Cllr John Moss is a councillor for Larkswood Ward in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and Chairman of Chingford & Woodford Green Conservatives.
You know the old saying, “When you get fed up of saying it, the electors are just starting to hear it”? Well, we have been banging on about the £12.50 daily cost of driving a non-exempt vehicle across the A406 North Circular Road since July last year. And guess what? People are now mentioning it, un-prompted, on the doorsteps as we enter the final phase of our campaign.
And we think it’s being mentioned to Labour canvassers as well, because they recently put a statement up about it, which is the first time they have mentioned it on any of their political pages. Why? Because it is the issue which, I think, will mean we win seats from Labour in Waltham Forest.
Imagine you’re caring for an elderly parent? You don’t work, but you get the £64.60pw Carer’s Allowance. You go every day from Chingford to Walthamstow in your six year old, 24,000 miles-in-the-clock, diesel Ford Focus. That’ll cost you £85.50 every week, wiping out your Carer’s Allowance. Or maybe you’re getting on a bit and you bought a similar car a few years ago when the Government was encouraging you to buy diesel to cut CO2 emissions? If you need go to the local hospital, that’s another £12.50.
Labour are unpopular in Waltham Forest. They imposed a “Mini-Holland” traffic blocking scheme in Walthamstow which few people like and which has cut trade in off-pitch local shops. They’ve granted planning consent for tower blocks up to 29 stories high in Walthamstow, with ZERO affordable rented homes, on what is currently a public square and which is owned by the Council. Because of these things, they are, incredibly, being attacked from the Left by the ultras of TUSC, who are targeting individual councillors who supported these schemes. (Conservatives have consistently voted against them).
Locally, Labour also tried to close local libraries and move them into smaller accommodation, shut down a social services hub where charities commissioned by the Council were delivering services for older and vulnerable people and they tried to get rid of short-stay free parking. Conservatives have led the fight against all these things and won every time.
We’re not fighting to win control or keep it, we’re fighting to be a strong opposition so we can stop Labour doing stupid things. With their track record, that’s a target rich environment!
Our feedback tells us our support is solid and Labour’s flaky. So we are confident of taking back the two individual seats Labour won in two wards in 2014. They were largely lost because of split voting as the elections were on the same day as the European Parliament. With no UKIP candidates anywhere and the Liberal Democrat and Green candidates standing in what looks suspiciously like a local pact, but not working these wards, it really is a straight fight here between Conservatives and Labour.
They are clearly lacking data, repeatedly canvassing the same streets – the same people even – but you can’t play catch up in three months when we have worked our wards, week in week out, for years.
Will we succeed in our goal of re-taking those two seats? Well that’s now up to the voters.