Reflections 2012: A proud and exciting year

2012 has, for Lincoln and the country, been a proud and at times exciting year, containing moments to remember and yet also serving to highlight what we must seek to do better.

For me, and for many others, it’s also been busy. I fit campaigning to be Lincoln’s next MP alongside my job as a solicitor at Lindum Group. I’m immensely proud to have the chance to represent our historic city in Parliament and, for that reason, I’ve been trying to work as hard as I can and to meet as many people as possible.

That has meant numerous meetings with important local businesses (including, most recently, Siemens), charities and Councillors, visiting schools and Lincoln College, speaking at events at our brilliant university, joining the Finance Board of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and attending the huge number of community events that we’ve boasted this year (from Diamond Jubilee parties to the Santa Fun Run). And of course the city’s Olympic torch celebrations deserve their own special mention – our Olympic pride showing Lincoln in its best possible light.

It has also meant campaigning hard on issues that matter to me and to my community. For example, when local parents got in touch with me to say that they were concerned about the Priory Academies’ report seemingly being kept secret, I successfully campaigned for it to be made public. Or, when it became clear that Lincolnshire Police might be about to lose West Parade station and move to Nettleham, Lincoln Labour and I spoke up to keep the station in the city centre.

I’ve welcomed a large number of Labour MPs to Lincoln, including Ed Miliband (to mark Armed Forces Day), David Miliband and Caroline Flint. It’s really important to me that, if I’m lucky enough to be elected in 2015, Lincoln’s issues and priorities will be well-known to ministers.

2012 has certainly been an encouraging year for Lincoln Labour electorally. Against a background of really tough times for the majority of normal working people, the Tory Government’s economic policies and their skewed priorities, we took 10 of the 11 seats available in the City Council elections in May, then, in the summer, won a Tory County Council seat.

Lincoln has grown in 2012 – both in numbers and in terms of building development, but also in spirit. For example, our expanding university and the redevelopment of Brayford area, with new hotels and restaurants, are all positives.

However, there are issues and national-level problems that harm Lincoln residents and hold the city back: poor infrastructure (both rail links and roads), traffic congestion, the number of long-term unemployed people, the government’s growth-killing economic policies, their stifling of green jobs, their cutting of NHS funding, their prioritising of tax cuts for the richest over tax credits for working families and – importantly – Lincoln’s lack of an effective and influential voice in Westminster.

The challenge of the upcoming few years will be to deal with these issues in the best interests of our city and the country.

— Lucy Rigby is Labour Lincoln’s parliamentary candidate