Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tracey Crouch MP, a "Hopeless" "Serial Rebel"?

I try not to be partisan (no really...) I'm a liberal and a fan of good democracy, representation and the like but maintaining a healthy dislike for misrepresentation of the truth and bold face lying.

I find it difficult when MPs like Tracey are about. It is a veritable fly in the ointment. I don't sit around at home waiting for MPs to screw up so I can criticise them or link them tenuously to some cock up. Nor am I a PPC with a party agenda or axe to grind.

However, every now and then it is good for an opposition party member to point out to the electorate that they're being sold short by their representative or their views are being ignored in Parliament such as where is Reh? Or Helen Grant ignoring constituents (post to come soon) but with Tracey... I struggle to find anything.

Oh there are broad party issues that Tracey and I would disagree on. I'm more pro-Europe and believe to my very core in Lords reform for example. If we did agree on everything though I'd be a Conservative or she'd be a LibDem (Tracey, if you're reading this and decide you really do agree with Nick just let me know & I'll put in a good word for you. ;-) )

Seriously though, other than these broad party beliefs, which ultimately you need to respect someone's politics whether you agree with them or not, I can't fault her.

Someone said to me almost two years ago;

You'll never see Tracey Crouch in Medway, not until 2015. Her power base is in Aylesford and the valley.

This piqued my interest and I thought that here was one to watch, the people of Chatham would not be represented and there would be plenty of scope for stories.

Tracey has proved her critics wrong - even pacing Chatham high street the day after the first sign of a riot during last year's London riots. She could have stayed bottled up in Aylesford where there has been no fighting since the days of Hengist and Horsa's invasion but nope she was on the front line. She has a high media footprint as well with plenty of visits to places, local businesses, schools, youth groups, sports teams, Chatham town FC home matches - even speaking to Save the NHS protesters as well as really worthy causes such as the GetCamin campaign.

Even more scary than having to deal with a civil disturbance is defying the Government whips which she did when representing Chatham's mesothelioma sufferers recently when she voted against the Legal aid bill. Although recently billed as a "Serial Rebel" in a speech at Labour Party conference a cursory glance at her profile on theyworkforyou shows this isn't the case. Voting in Government is never easy despite what politicos and opposition supporters may suggest. There are times when a national strategy that offers to improve things will be hard for your constiteunts, budget cuts fit into this but what do you do? Things are very rarely cut and dry. Cllr Osborne (the Labour PPC for 2015 in C & A) accused Tracey of when it comes to crucial votes she just abstains. in the Messenger's letter page but what else can you do when torn between the Nation and the constiteunt? This is of cource not applicable in clearly objectionable cases such as the Rail fare rise to RPI+3 (in which Tracey secured a meeting with the secretary of state on behalf of us beleaguered commuters) or indeed the dreaded Boris island which she, and others have fought against openly against party big hitters like Boris Johnson and George Osborne - hardly looking after her own advancement at the cost of her Constiteunts!

Lets also take a case study of the bus routes with in Kent. The simple fact of the matter is that KCC and Medway Council cannot afford to keep up with the subsidy for bus transport within their areas and, taking a leaf out of the last Labour Government's book, passed the rise in fairs to those that used the service and freed up money for other worthy causes. Makes sense.
Then there is looking at how to be more cost effective and that means axing services that aren't used heavily or at all. Again makes sense.
However, it takes a good elected representative to listen to complaints and protests and mediate between the bus company (Arriva) and users groups which is what has happened in the case of the 155 bus route from the Medway towns through to Aylesford.

In her recent column for the Medway Messenger Tracey even shows she isn't a mindless party robot or not open to debate and has indeed listened to constituents, animal rights groups and thought about the issue before voting, something that I fear is beyond a lot of politicos who only see in black and white. It takes a brave person to stand up and admit they we're wrong on an issue and that they have reflected on their choice and arrived at a different conclusion.

I'd love to be able to tell you that this Tory MP was, as accused at the Labour Conference, indeed Hopeless or to ratify my colleagues prediction that she would not be seen in Medway before 2015, but it is simply not the case. Tracey works hard for her constituents and in a world where many politicos see politics and Government as Black and White (or Red and Bluw) you'll find Tracey deep in the grey area and the only thing I can fault her on is that she isn't my MP and that the people of Chatham and Aylesford are lucky to have her.

If anything, the only thing I can find Hopeless about the whole thing is the attempts of the opposition to pin her with Incompetant or hopeless tag - if they want to win the 2015 election in Chatham and Aylesford they're going to need to do A LOT better.

Appeared on the Conservativehome Must be read list


  1. Nice read! Tracey is supporter of her constituents and always finds time. (Don't really know when she sleeps!) She has supported my interests with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and, like me, has been very vocal about charity bag fraud. However although we get on, if she doesn't want to support an issue she won't regardless of the person putting it forward. I respect that. She also is unaware of my political alliances as she never asks. I am a constituent first. Long may she remain.

  2. Couldn't hope to have a better local MP. Always finds time to listen to her constituents (I'm one of them)