The man behind the mic: Vote Bullard, man of the people

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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Those in power have a vested interest in preserving the status quo but for a long time we have been complicit in that regard.

Now it appears that the great British public has awoken from its slumbering apathy, to challenge the norm and those that have for so long enjoyed the unchecked privileges of authority.

A day of reckoning appears to be fast approaching. You can feel it in the air, in everyday conversation down the chippy or the pub - people are talking about change and they are adamant they are going to get it, one way or another.

Like Michael Buerk’s credibility, confidence in the present system, has almost completely evaporated. Former Posh favourite, Jimmy Bullard would have more chance of getting elected than some of those career politicians, especially after his exploits with a box of snakes on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outa Here” - Obs (Bullard slang for obviously).

You see he is funny, honest, entertaining and empathetic. He is a human being that tells it like it is and does not appear to have been programmed by Davros on the planet, “Politics.” In short, he is one of us.

At some point politicians stopped being “one of us” (with a few notable exceptions) and decided to live in their own bubble, where people became figures on a spread sheet and guarded, automated responses, replaced honest and believable answers.

It seems that we have grown apart from our rulers and they from us, whilst mutual respect has all but evaporated. How else do you explain the snobbish rant by former Conservative minister, David Mellor, at a taxi driver, just trying to earn a crust? Or Labour’s Emily Thornberry, disrespecting the working class man in Rochester, just because he drives a white van and hangs a flag from his window.

Who are they to look down on us and show contempt for the people whose blood, sweat and tears have helped build this great nation?

That disdain and an inability to listen is fuelling people’s appetite for a break from the past and driving voters to UKIP. Their victory in Rochester has proven the level of discontent that abounds and if they can win there, they can win just about anywhere.

However, we must be mindful. History tells us that disillusionment with the political elite can be a dangerous thing and whilst many see the face of Farage when they are casting their votes, they should remember that behind the smile and the pint, there is a pretty disparate band of brothers, whose policies have yet to be tested.

Our local politicians should take heed from these warnings though. It’s not enough for Councillor Elsey to go on telly and claim we are “all in it together”, because many of those watching simply don’t believe him. Consultations have not altered cabinet plans in the past, so why will they now?

But if Peterborough City Council really want the public’s help in deciding where to cut services and how to get the city out of the financial brown stuff, then they have to lead by example.

You can’t demand democracy just when it suits - the people of this city will only get behind you when you prove that we are “All in it together.”

So officers do need to take a pay cut, councillors should forego their allowances and

Councillor John Holdich, Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald and others need to understand why that has to happen.

It may not save much but it will send out a very clear message that at least local politicians are listening to and respecting their electorate.

Perhaps then we can become one team, one dream, one Peterborough, all truly, in it together.