GE2019 | 500 Words: Richard Burden • Labour • Birmingham Northfield


As part of our 2019 General Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in Northfield, Bromsgrove, Edgbaston and Selly Oak constituencies 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.

Richard Burden • Labour • Birmingham Northfield

This election is about the kind of person you want to represent you and the kind of country we want to be.

I have never been one of these politicians who only pops up at election time. Northfield is my home so what happens around here affects my family too.

Every year thousands of people come to me for help – on everything from housing to health, from potholes to policing.

I’m independently minded and I fight your corner regardless of which Party runs the Government or the Council. But I also know that so many people who turn to me for help have been hit by the damage that the Conservative Government has done.

• Some have been victims of rising crime with 2,000 officers cut from West Midlands Police.

• Others have suffered long waits to see their GP, or they can’t get the social care or mental health support they need.

• Many struggle to afford childcare and are worried about their children’s future when cuts are hitting schools so badly.

• And it’s a scandal that so many are forced to turn to foodbanks, not because they are unwilling to work but because low pay and job insecurity have left them unable to make ends meet.

The Conservatives would have you believe that this is nothing to do with them. But they have been in government for nine years now. Their record tells a different story.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

That’s why I back real change to:

• Invest in community policing and restore the youth services so important to preventing crime.
• Rescue our NHS from cuts and creeping privatisation.
• Build the genuinely affordable homes our area needs.
• Help working families with free childcare, end the school budget squeeze and introduce a £10 per hour Real Living Wage to combat low pay.
• Launch a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the biggest challenge of all – the climate emergency – with 120,000 jobs and apprenticeships created here in the West Midlands.

The Conservatives will tell you it can’t be done. They said the same when Labour created the NHS all those years ago. They were wrong then and they are wrong today.

And yes – Brexit must be sorted too. Contrary to what he pretends, Boris Johnson’s “deal” doesn’t sort it. Instead it will saddle the UK with the uncertainty of years more negotiations, with more jobs lost and the prospect of a stitch-up with the USA that could threaten our NHS.

I have always been straight with people over Brexit. It’s all on the record at WWW.RICHARDBURDEN.COM/BREXIT. If the Conservatives had done what I and others have urged over the past 3 years, it would all have been resolved by now. By giving people the final say on a credible deal that puts jobs first it can still be sorted in six months.

These are my values. They make me even more determined to work for the many, not just the privileged few, and help transform our country for the better.



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  1. Not a single mention of the word “Corbyn” in Mr Burden’s ‘500 Words’. Perhaps he would like to tell us what he really thinks of the leader of the Labour Party.

    And why is he relying on Corbyn’s strongest supporters to campaign for him while some local Labour councillors are nowhere to be seen?

    Vote for Mr Burden and you get Corbyn. Is that really what any sane person wants?

  2. Mr Burden resigned from his spokesperson position because of disagreement with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and backed Yvette Cooper. So it’s obvious he is not a big fan.

    Nevertheless, I think Jeremy Corbyn is surrounded by a committed and talented team e.g. Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey. So you can vote for the Labour team. And whatever his defects, Mr Corbyn works democratically with his colleagues, unlike Boris Johnson, who requires his MPs to sign on the dotted line to back him whatever and Cummings decide, or face the boot.

    • “Whatever his defects”!

      His defects are such that notable local Labour figures are too embarrassed to mention his name for fear of being associated with him and ruining any chance they might have of ever being elected. If his own MPs and some of our local Labour councillors consider his p “defects” so great that they reject being linked with him then that fact alone serves as a terrible warning to the people of Northfield.

      Again it’s worth repeating that a vote for Mr Burden is a vote for Corbyn. And if people vote for the Brexit Party or UKIP then that will let Mr Burden in and bring one step nearer the frightening prospect of a Corbyn government.

  3. You keep going on about Corbyn, Graham, but as far as I’m aware Corbyn has never been sacked for lying or been accused of serious criminal offences, unlike Boris Johnson. (See Darius Guppy & Stuart Collier and journalist Charlotte Edwards.)

