‘We need bold plans in 2023 to pick our country up’

Something that has really struck me as we close off this year, is how Orwellian our Politics has become.
Take the cost of living – Salisbury Foodbank fed 800 people in September – double the previous year, and households are bracing for energy bills to go up again.

Yet, according to Conservative-controlled Wiltshire Council, we are not in a cost of living crisis but a cost of living ‘challenge’.
There are strikes across the public sector which are bringing the country to a grinding halt. These strikes are over pay, working conditions and safety – both of staff and service users (be that rail passengers or hospital patients).

Again, The Conservative Government response is to bring forward plans to impose new anti-strike legislation aimed at making industrial action largely ineffective.
Rishi Sunak has declared war on ‘illegal immigrants’.
Part of his solution to the 143,000 asylum backlog is to change the threshold for what is considered a modern slave and to deem Albania a ‘safe’ country and thus reject thousands of claims.
These are not the actions of a Prime Minister of Government with a long-term plan.
Rather they are the initiatives of a Prime Minister who is merely biding time until the next General Election.
Real leadership on the cost of living crisis would be to fully fund an emergency programme to insulate our homes, bringing down bills and improving energy security.
Strike action should not be ignored with the army brought in, but real investment into our public sector is needed along with mammoth recruitment and retention of hospital staff, teachers and railway operators.
Illegal immigrants ought not to be vilified but treated as the refugees they are: offered safe and legal routes to combat smuggling and trafficking gangs and stop desperate people cramming themselves into small boats in search of safety.

We are facing depression and a winter of discontent. We need to start 2023 with bold plans and ambitions to pick our country up from its knees.

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