Friday, 5 September 2014

All day HS1 for DEAL - what now?

"Were getting fast trains to DEAL which Labour said was just a little village." Charlie Elphicke on The Last Word (ITV)

All day/every day Southeastern high-speed (HS1) services for DEAL are due to start 11th January 2015. The long campaign was often exasperated by the ignorance of many people who did not realise DEAL is a district centre with a population comparable to many Kent primary towns. Fortunately through news, social media and word of mouth people are starting to change their perception and discover what most of us locals have been saying for ages... "High Street of the Year", "Top ten best place to live by the sea", "Best place for a weekend retreat in Kent", "Best pub in Kent", "Coolest Coffee House in Kent" etc.. etc.

So where does the ignorance stem from? Probably repression from Dover centric politics and inequality. If you watched the The Last Word (ITV) which the above screenshot is from, you would hear Charlie Elphicke MP for Dover talk about his constituency of Dover, his success for the port of Dover and hospital for Dover and at the very end of the programme a little quip about DEAL not being a village. Of course it gets worse; our district is called Dover even though a large part of it is comprised of DEAL and Sandwich. The official Dover District Council tourism Twitter account is called @VisitDover, their investment and regeneration campaign is called Invest in Dover.

Is it any wonder visitors, investment, jobs and public transport services often head straigth for Dover rather than DEAL.

The blame cannot just be attributed to Charlie Elphicke or the Conservative Dover District Council cabinet who rejected officially changing the constituency name to 'Dover & Deal'. As pointed out by Charlie Elphicke, the previous Labour government
Department of Transport showed complete contempt to the claim DEAL was a primary town worthy of a suitable rail service. In fact it was responsible for severe degradation of rail services. However for the record the below extract does show the MP at the time was more amicable than his government.

My personal opinion is that a new constituency should be formed "DEAL & SANDWICH" and Dover District Council should be abolished and replaced with an East Kent Unitary Authority. In May 2015 we have the chance to vote for a new MP or return the existing one and the DEAL vote can be decisive. Furthermore we have the chance to vote for councillors who make up Dover District Council and Deal Town Council. Although politics is often driven by national parties and policies my vote will go to people I think will best work for DEAL.

And to answer the question "what now?".. I am feeling confident that DEAL is on the UP!