Why I’m supporting Rebecca Long-Bailey

By Liz Smith.

When I was young I didn’t cope well with disappointment. One night my dad sat on the bed and said, “Elizabeth try not to waste more than a day of your life on a disappointment”. Well I’m trying to live up to that advice and my dream of a fairer society where we value people above profit is alive and well. To make sure that dream translates into a future Labour government I’m going to share with you some of my reasons for backing Rebecca Long-Bailey in the Leadership election.

I learned about politics and human behaviour through observing my dad at work as an NUM official. Every Sunday morning he chaired a meeting of the miners in what we called ‘my dad’s hut’. I used to stand outside and earwig. Some of the debates were humdingers, peppered with raised voices and passionate pleas. This wooden building was a hub in the community and fulfilled a number of functions. At the end of the meeting the miners walked down to the second hub in the community, the Social Club where debate and argument were left behind because on Monday morning these comrades were responsible for their collective safety in a dangerous and hostile environment.

We in the Labour family need that camaraderie and unity more than ever before. All leadership candidates talk about unity but those words have little meaning if not backed up by action. Why do I believe RLB can unite the party? Well first of all I have to examine past actions, how else can we judge? The so called ‘chicken coup’ was both deeply damaging to the party and emphasised divisions always present in a broad church. Three of the current candidates making a pitch to be leader resigned on that Sunday in 2016.RLB a recently elected MP did not. When asked she then stepped up to a crucial cabinet position as Business Secretary vacated by those who refused to accept the democratic decision of the membership. She has never wavered and has therefore earned the legitimacy and trust to declare herself the unity candidate.

She has chosen to run on a joint ticket with Angela Rayner, a candidate from a more centrist wing of the party. The Deputy Leader will of course be elected by the members but it demonstrates a willingness to work closely with those who don’t align exactly with her policies.

Rebecca has spent the last four and a half years designing policies. The Green New Deal is in my opinion the jewel in the crown. Rebecca wants a ‘new era of prosperity, security and well being’. I believe the Labour Party needs to reconsider who it represents and broaden its base. The environmental crisis we face affects the whole population. This is the policy which can unite both MPs and the country in common endeavour and purpose. It unites us internationally as the poor will suffer disproportionately across the globe as we are now witnessing unprecedented events causing unimaginable suffering. This policy as designed by RLB will democratically re-structure the economy returning decision making to where it should be, in local communities. Rebecca understands the need for rewilding to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. I could go on.

Rebecca’s record on austerity speaks for itself. From entering parliament in 2015 she opposed the Tory Welfare Bill on both second and third readings. That takes guts. She knows that we must remain an anti-austerity party because we have 14,000,000 people in their country barely surviving.

Rebecca is committed to the decentralisation of power from Westminster and will return it to regional and local decision makers. Our country is unbalanced and we desperately need a government which will take the lead on investment outside of the South East. She knows that to attract private investment, the government of the day must take the lead and invest in all areas of infrastructure. Rebecca is determined to deliver on world class, modern and democratic public services.

I may be biased but I can only see one candidate with both the policies and qualities of leadership to transform this country and lead out of the mess we are in. She’s strong, loyal, she communicates well, she has a vision which is supported by the correct values and convictions. She is the unity candidate and I would never underestimate her strength of character. Apart from that it is high time the Labour Party was led by a woman.

Why we should support Richard Burgon for Deputy Leader

A Campaigning Deputy Leader fighting back for local communities, the members and the Labour Party Movement.

By Pascale Mitchell

Bermondsey and Old Southwark Labour Party and Southwark Momentum Steering Committee

In 2015, many members became active in the Labour Party. We didn’t win the election that year, and a leadership election was called. Jeremy Corbyn was the Socialist Campaign Group candidate who struggled to fill his required nominations. Our membership rallied behind him and his campaign because he offered a real hope and a transformative socialist agenda. We need to do the same for Richard Burgon as Deputy Leader in this election.

I campaigned for Jeremy because he wanted to represent my working class community and supported a local rooted campaign, I was involved in, in Bermondsey to save two children’s centres. We all have a similar story to tell share as to why we campaigned for Jeremy. Richard and Jeremy share a passion for supporting international politics, social justice and human rights issues, local and national campaigns and also have a strong commitment to the struggles of those who are oppressed.

