This blog asked me to write 250 words on why I’m supporting Diane Abbott for Labour leader. Here’s what I gave them:
“New Labour lost the 2010 election, having suffered the worst haemorrhaging of voters of any party in modern times. Yet much of the Labour Party has been telling us that we need more of the same. Four of the five leadership candidates are inextricably linked with the New Labour era which the public comprehensively rejected.
Only one candidate had the political wisdom and principle to actively oppose the Labour government when it was wrong. Much is made of Diane Abbott’s opposition to, for example, Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties and rightly so. However, of most importance is her passionate belief in a society which serves the many, not the few. Diane has always rejected the false distinction between the Labour ‘core vote’ and the ‘middle class’. However people are identified, she recognises that a government that works to reduce inequality and advance liberty is one which improves the whole of society.
Diane’s views are very much centre-left, and many of them (such as the renationalisation of the railways or ending Trident) are hugely popular across the country. She has also demonstrated, on issues such as Crossrail and 90-day detention, that she was willing to work with government in order to try and find compromises.
Diane is an outstanding, experienced and charismatic politician who, alone out of the candidates, has the ability to connect with ‘ordinary voters’ while making intellectual arguments against the coalition cuts. She cannot be faulted when it comes to New Labour’s failures, and her background makes her uniquely placed to be able to wrong-foot and challenge David Cameron. Much is made of what a ‘credible leader’ looks like. In 2010, the only credible leader is Diane Abbott.”