Bach to Tolerance

Joe Biden Picture

This is the week the world changed.

Those who know me well will be aware of my close interest in America and American culture and politics. It will come as little surprise that I, along with millions of others, watched the inauguration of President Joe Biden with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.

Just as inspiring was the President’s choice of Kamala Harris; the first woman, the first African American and the first Asian American to occupy the role of Vice President.

The US is of course a different country; but we have much in common. The tone of President Biden's speech will resonate with a lot of people here in Leicestershire.

Like the US, and many parts of the UK, Leicestershire and Leicester have been shaped by successive waves of migration and immigration. The industrial revolution sparked a mass migration from countryside to city. In the centuries that followed, successive waves of migration from all over Britain and the British Empire sparked further change.

That change continues. Today’s shifting aspirations and lifestyles coupled with the changing nature of the economy is driving new waves of migration with neighbourhoods around Leicestershire witnessing an influx of new neighbours. This change isn’t always easy, but for me it represents an important step forward.

Harold Wilson once observed that the only institution that rejects change is the cemetery. I was pleased to see a similar theme running through Biden’s speech alongside a powerful call for unity. The President spoke of “One nation” and of “A need to engage with the world outside”. He cautioned against the danger of “Turning inwards and retreating into competing factions”. He argued that “Disagreement does not have to mean total war”.

This is my kind of politics. This approach has shaped my work as Police and Crime Commissioner. A belief in partnership and collaboration, rather than confrontation for its own sake, sits at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan. I believe that this has been the right approach.

I am grateful to the many partners, including those who disagree with me politically, for their tolerance and forbearance over the last five years.

It’s this sense of tolerance and forbearance that makes democracy work. I’m pleased to see that America has rediscovered these principles after four deeply depressing years.

Long may these principles endure here in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland.

Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021
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