Dragging party politics into the campaign against the Lower Thames Crossing

Back in February 2016, we attended a packed and very lively meeting at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal to discuss the options on the table for the Lower Thames Crossing. Campaigners against the crossing such as George Abbott were there in force. Highways England were there to attempt to sway what was a largely hostile audience – they failed miserably! Also present were councillors and MPs from across the political spectrum. In the fractious world of Thurrock politics, it seemed that for one brief moment, divisions had been forgotten and we were all united against the crossing. The one thing we took from that meeting was the desire of the campaigners against the crossing to keep party politics out of it.

Fast forward to the present and we have this: Thurrock UKIP claim to be only party to “reject Thames Crossing proposals”http://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/05/20/thurrock-ukip-claim-party-reject-thames-crossing-proposals/ Yup, Tim Aker has attempted to hi-jack a non-party political campaign in a cynical bid to boost his election campaign in the Thurrock constituency. Aker is up against John Kent, the former Labour leader of Thurrock Council who’s also on record as being opposed to the crossing and the sitting Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price who was in favour of Option C, Route 4 that mainly went through the neighbouring South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency.

Supporters of Labour have waded into the debate refuting Aker’s claims to be the only party against the Lower Thames Crossing: Letter to Editor: UKIP wrong over Lower Thames Crossinghttp://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/05/21/letter-editor-ukip-wrong-lower-thames-crossing/ Fair enough, Labour have a right to counter the crap that Aker is coming out with but there are issues with this… Namely that responding in this way has turned the campaign against the Lower Thames Crossing into a party political football in what is a bitter election battle in the Thurrock constituency.

As much as we have occasionally questioned George Abbott’s strategy and tactics in the past, our sympathies go out to him and the other campaigners on the ground who want the crossing stopped and don’t want the fight against it sullied by petty political point scoring in an election clash. Dragging this campaign into the squalid realm of party politics and the squabbling and bickering that goes with it is going to damage it. That seems to matter little to the politicians who seek to exploit the issue to gain an advantage for their respective parties, regardless of the consequences. This is why we as anarchists want nothing to do with party politics and the system as it stands and why we prefer to work with grassroots campaigners whose concern is the issue they’re dealing with and not seeking political advantage…


One thought on “Dragging party politics into the campaign against the Lower Thames Crossing

  1. Whilst I can understand the action group’s wish to appear apolitical, in this day and age it is not always possible – especially when one or more participants has another agenda which may be at the forefront of their minds.
    Once one activist has moved the goal posts as it were, and possibly entered the realms of fantasy, it is too much to expect others not to reply. Especially if they have been misrepresented. However Tim Akers in his opening thrust [20th May] was not fantasing when he stated that if UKIP gain power on June 8th “they will look to re-open a consultation for a new crossing further east. This will include the option for a crossing through Canvey Island, linking the A130 to the M2 in Kent.” This appears on page 50 of the current UKIP manifesto.
    Whilst this may sound like good news for the area the UKIP candidate is hoping to represent in the upcoming General Election, it really isn’t feasible. The suggestion that Canvey Island would providee a good site for the new crossing was rejected c2008 and if by some electoral freak UKIP did gain a majority in the election it would take years more of discussion to set up a more investigations into the best way to proceed. One of the biggest drawbacks is the fact that Canvey Island really needs another access road as it is and at the advent of the crossing, merely the thought of construction traffic makes this not only neccessary but imperative. No need yet to mention other infrastructure problems………………..
    So there is a moral here. At election times beware of UKIP election candidates offering gifts!


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