‘Safe seats are scourge of democracy’: Croydon South candidates stake claims ahead of 2015 general election

Croydon South is considered one of the safest seats in Greater London having won over the hearts and minds of the electorate there since 1974.

But that doesn’t mean that those from across the political spectrum are treating the election on May 7 as a foregone conclusion.

The candidates sat down with SW Londoner to explain why they’re hitting the campaign trail hard in a bid to woo voters.

Conservative candidate Chris Philp is taking over from former MP Richard Ottaway and hopes to maintain expectations of his predecessor as well as implement his own plans to improve the area.

He said: “I am treating this election very seriously and I am already working hard for the local community.

“There is very real possibility that Ed Miliband, supported by the SNP, could be running the country in just three weeks time so I urge people to vote for us.”

Labour candidate Emily Benn is under no illusion that it will be a huge challenge to secure the confidence of people in the area.

She said: “If you think you want to be a part of government you should fight for your values everywhere – not just where you think you are going to win.”

Miss Benn is aiming to tap into the 30% of people who failed to vote at last year’s election, find out what matters to them and convince them to turn out at the polls in May.

She said: “There are Labour voters out there, thousands of them, and they deserve a strong campaign just as much as anyone else.”

Anarchist party Class War candidate Jonathan Bigger told SW Londoner that he’s realistic about his chances of snatching the seat.

“I’m not going to win but I am going to give Chris Philp a hell of a time,” he said.

“The economic system stinks and we have a one-party system managing it. Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP are all just wings of the same establishment ruling over us.

“There is a class war going on and it’s time for people to decide where they stand.”

However the Green Party believes that after the bi-election results which saw large Tory majorities overturned in favour of UKIP, traditional Labour voters will support the Greens.

Croydon Green candidate, Peter Underwood said: “Both main parties are trying to appeal to what they think is centre ground and have lost their appeal to their traditional voters.”

The Greens are not the only party that believes that tribal voting is on its way out.

UKIP candidate Kathleen Garner explained: “I am going into this election with every intention of winning.

“Given the amount of anger I am finding directed against David Cameron in this constituency, I do not consider that any seat can be regarded as a safe seat for the Tories.”

Lib Dem candidate Gill Hickson explained that when an MP stands down it makes way for a stampede of applicants who use their party name to their advantage rather than relying on their personal attributes.

She said: “Safe seats are the scourge of democracy.

“The party in the seat can just rest on their laurels and not do enough to earn the people’s vote.”

Picture courtesy of secretlondon123, with thanks

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