Opinion: Batley Business Association chairman Andrew Marsden

Election 2015.
Election 2015.

Tomorrow the country will go to the polls and elect our next government.

We have been subjected to what seems to be increasingly a “today’s special offer is” campaign from the main parties while they try and court our votes, the focus is on national policies and politics.

Ultimately, of course, it is national politics that largely shapes our lives. And it is quite right that our Member of Parliament has their part to play in shaping those policies. Decisions affecting the health service, education and state welfare impact on us all.

But, equally important day to day and perhaps even more important, are the local issues. Don’t forget whoever is elected is “our” Member of Parliament.

We have been fortunate in Batley and Spen to have had the benefit of long serving MPs who have worked hard to support and champion the area.

Elizabeth Peacock MP held the seat for 14 years from 1983, before being succeeded by Mike Wood MP in 1997.

In the 18 years since then Mike has been a constant positive voice for the constituency and the people of the area. He has continued to support local projects and groups, and help our towns.

Which is why when it comes to voting in our next MP, local issues must be at the forefront of voters minds.

Take the time to question what the candidates plan to do to support our towns. Have a good look at their local ties and commitments. Despite what hopefully is a continued economic improvement, times are still difficult and Batley and Spen needs the support of a strong local politician just as much as ever.

It is certainly not for me to suggest that any candidate is preferable to another, we must all make our own minds up for ourselves and vote accordingly. What is important to one, is not to another, but what benefits our constituency benefits us all.

We should hope that come May 8 we have an MP who will remain as committed to our area as their predecessors, and who will serve the area for as long.

Local issues will also be at the forefront of the local council elections which are on the same day.

Our councillors directly shape the future of Kirklees Council. They decide the questions that direct the funds, that allocate the support, that effect our towns and communities. Ask the same questions.

Voting is a privilege. It is your say in what will happen. Use it wisely.