Councillor Kay’s Blog: There is so much to be done..

Politics / Sat 20th May 2023 at 03:47pm

DID you vote on 4 May? If you did: well done. If you didn’t: why not? Admittedly, this time everybody who voted had to show photo ID, which may have affected turnout. That’s not the whole explanation, though, for only 25% of Harlow voters put a cross on a ballot paper. So 75% or so of voters didn’t vote. That should make some of us think hard. During the campaign, some comments were repeated again and again……

You’re all the same.’ I don’t see much similarity between the behaviour of some national and local politicians, much of whose behaviour has been appalling, and me. I know that I’ve worked for my constituents wherever I’ve been a councillor; I’ve never taken their trust for granted. They really are my priority. But that means I have to take what they say seriously: if they feel we’re all the same, there’s a problem.

‘Nothing changes.’ Political Parties spend lots of time on their manifestos, on their priorities, attempting to clarify what they stand for. The Labour Party’s roots are in the trade union movement; we introduced the NHS and the welfare state and we continue to fight for equality, diversity and the elimination of poverty.  Many voters may not see any of that as relevant to their lives. Instead, they’re focussed on the daily challenges.

My vote will make no difference.’ That’s how it feels to many people. They may not believe they can effect change. They may be disillusioned: not just disengaged. They may have lost faith in the State and they may have lost their voice. When a woman tells me she won’t vote, my heart sinks. Women had to fight for a long time, risking their personal safety and livelihoods, so that every woman can vote.

Constance Maud wrote ‘No Surrender’ in 1911, telling the suffragettes’ story from the heat of battle with wit and passion. (Last year a graphic version by Scarlett and Sophie Rickard was published by SelfMadeHero.) Deeds…. not Words. Leah Manning MP fought for women’s rights, widows’ pensions, school meals, justice. She was a member of the Commons committee which prepared the way for the UK’s new towns, pointing out that Harlow’s ‘simple, honest, decent, kindly folk’ would benefit from the beautiful forest nearby. She left her mark, including on a centre in our town. So many women fought to make life better for us and I’m grateful. There’s more to be done. I’ll keep voting.

There’s so much to be done. People’s earnings can’t keep pace with the soaring cost of their outgoings. The effect on living standards is the worst since records began in 1950s. NHS waiting lists are climbing to record levels. That our waterways are polluted by sewage is shocking. Brexit hasn’t helped, nor has covid. There’s no shortage of challenges.

We have to challenge the status quo. More opportunities in Harlow for people to highlight local issues, to use their collective voice, to put pressure on local government decision-makers will help. We need more residents groups, more local decision-making, more local power. People need to feel involved in what’s happening to them. We also need more citizenship education so that young people can raise their voices. Harlow Youth Council is an excellent example of how to do it and of the benefits to youngsters and to the whole town. 

Believing that change is possible is the essential first step. ‘This is your life’, Eamonn Andrews said a long time ago. He was right and we can do something about it. Oh, yes, we can!

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8 Comments for Councillor Kay’s Blog: There is so much to be done..:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-20 16:35:41

Lets face it Kay, on a local level at least, there is very little difference between the two main Parties. Their plans for the future of the Town Centre are very similar, both see the building of huge tower blocks and a growing economy based on more cafes and restaurants, the destruction of the Green Belt around Harlow, the trashing of the River Stort and at it's basic level both Parties have demonstrated time and time again that they take no notice of public opinion and take the "we know best" attitude when determining the future of Harlow. Your Party actually took steps back in 2018 to bypass the opportunity to involve residents when putting together the Local Development Plan. No wonder that more and more residents no longer vote. Back in the 1990's the turnout at elections was 40%+ but back then we had neighbourhood offices, area committees and tenant advisory groups, all giving residents the opportunity to have their say. Twenty years later all part of the Harlow Alliance Party policy. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party

gary roberts
2023-05-20 16:49:27

Cllr. Morrison an excellent posting, but despite your upbeat approach to politics the electorate has heard it all before and sadly nothing fundamentally changes. I voted but in my area we still have two Conservative councillors who currently hold important portfolio's but who have not achieved anything to improve and develop my community. And of course Cllr. Wilkinson has no authority to do anything. The turnout was low because of it. And next May if nothing changes the turnout will be even lower. What is the Labour policy agenda for Harlow or even Harlow Common? I have no idea. And with Mr. Starmer who is more light blue than red with no vision and of course binning all his leadership pledges to his members I have to say he will never get my vote and I am not a member of any political party!

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-20 19:00:40

Well said Nicholas, and Gary. Labour may of introduced the NHS, but it started to fall apart on there watch. Mr starmer said this week , he would continue to build on green belt, then felt the need later that evening to say depending where it is.. really. Labour are a lighter shade of blue. It was labour's plan to destroy our river stort valley,,, who on earth would ever think of such a plan,,, oh yeah Labour. And the blues just followed it through, like little sheep. Well both party's will be known for awful destruction. Harlow green candidate..

2023-05-21 13:48:42

And - neither Labour or Conservatives have tackled the years of potholes, demolished road signs & faulty street lighting that could be dealt with in a more effecient manner. In Church Langley Way three signs have been demolished and not replaced. One demolished in 2021 & two others in 2022 yet not replaced. It is suggested that this is due to poorly worded contracts and our County Councillors have not acted to improve the situation. Would Labour do better? Probably not! We need Councillors who will attend to residents historic needs.

Has the electorate heard it all before
2023-05-21 20:40:22


Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-22 09:48:52

Paul, almost as bad, it was pointed out some months ago that the large road sign near the Sainsbury roundabout shows the way the to Sport centre which of course has not been on that site for the best part of 20 years! You would have thought one of our County Councillors would have rung up County Hall when this was pointed out and say look lads, this is very embarrassing, get down to Harlow (if you know the way) and get this sign taken down. But no, months later it is still there.

David Forman
2023-05-22 12:09:55

Nicholas, with reference to the county council, the grounds of the Tree House childrens centre in Parnall Road usually looks a mess. The place is owned by the County and county councillor Clive Souter lives within spitting distance of it. Another County example is Epping Library with a mass of ivy encroaching over the pavement at head height.

David Forman
2023-05-22 12:16:46

Cllr Morrison forgot to mention Leah Manning's tremendous work in the Spanish Medical Aid Committee during the Spanish Civil War. Leah was instrumental in rescuing 4000 Basque children and bringing them to Britain in May 1937. See article at https://international-brigades.org.uk/news-and-blog/content-leah-manning-and-women-who-helped-rescue-basque-children/

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