It is clear that many residents are yet to decide who to vote for on Thursday in the General Election. And rightly so. This is a hugely important decision to make as the next government will shape our future for a generation. Mike Le-Surf makes his views clear to residents below in an open letter after a two year election campaign. Getting to know how residents of the constituency feel about the past five years of Conservative rule, the introduction of the bedroom tax, the turning off of our street lights, and savage cuts to local government grants have left Mike in no doubt that people have been failed by the Tories. Only a Labour government will make the necessary changes to improve people’s lives in South Basildon and East Thurrock.
On Thursday you have a decision to make. The choice is between a Labour Government and a Conservative one. Over the last two years I have had more than 20,000 conversations with people across our constituency and I understand that there is an enormous sense of frustration and apathy towards politicians and political parties. I feel it to. It is a large part of the reason why I decided to put myself forward to stand for parliament; I firmly believe we need more working class MPs, representing working people.
The truth is, that I know no matter what I have said to you and your family on the doorstep, or what words you read in this letter, the chances of me fully convincing you that I will deliver on all of my promises, is fairly remote. I get that. The bond of trust between parliament and the public is at the lowest ebb I can remember. And it is true, that actions really do speak louder than words.
So instead of trying to convince you to vote for me with pre-election promises, I’m asking you to judge the Labour party on their actions over the last 100 years. Consider your rights at work – from holiday pay to sick pay, to maternity and paternity pay – every
single one was secured and implemented by a Labour Government. Consider the National Health Service, which was created by a Labour government, in the aftermath of World War II, in order to treat each person according to their need, not according to their bank balance. Since its creation, consecutive Labour governments have reduced waiting times in our hospitals, opened walk-in centres and out-of-hours GP surgeries and reduced ambulance response times to an average of 4 minutes for the most severe calls. Additionally, we put more money into cancer research than any other government in history, meaning a cancer diagnosis today is no longer the death sentence it once was pre-1997.
Consider Labour’s record on supporting the elderly; free bus passes for pensioners, the introduction of the winter fuel payment, and free television licences for the over 75’s, as well as free eye tests for the over 60’s, and more doctors, nurses, midwives and Care Workers in the NHS during the last Labour Government than in any time since its inception. Consider Labour’s record for your children, your grandchildren and for young people across our constituency. The Building Schools For the Future programme which positively transformed every single classroom, in every single school, across the whole of our constituency, achieving record levels
of literacy and numeracy along the way. University education was opened to all and not just to the richest. Apprenticeship start-ups were increased from 67,000 in 1997 to more than 1 million by 2010. We opened 2,200 Sure Start centres, introduced free nursery education and lifted more than one million children out of poverty.
Consider too the house you currently live in – most likely built under a Labour administration given our continuous commitment to the most ambitious house building programmes in peacetime history which included a policy in the 1950s to build new towns, such as Basildon.
Politics is never perfect but, as you can probably tell, I don’t buy the argument that the Labour party has never delivered for working class people in our part of the world. History proves that when the Labour Party are in government, every person, from every walk of life, in every part of South Basildon and East Thurrock, has more opportunity to live the life they envisage for themselves. And that, I
believe, is how it should be. Therefore, given Labour’s record in government, I believe that if you use your vote to elect me as your new Member of Parliament on Thursday, you can have real reason to believe that I can deliver the following pledges which are aimed at ensuring working people get a far better deal than at present.
· An £8 minimum wage
· Build more affordable homes and council homes
· A cap on rail fares
·Cut university tuition fees to £6,000 from £9,000 and increase apprenticeships
· Private rented sector regulated
· More police officers on our streets
· Ban unqualified teachers
· A ban on exploitative zero-hour contracts
· Exempt first time buyers from paying Stamp Duty
· A freeze on energy bills until 2017
· Tax credits protected
· Free childcare extended
· 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs
5,000 more care workers, and 3,000 more midwives
· Absolutely no rise in VAT, National Insurance, or Income Tax
Not every one of these policies will directly affect you. However, they may affect your children, grandchildren or your friends at some point between now and May 2020. It is also clear that immigration is a major concern for people in this part of the world. I have never believed a person was racist for having concerns about immigration. Indeed many of the concerns people have – namely the effect on British culture and whether people can speak our language, as well as the contributory principle in the benefit system – are the same concerns that I too have had over the last decade. That is why I am standing on a manifesto that makes clear that a migrant working in the public sector will have to speak English and a person will have to be in this country for two whole years before they can claim any benefits.
You could sometimes be forgiven for believing that Thursday’s vote is simply a referendum on immigration. It isn’t. It’s about far more than that. This election is more comprehensive and it’s your only chance to vote for a new MP who can implement all of the changes laid out in this letter.
South Essex is my home. I was born and bred here and I will be living in the constituency as soon as possible if I am elected. I think that is important, because not only do I already understand the challenges this constituency faces, but I also understand that in South Essex, we are a proud people who passionately want what is best for ourselves and our families. Your current MP has chosen to stay living in his home in Loughton over the last five years and the UKIP candidate has been parachuted in from West London, where he plans to stay. Now is the time for some authenticity in politics. So I urge you to wake up on Friday having elected
one of your own to represent you in parliament for the next five years.
Thank you for reading this letter.
Mike Le Surf