Five years on, what are my key observations as a Member of Parliament?
Firstly, there is no magic money tree. For two decades we increased our borrowings from two times our national income to five times, piling up debts that reduced opportunities for our children and grandchildren.
There are no easy answers, just difficult decisions as we get back to living within our means, and we should be wary of those who fail to recognise the importance of strengthening our economy and restoring our finances.
Secondly, there are too many professional politicians who lack any experience outside of the political world. We need more independently-minded citizen legislators in Parliament and locally.
Third, leadership matters. From our hospital which is improving radically, to our local businesses, which have helped Bedford’s unemployment fall by 40%, to our faith and volunteer groups helping with compassion those who fall through the net. Effective leadership has made the biggest difference.
Fourthly, securing our nation’s defence should come first but it is getting lost as a priority. All our freedoms, all our history, our place in the world, depend on a strong and effective military and our politicians need to recognise this before it is too late.
Fifth, from immigration to poverty to mental health and other issues, politicians should talk less and listen more, but then also be ready to act when action is necessary.
Finally, it is a true privilege to serve as a Member of Parliament.
>> This is Richard Fuller’s last column before the General Election.