Why I’m backing Liz Kendall for Labour leader
Earlier this week I left a job that I love to join the campaign of a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party. A party that instead of winning an election this year went backwards. A party that needs to learn from where we went wrong, and reconnect with the British people. A party in need of a big step-change in how we do our politics.
I believe that Liz Kendall is the best placed candidate to do that.
Liz can put the Labour Party back together again, not by wielding power from the centre but by rebuilding our party – and our country – from the ground up. By working alongside the communities that built and sustain the Labour Party. By being that very rare kind of politician – the kind that wants to give power away rather than hoard it for themselves.
Now some people are going to want to stick labels on Liz – and the other candidates for the Labour leadership too. I’m not interested in doing that. That’s swimming in the shallow end of politics, and it’s utterly self defeating. But I’m sure of one thing – if I thought that Liz Kendall was the “Blairite” candidate for Labour leader, I wouldn’t have given up something I’d worked so hard for and cared about so much to support her candidacy.
New Labour achieved a huge amount – on wages, rights, and rescuing our NHS. But it’s not my politics, nor is it the right direction for the future of the party or the country.
We won’t win if we trash everything that has come before. The Labour movement derives great strength from its history. But nor will we win if we treat the past – any part of our past – as sacred. The job of political parties is to balance our values against the desires of the people.
But the job for the Labour Party in 2015 is to build something new. That’s the only way to get back on the front foot and start on the long road back to the public’s trust.
I believe Liz Kendall can not only be the person to take the Labour Party back in the direction of the British people who had fallen out of love with us. I also believe she’s got the ideas, the drive – and the understanding of those same people – to be a transformative Prime Minister.
This is no time for half measures, and in the weeks and months ahead you’re going to see Liz making some big arguments about the future of our country. I hope you’ll do what I did, and listen to what she has to say.
Because I think you’ll be impressed.