Mike Hill MP: Clearly everything is not going well as Brexit approaches

Mike Hill with Stephen Hammond, head of English Martyrs.
Mike Hill with Stephen Hammond, head of English Martyrs.

According to the song by Alanis Morissette: ‘Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s OK and everything’s going right’.

Today marks precisely one year before we officially split from the EU, and yet only last week it was announced that the much-celebrated symbol of our independence, the much-lauded blue passport, is to be produced in France and not by the Gateshead-based company De La Rue – a firm which has been producing passports for the UK for the last 10 years without a hitch.

You simply couldn’t make it up, could you?

Up to this point, the Tories have been telling us that everything’s OK and everything’s going right, but it’s clearly not.

If we can’t even print our own passports post-Brexit and keep British workers in employment, what hope do we have for our manufacturing industries going forward?

As the song goes, ‘Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?’ that the French themselves would never have to face this problem - because they manufacture their own passports for reasons of state security.

Why on earth the Government feels we can’t do the same and protect people’s livelihoods here is beyond me.

Our children’s education is precious and not to be messed with. I visited English Martyrs last week and was given a tour of the School and Sixth Form College by headteacher Stephen Hammond.

We spoke about a lot of things ,especially the funding crisis currently faced by our schools.

Stephen was quite clear that some courses currently on the curriculum, together with jobs, could be under threat if proper resources are not forthcoming.

It’s a gloomy picture, underlined by comments this week by the Children’s Commissioner for England that pupils in the North are being left behind by their Southern counterparts.

Her report specifically cites Hartlepool as a case in point, concluding that children from the town are three times less likely to go to university than kids of a similar background in Hackney.

Ann Longfield, the Commissioner, quite rightly echoed calls for better investment in schools and children’s education across the North, and for a greater focus for creating opportunities for young people.

I agree, because in Hartlepool our schools and colleges are doing their utmost, with diminishing and limited resources, to provide students with the best education possible, and the current funding formula is simply unfair.

Congratulations, therefore, to St Begas, Eldon Grove, Hart Primary, Sacred Heart, Springwell and St John Vianney Schools for being rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Congratulations also to Jason Anderson and his team at Radio Hartlepool celebrating 10 years of community broadcasting; to everyone at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool for increasing the number of visitors in the bicentenary year of HMS Trincomalee by 11,500; and to Jeff Stelling, Raj Singh, HUST and everyone who have stepped up to the plate to rescue Pools.

We have an awful lot to celebrate here in Hartlepool and long may that last.

This weekend we also celebrate another important anniversary – 100 years since the establishment of the RAF.

Greatham, or RAF West Hartlepool, was home to Supermarine Spitfires from 403 Squadron during the Second World War between 1942 and 1943, and proved to be a vital advanced base for the main squadron at Catterick.

Nobody can ever underestimate the sacrifices our brave pilots and air crew made in the fight against fascism, and I, for one, salute them.