Written by Fay Hough (HYL Women’s Officer, Dagenham & Rainham Youth Officer, Founder Awareness For Autism Page, Office of Jon Cruddas MP)
for International Women’s Day, 8th March
I’m relatively new to the political world, I have actively been involved for three years now, but my mother comes from a trade union background and she has always inspired me. I became involved in politics when I started campaigning locally for more autism awareness, as my son Bowie was diagnosed with ASD at the age of three. I was tired of the constant scrutiny I was receiving out and about as the public didn’t understand that my son wasn’t a naughty child, he is autistic. Through my local campaigning this has bought me on to work for my local MP Jon Cruddas. I am Havering Coordinator, so I coordinate the three wards incorporated under Jon’s constituency which are Elm Park, South Hornchurch and Rainham.
I moved to Havering in 2009 from Dagenham, and what a culture shock it was to me. I had moved from a working-class area to a middle-class area and although our neighbours were lovely, we were the ‘poorest’ family on the street. I moved into my own home in 2012 with my son, we took residence in Rainham, and I fell in love with my area. As time went on I started to realise that it was hard for working-class citizens in Havering to have their voices heard. I was one of them citizens, I fought for change locally in regards to disability cuts and disability rights. I found that a lot of people supported me on my views and regularly approached me asking me to represent them. It was now, amongst other reasons, that I decided to fill out an application form to run for Local Council.
Havering is a beautiful borough with friendly, driven people who all have their own input. But I want to represent the working class, I want to express what life is like living to the last penny whilst working long hours to provide for your family. I want every resident in Havering to feel represented no matter where you come from, what your income is, or what your circumstances are.
The government are continuously ignoring the views of the working-class nationwide. The NHS is now a humanitarian crisis, immigration is a taboo subject, wages are still below minimum wage, women are still being paid less than men. If we can make a difference on a local level, then hopefully this can lead to change nationwide.
This is why I am a working class woman in politics.