Like other Labour members, I yesterday received an email from Liz Kendall. The leadership contest has been uninspiring for me as someone on the ‘realist left’ of the party, and I have not decided my full running order. But at present I won’t be voting for Liz, and even though it probably won’t be read, I thought I owed their team an explanation as to why. Twitter does not bode well, but maybe those of us ideologically closer to the centre of the party will get a listen eventually. Who knows.
I’ve reproduced my response below, in the hope that someone listens, even if it is not her.
Dear Liz Kendall team,
Thus far, your campaign comes across as only caring about one of several groups of people Labour needs to win back. How will you respond to the SNP, who have cost Labour so many seats by attacking us from the left and adding working class voters to the nationalist core vote?
More directly, what do your campaign and your views mean for my residents if we win?
Leaving people with no political choice but further massive cuts would be a big problem for many of the people I represent, meaning that there is no possibility of making a change to the biggest challenge many in the country face. Growth in the real economy is stagnant, and as a country we are currently pulling apart a welfare state that would otherwise provide both a safety net and a ladder up. If we can only win without challenging this, who will?
A stricter immigration system (which I believe you have at least hinted at) would also be very bad news for many of their family lives; indeed I have recently been approached by one resident who has not seen his own wife for over a year because she is already too poor to be allowed to love with him in this, the country of his birth. So many of my residents in Willesden Green were not born as UK nationals. Do they not staff our hospitals, local shops, universities?
This is not just moaning. To me it means something. To hold these points of view may seem like self-indulgence on my part (perhaps a response this long actually is), but I have a duty to represent these people even if their lack of media clout makes them unpopular people – and I am proud to do so.
Finally, I am tired of the leadership debate being carried out in code. If you want to cut more services or capital spending, please please tell us what that means in practice, and give us the chance of a fair choice.
In conclusion, when you are able to explain what your brand of politics offers for aspiring people as well as those who have already made it to comfortability, I promise I will reconsider.
But for now, I cannot in good conscience give you my support – I am sure you will understand.
Willesden Green Ward