Real democracy would be something to celebrate

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It is more than 70 years since C. M. Hattersley wrote that: “We vote when we go to the poll/And think we have final control/But really we dance/To the tune of finance/We have pawned ourselves body and soul.”

Now in your columns for December 19 we have letters from Bob Duncan on “councillors from outside Hebden Bridge deciding what should be done in Hebden Bridge”; David Groves against unwanted commercialism there; and Michael Crowley against supermarket permission at Mytholm.

We in Todmorden supported Calderdale Council’s refusal of such permission on our Halifax Road in Todmorden, and as a town councillor active on this issue, I assure him that not all elective (local) politicians are now “increasingly the representatives of business.”

But people power, alas, is all too often denied, a prime example being the unwanted destruction of Halifax Library and council HQ to make way for yet another shopping mall.

Labour’s founding father Keir Hardie streses our socialist foundation, wheras the Liberals were built on capitalism (as shown by Lib Dem subservience to the EU).

Yet too close an alliance now exists here and elsewhere; the Labour establishment based in Halifax presumes to tell the upper valley branches who may be their candidates, for example by demanding sexist all-female shortlists.

We are united against Cameron and Clegg, but success requires give-and-take at local level, lest our wards and constituencies become “rotten boroughs” with “representatives” put in not by their local communities but by distant grandees as before the 1832 Reform Act!

Let’s celebrate the New Year by achieving real democracy throughout our public life.

Coun Frank McManus,

Longfield Road,