Earlier this week, thousands of Labour members received an email from John Prescott, the former New Labour deputy leader, encouraging voters to back Burnham for Labour leader. Darrall Cozens, a long-standing member of the Labour Party, replies to Prescott and calls on workers and youth to vote for Corbyn and fight for socialism!
On this year’s August bank holiday, thousands of Labour members received an email from John Prescott, the former New Labour deputy leader, encouraging voters to back Burnham in the leadership election. Darrall Cozens, a long-standing member of the Labour Party, replies to Prescott and calls on workers and youth to vote for Corbyn and fight for socialism!
Dear Comrade Prescott,
It reads much better when comrade has a capital letter.
I was both pleased and disappointed to receive your email below asking for support for Andy Burnham and not Jeremy Corbyn. You have now joined the ranks of ex-Labour leaders and “grandees”, such as Blair, Mandelson, Kinnock, Straw et al., calling on Party members and supporters to reject Corbyn in favour of someone else. To be fair, however, you have not stooped to the depths that the former have in belittling and smearing Corbyn and his supporters. You have rightly condemned such statements.
Like you I have been in the Labour Party for a long time, having joined in October 1964. I first noticed your role in the labour movement when, as an Executive Committee member of the NUS, you played a leading role in the seamen’s strike of 1966. In May 2001 too, your punch in response to being targeted with eggs raised you up in my esteem.
However, these positive incidents are completely outweighed by the support you gave to Blair over Iraq, a military intervention which in hindsight you call a “bloody crusade” – bloody for millions of Iraqis and also mainly working class men and women in the UK armed forces – that was based, in your words, on “tittle tattle”. You also now describe it as “frankly wrong” and one of the main reasons why Labour lost support and members, and also why many young men have become radicalised. And after all of that you still state that you were proud to have served with Blair! Don’t you see the irony?
And now you want us to support Burnham (who also supported New Labour’s imperialist adventure in Iraq in 2003), mainly on the basis of his wish to renationalise railways and integrate health and social care. Let us be honest. Any call for nationalisation was far from Andy’s lips until Jeremy entered the fray. Since then, Burnham, Cooper, and even Kendall have tried to steal some of Corbyn’s policies as they have seen how much they have resonated with Labour members and supporters. Why should we vote for any of the three pale shadows when we can vote for the the real thing in Corbyn?
What you also fail to mention – although to be fair, again, you did say you would be brief – is that all the candidates bar Corbyn favour austerity policies to balance the budget in the lifetime of this parliament. As you know full well, the only way to achieve that is by slashing public spending at a national and local level, resulting in lower living standards and public service cuts that will hit the bedrock of our support: working class people.
The mass influx into the Labour Party and the mass meetings that have taken place are a direct result of the policies offered by Corbyn and the way that he has inspired people, especially the young, to get involved once again. Remember that in 1997 we had 400,000 members; by 2010 this had gone down to 180,000 due to disenchantment with Labour. Corbyn has not only reversed that trend, but also brought tens of thousands more into the Labour Party. Without Corbyn that would not have happened.
You may now understand why I and many other members (young and old) are supporting Corbyn. Does he have all the answers to the problems facing our people? I don’t think so. But what he has done is shift the basis of the discussion to the left so that once more the ideas of socialism are being raised. In my opinion, the continuation of capitalism means only more misery for our people – working class people; and with another crisis looming on the horizon, things are going to get a lot worse.
So for now I call on people to vote for Corbyn – but also to fight for socialist policies in our Party.
Darrall Cozens (Coventry NW Labour Party, personal capacity).
Hello comrade! (We can still say that can’t we?)
I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and be brief.
This leadership election is nearly over, and it looks like it’s down to a choice between Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham.
I was glad I encouraged MPs to nominate Jeremy to get him into this race because we really needed a debate on Labour’s future.
And what a debate it’s been! People are flocking to meetings, our number of members and supporters has tripled and there’s a buzz about Labour again.
But now you need to decide who’s the best person to lead us back to power in 2020.
And for me, that person is Andy Burnham.
From progressive renationalisation of our railways to integrating social care into our NHS, Andy has the ideas, experience and passion to unite this party and put our traditional values in a modern setting.
We need a leader who won’t just lead protests ON Downing Street. Andy’s the best candidate to march us back INTO Downing Street.
Because if we don’t choose a leader who can win in 2020, we’ll give the Tory’s another five years of misrule to hit the poor and dismantle everything we achieved in Government.
So if you haven’t yet, please vote for Andy today.
The future of our country and our party depends on it.
And you’ll make me happy too!
Thank you and enjoy your bank holiday.