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Why I'm standing for TUSC
'I can be a voice for youth and the Somali community'
Tessa Warrington from Leicester Socialist Party interviews Mohamed Ahmed, 21, who is standing for TUSC in Wycliffe Ward in Leicester.
How did you become interested in politics?
My family are originally from Somalia, but we moved around a lot when I was growing up, living in various countries. When I was about 13 years old we lived in Pakistan for eight months, during which time Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Later we lived in Egypt. There was much blatant political corruption in those countries, which deeply affected me. I felt things needed to change and that the voices of the people were being lost. When I moved to Leicester I got involved with the local youth council, then joined the Labour Party after the 2010 general election. At the time I thought their outlook seemed aligned with the views of youth and the communities.
What prompted you to leave the Labour Party?
I couldn't agree with their position on the cuts. I witnessed first-hand through the youth council how young people's services were being decimated. I argued with the Labour group to oppose the cuts and preserve services, but the council leaders were not interested and other councillors were not willing to stand up and fight. I left when I realised I was the only person left fighting, and that it was the Labour Party I was fighting against. I went to Wayne Naylor, one of the two TUSC councillors in the city. He was the only person inside the council to support me and suggested that I get involved with TUSC. So I did.
Why have you decided to stand for TUSC?
I want to fight against cuts, to show people that there is real opposition, a real alternative. St Matthews is one of the poorest areas in Leicester, with a large young Somali population. The cuts to the library and youth services have hit particularly hard, but substandard, cramped housing is also a critical issue. They're going to be the focus of my campaign. The growing youth and Somali communities are currently going unrepresented. I think I can be a voice for them at a time when the Labour city council has abandoned the interests of the people.
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