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By Jo Phillips

By Jo Phillips

No penalty shoot out

Jo Phillips explains what we could expect from a new government, but cautions that change won't happen overnight.

Within the next 24 hours the lives of millions of people in this country could change. For those hoping for an end to 14 years of Tory chaos, lies, broken promises and pantomime politics, a Labour government should usher in a period of stability and calm with grown- ups prepared to be honest, play fair and try to rebuild a country on its knees. For the smaller parties, tactical voting might reap rewards but will almost certainly trigger a renewed debate about ending the first past the post system of voting.

Many of us will be glued to TV and radio, waiting and hoping for the ‘Portillo moments’ that will see previously safe Tory seats change hands, celebrating or cursing as the results come in.

Whatever the final result, there will be new faces, new voices and a different parliament. The confected outrage of the Mail, Express and other media outlets may be tempered and we might even get to focus on important stuff like social care, crime, education, housing and defence instead of whether police cars should fly Pride flags. We might be able to claw back some of our tarnished international reputation, while businesses and local authorities could cautiously start planning for the longer term instead of existing hand to mouth as ministers and policies change faster than the weather which has been the trend of recent times. If politics and how the country is run becomes calmer and more stable, we might collectively retrieve some of our empathy and decency.

But behind the drama that grips so many of us political junkies, are real people whose lives and those of their families will be upended tonight. Jobs and status gone, unfinished business in many constituency offices as a new MP takes over. The canvassers, meeting organisers, leaflet deliverers, Westminster and constituency staff and fundraisers who’ve worked so hard during the campaign for all political parties. Partners, children, friends and colleagues suddenly dispersed and as with any redundancy or job loss, there will be a period of shock, grief and readjustment. In some cases, perhaps a sense of relief.

Politics is brutal and most people who go into that arena at whatever level do it for the right reasons – to make a difference, to serve and support their communities. Unfortunately, we have seen the other side in the last few years – the venal, the lazy, the corrupt and the incompetent. We have found that so called charisma doesn’t in any way compensate for ineptitude and chaos, we have seen and paid the price for personal ambition being put ahead of the common good and we have soldiered on, tired, broke and anxious while public services and infrastructure have crumbled around us.

Britain today is a what estate agents call a ‘doer upper’ – lots of potential but an enormous amount of work to realise it. The next government will need to do more than slap on a coat of paint and some roof tiles, this is a big job that requires rewiring, repointing and clearing out the mess left by its previous occupants. While we, rightly, expect, the new government to get on with the job, we also have to be patient because so much damage has been done, it simply can’t be fixed overnight. If the outcome of this election resets the relationship between the electorate and the elected and is based on trust, openness and integrity then we will be in a far better place than we have been for many years.

Downtown in Business

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In her latest Blog, Jo Phillips reflects on Just Stop Oils latest protest, the politicisation of environmental concerns and the difficultly of striking a balance when it comes to implementing green initiatives.

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Politicians are humans and flawed like everyone else. People make mistakes and will often pay a high price for them. But not this lot because what’ so shocking is they don’t seem to know they’ve made a mistake in the first place…

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