    Your fascination with Corbyn is intetesting to me, as Imo it bares no resemblance to the man who’s been a long time peace and anti-racism campainger and who’s  represented his constituents for over 30 years.

    As I’ve said before i’d never heard of him until he stood for leader but it was easy enough to find his past record and let’s face it, he hasn’t ever hidden his views.

    From what I’ve seen of his past though, I’m guessing he’s been to more public meetings, done more for charities,local communities and across the country in general, than me, you and most of the public who think they know him well enough to smear him, but in reality know very little about the man and is solely based from the opinion of fellow MP”s and newspapers who have always attacked and disagreed with him politically.

    Don’t get me wrong I had similar concerns at first, .Who wouldn’t with those early headlines, but the more I looked for evidence to back up the claims made by the newspapers and MP’s, I couldn’t find it, I could see strong differing political arguments and disagreements but taken in context with rational thought and nuance, could understand his stance and opinion,even if I didn’t always agree. But he mainly comes across as a caring companionate man who’s socially aware and processes empathy for the everyday struggles of the people he meets while going around the country. Something that can’t be said for the majority of MP’ this country.

    Imo, you believe in a bogeyman that’s been fed to you by the newspapers as a black and white issue, it allows for no nuance or rationality, and i’s Very Orwellian in its tone and desired outcome.

    -” the whole point of newspeak, is to narrow the range of thought. “-1984 George Orwell-

    For christ sake Graham, your questioning peoples sanity because we happen to disagree with your view about a politician and his policies, not that you think we’re misinformed or misguided,. Or even that you might have more information that informed your opinion that we hadn’t seen or visa versa, No, instead you question our sanity simply for holding a different world view to your and your party.

    If that’s not “narrowing your range of thoughts” I don’t know what is, and Imo far more damaging and frightening for the country than any irrational claims you make about a Corbyn premiership being friegtening prospect for you.

    VoteNHS GE2019

    • The timing of ‘D’’s defence of Jeremy Corbyn is unfortunate given that Corbyn’s own spokesman on Health today pointed out why Corbyn is a problem especially as a threat to the country’s security. If you don’t believe me then listen to what this senior Labour figure says.

      I repeat, a vote for Mr Burden is a vote to make Corbyn prime minister and even his senior shadow cabinet figures don’t seem to think that that’s a very good idea. The only way for the people of Northfield to ensure that Corbyn does not become prime minister is to vote for Gary Sambrook.

      • Why is the timing unfortunate, Graham, and unfortunate for whom? 

        It’s my honest opinion about  corbyn from reading Articles, Interviews, opinions, videos and documentaries, both positive and negative, from people like Ken loach, Peter O’bourne, Ricky Tomlinson, Peter Hitchen, Jeremy Hardy, Ken Clarke, the Grenfell campaigners to the DUP and many long interviews with corbyn in various forums, even debating with Ress-mogg at Oxford Union.

        The leak by Ashworth was nothing new, he was saying the same during the last election to the BBC film crew that followed him on election night when he was telling them he thought he’d lose his sear and May would get a huge majority. Which footage probably gave his friend in tory HQ the idea that h”d be an easy mark to catch in an unguarded comment to a supposedly friend. And because of that, no I don’t believe Ashworth’s banter excuse.

        But as Ive said before that personality stuff doesn’t bother me, it’s just title-tattle to sell newspapers

        I’m more interested in why a 4 year old boy is being treated on a hospital floor than the media’s reaction to Johnsons reaction to his picture. I want to know how he plans to fix it with more cuts that are budgeted it come in. The Issues not personality,, matter more to me, it’s not pop idol.

        voteNHS G2019

  4. I’m more interested and concerned about the pressure being felt by our local hospital and its workers,and how they are being streached to breaking point after 9 years of a tory government and the further cuts that are already”baked in’ to happen and what that actually means, and how it effects us all as patients who might require their service at any time,and if our family live or travel elseware, any place.

    voteNHS GE2019

  5. I’m more interested and concerned about what that means to  Dr Lawrence N J H & Partners and their  patients at Hollymoor medical practice that will have an annual underfunding of £177,000 by 2023 because of Conservative cuts.

