Colchester Conservatives 2016 manifesto is weak

I have just received a copy of the Colchester Conservatives manifesto.

The first paragraph accuses Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Independents of allowing too much house building and not planning for infrastructure. The irony of this is that it is the Conservative majority run Essex County Council which is constantly pushing for more house building in Colchester. It is also the Conservative party which is responsible for huge cuts to councils funding, which massively reduces the likelihood of any new infrastructure schemes going ahead. Colchester Conservatives 2016 manifesto is weak and hypocritical.

In the same paragraph, Colchester Conservatives say that they want Colchester’s heritage to be properly maintained. Before he was elected in Colchester, Cllr Darius Laws made it clear that he wanted Colchester’s Roman walls illuminated at night. In 2016, Darius Laws still strongly supports that idea. Like Mr Laws, I have lived in Colchester most of my life and I agree that Colchester’s heritage should be shouted about from the rooftops. However, I cannot understand how any Councillor could make this a priority at a time when children’s centres are being closed, when Colchester Borough Council is being forced to save money any way it can, and when more people are relying on Colchester’s food banks just to survive. Lighting up Colchester’s ancient walls just isn’t a priority and quite honestly isn’t a policy to build an election campaign on.

Later on in the leaflet, the Conservatives accuse the Liberal Democrats of using “£millions from Central Government in New Homes Bonus” to “prop up an inefficient Lib Dem council’s general budget”. There doesn’t seem to be any real evidence to support this claim, but again I have to return to the issues of austerity and how Tory cuts have forced local councils into finding money any way they can. Where would the Tories find this money if it was used for other schemes?

Colchester Conservatives also claim that they want safer streets. So why is their party is trying to get rid of school crossing patrols?

Colchester Conservatives Hypocrisy

What has really annoyed me about the Conservatives publication is that they constantly blame all other political parties for everything that’s wrong about Colchester, whilst failing to recognise that most of the problems have been caused by cuts in funding made by the very Tory government they serve.

On the back page of the leaflet, Colchester Conservatives go on to accuse Colchester Borough Council’s current Administration of not doing enough to work with Essex County Council on new road schemes. Of course, this isn’t true, because the roads of Colchester are controlled by Tory-controlled Essex County Highways, not CBC, and as much as CBC will try to make sure new schemes go ahead the decisions are out of CBC’s hands.

Finally, Colchester Conservatives claim to want to keep weekly food waste collections – a policy which was started by the late Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Hunt and which was also supported by Labour Councillor Tina Bourne. A Colchester Conservatives idea it wasn’t!

Where are the Conservatives Councillors?

This weekend I’ve been out with the local Berechurch Labour team. We’ve been litter picking, walking the streets, speaking to local people about their concerns, reporting broken kerbs for them and working hard for our community in general. On other weekends we’ve been cutting back hedges, painting garages and doing all manner of jobs to make the local communities of Colchester better.

When was the last time you saw a Colchester Conservatives Councillor getting their hands dirty in your area?

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