One of those events that is so obscure to most people but fixates politicians is upon us again. The periodic Parliamentary boundary review, where the nation’s political map gets redrawn, often strikes fear into the hearts of politicians as they wait to see if their constituency still exists or has been transformed out of all recognition.
It is an intensely political time, not because the Boundary Commission is susceptible to politics, but because MPs may find their safe seat suddenly becomes marginal or even disappears altogether. There can then be clashes, often behind the scenes, where MPs and other campaigners try to get the Boundary Commission to tweak or radically alter the initial proposals. This was particularly true about ten years ago when the City of Salford was almost erased from the Parliamentary map and the then MP, Hazel Blears, mounted a valiant defence of her city.
For most people and for most of the time, politics should focus on jobs, the community and matters that affect people on a daily basis. In that light, Wigan has had two pieces of great news lately.
I was delighted to read in this paper that Heinz is bringing back their production of tomato ketchup to Wigan as well as a range of other products. In the last twenty years, this will be their biggest investment outside the United States and will create fifty new jobs. The £140m investment is a clear sign that Brexit means Britain will continue to be a top destination for investment for the long term.
The Government has chosen to give Wigan a town centre boost with £16m from the Future High Streets Fund. It has been a tough time for our town centres over the last few years and especially during the series of lockdowns, but I am pleased to see that the Prime Minister is stepping in to help us out.
We just have to make sure that the local council leadership spend the money wisely, so we create a better environment for the long term.
Thinking of the future, the next few days are going to be critical as to determine when and how we can return to normal and get out from under the Covid-19 lockdowns.
There is a furious debate as to whether we just have yet more delays as every new variant from across the Globe is checked to make sure that it is not more deadly, transmissible, or can defeat all of our range of vaccines.
Whether it is the Kent variant, the one from Brazil, South Africa’s form or the Indian strain, the vaccines have been effective. Some are now anticipating that the Nepalese or Vietnamese variants will be the ones that finally defeat all the vaccines. They will not but some people seem fixated on dragging out lockdowns no matter the cost.
I always bear in mind that every time we delay a return to normality, we delay people being able to go to see their GP for an urgent check up and perhaps get that emergency referral for life saving treatment. The hospital waiting lists are long and are getting longer by the day.
I started off the article with the most political of issues, but I believe there is too much politics everywhere and we need to cut it down.
For many years, there has been a variety of movements to reduce racism in football. They have had almost universal support, made a huge level of progress and are largely apolitical but things are changing.
Some people know that the Black Lives Matters movement is Marxist, anti-Israel, want to defund the police and has enriched its leaders. Other people believe that certain events 5,000 miles away offers a clear understanding of race relations in the UK and therefore support the kneeling to BLM before football matches.
I believe that, if football players introduce their politics into football then the fans can do the same. I also believe that it would be better for footballers and the clubs to focus on the sport and give us a break from politics.