My name is Adrian May, though you can simply call me 'AC', and I would like to ask for your vote in the upcoming elections this year.
What makes you get involved?
While I've long had an interest in politics and issues of social justice, it was Brexit, and the mishandling of it, that pushed me to get active.
I had always assumed that smooth-talking 'professional' politicians knew better, were more capable, and despite party differences, would act ultimately in the national interest. In my earlier years, I had thought that the Liberal Democrats would emerge and grow as the country grew tired of the age-old Left/Right punch-ups, as progressive and enlightened politics began to shine through. How wrong I was. I saw our country moving in some very discouraging directions.
So there came a point - either I could get angry, or I could get busy. I chose to get busy, involving myself in whatever ways I could. I've been made welcome, and have been inspired and impressed with the people I've met on this journey. And now here I am.
What are your main areas of focus?
Economy and Education
Our economy is changing. We're becoming more of an information and services based economy, with less mass manufacturing. Research and innovation are highly valued, yet require years of education and investment to produce.
Enablement of People
We live in the information age - the Internet is mature in its use, and the 'Internet of Things' enabled by 5G is starting to take shape around us. With the Coronavirus crisis, it has become increasingly clear that one's contribution to society and the economy is less about where you are, and more about what you're empowered to do.
So for me it's about enablement of people. Investment in people, in education and training, in infrastructure such as high-speed broadband, computers in homes, and transport links for when the goods flow and when we do actually need to travel in person.
Employment and Lifelong Opportunity
Jobs for life are becoming less common - as the rate of change in the world continues to increase, the chances of staying in one job or career for one's whole working life are reducing. With longer life expectancy (with some worrying exceptions) and an aging population, the possibility of retiring early - and living off pensions and savings for decades - becomes less feasible for many. As a society we need to recognise what older people can do, leverage their experience, and enable them in having a second or third career, potentially in different sectors. In retirement, which with good health can be many years, we're now recognising that older people still have much to contribute.
A Society Where No-one Is Left Behind
Unemployment brings with it many issues. It can be a factor leading to ill health, homelessness, poverty, family break-up, self-harm, drug use, mental health implications, crime, and more. No-one aspires to find themselves in that situation, and tackled early, with apprenticeships and funded training programmes focused on employment prospects, personal aspirations and achievements can be realised, with all the above ill-effects avoided, for the betterment of individuals and the whole of society.
I just feel that - surely - in the year 2021, opportunity should be accessible to all, for the benefit of all, regardless of disability or any other form of discrimination.
And before getting involved in politics?
What have I been doing in my 25-year career if not politics? My professional life has been as an IT Consultant. An attention to detail is required, along with infinite patience. Yet it's not all about computers - few jobs rarely are.
Mostly it's about people, and the situations they find themselves in - understanding their problems and working towards solutions. This requires communication, compassion, confidence and persuasion, to get people to work constructively together.
I like to listen as well as talk. I can take feedback – positive and negative - and am not averse to changing tack when the conditions call for it. For the past 15 years I've been doing this freelance, which has prepared me for being dropped-in at the deep end!
And when it's time to relax?
I enjoy sailing - not the sort of thing you see on the TV - just some leisurely coastal cruising in Scottish waters. Back on land I've taken up tennis in the past few years to try to boost my exercise and not spend every minute at a desk, in a car or on a sofa! We also have two dogs (who also enjoy the sofa a bit too much!), and I try to take them with me as much as possible when I'm out-and-about.