It’s time to put an end to Punch and Judy politics

Nancy Platts, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council. Photograph: Michael Crabtree
Nancy Platts, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council. Photograph: Michael Crabtree

Politics should be a route through which people can express their hopes and concerns; a safe place where we can talk about the kind of world we want to live in and plot a course to making it a reality.

I was very proud of Labour’s manifesto process, where we engaged hundreds of members locally and shared thousands of ideas.

Our manifesto sets out a clear set of policies that we now need to turn into action.

On the doorstep, residents told us they wanted politics to change, they wanted councillors to work together for the good of the city. That is a reasonable request.

Truly to change politics in our city and to rebuild trust will require action and leadership.

Coming out of the local election, it was clear that the choice of voters was for progressive politics with 39 of the city’s 54 local councillors elected, standing on the Labour and Green manifestos.

Our job now is to put adversarial politics aside and deliver what residents voted for – a city for the many, not the few, a city to be proud of and a city for the future.

I hope this week’s announcement that Labour and Green councillors will work proactively together will be welcomed. For me, this is the first of many steps towards changing politics for good.

When I joined the council, the Council Chamber was described as ‘theatre.’ I think it’s time to put an end to “Punch and Judy” politics. The people of Brighton and Hove deserve better. So I won’t be engaging in that kind of politics. Yes, I will criticise the policy, but never the person. I am elected to represent residents and I will be professional – as I would in any job.

The people of Brighton and Hove urgently need us to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis and the climate crisis. We need to challenge austerity and hold dear our status as a City of Sanctuary.

With limited resources, we need a laser-like focus. It is with this in mind, I make my commitment to enable the progressive and collaborative politics that will deliver positive change in our city.