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Jon Trickett must stand for Leader says Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

DEMOCRACYFollowing its executive meeting this weekend, leading centre-left Labour grassroots organisation, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), has today called on Jon Trickett MP to stand for the Labour leadership, and has urged party and trade union activists to join the call.

CLPD members have reported that there is widespread dismay amongst party activists at the uninspiring nature of the leadership election campaign, with candidates queuing up to apologise for the alleged overspending by the last Labour government, and still failing to challenge publicly the neoliberal narrative on austerity which is the primary reason why Labour was ultimately judged wanting in its handling of the economy.

Those on the Blairite wing of the party may well believe that narrative but, like Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper might not. And yet, with no left candidate putting an anti-austerity case, there is no chance of them showing any more courage than their predecessors, nor of properly exposing the reasons Labour lost this election. They will do nothing more than espouse right-wing policies in order to chase right-wing votes. A left candidate is essential to changing the nature of this election.

The Labour Party desperately needs a candidate who:

  1. is working class – we are rightly concerned about the numbers of women and black people amongst our leaders, but we routinely underestimate the importance of leaders who are genuinely working class and not merely capable of pointing to “working class roots”;
  2. is an active trade unionist – not just a union member to get the union’s backing in their selection – who sees trade union rights and organisation as something a Labour government should positively encourage rather than something which can only be discussed in private;
  3. is against austerity and will commit from now on, whether they win or not, to present the case against austerity, whether it comes from a Tory government, a Labour government, or for that matter an SNP government.
  4. will commit to turning Labour into a movement again – not just a voter ID army but a real insurgency, the sort that can’t be run from the leader’s office in Westminster, that utilises the vitality of street protest, of trade union mobilisation, of the anger of tenants and disabled people whose lives are threatened with devastation by corporate greed and Tory cuts, that speaks with passion of a message it believes;
  5. will commit to ending the centralisation of power within the party – with no effective internal democracy, no serious challenge or questioning through a democratic structure, it is easy for the policy wonks, spin doctors and focus group facilitators to fall for their own propaganda.

There are two obstacles to having a candidate who fits the bill: the first is that too many MPs, including MPs on the Left, have already declared their support for other candidates. The second is the absurd requirement that only those who are nominated by 15% of the parliamentary party (currently 35 MPs) are permitted to stand – a barrier to standing which CLPD opposed from the start.

In 2010, when the threshold was only 12½ %, candidates had to be “lent” nominations in order to stand, which provided clear evidence that the threshold was already too high. But in the Collins report, an increase was proposed to 20%, later reduced to a still higher 15%.

Nevertheless, the party must have a real choice. Shadow cabinet member Jon Trickett, in CLPD’s estimation, is the one best placed to fit the bill. Join the campaign now. Help us urge Jon to stand, and then help him to win.



  1. Matty says:

    I’m up for this (but the facebook link is down or is it just me?)

    1. Matty says:

      Facebook link now working – cheers!

    2. Jon Lansman says:

      The link didn’t work because the page was “private”. There is now a revised link to a new event which is public.

  2. Megan says:

    I’d start by asking how many voters he’s spoken to in his own constituency. Lots of people coming out of the woodwork – just like David Miliband did – great chat about what everyone else should do but own houses don’t show they practice what they preach.

  3. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    I’m cutting and pasting this comment from another forum simply because it’s so accurate and sincere, (sue me,) and for the edification of anyone reading this, it’s about just how the real grassroots actually feel about Labor.

    When will people like Kim Howells and Peter Hain realize the truth about the Labour Party. Those who have embraced a higher life on the backs of workers, who paid their union dues to fund them getting into power and making life easier for the working classes, are the very people who have caused the demise of that party.

    The very people who have destroyed the Labour Party are now looking for gimmicks to get them back up where they think the ‘Party’ belongs.

    The Labour Party was the party of the people, but it has been turned into another monster that does no good for the working population of this country.

    Those who took the spoils will now walk away rich men; a bit like the town of Neath, they have left behind a right mess.

