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R4U Hypocritical Demonisation of Political Parties Must Stop

April 30, 2021 12:00 PM

R4ULocally in Uttlesford we face a consistent line of attack from Residents for Uttlesford and from independent councillors against 'Westminster parties'.

We are saddened that this has culminated in a post on the R4U facebook page in which Dan Starr (in an interview with The London Economic) seems to attribute the cause of the death of an MP, presumably Jo Cox, to Westminster party activists. (link to article here)

We agree with his statement that "National politicians have an obligation to keep in check how they behave" - that is why Sir Ed is challenging Boris Johnson on his financial behaviour this week. We do not agree with his view that "activists getting whipped up and losing the plot" is the reason an MP was murdered. Jo Cox was murdered in the line of duty as a Westminster MP out in her community, meeting her constituents, her residents.

It is distasteful to put it mildly that Mr Starr uses her murder to try to make some anti-Westminster political point. If he was a truly "non-political" individual, he would apologise for what might have been a poorly constructed argument.

We wish politely to remind Mr Starr (and our neighbours and voters) that Westminster party activists are ourselves local residents. We refute the notion that activists are unreasonable party loyalists. Being affiliated with a party that has national concerns does not negate our ability to work on local issues. For years we have worked cross party and alongside resident groups on common causes such as SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion) or to support resident initiatives including Saffron Screen (where UDC money was allocated to set up costs).

As individuals, many of us are active in our community concerns just as much as R4U members. In short, we hope that Mr Starr reconsiders his comments about party activism and the implied link to violence against elected representatives and clarifies his inference that being active residents is unique to his members.