Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hazel Blear's background

In an earlier post someone asked me about Hazel's background, what was she doing before 1997 when she became an MP.

I have now received the following response;

"My Journey from Salford to the Cabinet table

I grew up in the 1960s in Salford in a traditional working class street, with children playing outside terraced houses, and neighbours who looked out for each other. My Dad was a fitter in a factory. He was a union man, who always paid his dues to the AEU. As a teenager, my Mum had won a scholarship to a London arts college, but couldn't afford to go. She worked as a secretary for the EETPU.

When we were little, they filmed the classic black and white movie "A Taste of Honey" on location in Salford. The director Tony Richardson saw me and my brother playing in our street. He knocked on our door and asked my Mum if he could film us. My Mum, being a proud working class woman, scooped us up, put us in our Sunday best, and we appear in the film as the best dressed street urchins in Britain!

Today, I live in Salford with my husband Michael, my parents live a few miles away in Swinton, and my brother drives a Manchester bus.

I grew up with a strong sense of social justice, life just didn' t seem fair to me. At 14, I saw a homeless person eating dinner from a rubbish bin, and I was angry that someone had to live like that. As a teenager I wanted to change the world, starting with Salford and the people on our street who worked hard but never seemed to get the breaks.

I joined my trade union before I joined the Labour Party, and went on to be a branch officer for NALGO. When I did join the Labour Party in 1979 it was still a traditional party with men in caps. My first meeting was in a the back room of a pub where the pigeon fanciers held their meetings. We were discussing the evils of Thatcherism, while pigeon feathers floated around us. I left my first meeting as GMC delegate and was branch secretary within three months!

I studied hard and qualified as a solicitor. I worked in local authorities in the North West, and ended up as Manchester City Council's Education Solicitor. In 1984 I was elected as a Councillor on Salford council because I wanted to make a difference. But in the 1980s, all we could do was try to stave off the worst impacts of a Tory government which left places like Salford to rot. Until 1997 councils like mine simply managed programmes of cuts to services, as the Tories squeezed our budgets every year.

It took me 12 years to get into Parliament. I contested Tatton in 1987 against Neil Hamilton, and in 1992 I narrowly lost in Bury South. I had been a candidate for three years, and as well as the heartwrenching disappointment of seeing Labour defeated nationally, I had to face up to my own defeat by 800 votes after three recounts. I was devastated. I remember my Mum saying “ the way you make steel so tough is by tempering it". It was certainly a toughening experience.

I was elected in1997 for Salford. With the party in government, we could really start to make a difference. In ten years Salford has been transformed: more jobs, better schools, more houses, the NHS off its knees, more police and communities coming back together.

As a Health minister and Home Office minister, I am proud to have been at the heart of a radical Labour government, with our most successful prime minister at the helm.

I am the first person in my family to go on to higher education, never mind to the cabinet table. I've done it the hard way. And I know that without the Labour party, I would be nowhere. My socialism is a product, not of academic seminars, but of my experience: from the streets and estates of the inner-city. I work in London but I live in Salford, and I always will."

I found that very interesting, it certainly explains to me why Hazel should be Labour's next Deputy Leader.


Warning - Irritant said...

Oh this is priceless poetry, I just 'googled' Marbrow man and guess what popped up:

"We were invited upstairs and then the candidate, Richard Marbrow, came in. He looked like Charles Kennedy, without the ginger hair. Very smiley, happy. "We don't do canvassing, it irritates people. Phoning people irritates them too. We just put our leaflets through letter-boxes.""

It couldn't possibly be that it's really just him that irritates people?!



Louise Baldock said...

Great isn't it

Dear old LibDems, let us not disabuse them. Just keeping pushing the leaflets through lads, leave the canvassing and the voter engagement to us, we love all that sort of stuff. Keep on keeping on, you are doing great as you are


Disappointed said...

Hazel Blears sounds too good to be true... oh hang on a minute she is!! Despite her innocent humble upbringing in terraced house, dad a miner/brother a bus driver she too is in favour of her Labour Government's Pathfinder ethnic cleansing land grab big business mates too:


Anonymous said...

I remember taking Andrey Kurkov around some areas of Liverpool when he came. He couldn't believe that we actually went out no the doorstep and spoke to people. He said that in his country if candidates did that they would be returned with 100% of the vote.

Anonymous said...

You dreadful cretin.