Labour Party Opinion: 'Hire us to do a better job' says Shaz Nawaz

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I am sure the people of Peterborough are relieved to know that the local election campaign is nearly over. You, the voter, is the ultimate employer of the council. You have been receiving messages from the applicants for the job. Soon, it will be up to you to decide who is to be hired.

This campaign has been unusual; never have I seen local Conservative candidates trying so hard to run away from their own national leadership. I understand that in other parts of the country that the Tories have gone so far as to label themselves as “Local Conservatives”, hoping that the

taint doesn’t impact them.

It should, however. The cost-of-living crisis is hitting everyone; on the doorstep, people are extremely upset that the government hasn’t done more. They are aware that France managed to limit price rises on electricity to just 4%, while here in the UK, we have seen bills rise by over 50%. Brexit, we were promised, was supposed to deliver cheaper food and energy. It simply did not happen. Not all of this is due to the war between Russia and Ukraine: big price rises were in train regardless. By trusting everything to the market, the government was asleep at the wheel: now we are all picking through the wreckage. Perhaps it isn’t a great idea to have a government run in the main by multimillionaires who don’t understand how a larger electricity bill can mean one goes without eating so that their children don’t starve.

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This lack of understanding of sacrifice permeates the government in other ways: we have a prime minister who not only received at least one fixed penalty notice for breaking the law, it was his own government’s law that he broke. Up until the moment he got caught, he apparently was untroubled by the idea that while many were separated from their loved ones, even in their dying moments, he and his coterie shared drinks at a party. Ever more preposterous excuses like being “ambushed by cake” were deployed to save him.

The government doesn’t appear to fully understand the sacrifices the Ukrainians are presently making. They are bravely standing up to a much larger country, their homes are being shelled, many are made homeless and forced to flee. Yet, we have put up barriers to giving them safe

refuge. Worse, we have been slow to dismantle the entire edifice of corruption which has allowed Putin’s cronies to wash their money clean via the London property market.

Closer to home, we all received our council tax bills. They’re up. We are getting less for them. Yet, the Conservative administration feels empowered to carry on as merrily as before. It neither sees nor knows the story of the parents working long hours in low paid work to keep

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their families safe and well. With their money, they have recourse to other medical services if they get ill. Yes, higher bills for energy and food are annoying, but not critical for many of them. As they sit in the council, presiding over the decline of our common good, the experience of the majority is another country to them.

We are one city; we are one Peterborough. We have worn down the shoe leather and knocked on doors to bring this message, that we can do better. We are asking you to hire us to do that better job. With your support, we will. Together, we can do better for Peterborough.