The decision of Jon Cruddas to support David Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party is extraordinarily significant.
As well as being renowned for his idealism and identified with the left of the Party, Jon is one of our foremost thinkers. I was very impressed when he addressed Labour MEPs during his bid for the Deputy Leadership. Jon will be an asset for David as a policy adviser as well as strategist.
This is also good news for the Labour Party as a whole. We are woefully short of MPs and others in senior positions who have any kind of intellectual credibility. I would go as far as to say that one of Labour’s real problems is its lack of brainpower, its inability to truly understand and analyse world events is any kind of rounded way. Jon Cruddas is one of the very few who has the intellectual weight to fill some of this vacuum. David Miliband is, of course, another.
I am supporting David mainly because I believe he is the only one of the Leadership candidates who looks like a Prime Minister. Prime Ministerial capability will, I am certain, be the key test in a general election, and I want Labour to win.
I also agree with David’s platform for the Leadership.
The following extract from David’s speech yesterday at the King Solomon Academy sets it out in detail:
“The decision of the Lib Dems to join a Conservative Government creates a big opportunity for the Labour Party to realign the centre left of British politics. But for me, that’s not enough. I see the primary task for Labour as shifting the centre ground of British politics.
“That means more than an agenda for changing Labour. It demands an agenda for changing Britain.
“And that agenda – of Change for Britain – requires that we recognise that the greatest threat to the good society we seek is and will remain a Conservative Party determined to rule for a generation.
“To win again we need working class voters, middle class voters, Conservative voters, Lib Dem and non voters as we drive the Tories out of power.
“Labour helped shape [the] post war period of security and opportunity. And a strong, renewed, reorganised Labour Party is vital to the future of our country today.
“Three times in 80 years, in 1931, 1951 and 1979, an exhausted Labour opposition allowed either blinkered or complacent Tory governments to make the wrong choices and misjudge the key issues of the day – about Depression and the need to fight fascism in the 1930s, about democratising the country and rebuilding Europe in the 1950s, about social division in the 1980s.
“We cannot allow that to happen again. And that is why I am standing for the leadership.
“I am asking you to help make this time different from the rest.
“Let’s write a new chapter that shows we are a party that doesn’t give in, doesn’t look inwards, doesn’t give up, doesn’t look backwards.
“Change our party with our eyes firmly fixed on change for our country. Change to put power, wealth and opportunity into the hands of the many not the few.
“That is the change Britain needs. That is the Britain we have to build. And that is the Britain we must build together.”
This is not about retreating into a “New Labour Comfort Zone”. It’s about putting Labour values into practice – improving our schools so all children have an equal chance in life, ensuring the very best health care free at the point of use and implementing policies so that everyone has a job.
This is why I will vote for David Miliband when the ballot papers are sent out next week.