Wednesday, 28 July 2010

making the change

My life has always been political. My mum was a regional councillor when I was young; she has since got a degree in politics and worked for various labour politicians. My dad is currently a labour councillor. One of my sisters used to teach modern studies and the other used to be an organiser in the Labour Party. It’s hardly surprising that I too have ended up leading a politically based life.

In April 1997 I was an 11 year old who would tell anyone that listened about why you should voted labour. I could name all 5 labour pledges and things can only get better was my favourite song. Now at 24, 13 years later not much has changed, well I can only listen to D-ream in small doses but politics still dominates my life.

Living in my political bubble I recognise that I am different to most people. Most people don’t see how politics affects every aspect of their lives, from how much they pay in tax to whether the pot holes in the road will get fixed.

During the election the thing that frustrated me most was not those who were voting Tory (in Fife that was more of a comical shock than anything else) or those voting Lib Dem/ SNP no it was the ones who didn’t care. What continually got me down were those who never vote, who didn’t see the point and who believe politicians were all out for themselves. We as those who are active in politics are the ones who need to address this, to show people than you can make a difference and to show them that most politicians are striving to make a difference in their local communities.

I first came across the idea of community organising in Barack Obama’s book Dreams from my father. The idea essentially is local people getting together to tackle issues that affect them. That is why I signed up to become a Future Leader as part David Miliband’s movement for change.

I truly believe that in order to win again the Labour party must become a movement again. We have to be able to show people what we stand for. We have to take those in the community with us and this means working together with them about the issues that affect us all. It’s only through doing this that we will be able to stand with our local communities against the cuts that are already starting to take place. It is also only by doing this that we will win back those who voted against us.

I went to my training session on Saturday in Glasgow. I left feeling inspired. It wasn’t all about David Miliband it was about how we can take forward issues and build a movement. In fact right at the beginning it was said “it’s great if you’re supporting David but that’s not what today’s about”. I am supporting David but whether he wins or loses I am going to be thinking about issues in my local community and who I can work with inside and out of my political bubble to change them.

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