WEEKLY COLUMN: I have written in my column this week about debate over our statues and other cultural expressions. I share the anger at the death of George Floyd and the contempt for racism in all its forms. But we shouldn’t let his death lead to a culture war in this country where the symbols of our past are torn down without proper thought and reflection.
We should be open to having a proper debate about all aspect of our history, good and bad. And if there is strong public opposition to a statue staying in place then there should be a democratic process for this to be pursued. More often than not though I’ll be opposed to bringing down our statues. I don’t think it’s in our national character to do so and our statues often have greater significance to our past and present than whether we consider the people they represent to be good or bad by today’s standards.
In my column this week I’ve written about immigration and the inability of many, usually on the left, to have a sensible debate about it without resorting to insult and personal attacks. In my view the sensible view shared by many within the Town is that immigration has brought many benefits and the we should continue to welcome people from around the world who want to move here and make a positive contribution.
However, I do believe that uncontrolled immigration linked to EU freedom of movement rules has brought many challenges and that is why this week I voted to end it. I don’t care whether you come from: Spain, Australia, India, Mexico, Cameroon or Japan. If you want to move to our country integrate and make a positive contribution then you should be welcomed. However, as a country, I do believe we should have the ability to say “no” if we believe this is unlikely to be the case. As your MP I will continue to speak freely and I won’t be intimidated by local Labour Party members or even sections of the local media who are out of touch on the issue. If they think by twisting and distorting what I say and looking to shout me down I will go silent on these issues they have another thing coming.
Over the past few weeks a number of constituents have written to me to say that we need to do something to show how thankful we are to all the NHS workers who are working so hard to save the lives of many of our loves ones. Some have suggested a special medal, others have suggested a monument. Clearly there also needs to be a look at the pay and conditions of some of those who work in the NHS and carers once we finally get through this. One way or another I’m very confident that as a society we will find a way of demonstrating unequivocally to all those who work in our NHS how eternally grateful we are for all they are doing Rest assured as your MP I will very much add my voice to the chorus.
Covered quite a few issues in my Ipswich Star column this week. The Prime Minister’s recovery, the need to keep public parks open but also hold to account the small minority who are flouting social distancing rules and endangering us all. Beautiful weather this weekend, by all means enjoy your daily exercise but otherwise please stay home and follow the guidelines. Very difficult I know but its a must.
My latest weekly column in the Star. This week I have written about the fine line that the Police have to tread between ensuring that the social distancing guidance is followed and enforced where necessary whilst at the same time not being too overbearing and overzealous like some Police forces have been across the country. It’s not an easy balance to strike and these are unprecedented times for the place and they have my sympathy, its a very difficult job. It does seem at the moment that Suffolk Police are getting the balance about right. I appreciate that many of you have raised concerns with me regarding the social distancing guidelines initially not being enforced however over the past few days the Police have carried out a number of patrols across the Town and they’re enforcing the guidance when necessary and I’ve yet to see any evidence of them doing so in an overbearing way. However constituents continue to get in contact with me regarding examples of the social distancing rules not being followed and I will continue to monitor the situation closely.
It’s been a very long journey but in 4 hours we will leave the EU, finally, after 3 and a half years. Look how I’ve aged, picture of me as a fresh faced 27 year old, and now as a result of the crazy series of events that unfolded afterwards I won the immense honour of becoming the Member of Parliament for Ipswich. I will never ever forget that my first vote in Parliament was to vote to deliver Brexit and ensure that we can move on as a country.
Last week I received a Ministerial response to the question I tabled regarding the social media posting by one of those involved in the murder of Tavis from his prison cell. The Prisons Minister has made it clear that those found to have illegally used social media in prison will be punished.