Friday, 18 January 2013

So where is Bradford then, George?

I got home this evening to be greeted cheerily by Kathryn saying that the Tour de France will be passing by us - through Haworth and Oxenhope on its way to the Calder Valley and beyond. Cheering news indeed on a snowy evening in Bradford.

And that's the point - Bradford is where I live, where I'm a local councillor and where this great race will pass through. It seems however that some of Bradford's MPs want to redraw our political geography and claim that these places - Ilkley, Haworth, Keighley, Oxenhope, Silsden - are not parts of the Bradford Metropolitan District Council:

"George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, said the Tour route seemed to "deliberately avoid the city, going to the leafy areas of Ilkley, Otley, Haworth and Keighley instead".

Bradford metropolitan district council is contributing a six-figure figure sum in order to bring the Tour to the district. Galloway said: "It would be money well spent if it achieved tangible and substantial benefits in tourism and revenues for the city of Bradford, but it seems clear that the Tour caravan and the hundreds of thousands who follow it will spend their money elsewhere."

Now while this is perhaps the very first time that anyone has described Keighley as "leafy", does George Galloway not think that the rest of us are deserving of tourism, worthy of Bradford Council - our council - support? Will not the thousands flocking to watch the tour along its route through the Bradford District bring substantial benefits "in tourism and revenues"?

What we see here is Galloway seeking to lay claim to his little part of Bradford being the whole of Bradford - that the parts where 40% of the district's population live are not even to be considered as part of the City. There are many, although I'm not one, who'll take George's comments - as well as the equally daft and divisive remarks from Lib Dem, David Ward - as futher cause for separating Keighley, Ilkley, Bingley & Shipley to create a new Aire-Wharfe council.

Mostly though, this just reminds us how little George Galloway either knows or cares about the place he represents in parliament.


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