Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2 Down. 3 To Go.

Diane Abbott has agreed to this request to issue a manifesto spelling out how she would act if elected as Leader of the Labour Party. Andy Burnham was the first to agree to do this.

Responses are still awaited from the other three candidates. They were first contacted on the matter over a month ago. Subsequently David and then Ed Miliband had the matter brought to their attention at public meetings. Whilst Ed Balls has been contacted on the issue by one of his parliamentary nominees.

So we could yet get 5 out of 5. If you have a vote in the Labour Leadership contest, then you can sign up to this campaign here.


mikeovswinton said...

How would these Manifestoes differ from - just to pick an example - the statements given by the candidates to Tribune magazine?

Harry Barnes said...

mikeovswinton : the following is all that we have asked -


The supporters of this letter are members of either the Labour Party and/or members of organisations affiliated to the Labour Party who pay their political levy or its equivalent.

Immediately after the election we felt that Labour needed a period of reflection and serious internal debate to assess the reasons for our defeat and to think through the direction we needed to move into.

Instead we have been confronted with an imperfect leadership contest in which the Party’s wider membership and its affiliated bodies have been excluded from the nominating procedure. This has restricted both the range of the political viewpoints and the background links of the candidates who have emerged.

What we feel now needs to be done is to seek to use the current imperfect leadership contest as a means by which we can acquire something like the form of assessment and internal debate which we feel is necessary.

This means that there is a need to divert the current contest away from being just another ’X factor’ game show, towards being a serious debate related to the principles contained in the Labour Party Constitution which state - 'The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect'.

To help achieve the depth and nature of the debate that we are seeking, we call upon each of the candidates to publish a Manifesto of Intent to make clear to everyone the direction in which they would seek to lead the Labour Party, based on their assessment of the reasons behind the electoral defeat and their interpretation of the direction where the principles quoted above should now lead us.

We ask that these Manifestos of Intent should be distributed widely in order to generate extensive discussion across the Party and beyond, so that this will assist those voting in the leadership contest to reach balanced and principled understandings."


Whilst we have not spelt out (a) a list of topics which should be covered nor (b) the minimum number of words that should appear in the Manifestos, it should be clear to the candidates the serious nature of what it is that we are seeking. People would be able to judge the quality of what is presented to them. Manifestos would also provide a yardstick (if seriously presented) by which the movement could then judge the subsequent actions of the winner.

Manifestos are not unheard of in politics.

Time is running out on this project. But I suspect that the reason that we are being ignored by three of the candidates is that they know exactly what it is we are seeking.