I believe that democracy is in its most unhealthy state ever in the UK. People know that politicians don’t listen to them and so they don’t vote. It’s wrong that ordinary, tax paying citizens of this country can’t get local councils to respond to them or address their concerns. And it’s wrong that they don’t feel heard or understood in Westminster.
People are so distrustful of politics and politicians in general that they are crying out for MPs who are not career politicians. The best MPs grow out of their constituencies, and are not parachuted in by national parties. We need people who will represent their communities and stand up and speak out when there’s something that’s clearly wrong as well as supporting their constituents by not always toeing the party line when that’s clearly the right thing to do.
I believe that communities know what’s best for them. And that the role of politicians is to give them the support they need to achieve it. It is an MP’s responsibility not just to voice concerns of constituents in Parliament, but to work hard to support the local economy, helping business to develop, and supporting skills training and fighting to maintain valuable local services.
In the last 5 years a social enterprise of which I have been a co-director has opened 3 new skills centres in my council ward; providing training for young people in green skills and in composite engineering. This has brought millions of pounds of investment into the town. I have also overseen an affordable housing development of 57 rented and shared equity homes and am currently developing a project for a Dorset wide ‘community land trust finance network’ to develop innovative forms of community share options and philanthropic investment as new sources of funding for a much-needed area of social rural housing.
In difficult economic times MPs need to work even harder to protect services as well as to support the local economy. An NHS that is free at the point of use is such a service. Having worked as part of it for 19 years of my career as well as having fought successfully to protect services and hospitals locally I will continue to work hard protecting this service both locally and nationally.