VOTE 2014: The polls in the local elections open on Thursday morning. Inside Croydon invited leading figures of the local political parties to outline why our loyal reader should consider voting for them. PETER STAVELEY makes the case for UKIP
UKIP is fielding one to three candidates in every ward in Croydon and the total of 42 far exceeds the number put up by our party at previous elections. The fact that the majority of these candidates are “ordinary people” standing for the first time reflects the rapid rise in support for the party at large.
These are people who are fed up with politics for politics’ sake and the petty political point-scoring that goes on between the major parties which is a direct result of them being populated with career politicians with no experience of life outside the political arena.
Locally, UKIP is campaigning on a “Bring back common sense” platform which includes the re-introduction of greater democracy locally with the abolition of the cabinet system of running the council and restoration of the more inclusive committee system. One aim of this is to achieve greater transparency of council decisions.
UKIP’s policies are aimed at boosting the retail economy of the town, both in the centre and in localities and to this end they advocate lower car parking charges with free short-term parking for local shops.
Other borough-wide policies include a clamp-down on anti-social behaviour, with more police presence on the streets, strengthening measures against fly-tipping, improvements to public transport and opposing inappropriate development while recognising the need for new housing on suitable (non-Green Belt) sites.
However, the main strength of UKIP’s campaign is at the most local level, where UKIP councillors will pay close attention to the needs and opinions of residents in their wards. Voters can be assured that their wishes will be acted upon for, unlike the other main parties, UKIP councillors are not subject to a “whip” that means UKIP councillors are free to vote as they see fit (and as their electors want them to) without any fear of reprisals.
Out on the streets, UKIP candidates and campaigners have been astonished and very encouraged by the goodwill they have received. In all corners of the borough, from the most affluent to the more deprived areas, reaction has been positive. This support has come from long-standing Labour supporters as much as Conservative ones and UKIP’s presence has also led to new interest in the election from many people who have not felt inclined to vote at all before.
A sad exception to this goodwill has been a so-called anti-fascist party whose representatives have sought to use physical force rather than constructive debate to challenge UKIP and this has even resulted in assaults on party campaigners. They have also defaced billboards in Croydon which are part of the national campaign. UKIP recognises that, notwithstanding the great support it is enjoying, not everyone will agree with its policies but there can be no place in British politics at any level for violence and vandalism.
As ever, though, the vast majority of decent, law-abiding people will condemn such action and UKIP’s prospective councillors are enjoying the excellent reaction to the political breath of fresh air that the party is bringing to the local council elections.
- Peter Staveley is the chairman of UKIP in Croydon Central and Croydon South. He is standing as a local election candidate in Addiscombe
Inside Croydon’s recent coverage of the local elections:
- Policy analysis 1: The incinerator
- Policy analysis 2: Hammersfield
- ADDISCOMBE: Labour looking vulnerable to Barwell’s push
- Council CEO parrots Tory party line in official press releases
- Conservatives snub hustings as sham candidates exposed
- Threat of UKIP forces Tories to press the panic button
- Council allowances and local politicians’ secret consensus
- The list of candidates for the May 22 local elections
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- Songs From The Ledge, Spread Eagle Theatre, May 23
- Greek Myths: stories and mask-making, May 27
- Howard Marks: Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe, May 29
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Tales from Ancient Greece, Upper Norwood Library, May 29
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 72,342 average monthly page views (Jan-Mar 2014)
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