Tonight the Independent candidate for Monkton ward in the local South Tyneside elections has again leafleted the Lukes Lane Estate with a hastily prepared, one sided A4 flier, in which he makes the main focus of his election campaign the ‘illegal travellers’ who have twice in the last three years set up camp on the fields adjacent to the estate for a few weeks. In attempting to turn the estate against a small section of society he is no different to the fascists in the BNP who likewise scapegoat vulnerable sections of society.
He tells us that if elected on May 3rd his promise is to “resolve the problem as quickly as possible”. The big problem for me is with people who would ostracise travellers and turn communities against them. At a time when the Lukes Lane Community Group is trying to restore a sense of community, the last thing we need is would-be-leaders coming here telling us who our bloody enemies are. I personally feel more in common with travellers, as members of the same social class and with the same basic needs, than with people who tell us who we can and cannot have living near us and who would erect barriers to keep ‘outsiders’ out.
He further tells us that he aims to re-route the 527 bus service through the estate to give it a direct service to South Shields. Were he aware of the local scene then he’d be aware that the Lukes Lane Community Group have had three meetings to date with heads of Nexus and Go-ahead (local transport providers) and raised the issue of re-routing the 527 service. We have been told that the main reason such a service can not be provided is because it would mean having to employ three extra drivers, a cost that would not be clawed back via extra fares from the estate. In the meantime the Community Group is planning a further meeting with local transport officials to address local transport problems. This is not the work of local councillors, but community activists, working together to sort their own problems out.
Again, he promises to work with police to tackle the ‘small minority who cause anti-social behaviour’. As if residents were not aware of the problem. As if the Lukes Lane Community Group was not already on the matter, working to get better facilities for the estate, to give youngsters something to do with their free time, and to introduce new courses for residents, old and young.
At the end of the day the root cause of the problems our Independent candidate seeks to address lies in the way society is organised – profits before people. The travellers camp’ illegally’ because it is too costly for the council to hand them free land on which to camp. The bus service is crap because it is not profitable to improve it and the local community centre functions at a minute fraction of its true capability because of council cut backs and because not one single member of its pro-Labour management committee (mostly ex and present councillors) comes from the bloody estate or gives a shit about what residents would like to see there.
But will any candidate, except the one standing on behalf of the Socialist Party, level criticism against the profit system? Will they shite!!Independent candidates, Labour candidates – a plague on all their f****** houses!!
Click here for more on travellers setting up camp near Lukes Lane Estate.And what a date on which to get such a leaflet - April 30th?