About Gaye (Jean Gabrielle) Johnston.
Dr.Gaye Johnston has been passionate about democratic socialist politics all her adult life. She has been actively involved in the Labour Party since student days. However she became increasingly disappointed in the Party between the coming of New Labour and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s Leader.
Political working knowledge and experience: Gaye was selected as a Parliamentary candidate in marginal constituencies three times between 1974 and 1986. She was re-selected unopposed in the Cleveland and Whitby /Langbaurgh constituency. Gaye also stood in Swindon in 1986. Gaye believes that, during this period, Labour Parliamentary candidate selections were run on an equal opportunities basis and were much fairer and more transparent than they were between 1994 and 2011.
She is also a former Labour Councillor, Vice Chair of Housing Committee and Labour Group Secretary on Darlington Borough Council. Gaye has numerous prominent and interesting contacts in the Labour Party and movement. These were built up over many years and helped her to secure valuable information and interviews for this book.
Gaye has campaigned for Labour continuously in elections in many parts of the UK and in Australia. She has also has been active in Party administration and policy making since she joined up. GJ has attended many Party meetings and conferences: local and national. Her special interest has been political education and she remains Political Education Officer for her constituency Labour Party (Hyndburn, Lancashire). Her partner, Terry Johnston, worked for ten years as a full time Labour Party organiser. During that time their MP, the late Ted Fletcher, lodged at their home: using it as his constituency base. Both situations offered Gaye numerous opportunities for learning more about Parliamentary politics and Labour Party organisation.
She has twice spoken on platforms alongside then Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Gaye made speeches at meetings alongside other eminent Labour politicians including: Barbara Castle, Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell, Denis Healey and Michael Meacher. Late Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan described Gaye as “the most capable Parliamentary opponent I have ever faced.” She has met and conversed with, Leaders Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. Gaye is currently the national Chair of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.
In summary she has a long standing, in-depth and up-to-date working knowledge of the ‘People’s Party’.
Formal Qualifications: Gaye holds a Ph.D in politics/public services policy development and a research MA in social policy. She taught political subjects (including social policy and NHS policy and management) at the University of Cumbria from 1999 to 2009. There she developed and ran an MSc programme. Earlier she taught at the University of Teesside. Previously Gaye worked as Head of Department in a College of Further Education and a Principal Officer in several local authority social services departments.
Publications: In 2005 Gaye wrote a pamphlet published by Save the Labour Party (published on internet) entitled; “Can the Labour Party survive without the Party on the Ground?” This was favourably reviewed in “Tribune” by Kevin Maguire. Since then she has had numerous letters published in the “Guardian”. One of these appeared in the book “Letters to the Editor 2008” p.227 (eds. N.Willmott and R.Foster) pub. Guardian Books. Gaye also contributes regularly to the political Journals “Chartist” and (the Original) “Labour Briefing”. She also writes in the blog “Left Futures” from time to time.