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The challenges for Labour and for Manchester in 2016

city_centre_small.jpgLucy's latest column for the Manchester Evening News, first published in the MEN on 5th January 2015:

 

The challenges for Labour and for Manchester in 2016

 

Last year was a tumultuous year for the Labour Party. Here in Manchester we resoundingly rejected the Tories but now face five years of a Conservative government and the false economy of their ideological cuts.  

But 2016 is a new year and we cannot be defined by our past defeats but by our future challenges.

 

We will not be doing our job properly as the Official Opposition if we continue to rerun the 2015 election, or indeed that of 2010, 1997 or 1992.

 

2016 will see a huge set of challenges for the country and for Manchester. 

At some point this year we will probably have a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, with David Cameron completely unable to provide the leadership the country needs because of the deep divisions in his own party. 

 

2016 will also see the implementation of devolution in Greater Manchester which carries enormous potential to reverse decades of power shifting to Whitehall, and put local people more in control. It also carries risks and challenges and politicians in Manchester will have to fight for a fair deal and show that these new powers can be used to transform our city and the public services we all rely on.    

 

Despite the talk about the Labour Party in the media, there is more that unites us than divides us and it is our duty to the people who elected us to pull together to challenge the Tories.

 

Our new leadership, and the energy and enthusiasm generated over the course of the contest, gives us an opportunity to reconnect with those who have become disaffected with politics as usual.

 

In a world where people are increasingly relying on insecure work with many more becoming self-employed, it is too often a small minority who are able to take advantage and get the lifelong job security that was there in the past. 

 

There is no better investment a country can make than in education. We need an education policy for the future to make sure that the next generation are equipped to be successful in this rapidly changing world.  As Labour's education spokesperson, that's my main priority for this year.

 

If the Labour Party choose to focus on internal party politics and what divides us rather than what unites us then we will be failing the people we represent. Both Labour and Manchester deserve better.

 First published in the Manchester Evening News on 5.1.16

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