We reproduce below a statement issued by the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) on the elections for leadership of the Labour Party:
The LRC has written to all candidates in the Labour leadership contest, asking them their views on three key issues:
- The immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan;
- Complete opposition to public sector cuts and further privatisation
of public services so that ordinary people to do not pay for the
economic crisis; and
- The fight for trade union freedom so that we can protect ourselves
at this difficult time – including supporting John McDonnell’s Private
Members Bill to tackle employers taking trade unions to courts over
minor irregularities in the balloting process.
Following further consideration, the LRC has decided to critically support Diane Abbott for Labour leader
LRC statement on Labour leadership
The Parliamentary Labour Party disenfranchised thousands of Labour
Party members and trade unionists by not nominating John McDonnell – the
most credible left candidate with the most grassroots support, and
consistent champion of socialist policies in Parliament.
A complete democratic transformation of our party is needed to ensure
power lies with the many and not the few, and reform of the nomination
process for Leader must be an urgent part of this campaign. Nomination
must be the right of all sections of the Party, not just MPs.
However, the voting record of Diane Abbott and some of her policy
positions makes her the only candidate with a left track-record in the
Labour leadership election. Indeed all the other candidates were New
Labour cabinet ministers who never dissented when in office from the
policies that alienated Labour supporters.
In response to correspondence from the LRC, Diane stated that she is
“calling for withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan”, in “complete
opposition to the Lib Con cuts” and “supporting John McDonnell’s trade
union freedom bill”.
However we do have concerns that her statements throughout this
campaign have not been consistent. For example she has publicly stated
on several occasions that she supports a phased withdrawal from
Afghanistan, and wants 50% of government budget ‘savings’ to be found by
cuts to public services.
We urge members of the Party, affiliated unions and socialist
societies to vote for Diane as their first preference, but to call on
her to be more consistent in her opposition to cuts in public services
and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. We also urge her to
cooperate with all sections of the left to help achieve these aims.
9th August 2010
Socialist Appeal agrees with many of the points made in the above statement. In advising party members and trade unionists to vote for Diane Abbott in the coming ballot in Setember, we repeat that it would have been better to have had John McDonnell on the ballot paper as well. More to the point we need a real choice when it come to both the leadership and the policies of the Labour Party as it seeks to fight this reactionary coalition-of-millionaires government. That is why the party needs to break with the failed approach of Blair/Brownism and arm itself with clear socialist demands which will challenge the power of capitalism. Having McDonnell on the ballot would have been a step in the right direction although we would underline the importance of fighting for a clear programme of demands based on the ideas of Marxism as the only real way forward for the movement. Whoever wins the election, that task and that fight remains key for all class fighters.