Four years on since the last General Election, Labour candidate Chris Vince asks what has MP Robert Halfon and the Tories done for Harlow?

News / Thu 14th Dec 2023 at 10:56am

THE FOURTH anniversary of the General Election of 2019 was on December 12th.

Harlow Labour’s candidate at the next one (anytime between now and January 28th, 2025. Our money is on October 24th, 2024).

Chris Vince reflects and looks forward.

“I remember going to Passmores school just over four years ago to listen to the hustings in advanced of the last General Election organised by this publication.

The message from the Conservative candidate and eventual winner was that if you voted for him, he would deliver ‘a new hospital for Harlow’ yet here we are four years later with the news that the hospital is unlikely to be built by the end of 2030.

A lot can change in four years. Whilst 2019 feels like it was yesterday, it was three prime ministers and six education secretaries ago.

Four years ago, over forty thousand people across Harlow and the surrounding villages went to the ballot box, with the result returning the incumbent Tory MP to Westminster. As is only fair, as the parliament draws to its final year, we electors are entitled to ask what has our MP and his Conservative government done for Harlow in the previous four years. What has this Conservative party delivered for Harlow?

Well, as it goes, not a great deal.

Thousands upon thousands of us across Harlow have felt the tax burden increase. Some people may be earning more, but the amount taken out of our pay packet has increased and the pounds no longer go as far.

Perhaps we can find a silver lining for our Tory MP. For just over a year, since October 2022, our MP has been a minister within the Department of Education. Those with a logical mind may rightly conclude that, given his education brief, the schools in Harlow would be delivering a good education to our students in state-of-the-art facilities. Unfortunately, that logic does not survive first contact with the Tories, since it is proving rather difficult for some students in Harlow to get that important education since they do not even have a permanent building to be taught in.

Taxes up, schools falling down, what else have the Conservatives done for Harlow, the Villages, and our outstanding environment? Instead of protecting the area in which we live, they would much rather allow sewage to be dumped into the river Stort. Between 2021 and 2022, raw sewage was pumped into the Stort twenty times in Harlow. I certainly did not envisage that as the legacy of our Tory MP.

Across Harlow and the villages, we have seen further evidence of Conservative failure since the last General Election. However, even I couldn’t have imagined quite how quickly and how staggeringly things have gone wrong since then.

Of course, we’ve had a global pandemic to contend with since then and if we felt the Government had really had the best interest of the public at heart during that terrible time they might be forgiven for their failure. However, as the Covid inquiry is laying bare the government were more interested in partying during lockdown than tackling the issue. The then Prime Minister and his Chancellor (now the Prime Minister) were willing the sacrifice the elderly and more vulnerable for the sake of the economy.

However, this Conservative government cannot even be praised for their handling of the economy. Something that previous Conservative leaders may have boasted. Liz Truss, who replaced Johnson for a total of 45 days (one day more than Brian Clough was manager of Leeds), and her disastrous mini budget cost the country a staggering £30m. Inflation is through the roof, as are the costs of fuel and even everyday essentials, and more and more people in our town are being forced to turn to foodbanks.

Meanwhile with no sign of our new hospital the current Princess Alexandra is breaking at the seams with record waiting times in A and E and for routine appointments. We know the crime is up and only recently the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner said he would once again have to increase his proportion of council tax to make up for his own government’s budget cuts.

“At every level this government has failed the people of our country and our town. Nothing about the next general election is guaranteed, certainly not the winner. One thing is for sure, the turnout will be lower. Whoever we return to Parliament will have the unenviable task of rebuilding faith in an era defined by mass disillusionment in politicians and politics. After seeing the Conservative’s report card, is that any surprise?”

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15 Comments for Four years on since the last General Election, Labour candidate Chris Vince asks what has MP Robert Halfon and the Tories done for Harlow?:

2023-12-14 11:18:50

So Mr Vince, if the electorate of Harlow vote for you in the next General Election and you become Harlow's MP, when do you commit to deliver the new Princess Alexandra Hospital by?

2023-12-14 11:49:20

Corrections: There is no new Hospital for Harlow it's being moved out of town into Epping district, so it won't benefit from all the transport links being generated in the town centre by the new bus station, sustainable corridor and Hemel Hempstead to Stansted via Harlow tram route and it was Labour that opened the flood gates for hggt pfp that'll overload the town and kill the Stort. Labour needs to get back to serving the people of Harlow rather than helping Epping and East Herts Councils dump their housing projects, traffic and pollution on Harlow. Harlow Conservatives have gleefully leapt on this bandwagon because it feeds the profits of their donors, the big property developers. A plague on both your houses.

Mark Ingall
2023-12-14 12:27:56

For sure Mr Halfon has let down the parents of children that attend SFG. Countless promises broken and he couldn't even be bothered to turn up and answer questions at the q&a session for parents.

