Thursday, July 15, 2004

Setting out my stall

Yesterday, the Morley Obtiser (in its Morley Advertiser manifestation) printed the biographies of the by-election candidates for Central and Elmfield Wards. (they also printed my letter about the New Pavilion mentioned on Tuesday, which if it comes up trumps for an interior photo I’ll be delighted about.)

I use the term biography loosely, as the responses err more towards personal election pledges rather than “An account of a person's life written, composed, or produced by another”.

When I first wrote my spiel, it came to 227 words, much more than the 100 words requested. Here it is below:

Ian is aged 46 and is married with one son.

Born in Tyneside, Ian has travelled and worked extensively around the UK as well as abroad.

He moved to Morley in 1994 and now works for in Bradford as a Telecommunications Project Specialist.

In the local community, Ian is a Parent Governor of a Primary School and treasurer of the school P.T.A. He is also a member of Morley Civic Society.

He restarted a defunct neighbourhood watch scheme in his street and is the current co-ordinator.

He was also an active member of Batley Round Table holding officer positions of Secretary and Treasurer until enforced retirement under age rules this year. He has been chief firer for the Needless Fireworks event for the last three years.

His hobbies include architecture, theatre research, lighting design, visiting theme parks and writing articles for newsletters.

Ian is a trustee of the Communications Management Association which is the professional body of the business ICT user community.

Ian has followed proceedings of Morley Town Council since September 2002 and looks after the website alongside several others.

Ian has no time for party politics and is fiercely independent. He is delighted that Morley Town Council (and now Leeds City Council) are now “no overall control” and disputes they are under independent control as that is somewhat like herding cats!

After a ruthless rethink, the key points were lifted out and bulleted in the format seen on the biography page. The paper have paraphrased it into third person to good effect, with only two minor quibbles- “He has been involved in Right to Read schemes in Bradford” should say “He is involved in…” as it is a current activity. The other minor quibble was the omission of “(now too old!)” after “former active member of Round Table”. I had included that to make it clear that it was past tense because I had to step down because of being over 45, not that I had lost interest or given up.

Whenever I have stood on a Committee I have always had the view that I have to fulfil my term of office as I was voted into the role on that basis. I have only resigned once as far as I can recall, when I was Magazine Editor for Mercia Region of Eighteen Plus in 1980 and landed a job in Norway. However I actively sought and trained a co-opted editor so that the transition was seamless.

They have printed five candidate photos, omitting the Labour prospective for Central Ward. On closer examination the picture of Jean Lancaster (my Labour opponent) is cropped from the petition photo the previous week. I wonder if Labour took a conscious decision not to send in photos? Other than the fact that both of them are retired, I can see no obvious reason for not doing so as I certainly want to see who I am voting for as part of making an informed decision.

All of the other candidates have passed a comment on how they will put the world to rights once they are elected. I have deliberately resisted the “Bread and Circuses” approach as I suspect that expressing such sentiments are more sound bite than reality. Being a Councillor on a Minor Authority isn’t going to change the world and there are always two sides to every argument.

Terry Grayshon (bless his cotton socks) has a misprint in his write-up that caused howls of laughter in the Grey household last night, despite missing it on first read…

If elected to Morley Town Council I shall continue my philosophy of representing the ordinary man in the street by listening to what the pubic of Morley are saying and putting those words into action.

I have a fairly straight-forward philosophy in life, which I have paraphrased below in a number of opinions; -

· Don’t say you are going to do something unless you intend to do it.
· Don’t make too many assumptions without all of the facts, but hunches are good in the absence of them.
· Prejudices are perfectly acceptable in advance of actuality (the word means to pre-judge) but postjudice is ignorance.
· People can do anything they want provided it doesn’t dump on anyone else. Getting the boundaries right is the hard bit!
· People are entitled to a superficial level of respect but have to earn real respect. A superficial level of respect is also known as politeness.
· People are entitled to personal political and religious views (no matter how irrational) and to express them freely. However, the law should not protect their choices from scrutiny & ridicule.
· Personal responsibility trumps state interference every time. The state has no business in social engineering, or indeed in 90% of the things it pokes its nose into. The state is not your friend.
· Legislating against human nature is a waste of time, it always leads to unintended consequences.
· Political correctness is a blight on society and needs to be derisively mocked and exposed for the manipulate idiotarianism it is.
· Racism is a hijacked word used to stifle opinion and curtail freedom of thought- what it often really means is culturism.
· Property is not theft- taxation is.
· Incitement is not a crime in a free society, unacceptable action is.

I have had this world view a long time but never felt that the traditional political parties aligned with it. If I had to rate myself on a scale from left (red) to right (blue), I always put myself as centrist (which if you mix red and blue gives purple). Then I came across the “Worlds smallest political quiz” a few years ago.

This expressed politics in a two dimensional model rather than the one dimensional flat line. It can be seen that centrists horizontally can vary when also mapped vertically as from anarchists (or fascists) at the top to statists (socialists) at the bottom. You can take the quiz yourself online, it can be found at You can also download an acrobat file that explains it succinctly. Whilst it reads a little strange being based on American political definitions rather than British ones, it makes perfect sense without too much thought. The ten questions cause much debate but I think the theory is sound.

Political model expanding the simple left-right approach.
In case you were wondering, my score makes me a moderate libertarian.

Tonight I’ll be pounding the streets of Elmfield Ward armed with short steps, a stapler & some laminated posters, weather permitting. I’ll try and grab some photos with my picture-cam to break up the text.

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