I believe our current government is lost, writes Cllr Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council.
Theresa May recently went further down this route by suggesting there was no correlation between cuts to the police and rising crime. Jeremy Hunt’s recent interview on Radio 4 was also an exercise in fantasy: he suggested that “progress” was being made in negotiations with the EU on the backstop.
However, the EU has clearly said repeatedly that the backstop is non-negotiable; indeed, it was the British government that requested it in the first place.
We see this on a local level: you would think that all the measures we have, on crime, education and so on would ring alarm bells. Nevertheless, the current Conservative administration sticks to the party line, stating they couldn’t be better than what they are.
Meanwhile, Peterborough Council is reportedly being investigated for selling public spaces illegally to meet its running costs.
It’s at this juncture that I’d like to quote Winston Churchill: Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he stated that - “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
I am an accountant by profession; wishful thinking is not an acceptable method of recording fact, nor planning for the future. I believe that one of the reasons why people are disillusioned with politics is that the reality of their lives doesn’t match up to the rhetoric embedded in our current discourse. A politician says that public services can do more than less.
However, very often a thing costs what it costs; saying otherwise is merely avoiding the hard choice, of whether we want to pay more tax, or do we want to do without? In instances such as law enforcement and education, we cannot do without.
Once we’ve established this, then we can have a rational conversation as a society of how exactly we will pay for the services we require to maintain our city and a civilised country.
However, it’s very difficult for the Conservatives to do this: they want to say that they are the low tax party. However, they don’t want to say they are the low public services party.
They don’t want to say that they are the Universal Credit party, with all its failures. They would rather mimic Boris Johnson and suggest they are “pro having cake” and “pro eating it”.
The Labour Group and I are intent on ensuring that the government is run by evidence alone. We research how other cities manage their affairs; we have costed our manifesto, and have put it to the people.
We invite your feedback so we can discuss how we can move forward together. This, unlike continuing to build castles in the air, stands a chance of making all our lives better.