Tower Hamlets Watch

Cllr Rachel Saunders – My Hustings Speech | April 11, 2013

My hustings speech
Posted on March 30, 2013 by Rachael Saunders

I know a number of local members had hoped to make the hustings but didn’t make it. I thought it might be worth blogging my speech notes from the last hustings session. Do get in touch if there are any questions at all you’d like to ask.


Good evening

As-salam alaykum

I’m Rachael Saunders

Won a by election in Mile End East in 2008, re elected in 2010.

Been chief whip, led for the Labour Group on health, social care and equalities, in cabinet and in opposition.

So why am I standing for this selection?

I am not standing in opposition to any other candidate, but because I feel so strongly about what we need to do to win the election, run the council, lead the borough, and move Tower Hamlets forward.

We need rebuild trust.

I believe that the way we create the change we need in Tower Hamlets is to start from the bottom up. When we’ve lost elections in Tower Hamlets, it has been because we think that just rolling out the dusty old Labour Party machine is enough to win.

It isn’t.

We ran a conventional campaign in the 2012 GLA elections, and although we got a good result locally, turnout was only 34%. We won’t win back the council if we can only inspire 34% of people to come out of their houses to vote.

We have a national disaffection with politics, made worse in Tower Hamlets by the mess we made of tackling the destructive factions within our own ranks.

Last time, in the mayoral election in 2010, people stayed at home, annoyed with a mayoral system they didn’t like and alienated by a party that had turned in on itself.

I’m the candidate that can change that.

I have a clear vision for how we create a shared future for Tower Hamlets.

We will make change in Tower Hamlets if we back the people who know best how to build our communities – the people that live here.

The Tories Big Society is meaningless and empty because they want philanthropy, not a shift in power. They want people to run services, but only because they want to cut budgets.

My politics is different, because it is based on a belief in the value of every individual and the different contributions they can make.

Our strength in Tower Hamlets is the diversity of the skills, knowledge, experiences, ideas that our people bring, through the many different routes that brought us here to the east end.

The greatest human tragedy is when those talents are wasted, through the wreckage of human potential of poverty, ill health, poor education, overcrowding, unemployment.

Our future is built together, and politics is the place where we combine our collective power to advance our shared interests.

For that to work, we have to hold those with money and power to account.

money flows through Tower Hamlets – Crossrail, Canary Wharf, the Olympics on our doorstep – but local people see little benefit.

That must change.

Jobs for local people, the strong public services I’ve fought for in my campaigning on the NHS, creation of social and affordable housing – these are my building blocks of a shared future.

The power of the mayoral model must be shared too.

Opposed mayoral model, want to work with you on a new constitutional settlement, a new way of doing politics. Agree as soon as selected so you can hold me to account once elected.

I would be transparent, open and inclusive in decision making, because it is right, and because the way you do politics determines the nature of the change you are able to make.

I am the Mayor that would bring the borough together, women and men, across ethnic communities, across streets and estates. I know how to bring the public, private and voluntary sector together to get things done.

The people who are backing me know that I am the change we need to win.

Trade unions – not blokes on regional committees, but workers in the town hall who voted to support me because they know I have their interests at heart.

My councillor colleagues, including the deputy leader of the Labour Group. An ice skating baroness! Three people who have led this council who have run this council before, and know I could do it too.

Friends, support me, join with me, to move Tower Hamlets forward.

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