An American politician once said all politics is local. I think today, that’s wrong. Having spent my time involved in the local and mayoral elections, I think it is more global than ever.
I write to you from the Stately home of Lord Beaverbrook. Staying here, I am surrounded by portraits of those who stayed here before – Prime Ministers (Churchill, Chamberlain, MacMillan, Lloyd George) to poets (Kipling) and novelists (Ian Fleming). Essentially all those with a part in the greatness of Britain, including newspaper Baron Lord Beaverbrook himself.
We need to make our British cities great. To have the vision and determination of those who have lived in this home from where I write. All elections, local and European and general and mayoral are an opportunity to do that. Leicester, where so many of the readers of this paper hail from, and where I spent time during the elections, deserves an international Mayor. One who can bring in the investment from abroad to create the jobs in the City – one with the connections, determination, and know-how to do it. Leicester should be a home of opportunity and job creations the way London is.
Elections need people who from humble beginnings have fought battles and elevated them; around business tables fought for the small business owner. Worked long hours to fight for investments to create jobs for their City – extolling the virtues of their skilled workforce constituency.
Leicester, who bears a King and a global football team, like London and Leeds, Manchester and the other major cities, deserves and needs an international perspective. It needs a Mayor who can in Parliament use their connections to fight for money, for investment from Central Government. We cannot afford for our cities to have parochial, local candidates. It needs working class people who have proven their ability to work to the top and then turn around and help others, with compassion, to do the same.
If a Mayor is a CEO, a Chairperson, I want someone who both as Kipling wrote, ‘can walk with Kings but not lose the common touch’. That is a rare feat. There are many with the common touch, who can only sympathise with you, but not solve the problems of lack of social opportunity, of food banks, low paying, unskilled, unsecure jobs. And there are many who can talk to Kings who cannot relate to the day to day struggles of putting food on the table.