By Chris Cornell / Justice / 0 Comments

This week there was a huge debate about whether Jeremy Corbyn muttered “stupid woman” or “stupid people” under his breath during the heated, final Prime Minister’s Questions of 2018. I have no intention of giving that debate any more airtime when the real issue is that your government does not care for people’s suffering, particularly women’s.

It is disgusting that you have sought to make political capital out of this issue. Yesterday you emailed your constituents, calling out the Labour leader as misogynistic and asking them to join the Conservative party instead. Weaponising feminism in this way is deeply bizarre given the current political landscape.

Last month Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, gave an extraordinary report on your government’s austerity policies. He concluded that they have inflicted “great misery” on the 14 million people living in poverty in the UK. He also damned the British welfare system as “so sexist it may as well have been compiled by a group of misogynists in a room.”

How has this government inflicted systematic misogyny on the women of this country? After nearly a decade of austerity it is clear that women are disproportionately shouldering the burden of these policies. This is born out by research carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Women’s Budget Group and the Runnymede Trust demonstrating that women, particularly BAME women, are disproportionately affected by cuts to public services and other spending.

What does this burden look like Helen? It looks like this:

To seek to create political capital over the events of this week when your government has enacted policies that amount to nearly a decade of systematic misogyny is an act of gross hypocrisy. If you actually care about seeing an end to misogyny then please, clean your own house first, women’s lives depend on it.

By Chris Cornell / Latest News / 0 Comments

Name: Ben Hickman

 

Age: 35

 

Political persuasion: Left left Labour

 

Who are you? I’m a lecturer in English at the University of Kent and Chair of Canterbury Constituency Labour Party. I’ve lived in Canterbury for 10 years and I love it.

 

Kent County Council, what do they do? Well. Right now it’s full of Tories, so at the moment they mainly cut the budgets of public services like schools, social care, buses and the like. But we can change that. The fight to push back the sea of blue in Kent starts here: we can turn the County Council into something that properly represents, listens to and fights for many of Kent, not the few.

 

Does that mean I can vote then? Yes! You can vote if you live in the area of Canterbury North, and what’s more, if you’re a student you can register in two places — your term address and your address back home. Do it by the end of the month though — that’s the deadline.

 

If elected, how would you help me? I’m determined to be the first councillor for Canterbury North that listens to you, the people who live here. There’s already plenty to be getting on with, though. I want to fight for a new hospital at Kent & Canterbury, with A&E, and for properly funded social care. I want buses that run regularly and later than 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and free travel for under-25s. I want more investment in early years education so headteachers don’t have to turn special needs pupils away. And I want much more for Canterbury North!

 

Can you really make a difference? I’ve seen what austerity has done to Canterbury and its surrounding areas — we have to make a difference. It won’t just be me: the Labour Party in Canterbury is a social movement — not only do we have our own MP and some city councillors, unlike the other parties we also have an army of activists that are committed to helping those most in need. We can all make a difference.

 

Does my vote count? Usually, not many people vote in Kent County Council elections, and young people especially stay away. We’re going to change that next month, but it’ll be tight so your vote really will matter.

 

Do say: “For the many, not the few”

 

Don’t say: “Brexit means Brexit”

 

For more information on Ben and the Kent County Council vote on Nov 15, click here.

By Chris Cornell / JobsWelfare / / 0 Comments

My first impression of the Gateway for Sheppey was its location. It was the former Woolworths, band in the middle of the high street. It’s accessibility was excellent. It’s make over was fresh, modern and spacious. The facilities were set out on two floors, ground and first. Each floor had sets of disabled and child toilets. Services such as the library and computers on the first floor. A comprehensive array of advice services on the ground floor with a sitting area and cafe.

When you walked into the building, there was a large reception desk with the words ‘Meet and Greek’ in bold letters. On the desk was a trained receptions to guide and put clients at ease and make sure that they were directed to the right area. Children could read books or draw whilst their parents accessed services. Every social need was catered for; Mental Health, Domestic Abuse and Health charities hosted pop up surgeries on a weekly basis; the council were on hand to advise on housing, rates, planning roads and homeless issues. Food bank vouchers were available on request. Upstairs KCC floating support services and adult education teams had offices, with ‘return to work’ training available in the afternoons.

Under years of Conservative government, we have no direct access to public services. Tory austerity has nearly broken our community. In Whitstable we have become a disenfranchised community, not knowing where to get help or challenge anything which is being imposed on is.

Kent County Council has a number of under utilised buildings in our town; a proactive council could approach them to improve access to what KCC services we have and start up a Gateway or Hub which will centralise new advice services. It would help us gain access to services we have paid for! This is our right!

A high street hub would make the council more accessible, so why is Canterbury one of the only districts in Kent not to have them. The Council’s own community profile acknowledges that whilst Canterbury is relatively affluent, areas of Whitstable (Gorell, Seasalter) and Herne Bay (Greenhill and Eddington, Heron) are amongst the 20% most deprived areas in the country. So why is this council removing services from those most in need. I want what Sheppey and Margate have got for Whitstable.