Stockport’s UKIP candidate has called for a radical overhaul of the town’s political ethos ahead of next year’s General Election.
Steven Woolfe, the migration and financial affairs spokesman for Nigel Farage’s party, said that current leaders were scared of change in the region and needed to rethink their relationship with Manchester.
Woolfe’s comments come after he slammed George Osborne’s controversial changes to decision-making in Greater Manchester, branded DevoManc.
Speaking to MM, he said: “There needs to be a change in the mental attitude of the political leaders. They need to be more positive and think that Stockport can actually be great.
“There seem to be many who typically live in the shadow of Manchester and are quite willing to use any funding they have got from Government or any taxes that they raise to just simply carry on, thinking that is the best they can do.”
Woolfe also cited apartheid-era South Africa as a means of contextualising what he felt was an uneven relationship between Stockport and its noisy neighbour.
He said: “When I growing up I used to read books on Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, but one in particular was South African activist Stephen Biko.
“He used to say that the black community in South Africa must never feel inferior to the white community that was oppressing them.
“I think there is a fear in the political leadership. They do not believe that Stockport can be great and I want to change that.”
Woolfe grew up in Moss Side, but has a long affinity with Stockport, having worked at Stockport Market as a child, selling shoes with his mother.
And the bond traverses family too, as half-brother Nathan now plays for Stockport County, having also had spells with Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers.
Stockport has been dominated by the Labour Party in recent years, with current MP Ann Coffey having held the seat since her initial election back in 1992.
However, UKIP actually came out on top in this year’s European elections, providing momentum which Woolfe is keen, through his brash brand of politics, to continue.
“I want to change the attitude in Stockport by being more aggressive. Stop being frightened of challenging decisions that could improve the area.
“People want to see improvements in the parks; they want to see the markets being looked after. They want to see a reinvigoration back into Stockport.”
Stockport picture courtesy of WikiCommons, Steven Woolfe image courtesy of Channel 4 News via YouTube, with thanks.