Friday, May 21, 2010

Support grows for John McDonnell

Whilst regular readers Sid and Doris Blogger will know that I am very concerned about the Unison General Secretary election (in connection with which I yesterday gave a leaflet to the main challenger to leading left candidate Paul Holmes) - no sensible trade unionist can ignore the Labour leadership election.

The latest online poll (http://www.labourlist.org/may-21-labourlist-leadership-poll-the-results) shows a surge in support for John McDonnell, whose support has doubled in a week and shows the largest percentage point increase of any candidate.

John is in third place behind the disappointing offspring of Ralph Miliband.

Unison United Left supported John's leadership bid at our AGM on Saturday and were right to do so.

John has done more to build the organisation of the left and the rank and file in our movement than any other socialist Parliamentarian.

Whilst there is an urgent need for effective diplomacy within the PLP - and clearly the Campaign Group must ensure a united Left campaign around a single candidate - rank and file activists must make crystal clear to all MPs that John is the best candidate around whom to build enduring rank and file organisation to keep up the pressure for socialist policies within our Party and our movement (and therefore to support Campaign Group MPs in a spirit of accountability).

I understand the initial flurry of excitement arising from the celebrity candidacy of TV star Diane Abbott but am not persuaded that we should choose her as standard bearer of a rank and file left of which she has never really been a part.

The "fan club" style of organisation on the Left, epitomised by "Progressive London" and associated with a political tradition rooted in a certain part of the old International Marxist Group, doesn't seem to me to offer a worthwhile model for taking socialist politics forward in the Labour movement in the twenty first century.

Trade unionists who believe that our affiliated levy payers are entitled to an opportunity to vote for a candidate for Labour Leader who will consistently support ourselves and our unions should lobby Labour MPs to nominate John McDonnell.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

HarpyMarx said...

"I understand the initial flurry of excitement arising from the celebrity candidacy of TV star Diane Abbott but am not persuaded that we should choose her as standard bearer of a rank and file left of which she has never really been a part."

I read your blog btw!!

I agree with you Jon, you can rely on John in a struggle, there on a picket line, grass roots activism..he's usually there. From Gate Gourmet to Vestas to the cleaners' campaign to BA workers. Climate camp to the third runway to speaking at rallies against the Welfare Reform Act.

Diane Abbott isn't and never has. She speaks well in Parliament but she isn't there at the activist level.

I certainly support John McD. but unfortunately there are many on the left who see Diane Abbott as a better chance for getting a left (?) candidate on the ballot paper. This will split the left re who to support and that deeply worries me as John may be stopped again. Also, what John represents is popular with people (audience loved him on R4's Any Questions).

Diane's piece in the Indy re economic crisis isn't explicit in condemning the proposed cuts in the public sector, it's pretty mealy mouthed. And there are still lefties who are happy to back her...how desperate are people?

That's my tuppence halfpenny on the situation.