I’ve been reflecting on the news that Kwasi Kwarteng is to stand down at the General Election.

As chancellor, he delivered the reckless mini-budget with £45-billion tax-cuts for the rich plummeting the pound to its lowest level against the dollar in 37 years. It seems that unlike any other job, politicians can create chaos but are able to walk away and are never really held to account. It’s working people who pay the price.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research report that it’s the poorest who have been hit the hardest since Boris Johnson’s landslide election in 2019 with their living standards falling by up to 20 per cent. We see this in our communities where an increasing number of families rely on foodbanks to make ends meet, ordinary working people who have suffered a decade of wage stagnation struggling with the increasing cost of food, energy and rent. We see it with housing, the charity Shelter estimating that just under 2,000 people were homeless in Cornwall at Christmas. And we see it in our NHS with our hospitals in Cornwall and Plymouth declaring critical incidents, and patients waiting in ambulances outside emergency departments for longer than anyone else in the country, due to a lack of vehicles on the road, a shortage of staff and not enough hospital and care home beds.

Even our beaches are less healthy as our kids surf in a sea of sewage while we pay higher water rates to fund bosses’ bonuses. It’s no wonder people are so dismissive of politics and feel democracy is letting them down. That is why Labour leader Keir Starmer’s new year’s message of “Hope” is so important. Hope is the foundation of positive wellbeing and mental health. It’s what pushes us forward, a belief that things can and will improve. It’s what I see in the weary eyes of the women and children I deliver aid to in Ukraine, where out of the dust and rubble they hang on with the hope of a better future.

Only Labour gives us hope that we can tackle poverty, rebuild our communities, our public services and our international reputation; hope that we can create a greener future and protect our beautiful county; and hope that in an ever more menacing world we can move from the rhetoric of hate and division to embrace the values which unite us as a common humanity.

Historically, South East Cornwall voters have returned Tory or Liberal Democrat MPs. However, that picture has changed over the past 14 years, with the Lib-Dem vote collapsing from 19,170 in 2010 to 8,650 in 2019, while the Tories have consistently failed the people of South East Cornwall. The Labour Party came second here in both the 2017 and 2019 general elections (source: electionresults.parliament.uk) and, according to independent polls, is currently a clear 10 points ahead of the Lib-Dems in this seat. Let’s make history by electing the first ever Labour MP for South East Cornwall.

David Pond MBE, former Commodore HMS Raleigh, and member of South East Cornwall Labour Party