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Why I'm supporting Ed Milliband PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 20:20
When the leadership election was first underway it was to be a short competition between two Milibands and a Balls; then it was a race between one black socialist woman and four white Oxbridge  men. But over the last few weeks we have seen what I wanted, a real nuanced debate about the future of the Labour party, what progressive politics means and the kind of leadership a mass movement needs.

And we have seen real differences emerge between the candidates, differences which are not necessarily strengths or weaknesses but simply, gloriously,  difference.  But also  differences which highlight weaknesses.  It is great to see the whole spectrum of the  left taking part. Some  Lib Dems have even seen fit to comment, although their participation in the coalition must exclude  them from progressive politics.

As a party we are fortunate, then, to have real choices in this leadership election – and to choose in the knowledge that each one of the candidates would make an important contribution to the future of the party.  They all have strengths. The perfect leader would have Diane’s ability to communicate, Ed Balls’ forceful articulation, Andy Burnham’s grass roots conviction, David Miliband’s global authority and Ed Miliband’s passionate belief in the future of the party.  

But much as I might recognise the strengths of all the candidates, in the end I had to choose one.  I listened to my constituency party: Newcastle Central nominated Ed Miliband - with significant support for other candidates.  In determining the basis on which to make my decision I was helped by the conviction that I, like the country, am more interested in the future than the past.

I want a leader who can set out a progressive vision for the 21st century, one where leadership and mass participation are complementary not contradictory, one which learns from the mistakes of the past but is not afraid to be proud of its history, one which articulates policies with confidence but without didacticism.  And,  critically for my constituency, a leader who can build  a sustainable, green, industrial future, in  which all the regions participate as equal partners.  

The country faces many difficult challenges: reducing inequalities, enabling sustainable growth, resolving the respective roles of the individual and the state, ensuring a partnership between the public and private sectors, engaging people in democracy, sustaining people in the workplace and maintaining a rapidly aging population. The Coalition is clearly not up to the job, but it may forge a consensus of the privileged and the disillusioned. I know that for every day this government remains in power, the life chances of many of my constituents are harmed.  Labour cannot be content with principled opposition,  there is an urgent need for the party to regain power. But apparent electability should not be the sole criterion for party leadership. We have a duty to future generations too.  Ed Miliband combines strong inspirational vision with experience, green economic credentials and the ability to speak to the whole party and the whole country.

I believe Ed Miliband is the best person to lead the party and the country in meeting the difficult challenges ahead, building a sustainable economic future  whilst remaining consistent with  core Labour Party values and extending democratic participation.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 20:22

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