Thornton Heath anti-cuts candidate offers a difference

VOTE 2014: Among the less well-known groups fielding candidates in tomorrow’s local elections is TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Here GLEN HART, their candidate in Thornton Heath, outlines why he thinks he deserves people’s votes

Glen Hart: standing for TUSC

Glen Hart: standing for TUSC

I believe that without ordinary workers or local residents, like me, getting involved in the elections, not much will change in the political landscape.

There’s no escaping the fact that the general public are becoming more disillusioned by politics. Speaking to normal people on the streets, it became patently obvious that many were of the opinion, “What’s the point?”

Even with UKIP reigniting a debate, applying anti-immigration rhetoric in the process, the danger is that their particular brand of scaremongering will only serve to cause further division.

It has become practically impossible to tell the difference between the three main political parties. At a recent Croydon debate, councillors from the Conservatives, Labour and LibDems spent the whole time aiming jibes at each other, intent on scoring cheap political points over each other.

It was farcical. When I raised concerns about cuts to Croydon libraries, they all avoided the question. Even worse, the council leader Mike Fisher tried to suggest there’s been no changes in library opening and closing times, which didn’t appear entirely accurate, going by objections raised by the audience.

The lack of consultation with key decisions seems to emphasise an apparent disregard for the electorate. There has been plenty: the incinerator, Westfield shopping centre, fortnightly bin collections, cuts and privatisation to Croydon libraries… The list goes on.

The council can’t be expected to consult on every single issue, or what would be the point of electing representatives in the first place? However, in the interests of democracy, where a decision has substantive repercussions on the whole community, then it becomes an obligation to consult widely.

The problems in the north of the borough are not irreparable, though saying that, it is not acceptable for Labour to escape liability for allowing the area to deteriorate to such a poor state. It will require someone with an actual interest in the area where they live to insist on necessary investment and resist any cuts to public services – someone not constrained by the bureaucracy of his or her political party.

I have lived in Croydon my entire life, now with my wife and three children. We notice when junk is allowed to accumulate in the streets for days. There are still billboards on display advertising last year’s Thornton Heath carnival. These issues may seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but for us, they add to life’s unnecessary frustrations.

TUSC is markedly different to any other political party standing in Thursday’s local elections. It is the only party opposing all cuts to public services. It is the only party willing to fight politician profiteers, selling off public assets. It’s the only party that’s actually going to do what its been asked to do.

Inside Croydon’s recent coverage of the local elections:


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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