Bradford councillor to step down in disgust at Labour war on democracy and lack of opposition
A long-serving Labour councillor has announced that he will not be standing for re-election when his current term ends in May – and while Richard Dunbar rightly points out the cuts and racism as major issues, he reserves a special parting shot for the ‘leaders’ – his quotation marks – of his own party.
Dunbar’s announcement is generally critical of Keir Starmer’s ‘performance’ and specifically his lack of opposition, the lack of policies or vision that is depriving communities of hope of something better – and Starmer’s constant war on the party’s democracy:
I want to share some news with you all.
You will all know that I take very seriously my role as an elected member of Bradford Council for Thornton, Allerton and Sandy Lane. I have been in this position for nearly 8 years and at no point have I taken it for granted. I have used my position to try and better the lives of those I represent and stand firmly against injustice in Bradford and across the world.
In light of the above, it therefore gives me no joy, to announce that I intend to stand down as your Councillor after my current term comes to an end in May 2022. I have arrived at this decision following some significant changes in my personal life (all good) which for the time being I am unable to share but which would make it very difficult to carry on as a Councillor.
I need to assure you that this was by no means an easy decision to make but I want to thank the members of the Thornton and Allerton Labour Party for their support, my ward colleagues Sue Duffy and Bev Mullaney and, of course, everyone across the area for your support and challenge. I also have a great group of friends that have kept me grounded. I must also thank my mum who has always pushed me to work hard to make things better for others and challenge inequality at every turn. This is socialism and I am proud of it!
I believe passionately in the power of local government to transform people’s lives but this has been made all the more difficult under the Tories and their austerity agenda that has systematically attacked local authorities for the past 11 years. They should also be held to account for their ongoing racist implementation of the hostile environment policy and also for their catastrophic mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. I am sure a truly independent inquiry will lay this bare.
The last 17 months have been a real challenge for everyone but I must say I am deeply disappointed in the performance of the leader of the official opposition. For all the talk of levelling up and providing ‘new leadership’ it pains me to say that all we have had is an attack on party democracy and no policy programme that gives local communities and the country at large the hope it so desperately needs.
There are nine months to go before I leave office but I want to assure you that I will continue to work hard on your behalf up until that point. Whilst I suspect some people will be happy at reading this news let me be clear that when I do leave it won’t stop me from calling out injustice and calling on our ‘leaders’ locally, regionally and nationally to be bolder and radical when it comes to ensuring the people we serve have the best chance to not only survive but thrive in all aspects of their lives. The most important step they could take is to take more decisive action on tackling the harsh realities of climate change.
I can’t thank you the people of Thornton, Allerton and Sandy Lane enough for your support over the past 7+ years.
People told me back in 2014 that a young working class lad couldn’t win in Thornton, Allerton and Sandy Lane. Collectively we proved people wrong because we worked hard, are honest with people and we get results. I think to win with a majority of 52 the first time around to a majority of 1074 for my second term proves Labour knows how to win locally with the right policies and right people.
Rest assured I won’t be taking my foot off the pedal for the next 9 months. Lots of work still to do!
Cllr Richard Dunbar
Earlier this month Richard Hill resigned both his position as the chair of his local party and his party membership, similar citing Keir Starmer’s war on members and lack of opposition. The Labour party has lost at least 120,000 members since Starmer took over – and probably 150,000 or more when members who are simply allowing their subscriptions to lapse are included.
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