Back John McDonnell for Labour leader

Submitted by martin on 12 May, 2010 - 11:26

Last November, at the Labour Representation Committee conference, left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell told us: "If there is a new Labour leadership election, I will stand again".

As we understand it, he is likely to make a formal announcement soon about entering the contest now opened up by Gordon Brown's resignation.

McDonnell also put himself forward as a candidate in 2007, when Tony Blair resigned. He told us last November: "Last time we were severely limited by minimal resources, but we did take issues out into the affiliated unions.

"We tried to ensure that there was a debate in the constituency parties, too, and that happened to a certain extent. We were killed off by the centralised control of the nomination process.

"What we need to do different this time, I think, is to make the debate much wider, much broader. We have to be much more media-savvy, use the media more effectively, and take the debate into the social movements as well. There is a whole range of organisations now beyond the traditional Labour and trade union movement whom we need to involve in the debate.

"It will be focused around a post-mortem – around what happened to a government that turned on its own supporters".

Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London and even-more-former left-winger, has claimed that the leadership contest will offer “a clear choice between left and right".

In Livingstone's picture, however, "David Miliband will be the candidate of the right and we are not yet clear whether it will be Ed Balls or Ed Miliband as the candidate of the left”.

The media are giving the same story, defining "right" and "left" in the Labour Party by allegiance to a clique round Blair or a clique round Brown.

In fact Labour under Brown was no more left wing than Labour under Blair.

Ed Balls has just been urging school governors to tell head teachers to stay away from school during the SATs tests this month so that the governors can go into the school and break the unions' boycott on SATs. Ed Miliband was the Energy Minister who refused to budge when the Vestas wind turbine blade workers, occupying their factory, demanded nationalisation to save their jobs and green energy production.

Jon Cruddas is also named by the media as a possible "left" candidate. David Miliband is said to have asked Cruddas to run with him as deputy leader, to make a "dream ticket" supposedly combining right and left.

Cruddas talks vaguely about returning Labour to its roots, but is not left-wing. He proposes a cut in the union vote at Labour Party conference from just under 50% to 33%. From 1997-2001 he was a Downing Street aide to Tony Blair. He voted for the Iraq war.

McDonnell will be the clear left candidate in the election. His campaign in 2007 drew big meetings round the country despite the rules making it very difficult for him to get enough nominations to enter the actual vote-out.

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