Get to know Finley Harnett, Labour’s candidate for Pinner South in Harrow, and Co-Chair of London Young Fabians, in the latest instalment of our Meet the Candidate blog series.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in your local community?
I’m running to be a councillor in Pinner South, my home ward, because for too long residents here have been taken for granted by Johnson and his candidates. At a time when families are facing spiralling living costs, the Government is hammering us with the highest taxes in 70 years. Johnson’s candidates refuse to call the Prime Minister out for his repeated Covid rule breaking and lies. It’s clear from the doorstep conversations I’ve been having that the people of Pinner South have had enough. I want to be a community champion who will stand up for residents and deliver on their priorities, including but not limited to helping young families onto the property ladder in Pinner, supporting our businesses as we recover from Covid and tackling fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. I am absolutely determined to be one of Pinner’s first ever Labour councillors and will be fighting for every vote ‒ I enjoy a challenge!
Tell us about the ward you are standing in, such as the biggest concerns on the doorstep and what makes it unique.
Pinner South is a suburban ward in the heart of Metroland, straddling the constituencies of Harrow West and Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. It’s an amazing place to grow up in and raise a family in, with plenty of beautiful green spaces including Pinner Memorial Park, Pinner Village Gardens and Yeading Brook. There are fantastic places to shop and dine on Marsh Road and Rayners Lane, part of which joins the ward after boundary changes. (Pinner High Street is just outside the ward boundary). We also have the magnificent Pinner Library which, I am reliably informed, has the second-largest readership in the borough. We are a ward full of bookworms, it seems.
The biggest concern on the doorstep at this election is by far the cost-of-living crisis. Spiralling costs are hitting the pockets of all residents in the ward, and many I’ve spoken to, including lifelong Conservative voters, are intending on punishing Johnson on the 5th of May for his complete failure to get a grip on this.
What do you hope to bring from your experiences within the Young Fabians into local government?
The Young Fabians is a brilliant, inspiring forum in which to share and discuss ideas to transform the communities we live in. As Co-Chair of London Young Fabians, I’ve enjoyed learning from the experiences and policy successes of Fabians from other parts of the capital. For example, in January I chaired a virtual roundtable discussion on the housing affordability crisis in the capital which featured two very experienced councillors, Sem Moema and Shama Tatler, both of whom really know their stuff on housing in Hackney and Brent respectively. Should I be elected on the 5th of May, I know that Fabian ideas, policy work and expertise will inform my work as a councillor here in Harrow.
What would be your advice to Young Fabians who are considering standing for local government?
You would expect me to say this, but seriously, go for it. I’ve enjoyed every second of being a candidate, particularly talking to residents and businesses about the issues that matter to them. I’ve met some great people during the campaign so far, including the Quakers at the Harrow Quaker Meeting House, the Friends of Yeading Walk, and the wonderful Pinner Oxfam volunteer Delia Cazzato, all of whom have inspired me in their own way and reminded me how special the Pinner South community is.
Standing for election is not only a great opportunity to be more involved in your community, but to develop as a campaigner: I’ve designed my own campaign literature, led a team of volunteers, and organised my own community visits. If you want to improve the area you live in and put your Labour values into practice, then I can give no better advice than “go for it”.
How can YF members help your campaign between now and May?
The Harrow Labour Party is always keen for more volunteers to canvas across the borough, phonebank, stuff envelopes, make cups of tea for the people stuffing envelopes etc. etc. If you’d like to get involved, please do get in touch with me and I will put you in touch with the appropriate person; you can find me on Twitter at @harnettfinley.
We’re super well-connected and I maintain that the best food in London can be found in Harrow, so there really is no excuse not to venture out here.
If you are a Young Fabian standing in the May local elections, please email our blog editor Jimmy at [email protected] if you’d be interested in being featured here on the blog.