‘I am a landscape gardener and a foster carer. I was elected as a parish councillor last summer. I am also an elected school parent governor. I joined Respect after getting involved in Stop the War campaigns.
Education is something I feel strongly about and is a big issue for people in Tulketh ward.
The county council, which is controlled by Labour, is planning to close the schools serving the ward and set up a city academy.
The owner of Carphone Warehouse has been touted as a bidder for the academy. Who would have thought Labour would be handing over the education of our children to the owner of Carphone Warehouse?
Tulketh ward is a working class area with traditional terraced streets. It is a Labour stronghold.
Many people in the ward have always voted Labour, as have their families.
Hopefully we can convince them that Labour today is not the same party their parents voted for and that Respect is a socialist organisation they can trust.
Preston Respect councillor Michael Lavalette is well known in the town. I have already been out in the ward leafleting and talking to people.
We’ve even had a couple of people phoning us for more information after they got our leaflet.
Many people are struggling to pay their bills. They are worried about what the new year will bring with rising fuel costs and other prices going up. We have to make these private energy companies more accountable.
There are many pensioners in the ward and pensions are a big concern for lots of people.
Of course, the council doesn’t control pensions, but we need to raise questions more widely about these issues.
There is also a problem with very poor bus services in the ward. This is something we can campaign to change.
People say you can’t make a difference or that Respect is a small party, but look at what we have done in the health campaign – beaten off privatisation [see » Groundswell of opposition beats Lancashire health privatisation].
This is going to be an important by-election. A lot of people will be watching the results.
The fascist British National Party has just announced that it will stand in the by-election. It has been trying without success to get a foothold in Preston.
Respect is meeting this week in Preston to plan out the details of our campaign. We would welcome support from people outside Preston. Supporters can come and help out whenever they can.
We are asking Respect supporters in the north west of England to come to Preston every Sunday from this Sunday 13 January. Meet at 12.30pm at Preston town hall. Supporters from across the country can join the campaign on Saturday 2 February and Saturday 9 February. Accomodation will be available.
This is an important election for all of us.’
For more on the campaign go to » www.prestonrespect.org or phone 07739 729 214. Waltham Forest Respect is standing in a council by-election in east London on 14 February. To help with the campaign, meet at 11am, Sunday 13 January, outside Tesco, Leyton High Street, near Bakers Arms