Mike Hill: My pledge for 2018 is to talk up Hartlepool
Mack The Knife may be unfamiliar to the iPod generation, but this song from 1928 has stood the test of time. You may wonder why I mention this, but it's relevant.
It originates from the years leading up to the Second World War and the fight against fascism in Europe in the 1930s.
Writer Bertholt Brecht escaped Nazi Germany, and as a refugee in America went on to become a legend in theatrical circles, writing hard-hitting plays despite becoming a victim of the post-war McCarthyist purge.
Brecht produced plays punctuated with reminders that what the audience was seeing was a fabrication and not a reality. We really could do with this approach in real life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to watch a news broadcast about Brexit, and just as we begin to absorb and believe whatever is being said as gospel truth, the broadcaster stands up and says ‘This is the news we’ve been told to read, but it has no reflection on what’s really going on in the world’.
At this time of year we all fall foul of what’s commonly known as the ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ as we turn a blind eye on reality.
We pity the poor when in reality we are very often the poor ourselves. We enjoy Christmas and then all too often plunge into debt thereafter.
I’ll never forget the Park Hampers rip-off, when thousands of people lost their savings.
Yet those greedy for your cash put that memory to one side during Christmas and New Year, and then bite you on the bum with their credit demands.
I was photographed with rough sleeper David last week. David is a 38 year-old trained mechanic who cannot work due to health issues.
The response I got from the council was caring and knowledgeable, but it also contained a plea for help.
We simply do not have enough emergency accommodation for people living on our streets. That is a scandal.
We pride ourselves as being caring towards others and tolerant, but we are being pushed and pulled every day to act against our nature as welcoming and friendly folk.
For Hartlepool I say enough is enough. We have hit rock bottom when it comes to life expectancy, in-work poverty, education prospects and school underfunding.
That’s without the ticking timebomb of looking after our elderly. It is time we stood together as a town to take on the Whitehall bullies.
In wishing you a happy New Year I have to say this. In my Maiden Speech I spoke of Hartlepool people being special and the most genuine folk on earth.
I absolutely mean that, which is why I know I continue to have your support.
The people of Hartlepool know what counts and who cares, and want to see their MP stand up for their town and do the right thing.
I pledge to do so in 2018 and promise I will continue to listen and learn from people and to be an honest voice for you in Parliament.
This year our town WILL be talked up, NOT talked down. I promise you that.
Happy New Year to one and all.