What should we look for in choosing a new leader?

Some of the reasons put forward in the papers for supporting leadership contenders are just plain daft: ‘he can look the part’ or ‘he’s up to the job’ – not even ranking style over substance can justify such silly comments.   But it’s all part of the digital age that presentation in a 1-minute television clip rates more with the viewers than what you say.   It chimes too with the collapse of political education and the loss of public meetings as a forum for detailed and participative debate on political issues.   It debases politics into a popularity fanfare which has the enormous advantage for the power brokers who really rule Britain that it distracts attention away from the democratic abuses they perpetrate day in day out which hobble the ambitions and prospects of so many millions below them. So, given that the whole purpose of the Labour Party is to transform the power structure so that all sections of society can prosper whilst at the same time dealing with the grotesque inequality and power domination at the very top, the first requirement in choosing a leader is that he or she must be a vigorous proponent of these principles.

The importance of this has just been highlighted by a survey of Labour identifiers which found that, lethally for the party’s chances, 3 millions of them didn’t vote.   When one then adds in those Labour identifiers who did vote, but decided to vote at the end for UKIP, it starkly demonstrates how far Labour has lost its traditional working class vote by concentrating exclusively on middle class aspiration and ignoring the causes of the increasing polarisation of income, opportunity and power throughout British society in the last 30 years.   This growing away from the party at the grassroots has been further consolidated by the perception of Labour as a metropolitan London-based elite ensconced within the Westminster bubble and enjoying far too cosy a relationship with their Tory antagonists whose values and ideology they seem to share.   Sticking with austerity, unregulated banks, markets let rip, privatisation and suppression of the trade unions only causes potential Labour identifiers to wonder that Labour is now for.

This is of course the legacy of Blairism which has still not yet been convincingly discarded.   It matters because it has left the Labour Party so middle-class oriented, more than any time in its history, that it behaves as though the working class no longer exists or could safely be taken for granted.   As long as this profound chasm exists between the party and its central voting base, particularly its deeply discontented poor white working class on Council estates and in the (un)affordable private rented sector, it is hard to see how Labour will ever win a general election again.

So where does that leave the leadership contest?   It points to one man who alone has the potential among the current contestants to heal these wounds.   Step forward, Andy Burnham.



8 thoughts on “What should we look for in choosing a new leader?

  1. No, absolutely not.

    Burnham was one of the several people responsible for the NHS, during the extended period when at Mid Staffs Hospital this prevailed there;

    (Without arguing about the possible/probable number of needless and premature deaths, possibly 1200 that occurred there during that period.)

    “Building on the report of the first inquiry, the story it tells is first and foremost of appalling suffering of many patients. This was primarily caused by a serious failure on the part of a provider Trust Board. It did not listen sufficiently to its patients and staff or ensure the correction of deficiencies brought to the Trust’s attention. Above all, it failed to tackle an insidious negative culture involving a tolerance of poor standards and a disengagement from managerial and leadership responsibilities. This failure
    was in part the consequence of allowing a focus on reaching national access targets, (set and enforced by Burham and the people around him,) achieving financial balance and seeking foundation trust status to be at the cost of delivering acceptable standards of care.”

    But it scarcely matters at this point anyway the idea that Labor, (now a thoroughly discredited joke after Blair and Miliband’s swing to the far right,) are going to undergo some of kind renaissance and reconnect with exactly same people that, (again this started with Blair) that these days they regularly have ejected from consultations, (disabled delegates at the last conference and of course 82 Walter Wolfgang for heckling jack Straw,) and conferences by a hired rent a thugs is just cloud cookoo land thinking.

    The reality is this:

    But at just over 1% of the population party membership is a minority pursuit.

    There are more members of the Caravan Club, or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, than of all Britain’s political parties put together.

    This below illustrates the real shape and nature of the problem here perfectly:

    The idea to give “greater public accountability” over the country’s 41 police forces met with abject voter apathy, (actually voter hostility,) at the ballot box but the events in Rotherham over the past few weeks could change that.

    Shaun Wright was elected with a turnout of just 15% but, in a police area dominated by Labour councils, he took over half of the vote, (about 7%,) and walked into his £85,000-a-year job.

    And didn’t that work well?

