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Support Diane for Leader

Diane Abbott’s leadership campaign has excited comrades about the possibilities that have been opened up. The party’s left wing will, for the first time since the 1980s, be able to participate in the contest and put its views before the party membership. Additionally, the left is putting forward a candidate who has wide appeal. In the two public polls published since Diane put her name forward for consideration she has either been the voters’ first or second choice for leader. She will bring a breath of fresh air compared to the list of white males who are also on the ballot paper.

The left needs to pull together and put its efforts into building support for Diane’s campaign, as this will help get across the popular agenda that Labour needs to adopt so it can rebuild support amongst the electorate. Diane will ensure there is a proper debate on the direction Labour should take, which party members have been saying is desperately needed.

The two Eds, in particular, will now have to clearly set out where they stand in relation to the abomination that was New Labour. As Jon Cruddas has said, he has known the Eds for nearly 20 years but still does not know where they stand on most major political issues. After Diane launched her campaign, pointing out how wrong it was to invade Iraq and the damage it did to Labour’s support, both Eds publicly distanced themselves from Blair’s decision to invade and indicated they understood the need for rebuilding the trust that Labour lost as a result.

Diane’s critique of neo-liberalism and opposition to reductions in public spending and neo-con military adventurism, her support for investment for growth, progressive taxation, social justice and  peace can now all be aired in the course of the forthcoming election campaign.

Like Diane, I have been appalled at the way other leadership candidates and their supporters are targeting immigrants. Suggestions that migrants are the cause of low wages or to blame for fact that the Labour government did insufficient to address the housing shortage are just plain wrong. There is no evidence that migration has had any impact on wages and terms or conditions. But it is clear the last government fiercely resisted proposals to regulate the labour market thus allowing wages to be driven down, irrespective of the nationality of the workers. In fact there is strong evidence that the migration of the past decade contributed to strengthening economic growth and improving public services.

Some of Diane’s opponents have been keen to harp on ad nauseam about her choosing private education for her son. She has said many times her personal decision on this was at odds with her view of the type of quality public education system she wants to see available for all. As a secondary modern pupil, who eventually gained two degrees, no one knows more than I do about the inequalities of the education system. But one questionable personal act does not rule Diane out. Other candidates voted for an illegal and neo-imperialist war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. That certainly should rule them out.

5 Comments

  1. Matthew Stiles says:

    “She will bring a breath of fresh air” This could be very true. I was reading the comments of the live blog on the New Statesman hustings and she came over very well. There was an “instant poll” where she came out well on top (though I have no idea of the methodology of this poll).

  2. Deerek Emery says:

    Can a left wing leader win a general election in centralist UK? What about the wilderness years 1979 to 1997 when the left was running Labour? Blair was far from left wing and thus gained the votes of the middlle class making a Labour win possible. Brown was far more left wing and did not win.
    Is winning a general election that important or just the cream on the cake?

  3. Jon Lansman says:

    Wrong Deerek. In 2005, Blair got half a million fewer votes than “left-wing” Kinnock did in 1987 and 2 million fewer than he did 1992. Blair had won in 1997 on an anti-Tory tide and lost roughly 4 million votes during his own period in office. It’s true Gordon won almost a million fewer this year, but which of the two is more responsible is harder to say.

  4. Thomas says:

    It’s not which wing of the party it’s got to be about interlect, or lack of it in this case. The grate dumbing down.

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