Thursday, 20 April 2017

We need a politics of hope and inclusion to give real meaning to this snap election.

You’re joking! Another one? Brenda from Bristol the OAP door-stepped by a journalist on the day Theresa May called a snap general election could have been speaking for the nation.

After last going to the polls in 2015, the upheaval of the EU referendum and, here win Stoke-on-Trent anyway, a hectic by-election earlier in the year the public are more than a little battle-weary when it comes to politics.

The Downing Street line on this latest election is that Mrs. May has called it to bring some much-needed unity to the nation’s political life as we head for the door marked Brexit. Look a little closer and what you really see is some nifty, if risky, footwork in the curious quadrille of party politics.

There seem, to this observer anyway, to be two motives behind the decision of this most cautious of prime ministers to stake it all on a throw of the dice.

The first is a desire to destroy, maybe permanently, the Labour Party as an effective opposition. She is relying on Jeremy Corbyn leading them to the sort of drubbing Michael Foot did in 1983, with the resulting internal strife putting them out of the game for at least a decade.

Fighting and, she hopes, winning an election now will provide enough of a majority to secure her position if, or more likely when, things get rocky over the Brexit negotiations and Tory backbenchers start looking round for someone to blame.

Like juggling hand grenades, it’s an impressive trick if it works; but if it goes wrong, it has the potential to do so messily.

What is there in all this cynical positioning for the British public? The answer is more opportunity than at first appears.

However often it has been repeated before this really is a chance to bring about lasting change. The upheavals of the past couple of years have proved that in politics nothing is ever certain, even more so at a time when the staus-quo is something voters are no longer prepared to accept.

We need a new type of politics based around hope and inclusion, not despair and division; a view of our national future built around the shared values that make us strong.

In Stoke-on-Trent that means talking about how this city deserves better. Better jobs, a better transport system and a better, stronger health service. These are all things the Green Party has campaigned for over the past four years, speaking up for local people when other, larger, parties either took them for granted or ignored them entirely.

The tired old politics of business as usual is no longer good enough; the time has come for a politics of hope and inclusion that will change this city and our country for the better.

Adam Colclough is the Campaigns Coordinator for North Staffs Green Party, the opinions expressed here are his own

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