Leadership starts with listening – and I want to hear from you

Angela Rayner

Today nominations closed in the Parliamentary Labour Party part of the contests to elect Labour’s next leader and deputy leader. I’m incredibly proud to have the support of so many elected representatives from across our movement – and now it’s over to our members and affiliates.

I want Labour to offer a socialism that’s rooted in people’s real lives, underpinned by properly-resourced activism and effective organisation that ultimately takes us to power. We have to look at how we campaign, how we resource our grassroots, the technology we use and how we turn our huge number of activists into a nationwide Labour community with the collective knowledge, skills and ambition to win.

By doing that, we can achieve some of what we all joined this party to do. As vital as canvassing is, none of us became involved in politics just to endlessly ask the same five questions on the doorstep.

If we change how we do things, we can build trust and election-winning campaigns while changing lives at the same time. I know our members and elected representatives already do that every day by running food banks, offering welfare advice, running school uniform swaps for struggling families, organising WASPI groups and contributing to their communities in so many other ways.

I want to do more of that, and I want to do it unashamedly as Labour so there is never any doubt that our party is truly on the side of the people; not just in the weeks leading up to polling day but every day, everywhere.

As a trade union organiser for most of my life, I know this isn’t done through top-down structures. Our movement’s story is of collective action to achieve change. I don’t have all the answers – no one person does. But I know a few million people who can help.

That’s why I’m asking members, affiliates, councillors, candidates and everyone across the movement what you think we need to do. It starts with the lessons to learn from the election campaign but it goes much deeper than that – we haven’t won an election since 2005 and have lost support in too many areas of the country.

How should we be campaigning as a party? Is there something your CLP or branch is doing that you think everyone should know about? What resources and technology would really get us moving? What frustrates you – but also what inspires you? To be blunt: what went wrong this time, what can we do better and where do we need wholesale change? You can tell me here.

I will never forget how I felt when that exit poll came out at 10pm on 12th December. This deputy leadership campaign is a chance to look at all of the reasons we suffered such a seismic defeat. That’s not easy. The pundits and papers have had their say. But I want to hear from you. Leadership starts with listening – and that’s what I’ll do if you place your trust in me as our party’s next deputy leader.

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