By Mick Gilgunn
I’m proud to have been selected to stand as a Labour candidate for Islington Council in my home ward of Tollington. I have worked in the maintenance and building industry most of my life and have lived in Islington for 21 years. I am an active Party member and trade unionist and am Chair of Islington TUC.
I was raised in Pimlico from an Irish family, and joined the Labour Party in my early twenties. My first involvement was in a housing campaign against Westminster’s Tory council, whose housing policy of selling off council homes back in the late 1980s became a national scandal. I’ve been active ever since.
Islington Labour Council has a strong record of building council homes and bringing services back in house. It pioneered free school meals for all primary school pupils. I want to continue that track record.
On housing, multi-occupancy housing and private landlords need to be regulated more rigorously to ensure fair rents and tenants’ rights. I would encourage the Council to work alongside private renters’ unions in London to help advance their key demands.
Labour’s manifesto pledge for a Green New Deal can be extended in boroughs like Islington, both in our housing development and in our work for a cleaner environment. I will be working for green policies with other Labour councillors and community groups.
On health, the recent involvement of American health insurance company Centene in taking over local surgeries during the pandemic is both cold and calculated. A surgery in my ward – Hanley Road – is affected. It is clear that we must fight to stop private companies cherry-picking our NHS.
Coming out of the pandemic, the Tory Government will inevitably target local authorities with further austerity to pay for the enormous cost and downturn in the economy. This is an enormous challenge for a Labour Council like Islington, which has achieved so much in providing services. We must stand with Islington residents and trade unions to oppose any deep cuts forced upon us.
I hope to bring into the Council the experiences of all the campaigns that go on outside the Town Hall, whether they are trade union issues, housing or the environment. One issue of great concern is the extension of the Edmonton waste incinerator in north London.
My campaign work with others in the London Hazards Centre, who campaign both for workplace health and safety and the environment, is of importance to all London Labour Councillors. That’s the kind of work that I want to promote at Council level.
I’m proud to call myself a Corbynite and I feel many Labour local authorities can take as a template much of what was in in the two election manifestos put together under his leadership.
Mick Gilgunn is a candidate for Tollington ward in the London borough of Islington. The by-election is on July 1st. To help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Mick lays a wreath for the Construction safety campaign on International Workers Memorial Day
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