Sunday, April 30, 2006


Anne Smith presents: Spot the Difference!

Anne Smith has been a busy woman.

Despite her demanding role as Leader of the Sheffield Conservatives "Team" (total councillors: 2), she seems to have found time recently to claim to have singlehandedly thwarted Persimmon Homes over a housing development at King Ecgbert's School (turns out she had some help - see my previous post on Dore and Totley), "protect our local heritage" and save the planet from a giant ball of fire. All in a day's work, you understand.

Don't let her unruffled exterior fool you, though: Anne Smith is deeply passionate about politics. So much so, in fact, that she recently stormed out of a meeting chaired by a Lib Dem councillor (and then stormed back in to tell all and sundry that Dore and Totley was "in the bag").

With victory apparently assured, you would expect Anne to be planning a party for her triumphant candidate, or perhaps moving on to new battles elsewhere in the city - not so! This landed in our mailbox today: a flyer bearing Anne Smith's signature and bearing the headline "SCURRILOUS ELECTIONEERING ALLEGATIONS FROM THE LIB DEMS". It says: -

Anne thinks we are very, very naughty.

Well. We've been called liars before - after all, this is politics. If any of it were true, then we ought to prostrate ourselves in shame. Fortunately, we have 36 councillors who can testify that the Tories have supported and continue to support Labour's favoured areas policy.

Anne Smith's Conservatives are taking a gamble here: that no-one who receives this leaflet will spot the fraud before polling day. Unfortunately, someone forgot to remind the Tories that they had issued this leaflet mere days before: -


Not a real pie. (Hands off, Prescott.)
We are charitable folks here, and we think that such efforts should not go unrewarded: therefore, A Liberal View of Sheffield is proud to present Anne Smith and the Sheffield Conservatives with the prestigious (and delicious) Golden Porkie Award 2006 for the most outrageous fib told during an election contest this year.

(This, at least, will give them something to celebrate on Thursday.)

Monday, April 24, 2006


Walkley: Climb That Mountain

I have discovered a refreshing alternative to those for whom the spiralling cost of gym membership has become too much - a delivery of Focus leaflets, once a week, in Walkley. Some of the houses have up to 50 steps to their front door! (Ask your local Focus deliverer about Waller Road...)

I have developed a new-found respect for Walkley residents, who must surely be among the fittest people in Sheffield...

Never let it be said we don't work for every vote...

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Dore and Totley

I've been visiting the Lib Dem campaign in Dore and Totley today, where the candidate Cllr. Keith Hill is defending his seat against the Conservatives.

I think of all the candidates I've met so far in this election, Keith has impressed me the most - and the reason for that is that he genuinely enjoys listening to people. All politicians like to claim that they do this, but in this case it's no spin - we twice had to drag him away from conversations with his constituents that had run into twenty minutes or more - I think if we'd let him he'd still be out there now!

Canvassing aside, you can tell that he dislikes election time because it takes time away from helping his constituents - and his record in that respect is impressive. He was instrumental in setting up the Bradway Action group - he's chair of the South West Area Panel - and he puts in an impressive amount of individual casework. Only recently he ran a campaign to stop a Persimmon Homes development on land vacated by King Ecgbert's School - Persimmon promptly backed down and are reconsidering their plans. You can tell that Keith is respected locally - there's a reason why he is the only Lib Dem councillor in a ward that has returned two Tories.

I'm not kidding when I say that Dore and Totley is a nice place: there is street after street of smart detatched houses, charming little cottages, classy family pubs, flower shops, delicatessens - it's the very essence of England's Green and Pleasant Land, and not at all the kind of thing outsiders picture when the word Sheffield is mentioned. You would think that it would be a Tory heartland, and it's only a surprise (and a major credit to its discerning residents) that it has a Lib Dem councillor. Dore and Totley is home to the only two Tory councillors in Sheffield: Anne Smith and Michael Waters. (Anne Smith calls this her "team" - more like a mixed doubles partnership if you ask me!)

I'd have a lot of respect for the Tories if only they respected the views of their constituents and opposed the Labour council, but that's often far from what they do. I'm told time and again that "Tories vote with Labour in Sheffield", and bizarrely that's often the case: the Tories support Labour on their redistributive "favoured areas" policy (that actually takes money for road repairs, street lights, parks, cleaning etc. away from Dore and Totley - I'll cover this in a later post), and both Labour and the Tories want a council tax increase above the rate of inflation.

It's the great shame of Sheffield politics, really: Labour only needs to lose two councillors to lose control of the Council, and with such a slender majority we could really make some progress if the Tories were to join us in opposition - but the fact is they appear to resent our presence in the city so much that they would rather support Labour.


Manifesto Launch

Great write-up in today's Star of our manifesto launch, although I'm not sure if we're really "slamming" the Council - unless by that they mean trying to beat them on May 4th!

There's also a good article quoting Paul Scriven (leader of Sheffield's Lib Dems) on the latest uncertainty over the Park Hill Flats development. As far as we are aware, either the Council nor the developer have yet received a response on whether the scheme would be liable for VAT - if it is it could well scupper the whole project.

It just goes to underline how precariously balanced the Park Hill project is: the Urban Splash plan really is the last chance saloon for the flats. Even if the first phase does go ahead, there's no guarantee that the rest of the building will receive funding: there's a real danger that we could end up with half of Park Hill renovated, with the rest an empty, crumbling eyesore.

It's a shame, really: Urban Splash are a great developer, and I'd hope we could attract someone of that calibre for the site if Park Hill had to be demolished.

Anyway, the manifesto is available for download here. There are detailed policies on housing, transport, the planning deparment, home health care, and many more. We've also emphasised our green policies by spreading a green message throughout our manifesto: every page has a "Green Action" section explaining how our policies will affect the environment.

Next up: Dore and Totley. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, April 20, 2006



Hello and welcome to A Liberal View of Sheffield, where we will be covering the campaign in the run-up to the 2006 local elections, and hopefully far beyond that.

I am Liberal Democrat blogger Joe Taylor, and I will be bringing you my experiences of the highs and lows, swings and roundabouts, trials and tribulations of the Lib Dem campaign. I am also responsible for On Liberty, Online, which takes a more national perspective.

I'm also going to be looking at some of our policies for Sheffield and how they stack up against the competition.

Stay tuned...

Printed (hosted) by Published and promoted by Joe Taylor, 28 Pendeen Road, Sheffield S11 7EN on behalf of the Sheffield Liberal Democrat Group.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and may not represent those of or the Sheffield Liberal Democrat Group.