If ever you were looking for a man with a mission in Colchester, Dave Harris is a great example. As Borough AND County Councillor, Mr Harris is about as engaged as it is possible to get. I first saw him at a Colchester Soup event, pitching for a youth centre in his Ward, and thought ‘just another local Councillor’ until I heard him speak with passion and saw how loved he was by those around him.
I have, of course, since changed my default position on Councillors! 😉
So meet the thankfully ubiquitous Dave Harris, Labour Candidate & standing Councillor for Berechurch…
Q&A time 🙂
Colcestrian – Simple one to get going – what’s your full name and what do you like to be known as?
Dave – David Harris
Prefer to be known as Dave
Colcestrian – What do you like most about the Ward you are standing for, and what made you want to stand this time?
Dave – I know Berechurch ward well, and have lived in this area since the mid 80’s. I am re-standing, as my team and I are passionate about our area and continuing the work we do.
I feel I have a lot to offer to the residents of Berechurch.
Colcestrian – You do live in the Ward – what do you think about candidates standing in Wards they don’t live in?
Dave – Where a candidate lives is important, but I do know very good Councillors who don’t live in the ward who represent their residents very well. Its what a Councillor does is much much more important.
Colcestrian – What political party are you aligned with, if any, and why?
Dave – I am a Labour candidate, and have been a member since the 1970’s.
Why? anyone who knows me will testify I have strong sense of social justice, and I do community issues with a social slant. I also think Labour Councillors like myself always go the extra mile
Colcestrian – Do you think your political party’s actions at a national level will have an effect on you locally?
Dave – Very little, where Councillors like myself work hard within the community as a whole, and give good representation without political dictat the national scene has little impact.
As far as I am concerned being a Councillor is about representing my neighbours and being honest, accountable, committed and available all times
Colcestrian – Everyone needs a break – what are your favourite hobbies?
Dave – I have my wife, children and grandchildren to spend time with, who inspire me to be as good as I can for our area.
I also have a Triumph motorcyle – I like to ride when I can. I am also a very active school governor in the area.
Colcestrian – When not doing politics, what does your day usually consist of?
Dave – Family
Services run by the Council are under attack
Colcestrian – How do you feel Colchester Borough Council currently performs for Colchester?
Dave – I think that we have done well considering the huge government cuts to Councils (over 40 percent). We have managed to mitigate the impact to the Colchester residents of those cuts. Services run by the Council are under attack… and we have so far been able to keep things under some sort of control. The future may need us to be more creative in making the cake spread around.
Colcestrian – What is the best thing about Colchester and what one thing would you change tomorrow about Colchester if you could?
Dave – I love the heritage and history of Colchester. We don’t sell it enough though compared to places like York. I am a founder member of “Destination Colchester” whose aims are to promote our great Town.
I would certainly change the amount of litter I pick up with my team on a weekly basis, and secondly not squeeze in more housing without the correct infrastructure to support the community.
I love the heritage and history of Colchester
Colcestrian – What would you do for women’s rights in the town once election day is passed?
Dave – I have some very good colleagues within the Labour group in 3 female Councillors who keep me on the straight and narrow for such matters.
I trust them as they advocate more input from the women residents in council matters.
It is often left to the voluntary sector to pick up the pieces
Colcestrian – What is your view on the spread of fines for the rough sleeping and homeless?
Dave – Not something I support, I think we have a number of homeless in Essex, and have seen the rise in the last 6 or 7 years as austerity measures bite. It is often left to the voluntary sector to pick up the pieces as the process of Government fails to deal with this complex problem.
Thank heavens for the charitable and voluntary sector, without them, we would have a far greater problem.
Colcestrian – Do you think the ‘Living Wage’ is truly a living wage?
Dave – Most definitely not.
The living wage as I recently spoke on in Council was far higher, until the central Government imposed a ‘Living Wage’ lower than the original.
I try to think what I would feel if my home was destroyed by war, members of my family killed, and not being able to fight back, but few of us in Colchester can comprehend that
Colcestrian – Are you happy to keep promoting Colchester as a welcoming place for refugees?
Dave – Colchester has a long history over hundreds of years of supporting people of any nation who are in trouble.
Central government are renting private rented homes for people who are fleeing war.
I try to think what I would feel if my home was destroyed by war, members of my family killed, and not being able to fight back, but few of us in Colchester can comprehend that.
I hope the wars in Syria are soon curbed and to allow our human neighbours to re build their lives.
Colcestrian – What is the biggest problem in the Ward you are standing in?
Dave – Lots I’m afraid.
Pot holes… kerb stones… flooding due to poor drainage ….. lack of street lighting at night… poor footpaths … and inadequate parking on some of our estates.
Colcestrian – Which green and ecologically-wise policies do you think Colchester Borough should instigate?
Dave – Getting the recycling rates up
Work with bus companies to get buses to be more green
More incentive for solar power in our homes
To continue to promote cycling
And to promote walking as an alternative
Colcestrian – Tollgate Village, Northern Gateway… views?
Dave – I await the decision of the planning inspectorate appeal with interest.
Colcestrian – Do you think our current government and electoral system is fit for purpose?
Dave – Wish it was used more… we need higher rates of participation in the electoral process
Maybe someone in central government will make it as easy to vote online or by text as the X factor programme. It cannot be that difficult, can it?
Colcestrian – Are you having second thoughts?
Dave – No way
I will serve my residents I share the streets with until my last breath, or until they no longer want me!
Well, by crikey Dave… that’s a great closing line. Reminds me of Buster Keaton who famously told the director to keep filming until the film ran out or he was dead, whichever came first!
Dave is one dedicated Councillor and I wish him success in re-election this May 5th. Can we clone him?
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If you are a Candidate who hasn’t already connected with me, I have to apologise as I’m at capacity now. Hope you still enjoy the rest of the blogs coming from the backlog I have collected. Do please engage with the public yourself – get on Facebook, Twitter, etc – onwards to election day!
The Colcestrian/Iam Hanuman/Matthew Norman