14 June 2015

Backing Ben: the Briton you should be sure of

Tomorrow the nominations for Labour Deputy Leader close. As it stands, only two candidates will be awarded a ballot box. Tom Watson, the former whip, leads the pack. The word pack is probably quite fitting, given his bulldog persona. Haven't we had enough of this in Westminster? 

Bradshaw, I believe, is one of the few decent politicians out there. The Alan Johnson type - the rare kind of people such as Charles Kennedy. Westminster needs these people, who don't just look for soundbites but have true substance. 

This Election, Ben Bradshaw trebled his majority in Exeter, standing resolutely red among a sea of blue. Given the public perception of Exeter University as a place of privilege - Exetah is a common moniker - this is no small feat. In Ben's constituency, people are not simply voting for party. They vote for person.

I can personally vouch for this. I am not a staunch Labour voter, yet I could not think of a better MP for my (University time constituency). Despite being disillusioned with Miliband's Labour Party, if I had been voting in Exeter I would have struggled to vote against Ben. His main opponent, RAF hero Dan Morris, was not your stereoptical "tory toff" either. Nonetheless, I was still unswayed.

Earlier this year, I emailed Ben to talk about my concern over the mental health services in Exeter, drawing from my own experience, the issues at the University, and the complete absence of an outpatient eating disorder service, in the whole constituency. 

Source: Exeposé 

A couple of weeks after sending this email, my flatmate excitedly told me that a letter had arrived "from the Prime Minister!" Surely enough, a rather pristine envelope - complete with handwritten address - sat on the table embellished with a "House of Commons" stamp. Not your everyday postbox findings!

Inside was a three page letter, highly customised to my original email, stating what he is doing to try and improve this. I felt quite taken aback with the detail of the response, and it did somewhat restore my faith in MPs.

This was surpassed, nonetheless, by a second letter three months later; after the general election. Any scepticism in my mind that the first letter could have been a "voting ploy" was eradicated. It was another letter from Ben, same parchment-style envelope (is it sad I've this in my treasure box?), attaching a letter from a local healthcare head that detailed what is being done to tackle this pressing issue. I confess I was quite blown away that, three months on, my email was still given the time of day!

Ben's wider achievements as a constituent MP are enough to make him worthy of a ballot box. He has also done so much to help young people in Exeter, investment in secondary schools and championing youth employment. His outlook is the vital progressiveness we need. 

Equally important, however, is Ben's geographical position. Even if the election map had been red across the middle, Labour could not have won. It needs the south. To ever have a majority, particularly given the unprecedented rise of the SNP, Labour needs the south. Bradshaw is the sole voice - across all the Leader and Deputy Leader candidates - for this vital part of the electorate. 

If any more evidence is needed to give credence to Bradshaw's candidacy, it is the endorsement of Alan Johnson - a man I am quite crestfallen is not in the Leadership race itself! Johnson said of The Exeter MP: "he has always been a brave and rational voice within the Labour Party. He is also a brilliant communicator. I worked with Ben and I know just how assiduous, energetic and hard-working he is. These are the qualities we need in a deputy leader."

I can advocate for the proficiency in communication. 

I recognise the power of my little blogging home is very limited, and unlikely to make even the smallest ripple in the political pond. Nonetheless, when I saw the numbers today, which didn't give Ben a spot on that ballot paper, I felt compelled to advocate for his candidacy. He has restored my faith in MPs. If he was deputy leader, I might be inclined to return to Labour. 

If they even hope to get into power again, people like Ben are needed onside. They need to turn blue to red. They cannot simply claim that they hear the electorate.  They need to listen. 

Please Labour, give Bradshaw a ballot box. 

1 comment

Blogger templates by pipdig