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Huddersfield: Support for NHS campaign cuts across Labour lies
Despite failing to win a second councillor in Huddersfield's Crossland Moor and Netherton ward this year, Save Huddersfield NHS can feel proud of its efforts and the total of almost 1,200 votes we received.
Ian Slattery, Huddersfield
The election campaign was always going to be tougher this year, with the movement in Huddersfield against NHS cuts quietening down and no well-known public figure as the candidate. Add to this a huge mobilisation by the Labour Party, who saw the ward as the key to a change in the balance of Kirklees council.
However, throughout the election campaign it was clear that people were still angry at the NHS cuts, as hundreds signed petitions on stalls and doorsteps throughout the past two months. Most not only signed but spoke of their anger and disgust.
This was reflected in the increased public profile of myself as the Save Huddersfield NHS candidate. In the middle of the campaign one Labour Party member told us of his frustration at knocking on doors and hearing people tell him that they will be voting for "that Slater guy"!
On election day I was getting shouts of support and vote pledges from people who we didn't have down as supporters.
Despite this positive response it is a shame that the election campaign will be remembered partly for the disgusting role played by the local Labour Party. As reported in the socialist last week, they sent out leaflet after leaflet attacking Save Huddersfield NHS councillor Jackie Grunsell. Supporters of our campaign inside the ward told us that lies and attempts to discredit us were continued on every doorstep where someone dared indicate support for our campaign.
Similar stories came out in the local newspaper the day after the election. The local Conservative Party complained that Labour was using negative campaigning by exposing how bad the Tories are on the local council. With no such stories existing about Jackie, Labour resorted to lies in an attempt to create doubt in the minds of the voters.
The support we got has given the campaign extra drive to continue its fight to defend the NHS on a local and national level. We are also in no doubt about the need to stand again next year and push for a second fighting, socialist councillor.
In The Socialist 10 May 2007:
Socialist Party election analysis
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party workplace news