Opinion: ‘Labour still aren’t a credible option in Peterborough’

Peterborough’s MP Paul Bristow writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph...

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 2:45 pm
Britain's Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson speaks during a campaign event in 2019. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, the opposition leader on the city council wrote an entire column about me.

This is a bit weird in the run-up to local elections.

According to him, when local residents are worried about potholes, I should ignore them.

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I know his Labour councillors ignore them, but we don’t all need to take that attitude.

However, the bit that really got me was his objection to “stopping a ‘coalition of chaos’ led by an extreme left-wing Labour”. Most people are quite keen on stopping that at the town hall.

He claimed it’s a “tired old line”, which is another way of saying it was true last year and remains true this year.No-one thinks Labour can get a majority on Peterborough City Council. So they are plotting to join forces with the Greens and the Lib Dems. It might be a tired plan, but it’s an entirely current one.

If you vote Green, you’ll get red.

If you vote yellowish-orange, you’ll get red. Three different votes all lead to exactly the same Labour-run town hall.

His column even confirmed that he’s “working with the Greens, the Liberal Democrats” and anyone else lacking a barge pole to fend him off.

They work together, vote together and want to award paid jobs to each other.

It’s a cosy arrangement. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t stay cosy in power.

Anyone who has seen them in opposition can predict the chaos that would follow. Actual decision-making is much harder than writing motions. Posturing doesn’t work anymore.

Even they sense the rows and feuds that would come next.

So his objection appears to boil down to the word ‘extreme’.

And it’s true that a millionaire tax-avoidance accountant, who doubles as a Peterborough landlord and sends his children to a private school, doesn’t sound like an extreme left-winger. Not in his day jobs.

It’s also true that it was Peterborough’s Liberal Democrats who tabled their Black Lives Matter motion, wanting statues removed and roads like Gladstone Street renamed.

Yet Peterborough Labour remain Corbyn’s Labour. Their instincts are the wrong ones. Some have been kicked out by Sir Keir Starmer, but the rest still have their eyes on your services.

Right now, Peterborough is at a pivotal moment. We have secured millions from the government, but the 
results will depend on the business investment to follow.

The university will succeed through its commercial partners. Regeneration will succeed through private capital. Our city centre will thrive because our shops, businesses, pubs and restaurants are profitable.

Like so much else, it depends on building and maintaining confidence.

When I talk to government ministers or business leaders, I know that I can praise and rely on Peterborough City Council. It unlocks doors and funding. It is getting results.

If they hear Peterborough Labour’s columnist-in-chief, they hear: “Why would I take my wife and my children into the town centre on a Saturday? I have got more reason to stay away.”

A man who told a national newspaper: “You’re going to see a decrease in the number of people into Peterborough.” Who even said: “We’re right at the top for being the worst place in Britain.” What damaging nonsense!

The only way to avoid his coalition of chaos is to vote for your local Conservatives.

That might please or it might hurt, but it’s the truth.