Julian Vaughan – the inside track

Julian Vaughan is standing to be selected as the Labour candidate for Welwyn Hatfield, having previously stood as the Labour candidate for NE Bedfordshire in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections and is endorsed by the ASLEF, GMB, Unite, USDAW and TSSA unions and also Open Labour. Julian was raised in the NE of England and was first politicised when a teenager by the 1984/5 Miners’ strike. Julian has been a train driver for 20 years and a union representative for the last 15 years. He also campaigns for an accessible rail network and writes regularly on a wide range of topics at julianvaughan.blog The post below sets out more about Julian, his views on what we need to do to win the next General Election and outlines his pledges to the constituents of Welwyn Hatfield.

About Julian

As a train driver and proud trade unionist, I understand the benefits of working collectively for the well-being of everyone. I am a union representative, with fifteen years of experience in standing up for members, day in and day out. The qualities required to be a successful representative in the workplace; the ability to listen, be an effective communicator, to be pragmatic, will also make me a highly effective representative for the constituents of Welwyn Hatfield.

I am proud to be British and proud of the great institutions we have in this country, such as the BBC and Labour’s greatest achievement the NHS. Our public institutions knit together the social fabric of the UK and at their best can drive enormous social and economic progress for all. However, we must always be ready to acknowledge our mistakes. If we as politicians fail to learn the lessons from the Windrush scandal and disasters such as Grenfell, we will continue to fail vulnerable people across our communities.

The current political system is rigged in favour of corporations and the wealthy. The price of this government’s drive towards a more unequal society is felt in all of our communities, eroding public faith in the very institutions that make up the fabric of our society. I believe our communities are enriched when we care for everyone within them and that public servants should be looking to those with the most need, not the most greed. I have a track record of campaigning for the most vulnerable in our communities because I know that it is through breaking down barriers and bringing people together that we will see our society prosper.

I lead by example and believe my determination and ability to work across political divides will be an asset to my constituents. Even my political opponents have acknowledged, on the record in Parliament, my effectiveness and commitment as a campaigner and community activist. It is not possible to win this election without gaining support from those who previously opposed us, but I have shown we can do this – not by sacrificing our core values, but by standing by them.

I am a champion, not just for the people who shout the loudest, but particularly for those who do not have a voice. I have demonstrated this by highlighting the multiple injustices faced by prepayment meter households, well before it became the scandal it is today; working as part of a team to set up a warm space for the benefit of our local community; and my ongoing campaign work to make our train stations step-free.

Labour’s core values, along with the trade union movement, are equality and fairness. These are the same values that drive me in everything I do. As a representative for Welwyn Hatfield, I will promote trade unionism as part of the solution to the problems we face across the UK and work with them to end in-work poverty, empower workers to bargain collectively, outlaw ‘fire and rehire’ and provide basic rights from day one of a new job. As comfortable talking to directors as to those on the shop floor, I would advocate a pro-worker, pro-ethical business approach and would champion those workers in the public sector upon whom we all rely so greatly.

The Conservative government is out of touch with the lives of ordinary working people and Tory MPs such as Grant Shapps are detached from the day-to-day struggles endured by the people he represents.  I believe it is time we had more working-class representatives in the House of Commons who understand the lives of working people and are focused on their communities, rather than their media careers or corporate directorships.  

It is over 50 years since a train driver was elected to Parliament. We can change that together if you choose me to be your next Labour MP for Welwyn Hatfield. I will represent all of my constituents with empathy, compassion and competence, qualities which are absent from the Tory government.

What do we need to do to win the next election?

Public faith in our institutions and politicians has been seriously diminished by years of Tory sleaze and austerity. For Labour to win the next General Election we will need to be viewed by the electorate as being competent in dealing with the UK economy and have a credible plan to fix the NHS, support social care and restore our crumbling public services.

