At the end of last week when the Channel 4 debate on climate change took place, the sizeable splinters in the structure of the Conservative Party campaign seemed to begin to turn into a structural crack. As their team represented by Michael Gove sought to gain access to the debate which involved the leaders of all of the other main parties, Gove was turned away because he was not actually the leader of the Tory Party. The anger expressed by his senior party members that an invitation for the leader of the party to take part could not be transferred to any other member of the party seemed to make things very difficult for them. They set out to blame the leaders of the other parties who they claim were not prepared to let someone else join the debate and Channel 4 for having restricting the debate to a series of party leaders. What seemed to have got missed in their frustration was that the leader of their party, Boris Johnson was unwilling or incapable of participating in a debate about climate change. This all occurred at the same time as Johnson was claiming he would also not take part in an interview with Andrew Neil which further questions his suitability as a leader of their party, let alone that of Prime Minister. Nevertheless it was very encouraging that James Cleverly finally tweeted that “This is not a Presidential Election” which addresses the numerous tweets and other messages from his party that have been circulating for weeks, claiming that a local vote will determine if Johnson or Corbyn will make it into No 10 Downing Street. This hopefully means that over the next 10 days as we decide who to vote for, that a clear sense will emerge that the most important matter is for local voters to decide who will represent them in Parliament. Whilst that decision may give one party enough seats to become the Government, it is much more likely, based on two out of the three last General Elections, that we will end up with a party that needs to work with at least one other party if together they can achieve some of the promises they have each set out. It was very encouraging that in Bexhill and Battle last Wednesday, an invitation by the Labour candidate that after their hustings meeting, the candidates would sit down together and attempt to achieve #kindergentlerpolitics was welcomed by the Conservative candidate. Sadly their voters are only able to vote for those two parties along with the Green and Liberal Democratic Party, no one is standing as an Independent in their constituency. However it would be very encouraging if some Independents get elected for our next Parliament.
Another issue that has emerged in the last few days appeared on Facebook from the Hove Conservative candidate referring to Homelessness which is a vital issue for whichever party or group of parties become our next Government. The comments were a criticism of the previous Labour City Council that had promised to end Homelessness on our Streets and clearly did not do so. However the same theme emerged a few days earlier in the Labour Party manifesto which perhaps was the catalyst for the criticism. It was clear that during the last Labour Government, a huge amount was achieved on this theme and this was destroyed during the coalition and then Conservative Government. What is clear on matters such as Homelessness and its link to Housing provision and other subjects such as Social Care, NHS, Policing, Fire and Rescue, Education, etc is that our Governments just like our Local Authorities cannot fix things overnight and even over a four to five year period it is very hard to see long term solutions emerging to begin to address serious problems. What is even worse is that when new Governments emerge they have a tendency to tear up the previous work that went on behind the scenes and try to pretend they were presented with a blank sheet of paper. Unfortunately it can then takes 2-3 years before any prospective solutions can begin to emerge and soon afterwards the next election emerges and so the need for consistent long term solutions gets lost in the focus on preparing for an election. This sort of problem is made much worse when the Government or Council keeps on changing the leader of their various departments and some of these people go through a similar approach trying to create a sense of what their contribution will look like so they appear impressive to voters or colleagues. At both a National and Local level we need consistency and cooperation to resolve significant matters if we can improve our nation in a way that will benefit us all.