Sunday 26th June 2016, Momentum called me as a key contact for Southwark Momentum they wanted to mobilise as many Labour members as they could to meet in Parliament Square, the next day. Ten thousand members of the Labour Party came together in Parliament Square to stand in solidarity and support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Richard Burgon, elected in 2015 to represent the constituency for Leeds East, came out and spoke passionately in defense of the leadership and members. It was a speech that I still talk about and remember today. We need Richard as deputy leader because he really cares about the movement we have been a part of creating and the communities that we want to reach out to.

We have built a strong left movement over the past 4 years. Activists across the country have organised in their communities and amongst one another in their local left groups. We have built the biggest political party in Europe. As we enter the leadership contest we have to elect a strong and committed socialist team. Supporting Richard Burgon for Deputy Leader will ensure that the project of a new kind of politics is continued in the Labour Party.

Our Deputy leader should be one that will:

  • Continue the progressive politics of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2017 and 2019 manifesto.
  • Regain the trust of the voters we lost in the 2019 election.
  • Building a Labour party rooted in communities who have been left behind by 40 years of neo-liberalism, through community organising.
  • Make sure our party is democratised, accountable, transparent and led by the membership.

When we enter politics we have generally been active in our local community, maybe in a Tenants and Residents Association or in a local campaign against cuts to services. Labour is a movement that developed from groups of workers, unions and other groups that felt disenfranchised and needed something that unified them. This same disenfranchisement has been felt during the general election campaign of 2019. In his campaign statement Richard Burgon states “I’d build a campaigning Labour Party rooted in every community”. A campaigning deputy leader will unite the activist base of our Labour movement with the unions. Campaigning against the Tory austerity cuts that affect the poorest people in our country but also the working poor, the young renters, families on zero hour contracts, carers and the disabled.

When our local Southwark Momentum group was formed in 2015 it was originally going to be Southwark and Lambeth Momentum. We met in The Ivy House in Dulwich one evening. It was an inspiring meeting with activists from across a range of local left groups and community based organisations. We had socialist speakers from across our movement. We them spent some time in breakouts discussing local issues and the effects of austerity on local communities. It really was people powered. We shared community organising ideas using post it notes on walls. The group of activists that came was so large we seperated into Southwark Momentum and Lambeth Momentum within a few months. As socialists we collectively contribute to change in society so it is really important that we engage in community organising. Reaching out, listening to what we can do to help our local communities is what we need to focus on. In my community many are facing losing their home, their businesses due to developers building more housing for investment, many of us in our local Labour Party have created a relationship and a trust that we are on their side and want to help their campaigns.

Richard is keen to develop organising and campaigning and engaging active Labour members in these campaigns. This will be key to connecting to the heartlands we have lost and the non voters who have become so disheartened by politics.

The first candidate to come out in support of open selection was Richard Burgon. This shows his commitment to ensuring we continue to democratise our party and he will hold the next leader to account to do this.

British politics were changed forever when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. Let’s continue the path to a compassionate, more democratic and equal society. This week Unite the Union backed Richard to be the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. This quote by Len Mclusky sums up for me why Richard should be the next Deputy Leader “Unite is also confident that Richard will make a superb deputy to Becky, displaying the qualities that have long been absent from that post – pride in our values, a passion for our party to succeed and, above all, loyalty to their leader.”

Rebecca Long Bailey will lead with her knowledge on policy, her working class voice and strong grounding in economics whilst Richard will be the campaigning Deputy Leader, reaching out to all the communities around the country and making sure they are heard. He will make sure members voices are heard. He will fight for local communities, the members and the Labour Party Movement.

Support Richard and vote for him at your CLP Nomination meetings.

Rebecca Long-Bailey for Leader – Richard Burgon for Deputy

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon are respectively the best candidates for Leader and Deputy to ensure that Labour has the progressive agenda necessary for the next general election. They are both committed to mounting a serious opposition against the Tories’ offensive that Boris Johnson is waging against the majority of the population. They will both fight to defend living standards and for a Labour government that will make people better off.

