Letter to Editor: Harlow Labour’s copy and paste manifesto for local elections

Elections / Wed 10th Apr 2024 at 07:04am

Dear Editor,

I WAS astounded by the comments of the Harlow Labour spokesperson in your article published April 5 which announced Labour fielding a full slate of 33 candidates for the local election in May.

In particular, the second paragraph contained this gem of hypocrisy: “we know that this Conservative administration has given up on governing”. This from a party that failed to produce an alternative budget at the Cabinet meeting this February.

Having sat in on a number of Cabinet and Council meetings it was obvious to me that the Labour Group leader and most of his team had failed to properly research council documents prior to those meetings. There is one honourable exception in councillor Tony Edwards. It is therefore no surprise that the Labour Group has failed to make any concerted impact in opposing the Conservative administration.

Even more disappointing, given the late reveal, are the Labour pledges and other statements in their plan of action. Most of it looks like a copy of the Conservative’s current policies, which perhaps allows me to suggest Harlow Labour rename themselves the Copy & Paste Party!

Another irritating claim from Labour is:  “Work with HTS to make Harlow a cleaner and greener town.” This from the party that just over three years ago presided over a town with waist high grass during lockdown, making Harlow Council the only council in Essex that failed to cut the grass during lockdown. Add to that the planting of trees that rapidly died due to lack of maintenance.

Harlow Labour’s rip-off of Conservative policies is even more nauseating because Labour voted against many of these policies by rejecting the budget presented at February’s Cabinet meeting, yet not offering any alternative. Labour naturally didn’t offer any alternative to a freeze on council tax, as we know their history in repeatedly raising it.

The plagiarism by Harlow Labour acknowledges the good work being done by the current Conservative administration, such as taking action against housing developers for failing to deliver on their promises of community facilities at Gilden Way. I notice that Labour didn’t specify what they would do to improve matters.

In summary, it appears Harlow Labour are trying to copy Sir Kier Starmer’s tactic of continuing Conservative policies, but trying to fool the electorate that the package will smell a whole lot nicer. 


David Forman

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17 Comments for Letter to Editor: Harlow Labour’s copy and paste manifesto for local elections:

2024-04-10 07:09:08

Bore off Forman. Do you do anything other than write comments and letters to YourHarlow.com?

2024-04-10 07:59:55

Ha Ha David, have you read your words. Labour copying tories, nationally the govt have introduced oil and gas windfall taxes and changed non dom tax status both of which were called for by labour. And how can leaving grass to grow be less green than cutting it? Perhaps tidier would have been a better choice. Seriously, if one party has decent policies why should another party discard them. We want the best irrespective of where the policies originate

Jenny Kirsh
2024-04-10 08:39:34

DR , I thought was rather rude and uncalled for. Can you actually read or are you one of these people whose brain engages about 2 seconds after you open your mouth? Or, on second thoughts, in your case, three seconds? Either way, you are in good company with the calibre of Harlow Labour. By the way, have a nice day.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-10 09:11:58

David forman, 😄 🤣, you should get out more, there has been more trees that have died under Conservative s watch than any other.. because Conservative, hate to maintain anything, they would rather pull it down than maintain, that includes any thing, historic buildings, bus station s, hospital s, schools, anything.. Still good to talk .. David I can show you some sites where trees haven't been maintained, hundreds of them. Just say the word. May I ask what actions have they took against developer's. ????

Mark Gough
2024-04-10 13:08:07

Bore off? I would have thought someone married to an ex-Labour Councillor and Portfolio Holder would have a very valid insight frankly! Kim could you elaborate please cos I don't know what you are on about. I will also point out the massive difference between being in Power, and in Opposition. Being in Opposition and constantly criticising is very easy! Mark Gough -Leader Harlow UKIP

2024-04-10 13:14:31

What I would really like to know (because I can't find a stated reason anywhere) is why all the Conservative Party candidates listed on the nominations for the upcoming local elections all appear to be standing for a party called 'Local Conservatives' rather than 'The Conservative Party'. All other party candidates for the major parties are listed with their proper party affiliation - it's only the Conservative ones which are flying under a different banner. This feels at best disingenuous and at worst a blatant attempt to deceive. If you are standing for the Conservative Party, you should state that. If you're ashamed of what the national government is doing and you're trying to mask your affiliation and association with them then, tough - you ARE that party. There is no such thing as the Local Conservative Party. Can one of the many Tory councillors who comment regularly on this site please explain why they're not running for the Conservative Party?

2024-04-10 14:32:40

Stuart, Because they are scared to; as you stated they're blatantly trying to disguise their links to the party that funds, them, and which they represent, which has ruined our country over the last 13 yrs. If they are too ashamed to be called their official party name, then they shouldn't be standing for them at all, not just hiding it under a different name. It is shocking that they can get away with it and I would suggest anyone else who finds this morally wrong, underhanded and deceitful to complain to the Electoral Commission. They should not get away with openly trying to fool the electors.

