Still life

A latent radicalism still exists in the Labour Party, says defeated Labour deputy leadership contender Jon Cruddas. Now the left must tap it
September 2007

Alex Nunns\' analysis of the state of the left makes a compelling case, and identifies some of the key issues that need to be tackled over the next few months.

He is especially right to say that it was only after my campaign had made the ballot (by securing the support of over 45 other MPs) that we managed to tap into the deep reserves of support for a new agenda. This raises concerns about both the threshold and strategies for the future in generating support within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). The fact that I managed to secure the largest vote in the first round was despite only just managing to avoid last place among MPs - almost all of my support came from grassroots members and trade unionists.

There are two lessons here.

First, the left in Parliament is weak. There's no point pretending that's not the case. But I think the very fact that I got onto the ballot - mainly through the strength and organisational capacity of leading Compass MPs alongside elements within the Campaign group and old Tribune group - is a positive sign for the future. How is that prospective coalition in the PLP to be constructed in the future?

Second, by using new technology and energetic open campaigning, we managed to reach out to huge numbers of new supporters - many of whom, if I am frank, had never even heard of me before the election started. Questions arise about how to tap into this latent desire for change amongst the membership and the role of new technology.

The larger question here is how we build an agenda that will appeal across the broadest range of the party, across both the centre and left. Moreover, how is this to be linked to broader movements outside of the party?

To my mind, as reflected in the analysis supplied by Alex Nunns, there are no ready-made answers. We need space to deliberate in terms of policy and organisation in a transparent, non-sectarian form within and outside of the federal architecture of the party. Recognising that 'we are where we are' and trying to develop ideas - and new techniques for campaigning around these ideas - is the challenge that confronts us.

That much is self evident. My experience over the last year is that the party is not irretrievable; that there still exists a radicalism, albeit latent. As such, it should not be beyond our political will or ability build a coalition to articulate it and organise to achieve it.

Join the debate




 

Momentum Kids: the parental is political

Momentum Kids is not about indoctrinating children, but rather the more radical idea that children have an important role to play in shaping the future, writes Kristen Hope

The new politics of art

Nina Power calls for an assertion of true human wealth through shared resources, knowledge, and art – while Jessie Hoskin and Sasha Josette explain how The World Transformed festival will respond to this call

Davey Hopper: union man

Huw Beynon reflects on the life of his friend and comrade Davey Hopper, the tough and imaginative Durham miners’ leader, who died in July

The unlikely rise of Jeremy Corbyn: an interview with Alex Nunns, the author of 'The Candidate'

Andrew Dolan interviews Alex Nunns about his new book on Jeremy Corbyn's successful campaign to become leader of the Labour Party





Comments are now closed on this article.






Red Pepper · 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JP · +44 (0)20 7324 5068 · office[at]redpepper.org.uk
Advertise · Press · Donate
For subscriptions enquiries please email subs@redpepper.org.uk