Oldham East & Saddleworth Hustings speech
Good Afternoon, I'm Kiron Reid and I am going to tell you why I believe I am the best person to be your next MP.
All the candidates will be making their case. You're going to hear a lot I expect about local roots.
Getting ready for this speech, some people advised me to stress my strong Yorkshire and Lancashire family and work connections, and stress the similarities between my rural West Lancashire roots and here.
But I'm not going to do that.
Your important responsibility today is not about choosing someone because they have local roots, or happen to live here now – It's about choosing the best candidate to be the next Liberal Democrat MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.
The most credible candidate – to the voters throughout the area
The best advocate. A strong Campaigner. The person you, want to see representing you.
Of course I've helped in the constituency before and Frances and I have enjoyed discovering or rediscovering new parts of the town and countryside, as we've called on members over the past few weeks. I'm sorry there wasn't time to meet everyone, but I look forward to answering any questions later, and hopefully working with you after today.
I first came over to help during the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election. By astounding coincidence pulling a criminal law book off my shelf a few weeks ago I pulled out a book mark that was my train ticket from Liverpool to Shaw to come over to help. – Here it is
What a great feeling it was then to have a Liberal Democrat MP Chris Davies elected. Many of us here helped achieve that. My aim is to help you do that again.
You have nearly done it before. You have worked so hard. All our progress is very much down to you. But let's accept facts. You have been let down by recent candidates and I bet you're looking at me thinking.. is he going to do the same?
Friends asked me to stand last time, but then I was a councillor in Liverpool and I did not think it was right when I could not give it 100%
In May I resigned my Council seat to look at a bigger challenge.
(and I helped make sure it was successfully held )
Let me make it clear now.
If selected I will move here.(and I mean really move here)
Unlike every other candidate I have no other political roles or conflicting commitments
I have a career which gives me flexibility.
I will lead your campaign and be your next MP.
I will not let you down.
Oldham East and Saddleworth needs a Liberal Democrat MP
Your Labour MP has let you down,.
This Government has made major blunders that have caused problems for people nationally and locally. So just as Gordon Brown has to take responsibility for mistakes made when he was Tony Blair's most senior Cabinet Minister so Phil Woolas has to take responsibility for the mistakes he is responsible for as a leading New Labour follower who has unquestioningly supported Tony Blair's Government at every turn.
We must not flinch from making that clear.
Tuition fees costing middle income families more;
trying to exempt MPs from freedom of information,
revocation of rights of peaceful protest or supporting unfair taxation
Phil Woolas has supported all of that. He should hang his head in shame.
If I were the MP here I would be ashamed that I had so little to show for being in Parliament for 10 years.
You deserve a Liberal Democrat MP again. I've been delighted by how many people have mentioned Richard Wainwright who was so supportive of me as Chair of the Youth & Student wing of the party when I was a young University lecturer in Leeds.
My friend Paul Salter worked for Chris Davies so I helped at the 1997 and 2001 General Elections because I'd made friends here. I know that on those occasions the results did not reward your hard work.
I will use my professional background and credibility to help get in to talk to people in all areas – I can win disaffected Labour and Tory votes and those who have flirted with the BNP because they are disillusioned. Together we can convince people that I will make a better MP who will stand up for them regardless of party politics.
There is no substitute for getting out on the doorstep talking to people and getting out in the wards in every part of the borough helping put out the leaflets and letters and surveys and I will do that.
I've spent 20 years as a Liberal Democrat campaigner and activist and I want to be A Liberal Democrat MPs because I want to play a part in making a difference.
I'm angry that the Government squanders billions on ID cards that will not stop a single crime while what is needed is more police on the streets.
I'm angry about the British Government foreign policy standing more often with the oppressor rather than the oppressed.
I'm angry that Tony Blair, Brown and the lot of them have increased the risk of terrorism with appalling consequences – and we Liberal Democrats warned them.
I'm angry about the rush to nuclear power, about replacing Trident nuclear missiles (controlled not by us but by the US Government) while our troops lack basic equipment, and not telling the hard truth on the environment or standing up to Murdoch on Europe.
Labour policies are having an adverse effect here locally as well. Why is it that under Oldham Council whenever libraries or day care centres or swimming pools are threatened with closure that it always appears to be in Liberal Democrat held areas? Why do they fail to cooperate with our parishes? I intend to challenge this to make their petty minded politics clear to voters across our area.
People feel that Oldham Council has let them down and they are right. We need, as you know, a two pronged attack on the Council and the MP and I will work to integrate both campaigns. People need to be in no doubt that their MP has let them down by failing to stand up for this area
But anger even allied with hard work is not enough to win
To win you have to have a candidate who is a credible future MP and a Campaigner. I believe I give you both
I have a job which is flexible which gives me time to spend on my political work. That enabled me to play my part in restoring Liverpool to being a premier European city. I promised our Leader Mike Storey that I would win a seat to help do that and I stayed 9 years doing it.
As you know I trained as a barrister but work as a Lecturer in Law. I am an expert on criminal law, civil liberties and policing. I know where Government policy on crime and policing and terrorism has gone wrong and I speak on these issues in my professional life. I harried the Labour run Police Authority in Merseyside as a member of the Police Authority for four years and got more police in my area.
Politically I have a high profile with the regional and national media. I've even spoken for the party at the Oxford Union against leading Tories in a debate we won (it was Howard Sykes who recommended to the party that I speak there
I've debated and won the argument against government ministers and often been asked by the party to represent them in the media.
I will listen as well as lead
I can do the political work but if you've got people (and you have) better at printing leaflets, or working the database, or organising fundraising, or designing leaflets than me then I will let them do it and I'll help them. I can do those things but you have people who can do it better and my job is to concentrate on being the candidate.
I have always brought in family, friends, party contacts and new and well known members to help and will do so if selected here
I will help build the team and I will lead your winning campaign
My track record is delivering on what I say I will do. I've talked to members across the constituency, in the towns and villages, each branch, and I know that you are raring to go. I will be taking the message back to the regional and national party that this constituency is in a much better shape to fight the election than many outside might think – finance, thanks to the stalwart fundraisers who I'm very impressed by, good quality and well printed literature – though more is always needed of course – and high morale.
Let me recap
This is my only political commitment – no distractions 100% effort
(No other candidate today can truthfully tell you that)
If you select me I will come and live here
I won't let you down more than that I'll make you proud
I am ready to start as soon as you say go and if you vote for me first today that is what I will do.
People in this area deserve better.
You deserve better.
We deserve a Lib Dem MP in Oldham and Saddleworth.
That's what I intend to help you deliver, if you give me the honour of picking me as your candidate.
Friends…. Together we can win.