In My View… by Kate Ewert, Chair, South East Cornwall Labour Party
Who could have imagined, even a short time ago, that South East Cornwall would see such a significant resurgence of support for the Labour Party?
From tripling the vote at the June 2017 general election to growing local membership to almost a thousand, and from spearheading campaigns against NHS cuts to increasing the number of branches to eight, it has been an exhilarating couple of years.
There are now busy, campaigning Labour branches in Liskeard, Looe, Lostwithiel, Tamar Valley, Saltash, Moorland, Rame & Torpoint and Callington.
Hundreds of activists – greater in number even than Women’s Institute membership locally (though there is overlap, with some being members of both organisations) – meet regularly to listen to invited speakers, to discuss the issues of the day, and to socialise over a cuppa and cake. There are also regular fundraising events: curry and quiz nights and chilli and bingo evenings.
However, while these gatherings are informative and fun, the main aim of the local branches is to work towards changing politics locally by winning elections. In short, we want to make history by electing the first ever Labour MP for South East Cornwall. It will be an uphill struggle; such a thing has never been achieved before. In the coming months, we will be selecting a local candidate who will be ready to fight the next general election – whenever it is called.
The task ahead may be daunting, but certainly not impossible in the current climate of changing attitudes. And recent statistics bear this out. In our constituency, Labour’s vote leapt from 3,500 to 12,000 over the last three elections – placing the party in second place to the Conservatives. To put these figures into context, in 2017 the party’s fourth highest percentage increase nationally was in… South East Cornwall.
The editor of The Cornish Times, conscious of Theresa May’s slim parliamentary majority, has kindly allowed South East Cornwall Constituency Labour Party to have a regular fortnightly platform in these pages, offering readers the opportunity to hear an opposition view and thereby provoke healthy, democratic debate on issues that affect us all locally.
Over the coming weeks and months, we hope to be able to present an alternative view, to highlight issues that are important to people locally, and to challenge Sheryll Murray MP on the policies she votes for in the House of Commons which directly affect the lives of people here in our communities.
We want to raise public awareness of the connection between the actions taken in Parliament and the effect they have here on funding public services, on healthcare provision, on schools, on housing, on the environment, on agriculture, on fishing, on small businesses.
If you have a view, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in The Cornish Times 01/06/2018