Labour locally has actively campaigned for better services and a better environment over many years – both as a political party and through the work of our borough and county councillors.
Inevitably we have seen our fortunes ebb and flow with public mood and the popularity -- or otherwise -- of whatever party has been in government nationally at the time.
It is worthwhile remembering that during the height of unpopularity of Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government during the mid-nineties when a Labour-led coalition with the Liberal Democrats and an Independent governed Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. At that time we had 14 Labour borough councillors together with representation locally on Surrey County Council.
Alas, despite much good work and many successful initiatives designed to improve people’s lives that Labour councillors can rightly lay claim to – including affordable housing for young people, better facilities for pensioners and the disabled, and improved recycling of waste – we were to suffer the consequences of Labour’s long period in government.
After three terms of a Labour government, it was almost inevitable that the electorate would be persuaded into the belief that change was necessary.
However, looking at the current parlous state of nation under the coalition, with a record double-dip recession, continuing banking crisis, a creaking infrastructure and rising employment, many are now recognising what a mistake that was.
Today the Tories have a virtual stranglehold on power – both on the local and county councils. And that just isn’t healthy for democracy!
Under Ed Miliband’s leadership nationally, Labour recognises that it needs to regain the trust and confidence of the British people in order to win power once more and reverse the damage the coalition government is doing to our nation. Kid yourself not, health and social care services are not safe in the Tories’ hands!
Similarly, Labour recognises that locally it must become more relevant to local people’s needs. That is why we plan to consult widely with the local electorate in the run up to next year’s county council elections to make sure that our prospective councillors are fighting for the services and facilities that you believe are important and that must be protected.
But we can only do that with your help and your support at the ballot box. Please help us to make Redhill and Reigate an area worth living in once more.