I was born into a mining family in the north east and was proud to join the Labour Party at the age of 15. I was an active party member all throughout the 1980s and even became a local councillor when I ended up living in the midlands.
After the election of Tony Blair, I watched in disbelief as Labour adopted policies that were increasingly designed to enrich the elite, such as opening the door to the privatisation of the NHS by the creation of Foundation Trusts.
My disenchantment became total with the war in Iraq, and I resigned my membership. I continued to vote Labour throughout the next decade, but with a heavy heart – this was not the party I had joined all those years ago: it had been captured by those who didn’t really have the interests of working people at heart.
When I learned that Jeremy Corbyn was close to being nominated as a candidate for the leadership election, my heart leapt. I joined as a £3 member, pledging to work for his election and to re-join the party if he was.
I support Jeremy because he is working to re-connect the Labour Party with ordinary people and those who are disempowered. I also had the pleasure of meeting him two or three times during the 1990s, and I can tell you that he is one of the most authentic, gentlest of people you could ever meet.
Labour is coming back.