Community Links co-founder and life president Kevin Jenkins says vote to ensure democracy


- Credit: Archant

With just another seven days to go to polling day election fever seems to have missed Newham this time round.

I cannot personally recall such a low key general election locally.

I have seen very few posters for any party, received relatively few leaflets and to date not one candidate has knocked on my door.

Perhaps it is because Newham is seen as a Labour stronghold – indeed at the 2010 election Labour’s Stephen Timms received more votes (35,471) than any other MP and the largest majority of any MP (27,226).

However, Newham has been a Labour stronghold for a long time and in previous general elections there has been more of a presence from all parties, large and small.

The current focus on getting people to register to vote should be applauded, however, we will only improve our democracy if more of those who are registered to vote actively exercise their right to do so.

With a turnout of about 55 per cent in 2010, Newham – some 10pc below the national average, we still have some way to go.

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Although it is a national election, there will be far reaching consequences for Newham locally depending on who governs the country. If we are to get more people to cast their vote in Newham, we need more action and far greater profiles from all the parties at the local level.

Labour currently have the support of a significant majority of Newham residents because they have earned it, however, all other parties have the opportunity to challenge Labour and earn the support of Newham residents in the run up to the general election.

It seems that this opportunity is being missed.

If all those who can vote did vote Newham may not be such a Labour stronghold in the future.

If you have a vote, then use it on May 7 to ensure the real winner in democracy.