Smith is the man for leader

Labour has been committed for over a century to winning popular support through Parliament to reform capitalism.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:00 pm
Mary Glindon.

Winning elections and espousing principles are not opposites. We cannot achieve our aims in one go, but over time.

When we were elected in 1997, it was because we proved we could combine compassion with competence. We had 13 good years, but then lost two elections. This led Labour to elect an unlikely outsider, Jeremy Corbyn, as our leader.

Corbyn is seen by many, who tried to work closely with him, as a weak leader, who fails to hold the Government to account and whose standing in the polls is dreadful. It was surprising that he refused to resign when over 80 per cent of MPs withdrew confidence in him.

Owen Smith is proposing policies to boost the economy and social justice which reflect authentic Labour values, not least halting the public sector pay freeze, which has battered the most low-paid workers who often provide vital services to the most deprived and vulnerable.

Labour faces an existential choice between irrelevance or voting for a leader who can get us off the floor in a possibly early election and, much more importantly, begin solving the problems faced by millions of people.

I have a duty to speak frankly about the leadership contest. I want Labour to win the next election and deliver policies that improve lives now. For me, Corbyn cannot do that, but Smith could.