In a new series on the blog, we profile a few of Broxbourne Labour's members. Here, Kathy tells us why she joined the Labour Party
Tell us about yourself and what led you to join the Labour Party?
I come from South Africa but have lived in the UK longer than I lived there. I emigrated at a time when Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned on Robben Island and there didn’t seem to be any prospect that he would ever be released by the apartheid government.
I was lucky enough to live in Helen Suzman’s constituency – she was the only anti-apartheid Progressive Party MP in SA for decades. I used to campaign for her. One day when we were out canvassing, a householder pulled out a gun and pointed it the canvassers. I don’t think he was going to vote for Helen Suzman! Eventually things changed and apartheid was eradicated and democracy arrived in the country.
I am a doctor and I emigrated to the UK to get away from apartheid. I worked for the NHS until retiring last year. I married an Englishman who is a local GP. Soon after I arrived, Margaret Thatcher was elected, and suddenly our beloved NHS was under threat. That was when I realised I was a Labour supporter.
What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day?
I would stop the NHS reforms in their tracks and undo as much of the harm as I could. Then I would tell the Americans what they can do with their TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) proposals, which are presently being discussed behind closed doors. This iniquitous agreement is going to give American Big Business free rein to buy up our NHS in a way that can never be reversed, and to threaten environmental and public health standards in the UK and the whole of EU, when the treaty is signed in 2015.
Why do you think it is important that Broxbourne has a strong Labour presence?
We need to show local people that there is a substantial Labour contingent in our area. It would be so wonderful if our fantastic Labour parliamentary candidate, Ed Robinson, were to do well next year. Every Labour supporter in our area needs to get out and help him get as many votes as possible.
On a local level, I am so happy that our Labour councillor Malcolm Aitken was responsible for the recycling centre at Pindar Road finally being supported by the council and remaining open.