Opinion: Meet the candidate - Andrew Pakes

Andrew Pakes, the Labour candidate for PeterboroughAndrew Pakes, the Labour candidate for Peterborough
Andrew Pakes, the Labour candidate for Peterborough
Your local Labour Party has chosen our Parliamentary candidate for the next General Election: his name is Andrew Pakes, writes Labour group leader Shaz Nawaz.

I have met Andrew more than a few times now, and I found him very impressive. He stood out in a field of accomplished, talented people.

I am on record stating that I believe we should favour selecting local candidates. It speaks a great deal to Andrew’s quality that he has managed to shine through and has my enthusiastic endorsement.

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Andrew is originally from Milton Keynes. This gives him a perspective which aligns well to our situation: Milton Keynes has a similar proximity to London. It also is a burgeoning, growing community with the issues and virtues that presents. This gives him an inherent empathy to our situation.

However, there is more to it than that. Empathy is more than personal experience and being able to draw upon it to talk to others, it is the capacity to stand outside oneself and see the world around them from a broad variety of perspectives. Andrew has that quality. It is perhaps this aptitude which makes him particularly suited to our present situation.

We have suffered from a Tory administration that is noticeably lacking in empathy. Rather, they appear to only understand matters from the perspective of what is good for them. Boris Johnson even now is using his waning days in office to indulge his desires, whether it is to skip COBRA meetings about the recent heatwave or to throw parties at the Prime Ministerial residence at Chequers.

If Johnson had empathy, he would be conscious as to how this looks to a public that is suffering from wild temperatures and wildfires on top of a cost of living crisis.

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What applies to the Prime Minister is equally true of our present Tory administration here in Peterborough.

When they cut transport, do they think of the pensioner who needs to get around town?

Do they think about those who benefitted from the St. George’s Hydrotherapy Pool and how closing it will be detrimental to their health?

I don’t expect a government to make choices that everyone will like; I do expect it to consider those are affected by the choices that are made.

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Our MP is equally out of touch. If I was to characterise my interactions with him, it was clear that he was thinking about how something may help or harm him.

Would appearing somewhere be beneficial or detrimental to him politically?

He will attend the opening of an envelope if it was worth a few percentage points, but when it comes to the heavy slog of governing, working behind the scenes to affect public good, or even to stop his colleagues in the council from doing something awful, “Pop Up Paul” is nowhere to be found.

We need far more than this.

We need an MP that understands, cares, and serves. We have drifted so far from the idea of politics being a form of public service: Johnson and his acolytes have embedded the pernicious thought that politics is merely a free for all, a grab all while you can.

We can do better.

And with politicians like Andrew leading the way, we will.