When Martin Luther King made that infamous speech “I have a dream” I'm sure he did not envisage Donald Trump in the White House. This is a man who I have found to be abhorrent, racist, and spewed some of the vilest language towards women that I have ever heard in my life.
On the morning, when he was elected, I was repeatedly asked to make a statement, eventually I said this to a black colleague, if you had to choose between someone who is overtly racist, compared to someone who is institutionally racist, who would you choose? Every person I posed this question to, stated the person who is overtly racist – In my view this is why women, Hispanics, black people and some racists voted for him.
For me, the message is loud and clear, this is the end of institutionalised politics as we know it, whether that be at local council level or in Parliament. And there is a clear message to anyone who aims to stand in next year's local elections, ignore the agenda of the people at your peril. In this town, there are areas such as Stainforth, Hexthorpe where some of the poorest people live, that constantly remain at the bottom of league tables, whether that be in health, education, housing, schooling, crime, environment, leisure, opportunity, and aspiration. And I struggle to find people in power who genuinely care, frankly the council doesn't even have a robust community engagement strategy despite the fact more than 3,000 people asked them for one. So, whether it is Brexit or Trump, the message is clear, no longer can the establishment ignore people whilst prospering themselves. In my view, it would be an absolute travesty if people thought that the only reason people voted to leave the EU or Trump is because they were racist.The fact is people are fed up with the establishment, and frankly they can take no more, in having to ask permission for an equal existence – it is the end of divide and rule politics, with minorities usually used as scapegoats by the establishment. Do people still remember how many of us signed the petition to stop the privatisation of care homes, yet nobody listened?
Next year there will be both a mayoral and local election. People of this town will have to decide who should control your council, your public services, your money and take decisions about your life, your children and your parents. So, I say to you, if you want change, are tired of never being heard, or think you can do better, and are genuinely committed, then don't be a bystander and stand as a member or independently. Now is the time to engage in local politics, and champion policies of fairness – after all what have we got to lose?