By Preet Kaur Gill, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Edgbaston
This election is the most important in a generation.
We have had almost 10 years of Tory rule under three different leaders where they have tripled tuition fees, presided over a huge increase in people sleeping rough on our streets, seen a rise to almost 4 million people in in-work poverty, and failed our young people with mental health problems. The one early intervention counselling service for young people in Birmingham has more than 400 people on their waiting list.
These all result from political decisions made under the failed policy umbrella of austerity. A policy aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats when they were in coalition with the Conservatives.
I have hope for the future, however. Hope that politics can deliver huge fundamental change and be a force for good for many across the country.
That is the reason why I got involved in politics in the first place.
That is what led me to become a Labour activist in my local area, and what subsequently drove me to become a Councillor in Sandwell. In 2017, I was proud to become the UK’s first female Sikh Member of Parliament for the place where I grew up and called my home, and 18 months ago I became a Shadow Minister in Labour’s International Development team.
From local activist to MP, at every stage I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of austerity. I have met with hundreds of people and supported thousands who have had their lives turned upside down because of austerity. Now, in parliament, I hear the Conservatives defending policies which have damaged the lives of people in this country every single day.
My dad was a bus driver and I was the eldest of seven children. My dad encouraged me to get involved in politics and to push the boundaries of what I could achieve. I have two young daughters and I want them to grow up in a world with opportunities and I want everyone to have those same chances regardless of their background.
As a Shadow Minister in Labour’s International Development team, I also have hope that we can look outward. It is only by working across borders that we will have any chance of tackling today’s global problems, like the ever-worsening climate crisis.
When I am out on the doorstep talking to people about Labour’s positive vision for the future, they tell me that they are not interested in the drama playing out in the Westminster bubble. Instead, they care about the kind of future we are proposing for them, their family and for our community and country.
I am proud to stand on Labour’s positive policy platform, one which sets out a positive future for all of us. This election is about getting that message out.
Labour has a vision of a country which prioritises people over profit, and which allows everyone, no matter where they are born, to have the opportunities to succeed. I want to make that vision a reality, but we need people who also share that positive vision to vote.
With three universities in my constituency, including the University of Birmingham, I have been overwhelmed with support from local students who are mobilised and inspired by that message; helping canvass, deliver leaflets, call voters and share posts on social media.
Labour is a people powered movement and without hard working supporters, we do not stand a chance against the billionaire backed clout of the Tories.
Make sure you vote: in person, by proxy or by postal vote. Your vote at this election and what it will mean for the future of our country is just too important to miss.
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