Opinion: Karen Constantine – Moving on from the election

Cllr Karen Constantine

As a Labour councillor it goes without saying that the General Election result is a major disappointment for Labour voters. It leaves Labour nationally in disarray with the need to reflect, review and to re-group. Whatever the outcome of our internal discussions and leadership election, one thing will remain certain, one thing is unchangeable and that’s our genuine compassion which fuels our core belief in equality and social justice.

Our fight for a fairer, better world is a bright flame that inspires us, urges us forward and will never be extinguished. Throughout Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership he demonstrated this to tens of thousands of new, younger voters. Ultimately this demographic change will stand us in good stead.

I believe our manifesto was the right way forward for the climate emergency, social justice, community cohesion and the next industrial revolution -aligning economic growth to good jobs, the ‘just’ transition from carbon dependency to clean energy, and the greening of our economy. I think we offered too much and our message wasn’t clear enough. We’ll do better next time.

The election process for both our next new leader and deputy will start on January 8, 2020. I look forward to taking part in process and to the outcome at the end of March. We will be ready to fight local elections around the country. Labour has a great many talented and experienced MPs to develop a dynamic new team at the top of the party.

Now isn’t the time for either gloating or mud slinging, and I’ve never been a fan of ‘negativity’. The role of an elected representative of the people, of whatever political stripe, is to do the work that people require of you. Based on the needs of Thanet residents two issues, out of many areas of need, strike me as particularly important at the moment.

That’s the NHS and employment rights. Boris Johnson has said there is action forthcoming in both areas.

The NHS has been described as being “on its knees” even before winter had begun as health service bosses have said, figures showed it missed key waiting-time targets for A&E care, operations and cancer treatment.

The performance of the NHS in England in November was, yet again, its worst ever, prompting concern that it cannot keep up with a relentless rise in the number of people needing care.”

Employment in Thanet is marred by too many zero hour contracts, insecure work, wages that are too low and unemployment figures that are higher here than in the rest of Kent.

I’ve written to our local MP, Craig Mackinlay, to ask him to to do all that he can to ensure that the hard cash Boris Johnson has promised for the NHS finds its way into our local health services quickly and efficiently. Also that our PM fully understands the need for a cash boost into Thanet to upgrade urgently our health services, including preventing the siting of a HASU for Thanet residents in Ashford.

With the stroke of a pen, our vital life saving stroke service at QEQM could be saved. I’m also asking Craig to focus on the urgent need for many more trained clinical staff.

Will our local MP now ensure Thanet residents get improved access to health services? Will he fight for a HASU at QEQM? Will he also ensure many, many more local people can access training (and bursaries) so that Thanet can grow its own talent?

As we move inexorably towards Brexit, I believe the need to at least maintain the current floor of workers’ rights is a top priority. I’m contacted far too frequently by people experiencing frankly disgraceful treatment at work. Summary dismissals, bullying, harassment, discrimination, wage exploitation and significant breaches of health and safety are commonly reported. Can we expect our local MP to put his money where his mouth is, engage with the unions and with working people right across Thanet and secure a Brexit deal that protects workers rights?

Craig Mackinlay must be delighted to be re-elected with an improved majority, he and his Government should now utilise that majority and confidence of the people, to reward people’s optimism with tangible benefits.

So please Craig protect our vital stroke service and protect our hard fought workers rights. We are counting on you. Please live up to the trust people have placed in you and your Government.

We wait for you to confirm the introduction of the promised

£10.50 wage for all.

To explain how you will fight for a Thanet HASU.

And last, but no means least, tell us when the live animal trade from Ramsgate Port will stop.

Over to you Craig.


  1. 1997-2010 in modern times that was when Labour “won” the argument.
    Posturing and soul searching is wasted energy when the only way you will achieve your aims is to actually win an election.
    Why did voters desert their natural home?
    Why do Northern voters dislike the “champagne” socialists so much?
    Why has the natural heartland of Scotland lost out to the SNP?
    All questions NO one in Labour can answer

      • The vitriolic right-wing press played a major part (just as the Sun was instrumental in getting Blair into Government).
        Brexit played a major part. Far to many people have been taken in by the idea that everything will be ok once we leave Europe. The Tories rode that bandwagon. Labour didn’t know what it was doing.
        Right leaning Labour MPs were alarmed by the direction the party under Corbyn was going, so they torpedoed their own ship by stoking up the antisemitism fires.

        • Couldn’t have put it clearer myself Andrew! It was the constant demonising of Jeremy Corbyn by the fascist press that was a major factor! Many people who I knew would normally vote Labour told me they wouldn’t because of Corbyn! When I asked why, they couldn’t answer! This is brain washing by the popular press, or as a friend put it “Indoctrination”.

