WELL, people of Peterborough, how do you feel about politics at the moment? I can already hear the sound of thousands of you blowing raspberries in response to that question, writes Patrick O’Flynn MEP, Social Democratic Party (SDP) Parliamentary candidate for Peterborough.
I’ve actually asked it a few times of people face-to-face in the city recently, and have yet to hear a contented reply – and that’s putting it politely!
When your own MP gets sent to prison for perverting the course of justice but won’t stand down – and because of arcane parliamentary rules does not have to; when your 60%+ vote in favour of Brexit is being ignored by hundreds of Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs alike; when crime and anti-social behaviour is rife in many neighbourhoods, yet nobody seems interested in putting more police on the beat; when all this is going on it is no surprise that politics is in disrepute in Peterborough.
It just feels like nobody is listening, and that the system does not respect the views of the people at all. And yet the two ugly sisters of British politics – Labour and the Tories – just carry on regardless.
That is why I am determined to offer you a fresh choice with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) – a party that is campaigning hard to ensure the Brexit vote is respected, and that we leave the EU on time and in full on March 29, but also a moderate, sensible party that believes in investing more in the NHS, the police and other key public services. Something and someone is needed to shake-up our smug and complacent establishment, that’s for sure.
When we do finally get rid of Fiona Onasanya and secure a parliamentary by-election, which I am confident we will, I will be standing for the SDP and offering policies that not only back Brexit and stronger control over immigration, but also address the crises in law and order and NHS funding.
That means bold ideas to ensure big corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share of tax.
By the way, by the time the by-election is called I profoundly hope to no longer be a Member of the European Parliament.
I feel very privileged to have waged the campaign for Brexit out of my office in Bridge Street since 2014 and want to thank all of you who have attended the public meetings I have held in Peterborough, or helped to deliver thousands of leaflets during the referendum campaign.
It would be an outrage were the establishment parties to postpone Brexit, or to make voters elect a new set of MEPs some three years after we voted to leave the European Union.
Please do not turn away from politics altogether, despite the obvious temptation to do so.
One thing – perhaps the only thing - that will make our rulers sit up and take note is the knowledge that they must win the votes of the people.
Politics in Peterborough is at a low ebb, but better times are on the way.