Dear leadership candidates: The party comes first

16th May, 2010 10:27 am

By Olly Deed

Dear Labour Party leadership candidates,

Party members across the country are crying out for a wide ranging and frank debate. After 13 years in government, our party needs a period of catharsis. Reflection will be key. For the party and the candidates it is now time to assess the rights and wrongs of the last government. Be honest. Now is the time to reinvigorate and enthuse our members. Be bold. And now is the time to plan a strategy for government. Be brave.

Candidates need always remember; it is a privilege to be the leader of the Labour Party. If you are successful you will follow in the footsteps of immensely talented people. Remember the vision of Atlee, the oratory of Foot and the daring of Blair. A great leader of the Labour Party encapsulates all of these characteristics and much, much more. Be radical and courageous; unite the party rather than divide it, and we’ll be on the right path back to government.

And if you are successful in your bid to be leader, always remember your responsibilities to us. You represent over 100,000 members from a diverse number of backgrounds who hold diverse and conflicting views. As leader you’re going to have to bridge these differences and bring us together.

You also provide a voice for the voiceless in society, the sorts of people that the Libservatives are not interested in. The single mother, the struggling family, the hardworking teachers, the nurses and doctors of this country. In providing that voice, you need to articulate a narrative that appeals to all, based on our values of social justice, fairness and liberty.Nobody said this job was going to be easy.

So, candidates, good luck over the following months. Please keep it civil. Put our party first, not your personal ambition. The ConDem government would like nothing better than months of civil war within the Labour Party. If you can maintain a level of civility and respect within this debate, the Labour Party will be better for it and once we’ve invested our faith in one of you, we’lll be in a better position to take on this administration and take back the government.

Yours sincerely,


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