    Posted by Lyn Williams on 24 May 2015

  4. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    I’d add also

    6: Is a socialist.

  5. John P Reid says:

    Party members have to get involved with local authorities, mayors, council and school governors

  6. David Ellis says:

    It seems to me that the Left Labour MPs are preparing to do precisely zip about the fact that their party is about to be destroyed and are ready to sit behind a Blairite Clone for the next five years who offers zero opposition to this vicious Tory Government whilst that happens. They are not much less degenerate than the Labour right. More perhaps as their only purpose seems to be some kind of safety valve or illusion creating machine.

    If the party is not to die the next leader needs to be:

    1 anti-austerity and socialist

    2 prepared to work with the SNP

    3 ready to recommend an OUT vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.

    1. James Martin says:

      Why should a good socialist and trade unionist like Katy Clark work with the SNP David when they are well to the right of her and many other Labour Party activists?

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        Well Miliband was always perfectly sanguine about supporting the Tories; almost no matter what, (other than that tiny bit of disingenuous hand wringing about postponing using the RAF to bomb Syria when Cameron wanted to but even that didn’t really stick.)

        Divide and conquer?

        There is actually a very strong and widespread, “extra political,” consensus about what the really UK needs from our politicians, but to too many people, the current generation of Labor politicians exemplify pretty much everything that’s gone wrong post Blair.

        People like Balls, Harman, Burnham, Cooper, Miller, Laws, Green and so on; pick a name, seem to be a septic boil at the very heart of the corruption infecting the body politic.

        1. James Martin says:

          ffs JP, for the nth time it’s LABOUR with a U.

    2. Sandra Crawford says:

      Yes I agree. I am getting very worried about the EU after reading in the Telegraph that all countries will be required to join the Euro.
      If this is true, it will be a red line for me. Ed Balls was right about keeping the UK out of the Euro. We need to keep our own ability to issue our own currency. Social democracy is impossible without the governments ability to spend its own currency.
      The Euro is equivalent to borrowing a foreign currency and that is why Greece and Spain have such high unemployment and poverty.

  7. James Martin says:

    I think that regardless of whether a left candidate can get enough nominations it is essential for one to try as it allows some space and opportunity for our ideas to reach the wider party and cut across the current consensus. It is why I think John McDonnell was so wrong not to try again – yes I understand it can expose a weakness of the left in the PLP, but things are far more important than that and we need to pull the current debate to the left and seriously challenge the current front runners on some key issues for a time at least. So if John won’y do it I hope Jon will!

  8. Dean kirk says:

    I agree with JP Craig Weston and David Ellis. I am no longer a member of the Labour Party. I was suspended from the Labour party for voting against austerity budgets. It was ok for me to campaign with my colleagues to win the seat fighting austerity. But I was no longer allowed to fight it when it was the Labour Group delivering it. I dedicated 20 years of my life to the Labour Party but when you have to fight for socialism in the Labour Party you know its time to leave. However I still want to see the Labour party flourish but with grass root MP’s and working class policies. People need to get involved locally like John P Reid said. If Labour is to become a socialist party, then its up to its members to deliver this and have more say in what policies contain. We saw the Labour Party vote for the Tory’s welfare reform, it’s austerity budget and it took nearly 6 months for them to decide they didn’t like the bedroom tax. What message does that send out to voters. The left is so split now down the middle that no one knows which way to go. But we should learn from our history that the Labour Party is the people’s party. And the movement should be by the people for the people. Let’s just look what’s happening in Greece and Spain now. The left is moving at a fast rate in these places, and will only get faster. The thing for Labour now is to decide what they stand for and what they’re about. The Tory’s have always looked after their own, the Labour Party need to start looking after theirs.

  9. Billericaydickie says:

    The reason why the left are doing so well in Spain and Greece is because in both countries they aren’t being dragged backwards by a series of failed attempts to create a party to the left of Labour.

    In this country we have had the Socialist Alliance, Respect, Left Unity, the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition plus all of the other long established and miniscule parties which spend their time debating the finer points of what Trotsky or Lenin said in year whatever and how that is clearly relevant to a tenants movement in this country.

