I’ve spent the last 13 years living in the borough of Greenwich.
It’s the place my wife and I chose to live and raise a family, where I get involved in local Labour politics as Vice Chair of Campaigns and became Chair of Governors of a struggling secondary school.
It’s a fantastically diverse place to live. My daughter went to a wonderful local state nursery with over 20 different nationalities and the community stood together against far right meatheads after the tragedy near Woolwich barracks.
The other week, pupils at my school Blackheath Bluecoat achieved a record 70% 5 Good GCSEs including english and maths, months after getting our first Good OfSTED. But next year we will close. Our Building Schools for the Future move to a new school on the Peninsula was cancelled by Gove and the Coalition.
It was a kick in the teeth, but we wanted to concentrate on raising our results even further. When you’re a governor, you want to do everything you can for your pupils and teachers.
Then the council decided we should close. In spite of raising results and being in the 10% of the most rapidly improving schools in the country, budget cuts and a declining school role meant our school was not ‘financially viable.’
We fought the closure. It takes much longer to turn round the public perceptions of a school with parents and after a campaign, we managed to keep the school open a year longer than proposed.
But we were just one of the countless hard decisions that are being made by councils across this country.
So I can sit back and moan or get involved.
I’m getting involved. By standing for selection to be Labour’s candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich. I’ve privately told many members but felt it best to share with everyone why I’m standing.
I believe we need to get back to the politics of conviction and put some real passion into our policies.
Not old Labour or new Labour but Bold Labour.
I want to see councils allowed to build more social housing for the five million households on waiting lists, see Labour bring track and rail franchises back into public ownership – because it will actually make the taxpayer money – and provide universal childcare so mums who want to, can get back to work.
I like to feel as a 43 year-old dad working with businesses, I have real life experience. I left school at 18 and worked my way up through the ranks as a journalist from a local press agency to an Assistant Editor at the BBC. I now work in public relations helping companies grow and become more successful.
But I’m also proud to have been party and trade union member for over 25 years, campaigning to preserve the minimum wage, against RBS handing out £1B of public money to bankers, highlighting the damage scrapping NHS Direct would cause and even coming up with the ‘Airbrushed’ Cameron poster meme that inspired mydavidcameron.com
So I want to try to do politics differently.
If selected and elected, I would be a full-time MP working to bring jobs and investment into the borough, with no outside directorships or second jobs. I’d also draft a candidate contract with members and the electorate to help set my priorities and commitments for the coming term.
I’d also forge stronger links with our Labour family – local trade union branches, members, supporters, councillors and the Co-Op.
And I’d establish a full-time constituency office on Woolwich’s main high street with local staff and offer living wage paid apprenticeships to local students. I would never employ family staff.
I built my own career. Now I want to help others in Greenwich and Woolwich build theirs.
I really look forward to putting my case to members.