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I Ran For Labour's NEC To Bring People Together And Get Jeremy Corbyn Into Number Ten - I'm Excited To Get Stuck In

From the bottom of my heart, I wholeheartedly thank every single member who entrusted me with their vote

16/01/2018 14:16 GMT | Updated 16/01/2018 14:22 GMT
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On Monday, I nipped out of my workplace at lunchtime to check my phone.

Sifting through an avalanche of over 700 unread notifications on my Twitter, I discovered to my elation that with 68,388 votes, I had topped the ballot in Labour’s National Executive Committee elections.

My comrades and fellow Centre Left Grassroots Alliance-backed candidates, Jon Lansman and Rachel Garnham, were not far behind me in votes, and both were successfully elected.

From the bottom of my heart, I wholeheartedly thank every single member who entrusted me with their vote. It is an extraordinary honour to hold this position, and I am incredibly excited to get stuck in.

My entire life has been dedicated to the improvement of working class lives in communities such as in South Manchester, where I am from and continue to live.

As a social worker and a prison chaplain, I have worked with some of the most impoverished, stigmatised and demonised people in Britain. These bitter experiences of rampant inequality and cruel disadvantage made me a socialist, and helped mould my loyalty to the cause and the traditions of our proud Labour movement.

As a British woman of Kashmiri heritage, I’ve always sought to bring people together. In 2014, when I was selected to fight the overwhelmingly white working-class Mancunian ward of Moston, our local Labour Party fought a strong and impassioned anti-fascist campaign.

We drowned out the toxic politics of the British National Party and Ukip, arguing instead for a Labour vote on the basis of the shared interests of ordinary working-class people, regardless of skin colour or nationality. I was proud to have won that seat from the bigots on a mandate of hope.

This appeal to hope is the same sort of politics espoused by Jeremy Corbyn, who I supported and stuck with even when it wasn’t politically expedient or particularly fashionable to do so.

Indeed, my vote was barely a personal one. It was an overwhelming reaffirmation of support by our membership of Jeremy and his politics of transformative change, which has been twice ratified by the membership in two leadership elections and vindicated in a historic general election – but is, sadly, reflected far too little in our Party’s national structures.

Our members, who live in the real world and know first-hand what ordinary people are going through and thinking, proved themselves to be far wiser than the political class and most media ‘experts’ in 2017.

They want change in our society – and know that this means change in our Party.

 

Whether you entrusted me with your vote or not, no matter what faction of our Party you come from, I hope that you agree that we must now work together

 

We are desperately overdue a Labour Party that is participatory and welcoming, a truly democratic and outward-looking Labour that can play a central role in the life of our communities.

I am from the street level, not the back room. I understand the demands of the membership, and will do my utmost to ensure that our Party undergoes a proper democratic renewal where ordinary members can finally have a real and proper say.

This is not to focus on the negatives of our Party: it is simply about making Labour’s structures fit for the 21st Century. By opening up our Party to further involve our phenomenally talented and deeply committed membership, I firmly believe that we will be giving the Tories a real run for their money next time around.

We do not have a second to waste. For the first time in years, you can feel a real buzz in the air.

The privileged few know that the game is up. The neoliberal consensus of yesterday can no longer justify itself in a Britain scarred by foodbanks, skyrocketing homelessness, gigantic student debt, precarious employment, disastrous foreign interventions, and a housing crisis that is colossal in scale.

Labour is setting the national agenda while the old order falls apart. All the tides of history, to paraphrase Nye Bevan, are flowing in our direction.

At the next election – whenever it may be – we have a unique opportunity to put Jeremy Corbyn in Number Ten and build a socialist Britain which works in the interests of millions of struggling workers, and not the comfortable elite. But a huge part of our victory in the future will be down to whether we foster and unleash the vast creative potential of our mass membership in the here and now.

I will be honoured to work for the unambiguous and irreversible empowerment of all Labour Party members. By doing this, I believe that I will be helping enable that imminent victory of a radical Labour government that the Tories and their billionaire backers shall never forget.

Whether you entrusted me with your vote or not, no matter what faction of our Party you come from, I hope that you agree that we must now work together to deliver this change - for our Party and for our society.

I will endeavour to not let you down. Let’s unite - and let us build the future.

Yasmine Dar is a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). She also represents Moston as a councillor on Manchester City Council, and sits on Labour’s North West Regional Board