    The left that could form another party is tainted by failure, Marxism and intolerance as well as the well reported control freak tactics of groups like the SWP.

    I am afraid we are stuck with the Labour Party and the only way forward is to ditch the spads, the think tanks, the focus groups, political correctness and everything that goes with them and get back to basics.

  10. David Pavett says:

    I would support Jon Trickett. I would do so on the basis that he has, over a period of time, produced clear political analyses and has argued for positions which would have put Labour on a better (left) course.

    So I agree with the broad thrust of this article.

    I just find it sad that so many on the left insist on tying themselves up in criteria that meet much narrower (although undeniably important) objectives and apply them inappropriately.

    (1) It is absurd to advance the criterion that Labour needs a leader who is working class or even, more accurately, is of working class origin. There are plenty of MPs of working class origin who support policies that most of us on the left would not consider to be in the interests of the working class. At the same time some people not of working class origin demonstrate an understanding and support for policies which are in the interests of the working class. Being of working class origin cannot therefore constitute a valid criterion.

    (2) Identical arguments to (1) apply to being an active trade unionist. This too is not a valid criterion.

    (3) Opposing austerity lacks clarity since there are several different stances on what opposing austerity means both in theory and in practice.

    I agree entirely with (4) and (5).

    It is a shame that so many on the left still argue in terms of invalid criteria that convince, and can convince, no one but themselves. They are not based on analysis. They are lapel badges to distinguish the those on the “right” side from those on the “wrong” side. The problem is that lapel badges are not enough. Arguments and analyses have to make the case and there are no arguments and analyses to support the first three criteria as a pressing need for Labour.

    If Jon Tricket meets (1) to (5) that is fine. But lets not kid ourselves (1) and (2) are in no way essential. It is (2), if given sufficient explanation and (4) and (5) which matter.

    We should remind ourselves that through Labour’s history many of its leading right-wing figures have come from the trade union movement.

    The lesson of anti-racist and anti-sectarian struggles is surely that a person’s origins i.e. the things they could not choose, must take second place to the things they can choose (their ideas and political practice).

    Having said which I would like to re-emphasise that I would welcome Jon Trickett’s entry into the fray.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      David: I accept that, of these, being anti-austerity (with some clarification of what that means), being in favour of making Labour a movement and democratising the party are the essential criteria. I do however believe that the other two remain desirable in a leader and it is essential that politicians who do have these characteristics do hold senior positions in the (shadow) cabinet.

      1. David Pavett says:

        Okay Jon we agree about that but “desirable” is rather different from “The Labour Party desperately needs”.

        1. Jon Lansman says:

          Harry PerkinsIt’s true it is desirable not essential but I certainly do think Labour would enormously benefit from a working class leader with a record as an active trade unionist. My model is Harry Perkins, fictional hero of Chris Mullin’s excellent novel A Very British Coup. Labour spends a great deal of time cultivating its ‘brand’ and the image of its leader. And yet its brand has become toxic for so many who have defected to the SNP or UKIP or simply stopped voting. Harry Perkins as leader would, at a stroke, cut through a massive problem.

  11. Sue says:

    I hope he does stand. At least then I will have someone to vote for! At the moment I am planning to ruin my ballot paper.

  12. Gaye Johnston says:

    I thoroughly endorse Jon Trickett for the Labour Leadership. I do this on the basis of knowing him personally and appreciating that he is a good democratic socialist and comes from a working class background(he was originally a working plumber in Leeds). He was also a fine leader of Labour led Leeds City Council and has a sound grasp of governmental issues and principles. Jon also had relevant experience as a shadow cabinet minister under Ed Miliband. He was sometimes referred to as Ed Miliband’s conscience; although sadly Ed did not always listen to his Jiminy Cricket!

  13. chris gibson says:

    What is wrong with jeremy Corbyn for leader?

    1. Matty says:

      Nothing at all, in the end Jon T decided not to stand but Jeremy threw his hat in the ring so we’re supporting Jeremy (and very happily too). As someone once said, a week is a long time in politics.

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