Cannock Chase constituency is a pivotal seat to the outcome of next year’s general election. A Labour gain here will see the dawn of a Labour government.
The Conservative-led coalition has treated Cannock Chase appallingly. First, we have had a controversial right wing Tory member of parliament who has packed in the job and is flying away. Since being elected in 2010 Aidan Burley has distinguished himself for a notoriously poor lack of judgement that led to him being sacked as a ministerial aid, and being widely mocked and criticised for the astonishing comments tweeted by him during the Olympic Games opening ceremony. I do not want to comment on his Nazi controversy because of the anger that I feel. I was really looking forward to the clash with him but it is not to be.
Now we have a new Tory candidate parachuted in from Rossendale in Lancashire.
People in Cannock Chase have felt the cuts imposed by the Tories: youth clubs closed, libraries under threat, potholes all over the district and an NHS that has been diminished. We need to tell people that the Tories have slashed and wrecked the NHS in Cannock Chase. Furthermore, we need to challenge the Tories’ fairytale, self-proclaimed economic miracle.
I want to see Cannock Chase as an area where people can meet their aspirations and goals. I want young children to aspire to do jobs and professions that perhaps their parents do not do. To be a teacher, to run their own company, to be a doctor, to be a scientist, or even to be a games designer are just some examples.
I want to see families being strong, providing the income to make ends meet and have decent-paying jobs so that they can meet their ambitions too.
I want to see fairness at the heart of government so that everyone that works hard earns a decent standard of living. I am sick and tired of seeing people having to get their vouchers for the foodbank and contrasting this with the standard millionaire who pockets an extra £40,000 with the Tories’ new reduced higher tax rate.
I have been a councillor here for 23 years and I know our constituency well. Meeting people on the doorstep is the best way to communicate with the voters. In Cannock Chase you have to get accustomed very quickly to robust and direct conversations. I will not have it any other way. We have weekly phonebanks with volunteers ringing residents across the constituency and, of course, our councillors who are out and about across the constituency working for residents every day.
Cannock Chase is on a knife edge with Labour slightly ahead by around three per cent. The Tories won by 3,195 votes in 2010 and they are not going to give it up. So if people want to see an end to the Tory-led government then this is the first-choice destination to come and campaign in. The key battleground of 2015 will be Cannock Chase and this is why I welcome the Progress’ Operation Flight day of action on 10 January next year.
Janos Toth is parliamentary candidate for Cannock Chase
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