Our 24 hour, 7 day a week, rolling media service can normally be relied upon to persuade us that there is more bad news in this country than good. Thank heavens for the arrival of the Olympics, where stories of individual, and team, triumph remind us that we can all deliver against the odds with determination, endeavour and effort. Having watched Laura Trott and Jason Kenny become the most successful male and female British Olympians (and delaying the 10 o’clock news by an hour in the process), I am inspired that there is much to be optimistic about by being British and a resident of Bexhill and Battle constituency.
Let’s look at our work ethic. We may be only the 22nd largest country in the globe but we have the 5th largest economy. This month’s job figures have just been published and show record numbers in work. In our constituency the unemployment rate has fallen by almost 60% since 2010. We’ve created more new jobs in Britain since this time than the whole of the EU combined. What makes us so successful? In my mind it is a belief that this country supports those who chase dreams and rewards those who capture them.
Last week, I visited Littlewood Fencing, a growing family business based in Battle. Whilst many of you may see their vans, few will know that this local enterprise is one of only five in the UK which is equipped to bid for the biggest multi-million pound contracts in security and infrastructure protection. Residents who travel through Calais will have seen the security to keep refugees from crossing our shores. This was delivered by Littlewood’s 200 strong workforce.
What of those who are not willing to put in a shift, be that training relentlessly on the roads to be an Olympian cyclist or getting up at the crack of dawn to hammer fences in to ground? From my first job as a 14yr old delivering a weight of free-newspapers, I have always grafted at work and this has formed in me the belief that work should not be a choice. It should be the responsibility of Government to provide the conditions to deliver new jobs. It should then be for every citizen to take that opportunity when it arises. For those who take it, we should celebrate and let you keep the rewards and thrive. For those who could, but will not, we should ask you why your dreams cannot be the same as those who do.