Opinion: ‘Divide and rule’ is used as a distraction
PUBLISHED: 08:30 01 February 2020
The result of last December’s general election was disappointing for the Labour Party, but I am very grateful for the trust of more than 40,000 West Ham residents who once again voted for me.
Anyone watching PMQs cannot miss the smug jubilation, arrogance and complacency from the Conservative benches. They completely fail to comprehend the massive problems created by 10 years of Tory misrule, for which they are responsible and must solve.
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Many politicians simply don't understand places like Newham and mistakenly believe lack of investment only affects communities in the north. We know that is wrong. London needs investment, too. We know that in Newham more than a third of us work hard for less than a living wage. We know that, despite the continuing development of ever more skyscrapers on our doorsteps, we have the highest level of homelessness in the country. There is too little government investment in council homes. The price of buying and renting is outrageously high.
We know there are only 17,000 council homes in Newham and 27,000 residents on the council's waiting list. They're our families, friends and neighbours, who have waited years and years for the secure, affordable home they deserve.
We know more than half our children grow up in poverty, yet our council's grant has been cut in half since 2010. Our schools have lost almost £500 per pupil.
The 'North-vs-South' political partition appears to be the new 'Leave-vs-Remain.' It's just another 'divide-and-rule' tactic to distract us from real problems, shared across the country, problems that we know Boris Johnson will never, ever, be willing to address. He promises much, pretends to recognise the problems caused to communities by a decade of Tory-contrived decline, but he won't provide the real investment we need. I fear those who put their trust in him will be massively disappointed. I promise you all, I will not sit quietly by and allow this government, or anyone else, to ignore Newham's needs. I will shout all the louder and fight all the harder for the positive change we need for our community.