This week I had an interesting conversation with a friend about the general election.
He announced that he could never vote Conservative as his father, a staunch Labour voter throughout his life, would ‘turn in his grave’.
This simple but significant statement depicts everything that is wrong with the way many individuals, in Sheffield and South Yorkshire in particular, decide who to cast their vote for at every general election.
He went on to associate everything wrong with the Conservatives to Maggie Thatcher – a ‘Tory’ who, if you believe the rhetoric, destroyed the North.
I find it remarkable that actions of a completely different government with a now dead prime minister from 30 years ago should decide the way an individual votes for the rest of their lives.
There are many great things about Sheffield but there are also too many of us living in the past. As the fourth largest city in the country we are economically punching well below our weight and that will not change if we continue to do what we have always done. Sheffield has too higher reliance on state hand-outs.
We have allowed ourselves to expect someone else to ‘sort things out’ instead of taking charge of our own actions and raising expectations. Visit Leeds and you see a thriving 21st century modern city. When I was a teenager Sheffield could more than hold its own with Leeds but not any more.
Vote as we have always done because as my friend said ‘that’s the way our parents did’ is not the way forward.
My vote on May 7, will be cast, based on who I think will do the best job for me, my family and my community over the next five years, not the last 50 years and not because anyone else tells me who to vote for.
I encourage the people of Sheffield to do the same – its time to move on.