Tony Janio: Let's learn from our past political mistakes

In the weeks running up to Christmas I found myself knocking on doors across my ward of Hangleton and Knoll, discussing the Labour Administration's rather chaotic reorganisation of school catchments areas.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 2:32 pm

In the bitter cold, one very frustrated resident assured me that I was wasting my time, as politicians were all the same: useless. It is becoming clearer by the day that many have lost faith in politicians.

I suppose a confusing General Election, where the Conservatives won, even after producing a ‘Manifesto-from-hell’, the threat of Jeremy Corbyn, whose ‘new kind of politics’ turned out to be false hope from the far-left, and the threatened takeover of the Labour Party by Momentum, has not helped. International events painted a similar picture as Donald Trump became President, the established French parties were wiped out, and a shock result in Germany sent Angela Merkel from hero to zero in a few short weeks.

The success of Theresa May in the Brexit talks, against the odds, did lift spirits, but it was the pathetic spectacle of Robert Mugabe’s faux-resignation, quickly followed by his removal from office, that helped to restore my faith in the political process. As young student, way back in 1980, I had witnessed the House of Commons debate on Southern Rhodesia, where free elections had heralded better Governance for Africa. Robert Mugabe started well, but his introduction of hard-left policies destroyed incentives and ruined the quality of life in once prosperous Zimbabwe. Over the past decade many of Africa’s countries have been some of the fastest-growing, and this is possible because it is at last seeing improved levels of governance: I have high hopes, once again, for Zimbabwe.

So, as Africa throws away terrible hard-left governments, my disillusioned resident back in Hangleton and Knoll seems to be facing a home-grown experiment, in the form of a Momentum-led Brighton and Hove Labour Party, hell-bent on forcing a dangerous far-left experiment on the city. I am often been asked why we study history at school; so we learn from our past mistakes, and don’t repeat them, is my answer.

Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council.