Andy Burnham’s First Day on the Doorstep
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham shares some of his highlights from the 25 years he’s been campaigning for Labour, his inspiration for getting involved and one of the more memorable doors he’s knocked on.
My first campaign was the ‘92 General Election, and I remember the immense feeling of pride I felt in representing the Labour Party in public and working together with people equally committed to changing the country.
I’ve campaigned for the party every year since. A particular highlight came in the ‘97 campaign – knowing that by electing a Labour Government we would be changing millions of lives for the better.
“The miners’ strikes got me properly involved in politics”
My first political memory was watching Boys from the Black Stuff with my mum and dad and asking them questions about what the characters were going through – unemployment, desperation – and why it was happening.
As is the case for a lot of people at that time, the miners’ strikes got me properly involved in politics. I went to school close to Parkside Colliery, and images of the strikes on the news suddenly brought it very close to home. That drove me to get active and join the Labour Party.
To say getting involved was no problem would be an understatement. Some of my mum’s friends said they’d take me to the meeting and look after me – little did I know that by ‘look after’, they meant I’d be made Membership Secretary before I’d even sat down!
“On polling day, I knocked on one of the last doors of the day and who should open it but by my equally flabbergasted ex-girlfriend – in her dressing gown”
One particular campaigning session that sticks in my mind was when I was a nervous young candidate standing for Parliament in Leigh in 2001. At about 9 pm on polling day, I knocked on one of the last doors of the day and who should open it but by my equally flabbergasted ex-girlfriend – in her dressing gown – asking me what I was doing there! I’m afraid I was totally lost for words! Honestly, what are the odds?!
Running into ex-girlfriends aside, I highly recommend that everyone gets involved in campaigning, especially right now. Not only is there so much at stake for the party we love but there is so much we can achieve together when we put our minds to it.