An opinion piece by the Chair of Bude Labour Party (as ever, we remind other political parties that they, too, may submit articles for publication. No one has so far but the offer remains open.
How Labour can bring the country back together.
Just about every family, business, and community is divided on Brexit. Britain is divided as a nation, and some politicians view these elections as an opportunity to stoke those divisions. Labour is the only party trying to bring our country back together.
Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, our politics needs to change because it is only working for a few at the top – whether in Westminster or in Brussels. Austerity has harmed communities in Britain and across Europe. This is most striking to the people in North Cornwall in the continuing cuts and staffing crises across our NHS and Education systems, evident in the threat to Stratton MIU services and our cash-strapped local schools.
Cornwall Councillor Jayne Kirkham, who is on the Labour list of prospective MEPs, has taken a keen supportive interest in the Stratton MIU overnight closure. Despite representing Falmouth, she visited our hospital and has lobbied for the re-opening of these services. Jayne also secured an extra £1 million for school nurses/counsellors and children’s mental health provision, and it was Jayne who successfully piloted the amended motion leading to Cornwall Council acknowledging and declaring a Climate Emergency.
On the European Elections, Jane says: ‘If you vote Labour, you’re voting for a lot more than Brexit or Not-Brexit, you’re voting for a party who is anti-austerity and wants to put people first. And whether your Labour MEPs are there for six months, or five years, they will be there properly working for you. You want someone there really sticking up for Cornwall, and that’s what I intend to do if I am elected.’
It is a bizarre feature of these European elections that no-one knows how long our elected MEPs will serve but, until Brexit is resolved, Labour will work to direct EU investment to areas that are struggling. Areas like North Cornwall.
It should be remembered that it was Labour MEPs who pushed through the climate package that first recognised the dangers of climate change, and set binding EU-wide targets on reducing emissions and promoting renewable energy. They promoted the very first EU habitats laws, ensuring the maintenance of biodiversity and measures to protect wildlife, including by prohibiting neonicotinoid.
In national government, Labour will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans. We will set targets for reducing the use of plastics and work with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste. We will demand that the EU follows the pledge of the next UK Labour government, to commit to 60% of the UK’s energy supply from renewable or low-carbon sources by 2030, and net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
No matter what your views on Brexit, the real divisions in Britain have increasingly been between the many and the few. A vote for Labour in the European Elections is a vote for a positive future for us all.