I was lucky to be part of the launch of the ‘Target Tour‘ with Luke Pollard and Rosena Allin-Khan when they came to the far South West this week.
In places like Cornwall, with wages lower than the rest of the country and a huge crisis in housing, far too many people were being left behind even before this cost-of-living crisis. We need to show them that a Labour government with Keir Starmer as Prime Minister can offer the change needed to get us out of this Tory cost-of-living crisis and make the investment in a green economy and our public services that would improve lives.
As an antidote to the race to the bottom on display in the Tory leadership race, it is vital that Labour politicians get out across the country and listen to voters and members in seats that we need to win in order to ensure a Labour victory in the next general election – seats like Truro and Falmouth.
It is anyone’s guess when the next Prime Minister will call a general election, but one thing is for sure, we all have to be ready for it. I am so proud to have been selected to stand as the MP for the community that I love, and I’m ready for the fight whenever it comes.
We have some fantastic policies coming out of the Labour Party in Westminster, such as our offer to invest £28bn per year to build a green economy and insulate 19 million homes – so crucial in a place like Cornwall where we have the raw materials to be at the heart of a new green industrial revolution. We need to make sure that all our members feel confident in communicating the Labour Party’s offer and that they feel energised to campaign.
All of us, without exception, have experienced a difficult couple of years. Labour members across the country were integral to ensuring that people received food and medicine throughout the worst of the pandemic, and many of you worked on the frontline, keeping our country going when we needed you the most.
For many local Constituency Labour Parties, including here in Truro and Falmouth, members are only just starting to meet in person again. Last year, we had huge sets of local council elections with much of our campaigning being online or through Dialogue. As a result, many people feel rusty going out, knocking on doors and speaking to voters. This is where initiatives like the Target Tour are crucial to help local members get out and enjoy campaigning again.
How many of us have heard on doorsteps recently that ‘all politicians are the same’? This is the Conservative narrative to create apathy in our communities. We know that Labour will help lift our communities out of the current cost-of-living crisis, the legacy of 12 years of Tory governments. We must speak to voters in our most marginal seats, demonstrating to them that all politicians really are not the same.
I’m happy that Luke and Rosena picked the far South West as the first stop on the tour because of how many seats we need to win here in order to hand the keys of No 10 to Keir Starmer. For too long, local Tory MPs have simply not been a loud voice for Cornwall or the rest of the far South West. The path to Downing Street runs through Plymouth Moor View, Camborne, Redruth and Hayle and Truro and Falmouth.
Many of the challenges that residents here face are the same as those across the country, just with a different context. There is a deep housing crisis in Cornwall and Devon because far too many houses are sold off as second homes or flipped to Airbnbs, hollowing out communities. Schools, hospitals, dental practices, social care services, post offices, farms and small- and medium-sized enterprises increasingly struggle to recruit and retain staff, as workers are forced out of the region by a depleted housing stock and rocketing prices.
We visited our hospital in Truro where we heard of growing pressures on fantastic NHS staff, and we witnessed first hand ambulances queuing outside the emergency department with patients stuck for hours needing treatment. This is Tory Britain in 2022, and this is why we need a Labour government.
I’m so pleased that the party nationally is supporting us here in Truro and Falmouth and that Luke and Rosena continue to highlight our local campaigns. We had such a good day, and it felt great getting out campaigning with members again – we even signed up new ones! So do get involved with the Target Tour when it comes to a seat near you. You will be so happy that you did.