2023-12-14 13:21:25

"Package it up as a different name and image, give it a different feel, but ultimately serve it up the same in a resonant empathetic ear for your followers" My view of politics. Same but different. Controlled appearance of freedom with limits.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-12-14 13:45:57

No fan of Labour of course, but from what I hear, so many people are fed up with the Tories they are prepared to either not vote or give Labour a chance. We should not forget there has been at least 14 Ministers responsible for Housing since 2010, in a period where legislation was passed which allowed office blocks to be converted to flats, In Harlow we all know the consequences of that They also allowed developers to talk their way out of reducing or eliminating the number of affordable homes that need to be built. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party

Kim Oconnor
2023-12-14 15:10:48

I would like to see an article, posted in your Harlow, on how he would address the problem s, what would be there solution.. would we get a new hospital, would it remain in Harlow.. what would his solution s to all this disaster be. Mr Vincent??.

gary roberts
2023-12-14 15:12:39

Cllr. Vince, why ask this question now? It will sink without trace in the minds of the electorate who have more important issues to deal with at the moment. It should be asked in February 2024 if an election is called for May 2024 or September 2024 for an election after that date. Add a radical set of policies that would improve the lives of the "many" instead of the"few" and you might win. By radical I mean in the terms of Attlee's in 1945 and the Labour party manifesto' of 2017 and 2019. Otherwise your question will be useless because it will be assumed that your offer will be more of the same as currently delivered by this bunch of incompetents and liars. I also attended the hustings at Passmores school in 2019 and asked Mr. Halfon a question about the cutting of police officers, prison officers, and probation officers from the criminal justice system creating then a 32,000 backlog in the courts. It is now over 60,000. His answer was about a note in the Treasury back in 2010. It was pathetic. Remember Attlee had no money but created a welfare state, an NHS, state education and social housing all in six years. Focus on that achievement Cllr. Vince and offer the electorate the same as his Labour government and you will win and Halfon will join Hayes, and Rammell on the road to perdition.

Kim Oconnor
2023-12-14 15:12:44

Instead of battling with each other, what would you do differently Mr vince.

2023-12-14 18:36:24

I don't very often, but this time I must agree with Kim O'connor. I vote tory but I admit they have been absolutely rubbish in Harlow. So Mr Vince if you can talk the talk, but bloody better be able to walk the walk. The thing that really bothers me if Labour win the election, will the country be held to ransom by the unions

Mark Lavender
2023-12-14 19:44:00

One for all the candidates - and Kim. This cuts across party lines. Over the course of the next parliament or two, many residences are going to require new heating systems. In Harlow, we have quite a few densely packed estates. Big decisions need to be made as to how to proceed, be it as individuals (as we have been left regarding fibre optic cables) or as a community (which I believe is the norm in the most recent housing projects). Presumably both have their pros and cons but inaction will lead to a hotchpotch which is why retrofitting is going to be an issue.

2023-12-14 22:04:11

Mark L or we could admit netzero is insane and that we do not need to spend all the time and energy on heat pumps which mostly do not work and devastatingly expensive. I would be more interested in hearing more on Chris V's plans for tax cuts

2023-12-15 14:01:30

I can only speak for myself but the times that I have been in touch with Robert Halfon I always had a positive outcome. All the pontificating by Mr Vince about the school building situation was not caused by our MP. The 'NEW' hospital has been in the pipeline for many years before Mr Halfon was our MP so how can he be held responsible for the debacle that was created by Labour. Also all the problems that have come to light on school buildings. Mr Halfon is not responsible for that, it is down to Contractors and Structural Engineers! There are some intelligent people that post on here, others, not so much. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon start thinking about what, who and why someone either is or is not responsible for something. Mr Vince likes the sound of his own voice and that is about as far as it goes. Instead of him blaming the Tory party for everything that is happening in Harlow why doesn't he tell us what HE would do and exactly HOW he would accomplish it.

Mark Lavender
2023-12-15 17:05:29

Adam, I agree with your remarks in part but no one is going stop the netzero juggernaut in the same way I have implied no one asked for their landlines and ntl cables to be made redundant and more holes drilled into homes for futureproofing. All in the name of progress.

Tracy George
2023-12-17 07:38:16

I never vote Tory because I value the NHS at point of use and historically that has always been better under Labour. But, Labour really need to start telling us their plans, realistic plans that are good for the nation and start to undo some of the damage that has been made. Simply riding on the fact "they are not the tories" and sitting back doing little to win votes is probably going to lose them the general election. People will either vote tory or not vote at all and they need the votes as can never take anything for granted. Merely pointing out the horrific failings of the Tory party isn't enough now we are drawing closer to an election, they badly need to pull their socks up. I appreciate taking over the country is like winning a poisoned chalice, but they need some smart, strong and good people in their party to do with the almighty mess they may inherit.

Stuart Crook
2023-12-17 09:23:39

Get all the councillors out all a load of oaps need new blood these ones are only there for £13.000 a year

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