Thursday 21 November, St Johns Church, St Johns Hill, Woodbridge
This popular pre-election event was attended by four of the five parliamentary candidates. The wide-ranging debate covered some of the most important national and local issues.
Here is Cameron’s opening statement:
My name’s Cameron Matthews, and first of all I just want to say that it’s fantastic to see so many people here. Of course, democracy is really, really important. The only way that we can have an effective working democracy is if we have the participation of a wide range of people so it’s really good to see lots and lots of people here tonight – people from all ages, and people from all genders, races and religions.
I am also a frontline firefighter as well as standing for the Labour Party in the upcoming election. I also stood in 2017. And the reason I joined my job is that I’m passionate for helping people. That’s my driving factor, I want to make a difference in my community and I want to protect people, when they’re most vulnerable. And it’s those kind of principles that are the reason I stood in 2017 and I’m standing again now in 2019 for the Labour Party. Because I think it’s really important that we have candidates who are committed to making a real change and who want to see our communities flourish.
Now, also because I am a firefighter and working class, for the last nine years, for nine arduous years, I’ve felt the impact of austerity. Not because I read it in a book, or because I read it in some reports, but because I’ve actually had to live it. I’ve had to face pay cuts, I’ve had to face pension cuts, cuts to conditions and I’ve seen many, many of my colleagues as well struggle to make ends meet. And I’ve no doubt it’s the same story for many of you out there as well. So I’ve lived through a period when all that we’ve seen is perpetual devastation, despair and destitution.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Labour will make a difference. Labour will bring about real change and bring about proper funding for our National Health Service so we don’t have 43,000 less nurses. We’ll bring about an education service that is free at the point of use from cradle to grave, a Green New Deal and many, many other transformative policies. So I hope to discuss some of these with you this evening and I hope that gives a really, really good debate.
(Transcribed from an audio recording)