          Incidentally Johnson managed to get an 80 seat majority with just 29% of the Electorate voting Conservative! The was due to the farcial electoral system that passes for democracy in this country! The results were: Conservatives = 43.6% of the vote. The Turnout was 67.3%, so 43.6% of 67.3% equals just 29.34%! This means 70.66 of the electorate did NOT vote for Johnson! In fact since the war on average 68% of the electorate did NOT vote for whichever government was elected in a General Election! Its time for Electoral Reform, so we can join the grown up countries that have Proportional Representation!

          • There was a referendum on PR back in 2011;67% voted against.Or was that another vote you want to ignore because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Buy a dictionary and look up ‘democracy’as you appear,perhaps to be unclear of its meaning.

      • Attacks? Are we under threat of armed invasion by another country? Or is Socialism,and its Socialist advocates,still living in Cloud Cuckoo Land?

        • Proportional Representation would be a lot fairer than FPTP. It would also give a much clearer, more detailed picture of what the electorate wants and would encourage people to use their vote.

          Cllr Lewis is evidently referring to Tory policies,as I’m sure Dr. Jones knows, and he is right in describing them as attacks on the welfare of disadvantaged people.

  2. I think locally, Labour would have been more productive for the residents of Thanet but nationally they let their supporters down with the leader Corbyn taking it too far in the wrong direction. Even Labour voters voted for Brexit 3 years ago!

  3. Find as many excuses as you like. Blair won the only election victory for Labour in the last 45 years.
    Keep indoctrinating the supporters the argument was won by the Tories as they have for the last 45 years

    • Blair may have won three elections but he was a small c Conservative, and did nothing for the working class! I had been a Labour Party member for 25 years, and not just a member, I was also a monthly Donor! A few days after being elected in 1997, Blair said he was going to maintain Conservative policies for the next two years! What! We had just put up with 18 years of Thatcherism, and here was Blair saying he was going to continue with the same! I resigned and cut up my membership card, and all the Donor certificates I had accrued over the years, and sent them to my local Labour Party. So did half of my local Constituency Labour Party membership, and the same happened nationally! Within a few weeks the membership halved, but Blair didn’t care, in fact he admitted publicly he wasn’t worried, because it wasn’t the Labour membership that had elected him!

      He then went on to declare war on Afghanistan, and Iraq, for totally spurious reasons, in order to lick the boots of the US President, G. W. Bush! That wrecked any chance of reform in the middle east, and subsequently cost the lives of tens of hundreds of thousands of people. This had a knock on effect as it turned thousands of Muslims against us, and now we are reaping the cost, terrorists in our streets! No we do not need another Blair in the Labour party, what we need is someone who can get it over to the working class, that xenophobia is the unjustified fear of foreigners, nothing less! No foreigner ever took a job from Britain, they were GIVEN jobs by British employers instead! That’s the message!

  4. Labour in Thanet need to get their act together. All the bitchiness on Social media from within the party was not pleasant to read.

  5. Like the National Labour Party, most of the local parties across Kent have been taken over by financially illiterate idiots and looney lefties who have no idea about life in our communities. Until they move to the centre and ditch the socialist ideals, many including myself will NOT for them locally or nationally.

  6. What is the centre? The Conservatives have moved decisively to the right by ditching’one nation’ toryism and have therefore also shifted the centre ground to the right. I think Bill Clinton had it right by stating that wrong and strong beats weak and right every time and it did here. Most voters were reluctant to drop one side or the other, but Cummings simplistic message of get Brexit done won through.
    Any notion of ‘nice’ Boris ditching the xenophobia and turning to a more centrist form of social inclusion has proved to be pie in the sky, because at his most powerful, he has not altered the cabinet by very much and therefore we ought to conclude that he is what it says on the tin; a right wing demagogue.
    Labour shot itself in the foot and it gave doubting voters in hitherto Labour areas leave to experiment. They may regret this at their leisure.
    The election is over we must make the best of a bad job and see what turns out.As for Labour, for god’s sake choose a strong woman from both sides of the party for a dual ticket leader and deputy leader team and work together. Disharmony and authoritarianism isn’t going to get my vote.

  7. More excuses coming out
    Locally anecdotally the Green candidates were inundated by Labour requests to drop out. In the end Greens doubled their vote in South Thanet and Labour vote dropped.
    Labour need to stop blaming the Tories for their defeat and grow a pair.
    The argument was lost, Labour lost and in their heartlands

    • god help us. I am rather interested in your comments as I noticed at about 06:20 on the morning of polling day that at an address in Royal Road Ramsgate where a certain Labour County Councillor lives (I wonder who can that be?) the only political poster in the window was and I kid you not Vote Green Party!

