In July 2016, the future Labour Party leader made the following impassioned speech… [N.B an imagined event]
Many of those thinking about British politics today are asking one simple question: what’s Left?
In a Party picking at the bones of former successes, it is easy to mistake a friend for a jackal. I want to remind us of what unites us; I want to remind us why Left is, in fact, right. I will be brief, for whilst we have a long history but we do – believe me – have an even longer, more successful future and we need to start looking towards it.
What’s Left? Well, Left is first and foremost about the abolition of inequality. Of course, the whole spectrum of British politics will nowadays profess this as a primary concern, but their promises are mere shadows; they lack substance and they lack evidence. Friends, we – the Labour party – have a proud history of championing and helping those who can least help themselves.
We do not impose austerity that hits those who can least afford it.
We do not support crippling costs to individuals for season tickets on public transport.
We do not re-introduce grammar schools which have never evidenced social mobility.
We do not privatize the wonderful NHS or schooling system to allow massive profits to be made from what are fundamental ‘British Rights’ : the rights to a free, fair, equal and excellent education and to a free, fair, equal and excellent health care provision.
Friends, a lot of our legacy is left and we have much more time left to do more.
What’s Left? We are left. The Labour party has a massive membership, over half a million people are members of the Labour Party. We are a members’ party: a party of comrades and friends. Of course, the Left encompasses a broad spectrum of belief –but we must remember that the best families squabble, fight and love in equal measure. When we leave the ‘front door’ we are ‘family’ and soon, that door will once again be Number 10.
To Trident or not to Trident? – Let’s discuss it.
Do we want HS2? Let’s discuss it.
What should the restrictions on Child Benefit be? Let’s discuss it.
How can we make immigration work for us? Let’s discuss it.
Those discussions should begin at Party Conference; we must take direction from our members; those 500,000 members are what is left.
What’s Left? I am left. Choosing to stand for Labour leader wasn’t easy. I am not Keir Hardie; I am not Aneurin Bevan; I am not Tony Blair. Equally, I am not the person who didn’t stand. I refuse to let the 2020 election be my beloved party’s nadir. I am Left-wing and I am left; I must stand and I thank you for supporting us: let’s all now come back to the family table. We are left.