Our top 10 most-read comment pieces of 2020

Elliot Chappell

Between the Labour leadership election, coronavirus and Brexit, 2020 has been eventful to say the least. And along the way, LabourList has offered many, many contributions from across the breadth of the labour movement. Below is our list of the ten most-read comment pieces from the past 12 months.

1. Why I’m backing Keir Starmer for Labour leader, Laura Parker – February 19th.

“With a drive to unify our party around a radical programme, the experience to oversee the rebuilding and management of our complex party machine and the skills and determination to take on the Tories, Keir Starmer can become a great party leader. If we – over half a million members – accept and rise to the challenge of supporting him in this endeavour, then we will become more than the sum of our individual parts and also a great party.”

2. Returning to work? Section 44 explained, Shelly Asquith – May 12th.

“There’s been a lot of talk about ‘Section 44’ since Boris Johnson announced plans to ease coronavirus lockdown measures at the weekend and advised some people to return to work. But what does Section 44 actually do, and what does it mean for you if you’re returning to work tomorrow?”

3. It’s time for a new generation. Why I’m not standing in Momentum’s elections, Jon Lansman – May 16th.

“After working seven days a week for the better part of five years, I will be spending more time with my family, who have also suffered from my role. The struggle for an equal, environmentally sustainable world continues. By keeping up the momentum, building on the great strides made in the last five years, I have every faith that the next generation will succeed where we have not yet done so.”

4. Why have the self-employed been hung out to dry by the Chancellor? Olga Fitzroy – March 21st.

“A slight tweak to Universal Credit meant that after weeks of coronavirus-related cancellations, thousands of my colleagues in all parts of the music industry and beyond will get to apply for a measly £400 a month at best and wait five weeks for it to land in their account. I guess that is one way of stopping people from hoarding – just don’t give them any money!”

5. What the latest CLP nominations tell us about Labour’s leadership elections, James McAsh – February 13th.

“It is all but impossible that Starmer and Rayner will lose. Moreover, their staggering leads make it clear that they have hoovered up support from both previous Corbyn supporters and his critics. Is this a new era of unity? A happy compromise between those who want the Corbyn project to enter a new stage, and those who want it to end? Or rather, will the expectations for the new leadership be ultimately irreconcilable? Only time will tell.”

6. Voting down the CHIS bill would weaken national security and human rights, Conor McGinn MP – October 14th.

“We have to deal with the legislation this government brings forward, and do so in a way that shows we are a responsible government-in-waiting. The covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill is imperfect, but voting it down would weaken national security and lead to weaker legal safeguards. That’s not a choice we will make.”

7. Civil servants are key workers too, and the government must protect them, Rachel Hopkins MP – May 4th.

“It is important that we do not return to the previous business as usual where key workers were taken for granted. One thing is for certain: the selfless work of those who believe in a decent society, and who have prioritised the safety of the collective, must be recognised. It is these workers who will be fundamental in rebuilding our economy after the Covid-19 crisis.”

8. Left Out by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire review – inside story of Labour under Corbyn, Sienna Rodgers – September 4th.

Left Out by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire benefited from there being no shortage of odd, dull-witted and downright shitty behaviour from Labour officials and elected representatives over the last few years. Covering such a leak-prone period of the party could have been a challenging endeavour, and you might think there can’t possibly be more to reveal. But the time between Labour’s 2017 better-than-expected general election performance and Keir Starmer taking the helm provides plenty of material.”

9. How Labour’s approach to opposition has shifted under Keir Starmer, Sabrina Huck – May 12th.

“A Labour Party that once again sees itself as an integral part of the system poses a huge challenge to those who still hope that a Labour government is the first step to transforming the state and society. The question is whether there will be scope to at least influence Team Starmer on policy, if not on strategy.”

10. Where the Socialist Campaign Group should go next for a unified left, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP – May 4th.

“Jeremy is no longer leader and being a member of the Socialist Campaign Group doesn’t confer career advantage. That doesn’t mean, however, that membership should be for everyone. I don’t support inviting soft left, Open Labour MPs into the Campaign Group. I do, however, think it’s vital that we work with them inside and outside of parliament to achieve our shared aims.”

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