Harlow’s Corbynista’s travel to Chelmsford to see leader
Politics / Thu 25th Aug 2016 pm31 01:06pm
MORE than 400 people attended the theatre in Chelmsford on Monday evening to hear Jeremy Corbyn lay out his stall for party leader at an event sponsored by Essex Momentum and CWU Essex Amalgamated branch.
This event was almost re-run of a rally last August in the same venue, although with slightly fewer people this time. Jeremy came on last and reiterated the point made by fellow speakers that this leadership election was unnecessary and an abdication of Labour’s duty to hold the Tories to account.
One of Jeremy’s main themes was the renationalisation of the railways, along with a message to Virgin Trains boss Richard Branson that “There are no hard feelings and I’ll be travelling on Virgin Trains next week.” Just as importantly, Jeremy made the demand for a regulated public bus service to end the misery of Thatcher’s deregulation and privatisation in the 1980’s.
On the NHS Jeremy was scathing about the Private Finance Initiative rip-off which is bleeding the NHS white. He cited the Herts and Essex Community Hospital PFI scheme that cost £14.8m to initially build, but will cost the taxpayer £81.5m over its lifetime. Consequently, he called for the buyout of PFI deals by the Treasury, noting that most of the original PFI operators had sold on their interest at a profit to the derivatives market.
His other big NHS theme was greater investment in mental health, especially when one in four people will suffer mental health problems whilst there is a shortage of talking therapies resulting in a postcode lottery. This was highlighted earlier in the evening by an 18 year-old woman from Brentwood Labour Party who stated that a family member could only get the psychiatric help they needed by making a daily trip to Cambridge and to safeguard their long-term care have now moved to south London.
On housing Jeremy argued for more affordable mortgages and 500,000 council houses to be built over the term of a Labour government with funds provided by a National Investment Bank. He went on to say that in “In a civilized, democratic society in the 21st century in Britain it is a disgrace that some people have no alternative to sleeping on the streets.”
Fine words from Jeremy, who also blasted the Tories new Housing Act that marginalises social housing in favour of “starter homes” for sale, hikes council rents under new “pay to stay” rules and condemns inner city council estates to demolition. It’s a shame then that many London Labour councils have been working in partnership with property developers to ‘socially cleanse’ working-class areas, as will all Labour councils be forced to do from April 2017 under the new Housing Act.
Jeremy further stressed the need for better wages and a proper Living Wage to boost peoples spending power as well as tackling tax evasion and avoidance to get the money needed for housing, universal high-speed broadband and other infrastructure projects to regenerate the economy.
In summary it was worth the journey to Chelmsford, although it was noted that a section of people in the stalls seats were not clapping at Jeremy’s remarks. Maybe, they were frustrated Owen Smith supporters unhappy at the news that all 12 of the 18 Essex constituency parties who held hustings meetings had nominated Corbyn for leader, as Harlow did by 43 votes to 8?
How ironic that on the NHS, the so called Party of the NHS has taken almost word for word UKIP policy. If people look at the Essex Chronicle back to March 2015 they will see as the UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Chelmsford I wrote a letter about the ridiculously crippling PFI agreements, and their effect on Broomfield Hospital. Our manifesto included an extra £12bn for the NHS this parliament, together with more for Social and Mental Health Care, as well an increase in the Care Allowance, and the scrapping of Tuition Fees for Medicine and Nursing courses. Perhaps it's UKIP who should be called the Party of the NHS!?
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