The election of a new Labour Leader will define the Labour party for the next 10 years. This is the time where the party has to progress from the New Labour years and subsequent election defeats. There is a lot of work to be done. Fighting back from the election result, winning back the Scotland seats, reversing the voter leakage to Ukip, defining the role of the Labour party, the state as well as UK's global role , mounting an effective opposition, being the voice of the vulnerable as well as the many and addressing the propaganda the Conservatives are feeding both media and voters unchallenged. All of this is feasible with a leader that has the strength of character and courage to stand up, be heard and is not afraid to draft a new course for the country despite doubts that may surround him or her and opposition that will follow. In this, the next Labour leader must address the following:
HISTORY: Labour won 3 consecutive elections and lost 2 in the recent years. During the years in power, successes and mistakes were made. The next party Leader should relish in the successes, accept and learn from the mistakes. The Labour party history defines the party and should be accepted, not discarded. Labour need to stop focusing on and allow other to focus only on the negatives. For every Iraq there is a Kosovo. For the failures of immigration control there is an unprecedented improvement in public services. Accept the history, stop looking backwards, stop defining the soul of the Labour party in Old and New Labour terms and move on.
VISION: The most important thing for the next Labour leader is to define his or her vision for the future in a holistic, strategic manner, avoiding the current piecemeal approach. I want to see a future vision of Britain that is enticing and exciting that makes me want to be part of it and put all of my efforts to make it a reality. I want a Leader that will take the whole country forward and at the end of the reign will have made UK a better place. We need a Leader that addresses the big issues as uncomfortable as these may be and who is not afraid to challenge the status quo with a better alternative. We need a Leader that will keep the UK together, whilst allowing its people to have a say. We need a Leader that will hold fast against the tides of narrow Scottish and English nationalism and be the United Kingdom's champion. We need a Leader that will educate the public and address misheld beliefs.
ECONOMY: The new Leader must address head on the myth that the Conservatives are the party of fiscal responsibility whereas Labour is not. The Labour reign produced a spectacular growth that has not been met by the Conservatives - simply because they are economically incompetent. We are led by an economically illiterate PM who suggested in a consumerist society that people should stop spending as a way to address the crisis. We have a Chancellor that thought being a part-time Chancellor whilst holding a key role in the Conservative party was acceptable. It is clear he didn't respect and understand the importance of his role and has failed spectacularly in each and every target he set for himself. The first target was "growth, growth, growth" and it has been grossly missed as well as all subsequent targets. The response to this has been constantly to move the goalpost instead of addressing the failures. For the last five years, we have had economically illiterate people in the top positions learning on the job, with catastrophic results for the growth of this country, resulting in 5 lost years where the country stagnated. The Conservative approach to the economy is driven by ideology, not common economic sense or facts. The botched sale of Royal Mail and the planned sale of RBS at a £7.2 billion loss demonstrates just that. The next Labour Leader must have the strength of character as well as the economic knowledge to bring these failures to the fore and address the myth that Conservatives are the party of economic competence.
BUSINESS: The next Labour Leader must be a champion for business but also be very clear on the nature of business he or she will be championing. We need to create a better framework in which small businesses are easily setup, guided, helped and encouraged to succeed as they are the pulsing heart of local communities and UK's business world. They are the true wealth creators. The Leader must also make clear that when these businesses succeed and become economically successful in a sustainable way, we will expect them to pay back to the community that helped them get there instead of shunning the community and looking at ways to reduce the tax owed, as well as leaving Britain. The new Leader must make it quite clear that when big businesses are created or move to the UK, we expect them to play by our rules and pay their dues. Not stifle the economy, push out small competitors, introduce abhorrent labour practices and then demand to be celebrated as wealth creators when they are wealth leeches.
NHS: The current form of NHS is failing. The current reactive, segmented health care approach is failing both patients and practitioners. We need to integrate mental, physical and social care and accept that everything is interconnected and cannot be treated independently. We need to invest in and improve preventative medicine. Educate on the right diet and improve activity levels by incorporating them into our education system as well as changing our cities to become pedestrian- and cycling-friendly instead of car friendly.
EUROPE and TTIP: Voting for the referendum was the right choice for Labour MPs. The debate on Europe has dominated a large part of the political agenda, pushing out other, more important political issues on health, education, immigration, equality and social justice. We need to stop focussing our efforts on an issue that in the big picture is not that important. At the same time, political focus needs to be on the TTIP. If the myth of Brussels telling us what to do dominates the public's perception, the Labour Leader must voice the reality of the true threat being a world in which big corporations tell us what to do, not a world where freedom of movement for people and goods within the EU is under threat.
IMMIGRATION: Immigration has been beneficial for this country and continues to provide more benefits that drawbacks. The next Leader must address the Conservative hypocrisy of supporting a capitalist, free market whilst restricting movement of talented people. At the same time, The Leader must address the issues immigration has caused on labour-intensive jobs and address their root causes, not try to patch the symptoms.
Finally, the next Labour leader must define the role of society for the future. I am looking for a society that supports its people and helps them become productive members and provide social justice and equality of opportunity. A society that does not stigmatise those who fall on hard times, the ones at the bottom. A society that recognises their hardship and helps them get back on their feet. I am looking for Labour's One Nation, not Conservatives' One Percent Nation.
The Labour candidate that demonstrates these, has my vote.