Labour needs internal democracy to win in London

Sadiq Khan LONDON MAYORWith campaigning kicking off for the London Mayoral Election it would be easy to forget that Labour’s manifesto is yet to be written. We can all see that winning in London requires a strong set of policies which deal with the issues facing Londoners, particularly housing and transport.

As Labour Party members, we understand that good ideas do not come from individuals alone but from discussion, debate and democracy. This means that the best way to ensure that we get the radical manifesto we need is through a genuinely open and democratic policy-making process within the London Labour Party. Labour’s members are its links to communities across the capital and the stronger the voice they have, the more likely it is that we will get the manifesto we need. Continue reading

Get over yourself, Kate Godfrey

Oldham byelectionLast time I checked, the aims and values section of the Labour Party constitution did not include the advancement of the career of Kate Godfrey among its guiding principles. So unless it has subsequently been so amended and I somehow missed the press release, the special snowflake’s failure to make it onto the longlist of potential Labour candidates for the Oldham West and Royton by-election hardly the merits comparison to what happened to poor old Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940.

Yet that’s how it is being bigged up in the rightwing press. Telegraph political journalist James Kirkup is keen to paint a selection panel that include MP Keith Vaz as wannabe Ramon Mercaders, gleefully lodging an ‘icepick’ – his word – into the cranium of said Westminster hopeful. Continue reading

Can Mandelson actively advocating ousting the new leader remain a Labour member?

mandelsonIt is one thing for those who opposed the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader to make their concerns and objections known and to argue for them within the Big Tent which is the Labour Party. It is quite another thing, when a new leader has just been elected with 60% of the vote (higher than Blair’s 57% in 1994), for a well-known Labour public figure to openly incite insurrection to have him promptly overthrown. When the party has spoken with such unprecedented decisiveness, such behaviour is coming close to traitorous. The Labour party has a rule, introduced by Blair himself, that anyone who brings the party into disrepute can be expelled. Many would think that Mandelson, who no doubt was deeply involved in the machinations behind the new rule designed to get rid of inconvenient left-wing activists, has now put himself in a position to be hoist on his own petard. Continue reading

The case for mandatory reselection

red rosette with question markIf you want to know what a good slice of political journalism in the 21st century looks like,Michael Crick’s “scoop” is an exemplar. It has it all. The anonymous source. The wild claims. Guilt-by-association. Bandwagon chasing. According to Michael, the “far left are preparing to oust several Labour MPs”. Sounds serious. He names the two MPs for Lewisham, Tristram Hunt, and Simon Danczuk as possible targets, at least according to some unnamed Unite organiser. However, as Unite and the Jeremy campaign make clear this had absolutely nothing to do with them, and that said activist is neither a lay official nor Labour member. In other words, our anonymous source has managed to nick some of the limelight by shooting his mouth off to a journo who long ago cut his teeth on a sensationalist expose of the far left. Continue reading

What will bring unity to Labour is not the right leader but the strength of its democracy

unity-is-strengthAs ballot papers start hitting doormats and inboxes, there’s no doubt Jeremy Corbyn’s entry into the contest didn’t just ignite the debate about Labour’s future and shift it leftwards, but it defined the debate. And whatever the outcome, that has already changed the Labour party beyond recognition. What has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to join the party as members or supporters is a yearning not only for a different type of politics but for a different type of politician.

The wider public too want politicians with honesty and integrity and passion who sound like they believe what they’re saying, not just tailoring different messages for different audiences. If Labour fails to deliver that, we will lose again and again. Those enthusiastic new recruits won’t stay and the SNP and Greens will reap the rewards. And UKIP will continue to win the support of working class voters who have lost confidence in us. Continue reading