Speculation is mounting over whether Jon Cruddas will stand for the Labour leadership. I’ve heard word that, at the very least, he is seriously considering it. And he’s certainly giving off all the signals of a man who intends to run.
Cruddas told a Compass meeting at the Local Government Association tonight:
“Working out how to win again requires working out why we lost. And let’s be clear – Labour lost this election. Dodging a bullet is not the same as winning.
“Let’s be under no illusion about the seriousness of our scale of our defeat. 29% represents the worst Labour performance since 1983. The drop in the Labour vote in a lot of the ex-industrial areas away from the inner cities was especially stark. The people who are struggling most in the new economic order are the people we should look to first, but they are the people who have walked away from us.
“That we did not suffer a more crushing blow is down to one thing, and one thing only: the culture of organising that is rooted in many of our local parties. There are many examples to point to: Islington, Birmingham Hodge Hill, Oxford East, Blackburn – my own area of Barking and Dagenham where we crushed the BNP. We must learn from these shining examples of what is possible when our local parties are organised and up for the fight. Organisation is the key to our renewal.
“But we must also take a hard look at our record in office in the cold light of day. We must not put ourselves down, but we cannot hide either. We have lost millions of voters, and a careful analysis of where they have gone is crucial.”
Referring specifically to a question as to whether he would stand, Cruddas said:
“I have been encouraged by the number of calls and emails that I’ve received. I am grateful that people think I can play a role in rebuilding the party. The key element is that rebuilding process is time. We’re in for the long haul here, and time is on our side. We must not rush a leadership contest, or have any sort of coronation. And as the party must take its time, so I will carefully consider my position.”