Matthew Blakemore: Why I’m standing to represent local parties on Labour’s NEC

Keir Starmer is an inspiration to me. I believe that he has what it takes to unite the party and lead Labour back to power. I share Keir’s determination to tackle inequality, injustice and the climate crisis. On the national executive committee (NEC), I will fully support his leadership while also being a valuable contributor to Labour policy.

I want to work with you, the Labour membership, to write a new chapter in our history. We must build a fairer society where an individual’s value is not dictated by who their parents are, their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or the school they went to. I want everyone to have the same opportunity to dream big, to follow their aspirations and to succeed.

The incredible public support for Marcus Rashford’s child food poverty campaign has given me so much hope. The kindness and compassion shown by many members of the British public fills me with pride. We need a government that reflects the best of Britain. For too long, the Conservative Party has ridden roughshod over the core British values of caring for one another, being understanding, lifting people up and treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves. On the NEC, I will champion these values that I believe are at the very heart of the British identity.

I back British business. I have previously run my own technology company and, as a committee member of one of the country’s leading chambers of commerce, continue to support young professionals starting their careers in the UK. I was elated at Keir Starmer’s speech at the Confederation of British Industry annual conference. His pro-business stance is a breath of fresh air for the labour movement and gives us a real fighting chance at the next election. We need to build on it with solid policies, endorsed by British industry, that will encourage innovation and job creation. The Tories’ lack of decisive leadership on Covid-19 has hit businesses hard and their rudderless pursuit of a Brexit deal has left many companies undermined. This gives Labour a unique opportunity to establish itself as the answer that industry has been crying out for. On the NEC, I will work to ensure that entrepreneurs and small businesses are supported.

During this campaign, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of Labour members from across the country. Many people are worried about their jobs and livelihoods, their families and what the future holds. Covid-19, Brexit, climate change and increasing automation are a scary combination. In these uncertain times, it is vital that Labour advances policies that both protect citizens and give them the support they need to work through these challenges. On the NEC, I will advocate increasing workforce mobility through a lifelong learning program. The world is changing at a fast pace – we must not let individuals or communities be left behind. By providing everyone with a government-funded skills account that is purely for training purposes, we can help renew the country one life at a time.

As an ethical technologist, I’m a member of the British Standards Institute’s artificial intelligence committee, where I volunteer my time to develop AI standards that protect our society. On the NEC, I will endorse Labour working closely with the tech sector to encourage innovation while also establishing a framework to protect data and jobs.

We must take strong action to tackle the climate emergency. On the NEC, I will back increased funding for renewable energy projects and the introduction of clear labelling on food items that will display their carbon footprint and environmental impact. I will support investing heavily in micro-algae solutions to capture carbon from the air. As someone who has worked within UK transport infrastructure, it is clear we should endorse ‘mobility as a service’ (MaaS) to drive down personal car use and reduce the carbon footprint of the nation.

As a member of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and Labour for a European Future, I will be a strong voice for both electoral reform and the closest possible relationship with the EU. One day, I hope to see the Labour Party re-establishing our place at the centre of the European project.

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