LAURA McAlpine, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow and the Villages today spoke out against deception and dishonesty in politics, pledging to do all that she can to ensure openness and transparency in the next Labour government.
“I want to be part of a government which is committed to making life better for as many people as possible, not sneaking through harmful policies and bad news on the last day of term because they cannot be defended in open debate.
This government, on the final day before the 6-week parliamentary summer recess, made several announcements which slipped most people’s notice; a 100% rise in the numbers of our service personnel seeking mental health support over the past decade, and increasingly long waits for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to receive treatment. We also had news of the closure of two RAF bases days after the RAF centenary.
We had a report on a failing rail network, with carriages carrying two-and-a-half times the numbers they were designed for, the confirmation that real wages in the public sector are still lower than they were in 2010, and no new money will be allocated to reduce the austerity programme. These are all issues which government should be prepared to discuss honestly and openly, explaining reasoning and strategy, and offering clear plans of action. Instead, they announce these things on the last day of the parliament, then scuttle off for 6 weeks in the hope it will be forgotten about by the time they return”.
Laura sees it as an insult to the British public, for government to be devious and underhand about introducing policy they are not prepared to fully debate, or publishing reports which they find embarrassing. She claims that sometimes the policies which are ‘sneaked through’ can be amongst the most socially harmful legislation.
“I am against this new policy of councils losing the right to block private developments if they have ‘failed to build their fair quota of affordable housing’. This is a blatant policy of punishing the local population, and perhaps turning that population against a local council, when the reason some councils do not meet quotas have more to do with government policies than local ones. Who wants to live in an area where the council cannot block inappropriate housing developments? But this change has been sneaked through with no debate.”
Laura’s position on housing in Harlow reflects her own experience, having grown up in Harlow she recognises the importance of young people being able to establish themselves in the town, in Council housing, private rental, or as house-buyers.
“If the town’s young people cannot find affordable housing in Harlow, the town will eventually die. We need policies which produce more council housing and more affordable housing, and rent caps on private rentals, not legislation which pretends to encourage affordable housing but which is actually designed to produce unrestricted private development. And the fact that such matters are quietly slipped through by this government is really an attempt to avoid parliamentary scrutiny and public debate. It is deceitful and dishonourable, and it has to stop.
“Harlow is not unique in wanting an MP who will fight for the interests of the town and its people, but also take difficult decisions honestly and openly. People really have had enough of deceptive and dishonest politicians.”