The Conservatives have given the public numerous reasons not to vote for them. However, the current substantial leads in the polls are likely to narrow in the run-up to the next General Election. Therefore, Labour needs to ensure that we set out a bold, but realistic plan of how to transform a country that is reeling from the impact of years of austerity, the pandemic and Tory economic incompetence to ensure people are motivated to go out and vote for us.

The government is seen as out of touch and motivated by greed and self-interest. Labour should position itself as a Party that is both ready for government and one that will be ‘on your side’, with policies rooted in Labour’s core values of fairness and equality. We must inspire optimism, while also rebuilding credibility in the positive power of government.

Apart from economic competence, which will mean we must present a fully costed and achievable manifesto, I believe we need crystal clear messaging on the core issues of secure homes, secure jobs and a secure future, as we make a just transition to a green economy.

Labour should be pro-ethical business, while at the same time setting out clear expectations around corporate responsibility to ensure the protection of the public.  Grenfell must be a turning point, not just another tragedy where lessons were not heeded.

For many of us, under our ‘First Past the Post’ voting system, the trip to the polling station is a forlorn ritual, with the disheartening knowledge that your vote will not impact the result of the election. It is just not right that only a handful of ‘swing seats’ across the UK decide virtually every General Election. If elected as your candidate and subsequently elected to Parliament, I will support moves to a fairer voting system.

I would suggest that Labour resists an albeit understandable temptation to be too cautious and sets out an agenda for the country that has empathy, compassion and competence at its heart and that sweeps away the apathy many of the public feel about our politics today. This campaign must strike a chord with public feeling across the country, while ensuring local campaigns tie it in with the issues most relevant to their constituencies.

Labour should set out a vision of hope for Britain, with fairness, pragmatism and pride in British institutions such as the NHS at its heart. We will need strong message discipline to show a cohesive policy platform across the country. Different areas of the campaign should naturally support other areas, for example clamping down on tax avoidance to ensure that the NHS can be adequately funded, investing in GB energy so that we can cut bills, create green energy, and green jobs.

Under the Tories, our standing across the world has diminished and our reputation as a trusted partner has been trashed. I believe for the UK to thrive; Labour must work to rebuild our reputation for international diplomacy through the use of our soft power and an ethical approach to humanitarian issues.

A clear, easily understood, logical and above all credible campaign will be the route to Labour victory at the next election.

My pledges to you

I will be pragmatic, not hooked up on ideology or factionalism. I will be driven by fairness. Your fight will be my fight and where people have been ill-treated I will be relentless in seeking justice. I will not win every fight for you, but you will be certain that I have tried. Whatever your background, whatever your political persuasion I will listen to you and treat you with dignity.

If local businesses thrive our local communities will thrive. I will support our local businesses and I will expect them to support their employees. My head will not be turned by the corporate lobbyists, but by the people who have no one else to speak for them. If elected I will not take up any jobs outside of Parliament, my sole focus will be on serving my constituents.

Climate change is already impacting the UK and the wider world. We must act now, both for us and our children. The drive to ‘net zero carbon emissions’ will influence every policy decision I make on your behalf, as leaving a healthy and sustainable environment for the generations that follow us must be at the heart of Labour’s vision for Britain.

If chosen to be selected as your candidate I will work with everyone for everyone to make Welwyn Hatfield the best it can be. I will represent and serve you with empathy, compassion, energy and competence.

Julian Vaughan

February 2023

email: julian4welwynhatfield@gmail.com

Further reading:

The injustice of prepayment meters. An open letter to my MP – December 2022


Who will bear the burden of Sunak’s ‘difficult decisions’? – November 2022


An open letter to my MP on the changes to the Ministerial Code – May 2022


Is it time to stop MPs from having 2nd Jobs? – November 2021


So why does the UK need PR? – October 2021


Is it all over for our UK democracy? – December 2020


Healing the scars of our colonial past. – June 2020


(Climate Change) What lies ahead and how can we stop it?


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