Thursday, 7 November 2013

Medway NHS: Don't trust the Tories

              You cant trust the Tories with our Medway NHS

Friday, 1 November 2013

Working with People

Part of a job of being a credible Member of Parliament is working with diverse array or organisations, public bodies, resident forums, unions, religious institutions and campaign activists to deliver for your residents.

Over the last two years I have been doing exactly that. 

I have spoken up for residents in Snodland against inappropriate parking restrictions and challenged why local Councillors have not been ‘calling in’ planning applications. I have worked on a cross party basis to stop an Asbestos Transfer Station in Lordswood securing signatures to oppose any site. I have campaigned alongside Liberal Democrats on the Oaken Wood proposal in Ditton and have worked with Parish Councillors in the Villages to oppose KCC Tory cuts to bus services in the villages of Burham, Eccles and Wouldham. I have worked with mums and dads to keep Sure Starts open in Chatham and Larkfield and have partnered with the Green Party in London City Hall and Friends Groups to oppose the London Conservative plans to bulldoze over the Isle of Grain. I have highlighted issues around the Living Wage, Zero Hours Contracts and Freedom from Fear working with Trade Unions. I have opposed the Pravda Sheet roll, CCTV car excess, local taxation waste on big projects; campaigns more akin to the Tax Payers Alliance. I have worked with Sainsbury’s to fill food banks and I have campaigned on Prostate Cancer research with charities and lobby groups. I have proposed pay day lender bans and championed proposals like the 'Snow Angels' that will give power for communities to act in poor weather; campaigns clearly in the public interest not the vested interest.

Over the next two months I have two other large doorstep campaigns in track whose seeds have been sown already…

Meeting people who don’t agree with you is also part of the job; I receive regular challenge on twitter from people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. I engage. I never refuse to meet those who I disagree with; the latest example being the RSPB on Lodge Hill; a meeting which the Medway Conservatives refused incidentally to hold.

How my opponents choose to act is for them to decide. Publishing private email correspondence sent in obvious error is in my mind against the spirit of fairness. It does not match public expectations of appropriate campaign behaviour and highlights an ill-temperateness. 

This Living Wage is not a coalition in the pocket of Union interests – though for Council purposes they are aware of those most impacted by low wages and are better spokespeople for those same people  – but more broadly a coalition with business like Ernst & Young, Aviva, PwC and White & Case.  It is a campaign championed by Boris Johnson (shock) and Labour Students up and down the country.                                                                                                                                                                                           
It will not come as a surprise from today’s Medway Messenger that a coalition of Progressive interests is clearly united in its ambition for a Living Wage for the Medway Towns. The Medway Labour and Liberal Democratic Groups backed the Living Wage in Council and its clear TUSC and the Green Party are now very much on board as well. In many other areas the Conservatives have come on board too. Building a consensus is why I have spoken with the Medway  People's Forum and respect the work that they do not decry the clothes they wear; it is precisely because they are speaking up for vulnerable people and have an awareness of policy challenges that people should be respected. Whether that is protesting outside conference or speaking in Gun Wharf; it is respect to those who have a belief and will fight for it fairly and within the rules.

Incidentally, the Living Wage coalition is made possible and easier to organise exactly because of an arrogant elite in Gun Wharf that once again has not considered a proposal beyond a quick chat of the ‘old boys network’. A coalition made possible by reaching out to people who may not always agree with you on everything but will stand together on a key campaign.

I work with people from a diverse array of backgrounds and I make no apology for that. The day a politician or group refuses to speak or work with people based solely on whether they are from trade union, association, organisation or resident forum, is a day you deserve to lose office.