It turns out that it is really hard to find time to run a serious campaign for election when you work 48+ hours a week and look after 2 children single-handedly most of the rest of the time.
So I apologise for not knocking on doors and for not having fully researched and developed policies, yet. But what I can promise is; that if being the representative and advocate for the people of Reading West and driving for a fairer, better Britain, EU and World were my full-time job, then I would be amazing at it.
- I am very smart and very tenacious, I graduated top in my year from University and received two of engineering’s most prestigious graduate awards along with my first class Master’s in Chemical Engineering.
- I am trained, experienced and good at team-working, leadership and project management.
- I have a balanced background, I have spent 10 years in engineering (15 if you count my degree) but my parents teach music and English and I trained to teach Ballet before I even went to University.
- I have accrued some worldly wisdom; I have travelled widely for work, pleasure and as a volunteer and have learnt more about life and the different ways there are of doing things from this than any number of years studying politics, economics or philosophy could have taught me.
- Having children is the hardest thing I have ever done, compared to a 50 hour labour and 3 years of sleep deprivation, what fear can being in the public eye and challenging big egos hold? Seriously. I plan to be the voice and advocate for the people of Reading West, when standing up on behalf of others I am fearless and ruthless.
- As an independent I hold no allegiance to political parties, only to the people of Reading West, UK, EU and the wider world we live in.
A number of people have told me it is foolish to run for Parliament while I have so many existing demands on my time and am working in Dubai to boot. They might well be right. However, there are two reasons why the 2015 General Election is the time for me to stand up and contribute:
Firstly, as a relatively new parent I have recently transitioned from the societal role of bright young apprentice, to the parental role of nurturing and protecting the next generation. I am horrified by how let down I feel personally by the generation above, by politics and by the “rules” of our current British society. I have managed to find a way for my family to make it through for now, but only because I was able to leave the UK and work tax-free for a year and clear our debts (but not the mortgage, of course). I have plenty of friends and family who do not have that chance, and then there are the students and recent graduates who are having to go to university to be employable, but will leave with £50k of debt when, if the employment market were different, they wouldn’t have had to go to university in the first place?! As my Arabic speaking friends would say “haram”, “it is not right”.
Secondly, if there were ever a time for a different type of people to be entering politics, it is now. Britain needs sensible and fact-based reform, particularly of the democracy itself, but also of the financial system, and provision of infrastructure (utilities, transport, education, healthcare…). This will become blindingly obviously if the power cuts predicted as “likely” by the National Grid come to pass this winter due to our lack of electricity generation capacity.
Reading West has a high proportion of young, skilled workers and young people in education or training. More than 80% of under 35s use Facebook, and at least 40% also use Twitter, so while the traditional parties might be out knocking on doors, younger potential voters are debating on-line, and creating petitions and gathering momentum, fast. Along with low-income and ethnic minorities, young working people are very significantly underrepresented on the electoral roll (compared with the last census). Whether young people don’t vote because mainstream politics has nothing for them, or mainstream politics has nothing for young people because they don’t vote, either way, if they were to have something to vote FOR, and could be persuaded to vote, then their voice would be very significant, particularly in Reading West. And particularly now, when we are waking up to having been shafted over successive parliaments, and in the last 5 years in particular.
In 2010 voter turnout was just 65% and the Reading West seat was won with just 20,523 votes, when half of all young people were not even registered to vote. With a population of approximately 100,000, of which 33% are under 35 (and above 15), you do not need an engineering degree to see that politics is ready for significant change, starting with Reading West.