Opinion – Cllr Karen Constantine: A changing political landscape

Cllr Karen Constantine

In recent days the political landscape has changed dramatically, with BoJo as the new Prime Minister at the helm. Of course the news channels and the political pundits are delighted. At last! Something fresh to talk about, to analyse and to discuss. Fresh political chaos equals fresh newsprint ‘copy’.

But what about the rest of us?

Whatever your position on national politics, party politics, and Brexit, these changes in our Parliament mean that we have a Prime Minister, elected by a small group of unrepresentative people, with no majority, in a very weak position in Parliament, the weakest position any new PM has been in. This does not equate to stability for our society or a clear forward path. It indicates to me an increasing possibility of a snap general election. It’s hard to know when this might happen, but if I were a betting woman (and I’m not) I’d say before the end of the year. However, nothing would surprise me, so earlier is entirely possible.

In recent days I’ve seen the end results of some appalling Conservative policies and their direct impact on Thanet people. I’ve seen far too much fighting amongst our young people, causing the Broadstairs firework display to be cancelled. There has been absolute carnage on Harbour Street, Ramsgate in the early morning hours. Ramsgate businesses are struggling with anti-social behaviour that marrs our town centre and makes trading harder. There are simply too few police, so an increased police presence would stymie some of this rotten behaviour.

I’ve witnessed Ramsgate’s mental health needs going unmet. People are being left in real pain, to struggle and suffer, sometimes with tragic consequences. I’m contacted daily by local people struggling to survive, to remain ‘standing up’. I’m disturbed to hear about yet another NHS reorganisation. This time the NHS is moving GP care into large ‘hubs’. This will not help those that cannot get onto a GP list or get appointments. We simply have too few doctors across the country and the only real, long term, sustainable solution is to invest NOW to ensure we have more doctor’s in the future. But it’s not just doctors. We require pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, psycologists, care workers and more. Without investment to these new staff we will continue to experience ‘rationing’ and an ever declining service. That’s a simple fact.

I was aghast to see the NHS wheelchair contract, held by the underperforming Millbrook Healthcare, taken on by a private equity company this week. So many people –adults and children – utterly depend on their wheelchairs. I can’t imagine waiting 4.5 months to gain my mobility, can you? This should be a first rate service. Not a profit listed on a balance sheet for shareholders.

This week has also seen the Summer Kitchen starting to leap into action. The community project is being run out of Drapers Mill and Dame Janet Primary school. They are excellent initiatives to be part of. Summer kitchen creates great energy and it’s good fun to be part of a community in this way, plus the food is delicious and nutritious. But let’s remember we have real poverty and a genuine food crisis. So many families and people are in need of food. Universal Credit still leaves people short of cash, and the five week wait is crushing. Then let’s not forget the 8 million families who are the working poor, out at work but still trapped in poverty. The national child poverty figure is 25%. Of course, in Thanet it’s higher at 35%, or 11,474 of our local children. Outside of school term time many might not get access to the free breakfast clubs and a free lunch.  So Summer Kitchen steps in.

Should a general election be called, my priority will be to fight for a Labour Government. Because in Labour we have social justice, equality and fairness at our very core. Because I want to see the pain stopped. I want an end to the forced suffering. I want people to have a real chance of securing a decent life. It hasn’t always been ‘this bad’. Austerity has been a political choice. Very many people in this country are doing ‘A OK’. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s time for fair shares for everyone. Isn’t it?

17 Comments

  1. General Election? Labour Government? = Mass Emigration of r e a l British People, who cannot forget the last disasterous Labour Government! Wars with Muslim Countries, selling off England’s Gold Reserves, leaving a tremendous deficit for the Cons/UKIP to take over. (Nationally & Locally (£14.200.000 Locally btw)).
    A Labour Government? NO THANK YOU? Constantine, you will have to do a lot better than that to convince people.

    • I don’t think she will need to do much more than point out the specific ways in which life in Britain has got worse ffor millions of people since the Tories came to power,

    • The national debt, compared with GDP, is now twice what it was when the Tories took over.
      We’ve suffered nearly a dozen years of austerity, because the govt used our taxes to bail out the banks, their buddies.

  2. HOPEFULLY NOW THAT WE HAVE A NEW LEADER THINGS WILL START TO IMPROVE IN THE HEALTH SERVICE WITH MORE DOCTORS AND NURSES. WE JUST NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE CRITICISING EVERYONE STRAIGHT AWAY. TIME WILL TELL.

    • Bojob is hardly a “new” leader. He’s been around for ages as a mayor or an MP. In and out of the Cabinet, causing embarrassment. We only need to wait to see what he comes up with because he will dodge around deciding what makes him look good.

    • Tell us about this massive deficit! In 2010 it stood at 0.7 trillion pounds and was reducing. Now it is 1.9 trillion pounds – under the Tory / Lib Dim coalition is doubled. Any economist will tell you that growth is the only way to reduce debt – cuts just make it worse. Time for prosperity, not austerity! Any way, don’t let facts spoil a good old bigoted rant. P.S. Not sure whether you are in favour of war with “Muslim Countries” and if so, which ones?

  3. Just where are these doctors and nurses to come from?
    Job Centres?
    Training schools? (We haven’t any nurse training facilities)
    Imigrants? (We want to get shot of all of them, don’t we?)
    Boris talks of cutting taxes, and increasing spending on the police (bringing their numbers up to just under what they were when the Tories came to power)
    And if r e a l British people means right-wing fascists then the sooner they go the better.

  4. Thanet and the rest of the fifth richest country should not have a housing crisis, mass child poverty and a blame the poor culture, we need prosperity not austerity and unity in the community, not tax cuts for the rich, remember the old saying YOU CAN NEVER TRUST A TORY

  5. Boris’ avowed intent is to get us out of Europe, by hook or by crook, come hell or high water. He’s assembled around him a Cabinet of right-leaning Brexiteers.
    Between them, they have no idea about what to do other than get us out of Europe, with or without an agreement, and hang the consequences.
    Boris has promised to spend £M on schools, police, public sector pay. At the same time, he’s said he’ll cut taxes.
    The sums don’t add up.

  6. Dockers,Miners, Electricians,Motor Industry,Steel workers, Shipbuilding, Balance of payments! Militant,IRA,Football Hooligans wrecked trains,ASLEF, Strikes Strikes, Toxteth, Brixton, Never had it so bad!!!!! And lets see what Corbyn, and his stooges have to offer, mmm clarity on Europe! Stand against terrorism! Anti Semitsm!Spend Spend Spend!! The old Labour way,pick the pocket of the workers and call it Socialism, i come from a council estate the largest in the UK, at the time, and the idea was to do better, not be shackled to ideology thay kept you a footsoldier of the Left, so think again Councillor, and NO you or Corbyn, DONT speak for the MANY you are the few!!

    • Despite the background you describe, Woody, you seem to be very satisfied with your current life. Lucky you. But please don’t pull up the ladder behind you so that no-one else can achieve your level of economic security.

      • You assume much and know little about me when you comment on my posts, i am realist, not a surrealist, a worker not a shirker, and as for the Socialist ideas/ ideology of the Cretin that i consider Corbyn and his disciples to be, well he ain’t no Fidel Castro, nor is he Che Guevara! And as for Castro, on his death his own people were cheering,yes cheering. No such thing as a free lunch, wake up people.

  7. I don’t understand why working-class people vote Tory- until I moved to England, I assumed all working-class people voted Labour. Socialism is surely the only fair and just political ideal- the Conservative ethos seems based on greed and selfishness.

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