Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt: To have and have yacht

Labour's Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt

It’s often said that Ramsgate is a town of the have nots and the have yachts.

During a glorious summer like this, many of us would love a life floating on the ocean waves, but who can afford it?

A constituent asked me recently if I’d ever known what it was like to have no money. My answer was “I still do!”

In the past, I’ve signed onto the dole and felt the stinging indignity of being treated like a second-class citizen by our benefits system. I’ve taken on many a temporary job as an administrator and low-paid researcher in gloomy locations around the country.

I sold my possessions to fund my way through university and made a truly terrible waitress. I’ve lived in vermin-infested rooms above a pub and damp-riddled flats by the sea.

Even now, with letters after my name, I’m only as good as my last report and I need to bid for research funding every year. I have absolutely no security of income.

But whatever my problems, I don’t kid myself – things are much, much worse for the majority of people in Thanet.

Contrast our world with that of Quintessentially One, the £213m super yacht, billed as the “world’s largest floating private members club”, where rooms are expected to cost £2,000 per night.

While the yachts in Ramsgate Harbour are admittedly more modest, our own boat-owning MP, Craig Mackinlay, has shown where his priorities lie by crusading in parliament for a new royal yacht.

Mr Mackinlay expects that the £120m cost of the yacht will be paid for by the likes of you and me via a specially created lottery. I would argue that the royal family – which has an estimated net worth of £3.12bn – doesn’t need our charity.

I would go so far as to say that the people of Thanet need an elected representative who acts in their best interests instead. Someone who doesn’t consistently vote to cut benefits for the have nots and to reduce taxes for the have yachts. Someone who has a vision for how Thanet can thrive by drawing on natural resources such as our prime agricultural land, our woefully underused workforce, our wave and solar power.

Let’s narrow the gap between the have nots and the have yachts. Let’s have a thriving Thanet for everyone.