The Labour Party is in my blood. My mother told me that my great grandfather was a Union official and that they had a framed photograph in pride of place on the wall of their 2 up and 2 down colliers terraced house in one of the poorest areas of central Manchester. She and her siblings were taught to respect and admire his status - fighting for the working class.
I started life in similar surroundings but because of opportunities afforded to my generation by introduction of public services, free further education, affordable (and I mean REALLY affordable) housing and a lot of good luck, I improved my circumstances.
I became an active member and joined the Party in the early ‘70’s because I wanted my children to have these opportunities too. I’m still a member because the fight never ends. Each time a Labour Government is elected they introduce policies which improve the lives and prospects for the population but these are soon overturned by following Tory Governments. I think the policies of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell will make that more difficult in the future. As Jeremy says, “Another world is possible”.
I joined the Labour Party following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. I did so because I feel that his views reflect my own. I had become disenchanted by the political system as I felt that no-one represented me. I believe in equality of opportunity and I believe that everyone should have the chance to thrive, regardless of social background. This needs to happen not only because it's the right thing to do, but because our economy relies on it. I feel that the Labour Party now has robust policies to tackle the problems of the NHS and the education system as well social care and all the other issues that this government has simply chosen to ignore. I now believe that there is someone fighting our corner for a better future.
I joined the Labour Party in 2011 as I decided it was time to start actively fighting for what I believed in. I was living in London and working for an inner city Citizens Advice Bureau. I was faced daily with the effects that the cuts made by the Conservatives were having on ordinary people. I was mainly assisting people with welfare benefit, debt and housing issues. Changes were being made to the welfare benefit system that were having a huge detrimental effect on the community I worked in. I was having to give out more and more food bank vouchers to individuals and families who where struggling to make ends meet. Local Housing Allowance caps were about to be introduced and we were seeing people who were renting privately within the Borough who were going to be forced to move out, often leaving behind their family, friends and support network. At this time the role-out of ESA was being expanded and replacing Incapacity benefit and we were seeing people on a daily basis having their benefits stopped or cut and the desperation that this situation was causing. ESA could have been a positive change, accentuating the positives rather than writing people off as ‘incapacitated’, however, this was not to be the case and we were assisting clients with more and more ESA appeals and tribunals. Then the conservatives proposed cuts to legal aid that included welfare benefit and debt cases (that later went through) - it was as if they didn’t want people to be able to fight for their entitlements! I decided it was time to actually take action and I joined the Labour Party to start campaigning for change.
At this time in 2011 I was living in Tower Hamlets where we had a Labour MP, and I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in his office learning about the political process. This experience made me even more determined to play an active role within the party and I became a member of the Tower Hamlets GC. When I moved back to Wiltshire I became actively involved in the local party here in Devizes. Being a member of the Labour Party means that I can channel my disappointment and anger at the current situation into fighting for what I believe in. The Devizes labour party is a supportive group and being involved in campaigning is also a great way to meet people who have the same belief in creating a fairer society.
I finally decided that I should join the Labour Party a few years ago enthused by a leader who seemed to be honest and open. I thought it time I nailed my colours to the mast. I had become more and more despondent at the state of the country’s Government with their continual quest to demonise huge sectors of society and erode our welfare and NHS service in favour of their chums in higher places. Not helped by a press and media who were also singing from the same song sheet as the Government. I finally decided I couldn’t complain if I did nothing about it. Glad to see lots of others have felt the same way, now we just need to get Jeremy Corbyn in to No 10.
In January 2017 I joined the Womens’ march in London, aged 54. In June 2017, I joined Labour. Two firsts for me, and the beginning of a deeper political contribution. Frankly I was also fed up with shouting at the tele, and realised I needed to stand up and be counted in wanting to make a real difference to the current political direction in Wiltshire and the UK.
I was really struck by how the latest Labour Manifesto offered a genuine alternative: an end to austerity as the only economic policy in town, radical new thinking around our housing crisis, a move away from privatisation for its’ own sake, fair taxation to fund our National Health Service, investment in education for all young people, genuine equality of pay and employment and a compassionate approach to the most vulnerable in society, and protecting our own environmental legacy.
I am now an active member of the local Labour party in the Devizes constituency. I am looking forward to finding out more about what people want and need from us at a local level, and us offering that genuine alternative to the people of Wiltshire.