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‘Hackney heroine’ goes to the Tory conference

OUTSPOKEN: Pauline Pearce

A WOMAN, who made headlines worldwide in August after she was captured in a Youtube video blasting rioting yobs, has said the Tory party needs to do more to recruit more black people and address longstanding social issues.

Pauline Pearce, who stood on a Hackney, East London street in the dark fearlessly cursing rioters while clutching her walking stick, made her comments during a 36 hour visit to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Pearce, who was invited by The Guardian to get her first taste of a major political party conference and see mainstream politics at work firsthand, looked around the conference room, saw a sea of white faces and said to her guide, conference veteran and assistant Guardian editor Michael White:

“My concern is I look around - and I am sorry to take it on that level - but there are no black people,” she said. “They have got no faith in the system…in British politics.”

Pearce said politicians should to try harder to engage black people.

“They have to get out there and recruit people and teach people. Bring me or a group of… black folks in and say what is it that would encourage you guys to become a part of what we are doing? What do you understand about politics? What don’t you understand?”

Pearce, a grandmother and mother of four, also said she was determined to use her visit to get the voices of the poor heard.

Pearce said since the riots, “poorer people” have been asked her to help raise awareness of the issues affecting them.

“Now I am hoping I can get some of their messages across and draw some of the attention to the issues that really do matter, ” Pearce told The Guardian.

She later used questions and answer segments and informal introductions to ask top politicians such as London mayor Boris Johnson hard questions, among them what was he going to do for ordinary people out there on the street?

After listening to some speeches from senior government and party officials including covered several social and other issues, Pearce, whose criticism of rioters on August 8 was viewed by more than one million people, said the authorities need to do more to help reach out to disenfranchised rather than singling out segments for the population for problems.

She urged the authorities to “get your ass out of your head and let’s get this thing right. Stop pointing fingers… and go and solve it.” She urged: “You know there is an issue so go and solve it… By turning our backs and talking in big conferences - none of those gangs are here to defend themselves; no one’s bothered to invite them.”

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