Jon Cruddas: 'It’s vital for the health of democracy to focus on the local'
Jon Cruddas MP, Dagenham and Rainham
- Credit: Archant
So much of the discussion about politics these days seems to be who’s up who’s down and dramas centred on Westminster – basically, a basin full of froth.
Surely what’s important are the things that touch people’s everyday lives.
Yes, it’s essential to have a vision for the nation’s future and the policies to bring that about, but it’s vital for the health of democracy to focus on the local, to work to help local people as best as you can deal with the problems when faced with authority, picking up issues of concern to communities.
My take is that it is only through this far from glamorous side of being an MP or councillor that you can build the understanding to properly represent your area and people.
Each week I receive between 800 and 1,000 enquiries from local constituents. These range from personal issues affecting them to the dreadful flooding problems in Rainham village, HGV traffic through Wennington, the cladding scandal affecting Orchard Village and other buildings across our area, potholes and uneven footpaths everywhere and a chronic lack of health service provision in the south of Havering.
Working on these issues, which massively impact the lives of people, brings home to me the kind of policies that we need to improve lives and give people a fairer and better chance in life.
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I simply don’t accept that there isn’t the money to properly fund our schools, police and NHS, and pay nurses, doctors and poorly-paid carers what they deserve. It is a question of political priorities.
There’s a cliché that says all politics are local - I doubt that’s ever been more true.
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