Column: Let's make city great for everyone

Never in my lifetime have I felt more vulnerable from the right-wing anti-political correctness brigade as I do now. This is a movement that claims to speak for the working class, and makes grand claims that it is anti-establishment.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 10:00 am
View over Peace Gardens

The very establishment that made Trump and his cronies billionaires – despite the fact that Trump has been bankrupt four times and that Farage lives a privileged life because of his seat in the European parliament.

So how ironic that the people who have so extravagantly benefited from the establishment, are the very people that claim they are the real anti-establishment champions. These people, in my view, practise a repugnant form of politics that is rooted in division and want to see society divided in two by preying on the worst fears of people.

Those fears are that working-class people will be left behind because of immigrants, that Britain has lost its values despite nobody able to explain what they are, and the fact Britain does have a problem with and understanding of its multicultural identity.

Many people in this society do not know which way to turn, who speaks for them, and the fact is that the immigration football has been kicked so many times that people are tired of playing this silly game.

People want straight talking, and they will follow anyone who is willing to have that conversation – this in a nutshell is why Trump and Farage have been triumphant.

The fact is, the establishment does need to change, the voiceless and ‘left behind’ need to be heard, and we have to have a political system that works for all people – it is not just about the economy.

Donald Trump’s inauguration, similar to Brexit, and Theresa May’s 10-point plan marked the end of an era.

For charities like ours, we are devastated that people who are misogynistic, arguably racist, tell women what they can do with their bodies, such as anti-abortion laws, think it’s OK to mock disabled people, are Islamaphobic, want to cut taxes for the richest, and dismantle our most cherished public institutions are elected.

The question is, have charities like ours failed, or is it the fault of the establishment, after decades of monopolised power that has failed the people?

On Saturday, more than a million of us, including people in Sheffield, demanded our voices are heard, that division was killing us, that we want to live in a world that focuses on building bridges not walls.

That the right to life, breathe, work, respect or dignity, free from sexual abuse are not privileges.

For me, now more than ever, feminism needs to stop being seen as a dispensable fad and start being understood as fundamental to democracy driving the principle of equality for us all.

I sincerely hope that the parties in the UK use Trump and Brexit as a health check for the state of our democracy.

Isn’t it about time that local leaders actually got involved in the challenges facing our communities in areas like Page Hall, Manor etc.

Isn’t it about time that our leaders ask why is it the same people in the same neighbourhoods who repeatedly die earlier compared with people who only live a few streets away? Isn’t it about time they ask why education attainment is constantly poor for some of the poorest people in our neighbourhoods?

Isn’t it about time we invest in young people who constantly suffer from aspiration deficit because they don’t know any different?

Isn’t it about time that democracy truly starts working for the people?

Isn’t it about time that the council executive starts having meetings in those neighbourhoods where people suffer the most, so that they truly get an understanding of how life is really like?

Isn’t it about time?

Trump, Brexit and austerity is a reality that we all need to face. Many of us will feel despondent, others will feel jubilant.

The job for us all now is to brush ourselves off, get to those council meetings and places of power, demand change, and together get to work.

Frankly, we don’t need to make Sheffield great again, as it already is great in so many ways. The challenge is, we need to make Sheffield great for everyone,