Liam Bateman writes.
Having looked over the candidates for both the leadership and the deputy leadership of the UK Labour Party, I’ve decided to give my full backing to Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson respectively. The party has a lot to examine following its defeat in May. The party has been left with 232 seats in the House of Commons following a surge for the Scottish Nationalists in their homeland and the Conservatives making gains off Labour in the Midlands and in Wales. Factionalisation has opened up within Labour, with New Labour loyalist Blairites condemning Miliband’s move to the left, believing that a return to New Labour will regain power.
This is not the case at all. New Labour was why Labour lost in 2010 and I think it’s still a contributing reason to why Labour lost in 2015. A move back to the right would be a nightmare and would result in the death of the United Kingdom Labour movement as we know it. Many members have said they can’t be simply Tories in red and I completely agree. UK Labour needs to regain its soul, entrench itself as a true alternative to the Conservatives. Miliband did begin the process of moving Labour back leftwards, but the next leadership team must continue that process.
The current frontrunner is Andy Burnham, who was a candidate for the leadership after the resignation of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who has an astonishing 66 nominations. Jeremy Corbyn currently has 24 nominations and requires 11 more in order to get onto the ballot paper. It is essential he is a candidate in this race. The Islington North MP has a very interesting history and is associated with the left of the party, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group and has defied the Labour whip 258 times over Iraq and many other issues. He cannot be ignored, as Labour cannot just look at how they can recapture the voters, but how they can change their image. A lot of people felt betrayed when New Labour got into government and so many abandoned the party for the Greens and even UKIP. A few of my British friends have told me it was New Labour that wrecked the UK Labour movement and this needs to be the focal point of the debate. Either Labour can return to the right and face the prospect of political death, or they can restore what the party stands for, social democracy and putting the ordinary man before millionaire’s row.
Tom Watson has a lot of experience and notoriety under his belt. He was Labour’s deputy chairman and former campaign manager before disagreements in 2013. He also helped expose the pedophile ring that existed right under the House of Commons’ very nose during Prime Minister’s Questions and also went after Michael Gove, referring to him as “a miserable pipsqueak of a man” and called for the resignation of Tony Blair in 2006.
Here’s a small clip of his moment against Michael Gove:
Labour needs to put considerable thought into this leadership election. It could very well decide if the phoenix will finally arise to rescue Britain from the second coming of Thatcherism or if the ashes will be washed away into the English Channel.