Opinion: ‘Looking forward with optimism’

Matt Smith, chair of the Rutland and Melton Labour Party, writes..

By John Mason
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 11:36 am
Matt Smith, of the Melton and Rutland Labour Party
Matt Smith, of the Melton and Rutland Labour Party

The new year is not only a time to look back but also to look forward with hope.

Politics in 2021 has been dominated by the actions of a dishonest, selfish and incompetent Tory Government. There have been so many examples of this dishonesty and incompetence that it is very hard to know where to start.

The lockdown parties at 10 Downing Street highlight the Government’s hypocrisy at a time we were all following the rules. How can it be right to be having a party when the rest of us were unable to see our loved ones in hospital or arrange a proper funeral?

Meanwhile this heartless Government cut Universal Credit during the pandemic and then increased taxes on the lowest earners to fund social care. They even cut free school meals as the use of foodbanks rocketed. They allowed private water companies to dump sewage in our rivers. They also decided to allow MPs to keep their second jobs while making it harder for people to legally protest. When our NHS is under such pressure, they are allowing private health companies inappropriate influence over our NHS.

Need I go on? These are all bad decisions which tell us so much about the government’s priorities and attitudes to hard working people.

In 2022 people are yearning for a Government of honest, talented and effective ministers capable of leading and uniting the country in these challenging times. Labour’s frontbench team can do this. They have a vision for the country that will reduce inequality, create a fairer society and take policy decisions to tackle our climate crisis. Time is fast running out to slow down global warming. Labour knows a green new deal is needed and it is needed now.

Locally things have not been any better. The Tories on Melton Borough Council spent most of 2021 arguing with their Tory colleagues on the county council. Also two Tory councillors spent most of the year in Australia and London and yet continued in position although they were unable to attend meetings!

Meanwhile our MP, Alicia Kearns, has voted through policies that will make the people of Melton poorer. 
She has also consistently failed to condemn Tory sleaze, dishonesty and “don’t do as I do, do as I say” attitude. Her main focus in 2021 was self-promotion and career progression, and I suspect nothing will change in 2022. She promised there would be increased funding from central Government but this hasn’t materialised. In fact, amazingly, she even failed to support the £9.9 million Melton ‘Levelling Up’ application to the Government. Instead we will probably see a big Council Tax increase and more budget cuts.

We need things to be different. We need politicians, nationally and locally, who are honest, competent and not simply in it for themselves. Labour can provide this change and we are already seeing it locally with the recent election of a Labour county councillor in Oakham. There will be more local elections in Melton during 2022 and with Labour surging ahead in the polls we look forward to ending the dishonesty and incompetence we have seen over the last year.

Happy New Year to you all.