Paul Stainton: Let's take care of the essentials first

Politics in this country has never been so fast moving or so intriguing.

Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 1:00 pm
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -

Every day for the past three months, there have been resignations, announcements, twists and turns, all culminating in the coronation of our second female Prime Minister.

Theresa May’s first speech echoed that of the “Iron Lady” that had gone before; Maggie hoped to replace discord with harmony and error with truth, whilst “TeflonTess” promised a government driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. She also pledged to do everything in her power to give us more control over our own lives.

The discord and harmony thing didn’t work out that well for Maggie and Theresa May faces an equally difficult task in turning her words into deeds.

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She inherits a country where the gap between the richest and poorest in our society continues to widen; in the last ten years the rich have got over sixty per cent richer and the poor, fifty per cent poorer.

Theresa talked of the privileged few at the very same moment that her homeless predecessor was ringing his mate and asking to borrow his seventeen million pound townhouse in Notting Hill; oh the irony, if only we all had mates like that!

Not sure how many bedrooms the house has but I shouldn’t think that Mr Cameron is worrying too much about the spare room subsidy.

Mrs May’s speech was radical for a Conservative leader and constantly talked of equality and justice and echoed the words of John Major, who dreamt of a classless society, but who ultimately failed to deliver one.

It must be difficult for those in power not to become disconnected from those that they serve because they are not the norm anymore, they have transcended the everyday, the mundane if you like, and will probably never experience it again.

It takes a special politician to remember where they came from, who they were and the challenges that us “normal folk” have to address on a daily basis.

Few of us would go and blow the household budget on caviar and champagne on pay day when there is no milk in the fridge; we have to budget and get the best value for every pound that we earn; a trip to Lidl for the milk, bread, cheese and tinned stuff. Off to the market for some fresh fruit and veg and a top up at Tesco’s for the rest, if you have anything left in your pocket.

Yet the majority of our political elite seem to have forgotten this important life skill and are quite prepared to spend billions of pounds we haven’t got, on a nuclear deterrent we hope we will never use; all this when our hospitals are in crisis, our poor are using foodbanks and our elderly regularly choose between heating and eating in winter time.

It’s been compared to taking out insurance for an alien invasion before getting cover for fire and theft.

Locally too, our politicians seem to have lost sight of the purse strings; not content with buying a football stadium that three quarters of the city never set foot in, it’s now been revealed that our illustrious leaders have put a bid on the table to buy the much troubled Broadway theatre.

Now, I would quite like the safety of a nuclear deterrent and it would be lovely to safeguard the future of our local theatre. I also yearn for a new, fifty inch, widescreen, 4k TV from Curry’s, but it’s not essential.

So before we go splashing the cash, why don’t we wait and see what is left in the budget after we have taken care of the basics.

Things like inequality, injustice and fairness; they are not my words they belong to our new Prime Minister.