Keith Henderson, a member of Clacton Labour Party whose letters on the local
Tory MP’s defection have been published in the Guardian and East Anglian Daily
Times, reports on today’s by-election, in a personal capacity
Douglas Carswell’s attempt to secure another term in office
as Clacton’s MP by defecting to UKIP will be seen by many as an
opportunistic move. For a man who claims to be against the top
down approach of the political elite in Westminster and to fight for
local democracy, his actions do not match his words. We need no
lectures about transparency from someone who in conjunction with
Nigel Farage selects himself as the UKIP candidate.
Tendring District Council’s Labour Group leader and former MP
for Clacton, Ivan Henderson, said, “He’s seen the vote increasing for
UKIP, seen the possibility he could lose his seat and panicked.
Douglas has always been a maverick in terms of his party but this is
an opportunistic move because he’s seen it slipping away from him.”
The current Labour candidate for the by-election, Tim Young,
said: “Clacton has been left behind by this Tory-led government.
David Cameron boasts of an economic recovery in London but
people locally are suffering a real cost-of-living crisis. Local
unemployment remains high, rail fares and fuel prices are rising and
local NHS services are under threat.
“As every day goes by it becomes clearer and clearer that Mr
Cameron can’t even lead his own party, let alone give Clacton or
the country the leadership it needs. This nasty little squabble
between UKIP and the Tories won’t help anyone in Clacton pay
their electricity bill or find a job.”
We need to fight this by-election and next year’s General Election
with real Labour socialist policies such as ensuring full employment
for everyone; the Living Wage; a free National Health Service; an
education system available to all on demand with adequate
provision for all; publicly controlled energy companies and
renewable energy development; and reversal of all the Tory cuts on
benefits for disabled people.
Above all affordable, adequate safe housing is a fundamental
human right. In our town, hundreds of properties lie empty and
unused – from derelict homes to flats which have never been
occupied. Yet families try to cope day after day with hostel
accommodation while still more individuals are completely without
shelter of any sort. So-called ‘right to buy’ greatly reduced social
housing stock and contributed to homelessness. We want a full
programme of council housing, homes built and renovated and
employing building workers hired directly – using the capital
receipts at present still held by local authorities from the sale of
council housing. Such a programme would provide not only homes
but jobs for the multitude of building workers currently unemployed.
If we fail to expose Mr Carswell and UKIP for what they are, we will
pay a high price. We must highlight the fact that Carswell supports
policies such as privatising and destroying the NHS. He does not
believe in employment rights. He backed replacing the Disability
Living Allowance which brought horrendous consequences for
disabled people. Effective promotion of policies advocated by Labour
Party members in Clacton, at the same time as exposing Carswell for
what he really is, will have the opposite effect.