Talking is over - it’s time to choose

When this column is published, we will be one week away from Election Day. The final arguments will have been presented; there will be only a few more doors upon which to knock. I would like to thank the indefatigable team of Labour candidates and activists who have done their best to make the case that there needs to be a change of administration in Peterborough, writes cllr Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour Party on Peterborough City Council.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 7:14 am
Updated Saturday, 27th April 2019, 7:18 am
Voting opens on Thursday

When any government is allowed to continue for too long a time, it inevitably runs out of energy, ideas, and reasons for its own continuance. The Conservative administration of our city has persisted for 18 years. I think it is fair to say that its biggest deficit lay not in its budget proposals, though they haven’t solved that either. Rather, their gap lay in their aspirations and vitality. Following on, I ask them: apart from perpetuating your reign, why are you here?

Their rationale is surely not because they are serving the people. It is very rare that I have encountered anyone on the doorstep who loves our council: at best, there is a mild indifference. Worse, there’s often outright hostility: it’s said that the streets are not nearly clean enough, there isn’t enough housing, and crime is not as under control as it should be.

Between these points is where most people seem to be: irritated with a council that seems to waste money and appears to be disconnected from the life of most of the people who live here.

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It is tempting under these circumstances to believe that one should use one’s vote to register their protest; the least controversial political opinion these days is an expression of the sentiment, “a plague upon all your houses”. There are many parties out there; some will cater to this sentiment more than others. However, although voting in protest may send a shiver up the spine of this administration, it is unlikely to remove it. What I would recommend is that the people of Peterborough vote for positive change instead.

Through these columns, and through our manifesto that has been distributed throughout the city, Labour has articulated an alternative vision for how our city can and should be run.

We have talked about how we will tackle long standing problems such as the housing crisis. We’ve put forward ideas such as using technologies like modular housing to help fix it.

Furthermore, we’ve discussed how we intend to build up the local economy by changing the council’s procurement policies. We’ve expressed our vision for a city that is embedded in the digital economy and will get the maximum benefit out of the soon-to-be-built University of Peterborough. By all means, I urge you, look at your tax bill, look at the state of our city and say “Things could be better”: but use your democratic rights to make sure that happens, rather than merely to cast stones at the current administration. Vote for positive change. Vote Labour.