Wakefield Council Opposes HS2

I think my local MP might be in a bit of trouble.

Today, Wakefield Council voted to oppose the plans for the second stage of the HS2 project which will go from Birmingham to Leeds and cut through our city in a manner that is nothing short of destructive. It’s not the council being petty-minded and contrary for the sake of it – they have consulted widely and barely a week passes where a letter in the local paper isn’t drawing attention to how little Wakefield will benefit from HS2 and how much damage it’s potentially going to cause. The current proposals cut through some extremely valuable countryside, threatening local ecosystems for a railway that won’t even stop here. I know every affected area along the route has trotted out these arguments but it doesn’t make them any less important on a local level. I think that’s why the council have voted against the proposals – even though the people in charge are unlikely to listen, at least they’ve tried to represent the interests of their constituents.

Which brings me to that ‘trouble’ I mentioned.

The Labour MP for Wakefield is Mary Creagh – you might know her better as the Shadow Transport Secretary.

Creagh is in the hilarious situation of her own area council, of the same political colour, opposing something she apparently adores. When she was moved to the shadow transport brief, I hoped that it might signal a retreat from Labour on a project that is doomed to failure. Why else would Ed Miliband risk putting somebody in a constituency so adversely affected by the proposals into the position? I honestly didn’t think he was that stupid but he’s miscalculated this one. And, frankly, so has Creagh herself.

I admire my MP, mainly due to her work with the shadow environment brief. I like her but she’s far too close to the core of the Labour machinery, dancing to their tune and very rarely opposing. I’ve often lamented the fact that my MP is a member of the shadow cabinet and therefore I know exactly what she’ll respond to any given issue so why bother asking?

The trouble is, her majority is only 1600 votes. I wonder if she realises that HS2 is potentially the issue that’s going to ruin her career. Blithely supporting an issue her local Labour council thinks will be detrimental to her constituency won’t end well. HS2 is likely to be a local bone of contention in 2015 and it looks like Labour- led Wakefield Council just (rather justifiably) shot and maimed their own candidate.

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4 thoughts on “Wakefield Council Opposes HS2

  1. Couldn’t resist the temptation – far too good not to put a link on my blog so I have. The trouble is that we are in the era of tribal political parties but the tribes they used to represent no longer exist. Hence all the muddles – and hence the fact that democracy is in serious peril as this piece demontrates so well.

    • Thanks, Rodney – the skirmish was enough to drag me from the political apathy I’ve been mired in lately.

      I disagree with many of my local council’s decisions but, crucially, that’s because they’ve mainly towed the party line in the past. This is the first time in recent years I’ve heard them being quite so critical. I must say, it is pleasant to see, whatever the outcome.

  2. […] Transport Secretary’s presses ahead with her support even after her own area council has voted against the […]

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