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‘Cartoon cheque an extreme moment of unintentional self-parody’

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First things first. An investment of £48m to transform the embarrassing station quarter of Peterborough, into something that we can be proud of, should be welcomed with open arms.

The scabby mess is the first thing that rail travellers see when they come to our city and the scab needs to be picked, cleaned, and regenerated.

However, we should not get too carried away with this levelling up ‘gift’ from a government that has taken away millions and millions of pounds in grant money from our city in recent years.

And left our essential services looking like those of a third world country – Hydra-Therapy pools and leisure centres closed, adult social care cut to a minimum and all, but essential services pared to the bone.

This ‘gift’ is like the bloke that robbed your wallet going on Facebook to offer you a tenner as an apology.

Council leader, Wayne Fitzgerald, and MP Paul Bristow thought that this was an opportunity for an extreme moment of unintentional self-parody.

They appeared outside the railway station, in an excruciatingly bad video, complete with large cartoon cheque, like a poor man’s Chuckle Brothers; ‘To me, to you.’

The Conservative logo on said cheque implied that the Tories were bankrolling the whole thing, which would be generous of them if it were true.

But it isn’t, it’s our cash which has just been given back to us after the Hunger Games style contest with other councils; ‘Please sir, can we have some more?’

This party-political broadcast was then shared on the council’s social media channels, which is against the rules and should have serious repercussions for all concerned.

The offending video has now been taken down, but questions still need to be answered as to why council time and money was used for this political vanity project.

Does the city need and deserve this cash?

Of course, it does, and a damn site more besides. But before we fix the front door for visitors and investors, let’s ensure that we are worth the trip.

Large areas of Peterborough are dumping grounds for rubbish and suffer from a lack of investment. Our jobs are mostly low paid, our schools are under-funded and under-performing and our city centre is no longer a draw for shoppers – Countless restaurants are no substitute for John Lewis and the like.

The people running our city in recent years (the council, Opportunity Peterborough etc) have failed us, presiding over a decline that is now obvious to everyone apart from those wearing the blue tinted glasses.

Because politicians have stood by and allowed the government to cut funding year after year, our city’s legacy has been stop/start and piecemeal, with egos and personal ambition put before the good of the people of this city.

This money cannot, sadly, be spent on anything else but the station quarter, so let’s guarantee that it is spent well, and that Peterborough does have a gateway it can be proud of in the future.

It is essential that local politicians of all parties in the city keep an eye on ‘Wayne and Paul Chuckle’ to ensure that they produce more than comedy videos in the years to come.

 

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