Saturday, 10 April 2010

Battleground Newham

Not so much a Battleground as a straight walk back to those lush green benches of Westminster is indeed the best description to describe this election campaign for the two Newham representatives of New Labour seeking re-election in the 6 May poll.

I received my first election communication from Lyn Brown the New Labour candidate yesterday, billing herself as the local voice working hard for West Ham at Westminster, with a big scary smiling Lyn Brown on the front page, which I thought was an extraordinary and terrible waste of leaflet, but then again it fits the self-seeking culture of this New Labour type.

Lyn Brown replaced the late Tony Banks when he retired, a former local councillor and I wouldn't say that she has been an effective MP for the people of Newham, she says that she has lived all her life in Newham and yet Lynn Brown's unreasonable usage of the second home allowance until May 2009, despite her constituency being only a few miles from Westminster weakened her popularity and I do suppose you could say that this is one little piggy that will be able to return to the trough.

With a population of around 124,000, West Ham is a district of the London Borough of Newham in London. West Ham lies east of Chairing Cross and west of East Ham, bordering with its new added wards the Royal Victoria Docks to the south.

Following the review of parliamentary representation, the Boundary Commission for England added the Canning Town and Custom House wards that were previously in Poplar and Canning Town. The constituency of West Ham covers parts of the western half of Newham, including the areas of West Ham, Forest Gate, Plaistow, Stratford, Maryland and Upton Park.

The added wards of Canning Town and Custom House, which neighbour many Dockland developments, are typified by a loose and disseminated urban structure, with poorly defined public spaces and a confused and bewildered layout of suburban streets, harbouring deep poverty, high unemployment and social inequality.

Canning Town my manor as the old East End saying goes, is beginning to show and develop signs of breakdown; only yesterday I observed three separate fights between individuals in broad daylight out on or near Barking Road, which is the main road that runs through the area with its array of rundown shops. The Security guard at the local Iceland supermarket is kept busy in the constant war waged against the poor shoplifter forced into pilfering as a means to an end. Things are so bad that the police are on constant stand by in the event of a major outbreak of trouble and violence especially from youth gangs.

The constituency of West Ham has been one of the fastest growing in recent years. West Ham has become a largely Afro-Caribbean and Asian community and with 35% of residents born outside of the UK. In 2001 Tony Banks secured 70% of the votes cast and his Majority was 15,645.

During the 2005 election and the first outing of Lyn Brown, that Majority was cut dramatically to 9,801 when Respect stepped into the breech putting up a candidate and achieving a remarkable swing from Labour to Respect of 19%. Sadly the much publicised fractional split of Respect will mean that Lyn Brown and New Labour will have a very clear run here this time, but what will be interesting is to see how many people who will decide to abstain this time?

I will be writing and reporting more about East Ham as the election campaign proceeds’. 

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