Labour’s strength rests with its people. The Tories have their millions of pounds from the City, but Labour has tens of thousands of living, breathing activists spreading the gospel of a more equal society door to door, letterbox to letterbox.
It’s what makes Labour more than a political party. It’s what makes us a movement. Every movement needs its leaders, though, which is where our 631 Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) come in. The next generation of Labour fighting the election today represent the best of our party. Men and women. White and BAME. Gay and straight. Disabled and able-bodied. They affirm our status as the party of all people.
The importance of this cannot be understated. In an age characterised by widespread loathing of the political class, putting forward prospective candidates who look, sound, and act like real people, rather than airbrushed television puppets, goes a long way to restoring trust in our representative democracy. As Fabian Society research from 2012 demonstrates, non-voters are hostile to politicians because they seem to belong to another planet. There is a pervasive sense that they do not operate on the same intellectual or social level as the vast majority of people.
This is a perception Labour has actively challenged. In the new Young Fabians digital pamphlet, ‘Fifteen for 2015’, we profile fifteen candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds standing in a diverse range of seats. Nine of them are women. Three are BAME. Over half are from working class families. Two never attended university. If this variety of candidates can translate into a variety of MPs on May 8, we would have taken a big step towards a more representative parliament.
It will also make for a more radical and powerful Parliamentary Labour Party. As Emily Brothers, the PPC for Sutton and Cheam, and one of our fifteen candidates, says: “In the past we’ve had a few maverick MPs, but we’ve seen less of that as Labour has become more of a smooth operation.” We should never put style before substance. And in this election, we haven’t.
The Young Fabians invite all our comrades in the senior society to download the pamphlet and get up close and personal with Labour’s candidates. Find out which PPC once performed in a rock band at Glastonbury, who took on the multinational conglomerate Serco at the age of 14 (and won!), and who takes inspiration from The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker.
We hope after reading these stories you’ll be inspired to redouble your efforts on the doorstep and get these fantastic people- and their colleagues across the country- elected on May 7.
The Young Fabians pamphlet ‘Fifteen for 2015’ is available to download here: http://www.youngfabians.org.uk/fifteen_for_2015