7 May 2017

Lawrence Jones and Andy Burnham at UKFast in Manchester

Lawrence Jones and Andy Burnham at UKFast in Manchester

Lets put our political differences aside for a second and look at whats needed right now in the UK.

Whatever your political allegiances, ultimately we are all wanting the same thing, a stronger Britain. The problem is we have differences of opinions and varying degrees of confidence in the small number of political leaders available to us.

This week saw the first vote for Mayor in Manchester where the newly elected mayor Andy Burnham has more powers and the ability to allocate and spend money where he and his team see fit.

Now some might say I am a conservative at heart, and I suppose in many ways I am, although I don’t believe any one of the parties are the finished article by a long way. I am actually someone who will vote depending on circumstance, depending on who is standing and their ability to deliver, regardless of red or blue. You can have all the positive policies in the world, but if a leader hasn’t got the knowhow to follow through on their plan, there is little point in voting for them.

With a huge number of councils turning blue this week after a labour collapse, its interesting that Labour not just held onto Manchester, but won in style with 63% of the vote. It just goes to show the importance of a strong, character who is in touch with people in the area. This certainly can’t be said for the wider labour party right now and Andy has clearly done well whilst Corbyn has sadly cemented himself in for the long-haul in-spite of clear unrest and certain damage he is doing to the Labour brand and party.

Andy Burnham Manchester Mayor at UKFast

Andy Burnham Manchester Mayor at UKFast

I made it clear I was voting for Burnham from the outset and a few people seemed shocked but my answer, “we have to go for  the right outcome for the city and region, irrespective of political sway.”

I will no doubt vote in the general election for the conservatives, because I have zero faith in Jeremy Corbyn as a leader or his ability to deliver a credible plan or even maintain the momentum currently set by the existing conservative government.

Before any diehard Corbyn fans or anti-conservative voters start bashing me, all parties including the conservatives can have good ideas and remember that it was the conservative government who insisted on the idea of a Manchester mayor and pioneered the idea of devolution. Yes! And this in an area where they cannot dint the labour support.

Its important to give credit where credit is due. Its a nonsense to think that all policies of either opposing parties are bad. Ultimately they are trying to balance the books of a very complex business puzzle. What I personally think is a brilliant idea, is that we in Manchester now have the power to solve our own problems without going cap in hand to the government. Its something I believe will work tremendously well with the likes of Andy Burnham and Sir Richard Leese at the helm and hopefully one day when the concept is proven its something that politicians of all parties can continue to roll out to other areas of the country to the same extent.

I also believe it enables Manchester to keep their labour identity regardless of the highly probable outcome of a conservative landslide at the general election.

If labour want to rebuild their party, they need to oust their existing despot and take a leaf out of the success in the Northwest this week. Voters want personalities they can associate with and they want to be able to believe in a positive future. Sadly whatever the outcome, I think labour maybe stuck with Corbyn for sometime!

But in the meantime, huge congratulations are in order of the new Labour Mayor and his team.

Its exciting times ahead and its a historic moment, a first for Manchester.

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