Speaker’s Corner: Engaging Peterborough in politics

Speaker's Corner columnists -  Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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I have now been Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough for 2 ½ years and in that time myself and my fantastic and committed team of volunteers have knocked on many thousands of doors, delivered hundreds of thousands of leaflets and have spoken to tens of thousands of residents in Peterborough.

I wish I had used a pedometer to keep a tally of all the miles I have walked and a count of how many pairs of shoe soles I have worn through, it would be quite a sum.

The reception from the residents here has been a very warm one, but that is not to say that everyone we have spoken to is a Labour supporter, although many are, but it is a very rare occasion that people flatly refuse to engage at all. I have found that Peterborough is full of warm and friendly people and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every moment, every debate and have learned so much about how the people here are feeling, what their aspirations are, their hopes and their fears.

What is abundantly clear is that people want the opportunity to speak to their candidates face to face, to ask questions about policy and to sound off about the things they are unhappy with and most of all they want someone to listen. To me that can only mean that people have not completely disengaged from the political process which means there is still hope for aspiring candidates like me to show that change is possible.

I knew before I became the candidate that people were fed up with remote politicians that they never see until election time comes around and I was determined I was going to be accessible, and make sure that I campaigned all year round.

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all those people who have invited me into their homes on a cold winter’s day and offered me a hot drink, or a cool glass of water or juice on a hot summer’s day and to all those people who have given me the chance to engage them in a conversation about the issues that matter to them on their doorsteps.

I’d also like to pay tribute to all the amazing people who I have campaigned alongside on issues ranging from the future of our NHS to the Bedroom Tax and the Living Wage to name but a few.

We may not have won every battle, but there is still the ballot box.

In just under 100 days Peterborough’s residents will go to the polls to decide who will represent them as their Member of Parliament in Westminster and of course, I hope that I am successful and able to take everything I have learned to make some positive changes to people’s lives here, but whatever happens, the whole experience of meeting so many amazing people has been an extremely positive one for me and 2 ½ years of my life well spent.

- This week’s speaker is Lisa Forbes, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Peterborough