Newport’s establishment parties are not happy. Labour in particular are clearly upset – even offended – by the sudden appearance of Newport Independents Party on the city’s political landscape.
It speaks volumes that on the day it’s announced that Theresa May is coming to Wales to shore up support for the Conservatives, the local Labour party is STILL more concerned about Newport Independents, and clearly sees the Independents as its main threat at the forthcoming local council elections.
It might seem strange that Labour are so predominantly obsessed by this ‘ragbag’ (according to Carwyn Jones) collection of concerned and dedicated local residents who, in Carwyn Jones’ words, are supposedly ‘without any coherent programmes and no principles’, especially when the polls suggest a huge rise in popularity of the Tories in Wales [ ‘Sensational’ poll suggests Tories could end Labour majority in Wales ]
In reality, the concern about Newport Independents is due to the fact that a nerve has obviously been hit with the ‘Cosy Club’ mantra and the message that we are the only party that can offer REAL representation at a local ward level, and challenging the historic one-size-fits-all thinking and policies that have failed the city.
People understand that the establishment parties have failed. They have presided over an ugly decline of the city that sees the city centre plagued by anti-social behavior and with filthy streets.
We have a city that is frequently gridlocked because there is no effective public transport strategy in place, and we have the UK’s third highest level of CO2 output per capita, and the third highest use of private cars for commuting to work (those two statistics are clearly linked).*
The council allows major new housing developments to proceed with no thought for the existing communities that live here and the effect these new developments will have on congestion and local services.
Labour in Newport have hidden behind budget cuts and the Tory programme of austerity to mask their failings. Yes, the cuts have been brutal, but it is not good enough to simply hold up your hands and surrender. To do so is not only lazy, it is irresponsible. As a city we need to work around the challenge and to find ways to evolve the city and make it more efficient, effective, robust and sustainable for 2017 and beyond. However, Labour are as hand-tied by their national party and as lacking in ideas as the Tories. And it is easier for them to plead they are hand-tied than to work at solutions.
That the establishment parties now knock on doors and say ‘Give us five years and we’ll sort it out’ is laughable. Their record speaks volumes and their clear electioneering is verging on insulting to the people of Newport.
Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats must equally share the blame for the decline in our city, for none of them have acted to halt it. Instead they have all embraced and perpetuated the ongoing campaign of spin and misdirection that has been masterminded by the Labour spinmasters in Newport and created to divert attention from their failings.
The soundbites come thick and fast from the establishment parties and their cheerleaders in the local press. From ‘City on the Rise’, to ‘City of Democracy’, one only has to walk through Newport city centre’s dirty streets plagued with anti-social behavior and empty shop fronts to understand the real picture.
For those of us old enough to remember and yearn for the glory days of the thriving Newport in the 1980s, these soundbites serve only to offend.
Newport Independents Party are leading the way on campaigning. We are relentless in pounding the streets and knocking doors. We will continue to be relentless up to, and beyond the local elections. This in itself is an annoyance for the establishment parties as it means they have been forced out of their comfort zone to try and match us.
Rest assured, Newport Independents Party is an ongoing mission. The local elections are where we stake our intentions, but regardless of the outcome we will continue to build and to hold to account the establishment parties that feel they have a divine right to office in this wonderful city, and who take the existing communities for granted. We are representatives for a growing number of Newportonians who say “This is NOT good enough. We will NOT buy into the spin that hides failure. We demand better.”
If the Cosy Club finds our presence discomforting, we make no apologies.
Newport Independents Party candidate for Stow Hill
*Source: The Centre for Cities Report