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 Birmingham Worker candidate for Stirchley ward, Reuben Lawrence.
I come from a working class family, originally from West Bromwich. I have never been well off and have always lived within my means, that being very little in the beginning. In the hopes of a better life and escape from abject poverty I enlisted in the British Army at the age of 16 and served as a guardsman from then on. Life in the army taught me discipline and gave me an iron will along with a fierce determination to see things through.
Politically for most of my (short) adult life I’ve always felt that politics is not for the working class, the “wretched of the earth” as we’re seen from above, and I’ve felt the exclusion and alienation which so many of my generation suffer from. However, since I left the army and became a socialist I now have a fierce determination to see the working class, the majority of the British people have the loudest voice in politics.
We the British public bear the brunt of all the rubbish decisions made by our government, both national and local, and we also suffer the consequences.
From British involvement in Iraq to Syria our Government takes the decision to murder innocent people and are not held accountable by us, squandering millions on illegal and unjust wars, waged by a rich few who’s lives are never at risk but fought by the children of the poor like myself. Local governments are in the hands of the junior partners of the big political forces, the Tories and Labour. Policies in Birmingham by a Labour council such as the closure of 14 children’s centres is unjustifiable on the basis of a lack of funding when we consider the £6.6 million which was found to pay private contractors and scabs in a vain attempt to defeat our bin men in 2017. Our citizens are not given any say nor voice in the matter and our children suffer as a consequence. This election is our chance to voice our disapproval.
We’re told by the local Council there’s no money and yet when I look at the combined wage package of a handful of top council executives, which for 6 people is a combined wage package of nearly £800,000, I think back to the bin dispute, where the labour council wanted to cut the wages of our bin men, to save a mere £300,000 a year. Those workers were rightfully striking to save their livelihoods, put food on their children’s tables and I ask myself is this right? How can it be right for a Labour council to break the law by employing scabbing workers?
I come to one conclusion; its Labour, Tory, same old story.
I hope everyone in Stirchley will consider getting politically active, challenge and question those in power not just at election time but all the time. I’m working class, I’m a socialist, I’m not in it for myself, I only wish to serve the people.