By Esme Choonara
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2097

‘We need a strong left voice on the London assembly’

This article is over 16 years, 3 months old
The Left List is mounting a major challenge to all the mainstream parties in the
Issue 2097
Pat McManus
Pat McManus

The Left List is mounting a major challenge to all the mainstream parties in the

1 May London elections. Lindsey German is standing for London mayor and heading the slate for the assembly.

The Left List is also standing in all 14 London assembly constituencies. Its candidates represent the real diversity of the capital city.

Pat McManus is a nurse at Central Middlesex hospital in north west London and a well-known trade union activist in the health service.

He is standing in the Brent & Harrow constituency as well as on the list for the assembly election.

Earlier this week he was at the Unison union’s health conference debating how to best to fight for the NHS.

Pat told Socialist Worker, “I was in the Labour Party for over ten years. I left a couple of years ago.

“I was angry about the war and the privatisation of the NHS. The left in the Labour Party seemed to have disintegrated. I joined Respect – which is now standing across London as the Left List.

“I am opposed to Labour’s privatisation agenda. Working in a PFI hospital, I have seen the problems first hand.

“I started in the NHS as a cleaner so the situation of domestic workers in the health service is close to my heart.

“I think our union leadership has let down such workers. They have failed to protect their pay and conditions and allowed many groups to be privatised.”

Pat grew up in a Catholic community in Northern Ireland. He says that he sees worrying parallels between life during the Troubles and life for young people in London today.

He said, “Growing up in Northern Ireland, I have seen first hand the effects of discrimination, division and state harassment. I have seen how this alienates people.

“Now we see many in London facing similar things – especially black and Asian people in the city who face racism and criminalisation.

“There is a lot of discussion among politicians about how to make communities safer. You don’t do it by creating fear and divisions.

“I’ve seen a big increase in Brent and Harrow of police stopping and searching young people – this is making things much worse.

“As a nurse, I see firsthand the effects of violence among young people. It is a real concern, but it cannot be addressed by more policing or by demonising young people.

“I’ve talked with lots of young people and one of the things that makes them angry is that they face harassment and criminalisation from dispersal orders. But they have nowhere to meet friends.

“Even at the height of the Troubles, there was never such a lack of facilities, clubs and places for young people to meet or to play as you see in London today.”

Pat says his campaign is getting a really good response. “I am well known from many NHS campaigns in the area,” he said. “Many NHS colleagues are

supporting me. The campaign has been out speaking to many different groups of people.

“We want to get a big vote in this area. Our main aim is to help to get Lindsey German elected to the London assembly – we need strong left voices who can fight for the future of the city.”

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