Angela Rayner ‘rebel with a cause’

Angela Rayner
Angela Rayner

#uwomen20 Angela Rayner, gave an inspiring speech to UNISON Women’s Conference. She told delegates that she would not have got to where she has today without UNISON support and especially the women in UNISON, reports Kate Ramsden in Bournemouth.

Angie reflected on the election result in December. She spoke of the great things Labour did in power like Sure Start which Angie benefited from. However that administration also had to take responsibility for the 2019 General Election result, failing to change things enough to earn the support of working people.

However she also accepted that Labour failed to get their story across at the last election. Their costed manifesto was seen as unworkable. It wasn’t believed. Yet the need is still there for all the policies Labour was proposing.

Angie focussed especially on the importance of education and free higher education.

“The Tories will say we can’t afford it. But the truth is we can’t afford not to do it,” said Angie, talking about all the skills the UK will need in forthcoming years to meet future challenges of digitalisation and climate change.

“Why do we do what we do if it’s not for people?” asked Angie. She talked of the every day socialism that needs not just university education but decent pre-school education, schools and colleges.

“The fruits of our labour should not be limited to wages but also be about opportunity. Knowledge belongs to the many and not the few.

“And knowledge is power. Education allows people to take back control. And when people get education, everyone benefits.

“We all paid for me to learn,” said Angela, “but we all benefited too.

“It is an investment in society as a whole. More than just about money but about human potential realised.

“My union found me as a rebel and they made me a rebel with a cause,” said Angela to huge applause and a standing ovation.

Angela Rayner joined UNISON when working in homecare. She became an activist and rose to regional convener for the north west and was also on UNISON’S National Executive Council (NEC). She is shadow Secretary of State for Education and UNISON Labour Link is supporting her as a candidate for depute leadership of the Labour Party.

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