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'We will continue to focus on fighting the continued downgrading of our A&E services,' says Grantham Labour councillor Lee Steptoe

Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour, Earlesfield ward, writes:

The period between Christmas and the new year is traditionally a period of reflection, of looking back and taking stock and looking forward to the future.

For the Labour party, therefore, this is a truly sobering time. We have just suffered our worst General Election result, in terms of seats, since 1935.

Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour (24894592)
Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour (24894592)

As we look to elect our new leader by Easter, a lack of reflection would be fatal.

After knocking on many doors during both the SKDC elections in May and during the General Election, Jeremy Corbyn, to use his own word, was seen as ‘marmite’. As popular as he is with many thousands of our party members, there were many traditional Labour voters who were far from convinced.

Our Brexit policy tried to split the difference between Leavers and Remainers, lacking clarity, as opposed to the government’s clarion call of ‘Get Brexit Done!’

Individually, many of our manifesto pledges were inspiring to us activists but taken together seemed like a fantasy Christmas list to many floating voters.

Our party will always stand up for the most deprived in our society. We will never accept the normalisation of ‘Foodbank Britain’ and Tory politicians posturing over donation photo opportunities, after holding power for years both locally and nationally. But we must do far more to reconnect with the millions of aspirational voters who form the squeezed middle.

Locally, we had an inspiring candidate in Kathryn Salt, who worked incredibly hard and represented our party at five hustings, including two where our new Tory MP didn’t bother turning up.

In Grantham we will continue to focus on fighting the continued downgrading of our A&E services. At SKDC we will fight the terribly complacent administration, that puts glossy PR before need, (see the recent scandal over residents without a proper hot water system for three years. Their promised compensation needs to be substantial!).

More social housing remains urgent.

As 2019 draws to a close, there is much to reflect on for Labour people. But we remain the only alternative to the Tories and that will keep us strong.

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