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Alec McInnes came to Cheshunt from Wood Green in 1964 with his wife and daughter, he now lives in Bury Green. Alec served with the British Army, seeing action at the time of the Suez crises: 1952-56. He has also worked as a driving instructor and chauffeur for 15 years and knows the area very well. Alec is well known to many local residents, helping them with issues related to the local council and speaking on behalf of many. 

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Why are you a member of the Labour Party?

Labour is the party of solidarity. We work to improve the lives of everyone, not just the rich few. That’s why I joined.

Why is it important that Broxbourne has more Labour councillors and a Labour MP?

I have noticed in Broxbourne that many people vote according to the performance of a party or the national government. That’s fine but local issues are very important too and too often in Bury Green and Broxbourne generally, the local Tory councillors know nothing about the ward, the area, or even what’s going on in the council chamber. They just take votes for granted here. 

My ward, Bury Green, especially has been neglected by the Council for years. They have promised people things that they simply haven’t delivered. It really is time for a change this time.  

I urge the people of Bury Green to vote Labour and to get their issues properly addressed this time. 

Meet the Members - Alec

Alec McInnes came to Cheshunt from Wood Green in 1964 with his wife and daughter, he now lives in Bury Green. Alec served with the British Army, seeing action at...

After a weekend in the sun, listening to the brass band and chatting to voters - Edward Robinson contributes some thoughts on countering UKIP

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It was a beautifully sunny day this Saturday (and for a lot of Sunday) in Hoddesdon, perfect for getting out and chatting to voters. I actually met a good number of Labour members and lots of people who said they were planning on voting Labour or would consider voting Labour.

I also really enjoyed getting chatting to a number of people who said they were considering voting UKIP. 

These people are attracted to UKIP for a number of reasons. They are annoyed by a political system that they think is failing. I can sympathise with them there. And they think voting UKIP is the best way of registering this disaffection. But this doesn't mean that they are actually that similar in inclination to Nigel Farage or to the right wing of the Tory party. Voting UKIP for these people is more of a political tactic it seems.  

In fact what interests me most is that many of the people I speak to, who are most tempted by UKIP, don’t seem to harbour any personal animosity against immigrants at all or to come across as overly nationalistic. They are more worried about what you might call 'structural changes’ like the polarization of the economy into high and low skills, coupled to the concern that immigration was heightening exploitation in the workplace, reducing wages and putting pressure on public services and the welfare state. 

Academic research doesn't really bear this out. Many people immigrate to Britain to work in high paid jobs where there is a skills shortage (not to mention those who come to work in our public services). But, nonetheless, in these scenarios it's worth highlighting Labour's commitment to fairness. Labour is in favour of freedom of movement. It is a historical achievement. But we are fundamentally against workplace exploitation and benefit fraud. If you want to come here and work, great. Labour will always be on your side. If you are exploited by low pay and poor conditions, Labour is your party. We are the party of the trade unions. We introduced the minimum wage and we'll raise it in government. If you are worried that people are claiming benefit they don't deserve, Labour is clear on that too. Our welfare state was designed like a national insurance policy, with the contributory principle at its heart. It is designed to help people in temporary need, and it is an indictment on our current state of affairs that it is so often required for people in work, as well as for those people who want to work but whose talent is going to waste. My personal view is that benefit fraud is a side issue – but we must reassure people that we are opposed to it.

My view at the moment is that what a lot of UKIP supporters really want is security, prosperity and a fair chance.  But that is what the Left stands for - not the Right. It should make them natural Labour supporters. Some were horrified when I quoted Nigel Farage's views on privatising the NHS. That isn't what they want at all. But we have to win back their trust that we are not just another establishment party like the Tories and the Lib Dems, we are a radical party that wants to change Britain very seriously, in their interests

So the message to me was clear. We will not beat UKIP by aping it. We will beat UKIP by highlighting our socialist and social democratic values. Shared prosperity, fairness, a high-pay-high-skill economy and quality, universal public services. We are welcoming to immigrants who want to work, but we do not support exploitation in any of its forms. 

 

Edward Robinson is Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate in Broxbourne

Weekend report - Canvassing in Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross

After a weekend in the sun, listening to the brass band and chatting to voters - Edward Robinson contributes some thoughts on countering UKIP

Continuing our series on member profiles. Here, Gino tells us why he joined the party and why he's getting involved in the run up to the General Election 

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Why did you join the Labour party?

I joined the party in the late 1990s, and have been a member ever since. I have always been inspired by the invaluable contributions successive Labour governments have brought about for the benefit of the many and not the few. But a party’s past achievements are not enough in themselves – an evolving vision for the future is what matters most. And I believe that the Labour party is best placed to take this country forward.

The world is changing fast and we need to keep up as a nation. Yet in growing our economy and strengthening our industrial and manufacturing sectors, we need to make sure that large parts of our society are not left behind. The huge current inequalities in our society show that we have a very long way to go, and in Ed Miliband I believe we have a leader who grasps the seriousness of this challenge.

Why is it important that we have a Labour government elected in May 2015?

We desperately need a government that is prepared to equip this nation for the long-term challenges that lie ahead. Since 2010 the Conservative-led Coalition has shown itself to be inward-looking in its vision, divisive in its language and aloof in its tone.

Having long ago run out of ideas, the government looks endlessly for scapegoats to divert attention away from its shortcomings; if it is not the poor, then it is the public sector, the EU or immigrants. This inward-looking mentality will only mean that the same mistakes of the past will reappear and that crucial issues that affect our everyday lives are left unresolved: from inadequate childcare provision and escalating public transport costs, to creeping privatisation of the NHS, and re-inflation of the housing bubble. This country deserves so much better than this.

The past five years have been about missed opportunities. We cannot afford for the next five to result in more of the same.

I am delighted that we have such a driven and engaged Labour candidate in Edward Robinson.

Meet the Members - Gino

Continuing our series on member profiles. Here, Gino tells us why he joined the party and why he's getting involved in the run up to the General Election 

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