15 NOV 2008

Marching with the Port Workers

Today I joined the port workers on their march protesting against them being outsourced. In these difficult times, we are all united in supporting the jobs and prosperity of the people of Dover. I do not agree with this outsourcing, or the privatisation of the port of Dover for the reasons I have previously set out. I have met directors of DHB and told them that clearly and unequivocally. I fear the Government means to privatise our port, whatever we say.

In this spirit of us all getting together cross party, it was a bit disappointing that Dover Labour tried to politicise the whole thing. I had to laugh though when Gwynfor Prosser MP started haranging me with the usual boring partisan rubbish that is so often heard from politicians when they are nervous. As they stood there behind a big fat Labour Party banner, I pointed out that I was not there to politicise the event. I was there to offer bipartisan support for the people whose jobs are threatened. That there are times when we should all join together and stand firm with the community and put party politics to one side. That this was one of them. That they should think about that.

Then again, I can see why they are running scared, as it does look like the Government has been consulted and not made any objection to this whole outsourcing thing. And they could, you know, since they do appoint the entire harbour board. So it's kind of hard for Dover Labour to explain why a Labour Government should allow this to happen without any objection isn't it? Hmm, time to find a scapegoat to distract attention eh brothers? Step forward Bob Goldfield . . . freshly minted distractive Labour bogey man!

At times like this, it's important to remember why we are all involved in public life. For me, that is to serve the community, to work to get the best for people and to deliver a fair share for Dover & Deal. That's why I was there. Many port workers came up, shook my hand and told me how pleased they were I was there for them. And you know what? I was proud to be there for them.

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Charlie Elphicke

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