Labour Party opinion: 'Toxic politics and time for change', writes councillor Shaz Nawaz

Labour group leader on Peterborough City Council, Shaz Nawaz, gives an opposing view in his latest column
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The rough and tumble of politics can stray into toxic territory. What makes it worse is when leading politicians are careless with their language. Paul Bristow falls into this category. Recently on Twitter, Paul referred to a “coalition of Marxists, cranks and virtue signallers.”

I think of Julie Howell and most certainty don’t see her as a crank. Nick Sandford, one of the longest serving councillors on the council, is far from a virtue signaller. John Fox would laugh if someone called him a Marxist. It’s time to grow up, Paul. People like you are putting off good people from engaging in local politics.

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What’s worse is that he refers to my profession as though it’s a dodgy dark art. I am an accountant. Most people know what accountants do. They manage the finances in a prudent manner; this is something the Conservatives have failed to do in Peterborough.

Labour Party leader, Shaz Nawaz, talks 'toxic politics and time for change' in his latest column for the Peterborough Telegraph.Labour Party leader, Shaz Nawaz, talks 'toxic politics and time for change' in his latest column for the Peterborough Telegraph.
Labour Party leader, Shaz Nawaz, talks 'toxic politics and time for change' in his latest column for the Peterborough Telegraph.

He refers to my children going to a private school. That’s unnecessary and is a personal attack. What we say about others says more about us than it does about them. Unlike our less than distinguished MP, I won’t resort to such tactics.

Much has been said about a ‘coalition of chaos’. This is a scaremongering technique which has no substance. The Conservatives don’t like coalition for two reasons. They don’t like sharing information, collaborating, or giving away any power. They want total control. They clearly failed to make the 2010-2015 coalition with the Liberal Democrats work.

Chaos implies complete disorder and confusion. I am certain opposition councillors would recognise this in the Conservatives. For example, the Conservatives only were able to balance the books for several years by selling off the city’s assets. Most people would agree that that was a short-term and short-sighted tactic.

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You can only sell so much before you run out. They did such a bad job that central government had to intervene. We now have an embarrassing situation where an Improvement Panel is watching over us. That is costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. That money could have been spent on looking after Peterborough residents.

The Labour group believes in working in collaboration with others. There are huge benefits of doing this, including and not limited to: increasing the potential for change, sharing ideas and problem-solving, learning from one another, building a more engaged team, and providing better outcomes.

A Labour run administration will focus on the following:1) We will build a fairer local economy by focussing on the needs of the city. We need to build an economy based on high skills and high wages;2) Invest in skills so that our workforce has the knowledge and expertise to qualify for the aforementioned high wage jobs;3) Build community-led housing so that everyone has access to a home in Peterborough;4) Attract more investment in the city so that it creates more opportunities for local people;5) Invest in arts, leisure and culture so that it benefits local people and also helps attract more people to the city;6) Encourage co-operative models in your local area. The traditional models of top-down governance and economic growth are no longer fit for purpose. We are clear that here in

Peterborough, decisions should be made closer to the people affected by them. We would also make sure that the core services are delivered on time. This includes everything from bins being collected promptly, potholes and road surfacing carried out properly, grass verges cut and trimmed, fly-tipping cleaned and fixed once and for all.

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Residents should expect this as a given. I know you have been short-changed in the past and a Labour-led council will make certain that doesn’t ever happen again. By working together, we can do better for Peterborough.