At the end of the Parliament a Labour MP who was a shadow minister spoke about the evidence from one of her previous visits to Brighton that Street Homelessness in the city was evidence of the failure of the Council to prioritise properly. Following her ignorant rant against an intervention by Caroline Lucas during the budget debate I pointed out the good work that the Council and other partners were engaged in to try to end the tragedy of the 40 or so people who have no other home than our streets. Sadly the only Labour person to comment about my blog wanted to confirm that the Labour MP was right, as the Green Councillors are not really focused on the problem. I am sure that my correspondent is right, and that the good work I can point to is largely taking place despite the Councillors, not because of them. However as I pointed out the Council has been run by all 3 parties (Labour, Conservative and Greens) and homelessness has not been resolved by any of these parties. Despite this the current leader of the Labour group on the Council tweeted and blogged that if his Party gain the majority of the seats on the Council next month that they would end Street Homelessness. After a couple of challenges he amended his views to the promise to aspire to end Street Homelessness. It is a good aspiration and Warren should be commended for having the guts to correct his earlier hubris.
A few days ago 100 business people had their names publicised by the Conservative Party in the Daily Telegraph claiming that they supported the way in which the party had handled the economy. The ink on the paper was not fully dry before several of the people listed began to question how their names had appeared on the list. Another one has now announced his support for Labour following their promise to amend the tax laws. Yesterday 120 Doctors wrote to say that they support Labours handling of the NHS and today the papers are questioning if this is appropriate as their letter was organised by a GP who is a member of the Labour Party.
Thankfully there are only 40 or so people who are Street Homeless in Brighton & Hove but that is 40 more than many of us feel is good for them and good for society. However there are many other vulnerable people in our city, let alone across the UK as a whole. However we will never read their names in newspaper lists of people who support a particular party. Its possible that many of these people won’t even vote on May 7th. However irrespective of which party(ies) form our next Government, the interests and needs of these people are at least as important as the opinions of 100 business leaders and health care professionals. For what it is worth, I and many people I know would vote for people who can demonstrate that they really do care for people whose needs are overlooked by the campaign managers of our Political Parties. One such person is a friend of mine who is standing as an Independent candidate in Southampton Test. He has spent most of his working life helping poor and homeless people in Southampton. If the House of Commons was flooded with people like Chris on 8th May we would see some significant changes to the way in which our nation is run. You can follow his campaign on twitter @chrisv4v