Here is the interview I completed after the General Election with Labour’s newly elected MP for Burnley, Julie Cooper
- How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?
“I think it is important that everyone takes an interest in politics because politics affects everyone and everything. Politics is about determining priorities. Politics decides what jobs are available, what our schools offer, the type of house we live in, the leisure options we have, whether or not there is a train or a plane for us to catch and a million other things. It is especially important for young people to get involved because they are the future and their voice should be heard when it comes to selecting priorities.”
- What was it like to win back the Burnley seat from the Lib Dems?
“It was wonderful to win the seat in Burnley. For me personally it was a great moment because have wanted to be Burnley’s MP for a long time. I have been totally committed to winning this election for five years and I have worked tirelessly with unfailing passion. More importantly I believe that Labour is best for Burnley.”
- Why should young people support the Labour Party?
“I think young people should support the Labour Party because it is a broad minded, forward looking Party that understands that working together we can achieve so much more than we can individually. The Labour Party welcomes and values all: young or old, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, able bodied or disabled. A belief in fairness and equality of opportunity is at the heart of everything that Labour believes.”
- What do Labour need to do to win the next General Election?
“I think the fight to win the next election starts now. To win the next General election Labour needs to convey its message better. At the recent election we had good policies but collectively we did not present them effectively as part of a joined up plan. It is always a challenge for Labour because the media for the most part have a strong right wing bias. I often read reports of events that I have attended and by the time the journalist has finished I don’t recognise it because things are taken out of context and some things aren’t mentioned at all. We have to reach out and we have to listen to the concerns that people have. We have to engage widely ensuring that people understand that we are the only genuine ‘One Nation’ Party dedicated to representing the interests of all in a decent, fair fashion. We also have to work hard to build trust. We have to demonstrate that we are worth voting for because we do what we say we are going to do.”
- Do you have any funny stories from your time in politics?
“There have been lots of strange moments but not one single funny moment that stands out. During the last five years me and my team would probably have gone under if it had not been able to laugh at it all. We have trudged round in all weathers day after day knocking on doors speaking to thousands of people. We have had things thrown at us, gifts of gloves and cups of tea and even lost fingers (when an over protective dog became too attached to my colleague’s finger). Of course in the end all the work paid off and ensured that we all had plenty to smile about. Now it is my job to give the people of Burnley and Padiham things to smile about.”