Name: Ben Hickman
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”