So far I haven’t made up my mind how to cast my vote in the Labour Party Leadership Election. I’m reacting against some aggressive marketing and what I see as a lack of serious political substance. So, in that spirit, I have set out below what I would like one of the candidates to say. I realise, of course, that there is no prospect of this happening but I’d like to get it of my chest. In fact, the person who has so far come closest to a statement along these lines is Pope Francis in his recent encyclical on the environment. Regrettably he is not a candidate.
‘Labour stands for social justice: the need to eliminate poverty and limited opportunity for the less able. Our values are timeless but the world has changed. Large international corporations now manage their supply chain to produce where it is cheapest; many exploit their labour force and will barter one country against another to gain subsidies and other financial advantages. They will organise their affairs internationally to reduce their obligations to pay tax.
We therefore need a thoroughgoing reappraisal of how Labour’s values can be delivered in this modern global economy. We need to articulate how modern global capitalism can be organised to deliver growth without producing obscene levels of inequality, and how that growth could be harnessed to fund a well-managed welfare state. We need a new analysis before we develop new policies. It is far more important to undertake a wide-ranging and honest debate than to move to a quick solution that gives the Party face validity in its opposition role.
It will be necessary to build international alliances while developing progressive domestic policies to manage the economy in a way that inspires confidence and maintains electoral support. This is a massive task and, if I am honest, I am unsure how this can be done.
However this will be my main priority. I will appoint a Shadow Cabinet team who are equipped to undertake the day-to-day tasks of opposition and let them get on with it. Fortunately the next two years will be taken up with messy constitutional affairs: we can stand by and watch while the Tories enter into a destructive civil war on Europe and the SNP fail to deliver on lunatic expectations. Beyond a commitment to remain in the EU as a necessary step in developing new international alliances we will take no part in any referendum campaign. I will use my authority to discipline any MP or Labour Peer who participates in any cross-Party initiative for or against continued membership.
Finally, if at the end of three years I have failed to deliver this compelling vision of a fairer future that is attracts electoral support, I will resign the Leadership’