T his column will pause for the holiday period, beginning again on the week of January 7th . This is for a very simple reason: one of the great pleasures of this time of year is the ability to put controversy and commentary aside, writes Peterborough Labour group leader cllr Shaz Nawaz.
In the spirit of peace and goodwill among all people, it is time to pause and reflect.
Peterborough has its issues, but by and large, the phrase “peace and goodwill among all people” is applicable here. Our residents have come from all over Britain and around the world to build their homes and their dreams. No two people are alike and thus those gathered here in this city will not see eye to eye on everything.
We will have loud and even lasting disagreements. However, the fact that the majority get up, go to work or school, and live their lives peaceably and responsibly is a testament to Peterborough’s strength as a community. We can, and should, take pride in this.
As we pause at this time, and the computer is switched off, the pen put aside, and the chair tucked under the desk until the year has turned, it is important to be mindful that many challenges lay ahead. We still don’t know what the full impact of Brexit will be; we don’t know if there will be a deal or not, and what chaos may or may not ensue. The NHS is facing into yet another difficult winter. Our recent education results were far below par; this needs to be remedied to secure our children’s futures. Furthermore, it’s been proposed that council tax will rise yet again, this time by 3%; legitimate questions are being raised as to what this is all for, especially as it will not remedy our long-term financial deficit.
Additionally, there are far too many people in our city who do not have a warm, secure home this Christmastime. There are far too many who are struggling with getting enough to eat. There are far too many who are reliant on zero hours contracts for an inconsistent income. I will be donating what time and money I can to helping charities address these issues over the holiday period, as this is the time when these lacks are most keenly felt, as they contrast to the current celebrations of abundance.
Nevertheless, the season gives us an opportunity to look to the light. We have a chance to bask in the glow of the bright decorations throughout the city, share in the bonhomie of the season, and perhaps inject a bit more sense of hope and wonder, both of which have been sorely tested as of late.
It is with this in mind that I extend from my family and the Labour Group, our best wishes to everyone in Peterborough, regardless of origin, religion, or creed. I hope that this holiday brings you and yours hope and joy; I wish for all of us a happy and prosperous 2019.