It is certainly true that I did my share of marching, picketing, and shouting as a youngster. I grew up in a country where we genuinely believed that young people would have to fight to have any future at all, and that real success would be for other people. Thatcher’s Britain was a depressing place, and it forged my belief in the politics of the left.
Years later, I’m no less ideological, just more focused and determined. The sense of injustice that I raged against in those early years still burns strong now. The lack of decent housing, mass unemployment and the Tories threatening to break up our NHS were defining issues of my young political life, and now things have come full circle again.
I am extremely proud of our 13 years in government but no one can doubt that the Tories – with the help of Simon Wright and his Lib Dem friends – are undoing our many successes. That is why my focus is on winning back Norwich South, and returning a Labour government.
Whether it is Ed Miliband’s talk of the squeezed middle, or Ed Balls’ plan for growth, Labour is tackling the issues that the public care about. As your candidate I will work with the Party, the Trade Unions, and the Co-operative movement to get these messages out and to make them relevant to the voters in Norwich.
The next General Election will be in 2015, so this campaign will be a marathon not a sprint. I’m in it for the long run. As someone who has stood for Parliament before, I am match-fit for this challenge and will be on the front foot from day one.
It is members in Norwich South who will decide the outcome of this race, so I am out knocking on doors day-in and day-out in the way only a good candidate can. I look forward to meeting you and talking about our hopes and aspirations for Norwich and its future.