Michael (please, call me Mike) Rouse lives in Redditch with his wife and two daughters – the first born at The Alex and the second born at Worcestershire Royal. Having lived in Donnington Close for nearly 5 years the family grew to love the Church Hill area with its good amenities for children, strong local groups and stunning greenery that can be found during the many walks around the area.
On launching his campaign, Mike said:
“I really am very passionate about Church Hill and want to fly the flag for everyone who lives here at Redditch Town Hall. I’ve always found Church Hill to be a great community: fiercely independent in spirit, good humoured, and with a lot going for it.”
Mike is standing as a Conservative Party candidate for the Redditch Borough Council elections on Thursday 3 May 2018.
Growing up, our household was staunch Labour. My mother held many part-time jobs whilst juggling childcare, including cleaning and those door-to-door catalogue companies. She did this until she suffered several strokes in the 1990s, leaving her permanently disabled both physically and mentally whilst all 3 of us children were still at school. My father was a HGV driver until his death in 2004 from lung cancer when I was aged just 21. It wasn’t the easiest start in life – far from it.
As I started to make my own way in the world as a young adult I started to question more the political principles that surrounded my childhood. There was always a bitter jealousy of people who had more money than us (of which there were many) as ‘snobby’, and this never sat easy with me. There had to be more to it than that, and over time I discovered that a large part of Labour-oriented politics is around scapegoating and dividing people against each other along class or monetary lines.
But the biggest moment came in 2004, shortly after the death of my father, when I was stood talking to a friend of mine who happened to be delivering leaflets for the Conservative Party. At the same time there appeared 3 Labour Party councillors who knew me from growing up (my mum used to work for a Labour MP in the 1980s) and they said to me something along the lines of: ‘You’re from around here! What are you doing with him?’ as they pointed to my Tory friend. One of them added: ‘if you’re from ’round here you should be with us!’
I knew they were half-joking, but it betrayed a serious point. To the Labour party when you are from a poor council estate you should stay there and support them. Anyone who aspires to be better is branded a traitor or said to have betrayed their roots. This was all in the era of Tony Blair and New Labour, and it has only gotten worse with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn where phrases like ‘red Tory’ and ‘why don’t you just join the Tories’ are commonplace.
I decided enough was enough, I wasn’t going to be pigeon-holed like this, and was going to fight for a better life for me and my family. I joined the Conservative Party and started to read up on political history, ideology and figures from the past. Having never gone to university I have always been an avid self-learner, with a great deal of my education coming from free public libraries.
Since 2004 I have been a member of the Conservative Party and I am proud to now stand as your candidate in Church Hill Ward on Redditch Borough Council. I have been ‘in the background’ for many years, helping many people get elected, but not putting myself forward. This is because I am now 33 years old and I feel the time is right: I have something to give back, I know who I am in life with enough life experience behind me, and I am ready to give the time and dedication to the Church Hill community.