Paulette North has been selected as Respect Party’s candidate in the forthcoming mayoral elections in Bristol.
Paulette, 56, is a retired teacher. She was born in the East End of London to a Vietnamese father and a Jamaican mother. She is a prominent member of Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Avon and Bristol Law Centre. She is also a member of the steering group of the Bridges Art Project, a member of the National Union of Teachers, a supporter of Stop the War and convenor of Bristol BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts).
Paulette initiated Bristol’s Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lectures and is the presenter of the Thursday Outlook Show on Ujima local radio.
She is no stranger to electoral campaigning. Paulette has stood three times for the Respect Party, for MP, MEP and in local council elections in Easton in 2007 where she secured over 19% of the vote.
“We need to build on the expertise, cultural diversity and riches that we already have in this city,” Paulette says. “I would like to see people come first. It is a disgrace that this city, which is one of the most prosperous in the UK, also has some of the most deprived areas in the country. We need to give hope to our young people by restoring the Educational Maintenance Allowance. Businesses should be providing apprenticeships at proper rates of pay.”
Paulette holds that Council tax should be replaced by a local income tax based on people’s ability to pay. She also holds that big businesses should be contributing much more. “We need to bring schools back under genuine accountable local control and stop them being forced or bribed to become academies,” Paulette says. “Our elders must be provided with good quality support by the council and the cuts made in community funding must be restored. The privatisation of bus and rail transport has been a disaster – high fares, overcrowded trains and inadequate levels of service in many parts of the city”.
Bristol Respect convenor Jerry Hicks has backed Paulette saying that “she understands the concerns of ordinary working people.”
“Nobody thought Respect had a chance in Bradford but George Galloway is now an MP and we have 5 councillors in the city. The voters realised that the three main parties offer nothing but cuts in pay and services in response to the crisis created by the greed of bankers. We offer a message of hope that is being taken up by people across Europe,” Jerry says.
Paulette has also been backed by Hilary Banks, Director of Signpost and Rite Direkshon. “Black people have been massively underrepresented at the top level in Bristol politics,” Hilary says. “It is great that the first party nominee for mayor is a black woman with an outstanding record in uniting blacks and whites in the struggle for justice. BARAC wholeheartedly endorses her nomination.”
Paulette is married with two children, a son at Cardiff University and a daughter at Bristol University. Both attended Bristol local authority primary and secondary schools.
Paulette is opposed to the excessive salaries paid to senior officials and would only accept the average working wage as mayor. She is also determined not to burden council tax payers with the costs of another layer of bureaucracy and would rely on existing council staff to support the work of the mayor.