The leadership, the deputy leadership, a team that can deliver for 2020

Gather together two or more Labour Party members at the moment and in pretty short order the conversation drifts towards the leadership and deputy leadership contests. We all have our favourites, and yet we are all united in one thing: we want a victory in 2020.

It has to be a leadership team that can not only inspire those already committed, to a lesser or greater degree, to the cause already, but also the wider public.

It is to state the obvious to proclaim that we want a Labour victory and a Labour government, but I do worry that some are looking for someone who mirrors their stance on things, ignoring the wider context. We have just seen the second General Election in a row with some pretty dismal numbers for Labour, and we have to do better than this.

There was much good in what we were promising, but we have to acknowledge that it could have been better.

I think the result last month showed us the scale of the change we should embark on. Such was the scale of the defeat that we have to go beyond tinkering on the periphery, a whole new approach is needed.

I happen to believe that Liz Kendall has presented the most radical ideas, and been most challenging to Labour orthodoxy. I urge my comrades to go beyond the simplistic arguments about who is on the left or right, and look for the candidate most likely to have the broadest appeal. Without getting over that winning line in 2020 all our ideals remain noises from off-stage.

I happen to believe that there is a gulf between the Labour mindset and the Tory one. In many ways we want similar ends, but it really does boil down to whom our society is seen to reward. It is a choice of the many versus the few. Those in our party who are parked on the centre ground want social justice every bit as much as those who inhabit territory further left. It is not an argument about Tory-lite versus old Labour; it is about the mechanics of achieving a fairer and more equitable society. To truly change society we have to take large numbers with us. To do this we have to be seen as safe, as not looking to punish those that succeed, and to be on the side of the majority.

We also have to recognise that as a party of fairness we are sometimes seen as championing policies that are not seen as fair. This may be about presentation as much as misguided or ill-conceived policy, but it has to change.

We have those doorstep conversations every week, it is what we do in Labour. We know what people are thinking, or we should if we are listening. Ask those who did not vote for us why this was, because it is those people who can deliver us success if we can persuade them

I am backing Liz Kendall because she is tackling the big issues already. I am also supporting Caroline Flint for the deputy leadership. I have long thought that it is about time we had a woman in charge, but that alone is not enough. I genuinely feel that Kendall and Flint will have the broadest appeal, and will make the changes to make us electable once again.


4 Responses to The leadership, the deputy leadership, a team that can deliver for 2020

  1. Joe Copke says:

    Hi Julian – as usual, you are straight talking with your views which I think is commendable.

    I don’t support your preference for Liz Kendal. Her decision to ditch much of the programme we fought the election on and her inability to answer interviewer’s questions in a straightforward manner generate mistrust. If I feel that, I believe others will. I rate Yvette Cooper highly but if pushed to vote right now, Andy Burnham would get my support for Leader.

  2. I am backing Liz Kendall because she is tackling the big issues already. I am also supporting Caroline Flint for the deputy leadership.

    Which would give rise to an interesting situation if:
    1) A majority shared your view, and
    2) Harriett got her way about about the leader and deputy leader not being of the same gender!

    I too thought Liz Kendal was very evasive when she was interviewed (BBC Andrew Marr 7 June?).

  3. We have had two men in the roles – most recently with Blair and Prescott. This was the case up to 2007.

  4. The slightly mischievous point that I making Julian is that your acting leader in her attempts to move towards achieving gender “equality” has said that she thinks that the leader and deputy leader should be one man and one woman.

    Now the Blair – Prescott ticket most clearly did not achieve diversity of gender, but did achieve a degree of diversity of opinion – which I would have thought more important.

    A rule saying that the leader and deputy must be of opposite gender is probably proposed in anticipation of two men winning both posts. I wonder does it matter if both leader and deputy are men – or both are women? If the Kendall – Flint ticket was to emerge as the one favoured by the Labour Movement, should a rule then intervene – presumably to rule out Caroline Flint in favour of the movement’s second choice of deputy?

    I am male pale and stale (or whatever that phrase is). Now does that mean that my views are best represented by someone like Nigel Farage (who is male pale and stale) or someone like Diane Abbott (who most certainly is not!)?

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