This is my “3 minute statement” in support of Owen Smith for my CLP nomination meeting
The Labour Party was created to provide working class representation in parliament. Keir Hardie saw that no other political party could be wholly relied upon to truly represent the wishes and needs of working people, and it was not enough that their only means of protest was to attend rallies and strike. To effect meaningful change in our society Labour has to make the laws not protest unfair ones.
In past year Labour have not led in a single opinion poll. We currently stand on 26% – lower than the last General Election – and if we continue on this trajectory we might be as low as 20% if the Tories wait until 2020 (but to be honest would you wait on these numbers?). On these numbers we might lose maybe half current MPs, and probably lock ourselves from power for a decade.
In the short time that this campaign has been running Owen has produced more detail in his policy ideas than the party has produced in 10 months. Importantly, he is willing to listen and reach to all areas of the party to further develop but already he has support from Left to Right. This is what has been missing, that leadership to unite people around policy rather than keep all challenge at arms length.
Owen is from the Left of the party. He is not a Blairite – as most who disagree with Corbyn are not either. Owen has served shadow cabinet and sought to positively influence and then alter the approach of the leadership – he only left when his pleas were ignored. Owen was not part of any plot, but has taken up this challenge in order to save the party. In his own words:
“But I worry that, under this leadership, we risk splitting our Party and letting down the millions of people who rely on our movement to protect their rights at work, to maintain a properly funded public services, to build the homes that families can genuinely afford.
To our members and our supporters, I pledge to be a leader that will unite our Party under the shared values that matter to us all. I pledge to provide strong and credible leadership in opposition, holding this ruthless Tory Government to account. And I pledge to repair the divisions that have fractured our Party, and ready us to fight the next General Election.”
May I just nail the propaganda about Owen’s commitment to the NHS. Yes he worked for Pfizer, and yes he was successful. The majority of people in this country work for the private sector. In Cambridgeshire life sciences are critical part of the research economy and as such his knowledge of funding would benefit us. Owen’s words and voting records clearly show absolute commitment to the NHS. Nothing to see here.
What a pity we cannot win power by posting memes or organising rallies of Labour Party supporters alone. The reality is that we have to convince the public – people who previously did not vote Labour – that we understand not just what their problems are but that we support their aspirations too. We need to build a successful economy in order that we can pay for services that are so desperately needed by many. We need again to show that Labour is economically competent and we have a plan.
I’m supporting Owen because:
1) Owen can form an effective Opposition to challenge the Tories’ deep austerity cuts and unfair Brexit negotiations. To ensure that the interests of the 48% are represented.
2) Owen can reunite our Party, drawing on the talent across our party so we can take the fight to the Tories.
3) Owen is grounded; he understands and believes in fighting social inequality.
4) Owen has the right policies, to drive the Labour Party.
5) Owen can win the next election, for all those that desperately need a Labour Government.