I’m tough enough to survive life in the pressure cooker but you get so much abuse in politics it’s no wonder most people don’t enter it. Especially women.
I wake up each day wondering how someone will choose to attack me. What lies someone might say. What way I will be smeared. How my words will be distorted and spun. And the closer you get to power, the worse it becomes.
I did a post on International Womens’ Day that was a red rag to a bull. As a women if you have an opinion or push yourself forward you are in a constant battle against internet trolls. We have seen it so often with women across every possible sphere.
You try to fight back and you’re accused of being aggressive. Stay silent and people think you’re not strong. Share your heart and they say you are too emotional. Make a joke and you’re accused of contempt. I know I’ve chosen the toughest fight in politics. I could have chosen a much safer path, one in which the cost was not so high. One where the pain was not so great. I could have kept my head down. But there was one problem. I want to change things for the better. So I will ignore the social media attacks and fight on.
The place where I grew up, Teesside, is hurting. The poverty, the lack of hope, the lack of options and opportunities are growing day by day. Too much violence, anger and pain.
We see loads of spin and headlines but nothing has changed. You only have to walk into your nearest town to see what’s really happening. Beneath the surface. Under the veneer. The big-ticket headlines won’t solve our problems. The spin won’t stop children starving.
A new airline or a decorative coin won’t change lives. They might look and sound good but the real change that’s needed isn’t really headline worthy. It’s not a sound-bite. A big scheme. It’s not a new building or a tax break. The real change will come from below The real assets are the things we already have: the people, the creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, business owners, wealth creators, risk takers, council workers and council leaders, all the mams in Port Clarence and the dads in South Bank, the trade unions and our amazing charities. Give them the resources to bring about change. Put the power and resources in their hands. Back their energy and ideas. Give people the money to start their own business, or learn a new trade. Give every young person a mentor and every school a counsellor If we go for big projects, let them be truly transformative like a green industrial park fit for the future, new railway stations and faster trains and smarter infrastructure, faster internet for all or a new tech city to put our fantastic digital and tech sector truly on the map.
I won't stop battling for that brighter tomorrow because of a few keyboard warriors.