Ipswich is one of the oldest towns in the United Kingdom dating from around 600 when it was known as Gippeswic. An amalgamation of the river Gipping (which becomes The Orwell after Stoke Bridge ) and the AngloSaxon word for a dwelling - ‘wic’. The close proximity to Europe and the safe waters at the convergence of the Stour and the Orwell made Ipswich a natural geographical centre for trade and one of the most important ports in the country for centuries.
The Hanseatic League was a powerful trading confederation of Northern European cities across the Baltic and North Seas between the 13th and 17th centuries. Ipswich boasted a major trading headquarters of the Hanse which designated Ipswich the sole authorised centre for exporting wool in Suffolk. The connection was a huge influence on the wealth of East Anglia proven by the glorious collection of ‘wool churches’, St Clement’s Church in Ipswich being an example. Always at the centre of British history from the invasion and capture by the Vikings in 869 until 917, Ipswich has been the beneficiary of a multitude
of different peoples, trading with or coming to live in the town.
In brutal terms it can be said that Ipswich today has deteriorated to such an extent that its forefathers would have been shocked. Not only has it lost its wealth but it has lost its identity. Worse still - who will attempt to check and remedy this sad state of affairs?
On the 23rd of February 2023 a headline from BBC News read: ‘Is Ipswich town centre safe and what is its future?’ What could possibly prompt the BBC to present this article? Along with an article by PaulGeater in The East Anglian Daily Times the BBC makes out that all is not so bad and remedial steps are being taken - aren’t they always. Might I suggest that
instead of interviewing those who need the reputation of Ipswich to be restored (the politicians responsible and the businessmen who are suffering) they actually face head on what has and is happening. Ask the people of Ipswich, those who who live, shop and work in the town - the perspective could not be more different.
I work in a retail outlet in Felixstowe and we have many visitors from Ipswich who choose not to shop in Ipswich but come here instead. Homelessness, shoplifting, drugs on the streets, closed retail outlets and groups of men hanging around lead to an intimidating atmosphere especially for women. This is anecdotal evidence of course, but first hand and it is not
contrived, neither is it uncommon. The shoplifting blight in Ipswich is huge and threatens the commercial viability of the town. As well as opportune individuals, organised gangs make
premeditated raids on the big chainstores, this will lead to outlets becoming economically unsustainable. Legal and policing deterrents are next to nonexistent whilst staff have to stand aside as helpless spectators.
Just before the local elections the politicians from both parties suddenly proclaimed they have solutions to all the problems - the problems they have caused! Now, with a General Election looming next year, they are doubling down on all the good and amazing things they are going to do for the people of Ipswich. The hypocrisy is outrageous. No longer can a local
solution be found to the myriad of social problems successive governments have created, this needs to be addressed at national level.
Top of the list has to be the unfettered levels of net legal migration (606,000 in 2022) that have taken place although the Conservative party has promised, shamefacedly, at every election to reduce these figures to the tens of thousands. How on earth did we get here? Would the description ‘liars’ be too strong? These do not include the relentless procession of small boats being assisted over the finishing line by the RNLI and Border Force or those migrants arriving illegally on lorries; some 52,000 according to official figures. And what about those who don’t return home when their visas are up or those who enter the country, that no one knows about. The numbers are astronomical. Shall we call it ‘conservatively’ 700,000 in 2022 or the population of Ipswich multiplied by five, per year. No wonder there is a housing shortage.
Rishi Sunak, the unelected Prime Minister who usurped the Tory crown, has promised since day one to ‘Stop The Boats’. Has he? To the contrary he has made the situation much worse. If you arrive illegally the Government now welcomes you with a hotel room, health care and a stipend to keep you going. Home Office estimates in February put the numbers in hotels at over 45,500 and the cost at £5.6 million a day. Staggering! We have our own Government outlet in Ipswich - The Novotel.
There is no doubt our country is in big trouble, there is a feeling of trepidation amongst the public: something is wrong. Over the coming weeks we shall examine the other unmitigated lies made by the Conservatives at every election since David Cameron. We shall look at the total inadequacies and contradictions of the Labour Party. In the meantime I leave you with the thought that both Labour and the Conservatives have drawn up a transport policy in line with net zero. There are few enough people coming to Ipswich to shop and soon there will be even less, If a ULEZ charge comes into being and vehicle restrictions are imposed prepare for an accelerated commercial exodus.