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General Election: Who will win in Harlow?

Politics / Wed 6th May 2015 at 10:18am

IT HAS been a long long election campaign. In some ways, it has been going on since they fixed the terms of parliament back in 2011. Once Labour selected Suzy Stride, there has been a considerable amount of Labour activity on the doorstep.

As a newspaper, this is our first General Election campaign in Harlow. We do like to chronicle a vibrant political landscape. This reporter was lucky enough to have great history teachers at St Mark’s (hat tip to Dave Morson) and so was taught the importance of the Reform Act of 1832.

So, here we go.

Robert Halfon

There are many many Labour candidates, who say that they are pleased they are not standing against Robert Halfon.

Robert Halfon is not only one of the hardest working MPs we have met but also one of the most assiduous and skilful. If you think it is just about standing at the side of the road, then you may want to think again. We have now observed Robert close at hand for nearly two years and have seen how organised and detailed his professional world is.

There are many who point to his voting record. His voting record is all there for people to see. If they do not like this voting record, then, they should perhaps consider, call it a novel idea, not voting for him or his party.

Then again, we know Harlow people, who blame the Tories for the A and E crisis at Princess Alexandra, the street lights being switched off, crime levels etc but are still going to vote Conservative because they cannot stick Ed Miliband.

People will be voting for Robert Halfon because he has tapped into a psyche: he has found the way of speaking to those living lives of not so quiet desperation and speaking to those living lives of ambitious aspiration.

There are not many MPs like him, who can do that. Labour’s Stephen Timms in East Ham comes to mind, who managed to increase his majority in 2010, when Labour were losing seats all over the place.

Suzy Stride

We think that Suzy Stride has been a breath of fresh air in this campaign. Watching Suzy, you can tell why this East End girl went up to Cambridge. Suzy thinks carefully about each issue and is totally committed to her goal.

Suzy feels passionately and tells it so, about the people of Harlow. She genuinely felt the pain of closed Sure Start Centres, a struggling A and E and the pain of unemployment. Suzy has also been a passionate defender of Ed Miliband’s leadership, where others have prevaricated.

If Suzy does not win, then Ms Stride has a shining CV that begs for her to be selected for a seat closer to home and heart.

If Suzy does not win it may be because people might say that Harlow needs an MP and not a social worker? If she does, it may be because, people do fear a scorched earth through public services in Harlow.

The Others

UKIP

We have enjoyed Sam Stopplecamp’s campaign. At times part community advocate and at other times an evangelical minster in Boise, Idaho. He has said “common sense”a few times and we get what he is saying. Harlow UKIP are unlike many other UKIP groups and at times, seems to have inherited the Lib Dem’s mantle more than anything else.

That by-election defeat was a big blow to UKIP but they have kept digging away and are a committed group. They are continuing to ask questions in Harlow. Not sure if they are the right questions but their lines on community are welcome.

Lib Dems

We have enjoyed the cut of the proverbial jib of Dr Geoffrey Seeff’s campaign. He has stoutly defended his parties entry into coalition and been one of the stars of the hustings. It is just a shame that the Lib Dems, the party who once held sway locally, could not have had a candidate. They really do need to re-build because they were a vital voice in the town.

Green

Likewise, we really hope this is not the last time we hear from Murray Sackwild. It has been fascinating to hear the views from Murray and we know that a lot of younger voters were deeply impressed at a number of the hustings.

Murray has really got a lot of voters to think about the issues relevant to Harlow. This town could double in size in the next thirty years. We hope that Murray Sackwild and the Greens remain part of the political landscape in Harlow.

Trades Union and Socialist Coalition.

Some people are able to crystallise a situation in just a free words. When Dave Brown stood up at the St Paul’s Hustings and said: “Why are we paying for the mistakes made by the bankers?” It struck a chord. He may or may not be right but Dave has been a candidate with Harlow at his core.

When you interview a candidate, who can point across to the closed down youth club in Staple Tye that he used to work at, then you must respect their standpoint.

English Democrat

Eddy Butler made a few appearances early on and then was seen no more. Eddy is never shy in coming forward and gave as good as he got in the hustings.

Prediction.

Conservative hold

In 2010, Robert Halfon won by 4925 votes. Labour were victorious in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Both parties will lose some votes to UKIP but, unlike areas such as Thurrock, will not be hurt too much.

Halfon’s personal campaign, style and record all count for a great deal in Harlow and Harlow people like a person who bats for the town.

So, we think Robert Halfon will win and we think he will increase his majority.

But, good luck to you all.

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