a hostile environment for Jewish members of our community. That it will damage community relations in our Borough. As local politicians, we have a duty to take strong public stances against discrimination and we condemn the decision of the Calderdale Trades Council to host this event. We ask them to consider disinviting this speaker.
Craig Whittaker MP for Calder Valley
Councillor Scot Benton Leader of Calderdale Council Conservative Group
Councillor James Baker – Leader of Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group
Mark Pittaway – Chair of Calderdale Liberal Democrats
Councillor Colin Peel – Change UK
Liberal Democrat Matthew Doyle gained a seat from Labour in a Todmorden Town Council by-election. The by-election in Waslden was triggered after the last Labour Councillor elected didn't turn up to sign their acceptance of office in time.
We fought the campaign on our platform of giving more control and power to our local Town Councils and allowing them to run and manage public services that are currently run by Calderdale.
At the age of 22 Matthew Doyle becomes the youngest Councillor serving on Todmorden Town Council. Giving a much-needed voice to young people living in Calderdale.
This brings the total number of Liberal Democrat Councillors on Todmorden Town Council up to 7 after we gained seats in May's local elections.
The result, on a turnout of 25% in case you haven’t yet seen it was:
Matthew DOYLE (Lib Dem) 298
Majority of 112
As best we can calculate this represents a 28% swing to the Lib Dems since the Town Elections on 2nd May.
Liberal Democrat councillors are pushing the Council to ban the use of glyphosate-based weed killers because of safety concerns.
A motion calling on the Council to cease the use of the weed killers has been submitted by the group for debate at the Council meeting in July.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr James Baker (Warley) said: “The possible harmful effects of glyphosate have been the subject of scientific studies and debate around the world. We are particularly concerned that the World Health Organization has concluded that glyphosates probably cause cancer in humans and that other studies have suggested links with liver diseases and a correlation with neurological conditions.”
“Other studies have suggested that there may also be a harmful effect on bees, which are vital for pollination of many plants.”
“In recent court cases in America, juries have accepted the link between glyphosates and cancer and have awarded vast sums in damages.”
“Taking all this into account, we think the Council should adopt a ‘safety first’ approach for the sake of Council staff, the public and of wildlife, and immediately stop using glyphosates.”
“Alternative weed treatments are available and these should be used – as they are in other councils and in other countries”, said Cllr Baker.
People who want to support this campaign can sign a 38 Degrees petition set up by Caroline Schofield
"I was a Councillor for 16 years in North Wiltshire before moving to Yorkshire to get married, to former Calder Ward councillor Mick Taylor. I am a graduate of York University. In my sixteen years I was council leader for much of the time and dealt with a wide range of issues, including economic development and housing.
I have trained, advised and delivered peer review to Councillors all over England and in many EU and Commonwealth countries. I have also been an Election Observer for national and regional elections in Europe and Africa.
For 10 years, I served on the EU Committee of the Regions, which represents the opinion of local and regional government to the European Parliament. I was the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Asylum and Immigration Policy and worked closely with the Liberal Democrat group of MEPs.
I want to offer that experience to the people of Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Wadsworth, Blackshaw, Erringden and the Stoodley Town ward of Todmorden.
I know from discussions with many local people that our part of Calderdale feels very much left out of Calderdale. Many people feel that the Upper Valley is the poor relation when it comes to projects and services. The LibDem solution to this is to make use of the Localism Act to devolve many services to be run by local councils like Hebdenroyd, maybe in conjunction with the four rural parishes. This could include the market, the park, street cleaning, car parks, sports facilities (such as they are), libraries, public toilets. The Localism Act ensures that the money and staff involved in these services would come with those services when they are brought back to our local area.
On my travels, I have observed the fragility of our world and its environment. I believe passionately that we must all work together to protect our planet for the future. Other councils are undertaking a whole range of environmental projects and we should learn from and emulate them. In terms of the Upper Valley we can surely make use of water power and the council itself can aim to become carbon neutral very quickly. More can be done about recycling and the current approach to charging people for taking home improvement debris – the Tip Tax – must be stopped because it is leading to fly-tipping all over our hillsides.
I’m not just involved in politics. I write and read science fiction. I love gardening and when I can’t do that I knit, make and repair clothes and enjoy travel.
If you want to see change in Calder Ward then please vote for me this Thursday."
Liberal Democrat candidate for Calder Ward