Thanks to those who have encouraged me to put my name forward. Letchworth is my home town and this is my constituency. I moved here in 2000 and at that time I was the parliamentary candidate for North East Bedfordshire – which includes Stotfold, Arlesely & Biggleswade. I have been the CLP Secretary and I am also a member of the Co-op party and of UNITE. I believe that Letchworth is a progressive town and the recent local election results have seen the local area committee return to Labour control where it belongs. I believe too that North Herts is a progressive area and that our members and supporters deserve someone to speak up for their values.
I believe in the principles of fairness, equality and social justice not just on the doorstep when campaigning but in everyday life too. For instance when I was working as a freelancer in 1999 I realised that we had no union and so I helped to found a trade association and became a director and represented them. They now have 20,000+ members. Following a successful campaign which saved the Letchworth outdoor swimming pool from closure I became a town councillor and later the town mayor. though the council had no political parties on it I worked to ensure it that followed a progressive agenda. I have been chairman of Letchworth Fair Trade group since 2009 and have organised many events such as the fair trade fiesta last September. We are also hoping to make Baldock a fair trade town. I also did some local campaigning and helped local groups save Brotherhood Hall from closure.
I am well known in the Letchworth -though not all agreed with the idea of a town council- I worked hard to get the council to focus on issues of social justice with the idea of empowering and being in-touch with local groups such as the Afro-Caribbean society, the Sri Lankan community, the British Legion, residents groups and empowered others to set up groups. Though our constituency is a prosperous area it does have pockets of deprivation including social deprivation which is why we ran free trips for the elderly. We also had the courage to fight and win a landmark case in the High Court on people’s right to discuss how the Heritage Foundation was run. The HF believed they had limited accountability as they thought they were simply a property company ‘like Grosvenor Estates’ in London who did some charitable giving whereas we successfully insisted that they were fully accountable to the people of the town and were like a community land trust.
Since 2011 I have worked closely with their new management having buried any previous disagreements to promote the town and social garden principles. Letchworth’s model of common land ownership was and remains a progressive and radical one. We have built international links with China, Hong Kong and the USA and I am often involved in meeting visitors to explain the social principles of the Garden City. I am also involved with the co-op party nationally to promote these ideas in the UK. As I do with the Labour Finance and Industry Group and chair their fringe meetings at conference on small business. I also co-authored their forthcoming report on freelancing.
I offer you these principles as someone in-touch, experienced and capable in the belief that I can be of great service to Labour and to our constituency. I hope that you can give one of your nominations and hear more about not just how we can win in North East Herts and how to make it and Britain a better place.