From Leeds down to Cornwall, where we meet champion of all things local, Joy Bassett
“I got involved in politics in 2010 when the coalition government set about selling off the land registry – which affected us and had an impact on our clients,” says New Zealand born Joy Bassett who works at a law firm with her solicitor husband.
“We thought this can’t be right. There’s a lot of wealth from the land owned in the country – and for all that to fall into private hands definitely sounded a bit dodgy. You know how they always say the Tories are selling off the silver, well this piece of silver had our names engraved on it, because of title deeds.
“So we started a campaign with the PCS – the union that represents land registry staff which soon developed into a national campaign. It took us two years and two general elections – but together we stopped the sell-off of the nation’s Land Registry.
“It really opened my eyes – the Tories are so stealthy – they put the building blocks in place to achieve what they wanted to achieve which is to privatise a whole lot of stuff. And the public aren’t even aware of it,” she continued.
In 2015 Joy joined the Labour Party and was elected in 2017 as a Bodmin Town councillor, a position she’s held since.
As a councillor and having long campaigned for fairness, together with local trade union members it was quite clear that to have a voice and real support being involved in the trade union movement was an absolute priority.
So when she heard about Unite Community, Unite member Joy couldn’t wait to pitch in and get involved.
“Unite Community is a great opportunity. There’s lots of keyboard warriors out there on social media, a lot of them are mums and Unite Community gives them the opportunity to become more than that. With the help and support that Unite provides, they can become real champions of their community. I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea,” she says.
Staying local is a key credo for Joy – who thinks, “Labour has definitely got the vision for opportunities to create community wealth, meaning that there’s more local investment and that money is kept within the community. This means more local jobs and those jobs are higher paid and better skilled jobs. It’s a whole model of working with places of education and employers and making sure that the skills that are needed are delivered locally.
“That then has a knock-on effect on the environment because you overcome the problem of having to travel to work. It’s all about shopping local, investing local so your local communities can become resilient and self-sustaining,” adds Joy. And as the chair of the Chamber of Commerce, she understands what local businesses – and employees need.
There are 87 council seats in Cornwall on May 6 – and Labour are contesting every single one of them – a group of which Joy is proud to be a part of.
So why should Unite members vote for Labour? “Labour wants fairness, equal opportunities and to level the playing field – everybody gets the same treatment and the same opportunities to succeed and prosper,” she says.
And finally Joy adds, “Labour cares about everybody – and wants to see our communities be real communities where people have real homes. They want to see those communities thrive and prosper, not struggle like they’ve been doing. They want to see people happy in their jobs and that their well-being is the best that it can be and that the environment is looked after. We’ve got the whole big picture – we’ve got a plan.”
If you live in Cornwall and want to help Joy and other local Unite candidates contact the Unite South West regional office and ask to speak to the regional political officer.
Wherever you live if would like to help Unite candidates in your area or to find out more see here
By Hajera Blagg and Amanda Campbell
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