[on Mayday 2015 I was very proud to be the warm up for Labour leader Ed Miliband for a Labour rally at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in Bishopston, Bristol West. Below is the text of my speech. The two pictures are of Ed with some of young Bristol West Labour campaigners and one of Ed in thought after the rally, waiting for a TV interview to start. Thanks to all the wonderful activists from across the city and the region who helped welcome Ed and Rachel Reeves and make this such a special and inspiring day to help spur us on the final few days of campaigning to get a Labour government this week]
My name’s Thangam Debbonaire I’m the Labour candidate here for Bristol West.
Got to say this is the most exciting city to live in.
Any newcomers in this audience today (you at the back there) I can recommend our fantastic city to you.
It’s a great place to stroll around, great architecture lovely parks and the Harbourside is special.
BUT unhappily it’s not great for everyone.
If you live in the inner city – and I do – the last 5 years have been grim. Not for me so much, but for my neighbours and the thousands of people I’ve met these last few months.
The message I’m getting back from the people who live in the inner city is that they feel they just don’t count. The government is not interested in how they live – they can’t be bothered to ask how they are getting on.
Frankly I’m ashamed that there’s a foodbank just down the road.
I’m ashamed that child poverty has increased to 50 per cent in Lawrence Hill Ward.
I’m ashamed that in one of the richest countries in the world in one of the richest cities in the UK that child poverty is on the increase.
And yet the last Lib Dem/ Tory government is NOT ashamed that this has happened on their watch.
That none of its representatives locally – neither Lib Dem nor Tory - has shown real concern about the daily struggle that many families face daily right here on their doorstep.
This cannot be the price of fixing the economy. If any government is not concerning itself with ALL the people - it is failing – and it ought to be kicked out.
And as my sister-in-law Emilie, sitting here with two of my nephews and nieces, says so often – anyone who keeps saying there isn’t any difference between the parties just hasn’t tried bringing up a family on a low income under a Tory government. I’d add that they haven’t thought about what it’s like to struggle to pay fuel bills, wait in A&E, look for a job, try to manage on zero-hours contracts – all under a Tory-Lib Dem government.
There just has to be a better way. There has to be a better plan…
[I think you can see where I’m going with this…]
I think the more you see of him in his own words the more you come to see a man who loves this country, who is sincerely concerned about ALL of the people that make up this place we love to call home. A man who has a hunger to make the changes that this country needs right here and right now. A man who will get started on those changes from day one…
Let me introduce that man with a better plan – a better future - Ed Miliband the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!