Continuing our series of pieces highlighting Young Fabians standing in May's local elections, we hear from Tom Laing, Labour and Co-op candidate for Seacombe in Wirral.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in your local community?
I’m standing for the same reason I initially got involved in politics, because I’m horrified by the effects of years of austerity and Tory neglect has wrought on our communities. There is also another reason I’m standing and that’s because people give me hope for a better future, so I’m standing as a Labour and Co-operative candidate because I want to support communities in coming together to tackle the common issues we find today, from the cost of living to the climate emergency.
Tell us about the ward you are standing in, such as the biggest concerns on the doorstep and what makes it unique.
The ward I’m standing in is called Seacombe, which has a long history being recorded all the way back in the Doomsday Book, built up my early merchants who settled in Wallasey and built up its surrounding settlements, today the area is most famous for being home to the Seacombe Ferry Terminal at which the famous ‘Ferry ‘cross the mersey’ still takes passengers over to Liverpool. Despite this the ward has suffered from Tory austerity, and the loss of public amenities. When I speak to residents I hear how people are fed up of this Conservative government’s infighting they know Rishi Sunak isn’t on their side but they can it is Labour who are on their side, tackling flytipping in the ward or improving public transport through Steve Rotheram’s plans to build ‘London style’ transport for the Liverpool City Region improving connectivity and reducing fares of the bus network.
How did you find the selection process, and do you think there are ways it can be improved to better support young members?
The selection process for Council can often be confusing the process of interview can certainly be off putting to young members, and while it’s important that party conducts interview process to ensure candidates are ready for every local government throws at them, young people do need support through those processes, I was fortunate enough to have many friends to support me through the process, many young members lack any form of mentors and that is why Young Labour, the Young Co-operators and indeed the Young Fabians to mentor and support the next generation of young candidates and to interested in standing I’m happy to act as a mentor and support you through the interview process, reach me on Twitter @tomlaing14
What do you hope to bring from your experiences within the Young Fabians into local government?
During my time with the Young Fabians I’ve been able to connect with fellow young members and work co-operatively to help shape ideas that are the future of social democracy in the UK. It’s these two things I want to take with me into local government the ability to work co-operatively to find the policy solutions to the challenges our communities face, as well as listening to what the current and future Young Fabians are discussing I want to take their ideas into the council chamber connecting communities with practical policy solutions to real world crisis and connecting young members with decision makers.
What would be your advice to Young Fabians who are considering standing for local government?
We suffer from a lack of Young people in council chambers, particularly a lack of Young women and people from BAME backgrounds. So firstly to everyone who’s considering standing, go for it be the change you want to see, in terms of advice I’d say don’t be afraid to speak up no one is going to give young people a platform they need to take it for themselves so express the desires of your community but don’t also don’t be afraid to listen to other people’s experiences. As I said earlier I’m happy to support anyone considering standing so my final piece of advice would be seek out people like myself who are willing to advise you!
How can YF members help your campaign between now and May?
I’m in a very marginal seat and I would appreciate any and all help from my fellow Fabians, I’m out every weekend and weekday evening and this will be stepping up into being out multiple times a day every day as we draw nearer election day so if your near Merseyside send me a message on Twitter I’d love the help but if you can’t make it in person, then log onto dialogue, type in ‘Seacombe’ and get phoning! Every voter you speak to could be the difference between us winning and losing Seacombe.
If you are a YF member standing in the elections and would like to be featured, please get in touch with our Blog Editor Clark Beken via [email protected]
Headline image background from Wikipedia user Rodhullandemu, licensed.