Why I’m right for Manchester Gorton

This article is one of a series as part of WriteYou's coverage of Manchester Gorton, you can see the coverage here. Help WriteYou grow by supporting our powerful platform for independent fearless non partisan journalism here.

Online: www.karleastham.com

Twitter: @karleastham

Facebook: Karl for Manchester Gorton

I am an ordinary Labour Party activist from the North West of England. I grew up in Accrington and went to the local school. My mum was a care assistant, and my dad worked as an industrial chemist in a factory just outside Bury. I have family in and around Manchester, Bury, Ramsbottom and Radcliffe. I come up to campaign regularly across the region – fighting to keep Copeland, as well as supporting ordinary candidates for local councils on the doorstep.

But I know that being local is not enough, and over the next few days I’ll be outlining my vision for the Labour Party, the values we should be prioritising in the country, and for Gorton.

As a teacher, I feel a real anger at the cuts to education that the Tories are making.

As a former children’s support worker, I feel angry at the cuts to social services departments that the Tories are forcing on councils; an impact I’ve seen first-hand as a local councillor.

As someone who lived in Syria for my year abroad at university, I am outraged at the government’s approach to the refugee crisis. Helping in the jungle in Calais, before its irresponsible destruction, I was moved and angered by the stories of the inhumane treatment of migrants simply seeking a better life.

I know what it is like to grow up in the North West and for you and your friends to feel forced away from their families and communities to the South East, where this Tory government continues to promote the best jobs and opportunities.

I am still paying off my student loan and really feel the extra 9% tax rate imposed on graduates in public service, who will take years to pay off their debts.

As a councillor, I see the real impact that austerity – a by-word for political choices by a government ideologically committed to reducing the state to its bare bones – is having on communities that need us in Manchester, in London, and across the country.

These are the issues that matter to me. These issues make me want to stand to be the Member of Parliament in the region I call home. These issues affect me here and now as an ordinary working person, not a professional politician. These issues affect me as a young person, a group maligned and attacked by both the Tories and Lib Dems since 2010.

I do not stand in this election as anyone’s candidate except the Labour Party’s candidate. I will be a unifying voice across our movement, looking outward to support the people we represent, with real Labour values for the people who need us in government.

Gerald Kaufman was an MP with a strong sense of fairness at home and abroad. Gorton deserves an MP who will continue in that strong tradition. I hope that can be me, and I wish the best of luck to all of the other candidates. I look forward to a comradely campaign.

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