After Years Of Confusion, Labour Is Distinctive From The Tories - Now We Must Unite Behind Our Leader

29/09/2016 16:33
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Liverpool looked glorious as we departed Labour's conference yesterday afternoon. The summer's hullabaloo was setting as a new, rosy red optimistic spirit descended upon the Labour faithful.

We set off, enthused by the policies that made this party truly distinctive, united behind our leader.

And these policies truly are distinctive. For the first time in decades the Labour party is making its own the sort of policies my members have long hungered for.

On an anniversary that was weighing heavy on the mind of thousands of workers - that of the Redcar steel closure - Jeremy Corbyn stood before the country and promised that his would be a government that would never again allow such an aberration.

A National Investment Bank would support our vital industries, music to the ears of Unite's members and the companies they work for as they face head on the challenges of our changing economy. This bank would put us on the same footing as Europe's industrial powerhouse, Germany, dedicated to making sure our world-class industries stay so.

Jeremy also committed to a national education service to support our children as they seek to equip themselves with the skills they need to take their place in the world - as equals, not as the products of hope-killing segregation.

A homes-building programme, setting men and women to work to put decent, affordable roofs over people's heads, arresting the scandalous wage-devouring rents in this country and retrieving the hopes of home ownership which have receded into Tory dreamland for millions.

Jeremy also revealed that he is a brave politician. While some in his party interpret Brexit as an act of phobia by my class, Jeremy has stood firm to say that we never, ever pander to those who peddle fear. We face it head on, exposing the truth that the destruction of our services is not the responsibility of our Polish, Portuguese or Pakistani neighbours - who are more than likely helping to defend them, working day and night to care for our needy - but the fault of a slash and burn government. Jeremy's response is that we do not divide our communities; we repair them.

Labour is now, after years of personality confusion, distinctive to the Tories. Fairness versus division. Investment versus cuts. On your side versus on your own.

Now we need to stay united in what we stand for and behind our leader.

Those who fail to read this new mood correctly must surely consider their consciences. Our country faces a profound challenge: how do we forge a new future for ourselves outside the European Union? The Tory party will have no qualms about dumping the hard-fought rights and living standards of working people into the Channel, cutting deals in desperation that will bounce our communities into the economic dark ages.

Our duty as a party therefore is to turn and fight with our every fibre for the best deal for the people we represent, not to wheedle and plot, to dissemble and deceive, to disunite our party and distract us from our purpose.

That purpose is, unequivocally, to win power. And the purpose of that power is to make ours a better Britain. Surely everyone can sign up to that programme.

Len McCluskey is the general secretary of Unite the union