    And How the annual £193,000 underfunding to Dr Loane C & Partners will effect them and their patients.

    Or how much Dr Bhardwaj M K & Partners patients will suffer an annual underfunding of £123,000 by 2023 because of Conservative cuts.

    Or the £122,000 underfunding faced by Dr Khanna K A & Partners, the £88,800 to Dr Ali A & Partners and £57,400 underfunding to Dr Ross A M & Partners

    Of course the people who will get the brunt of our anger as patients resulting from those cuts will be the Dr’s and the receptionist’s who are being asked to see more patients for less money, with an aging demographic. But we all know who’s austerity cuts are responsible.

    -The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.-
    George Orwell

    voteNHS GE2019

  6. I’m more interested and concerned that School funding to our local schools means for our kids educationanf future.

    And that in 2020 at Forestdale Primary School will be £715 less per child, compared to 2015.

    Or that School funding in 2020 at The Meadows Primary School will be £357 less per child compared to 2015.

    Or that School funding in 2020 at Reaside Academy will be £840 less per child compared to 2015.

    And that School funding per child in 2020,at Colmers School and Sixth Form College will be £473 less per child, compared to 2015

    And that School funding  in 2020, at St Columba’s Catholic Primary School will be £390 less per child, compared to 2015

    School funding in 2020, at Colmers Farm Primary School will be £375 less per child, compared to 2015.

    School funding in 2020, at St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School will be £327 less per child, compared to 2015.

    School funding in 2020, at Merritts Brook Primary E-ACT Academy will be £702 less per child, compared to 2015.

    School funding in 2020, at  The Orchards Primary Academy will be £ 646 less per child, compared to 2015.

    I could go on but you can see the pattern for every school in our area. Our kids deserve better.

    It’s not Labour or Corbyn who’ve been in power for nearly 10 years. So i’m Voting to reverse the cuts.
    I’m voting to reselect Richard Burden, and I wish him luck.

  7. The only candidates who responded to a request and signed the pledge to stop the cuts to local school to were labour’s Richard Burden and lib dem Jamie Christian Scott.
    (unfortunetly they didn’t have a contact for the Green candidate.)

    The Conservative candidate
    Gary SamBrook, didn’t responnd to the pledge request, in fact nationally only 1% of Conservatives backed ending the school cuts.

    • Well, after all that, local people still don’t want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn!

      And a vote for Mr Burden is undoubtedly a vote for Corbyn.

  8. Thank you Graham for that reply. IMO it represents everything about your party, and it’s attitude to this election beautifully. No sign of policies, No sign of Johnson, No sign of any hope or plans for the future and absolutely no substance what so ever.

    Why would i expect you to care or reply about cuts to our local schools and doctors surgeries when the organgrinder wouldn’t.?

    But be assured Graham if I ever need the thoughts of a braindead parrot I’ll keep you in mind.

  9. Boris Johnson wants to destroy the Britain I love. I cannot vote Conservative

    by Peter Oborne
    Wed 11 Dec 2019

    I’ve been a loyal Conservative voter. Until very recently, I’d exclusively worked for Conservative-leaning publications: the Telegraph, Mail, London Evening Standard, Express and Spectator. Most of my friends and relations are Conservative. But I cannot vote Conservative tomorrow.

    Something horrible has happened. The Conservative party lies. It cheats. It bullies. It’s not the wise, gentle, decent party of the postwar era.

    I wonder whether Boris Johnson and his squalid associates are Conservatives at all. The Conservativism I understand is about public duty, generosity, the instinct to conserve what is good in our society; the importance of the rule of law and of institutions; suspicion of leaps in the dark. I am thinking of the Conservatism of Burke, Lord Salisbury, Oakeshott.

