If I were a Member of Parliament, then I would not only table a motion demanding the dismissal of Toby Young, but I would read out the tweets that he had been furiously deleting, tweets that would have precluded his appointment as a Teaching Assistant. At the very least, in view of that fact, he ought to be paid no more than one pound below the salary of any of the 472 of Durham County Council’s Teaching Assistants who have now lost 23 per cent of their pay. The same is true of the members of Durham County Council, whose allowance should be reduced to that level.
But then, I would do a lot of things if I were a Member of Parliament. I would identify in each ward of the former Districts of Derwentside and Wear Valley a number of projects equal to the former number of District Councillors, so as to campaign in support of those projects. The necessary support for each and all of those projects, together with justice for the 472, and together with bringing Volkswagen’s production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, would be the price of my support for any Government in the hung Parliament that, on the current figures that have now been in place for quite some time, remains the most likely outcome of the next General Election.
My Westminster office would be a national and international centre for the formulation, the articulation and, where possible, the implementation of the alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy. My own preference is strongly for economic equality and international peace through the democratic control of the means to those ends, recognising the leading roles of the working class in the struggle for equality, and of the working class and the youth in the struggle for peace. In short, I am firmly a man of the Left. But I would provide a national and international platform for a wide variety of perspectives opposed to politically chosen austerity and to wars of political choice. Many of the strongest influences on my own thinking have come, and continue to come, from what would at first sight appear to be the opposite end of the political spectrum.
In the same spirit, my constituency staff, drawn from throughout the constituency and based in every part of it, would include members or supporters of each and all of the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, and any other Groups on Durham County Council that had representation at either County or Parish level here in North West Durham. No one who was currently employed by Laura Pidcock need necessarily fear for his or her livelihood. Those staff would be free to stay, and they would be free to go. Those who went, would go of their own free will.