Vote Jackie Grunsell on May 6th!

As the leaflet below explains, it is vital that Jackie Grunsell is re-elected to Kirklees Council on Thursday. She is the only councillor that has opposed the £400m cuts that the council are planning on making and donates her £12,000 councillors allowance to local campaign and causes. If you’d like to help in our campaign on election day, please ring/text Ben on 07837803652.

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Update from the campaign trail – 3rd May

One of Jackie's teams of campaigners out canvassing in Netherton

As we enter the final week of the election campaign that the campaign to re-elect Jackie Grunsell as councillor for Crosland Moor and Netherton, it is clear that Jackie and her campaign team have spoken to far more people than all the other parties put together, as is shown by the other 2000 people who have pledged to vote for Jackie on election day. Yet we are not content to rest until we have secured Jackie’s re-election to Kirklees Council, so we will be out with stalls around the ward and in town and speaking again to our supporters on the doorstep.

In the last week we also held an election rally at Moorend High School which was the biggest meeting we’ve held in the ward since the 2006 campaign that saw Jackie elected to the council. The audience was overwhelmingly young and they heard Jackie and Greg Maughan from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally speak about the need to have fighting representatives like Jackie on the council. One young woman who attended the meeting told us that “its great to hear someone like Jackie who’s actually prepared to stand up for ordinary people.”

If you’d like to join us out on the streets over the last few days of the election campaign then please ring/text Ben on 07837803652.

Jackie Interviewed by Saddleworth News

for the original article, plus a link to a recording of the interview see http://www.saddleworthnews.com/?p=1624

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Colne Valley has predicted “massive cuts” to public services regardless of which of the three main parties wins the general election. Dr Jackie Grunsell added that her party didn’t feel such cuts were necessary, and instead called for cash being spent on things like bonuses at state-owned banks to be redirected to services such as hospitals, schools and housing.

Dr Grunsell is a local GP, and has served on Kirklees Council since 2006 when she was elected as part of the Save Huddersfield NHS campaign. She is defending her Crosland Moor and Netherton ward on 6 May, as well as standing for Parliament. In her interview with Saddleworth News today, she called for a consultant-led maternity unit to be re-established in Huddersfield, so local women don’t have to go to Halifax to access special baby care.

On the health service more generally, Dr Grunsell opposed the involvement of private companies in the NHS, saying “privatising health services and other public services has cost us more than if those services were provided in-house and Treasury funded.” She also said the privatisation of hospital services such as cleaning and laundry had led to increased problems with infections such as MRSA.

Dr Grunsell said there were about 4,000 properties throughout Kirklees standing empty, and called for those to be converted into affordable housing to help the roughly 6,500 people currently on the council’s housing waiting list. She said she was in favour of more council housing building too, saying: “We are in favour of council housing building, not Housing Association, not privately done, but a nationalised house programme that’s planned to meet the needs of people… in terms of the resources that are there.”

Problems with packed trains and expensive fares on the line from Huddersfield to Manchester have been well documented, and Dr Grunsell said: “The problem there has been this deregulation of transport, the privatisation of rail services, and the fact that lots of different organisations are running the service. It needs to be properly integrated and nationalised… for all types of transport.”

Dr Grunsell said that if she was elected as an MP she would only accept the average wage of a skilled worker. She said she hadn’t claimed any expenses during her four years as a councillor, and had donated her basic councillor’s allowance to local good causes. She explained: “If you’re going to represent people, how can you do it if you live a completely different life? How can you know what their lives are like and accurately reflect their needs if your experience is totally different?”

I interviewed Dr Grunsell at her home in Crosland Moor this morning. We also discussed the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition itself, which is a new entity in British politics, and also how best to help small businesses and preserve the communities of the Colne Valley and Holme Valley.

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Colne Valley Constituency leaflet

As well as fighting to retain her seat as councillor for Crosland Moor and Netherton, Jackie is standing as a candidate in the General Election for Colne Valley. We reproduce her leaflet below.

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Jackie’s Policy on Education

Below we reproduce a letter distributed to teachers explaining Jackie’s opposition to the privatisation of schools and her alternative policy for education.

Huddersfield’s Only Fighting Councillor – feature from The Socialist

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/9406/21-04-2010/colne-valley-huddersfield-kirklees-only-fighting-councillor

SOCIALIST PARTY member Jackie Grunsell was elected to Kirklees council in 2006 after a campaign to protect local health services. She is now TUSC candidate in the local election in Crosland Moor and Netherton ward and in the parliamentary seat of Colne Valley.

Since her election, Jackie stands out as Kirklees’ only fighting councillor. Throughout 2006 and 2007, she played a leading national and local role in organising resistance to the government’s cuts agenda for the NHS. By the end of 2007, Labour backed away from imposing more cuts, but they are now ominously planned for after the general election.

Locally Jackie was the driving force behind the launch of Save Our Services (SOS), a group with the backing of trade union branches of six major unions and several campaign groups. After the elections, its work will be crucial in mobilising opposition to the huge cuts agenda.

Jackie Grunsell told Socialist reporters: “Our brilliant campaign four years ago stands us in good stead in this local election. We have canvassed the whole ward and the returns are very promising. However this is also a general election, and people will be tempted to vote Labour to keep out the Tories, which could be repeated locally so it’s still all to play for.

“People are fed up with the mainstream parties offering the same old medicine. On the doorstep we try to convince people that we are different, that we can make a difference, and that their vote counts. The corruption scandal around MPs’ expenses is still a huge issue. It makes a big difference explaining that I have not taken a penny in expenses and donated back my free parking permit.

“People are anxious about jobs and services. Too many people told us about their own pay cuts, losing their job, the decline in services. There is despondency and anger. They are fed up with New Labour, but have no faith in any other party to deal with these problems. Our campaign offers people hope that there is resistance.

“My overwhelmingly youthful canvassers work night and day to secure my re-election. People are impressed that so many young people are concerned about politics. Almost 20 people have applied to join the Socialist Party, which is brilliant.”

A council in deep crisis

KIRKLEES COUNCIL is in deep crisis and its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in chaos. Last year, Labour and LibDem councillors combined to throw out the Tories, but are now promising to create two new academy schools, putting them on a collision course with parents and trade unions. Other schools are earmarked for closure.

The new minority Labour administration pushed through a £400 million cuts budget with the prospect of 2,000 job losses, for which there was all-party support (with only Jackie Grunsell voting against). Already, up to 800 workers have left the council on voluntary redundancies or early retirement.

The council is now tearing up the single status deal it agreed with the major public sector unions last year. Hundreds of council workers have lost pay through downgrading with only a year’s protection. Others lost various enhancements such as overtime rates, bonus payments, and other allowances.

The local Unison branch could be leaving a ballot for industrial action dangerously late, it should be before workers’ pay is lost forever when protection arrangements end by June. An indicative ballot for action is now underway.

Eight chief council officers in Kirklees have a combined income of over £1 million! The redundancy scheme has cost the council almost £30 million, yet some of the best paid officers who leave are getting massive payouts and then come back through the front door as highly paid consultants!

The council has even paid Deloittes £35,000 to advise them how to impose the cuts. Little wonder that the council is in such a mess. Jackie’s re-election, along with independent candidates who share a similar platform, can provide a springboard for organised resistance to the jobs and services onslaught.

Video: Jackie Speaks to Huddersfield Examiner about TUSC

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