By Robin Jackson
Rebecca Long-Bailey is the only Labour leadership candidate who can ensure Labour puts up a serious fight to defend people against the savage attacks being prepared by Boris Johnson’s Tory government.
The Johnson agenda, an all-out drive to attempt to Americanise British society, will see a huge economic and social offensive unleashed, which Labour will have to fight with every means possible in order to defend the working class and the most oppressed in society, and to advance Labour’s electoral support.
Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership introduced into the Labour Party a progressive political framework that is vital both for the mass of the population and for Labour’s electoral standing. Rebecca Long-Bailey’s open commitment is to maintaining that radical agenda. In her recent Tribune article, Rebecca Long-Bailey rightly placed a Green New Deal and opposition to austerity as core to Labour’s agenda.
She makes clear there should be no return to the ‘Tory-lite policies that held our party back before Jeremy’ and that ‘Never again will our party put “controls on immigration” on a mug… We must defeat Johnson and the nationalist right, never pander to them.’
Rebecca Long-Bailey’s opposition to Trump’s new war drive in the Middle East around Iran has been exactly what is required.
Rebecca Long-Bailey on all these key issues has pledged to maintain the essential orientation of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
It is therefore important that the entire left rapidly starts to promote her campaign. This is aided by the correct and principled decision of Ian Lavery not to stand.
There should be no illusions, this will be a very serious fight. The aim of the real candidate of the Labour right, Keir Starmer, is to roll back the whole of Corbynism. But he is doing everything possible to attempt to conceal this until he could gain a victory amid confusion on his real project. However, Starmer’s abstention on the Tories’ Welfare Bill before Jeremy Corbyn became Leader, and his participation in the ‘chicken coup’ to attempt to remove Corbyn as leader, leaves no doubt as to his real orientation.
To win, the left’s campaign will have to reach out to the majority of Labour members, who overwhelmingly opposed Brexit. It would be extremely dangerous, courting disaster, to attempt to present this contest as the left, Rebecca Long-Bailey, supporting Brexit, against the right, Starmer, supporting Remain, as some on the left are attempting to do.
Labour’s NEC, which met on 6 January, took some decisions that could benefit the right in this election. It decided to restrict the possible recruitment of Registered Supporters by limiting the application period to 48 hours (from 5pm Tuesday 14 January to 5pm on Thursday 16 January) and by setting a relatively high registration rate of £25 – which deters the low paid. It voted down a proposal to reduce that to £12.
Local Labour Parties will be making their nominations from Wednesday 15 January to Friday 14 February and the ballot will run from Friday 21 February to 12pm Thursday 2 April.
What is now at stake is the entire future of the Labour Party. If Labour swings to the right, it will fail to resist the huge attacking on working class living standards which is coming. This in turn would threaten Labour with the type of electoral disaster which is now gripping Socialist Parties in Europe which have adopted a right wing policy – such as the SPD in Germany and the French Socialists.
With the stakes so extremely high, Labour left activists need to go absolutely flat out to campaign, nationally and locally, to secure nominations and votes for Rebecca Long-Bailey.