I’m standing for election to the NEC to offer Labour Party members the opportunity to vote for a socialist candidate, utterly opposed to austerity and unashamedly proud of the trade union link with the party.
As well as pursuing truly socialist policies such as public ownership of vital services and nuclear disarmament, I would campaign hard to ensure that our great party is member led by changing labour conferences from being the staged PR stunt it has become, to being a real democratic event worthy of the labour movement, where debate is encouraged and policies are voted in. We need to put power back into the hands of the many members of the party.
To compliment this, our candidates must reflect our members and the communities we seek to represent. To this end, I would like the NEC to review the ways in which we can make the candidate selection process even more friendly to diversity. Our councillors, MP’s and MEP’s must reflect our members and the wider society. That includes looking at gender, ethnicity, age and of course, class.
I’m proud of much of what the Labour Party achieved between 1997-2010. We introduced the minimum wage, banned fox hunting and lifted 1M children out of poverty.
But let’s be honest; We also made some terrible errors. The Iraq war was woefully wrong, we didn’t build nearly enough council housing, New labour took on too much of the Tory economics, only too happy to privatise, and at times, we cared more for focus groups than our principles.
We must now be uncompromising in our core socialist beliefs and on the side of the oppressed every time, without fail.
Never again can we vote for a war on non existent evidence or allow marketisation of the NHS or fail to vote against a welfare cap. Never again.
You won’t catch me pandering to the right when they bash immigrants or call people benefit scroungers. There is no place in the Labour Party for that sort of language and we must not allow the Tories to get away with scapegoating; the blame for a lack of quality jobs and housing should be placed firmly at the Tory door.
We have, thanks to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, started to regain our moral compass. Under his leadership, debate is allowed and he has led the party back to where it should be; tackling injustice and inequality.
Now, it’s time to be unashamedly Labour and stand up for socialism and solidarity once again. I am completely behind our current leader and cannot wait to see Jeremy at number 10 Downing Street as Prime minister. He is leading our party magnificently and he needs support from within the NEC. If elected, I will support Jeremy.
Cllr Luke Cresswell is chair of South Suffolk CLP