Last Saturday, the Dartford Labour team were out in Newtown. However, this wasn’t the usual campaign session. Instead, the team embarked on the first of a number of listening campaigns – sessions designed to give residents the opportunity to express what it is they value about the community they live in, or to highlight any issues or concerns they have.
What’s it like to live in Newtown? If you could change one thing about living here – what would it be? We received an enthusiastic response and heard a wide variety of answers. We’ll be working closely with residents over the coming months in order to identify areas where we can work together to effect change in the community. If you are a resident of Newtown but we didn’t get a chance to say hello on Saturday – we would still love to hear your views. You can contact us via the website.
The Dartford Labour team will be running the same session next Saturday – this time in Dartford High Street. Come along and tell us about what you really value about living in Dartford or alternatively, let us know one thing you would like to see change. If you can’t make it down on Saturday – you can still let us know your views by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
“About two million Brits live, work, study or are retired in other EU countries. Over 800,000 of them are estimated to reside in Spain alone; over one million if you include those who sojourn there for just part of each year.”
● Brits in Spain outnumber the Polish in Britain – but
what will happen to them all if the UK exits the EU?
This isn’t part of UKIP’s story. Nigel Farage was interviewed on a Spanish radio station for British expatriates, and could no real answer to what would happen to Britons abroad if we pulled out of the EU.
The case for membership isn’t being heard in the mainstream media. Award winning journalist Jon Danzig outlines here the real truth about EU membership, in contrast to the smears and falsehoods coming from many areas of the right.
He exposes a number of myths:
“Europe is undemocratic”
“We’re run from Brussels”
“A&E waiting lists are the fault of immigrants”
“Foreigners are flocking here to use our NHS”
“We’re about to see an invasion of Romanians and Bulgarians”
“EU law gives all EU citizens an unconditional right of residence”
“EU migrants are automatically entitled to claim benefits”
Meanwhile, UKIP’s crude populism seems to be pressurising the Tories into evermore extreme, if vague, anti-eurpeanism. Peter Skinner MEP, Labour’s representative in the Southeast, comments in this video:
We are all trying to get our heads round the new globalised world, whether that’s about changes in manufacturing practices, about movements of capital or international taxation; about the rights of working people in the face of attack; about environmental change or disease transmission; even about global travel or international holidaying. What is self-evident is that pulling up the drawbridge and pretending it’s 1955 has no place.
It’s becoming clear that the Coalition government is now making a full-scale attack on the welfare state, using “cutting red tape’ and ‘clearing up Labour’s mess’ as a cover for raiding some of the hardest up, as well as making all working people more insecure.
In a report today, the progress on reducing child poverty, perhaps Labour’s best achievement, is going into reverse, with a projected 3.4 million children in poverty by the end of the decade.
So listen very carefully: we will say this only once. The only major party committed to social justice is Labour, and the only way you can achieve it is by joining and getting active.
Click on the image below to download a membership form. By joining locally you get the reduced rate of £1.25 per month, or less if you’re in certain categories. Return the form to Membership, Dartford LP, 99 Kent Road, Dartford, DA1 2AJ and we’ll get in touch with you. If you want to join our mailing list, add your email to the box on the left.
Tom Maddison, after a hard-fought campaign, has been elected to represent Dartford North East, unseating the Tories. Tom gained 1267 votes to the Tory 1088, with Ukip making a poor showing against results elsewhere; and BNP nowhere. In Dartford East, Pat Kelly slashed the Tory majority, losing by only 57 votes.
Tom with key workers at the count.
Speaking after the KCC election results, Cllr Geoff Prout, Labour’s leader on Dartford Council, said:
“We’re delighted that Tom Maddison is the new Labour County Councillor for Dartford North East – he’ll be a fantastic representative for local people and his victory is a sure sign that Dartford voters are coming back to Labour.
“But the big losers today are the Tories. They scraped through in Dartford East, were haemorrhaging votes to UKIP across the borough, and couldn’t win in Swanscombe & Greenhithe – despite having the ‘help’ of several Tory MPs and countless local activists.
“Today’s result shows that there is increasing dissatisfaction with the Tories locally and nationally. Politics is about actions not words, and whatever the Conservatives may say, they know that their tax cuts for millionaires and failure to deliver on Lowfield Street have cost them big time.
“Labour’s team in Dartford will now be focusing on the 2015 council and general elections. We’ll be spending the next two years working with local people to restore some pride to Dartford, developing ways to get people back into work, and give the economy a much-needed boost.”
If you’re still unsure as to why you should vote, consider this one question: Which party defends the services you use? (or your children, or your granny, or your neighbour?) With so many right-wing parties on the ballot, all dedicated to “reducing the State”, this is a really important time to vote.
Ed Miliband with Cllr. Pat Kelly and his wife, Kimi
With next month’s Kent County Council elections drawing near, Labour’s local campaign received a big boost last week after Labour Leader Ed Miliband paid a visit to Dartford. On Thursday, Ed met shoppers as the Asda store in Greenhithe and took part in a Q&A session with local residents.
“It’s great that Ed was able to get to Dartford and support our local campaign,” said Cllr. Pt Kelly – Labour’s county councillor candidate for Dartford East. “At a time when so many hard-working people in Dartford are finding life so tough under the Tory-led government, his one nation message is proving hugely relevant here.”
Ed Miliband has emphasised Labour’s commitment to combat legal loan sharking by promising to give councils more powers to ban payday lenders and pawnbrokers from town centres.
In a speech this week, Ed spoke of why Labour will act on this issue; “One of the fastest growing businesses on the high street are the payday lenders, sometimes charging extortionate rates of interest. In hard times, it is no wonder people turn to them. But often they just engulf people in debts that they cannot pay.” He added that many councils felt they did not “have the real power to stand up for local people”,
This announcement is a further demonstration that only Labour will stand up against the vested interests of the payday lending industry. It’s why Labour is winning support from all sections of the community on this issue – including Dartford Conservatives. A Labour sponsored motion, calling on the government to give councils the power to veto licences for high street credit providers was passed at Dartford Council last month, after winning support from the Conservative leader, Jeremy Kite.
Britain has a choice between a One Nation Labour party which will stand up for the many, or a Conservative-led government standing up for the few. When even the Leader of the Tories in Dartford is backing Ed Miliband’s policies, it’s no wonder that the rest of the country are deserting David Cameron’s government.
The Dartford Labour Party’s campaign to end legal loan-sharking in the borough has received a boost this week after a Labour sponsored motion – setting out measures to tackle high-priced lending practices in Dartford – was successfully adopted by Dartford Council on Monday (18 March 2013).
“This is a major success for Labour’s campaign to end legal loan-sharking in Dartford,” said Cllr. Geoff Prout, Labour’s shadow leader of the council. “High-cost lending products, such as payday loans, are pushing far too many people into a viscous debt spiral from which they can’t escape – we’ve now won the council’s backing in the fight against these practices.”
Stella Creasy, Labour’s MP for Walthamstow
Upon hearing of this success in the council chamber, Labour’s MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy - who has been campaigning nationally to end legal loan-sharking – congratulated the Dartford Labour Party.
“It’s great to see what Dartford’s Labour councillors are doing to fight back against the legal loan sharks who are targeting communities up and down this country,” said Stella Creasey. “This motion sends a strong message that they won’t tolerate the exploitation of local people struggling to make ends meet – I hope everyone will support their efforts to hold these companies to account for the damage they are doing and to show the Government the support there is for a cap on the costs of credit.”