Down, But Not Out

Julian Vaughan, a great trade unionist on his quest to become the first working trading driver to sit in the House of Commons in 50 years.

After standing as a Labour candidate in the last two General Elections, when you are offered a candidacy in one of the safest Tory seats in the UK, it dawns on you rather quickly that your face just doesn’t fit and it is time to move on.

So, after politely declining the opportunity to stand as a candidate, and with the freedom of someone who believes his time in politics is up, I am writing this from the perspective of a ‘critical friend’ who has been silent for too long on issues that matter to him, but who desperately wants a Labour government. I write this with sadness rather than bitterness that I will not be a candidate in the General Election announced yesterday.

Some have said that I have been treated quite shabbily, and I have to say that I do not disagree. 

However, I would rather look to the future rather than dwell on the past. As a candidate and a campaigner, I have displayed the ability to work across political divides, bring people together as an effective team and lead by example. I will use these qualities, as well as my relentless determination, in whatever direction I decide to go next.

As a Labour supporter since the 1980’s, it was the miners’ strike that first politicised me. I am desperate for a Labour government, after 14 years of Tory rule have trashed our public services, shredded our reputation around the world, and further diminished trust in our politicians and politics itself.

Tragedies such as Grenfell and scandals such as Windrush and the Post Office’s treatment of sub-postmasters have shown that there is a deep-seated imbalance of power between the state and the people. 

A Hillsborough Law must just be the start of the fundamental change needed.

The UK needs far more than just a change in the management team. I would urge the Labour Party to place empathy, compassion and indeed love at the heart of its offering to the country. Labour must of course be pro-business, but I would add a small caveat. Labour must be pro-ethical business. Grenfell showed us what happens when a naked pursuit of profit is put ahead of people.

We need more working-class representation in Parliament.

If I had been elected in the upcoming General Election, I would have been the first train driver to be sitting in the House of Commons for over 50 years. We need people who understand the lives of ordinary working people, MPs who have worn a hi-vis as part of their job, not just for a photo opportunity.

If we continue to draw the majority of our MPs from the corporate world, it is little wonder that there is a ready acceptance of the narratives peddled by corporate lobbyists and policies that favour big business over ordinary people.

I have met some amazing people since first standing for Parliament and made many friends in the Labour movement. I hope we will remain friends. 

Thank you to ASLEF and other unions for their support. Unions are a force for good in the country. Labour must treat them as such – they will need steadfast friends in what is likely to be a turbulent time ahead. 

A special thanks to both those who have supported me and also those who have challenged me.

Finally, a thank you to my family. I chose to enter politics they did not, but are impacted by that decision just as much as I am.

My desire for social justice will never be dimmed. I will continue to hold power to account and will always be a champion of the vulnerable in our society. I look forward to working with a future Labour government and helping bring about a better Britain for all.

Editors Comment: Julian Vaughan is a hard working skilled train driver, a trade unionist,  a good friend and comrade. After working hard with trade unions he had the support of six Labour Party affiliated trade unions to stand for parliament.

Like many trade unionists he is concerned that the voice and views of experienced trade unionists has been largely ignored within the Labour Party during the selection process.

When the going gets tough for the Party hopefully in power (and it will) they will need the support of working people and trade unionists to stand with them, no matter how big the majority.

As can be seen by his blog, he is loyal and trusted comrade and I am proud to have worked with him to become the first rain driver to sit in the House Of Commons in 50 years.

Twitter/X: @julian_vaughan_

Facebook page:


Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
This entry was posted in Blogs, Employment Rights, Labour Party, Politics, Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *