Jamie Reed Copeland MP

Jamie ReedThese are remarkable times in politics.

Firstly, being an Opposition Member of Parliament can often feel like a thankless task.

The Government doesn’t have to take account of your views – it doesn’t need to – and it doesn’t have to care about the people you represent (after all, by definition, they didn’t vote for the governing party).

This can make for slow going in the drive to get things done and make our community the best it can be.
Sometimes though, you get a result.

Last year, the government proposed the closure of the West Cumbria Magistrates Court in Workington.

You’ll remember, this proposal followed the recent closure of Whitehaven Magistrates Courts.

Had the closure of the Workington courts gone ahead, our community would have been the worst served for access to justice in the country.

But after a lot of hard work and solid argument from local lawyers, the public and myself the government has changed its mind and our courts have been spared the axe. A small mercy.

With any luck, this winning streak will be transferred to the ongoing fight to ensure that David Cameron responds effectively to the floods that have devastated swathes of our county.

At the time of writing, Cumbria needs £500m just to return to the situation we found ourselves in before the floods.

Government has pledged a simultaneously welcome but insulting £35million, but to date, not a penny has been delivered.

We all remember the government responding to the south west and Somerset levels in a very different way.

Worse, the EU stands ready to assist with its solidarity fund – worth up to £200m if the government applies for the assistance in time, but time is running out and in parliamentary responses to my questions, the government has yet to decide whether or not to apply.

It seems that, to date at least, we are worth sacrificing if it means that David Cameron doesn’t have to lose face with other EU heads of state.

Yes, even at the highest levels, politics sometimes really is this puerile.

Don’t take my word for it; look at the ongoing dispute between Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt and the nation’s doctors.

It turns out that a series of hospital chief executives have found that their names have been added to letters supporting the government position against the junior doctors when they neither gave permission for their names to be used, or actually agree with the government’s position.

As rotten as it is remarkable, Hunt is forcing increasing numbers of doctors out of the profession and making it harder than ever for the NHS to solve its recruitment crisis.

It’s a tragedy and it’s in communities like ours, where medical recruitment is already more difficult than it should be, that this crisis will be felt most quickly and most acutely.

Next month, we’ll likely be closer to a referendum on our membership of the European Union.

It’s essential for our local ambitions that we remain on the inside…until next time.