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The Chief's Blog

Mon 16 Dec 2019

What a week, and whoever you voted for, I expect we are all glad that politics is somewhat off the table for Christmas.

Congratulations to all our local Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent MPS, especially those new to role, and I would give a special well done to Kate Griffiths MP for Burton, who has been a great local supporter of the voluntary sector over the last five years, regularly supporting our Volunteer Star Awards – we hope you’ll continue to be an advocate for the sector.

In the new year I and colleagues from Team Staffordshire, will be taking upon an invite extended by Karen Bradley MP (Staffordshire Moorlands) on behalf of local conservative MPs, before the election. This was in reply to our open letter sent in the autumn, which eventually received several replies. The most detailed and thoughtful of these was from Jeremy Lefroy (former MP for Stafford), for which I want to thank him. We also received pretty detailed replies from all three local labour MPs, though they have each stood down or lost their seats. The meeting which we expect to be at Westminster with all (or most) of the now 12 conservative MPs, is a great opportunity to put across our priorities at the start of a new term of office. So what will be your priority? I shall write to all members in the new year asking for a clear steer on this, but start thinking…

To get you started, we should remember that even though the election has been hailed a landslide victory, more people didn’t exercise their right to vote at all, than voted conservative (just 30% of the electorate voted for the winners) – which I point out, in order to remind us that 70% of the population felt strongly enough to vote for something else, or apathetic enough not to vote at all. There remain big problems to be solved in this country and both the new government, our local governments, and our civil society has a major role to play in bringing more people together for the betterment of their communities.

For me the biggest unaddressed questions are around tackling and mitigating climate change, addressing the adult social care conundrum and addressing decent affordable housing. Each of these is of course interwoven with our ability to pay, the economy and trade, and thus of course Brexit remains crucial.

However, at least for Christmas, perhaps we can all consider what unites us as a nation, enjoy the company of family and friends and look forward to the possibilities of what the new year brings. Merry Christmas to all our members, colleagues and partners and thanks for your support and collaboration this year.

Garry