As part of our 2018 Local Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in 16 wards across South West Birmingham, asking them to contribute to this election’s ’500 Words’ series.
Each candidate has been invited to describe themselves and their campaigns in their own words. Their submissions will be published – without editing – in the order that they are received. Should they be longer than 500 words, they will be cropped.
With the formation of new wards across the city, this is an all-out election, with every seat up for grabs. Some wards have one seat and some have two. Learn more about the ward changes and your candidates.
Our latest submission comes from one of two Liberal Democrat candidates for Bournbrook & Selly Park ward, where two seats are being decided: Jake Calcutt.
My name is Jake Calcutt, I am a 20 year old final year student at the University of Birmingham and one of the two Lib Dem candidates for Bournbrook & Selly Park. People often ask me what got me into politics so young, and especially why I chose the Liberal Democrats. The answer is simple. Ever since I became politically aware aged 16, the Lib Dems have been the only party willing to speak up on the issues I care about. Be it mental health, Europe, education or homelessness, Lib Dems are at the forefront of campaigns to help, even if the more established parties take credit. Another attraction of the Lib Dems is their commitment to localism, something that forms a key part of my politics. I am a proud Brummie, and believe that we thrive best when given autonomy to make our own decisions. I believe that people have a right to be listened to and involved in discussions. Arguably, the populist swings seen all over the world are due to a failure of representatives to inform citizens and involve them in decisions. That is why you’ll find me most often on the doorstep, asking local residents of their opinions and persuading them of new methods to tackle problems. The most clearly left out group, in my ward at least, are students. A brief glance at the council will tell you that young people are very underrepresented, especially for one of the youngest cities in Europe. We have an abundance of young talent in our city, and that is why Sophie & I are running, to establish a sorely needed voice for young people in our city’s discourse.
Outside of politics, I work as a bartender at The Junction in Harborne, a job I genuinely enjoy with some hilarious co-workers that are especially great on nights out in town. If it hasn’t already become apparent, I love chatting to and being around people, hearing their stories.
When I do get spare time, you’ll find me at Tiverton pool, a nice swimming baths in Selly Oak that is (thankfully) very cheap to go to, cooking my signature stirfry (my housemates call it ‘The Jake’) or attending gigs for new bands in Birmingham’s thriving music scene.
If anybody ever wants to contact me, you can find me on facebook at Jake Calcutt or Bournbrook & Selly Park Liberal Democrats or on twitter @JMCalcutt or @ChangeForSelly.
Thank you for your time,