Parliamentary sketch – Credit where credit’s due
Modesty is a significant handicap for those seeking to succeed in politics.
The undignified scrum (of which I was certainly part!) which gathered amongst the worthy staff and officers of local authorities and train operators at Long Rock for the Prime Minister’s official announcement of a successful multi-million pound rail investment package for the benefit of Cornish rail users would make a fascinating study for political anthropologists.
A day before I had attempted to ‘tease’ the Prime Minister in the Commons Chamber into admitting to me that he was coming to my constituency the following day to make the announcement. He had informed his political friends but seemed to have ‘inadvertently’ failed to let me know.
We know there is often an undignified scramble amongst the political classes to claim credit for any scrap of good news that becomes available. In normal circumstances I prefer to stand back and watch from a respectable distance, but, on this occasion, I felt that there was an obligation to ensure that justice was done.
Of course, I would not, nor did I, overstate my involvement in this successful project application but I was certainly not going to stand by and allow those with much less or absolutely no involvement in the project to lay claim either! Although I’m sure my loyal band of ardent detractors would beg to differ, but I just wouldn’t have the brass neck to turn up at the last minute for the photo call while those who had done the work continue to toil away in obscurity.
Of course this is part of the risk of political life and I have to get used to it. I often find myself apologising to the many people who have actually done the work when I am invited to cut the ribbon at an event or to open something I’ve, previously, had nothing to do with – and run the risk of appearing to take the credit for something I have had no involvement in until that moment.
In politics, it is often those with the sharpest elbows – rather than those with the best ideas and the strongest endeavour – who succeed.
The rail project itself is very good news and credit must go to officers at Cornwall Council – especially Nigel Blackler – and the many others in Network Rail, First Great Western, the Department for Transport and Local Enterprise Partnership who have done the heavy lifting to enable a sleeper upgrade, enhanced train care centre and a modernisation of rail infrastructure across Cornwall to succeed.
I’ve spoken and corresponded with Ministers, raised petitions, 3,000 names of which were presented to Parliament recently, and supported the project in other ways.
It’s great that even those who have little or nothing to do with the project can turn up to share in the celebration of the success.
However, there’s a lot more ‘heavy lifting’ going on out of the gaze of the media spotlight which I also hope will result in further success in the months ahead. But I just hope that, next time, there’s greater evidence that credit goes to where credit is due.
You can contact Andrew George by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. His constituency office can be contacted at Trewella, 18 Mennaye Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4NG. Telephone: 01736 360020.
Andrew George MP
Kernow a’n West ha Syllan
West Cornwall and the Scillies
Constituency of St Ives
Tel: 01736 360020
Fax: 01736 332866 8th July 2014