From the time I was introduced to Progress as the Progressive Wing of the Labour Party, I have really enjoyed being a member, including going to the Progress Annual Conferences and the lively debates and discussions that come as part and parcel of it. I find that there are some very “grown up” and grounded realism of where we are as a party and where we need to be, and this is going to be essential to win in 2015 and beyond. Seeing the likes of Owen Jones being able to come to speak to Progress Members and deliver some heartfelt thoughts, as well as debate with Maurice Glasman and his ideas on moving forward. At the last Labour Party Conference, many of the interesting progress fringe discussions were early morning and made a real incentive for getting an early start (but thank goodness the had lots of coffee on standby). But it is this type of thinking and robust debate that makes us a more credible voting option.
It is because of this breadth of thought and discussion, the ability to air thoughts and robustly debate them that I have jumped on the opportunity to be a candidate for the Progress Strategy Board. I am in the Councillor section, and hope to join the 3 other elected members out of a field of 12 in this section.
My Candidate Statement can be found here : but I have also reproduced below:
I got into politics through my community. Having set up a well-regarded residents association for our new build estate, I was elected to the local Parish Council and am now a County Councillor
in Gloucestershire. In amongst this, I have helped set up and run a variety of community groups and organisations.
As a councillor, I believe in developing grass-roots, on one hand helping two relatively new developments become communities, and on the other, helping a developed community grow and be supported. I am also the Labour Shadow Spokesperson for the Fire, Planning and Infrastructure cabinet role, which through the time of cuts and job losses has proven to be very challenging.
I am active on Social Media (@Baz_K & mrbpkirby on Facebook) as well as having my own blog (www.barrykirby.co.uk) in order to make communications with my residents as easy as possible.
In my ‘free time’ I run my own (relatively young) small business. This has given me a real insight into what we as a Labour Movement need to understand about supporting local business and how the local economy is key to the local community. I am a local LEP ambassador and a committee member of the local IET organisation.
As a member of the Progress board, I would hope to bring voices of the residents who we work for, opinions and ideas from businesses who we should work with and the experience of being on a County Council whose core services we need to protect.
Progress members should be receiving their Ballot (e)papers about now and I would urge you to cast your votes as soon as possible, but especially before the closing date of 18 September 12pm.