Peterborough city councillor: ‘Vital that we all stand together’

Before I get into my main piece, I would like to offer a few words for John Bartlett, who died recently, writes Liberal Party city councillor Chris Ash.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 9:27 am
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 9:31 am
Cllr Chris Ash

John was a city councillor representing Thorney and then what became Eye and Thorney ward. He was a past mayor of the city and continued to play and active part within Thorney .

John and I were first elected to the council in the same year and I think we both found our new status in local government a little daunting to begin with . John’ s standing in the community flourished and he became a well respected councillor, always putting his ward before the demands of his political masters and later become an independent councillor free from the shackles of a party whip. He was a true gent.

I also read this week of the death of Nicholas Parsons , many of a certain age will remember him as playing the straight man to various comedians and, of course, as the host on Sale of the Century TV quiz .

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Turning to the Royal family, it’s no wonder Prince Harry was getting frustrated by the whole media circus .

The BBC seemed obsessed with the story a couple of weeks back and firmly suggested it could have a knock-on effect for the whole royal family and play into the hands of those wishing to have a head of state elected by all. Not that I see that it should be that way. After all Prince Harry is fifth in line so I don’t suppose he is expecting that his turn will come any time soon and, more likely, it wont come at all.

Generally speaking, I am not in favour of downgrading the monarchy and replacing it with an elected head of state but I do go along with the idea of having a smaller group of front-line royals. I think the biggest problem for the royals is that they seem always to be in the firing line of the press, more so than many other heads of state.

So I don’t find it difficult to understand why Prince Harry is not enamoured with the press.

Monday saw a group of people including one of Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Lord Lieutenants and the county sheriff join the mayor in all their traditional finery to commemorate Holocaust Day hosted by St John’s Church in the city centre . This year marks The 75th anniversary since survivors at Auschwitz were liberated from their ordeal. It also marks the 25 th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia .

The service not only remembers the atrocities by the Nazis during WW2 but all atrocities that have taken place throughout our history and, lamentably, continues today.

It was moving to see and listen to the groups give readings and songs in memory of all those who suffered so dreadfully

I think with the increasing rise in introverted sectarian nationalism and particularly with Brexit entering its final stages tomorrow, we need to take care. Brexit is by no means over yet . There will still be negotiations and deals to enter into and hopefully agree for the good of all. I’ve long thought the EU has lost its way somewhat and we as a nation have a golden opportunity to forge wider international links and be part of the international community and not be subservient .

Governance must be inclusive and I worry that our government will get us stuck with short term fixes to the detriment of long term benefit for the environment and economy . There is only one chance for the government to get it right – I can only hope they don’t let us down .

Things like the effects of climate change and virus outbreaks such as the current issues with the coronavirus strongly underline the need to work globally to play a full and useful part in international affairs . There may be many nations with diverse cultures and ways of life but we are all on one world with no other place to go.

The theme from the Holocaust Memorial Trust – Stand together – is forever important for we must all stand together and work 
together to make our world a better placer.