Mary Griffiths Clarke, PPC for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, reports from rural Wales
THE FUTURE OF POLITICS LIES IN Grassroots campaigning, being that
difference, invigorating communities, not dividing and destroying them.
My constituency is largely forgotten by the echelons of Westminster. Its distance
from London is no excuse for allowing swathes of rural residents to be neglected and overlooked. Participating in democracy should not be a postcode lottery.
The privatisation of services is destroying rural communities. For example, if bus routes don’t generate a profit they are closed, yet people rely on them to get to work, hospital appointments and college, and care for relatives.
Demand for food banks is up over 40% and rising. This is a consequence of poor wages and benefit sanctions. My constituency has the lowest wages in the UK. It’s heartbreaking. Foodbank volunteers, largely elderly, are distributing parcels themselves, using their own cars and without petrol allowances. This isn’t sustainable.
As technology develops, rural areas with poor broadband and mobile technology fall further behind the rest of the UK with devastating effects on the local economies,
but the lack of willingness to invest in sparsely populated locations means the gap
is widening. How big will these cracks have to be before action is taken?
We need to place more emphasis on values and inclusion: social inclusion by showing dignity to the disabled, financial inclusion by eliminating zero-hour contracts and political inclusion by enabling people from all walks of life to stand as representatives, not just the elite.