Monday, August 30, 2010
About 8 years ago when I was working for the AEEU we had a big issue in Leigh.
A local engineering firm had been shipping its work and equipment to Eastern Europe, stringing the work-force and the union along with promises of building a new factory locally. Then, one morning the work-force turned up to find the gates locked and the factory in administration.
Over 200 men and women made redundant with no notice and the owner making himself very scarce!
The Union moved quickly into action. My job was to approach the newly elected MP, Andy Burnham, for assistance. Andy gave us every assistance we could ask for and more. In a situation like this there is a lot of paperwork as members have to apply to the Government for their redundancy pay and notice pay. Andy provided us with accommodation to help the members with the paperwork, liaised with the Job-centre and asked questions of Government ministers on our behalf.
He helped us organise meetings for those affected at Leigh Labour club. As you can imagine, 200 engineers who have just lost their jobs isn't an easy audience but Andy convinced them he was on their side from Day One.
I would like to say that all Labour MP's are that helpful when it comes to issues like this. I'd like to but it wouldn't be true!
Andy's great strength is that he listens, understands and then acts on that understanding. He isn't like so many in politics who think they know the answer before they have heard the question.
He comes from a good Labour background, he is hard working, intelligent, thoughtful, genuine and very likeable - all good qualities for a Labour leader and Prime Minister.
That is why I will be voting for Andy as my No.1 choice.
I will be giving my No.2 to Ed Balls. Personally I have always got on very well with Ed and I think he has fought a very strong campaign.
After that it is a very difficult choice between Ed and David Miliband. Both are obviously very capable and well up to the job. Both have different strengths so it comes down to deciding which strengths would be most appropriate for the situation we will find ourselves in after the selection contest.
As yet I haven't made my mind up and am looking forward to hearing them at the Hustings in Liverpool tomorrow. It feels odd being a swing voter!
So far the campaign has been good for the party, lets hope the next few weeks stay that way.