Jon Lansman says Rebecca Long-Bailey can unite the party and win back lost seats
Our mass membership – almost 600,000 of them – are overwhelmingly committed to transformative politics. The parliamentary party, though well to the left of where it was in 2015, is far more equivocal. But the membership are not a fan club; their willingness to turn the Labour Party into a campaigning force in our communities and workplaces is vital to our victory and they are not willing to just take whatever line is handed down. That means the party can only be led from the left, by a leader willing to democratise policy-making and the choice of candidates, and Rebecca Long-Bailey is uniquely qualified for that task. Unity requires a leader who is committed to transforming the party, to democratise it so that it can democratise the country.
And when it comes to winning back our lost voters, on this occasion, I agree with a Tory MP – Richard Holden who won NW Durham off Laura Pidcock – who suggests Rebecca Long-Bailey is Labour’s best hope to win back former Labour voters. “Some people argue that Labour’s best hope of winning the next general election is to ditch Corbynism and move back to the centre,” he says but argues that Labour’s problem may not be that it is too socialist, but rather that it failed to accept the majority vote for Brexit – and Sir Keir was one of the most vocal figures within the Labour Party arguing for a second referendum.
Here is how Rebecca Long-Bailey put her case for the leadership:
‘I know if you desperately wanted a Labour government, the general election was devastating. I wouldn’t blame you for looking for an easy option to win next time. Give up on something here, be less forthright there and we can win, you might hope.
But believe me, the path of despair is also the path to defeat. To give people hope that change is possible, we have to forge a path to power.
The first step is to empower our movement. We aren’t just a different team of politicians in Westminster, alternating power with the Tories. Our party was born in communities like mine and many of those we lost in the election.
To win again, we need to look and sound like it. It’s our members and trade unions, on the front line in workplaces and communities, who will make that a reality.
Then we can stir up a democratic revolution. We need to break the hold of Westminster and the City over our politics, and show people that they can have the power to achieve what they want to achieve.
People want a better life for their children – that’s aspiration – but we can only secure that together – that’s socialism.
That’s something powerful to say to all of our heartlands, from Blyth to Brixton. A credible story of how we will help people improve their lives.
Our Green Industrial Revolution can bring people together. It unites young people, who want to fight for our planet’s survival, with workers in every community, who will see new green jobs and lower bills, and the whole country proud to be world leaders in combating the climate crisis.
The Green Industrial Revolution can be for us what the NHS was to the 1945 Labour government. Our huge, era-defining project to combat the climate crisis and transform the lives of people across this country.
My plan – based on aspirational socialism, a Green Industrial Revolution, empowering our movement and a democratic revolution – is our path back to power.
When we win the next general election, I want you to be able to say that you stared defeat in the face last time. You felt the pain. But you picked yourself up and were part of a new path to power.
So, let’s empower our movement to show that big change is possible through a democratic revolution that delivers aspirational socialism and a Green Industrial Revolution.
That’s our path to power. Let’s take it together.’
Jon Lansman is a member of Labour’s NEC and founder of Momentum