Last Friday’s D-Day 70th anniversary commemorations were extremely moving. It is hard for us of this generation to imagine what it was like for those young men who, in wave after wave, poured onto the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944. What we do know is that it was a decisive turning point in the defeat of Hitler, but all those veterans still remember their comrades who sadly did not make it. The flower of a generation lie in those immaculately-tended cemeteries across northern France, and in honouring their memory we must never forget the true cost of war, even if sometimes it is necessary.
Congratulations to Kim Groves (Middleton Park), Mohammed Iqbal (City and Hunslet), Ron Grahame (Burmantofts and Richmond Hill), Javaid Akhtar (Hyde Park and Woodhouse) and David Congreve (Beeston and Holbeck) on all being re-elected to represent us on Leeds City Council and to Richard Corbett on winning a second European seat for Labour in Yorkshire and the Humber to join Linda McAvan.
However, what was also evident in these elections across the UK was alienation in many of our communities. A lot of people feel left behind. Traditional industries have gone, the world has moved on and the deal in which you worked hard, and you and your children did better, has broken down. And some people see a pace of change in their communities that they are uncomfortable with. Our task is tackle the exploitation of zero hour contracts, give private tenants a bit more peace of mind with longer-term tenancies and crack down on the employment agencies that only hire workers from other countries.
We also need to point out that UKIP has only one priority – to get out of Europe. As well as being bad for jobs, trade and the economy, how would that help us to see our GP quicker, establish more high quality apprenticeships, build the homes we need so that Generation Rent can realise their dream of owning a home, or create an economy that is sustainable in the long-term rather than built on short-term sand ?
The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a damning report into the botched fire sale of Royal Mail. The report revealed that the taxpayer was short-changed by hundreds of millions of pounds after the share price rose by 38 per cent on the first day of trading, and 70 per cent over the following six months. We opposed the privatisation and warned the government that it was drastically undervaluing Royal Mail’s property assets.
And finally, if you live in Woodhouse, please come along to my next Big Conversation event at the Oblong (Woodhouse Community Centre) 197 Woodhouse Street, Leeds LS6 2NY at 6pm this Friday 13th June. Everyone is welcome !