        • How very strange. I certainly don’t need to get my eyes tested! I have checked the photo I took at 06:17 hours on 12th December a Green Party poster is clearly visible next to the windows paine displaying the historical plaque that Marjorie Moses once lived at this address. Maybe you don’t live at this address anymore.

          • All I can say, is thank you you for taking a photograph of my house and I did have a ‘vote Labour’ poster up in the window. I was out and about canvassing for Labour too.

  8. Let’s use a bit of common sense. Thanet came within a whisker of electing Nigel Farage for UKIP. It’s screamingly obvious that a large proportion of people living here want to leave the EU. So, Labour put up a candidate on the premise that they will negotiate a “better” deal but will then vote against it in parliament. Corbyn was forced into this ridiculous stance by the champagne socialist remainers who wouldn’t accept the result of the referendum. There’s little sign that Labour has come to terms with the reasons for their failure. Remain MP’s are still putting themselves forward to lead the party. they will lead it to oblivion.

  9. What would the benefits of leaving the EU be,exactly? Britain would be an insignificant little island crawling to unsavoury regimes, instead of a member of an influential European community.

    The largely right-wing press with its owners and backers orchestrated a campaign against the Labour party. No surprise then that the Tories won the election.

  10. The old cliched comments that negative media lost Labour the election just don’t wash any more. People are far more savvy nowadays and make their own decisions, based on their own life experiences and all sorts of information channels. Newspaper purchases are far lower than in the past and anyone looking online, goes to a variety of sources. Those trapped in a narrow echo chamber seem to be the ones who lost. As far as I can see, the BBC, Sky, C4, the FT, Times, Mirror and Guardian were were no friends of Brexit of Boris Johnson, and yet the vote did not reflect their views. The Mail was quite a Brexit and Johnson detractor until nearing the end of the election period, when they sensed the views of their readers were so different. Those who lost really need to examination honestly why that was, or things won’t change. But I welcome Karen Constantine’s wish to avoid negativity as it is a destructive energy which gets in the way of building positive futures for all. There was a great attempt to shut down opposing views on Brexit and other political views pre the election. It didn’t work as people do not like to see attempts to shut down free speech and the ability to debate things honestly. The voters in the North certainly made their voices felt on that one. Time to be respectful and honest with everyone, and listen to all views.

  11. We need to keep our elected MPs up to scratch . Negativity does not help – but , as Karen says, we should not allow voices to be silenced over the very serious problems that are being inadequately addressed

  12. English Nationalism won. They wanted their precious Brexit whatever the cost. And , no doubt, expected the cost to fall on other English people, not on themselves. We shall see.
    As for what will Johnson do next? The Tories have privatised just about everything , including chunks of the National Health Service. What else can they privatise? Presumably the BBC and the rest of the NHS.
    I wouldn’t defend the BBC any more as they proved over-eager to spread the Corbyn smears that the newspapers were inventing.
    The NHS is worth defending, of course.
    They have pushed for Brexit and won a mandate to invent some form of it that quietens businessmen and landowners AND Nigel Farage at the same time. Good luck with that!
    They have created a situation in which most MPs in the north of Ireland are now Irish Nationalists. An incredible “achievement” that the IRA could only envy! Who would have thought that English Brexit voters would have so alienated Northern Irish voters that they have begun to vote for Parties that want to leave the UK. Those British soldiers lives, lost to keep the north of Ireland in the UK, have been cast aside without a thought by the Brexit voters.

    And the majority of Scots MPs now agitate to leave the UK as soon as possible. Only the sad Welsh still want to stay with the English and even there, separatism is rising.
    So, what is our future?

    A smaller, embittered English nation, poorer, divided by glaring inequalities of wealth, with thousands homeless and begging, families sharing cramped houses because the young cannot find anywhere affordable,sick people NOT going to the doctor because they have to pay up front and can’t afford it, but united in their love of Brexit, glorious Brexit. “Nobody loves us but we don’t care!”

  13. I don’t mind paying for a TV licence. Commercial channels aren’t free- the stuff they advertise increase their prices to pay for the cost of advertising. The TV licence costs about £3 a week and it’s worth it to have a programme uninterrupted by ads.

  14. I tried to get the Greens and LibDems to not stand in the General Election in South Thanet, and urge their members to vote Labour as they share many policies. They might just as well have not bothered voting, their combined total of somewhere near 5,000 votes in South Thanet was meaningless under the First Past the Post electoral system that passes for democracy in this country! Its farcical!

  15. Disgruntled. I campaigned in Canterbury as it was the regions key seat and that’s where us campaigning stalwarts were directed.

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