The leadership, the deputy leadership, a team that can deliver for 2020
June 14, 2015 4 Comments
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.