Stephen Doughty, the Labour and Cooperative candidate for the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election, was born and brought up in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Authentically local, and having also worked with former Cardiff South and Penarth AM Lorraine Barrett, it’s no wonder that Stephen is so well rooted in the community. Not to mention his 25 years of support for Cardiff City FC – where Stephen had one of his first jobs as a 15-year-old looking after the match-day mascots.
Roll on 25 years, and Stephen is the current head of Oxfam Cymru, and has worked for over six years in a range of campaigning roles in international charities including World Vision and Oxfam, as well as work with the Robin Hood Tax campaign and Make Poverty History. Stephen’s bid to become the next Labour and Cooperative MP for Cardiff South and Penarth seems to be building on his natural flair for active campaigning, and bringing others with him.
This has been aided by the success at the recent local elections – where Labour-led authorities were returned in both Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Cardiff council’s recent announcement that they would become the first local authority in Wales to introduce the living wage – benefitting over 2,000 low-paid council workers – has added real energy to members and supporters alike. It shows that Labour really does make a difference.
As Stephen, alongside teams of community activists, engages with residents on the doorstep, discussing their concerns and registering supporters, it is clear that people’s primary concern is around the economy, jobs and Tory-Lib Dem cuts to the police. While the Welsh Labour government is using all the powers at its disposal to mitigate the effect of the cuts making their way down the M4, people are clearly aware that this is a double-dip recession made in Downing Street. Former Lib Dem supporters speak of being ‘betrayed’, and even formerly natural Tories comment that David Cameron and George Osborne have ‘no clue’ on what to do about the economy.
Stephen’s opposition to regional pay is also seeing Labour gain support from public sector workers right across Cardiff South and Penarth. The plans would mean that public servants, teachers and nurses would face massive reductions in pay; it would also put 9,300 jobs at risk – costing the Welsh economy £660m, and blighting thousands of lives across Wales – a stark contrast to Labour’s introduction of the living wage in Cardiff.
People are also worried about crime and anti-social behaviour. Alun Michael – the MP for Cardiff South and Penarth since 1987 and former home office minister – is standing down to stand as Labour’s candidate for South Wales’ police and crime commissioner. The central narrative of Alun’s and Stephen’s campaigns is fighting the Tory-Lib Dem police cuts.
The Tories and Lib Dems are slashing 750 police officers from the streets of Wales and are also rolling back the police’s powers to reduce antisocial behaviour. This is a fact that is unsurprisingly proving deeply unpopular with communities right across South Wales and in Cardiff South and Penarth in particular. But the Welsh Labour government is doing all it can to fight the cuts to police numbers and is investing in 500 community support officers to be on the beat protecting our neighbourhoods – again demonstrating a stark contrast with the Tory-Lib Dem approach.
People want to know that the people they elect to represent them, be it in parliament or the Welsh assembly, understand their concerns.
With Stephen Doughty, people know just what they’re getting. Someone who is authentically local but with national and international experience, a grafter, an active campaigner and someone who shares their values.
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