Like everywhere in London, Harrow has been affected by the cost-of-living crisis, economic turmoil and global instability. Local MP for Harrow-West, Gareth Thomas, shares his views and advice on the best way to bring about change successfully.  

Wanting change in the social system is what sparked Gareth to enter politics in the first place.  “When I was 16 or 17, I volunteered at Crisis at Christmas and was shocked by how many homeless people there were,” he explains. “I wanted to do something about it and this eventually led me to politics, as a way to bring about a potential solution to homelessness.” 

Having grown up in Harrow and attended Pinner Park Primary and Hatch End High, Gareth feels lucky to still live and serve the same community. Having a close connection to the area and the people in Harrow drives his passion and is the key to making his changes effective.  

“I like it here, I have friends and family here, so that makes my job more real to try and make a difference to the community that I live in. It’s an extra motivation.” 

As you know, it is impossible to solve every problem, and that fills Gareth with regret. He sympathises with people’s feelings of helplessness and knows what it feels like to be unable to make changes yourself. “The most challenging part of the job is seeing an area that you can’t make a difference to,” he says. “My party are currently in opposition, so there are changes that we can’t stop.” 

Having been a teacher before entering politics, Gareth still holds the issue of education and schools close to his heart.  

“Seeing the cuts in funding to schools, and not being able to stop those cuts coming in, is very, very frustrating.” 

So what can we do to get our opinions out there effectively to make rapid change? “If you’re passionate about something, then I think that as well as protesting you have to encourage politicians to answer questions about their views and allow them to try and explain what they stand for,” he advises. 

“I think politics is important as it is one of the big ways you can make a huge difference to people. I've always had a lot of respect for those who work for charities or campaign locally, but I have always believed that in the end it is politics which can really move things.” 

By Soha Omar, Young Reporter