23 July 2024

My election wish list

As I wrote last week, our coverage of the General Election this week is negligible owing to the way our deadlines fall.

The paper came out on polling day itself, so anything we could have put in print would fast be out of date for the rest of the week.

If you are reading this on polling day, and there’s still time to go out on vote, I’ll just echo what we said last week and urge you to go out and do it. We’re not telling you who to vote for – just please exercise a democratic right that your ancestors fought and died for.

It has got me thinking, though, about what I really want from the next government, whoever that may be.

For me it’s fairly simple. I want people to be able to afford to eat and to heat their homes, and pay their bills – and, crucially, have a bit left over to enjoy life, such as going down the pub, or to a gig, football, the theatre, buying new shoes, treating themselves, you name it.

As the owner of a small business I know how hard it is. No one’s got any money left over once they have paid for the essentials.

And that’s rubbish for our economy. Event organisers struggle to sell tickets for anything. Buildings are looking scruffy because their owners can’t afford to sort them out (though I’m not sure what the excuse of some major high street chains in Withernsea’s Queen Street is in this regard). Small high street shops are going under as a result of high business rates and the fact that many people aren’t out there buying the “little luxuries” any more.

The cost-of-living crisis permeates absolutely everything, and it’s this above all that the new government needs to sort out. I mean, I have other things on my list, such as a complete ban on people playing TikTok videos on the bus without headphones, and community service for people who put pineapple on pizzas, but sorting out the cost-of-living crisis would do for starters.

I mentioned Queen Street in Withernsea – and I see that yet another national newspaper has had a cheap pop at the town once again. This has happened before, about a year ago, and the Gazette responded with a front-page headline that said “stop knocking our town”.

It’s probably best to stop giving these sorts of articles the time of day, and I wish local people would refuse to be quoted in them. Withernsea is no different from scores of other seaside towns that have issues as mentioned above, and articles like this just punch down. They don’t add anything – they’re not constructive.

Firstly, we need government policies that really tackle the cost-of-living crisis – and, secondly, local people need to step up and work together to help make where they live a better place.

Which, of course, loads of them already are, as evidenced by the reports in the Gazette week in, week out, on the numerous fantastic events that people can get involved with – and the vast majority of them are free of charge.