Amid the seemingly endless national political drama and wranglings in Number 10, it can sometimes be easy to forget that politics is, at its heart, about getting the basics right.
By basics, I mean the things that actually impact ordinary people day in, day out. Things like pothole repairs, gully cleaning and tackling fly-tipping may not be what makes it on to News at 10, but they are essential to a functioning Britain.
That’s why I’ve been so pleased to see Stockport Labour Group making “getting the basics right” a key focus for its Councillors in the Town Hall.
As someone who served as a local councillor for 9 years prior to becoming an MP, I know that this work doesn’t just happen by itself. It requires specific attention and hard graft from local representatives. The reality is, if the small things are left unattended, they can become big problems very quickly.
If a gully is blocked but the sun is shining, people will be okay in the short-term, but as soon as you’re hit by flash flooding (as some communities have been over the last few days) then suddenly you’ve got roads that aren’t usable, houses under threat and communities having to deal with bad smells and debris.
The same is true of housing repairs, which the Labour group has identified as a specific priority for those living in properties managed by the Stockport Homes housing association. We all deserve to live in comfortable, safe, and decent housing. That can only be possible by getting repairs done quickly and regularly engaging with residents to identify potential areas of improvement.
To be clear, getting the basics right doesn’t mean not being ambitious. There is no reason that a programme of repairs and litter picking can’t run in parallel to tackling the cost-of-living crisis and investing in affordable homes. The beauty of local government is that it covers the present and the future. It can – and should be – both practical and ambitious.
So I hope that, with the help of Stockport Labour Group Councillors, we see a concerted push in the Town Hall to get the basics right, while also investing in our communities and building a fairer, stronger and prosperous Stockport for everyone.