As I sit writing this piece I’ve got a number of pieces of news around me which catch my eye, writes John Whitby, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Peterborough.
One of them is concerning equality, or inequality, and screaming about the fact that all people are equal. At the same time, I’m writing my piece for a sports awards I’m hosting in Havering. The one thing that sport teaches you is that, rather than people being equal, people are in fact all different. If this wasn’t the case then there would be no winners or losers in sport – everyone would reach the finish line at the same time!
No, it’s not about people being equal, simply put, they aren’t, it’s actually all about people being treated in an equal manner and being given equal opportunities. But, it seems that many people who are calling for equality actually don’t want that at all, what they are after is inequality, for people to be given preferential treatment. That is NOT equality.
I’m going to avoid directly commenting on the situation with our Peterborough MP, I’ll leave that to others, but I believe we need to change the law so that no MP who is convicted of a criminal offence can retain their position in Parliament, and should be removed immediately with just one month severance pay. The same as anyone else would be treated by their employer.
However, there is another issue that has come to light regarding employment, and that is some people who now feel threatened in their employment if they back the ‘wrong’ political parties. It seems that some views are more acceptable than others, and a few people I know, especially working in the public sector and education who would make excellent councillors, feel that their job security is at risk if they were to stand for UKIP at election time.
I think this is appalling - no-one representing an established political party should be scared to stand for them, but I am well aware that people have lost their jobs in parts of the country for this very reason. This is not free and fair, and is effectively censoring people.
We need good people standing in council and representing their communities, we need people who are not afraid to voice their concerns and stand up for their views and values, but we must not be in a situation where these people are in fear of their livelihoods if they do so. Muzzling discussion and preventing dissenting voices doesn’t make things better, it simply prevents free and open debate on issues and gives a false consensus.
If no-one can point out that the emperor’s new clothes are an illusion, then we are not creating a good environment for meaningful debate.
Finally, as we move towards Local Elections, our residents are getting a flurry of communication from their candidates for May. Don’t forget that your councillors (like MPs) are there to represent you, and to help you wherever possible. Do make sure you use them and contact them, if you have a problem. They can’t help if they don’t know a problem exists!