Harriet Harman visits the tea shop

Metrodeco's Maggie (left) and Helen (right) get a visit from Cabinet Minister Harriet Harman and Brighton Kemptown parliamentary candidate Simon Burgess

Politics and 1930s Parisian cafes go together like Jean-Paul Sartre and a packet of Gitanes Brunes.

So it was in this tradition that we were honoured to be visited by one of today’s leading politicians.

Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons and Cabinet Minister for Women and Equality, dropped in to take tea and cake with members of the community and to chat to us about running a small business at the tail end of a major recession.

Metrodeco is in a constituency that is being fiercely-contested. Labour candidate Simon Burgess aims to take the baton from sitting Labour MP Des Turner, who won the seat by more than 2,700 votes in 2005 and is now retiring. The Tories, on the other hand, claim they can wrestle the seat back and have made it number 45 on their top 160 target seats to win from other parties.

But most political wags aren’t ruling out the Greens, who are a growing force in the city and whose candidate Ben Duncan is a tireless campaigner. Brighton Politics Blogger, one of the city’s best-known and most knowledgeable pundits, says it’s ‘too close to call’.

With the General Election only four weeks away, we’re interested to hear from any serious politician about how Brighton – and the country – can enjoy prosperity and fairness in society. We’re particularly interested in how the local candidates will fight for businesses like ours in Kemp Town . Simon does his campaign great service by seeking the views of the people who are helping to pull the city out of recession.

But, politics aside for a moment, Ms Harman was warm, sincere and charming. And we’re always happy to have visitors like that.

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One response to “Harriet Harman visits the tea shop

  1. Thanks for the mention. Too close to call is what I’m hearing, too.
    You asked a specific question – how would I help fight for businesses like yours if I’m elected. I’m happy to answer.
    Well, Greens believe in simplifying the tax system by abolishing VAT and National Insurance and rolling them into other taxes, particularly on income. That’d slash the tax-related form-filling facing small businesses by two-thirds at a stroke.
    We believe in forcing banks to extend new, not-for-profit credit lines to small businesses, to help get the economy moving, and we would seek to outlaw late payments.
    As you know, we’d also seek to protect local and independent businesses by opposing the onslaught of multi-national business (witness our involvement in the cammapaign to support local cafes and tea shops in St James’s Street in 2008) and the advance of ‘clone town’ Britain that’s making so many towns and streets look exactly the same. If Kemptown goes much further in that direction there won’t be any reason for visitors to come – and that’ll be a disaster for independent businesses like yours.
    Of course, if I get elected I won’t be part of a Government: even if I win, the Green Party can’t secure a national majority.
    So I’d be a champion for Kemp Town – and beholden to no party whips or leaders.
    If you want more info on the Green’s policies for business, do visit http://www.greenparty.org.uk
    If you’ve any questuions I can help with, do contact me through http://www.benduncan.org

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