Sunday, May 13, 2007

Labour leadership - will the MPs listen to the rank and file?

Gordon Brown is now online setting out his stall. I see he is pledging to make the NHS better (which should differentiate him from all those politicians pledging to make it worse eh?) The problem for Labour Party supporters in the trade union movement is that Brown, the architect of New Labour economics, believes that privatisation is the way to do this.

If Brown is crowned as Leader without facing a serious challenge from the left there is little hope that we can mobilise political pressure to push the Party back in the direction of trade union policies – which is what we repeatedly tell ourselves we are trying to do. In UNISON, without a change in direction, the proportion of our members paying into the Labour Link will continue to decline and the future relationship between the Union and the Party will be in ever greater jeopardy.

Michael Meacher has emerged as the man most likely to ensure that Gordon Brown does not face a serious challenge from the left – a disappointing end to a mixed career in politics. If you compare the endorsements which he has received with the rank and file support for the serious left wing challenge of John McDonnell it is clear that Meacher fails to inspire the activist base of the movement – the essential ingredient to a worthwhile challenge.

Having promised to honour an agreement with John McDonnell that he would stand aside if John has promises of nomination from a greater number of MPs it now appears that Meacher intends to renege on this agreement! Surely this can't be true? And surely those respected MPs who are backing his campaign wouldn't want to be associated with such an approach.

Meanwhile, following a strong expression of support yesterday, John McDonnell is picking up more and more grassroots support. I wish I could be in London this evening to hear John best Gordon Brown and Michael Meacher in debate.

I hope that enough MPs can be persuaded to allow Party members and trade unionists the opportunity to vote for a candidate in whom we can have confidence. Good luck John!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

how many MPs does Meacher really have?
I wonder if he's trying to imply he has more than what he has just to keep wavering MPs with him and not let defect to McD's camp...so he would keep certain MPs with him on the false premise he already had a consistent support