It shouldn’t have escaped notice that we will be having a by-election in Orton Longueville on August 2, writes Labour leader on Peterborough City Council, cllr Shaz Nawaz.
I realise that many people either don’t have time for politics, or feel saturated by it. I often hear the sentiments that were eloquently expressed by “Brenda from Bristol” prior to the 2017 general election, specifically, “Not another one!”
Furthermore, the summer sun has been alluring, vacations and barbecues in the garden beckon.
But, the by-election is important: control of the council is finely balanced. If the seat goes to a party other than the Conservatives, then the present administration will be obliged, by the necessity of arithmetic, to take a broader range of opinions into account when deciding policy.
There is a tendency for any government if it has been in power for a long time (and let’s not forget that control of the council hasn’t shifted in 18 years) to assume that everything is fine.
A vote for change will provide them with a salutary reminder that they need to do better.
If you have not registered to vote, I urge you to do so: it literally takes minutes, and as we’ve seen in recent contests, a few votes can make a great deal of difference.
Having said this, there is more to this election than just control of the council: the people have to decide who they believe will represent them effectively.
I am certain that our candidate, Heather Skibsted, will do so with gusto.
I got to know Heather during last year’s General Election and this past May’s council elections.
I found her to be forthright, organised, attentive to detail, and determined.
These are qualities which would serve any ward well. I was recently out on the campaign trail with her; despite the heat, she was indefatigable.
When I spoke to residents, it was obvious that Heather’s attitude and commitment would be particularly appreciated; it was also clear that there are many issues which she would need to address upon taking office.
Like much of Peterborough, fly-tipping, traffic, and crime are problems which plague the ward. Like much of Peterborough, these issues don’t appear close to being solved.
I admire Heather’s idealism as she approaches her task.
It is all too easy to dismiss politicians as being all of a kind; I too have heard this on the doorstep, that we’re all supposedly “as bad as each other.”
Heather is motivated by her ideas and her beliefs; she only joined the Labour Party to help put our city and country on a better path.
By committing to this election, she has shown she knows she will have to work hard.
After all, the seat is up for election again next May.
When she is successful on August 2 she will have to bear this in mind as well as serve her constituents.
I respect her devotion; I am looking forward to working with her.