In recent days the political landscape has changed dramatically, with BoJo as the new Prime Minister at the helm. Of course the news channels and the political pundits are delighted. At last! Something fresh to talk about, to analyse and to discuss. Fresh political chaos equals fresh newsprint ‘copy’.
But what about the rest of us?
Whatever your position on national politics, party politics, and Brexit, these changes in our Parliament mean that we have a Prime Minister, elected by a small group of unrepresentative people, with no majority, in a very weak position in Parliament, the weakest position any new PM has been in. This does not equate to stability for our society or a clear forward path. It indicates to me an increasing possibility of a snap general election. It’s hard to know when this might happen, but if I were a betting woman (and I’m not) I’d say before the end of the year. However, nothing would surprise me, so earlier is entirely possible.
In recent days I’ve seen the end results of some appalling Conservative policies and their direct impact on Thanet people. I’ve seen far too much fighting amongst our young people, causing the Broadstairs firework display to be cancelled. There has been absolute carnage on Harbour Street, Ramsgate in the early morning hours. Ramsgate businesses are struggling with anti-social behaviour that marrs our town centre and makes trading harder. There are simply too few police, so an increased police presence would stymie some of this rotten behaviour.
I’ve witnessed Ramsgate’s mental health needs going unmet. People are being left in real pain, to struggle and suffer, sometimes with tragic consequences. I’m contacted daily by local people struggling to survive, to remain ‘standing up’. I’m disturbed to hear about yet another NHS reorganisation. This time the NHS is moving GP care into large ‘hubs’. This will not help those that cannot get onto a GP list or get appointments. We simply have too few doctors across the country and the only real, long term, sustainable solution is to invest NOW to ensure we have more doctor’s in the future. But it’s not just doctors. We require pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, psycologists, care workers and more. Without investment to these new staff we will continue to experience ‘rationing’ and an ever declining service. That’s a simple fact.
I was aghast to see the NHS wheelchair contract, held by the underperforming Millbrook Healthcare, taken on by a private equity company this week. So many people –adults and children – utterly depend on their wheelchairs. I can’t imagine waiting 4.5 months to gain my mobility, can you? This should be a first rate service. Not a profit listed on a balance sheet for shareholders.
This week has also seen the Summer Kitchen starting to leap into action. The community project is being run out of Drapers Mill and Dame Janet Primary school. They are excellent initiatives to be part of. Summer kitchen creates great energy and it’s good fun to be part of a community in this way, plus the food is delicious and nutritious. But let’s remember we have real poverty and a genuine food crisis. So many families and people are in need of food. Universal Credit still leaves people short of cash, and the five week wait is crushing. Then let’s not forget the 8 million families who are the working poor, out at work but still trapped in poverty. The national child poverty figure is 25%. Of course, in Thanet it’s higher at 35%, or 11,474 of our local children. Outside of school term time many might not get access to the free breakfast clubs and a free lunch. So Summer Kitchen steps in.
Should a general election be called, my priority will be to fight for a Labour Government. Because in Labour we have social justice, equality and fairness at our very core. Because I want to see the pain stopped. I want an end to the forced suffering. I want people to have a real chance of securing a decent life. It hasn’t always been ‘this bad’. Austerity has been a political choice. Very many people in this country are doing ‘A OK’. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s time for fair shares for everyone. Isn’t it?