There’s less than a week to go until polls close and we find out the direction of this country for the next 5 years. We might be in hung Parliament territory again, or enduring the terrifying prospect of 5 more years of Tory mayhem and false promises under Johnson, or perhaps on the long road to rebuilding the country under Labour.
For me, I’m pushing hard for the latter. My politics have always been about collectivism. I wasn’t badly off growing up and as an adult have always earned enough to pay at least the basic rate of income tax. I strongly believe in paying my fair share so that when I need to make use of any of our public services, I know they will be there for me and my family, as well as for those who have had a tougher journey.
I have had three children under the NHS, and then as a family we’ve used the GP and A&E as most young families need to. My children go to state schools which could do with more money but whose comprehensive ethos really matters to us. My husband was injured as a soldier and he has a pension, and we both enjoyed subsidised dental care and accommodation whilst serving. We’ve paid in when we have been able to, and we’ve made use of shared public assets when we’ve needed to. Those assets are being eroded and millions of people are now in poverty. I cannot live with that.
People have asked me how my politics fits with my military service and, for me, these two things are linked. Above all I am a public servant.
In the military I always put the team before the individual. We never left anyone behind and my sense of duty to the common purpose and common good was unwavering. I see these values running like a thread through my military service and my politics.
I am preceded by fine examples of veterans on the Labour benches: Clement Attlee, Dan Jarvis and Clive Lewis, as well as others in the Lords.
If I am elected next week I will be the first female Army veteran MP. I hope to have that honour and to fulfil my commitment to making this country, and our town, fairer for us all.