It was Harold Wilson who first coined the phrase that “a week was a long time in politics”, and Harold Macmillan who preceded saying the real challenge of politics was “events dear boy, events!” Both from each of the former Prime Ministers have been shown to be wholly correct with UK politics over the last few weeks, and the old Chinese proverb of “may you live in interesting times” also gets a look-in as well!
Theresa May started the election with a stratospheric lead in the opinion polls and was, according to the pundits, well on her way to the destruction of the Labour Party and a landslide majority. Well. That was a plan which didn’t work out too well.
From a local perspective I am delighted to be back as Eastbourne and Willingdon’s MP. The support across town as my vote surged by almost 7,000 was astonishing, and I really am terribly grateful.
My priority before was to work ferociously on behalf of our town, putting its interests above party politics and that is exactly what I will do again. There is also much to be done. To give the readers of the Herald a starter for 10, my immediate priorities will include Southern Rail, stopping the government’s proposed cuts to our local schools funding, along with their ill-thought out dementia tax and cuts to free school meals. Bad decisions which need to be halted immediately and I plan to oppose them vigorously in Parliament from the off. With Southern Rail I am also determined to find a way to get this government off the hook of their own making. Watch this space!
Locally I’m getting my office up and running as soon as possible to grow back to the high levels of casework I was proud to deal with before. I never forget that as your MP I’m your servant, and not the other way around.
I am also planning a new townwide initiative which involves asking you, the whole community, to think about practical ways, big and small, to make Eastbourne better. Issues to address, concepts, actions, ideas; call them what you will, but they must all have just the one criteria – ‘is it good for Eastbourne?’ And then over the coming weeks I will be setting up a process where local residents can feed in these ideas. Just remember the one key objective – ‘is it good for Eastbourne?’
Eastbourne is a profoundly community-orientated town. We love it and we care about it, so this is something I really want to focus on.
For instance with the tremendous news of the Arndale re-generation and the Devonshire Park rebuild comes a challenge.
We all know what it’s like for the builders to be in our own home fixing a new extension. It will look great once they’re finished but it is awfully messy while they do what they need to do. And we have a touch of that at the minute in the town centre so I am keen we work together positively to alleviate this. In short, we all know we live in a great place so let’s think/work/communicate ideas to make Eastbourne even better. I’ll give more details in later columns of how we can harness my initiative for the good of Eastbourne.
We may well live in interesting times, a week is clearly a long time in politics nowadays and don’t even get me started on the power of external events, but you know what? In Eastbourne we have something special. Its good to be back folks. Thank you.