I describe myself as Working Class. Why? Well, I live in rented accommodation, I attended my local Comprehensive school, I’ve grown up watching my mum and dad work extremely hard to put food on the table, as an adult I live on the breadline and commonly use the phrase ‘I rob Peter to pay Paul’ in order to settle bills. I live by the government guidelines of what they deem to be the lower class because unfortunately I don’t have the money to branch out, I don’t have any rich family to inherit from.
I don’t allow this to define me. I am different from many women you may meet in the political world. I went to University, and I graduated with first class honours, but I didn’t study Politics, I studied Music Performance and Technology. I owned my own Dance School for 5 years here in Dagenham, which saw over 220 students pass through my doors overall. I’m a massive sports fan following Chelsea Football Club and my beloved basketball team The New York Knicks. I wear head scarf’s and gold hooped earing’s. I come from a musical family and have everything on my iPod from Etta James and Joni Mitchell, to Biggie Smalls and Jay Z. I speak fast, I’m opinionated and sometimes I like to be just as surprised of what comes out of my mouth as others do.
Yet amongst all of this, I am the Youth Officer for Dagenham and Rainham Labour Party, I am the Havering Coordinator for Jon Cruddas MP, I am the Women’s Officer for Havering Young Labour, and I am a proud parent campaigner and activist. Why am I telling this to you all? Because it’s real. Just as I am sure all your life stories are. We are real people. We have faced struggle, we have faced deprivation, we have grown with strength and we have welcomed happiness. I am an example of realism. Something the current Government lacks.
So this leads me to speak about how Labour can engage with young Working Class People. I personally feel it is all down to real life issues. High Uni Fees – the fear they feel of enrolling at Uni because they are not sure if they’ll ever be able to afford the cost. Education and the threat of privatisation – young people don’t want to feel segregated. They don’t want to feel that the standard of their education all comes down to what mum or dad can afford. The NHS, many young people study years upon years to become our next generation of Doctors and Nurses. Many are currently Junior Doctors suffering at the hands of Jeremy Hunt and his Tory Army, whilst also being scrutinised for the busyness of hospitals as Theresa May continues to ignore the fact that The NHS is now described as ‘a humanitarian crisis’. Tap into the issues that matter to these young people the most, find out how it affects them locally, campaign alongside them, show them what Labour can do for them, how it can support them and gain the backing of MPs in Parliament. Give them that sense of pride that their fitting for something they believe in, and that their fight can make a difference.
Young people are hungry to make a difference. Whether that be a small issue or a nationwide issue. The youth are the future of our Country. They will decide the rules and regulations for my son’s generation. Treat them well. This world is a dog eat dog world and over many years it’s become cold and disheartened. I’m one person, yet I feel I can make a difference, and that’s all thanks to the belief my local Labour Party has put into me. Imagine if we did that for so many others?
I am going to finish this speech with one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite politicians, the great Jo Cox..
‘We have more in common with each other, then things that divide us.’
Fay Hough – Havering Coordinator, Dagenham and Rainham CLP Youth Officer, Havering Young Labour Women’s Officer