We need a new beginning – and that’s me

POSTED IN Blog, Top Stories 14.07.2010

It is a pivotal moment in the history of our party and our country.

We are facing unprecedented attacks on the public sector, on wages, on fair pensions, on jobs.

I will be the leader that will stand up and say that one mans public expenditure cut is another woman’s job loss.  It is unfair that we should be taking money from the pockets of the poorest people to appease a few greedy bankers.

And this time the fight is harder, this time Labour must fight these ideological cuts on two fronts. And that means that we must be more progressive and more radical in our opposition. We must harden our resolve and work to values based politics, not chase Daily Mail headlines.

I put myself forward for the job because I believed we needed to offer the party someone different; someone who wasn’t part of the ruling elite of the last 13 years.

What would Labour be saying if we could only offer candidates who had been part of the old administration? What kind of progress is that? All my fellow contenders worked closely with one or both of the Party’s the former leaders. That is not necessarily to their detriment but we need to offer an alternative, another voice to the debate.

I am that alternative.

Voters at the polling stations asked us to acknowledge the mistakes of the past. How then would they be satisfied if we then elected those who were complicit to some of the decisions that lost our Party votes at the last election? Mistakes that some of my contenders refuse to accept were wrong.

In this election I plan to do things differently, I want to talk about politics not just policy. I want to ask some fundamental questions –I’ve had enough of tinkering around the edges of policy, we wrote more policy and legislation in Government than anyone else in history, if we are to win back power we need to do more than just paper over the cracks. We need a new beginning.

I am that new beginning.  

I want growth, I would introduce a wealth tax; look at green taxes, higher bank taxes and a financial transactions tax. I would bring troops home from Afghanistan, scrap Trident and close the gap between rich and poor. I would reform trade union legislation in order to restore a level playing field between workers and bosses. I would stop employers taking vexatious injunctions to stop lawful strikes. I would end the situation where courts can strike down lawful ballots because of technicalities. I would put an end to further privatisation in the public sector and bring the railways back into public ownership. And that’s just for starters.  

The odds have been stacked against me in this contest. I am not a former special advisor or a former minister and I have not met rich New Labour donors at wine and cheese evenings. But I have always spoken my mind, I have never been afraid to do this and I have made all the right choices on important issues, such as Iraq, tuition fees and the 10p tax.

My inclusion on this ballot means we can open up the debate to a whole new section of the party who haven’t before had a candidate to get behind.

Labour needs to be the party that listens to voters again and we need to listen to our members again. Mrs Duffy wasn’t angry because Gordon disagreed with her, she was angry because he disrespected and dismissed her. For the last 13 years the Government has seemed distant and impenetrable, Labour Party members have been frustrated at their inability to influence policy. I want a Party that values the views of our membership and the public not one that ‘cherry picks’ issues to consult or stifles genuine conference debate. I want open democracy.

Voters were unhappy with Labour before the election and want to see the party take a new direction. I can be the leader to take us in that direction.

This opportunity has provided a platform for a full and frank discussion– something I feel, as I’m sure other party members do too, is long overdue.

Let’s make sure we don’t waste it.

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