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca has set out here how she will ‘stand shoulder to shoulder… in every campaign against Tory cuts, with every minority community and all migrants against Johnson’s hateful agenda, and with trade unions in every struggle to protect workers’ rights.’

She opposes any ‘return to Tory-lite policies that held our party back before Jeremy’ and making any ‘compromise on our anti-racist and internationalist principles’.

She is the only candidate for Leader who did all four of the following:

  • voted against the 2015 Tory Welfare Bill;
  • nominated Jeremy for Leader in 2015;
  • endorsed Jeremy for Leader in 2016; and
  • abstained (rather than vote against) the SNP’s 2016 motion to hold Tony Blair to account for misleading the House over the Iraq war.

Rebecca has been central to developing Labour’s Green New Deal policy – tackling climate change being vital for humanity.

To be kept informed by Rebecca’s campaign visit here.

Richard Burgon

Richard has set out here how he ‘fully back[s] the policies of the previous two manifestos’, and believes that ‘the policies of peace, equality and socialism are more necessary than ever’.

He supports a fully democratic system for members to choose Labour candidates.

He is the only candidate for Deputy Leader who did all four of the following[i]:

  • voted against the 2015 Tory Welfare Bill;
  • nominated Jeremy for Leader in 2015;
  • endorsed Jeremy for Leader in 2016; and
  • abstained (rather than vote against) the SNP’s 2016 motion to hold Tony Blair to account for misleading the House over the Iraq war.

If elected Deputy Leader his focus would be on campaigning, ‘improving the party’s grassroots campaigning’ and on ‘building a Labour Party rooted in every community’.

CLP Nomination Meetings

CLP and affiliate nominations in these two elections are very important.

Candidates who fail to obtain nomination from 5% of CLPs or from 5% of affiliated organisations will not be eligible for inclusion in the final ballot.

CLPs will be holding their meetings to make nominations between 15 January and 15 February.

The guidelines for nomination meetings, which must be followed, can be downloaded from here.

Click here to sign up in support of Momentum4Corbyn.

[i] Rosena Allin-Khan was not elected till 2016, so could not participate in some of these decisions. She nominated Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership contest.

Momentum 4 Corbyn statement

Momentum was set up in 2015 in order to support the agenda of Jeremy Corbyn. It is the continuation of Jeremy’s leadership campaigns which resulted in him being elected Labour Leader in September 2015 and re-elected in September 2016.

Unfortunately Momentum is now diverging from its original purpose; on some issues it fails to support the Labour leadership and on others it even opposes the leadership.

Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda

Jeremy is putting forward a truly radical transformative agenda for a Labour government that will make people better off. He is proposing that there should be a government with clear policies to: end austerity; raise living standards; oppose racism and all other forms of bigotry and discrimination; pursue a progressive foreign policy; tackle climate change; and prevent a Trump Deal Brexit.

It is Jeremy’s agenda that informed the 2017 Labour manifesto, securing 3.5 million more Labour votes than in 2015 and increasing Labour’s vote share by 9.6%. It is the agenda that propelled Jeremy into the Labour leadership and saw him re-elected. It is his agenda that has fundamentally strengthened the left.

Currently Jeremy is leading the opposition to Johnson’s proposed Trump Deal Brexit, and has inflicted a series of Parliamentary defeats on the Johnson government.

The establishment is throwing everything it can at Jeremy’s leadership and his policies in order to prevent the election of a Labour government. Momentum should be at the forefront of opposing all these attacks, but unfortunately increasingly often it is not.

The changes needed to Momentum’s orientation

Momentum needs to return to its original role as a supportive defender of the political agenda that Jeremy Corbyn is advancing for government. It is after all just what the left has been waiting for over many years and would help build electoral support for a Labour government. That will require the election of a Momentum NCG that will correct Momentum’s current failures.

To return Momentum to its original purpose candidates should be elected to the NCG who are fully committed to delivering on the following points:

  • Momentum will publicly campaign for the Labour Party’s policies in national elections.
  • Momentum will campaign within the Labour Party for the policies of the leadership.
  • Momentum will defend the leadership against false allegations.
  • Momentum will promote unity amongst the leadership’s supporters in internal elections.
  • Momentum will develop an internal democracy to give its members and local groups a say.

Click here to sign up in support of Momentum4Corbyn.