It’s over! After weeks of campaigning we have what most would describe as a shock result of this election. A hung Parliament with no doubt endless debates on Brexit, who does what when and how.
Now, before I go any further I am not going to comment on political parties, policies or promises. For many the choice of who they vote for is based upon a myriad of influences and issues. Health, education, jobs, security, immigration and party loyalty, to name just a few. But it strikes me political debate of late has been polarised by an emphasis on personalities. It’s who you like and trust to deliver what they say. Party leaders want us to trust them and actually, I think they all have the best interests of the country at heart. But times have changed. Social media has played a huge part in shaping public opinion, like never before. We saw it in the US with Donald Trump announcing policy decisions via twitter at 3am (he has been legally advised to stoop using twitter). U turns, fumbling over manifesto promises, making one statement and then hour’s later saying “no I meant this…” It’s all out there within seconds. No longer do we wait for Spitting Image to report satire, its instant. Someone makes a gaff and within hours they are unfit to lead the country. I have met a lot of people over the years, many fantastic people and have some lovely friends and family. Are any of them perfect? No, so why should we expect that from our politicians? For me it’s about heart, intent and a sense of purpose. Not an image portrayed by the world’s media who, with some relish, snap at the heels of politicians trying at every turn to catch them out. Even before all the seats are counted the media are suggesting the PM stands down.
The new government, however it is formed, will be judged on what they deliver, not whether we like them or not. Public service is not a popularity contest; ask any traffic warden, or as they are now commonly referred to now as parking Muller’s!!
Citizens Advice has a role in helping to shape the future in this time of uncertainty. At a national level, Citizens Advice need to engage with the new government to ensure proposals, policies and legislation meets the needs of the community we meet every day. I wonder just how many members of the community our collective MP’s in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight meet at their clinics every year?
Our Local Citizens Advice gave face to face support to 60,000 clients last year, listening to their needs and helping them resolve problems. I think we have an informed understanding on what the issues are facing our communities and therefore a valid voice to raise issues/concerns. Citizens Advice, is always there. No snap election and changes in policy, no promises or ill-founded advice. Whatever our new coalition government deliver, it will fall to us to help those most vulnerable to understand, change and benefit from the inevitable changes we will face.