So it really was a long week waiting for the results of the WE London Assembly selection process. I spent a lot of time checking social media. In that week, more productively, I also pitched two projects in my day job as a theatre maker, in Doncaster and Leeds, saw some blindingly good theatre as part of the London International Mime Festival at the Barbican, and at home I descaled my taps.
As part of the What Next? Movement I attended meetings about the EU (in?out? and my preferred option – in and shake it all about), the Refugee Crisis and how/whether the cultural sector can/should become even more active in our response both in terms of raising awareness, funds and at the sharp end in the camps themselves.
I joined a steering group looking at Climate Change and what COP21 could mean, convened by Julie’s Bicycle and made contact with the Centre for Alternative Technology about linking up with them. Yesterday I was part of a group who heard from a true visionary – Steve Wallis – who founded the New Economics Foundation. If you don’t know about them, do look at what they have to say.
Inspired by the excellent work of the Cultural Learning Alliance Manifesto, I wrote to my MP, Vicky Foxcroft, as part of the national consultation on the proposed EBacc. Although the formal consultation has finished, there is still time to write and make your own views known – or to be part of a longer conversation about the value and purpose of education.
I met with Southwark Council to determine how we might keep the building I’ve been custodian of for the last 15 months, open. We’ve brought life and inspiration back into an abandoned library as an arts and culture development space supporting artists, practitioners and producers from across the creative industries to create, produce and promote their work locally, nationally and internationally.
The week of waiting culminated in attending a Women’s Equality event at The Albany in Deptford where Nimko Ali spoke frankly and uncompromisingly about Female Genital Mutilation (or as she more accurately calls it – child abuse).
And at the end of that week, I got a call from Catherine Mayer the co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party to tell me I had just made it onto the List. And breathe – for a moment -…. I am delighted, a bit daunted and aware that the next few months are going to consist of a series of firsts and unknowns.
So what’s next? It’s going to be an exciting and quite a demanding time and we will need all the support we can muster to make a difference in London, Wales and Scotland. Everyone has been mutually supportive and magnanimous since the results were announced yesterday evening. For me, it’s this spirit of generosity that is going to be crucial in setting the tone for WE recruitment and our ongoing campaign. WE don’t have millions in cash or membership (yet) but we do have an amazing resource of talents, skills and experience.
Want to help but don’t know how? If, like me, you’ve never been involved in formal politics before, or you are trying to persuade someone else to join us, you and they have two very important assets to offer: your experience of where you live, and either your experience of being a woman or knowing someone who has been one. Please send me your stories so that I can use these in my campaigning work (they will be anonymised). Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m aiming to let people know how things are going for me personally through this blog.
Can #WE win? #WE has a good chance of getting some of our candidates elected, due to the voting system available in these elections and strength of response the party has already generated. Whether that’s me personally or Sophie Walker for Mayor, take this as my commitment to be working to help end inequality in London by getting our candidates elected. And yes I’d love to be there – so come on, let’s do this.
The full list of WE’s London Assembly candidates is here: and it’s impressive and diverse. I am very proud to be on it. Looking at this list, why wouldn’t you want these people representing you?
I’ll be looking at this campaign from the bottom up – a first-timer in politics, a newbie to the Women’s Equality Party. My glass is more than half full. I came into this to help make a difference in the UK’s political landscape and to shift our society towards becoming balanced, truly democratic, socially-just and – hey, why not? – happy.
Last night with THREE candidates on the London Evening Standard’s Mayoral Hustings panel who are women, the distinctive message came from our Mayoral candidate, Sophie Walker, reflecting life as it’s lived by London’s women. #WE have already started to make that difference.