I’m a 31 year old Labour Councillor in Brent, NW London. Previously I’ve worked at a PR firm, for the Labour left magazine Tribune, and for a national mental health charity as a grants officer and in public affairs.
I’m presently a member of the Council Cabinet, where I serve as lead member for Stronger Communities. This means leading Brent’s work on crime and community safety, libraries, arts & culture, regulatory services and enforcement, immigration and nationality, community cohesion and faith.
I represent Willesden Green ward, and I’m passionate about working with my residents to make it a just and sustainable place to live. I am also a committed supporter of trade unionism and a member of the GMB.
My Dad has worked most of his life on railways so I’ve lived in a lot of different places. Though born in London I spent my childhood in Newcastle upon Tyne, and part of my adolescence in Woking. I studied and worked in Manchester, before moving to London as an actual adult. Overall, I think the North East has done the most to shape me, but the least to shape my accent.
I co-chair the grassroots activist group Open Labour alongside Cllr Bev Craig. I like to work with people who have a range of outlooks as part of a wider democracy both in Labour and my Council role, and I generally try quite hard to keep an open and constructive spirit, as long as that’s what I get back.
I am of the broad left within Labour, but a strong critic of certain left tendencies – centralism, retro thinking, toleration of cranks, and romanticism. I joined the party shortly after the beginning of the Iraq war, partly as an act of protest. I remain inspired by Robin Cook’s approach to the conflict, but also his political tradition of what I will patronisingly call ‘the sensible left’.
I am mainly interested in how power and popular outlooks in wider culture (‘common sense’) interact with each other, how political formations organise themselves and dominate, and how they then shift the centre ground towards their interests. What keeps me going with all this is real people and the difference politics can make.
I’m big into punk music, reggae, and a bit of indie, and for my sins I support Sunderland AFC. Keep the faith.