DISUNITY: Dividing community

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As I stood watching the riders race over the finish line in Blyth on Stage Two of this year’s offering of the Tour of Britain with my five-year-old son, it amused me slightly at his amazement that people actually make a living from riding bikes.

Sport has been a prominent feature of Northumberland over the past few years, with the Tour coming in 2015, as well as the Tall Ships Regatta in 2016.

This means that our county has hosted some exceptional professional athletes over the last few years.

These events have united the people of this county and hosting such events is one of many reasons we can be proud to call ourselves Northumbrian.

It is worrying to see, however, that our elected leaders in County Hall seem not to like this unity.

The rumblings from County Hall appear to create uncomfortable relations between residents of Ashington and Morpeth, or rural Northumberland and urban Northumberland.

A lot of what Northumbrian politics has become looks like ‘us versus them’.

This is evident with the recent decisions by the current council to scrap the decision to give Blyth a much-needed new sports and leisure centre, however giving the go-ahead to a new centre in Ponteland, which just happens to be council leader Peter Jackson’s seat.

So going back to my five-year-old son, who may now well dream of becoming a professional sportsman when he grows up.

Do I tell him now to give up due to the lack of support he will receive from both local and central government due to the postcode he lives in?

Or do I challenge elected politicians to change this current situation of disunity?

I choose the latter – 2021 and 2022 cannot come soon enough.

David Cockburn

Blyth