For balance, here's the full address Tristram Hunt has circulated to members of Stoke Central CLP.
A strong voice for Stoke
‘Stoke needs a candidate committed to party unity, jobs, and taking on the BNP – I have the energy and experience to do that.’
My name is Tristram Hunt and I am one of the candidates for the upcoming parliamentary selection in Stoke Central. I have known and worked with Mark Fisher MP for many years on numerous issues including heritage policy and regeneration. It was a shock when he announced two weeks ago he was standing down. In the days following, I spoke with Mark and he suggested I should try to seek the nomination in Stoke Central.
I know that the decision you have to make about our candidate is important and one you do not take lightly. But I believe I have something to offer Stoke-On-Trent as Labour strives to regain council seats, fight the growing threat of the BNP, improve education and regenerate the six towns. I come from a Labour family. I am passionate about the party. I am a member of Unite; the Co-operative Party and The Working Class Movement Library.
I am presently a university lecturer in history – I have written three books, produced and presented a number of TV programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, and appeared on ‘Question Time’ and ‘Any Questions’. As a historian, I understand the incredible heritage of the Potteries and North Staffordshire. I am on the Board of the Heritage Lottery Fund and worked tirelessly to ensure they funded the outstanding Wedgwood Museum and provided the recent £1.2 million grant to ensure the Staffordshire Hoard returns home to Staffordshire and the Potteries Museum. I will work closely with the Potteries Museum and Destination Staffordshire to ensure they receive further funding to revamp the museum and create a permanent home – which will attract thousands of visitors into Hanley.
But history needs to be an asset, not a dead weight. We need to draw on this heritage of innovation, craftsmanship, business acumen, and entrepreneurialism to attract high-skilled well paid jobs into Stoke. How do we do this? It will require improved education, skills training and apprenticeships – my number one priority as candidate.
I have worked with various ministers in the Labour Party on science and education policy and regional industrial strategy. As a Trustee of the Centre for Cities I understand how vital it is for cities to draw on their talents and skills to increase jobs and living standards. I know that schools should be centres of civic pride and excellence at the heart of our local communities. At the same time I firmly believe that Stoke needs a strong presence in Westminster to ensure that highly skilled jobs locate here and that the urban regeneration that is always promised is finally delivered.
I have met with numerous party members, Councillors and officers who have told me that more than enough energy has been spent on local and regional divisions; it’s time to remember that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. We all know that it would be a disaster for this city if a BNP candidate was elected. What high tech firms would want to locate here? What new teachers, doctors or police officers would want to work here with a BNP Member of Parliament? We need a tough candidate who can unite the party and counter this serious threat.
I know it will require hard work: street-by-street campaigning and door-knocking to return a Labour MP this May and win Labour seats in the crucial 2011 elections. The campaigning must continue throughout the year to ensure we are fully prepared to win back the council in 2011. It will also require growing the party – getting more young people involved and reaching out to parts of the local community put off by traditional politics. I am ready and committed to that fight.
If selected as Labour candidate I would:
• Fight to keep schools located in our communities
• Use all my business, political and media skills to bring investment, regeneration, tourism and jobs to Stoke;
• Work tirelessly to improve the profile of Stoke-on-Trent nationally;
• Tackle the BNP head on and remove their vicious stain from our streets;
• Build a vibrant and inclusive local party;
• Liaise with local groups, the police and Council to fight anti-social behaviour;
• Make a family home in the constituency;
• Publish transparent and open expenses.
Please take a moment to read my Labour CV and send me your thoughts on what our priorities should be – the new policies, plans for the party, and how to win again.