I want to wish all Labour Council candidates the very best in the local elections especially in my constituency in County Durham but also all across the country where elections are taking place. Huge thanks to all the Labour supporters and volunteers who have helped in the campaign. I was a Councillor representing part of my home village of Murton for a number of years when my boys were young so I understand the pressures and the costs to personal and family life of standing for locally elected office.
I am sure we all ask at times why we do it particularly when tested by those who have in the main done little or nothing for their communities but carp criticise and sneer. I have asked at times if I am I done with this, but I don’t think I will ever be done with the Labour Party. My belief in the politics of community and the values of social justice are unshakable. The evidence is clear when we have the opportunity we can achieve great things that transform lives and life chances of those who with all humility we seek to represent. That has been my experience of Labour in power in local government and in national politics. In my youth I have been fortunate to see what I had hoped was an end to hunger homelessness and squalor, and be part of a Labour Council which built decent housing for families and warden controlled sheltered housing for the elderly. It was Labour in power which built the new schools and made education a priority which meant that we have had better lives than our parents and our children have had the opportunity of a good education and a better start in life.
Labour has made a difference to the lives of my family too. When I was battling lymphatic cancer at the turn of the year, it was Labour’s greatest achievement, the NHS, through early diagnosis and prompt treatment which saved my life.
So, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s election, I will never be cowed from standing up for Labour, and standing up for the difference we can make when we work together for the common good. I’m not done yet and neither is the Party which I love and owe so much to. So let us push cynicism aside and let’s press on to do our best. We are standing on the shoulders of those who went before and faced many adversities and hardships. I know that the Labour values we stand for are the hope of the world and WILL win through in the end.