Category Archives: Stoke on Trent North Labour Party
This week I attended the Labour Party Annual Conference and spoke about engaging local people in democracy and delivering services, and how I have worked with local young people in Kidsgrove to set up a Youth Parliament
I told conference:
“The Tories decimated our Youth Services in Staffordshire despite 16,000 people signing a petition opposing the cuts. Young people are feeling more vulnerable than ever in these difficult times, they rely on these key support services.”
“In the face of these cold and calculating cuts, young people are responding in the most positive and extraordinary ways. Setting up their own Youth Parliament within the Town of Kidsgrove, they are now delivering Youth Services with support of the Labour Town Council. With a budget of £2000 a year, the Youth Parliament has helped clean up their community by installing flower beds, donating benches to the local war memorial, setting up knitting with ‘nanas groups’ and organising youth advice days in the absence of formal Youth Services.”
“Young people are choosing to use their own funds to support everyone, in particular the elderly. Their hard work and direct involvement in the community has helped break down barriers and created a more caring atmosphere that all have benefitted from.”
I talked about how inspiring it is to see young people engaging in locally based work and getting involved where previously they were ignored.
I reinforced to the Conference audience the importance of the Labour Party policy pledge to give votes to sixteen year olds in all elections, telling them that this would help to determine that young people and their concerns won’t be ignored by politicians and the decision makers.
Education on local government and politics needs to improve. Far too often young people are leaving school not knowing a single thing about their right to vote and how to have their say on local and national issues. This needs to change if we want to rid ourselves of apathy that does our communities no favours.
Ruth Smeeth has been selected by Stoke on Trent North Labour Party to be the Parliamentary Candidate in the 2015 General Election. Joan Walley MP announced her retirement in late 2013. The hustings and selection took place at Kidsgrove Town Hall with over 100 Labour Party members turning up for the vote. All candidates performed well during their speeches and question session. Zaeba Hanif and Katie Ghose were also on the shortlist and fought hard for the support of members across the constituency. Ruth won the ballot and is now the official candidate. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ruth on her success. I backed Ruth from the start because of her fighting spirit and her inspiring positive attitude to life. Ruth will stand up for everyone and not just the few. We believe in Ruth as much as we have believed in Joan for so many years!
Up until this point I have remained quiet on who I will be supporting to be the next Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North. As many people will be aware I am an active member of the Labour Party and I believe in what the party stands for. As a member of the CLP Executive Committee I decided not to put myself forward to be on the Selection Committee because I want to back a candidate from the start. Stoke North’s selection process needs to be professional and transparent. Therefore I can announce I am endorsing Ruth Smeeth to be our PPC.
I have been aware of Ruth for quite some time. She has been known to attend many events and Labour campaign days in Stoke, way before Joan announced her retirement. A lot of us believed Joan would do at least another term. Ruth’s background as a Hope Not Hate co-ordinator and her fight against fascism really does inspire me and others. Her experience in this area can definitely be put into practice to protect the City and Borough from the BNP and extreme elements of UKIP.
Ruth Smeeth has been the perfect campaigner and most definitely inspires people to get out there and speak to people on the doorstep. That is what we are about after all, putting people first and listening. I joined the campaign trail in the Baddely, Milton and Norton by-election to see Ruth working really hard with our candidate. She lit up my day on the doorstep, a real people person and able to relate to working class folk on the doorstep. Ruth has attended numerous campaign days in Kidsgrove and isn’t afraid of hard work.
It was only recently that I was on a training course in Manchester and I met members of the Labour Party from Burton. Ruth was mentioned in the conversations and those people speaking about her didn’t have a bad word to say. They told me how lucky the people of Stoke North would be if Ruth put herself forward.
The day Joan Walley announced her retirement I felt totally devastated. Joan has been one of the most dedicated MP’s I have ever met and she always puts her constituents first. She never gives up the fight against social injustice. Joan is a true friend of mine and I have learnt so much from this respectable lady. After doing a lot of thinking, I had no choice but to endorse Ruth who I believe will follow in Joan’s footsteps and do a really good job. Ruth is young, vibrant and will bring a fresh approach to politics that this country so desperately needs. She is not a candidate being shipped in from London, something I hope we never see happen again.
So good luck to all of the candidates putting themselves forward, but I have my fingers, legs and toes crossed for Ruth.
You can find out more about Ruth and her endorsers at: http://www.ruthsmeeth.org.uk