    Johnson has become the leader of a project – his adviser Dominic Cummings is an important part of this – to destroy Conservatism. This is why during his brief term as prime minister Boris Johnson has attacked parliament, mocked the rule of law, abused the monarchy, and shown a total disregard for the truth.

    He suppressed a report about Russian interference in British politics, then lied about the reasons. In the past few days, the prime minister has resorted to an ugly racism towards EU nationals in a last-ditch attempt to win votes. In a genuflection to Rupert Murdoch, he’s calling the BBC licence fee into question. Johnson’s Conservatives are a revolutionary sect and should be understood as such.

    That’s why many traditional Conservatives have left or been driven out of the party, including David Gauke, Rory Stewart, Amber Rudd, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Matthew Parris and many others. Former prime minister John Major’s public call not to vote for Johnson was particularly powerful.

    The media makes little of this. The denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn by Ian Austin, a Labour politician of negligible importance who had already left the party, got far more coverage than the cry of despair from a former Tory prime minister.

    In normal circumstances I would never vote for Labour, let alone Corbyn. I still wouldn’t if I believed the terrible charge that he is an antisemite. There is a problem of antisemitism in the Labour party. And Corbyn has handled the problem badly.

    I don’t deny the dreadful actions of some members of his party, but I’m not aware of evidence of Corbyn using derogatory language about Jewish people in the way that Boris Johnson routinely has against black people, gay people and Muslims.

    Imagine the collective denunciations of Corbyn had he been guilty of the racist and homophobic remarks attributable to Johnson: phrases such as “piccanninies”, “watermelon smiles” and “bumboys”. There’s a double standard here.

    Johnson has not shown the slightest appetite to deal with the virulent Islamophobia that poisons the Conservative party. The mainstream press in Britain has practically ignored this issue. That’s because most British newspapers are themselves Islamophobic. Johnson’s claim that his party has “zero tolerance” for Islamophobia is yet another of the cynical lies that have been the defining feature of his political campaign.

    The establishment has always hated radicals like Corbyn. And it’s determined to stop him. Hence the repeated attack that Corbyn can’t be trusted on security and foreign policy.

    It’s true that he opposed the three great foreign policy catastrophes of the 21st century: Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The damage done by Iraq to our national security was huge. Corbyn was right, while Johnson and the Tory party were enthusiasts for all three.

    What about Yemen? This election campaign has seen no discussion of Britain’s complicity in Saudi Arabia’s foul war. It’s a shaming omission because according to the United Nations, it has created the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the century.

    Johnson was the foreign secretary in the early stages of this conflict. He was uniquely well-placed, given that Britain was penholder at the United Nations and thanks to our alliance with Saudi Arabia, to avert the calamity. He didn’t lift a finger. Corbyn called for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    Historians will say that this election has only been about one thing: Brexit. Johnson’s election slogan – “get Brexit done” – is another of his lies. He’s a highly intelligent man and knows perfectly well that Brexit will not be solved if we leave the EU on 31 January. Trading relations with Europe will dominate politics for years to come.

    Corbyn is offering a wiser solution to the Brexit problem than Boris Johnson: a final-say referendum offering a choice between remaining on existing terms or continued membership of the customs union.

    By contrast, Johnson is offering a guarantee that we will leave in January, followed by a transition period lasting implausibly to the end of next year, after which we could find ourselves operating alone on World Trade Organization rules. He’s in open denial about the consequences for trade with Northern Ireland.

    There will be no way back from Johnson’s Brexit. Whatever the possible economic damage inflicted by Corbyn and his chancellor John McDonnell, it will last for a maximum of five years before they can be kicked out by the electorate.

    We have a strong Conservative candidate here in Brentford and Isleworth, a local woman named Seena Shah. I’ve seen her in action and in normal times I’d vote for her. Shah represents hope for the future. But she is much too good for Boris Johnson and the wrecking crew that surrounds him. I believe they want to destroy the Britain I’ve lived in and loved all my life.

    Peter Oborne is a journalist and author, and also runs a website about Boris Johnson’s falsehoods

    h ttps://


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