Barrister and criminologist, Alessandra Williams announced in March she would be running, for what has become Diane Abbott’s very comfy cozy safe seat for 23 years.
Ms Williams of Stoke Newington is a single mother of two boys, a 16 year old and 22 year old. She has worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Top of her agenda is tackling poverty which she explains, is the root of a lot of the crime Hackney is witnessing.
Even though she has been up north for most of this week, campaigning for easy access to justice for all, as part of her day job, she took time out to answer a few questions.
1) What was the deciding factor that made you run as an independent parliamentary candidate?
When I read that Hackney North and Stoke Newington was the poorest borough in London and second poorest in England I was compelled to do something about it.
2) Regarding the violent youth gang culture Hackney is witnessing, do you think parents should be held accountable of the crimes their children commit?
The teenage years are difficult for both parents and young people, it is a time that both are severing the apron strings. Parents are at a loss of what to do with 6ft 2″ Terrible Two’s and teenagers do not think their parents know anything about life. It would be easy to say that parents should be accountable but in reality both parties have a shared responsibility for the violence that is going on in the streets and I think neither side really know how to tackle it. I am sure that neither side is happy with the way things are developing in Hackney North and Stoke Newington and given the opportunity – I think both young people and parents want the situation to improve. As adults we have to take the lead, that is why I am calling for a gun amnesty in the area and am in the process of talking with church leaders about implementing this.
3) Where do you stand on Hackney Loyalty Cards for local business in Hackney?
As it was my idea, I naturally think it is good idea – it will help local businesses and will improve community cohesion. The independent candidate for Hackney South has approached me to partner with me on this initiative and has already sourced a supplier.
What is your current state of mind?
Nervous excitement, this is a steep learning curve for me and honestly I am enjoying it.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I need a coffee!
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing well
Where would you like to live?
If not London then Barbados
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your most treasured possession?
My eyeliner pencil
Who are your heroes in real life?
My son Linus who became seriously ill two years ago and lives life to the full every day, always smiles and who has never said “why me”, Alexander McLean a young man who is living 10 lifetimes in one and is currently building prisons and hospices in African whilst taking his bar exams and studying for a PhD, my Aunt in New Jersey US who became a Professor of medicine at a very young age and who has tried to find a cure for AIDS, Nelson Mandela and President Obama.
Who are your favourite writers?
I wish I had time to have a favourite!