Mr. Henry Smith MP has recently come to the forefront of one of the biggest demonstrations of trade union discontent in the 21st century.
His constituency, Crawley, is founded upon its commutable distance to London. Developed as a ‘new town’ in the 1940’s, it relocated thousands from the overcrowded areas of South London and brought revived hope following the damage from the Blitz.
Since, the town has grown significantly, becoming a suburban port for many a London-based insurance broker and investment banker, among others. With it, its political significance has soared and it is now one of just a few swing seats in the country when election day comes around. This only augments the attention it is receiving as a consequence of the train strike turmoil.
The Conservative Party MP won the seat in 2010 and has created an impressive record in Parliament. In 2016, he voted in 89.3% of Parliamentary divisions, whilst devoting much of his other time to keeping in touch with his local community. His continued pursuit of democratic representation should be used as an example to many others who claim to represent the interests of their constituents with considerably less dedication.
In the face of the perpetual disruption to train services in the constituency, by both Southern and ASLEF, Smith has admirably represented the concerns of his constituents. Namely, he has been appointed the Secretary of the All-Parliamentary Group in Southern Rail and secured a debate on the issue in the Commons in 2016. Additionally, he has held constituency surgeries devoted specifically to hearing commuter concerns, holding senior members of the railways to account, as well continuing to lobby the Minister for Transport for greater action.
With the persistence of the strikes confirmed for the new year, it is time more consideration is taken of the detrimental economic and social effects they are having on the City of London and the constituencies supporting its functioning. Our strength in Brexit negotiations is largely based on the potential of London to once again assume a more significant global position in trade and economic affairs. This will become negligible if this unruly and politicised action continues. Sentiment of anti-modernisation cannot be allowed to percolate into our society at such a crucial time when we are dictating our future.
Thus, with the continued support of Henry Smith MP, the government must finally put a halt to this continued disruption to the national economy and the lives of thousands across the South of the country.
Somewhat coincidentally, this large scale industrial action has emerged at the beginning of our second female Premiership, replicating the events faced by one Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s legacy was built on her handling of the miner’s strikes. Famously, she dubbed the leaders of the unions the “enemy from within”. In light of the potential for damage to the UK economy, it is both surprising and disappointing such strength of rhetoric has as yet not emerged from Theresa May.
Whilst we should never consider the elimination of the right of the public to demonstrate, industrial action must at some point reach a conclusion. May must now seize the opportunity to put an end to the political disruption of our Capital’s transport links, before it reduces our nation to governance by trade unions.
Charlotte Chase is Co-Founder of Generation Conservative