On Saturday Anawar Miah and an army of volunteers took Labour’s positive message to the people of Hatfield in White Lion Square.
During the course of conversations hundreds of people outlined their concerns and hopes, fears and ambitions. In response, Anawar explained his pledges to protect funding for our NHS, end the underfunding of our schools, ensure hardworking people are paid fairly, and enable everybody to fulfil their potential and get ahead in life.
Concerns raised by residents included Brexit and the economic effects it will have, NHS funding, school places and classroom sizes, low wages, lack of affordable housing, and what kind of future their children and grandchildren will have in years to come.
The response to Labour’s ‘leaked’ manifesto pledges was overwhelmingly positive and it was generally accepted that the ambitious policies would go a long way to tackling the country’s problems head-on.
A few people wanted to know more about how the pledges would be paid for and the plans to reverse tax cuts for corporations and capital gains were explained.
There were a few undecided voters who were still making their minds up on Jeremy Corbyn and wanted to explore the party leaders and their policies in greater detail. All, however, accepted that at local level Anawar would put Welwyn Hatfield first and fight hard for the things residents care about.
There was a general sense of frustration at some of the things the Conservative Government and councillors have done and failed to do in recent years; the closure of the A&E at the QEII, the introduction of the bin tax, the neglect of town centre areas, the cutting of working tax credits, and the imposition of tuition fees were just some of the things that made residents feel let down.
Grant Shapps’ central role in the 2015 electoral fraud allegations had clearly angered a number of voters who also remembered his false name-second job debacle. The promise of an open, honest representative was seen as a welcome antidote for them.
By the end of the day hundreds of leaflets had been handed out and many potential first-time voters convinced they should register to have a say on their future on 8 June.
Anawar is itching to hit the pavements again and will be out and about trying to meet as many people as possible before Election Day. After such a positive outing in Hatfield he is optimistic that Labour’s unspun message of hope, belief and positivity – free from empty soundbites – will get through.