I joined the Labour Party because of people like my granddad. He was a Polish migrant who, after fleeing the war in Europe, found sanctuary in Scotland and a job down Killoch Pit in Cumnock. His experiences were a big influence on me and taught me that solidarity does not stop at any border and that no matter what your background or where you come from we all deserve the same equality of opportunity.
Ayrshire Born and Bred
Growing up in Saltcoats, where my family had a shop in the local town, I saw good people struggling to get by through no fault of their own and the Labour Party as the only vehicle for improving their lives.
An Experienced and Active Socialist
I joined Labour at 16 and immediately got involved in my local Constituency Party. I met good people trying to do good work and a party that offered hope of a better future. I campaigned in the 1997 election, for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in the first referendum and by the age of 18, whilst studying at Strathclyde University, I was volunteering in the Scottish Labour Party’s Media Monitoring Unit in the run up to the first Scottish Parliamentary elections.
To fund my university education I also worked part time in a call centre for a large telecommunications company. I became the local representative of the Communication Workers Union because I saw first-hand the positive difference trade unions make in the workplace.
After university I was fortunate to secure a place on the Trades Union Congress’s (TUC) Organising Academy and from there I secured a position as a Negotiations Officer with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and then, till now, I have worked as an Officer for the Prospect Union. My job has taught me a lot about the struggles that people face in their daily lives: fear of losing their jobs if they speak out against their employer, the barriers standing in the way of legal redress, and the darkness of depression and anxiety caused by being out of work and not being able to make ends meet. Being able to make any positive difference to my members gives me great professional pride and purpose.
I have been a member of the CWU for nearly 20 years now and a member of the GMB for over 10 years. I have now been an activist in the Party for 20 years, campaigning in every election during that time and taking on roles at every level of the Party.
Politics for a Purpose:
My politics is and has always been for a purpose - to improve people's lives and to achieve a more equal society.
The SNP have been in Government in Holyrood now for nearly a decade and, despite all their hype and hyperbole, have done little to improve people’s lives. The issues facing our community in May 2007 are the same issues facing it today.
It pains me to hear people say they ‘used to’ come to Ayrshire on holiday because many don’t come anymore and that says a lot about what has happened to our community.
- Unemployment in our area has been too high for too long. With the third highest child poverty rate, and one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country we desperately need inward investment in our towns and transport links to bring good quality jobs to Cunninghame North - fighting for those jobs will be my top priority as your MSP
- Under the SNP's government 6000 children across Scotland leave primary school unable to read and funding cuts to university budgets could jeopardise the provision of places of children from deprived areas, I believe we should use the new powers of the Parliament to invest in our children's future and would argue for our kids, not cuts, as your MSP.
- The SNP have made a choice to put our ferry services out to tender. I believe that is a disastrous choice for our area. As your MSP I will fight to keep Calmac in public hands because our ferry services are a lifeline for our island communities.
- I will be a strong voice for Cunninghame North - working constructively, engaging with and speaking up for you. I will hold regular surgeries and you will receive regular reports of the work I do on your behalf.
I bring local knowledge with national political experience.
I'm standing to fight for a fairer economy, a welfare system that helps not hounds and a more peaceful world for all our futures.
This is not the time for more of the same.
I will deliver real change now.