Outlining a New Charter for Salford

The Manchester Evening News printed the following as their lead letter today (18/02/10) in response to their coverage of my selection as the candidate put forward by the Hazel Must Go campaign. It was also published (but summarised) in the Salford Advertiser earlier this week.

“a Charter for Salford”

Last September former Independent MP Martin Bell visited Eccles and declared “Hazel Blears is about to be challenged like she has never been challenged before”. He wasn’t wrong.

Dissent has been brewing for a long time now and people are still angry, not just over the expenses scandal but all the pledges her party made back in 1997 they never delivered. New Labour has failed and the writing is on the wall. Now that anger is being turned in action.

Around 30 people voted to reselect Hazel Blears at a secretive meeting held by her constituency party last June. Yet Hazel claims she values democracy, but what about the genuine grass routes democracy which is sorely lacking in the manner in which she and other candidates proposing to stand in the next general election have denied the people of Salford a chance to contribute towards their closed selection process?

I was very proud to be selected at a public meeting held by the Hazel Must Go Campaign. The meeting was open to everyone in Salford where over 80 people from a wide cross section of the community – plus disenfranchised Labour members – and a number of Lib Dem councillors attended.

As your article states we did indeed receive the backing of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – along with former Labour MPs, Councillors, Salford & Manchester Green Party, RESPECT, the Community Action Party and a large number of community and voluntary organisations. This campaign is not only determined to provide a realistic alternative to the failures of New Labour and the hate-fuelled far-right but also a serious voice for those disenfranchised by the entire political system.

Together we have united to push forward our agenda to ousting corruption from politics, saving our Green Belt and the environment, safeguarding jobs, defending human rights and civil liberties, condemning the war on Afghanistan, stopping cuts to public services and investment in affordable social housing, keeping our NHS public and demanding free higher education for all.

Some may say this Charter for Salford our campaign is championing may be somewhat idealistic, but it’s important to remember that our manifesto merely represents the hopes and desires of the ordinary working people who wrote it. If a politician is unprepared to commit to those ideals they shouldn’t expect to represent our city as it truly deserves.

David Henry
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coaliton: Hazel Must Go!
Salford & Eccles

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