I'm standing in these elections because I want to see an electoral challenge to the myth that all the other parties seem to accept - that cuts are necessary and inevitable. As a trade unionist, I have found myself fighting many of the same battles under the current Tory/Lib-Dem coalition and the previous Labour one.
As a UNISON member with a local government pension, I have taken strike action to defend it under this government and the previous one. As a shop steward in Further Education (FE), I can see major battles to safeguard education on the horizon but I was also part of the campaign that had to fight to win extra funding for FE from the Assembly in 2009 when cuts threatened jobs across the sector. Through the Trades Council, I've been involved in solidarity for trade unionists threatened with similar cuts by Tories and Labour, such as PCS members in the civil service or disabled Remploy workers fighting factory closure programmes.
As a teenager, over 20 years ago, I helped in a successful election campaign to win a seat in Sketty for Labour. Like many other trade unionists and socialists though, Militant supporters left the Labour Party as the party moved to the right and distanced itself from trade union struggles. 13 years of Labour government saw further privatisation, cuts and left all the Tories' anti-union legislation in tact. Today, despite being in opposition, and despite being given £millions of our subs, by our trade unions every year, the Labour Party opposes workers forced to take action to defend themselves from vicious Con-Dem attacks, as 'not so red' Ed Miliband did on June 30 and November 30.
I think those that say that the Labour Party can be re-won by workers and trade unionists are mistaken so I'm standing to highlight the need for a new party to represent working class people. I'm standing because I want to show that there is an alternative to cuts and I'm standing because even one voice in the council chamber saying "working class people will not be made to pay for a crisis not of our making" can make a difference.
- No Council Cuts! Fight for all services, pensions, jobs and terms and conditions.
- Halt all privatisation of council services and transfers to arms length management organisations. Bring all privatised/transferred out services back in house.
- Free education for all, provided by properly resourced and rewarded staff. Reverse all cuts in EMA. Defend teachers' pensions.
- Save Remploy!