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Word on the street: Brexit to play its part in local elections

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 April 2018

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Local elections should provide a chance for people to have their say on issues that affect their lives in the Borough of Camden but inevitably this poll will also be used as an opportunity for voters to send a message to the government and opposition of the day regarding national issues.

Undoubtedly housing, health, social care, crime and the environment will be subjects that should and will influence the ballot. However, an estimated 19,000 EU nationals and others living here may understandably want to make their voices heard on the issue of Brexit.

I’m very glad that candidates such as Marx De Morais and his colleagues in The Movement have had the guts to put their heads above the parapet on Brexit and other subjects. They should be applauded for showing real action not just words and for encouraging a discussion about a subject that will affect everyone in Camden for generations to come. That applause should be shown through voting for them and other parties that oppose the madness of leaving the European Union.

Camden Labour appear to have taken the lead from the Camden Conservatives in attempting to silence debate on Brexit in these local elections. It would seem that the two main parties have been well advised to avoid this issue on the doorstep as both occupy untenable positions because of their respective parties’ national policy on the subject. It is surely disingenuous to ask the electorate to vote for candidates of any party that supports leaving the EU in a borough that voted overwhelmingly for remain in the 2016 referendum. It is astonishing and sadly hypocritical that some existing and prospective councillors who are EU nationals are asking for people to vote along party lines that will potentially cause irreparable damage to both themselves and to their constituents.

The Labour Party in Camden should be championing an open debate on the future of our borough. Instead they appear to have only one goal which is to wipe out the prospect of any opposition in the Town Hall. This dystopian vision of the next four years is frankly alarming and will only serve to disenfranchise many people who will rightfully conclude that they have been marginalised by a political party who have become puffed up by a sense of entitlement, arrogance and complacency.

A ‘One Party State’ perverts democracy. It should and can be avoided by voting for ‘underdog’ candidates such as the LibDems, Greens and Independents in this election. Returning councillors with a diverse range of opinions and standpoints is essential to provide true democracy and will help deliver a balanced set of policies that serve the entire community.

The Labour Party slogan is ‘For The Many, Not The Few’.

If they really mean that then their candidates should be encouraging a broader debate in the run-up to May 3 and beyond.

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