“Keir Hardie was my kind of socialist” says Sandra Osborne and not only because of what she describes as the “outward and progressive” views of one of the towering figures in the early history of the Labour Party.
It’s a matter of considerable pride that Hardie lived and worked in Cumnock, part of the area Osborne has represented since 2005 after the boundaries of her Ayr constituency were redrawn.
“For people living here the issues are the cost of living and the impact of zero hours contracts” she says. “I was out on the doorsteps the other day and this man showed me his wage slip for the month – £132 and he’s trying to bring up a family.
“There’s also the cost of energy, we have been affected very badly by the cuts to college places, opportunities for young people – really all the things we are addressing in the manifesto.”
Osborne is a lifelong feminist who also has a strong interest in international solidarity and workers rights.
She’s long been active in addressing problems in this corner of west-central Scotland dotted with former mining communities. Her goal has been, she says, “to try to maintain some jobs in the area.”
Overall Osborne’s motivation is equality of all kinds – “this is about social justice” she says.
Labour in her eyes is “the only party to put forward policies that can address these issues in a kind of realistic way. The Labour Party is the only party for me. It always has been and always will be.”
Keir Hardie, no doubt, would heartily agree with that sentiment.