My first wish is to acknowledge and thank those of you that voted Labour on 2nd May, and a special thank you to those who also put up posters or were enthused on the doorstep by the proposals we were putting forward. I would also want to congratulate all who voted, and although I am gravely disappointed by the result, I hope is that for good or bad the election outcome has motivated others to make the effort next time.
I have purposefully delayed writing this note so that there is both balance and grace within. No doubt it is a viewed shared by many who stand for election that you hope that voters will consider and measure your proposals before making a decision. Only those who voted can say with certainty whether this was the case, or whether there was another motivation.
Those of you I spoke with will know that I absolutely reject the idea that the failings of the town are due to immigration. There is no doubt that immigration over the past decade has permanently changed the character of Wisbech, but the cause of our problems are much deeper and much longer established before the East Europeans started to arrive.
I have written previously on immigration and the malaise within our town, there are many steps to be taken but the solution rests with bringing economic prosperity. This is best achieved through investment in infrastructure, and the development and delivery of a business strategy engaging with stakeholders that holds ambition for our town and people.
I do not dismiss people’s bad experiences but I am clear that the debate should be on how we deal with anti-social behaviour and criminal actions. It should be about people who do wrong, not people who hold a different creed or heritage. When I am at the school gate, the supermarket or collecting my kids from their clubs I see other parents. I anticipate they are facing the same struggles that I am, and also seeking to do the best for their families. That anyone should seek to put lines through our community greatly saddens me, and more so that many thought this is indeed THE single problem and solution.
It is both simplistic and wrong to condemn a group of people (on the basis of the poor behaviour of a few) – this is racism. It is as despicable to hold racist views as it is to exploit those same views as means for publicity or gain. What I do struggle with still is that having elected Councillors on the basis of immigration issue it will now become apparent that County Councils have no influence on this issue but these same persons will be making decision on education, transport, environment and social services for the next four years but do you know what their views are?
I have already committed to local Labour Party my willingness to continue to stand and campaign, to provide an alternative voice. I care deeply about this town and its’ people, and believe passionately that we sink or swim together. I will continue to do what I can to bring success, and even if you do not agree wholly with me I would hope you would also make the same commitment.
You might disagree with my politics but my principles are not for trading or disguising. I have always been prepared to work in partnership, and I am committed to advocating joint enterprise where possible but there is no deal with the devil. I condemn all who peddle hate and division, we need community and hope…..now more than ever.