On public service, and a fresh start for Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Michael Shanks
3 min readApr 27, 2023


Values matter.

The values of honesty, public service, hard work and playing by the rules.

I live in Rutherglen and I’m as angry as all the other people I’ve met on the doorsteps in this constituency about our MP and her disrespect for the rules. People feel let down, and they want change. I know Scottish Labour can deliver that change.

The more I speak to people the more I find a sense that it isn’t just anger about one MP, but about a loss of faith in politics more generally. A sense that politicians aren’t able to change lives for the better.

I’ve spent my adult life trying to do good in my community. I started my career as a teacher in Cambuslang and before that worked for a charity supporting looked after children and families struggling against exclusion and disadvantage. I saw first hand the devastating and long-term impact of poverty. I got to know children waiting more than a year to see a mental health specialist and families in need of support shifted from one service to another depending on what funding was available.

As a volunteer for the past 15 years I’ve led a charity for disabled children including families from across this community. I know the challenges they face from the cost of living crisis, compounded by a social security system that seems to be working against them rather than supporting them.

I’ve campaigned for better mental health services for young people; for more support for children and young people in care and for a better understanding of the root causes of homelessness. I’ve been on picket lines and supported others in solidarity. I’ve worked with community groups to protect vital services.

I put my name forward because I want to show that politics is about public service. Being an MP is about serving our communities, listening to their worries and championing the voiceless.

For too long people in this community have been stuck between two governments that aren’t fighting their corner, and are increasingly obsessing about their own survival.

So when this election comes — sooner or later — we have a chance to show what a Labour government can achieve. A chance to build on the radical, progressive policies of past Labour governments with a new vision for a fairer, tolerant, inclusive and socially just Britain, where everyone can not just get by but flourish, and where the poorest children I see in my classroom no longer struggle to attain because of the poverty they live with at home.

I joined the Labour Party and trade union movement nearly 20 years ago because I wanted to work together to fight for what John Smith called our ‘unyielding commitment to social justice’. My commitment to that fight is stronger now than ever, and by working together, I know we can give people hope that better days are ahead.

That’s why I’m standing.

Because this election matters. Because public service matters. Because people in Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserve a fresh start.




Michael Shanks

Teacher & lead a charity for children with disabilities. I used to work in children’s policy.