Amanjit Jhund is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
"It’s all to play for,” says Amanjit of the upcoming election. “We are seeing the erosion of the two party system and the rise of new viable options for the electorate. This means every individual on the doorstep is going to make a difference”.
Amanjit and his team are embroiled in a true street fight of an election. East Dunbartonshire is in the shaky grip of Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, under-secretary of state for women and equalities, employment relations, and consumer and postal affairs. A mere 2,154 votes separate the two parties, but as is the case with all seats in Scotland, the remarkable surge in support for the SNP means all bets are off on the outcome this May.
The constituency also has some quirks all of its own. East Dunbartonshire is a jigsaw of suburban and rural communities sprawled over a large area outside of Glasgow. This means local issues are a mishmash of typical countryside concerns, such as poor transport links, and more urban problems- like hospital capacity.
Amanjit thinks the difference between victory and defeat will come down to how his campaign resonates with local residents: “I want to achieve things in parliament for my constituency. We need a new chemotherapy service at Stobhill hospital, and better transport links to and from Southern General Hospital [south of Glasgow] so both patients and visitors can use those facilities”.
As an experienced NHS doctor and expert on hospital transformation for a world-class consultancy, Amanjit also wants to work at Westminster to improve healthcare nationwide. “Healthcare may be devolved in Scotland, but some issues still affect the whole UK, especially if you look at how medical information is shared across the border. We need systems in place in the NHS to better facilitate this transfer.”
He’s also dedicated to protecting the environment and ensuring the development of shale gas does not cost the earth- quite literally, in fact.
But while there’s no denying Amanjit is a committed campaigner, just what makes him Labour?
“It’s a strong belief in social justice that drives me,” he says. “This goes back to my upbringing. I grew up in East Dunbartonshire, one of the more affluent places in the UK, with high life expectancy and quality of life. I didn’t understand the flipside of this until I volunteered at the Marie Curie Hospice in Glasgow when I was 15. There I came face-to-face with inequality and saw how a lack of education, quality healthcare, and decent job opportunities could affect peoples’ lives so harshly. It made me want to fight for equality, and here I am today”.
Is Amanjit pleased with the way the national campaign is being waged so far? “Ed Miliband has done an excellent job cracking down on tax evasion and drawing up a Mansion Tax, which are policies that speak to our core values,” he says.
“We’re at our best when we are pursuing the policies and an ideology that makes a difference, like the minimum wage and the equalities legislation we’ve pursued. Ultimately fighting for social justice is being true to our roots, and is the sure path to victory.”
Louie Woodall is a member of the Young Fabians Executive Committee