Archive article from The Socialist Issue 439
Huddersfield: voters choose a socialist and a fighter!
"We’re voting for Jackie – she’s the only one we trust to fight for our services. All the others have promised us everything and delivered nothing".
That’s what the people of Crosland Moor and Netherton promised us and that’s what they delivered with an 807-vote majority in one of the highest turnouts in the area.
The campaign to Save Huddersfield NHS moved from the streets to the electoral plane with the election of Dr Jackie Grunsell last week.
Regular readers will have charted the battle that is being fought to prevent the transfer of essential hospital services from Huddersfield to Halifax. The population of the town, for whom the implications are all too serious, has also closely followed this battle.
On top of canvassing the whole ward, we held daily stalls outside the local shops and post offices which meant we were able to speak to a lot of people. Jackie’s number was on all the leaflets and people contacted us with offers of assistance and requests to meet and find out more about our views on other issues.
The Liberal and Labour opposition tried to convince voters that there was no point in voting for a single-issue campaign. But it was clear that most people understood that the idea of defending our public services from the private profiteers is much more than a single issue.
The foundation for Jackie’s election was built through hard work - months of organising demonstrations, lobbies and meetings. People were sick to the back teeth of official consultation meetings where everyone can let off steam, only to be ignored. By polling day, there were posters up on every street.
On the eve of poll, the Lib Dems put out a ‘Red Scare’ leaflet, in a desperate attempt to put people off voting for us, but most people saw it as their attempt at a dirty trick.
All Jackie’s election leaflets made it clear that she’s a socialist and people know that she is a determined fighter. In fact, some people thought it gave them even more reason to vote for her!
So fraught were the Liberals and Labour with the thought of us taking what they saw as their seat that a fight broke out in the car park of one of the polling stations between the two parties!
A young man on his way to vote for the first time came by and told us how he and his friends had been discussing it and they were all going to vote for us. They knew that pressure was being put on them to vote for the Asian candidates but were not interested. The NHS is a class issue and that is how the people of Crosland Moor and Netherton responded.
Over the whole campaign loomed the desperate need for a new mass workers’ party, to represent and organise the angry and frustrated and those who do wish to get active to make a difference.
This election result says enough is enough of the parties who represent the fat cats. It says we’re sick of the divisions in our communities that the main parties use to separate us.
It says where a strong clear lead is given we will respond and fight to defend our public services. It says that we need a party that can unite NHS campaigns like this across the country and fight all attacks on the working class.
Save Huddersfield NHS, Jackie Grunsell, 2,176
Lib Dem 1,369