  2. Is this the same Andy Burnham who, as Minister Of Health, signed off Stafford Hospital as fit for foundation status when patients were dying in appalling conditions ? The same Andy Burnham who was embroiled in the expenses scandal, allegedly letting out London homes at the same time as claiming public money to rent in the city ? Chuka Umuna has withdrawn because he doesn’t want to be put under the spotlight. Who else can we trust ?

  3. The problem with all the current candidates is that although many of them seem adequate to probably do the job, that’s the problem, they’re just adequate. The problem with all the other candidates is that they have all been held responsible for Labour’s failure at the polls in the General Election. What we need now is not just someone who has a commanding presence and looks and talks the game, but someone who has played it as well. I think that Sir Keir Starmer should be given the chance. Although he has been an MP just over a week, he can sympathise with people who have had to work their way up in the world, which he has and could help to reconnect the working class with the Labour Party. He is also specialises in child and sexual abuse, human rights and rights of women in society, as austerity affects women more than men. Also, he doesn’t have the emotional baggage that can be used by the papers against him. Since his election, he has tackled Cameron’s plan to scrap the Human Rights Act head on and doesn’t seem like slowing down anytime soon. He is well versed with everything that Cameron is trying to do as he was the Director of Public Prosecutions from 2008-2013 and head of the Crown Prosecution Service and is also an international human rights lawyer.


  4. Again, you say that now, but as with so much else, Labor, (too many MPs are now also landlords and rentiers,) did bugger all about this when they were in position to do so, largely because they were always far more interested promoting policies that inflated the value of their own property portfolios and the rents they can charge their tenants.

    That policy is to create and maintain scarcity.

  5. Listening to social media that interviewed tory paper journalists, the most revealing point was who they regarded as the most favourable candidates, needless to say Chuka Umnna was top of their list and the other blairites.

    The whole media debate is branding everyone on the left as economically illiterate and those of the Blairite faction as sound. The odd thing is that during the election campaign we heard of nothing but incompetence of the previous government.

    We are once again being fed on a diet of propaganda, as though it was fact.

    The other thing members of the labour party need to remember is, that when the candidates talk of listening to what people are actually saying, they fail to mention what the Scottish rout told them, they never mention the SNP success in anything other than a swing to nationalism, which of course was New Labours theme; that hid the truth, being that the SNP fought on an anti austerity platform.

    I have heard nothing from any of the candidates so far that is anything other than the usual platitudes, In short they are all still singing off the same hymn sheet as the Tories.

    The facts are that austerity can’t possibly work, those that propound it probably even know that, so why would anyone in their right mind vote for any of them?

    Put simply, like a household they say, we need to balance our books, well looking at a household budget, if you have overspent how do you pay back your debts? Certainly you cut back on spending, when you do that in the economy, people who make things for you or provide services, have less money and likewise have to cut their cloth accordingly. That means people lose their jobs and so the spiral downwards continues, which is why the national debt grows as the government receives less in tax receipts and yet must manage the existing public expenditure.

    The real problem though, is that Thatcher and the Neo-Liberal governments that followed destroyed our manufacturing base for ideological reasons, which means that we have monthly trade deficits ranging between £2 – £3 Billion per month, month in month out, and you never hear them talk about that.

    What Labour party members need to understand is that the DEFICIT IS A LIE, and why are the politicians lying to us. what they need to say is that we have the money to pay for all our public expenditure, and when they tell us that we are broke, they are actually lying.

    The truth is we need to nationalise our Banking system and put debt free money into public services and industries as the capitalist system has failed and will only create more poverty.

    For an explanation as to how austerity is destroying the economy, please look at this video from an Australian academic.


  6. Labour member, but I didnt vote. Firstly I didnt like the local election candidate. His a scumbag. His selection was rigged. Members wanted him out but Labour decided otherwise. I don’t believe in giving my consent to an individual.to represent me when deciding on man made laws. I can represent myself and that is what true real deomocracy is, allowing the average joe to represent themselves.

    Labour has lost the plot. They do not listen to its own members never mind the electorate. They talk about empathy for the poor, how many Labour MPs or Councillors live off JSA or ESA?. A lot of the shafow cabinet are millionaires.

    I see Bliar hanging around like a vulture ttying to get control of the party again. He is a scumbag to.

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