2024-04-10 16:40:35

When it comes to national government, Conservative and Labour are in effect just two cheeks from the same arse. When it comes to local councils however, I’d always trust the Conservatives to run the show better than Labour.

Bill Smith
2024-04-10 17:13:17

Perhaps a new idea. If someone actually wants to become a politician, they should be barred from standing. Part of the problem that we have is that we have career politicians. They become set in their ways, or, as our perspective labour candidate has done, travels around the country trying to find a seat that will take him. Or maybe we just limit all politicians, of all levels, to just 2 terms. That way they don't become stale, and politicians move with the times. Look at our current crop of councillors in Harlow. How can they understand the needs of a 24 year old single mum living in Harlow?

2024-04-10 20:26:58

Bill why do they have to understand her needs, she is an adult and her own responsibility. Government is not some kind of super parent for fixing all issues (that is they we are in the mess we are as people think it is) the 24 year old single mum is an adult responsible for herself, her family can help if not that is why charity exists.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-11 08:14:38

That's OK Mark gough. So often I don't know what your on about. Least we agree on something.

2024-04-11 19:55:11

Jesus, murder investigations in this town, drugs are rife, violence increasing, and people, as per usual talking about trees, get a grip on reality and what is important!!!

2024-04-12 08:59:49

Mud slinging between Labour and Conservative voters ya boo politics simply shows both parties and their supporters in a bad light and the rest of us see how little either care about the issues. Currently the town centre and housing issures provide excellent indicators of how out of touch these parties are from reality. The town centre looks like a bombsite with dreadful plans and designs promised for the future. Meanwhile developers like Strawberry Star are delaying and landbanking. Both parties fail miserably on the environment, Conservatives hacking and cutting, destroying trees and habitats and thinking that projects like removing trees from roundabouts is progress (there were roundabouts such in Gilden Way that were recognised important mini habitats) and both parties opening the doors to hggt pfp for the benefit of Epping and East Herts Councils, the destruction of Harlow and Stort Valley River natural nature reserve and future traffic gridlock. Instead of mud slinging half truths both parties should produce and send to every household a detail manifesto and ironically called "road map " out of this mess or step aside. Harlow is classified as one of the top towns in the country where residents are disadvantaged. Sort it.

David Forman
2024-04-12 10:14:17

For Kim O'Connor's benefit the legal action was taken against three developers regarding Gilden Way. Here is the evidence from July 2023: https://www.harlow.gov.uk/news/injunction-applied-stop-gilden-park-developers-selling-more-houses There is a further article in October 2023 about forcing developers to provide community facilities: https://www.harlow.gov.uk/news/legal-action-forces-developers-commit-delivery-community-facilities As for a shedload of trees dying under Labour, here are the trees I'm referring to: https://www.yourharlow.com/2019/12/17/over-a-thousand-trees-planted-in-just-one-day-in-harlow/?_gl=1*17lwvez*_ga*MTg2NTg2MTY4Ni4xNzEyOTEzODkx*_ga_VG46TH43S2*MTcxMjkxMzg5MC4xLjEuMTcxMjkxNTcwMi4wLjAuMA.. I think that as a very large majority of those 1000 trees died that beats by far anything the Tories have done. All evidence links supplied for Kim's benefit, which she may well have read at the time, without any vitriole.

David Forman
2024-04-12 10:30:12

Further for Kim's and Nostradamus' benefit the big difference between the Tories and Labour on maintaining trees can be seen in an answer from Tory portfolio holder Alistair Gunn to a question from Labour's Mike Danvers at the 15th July 2021 Council meeting: "We will be continuing the tree planting programme begun under the previous administration, but also wish to take a more systematic approach to the maintenance of the town’s trees. We are commissioning a tree survey to map every significant tree in Harlow which will then result in a proactive approach to tree maintenance. This will help us to protect existing trees whilst also planting and protecting new ones." https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/documents/s18479/Questions%2520from%2520Councillors.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjrgYP2uLyFAxVkWUEAHXFpDXcQFnoECB4QAQ&usg=AOvVaw2cH1VPTRUJIQtRJw0knwiT

David Forman
2024-04-12 10:31:47

By the way, I met and had a discussion with the Council's tree inspector in late April 2022 in the grounds of Bishopsfield.

Steve Barnes
2024-04-17 16:07:00

Thanks for the history David. Informative as usual. It appears to me that the "tree survey to map every significant tree in Harlow" has fallen by the wayside. At the time of my last request all that was available was a list with co-ordinates. With regard to the Council's tree inspector as far as I'm aware they do not have one and the function is carried out by a local consultant. When the consultant was requested to comment on the planning application for the development of the Sherards House site on two occasions they did not support the application, rightly so in my opinion, and referred to non compliance with several of the Councils Local Development Plan policies. None the less the application was approved with many local residents objections ignored.

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