THE BLOG
06/08/2015 05:33 BST | Updated 05/08/2016 06:59 BST

Labour's Next Leader Must Convince Britain That Our Party Is Fit to Lead Our Country Again

Labour's next leader will need to achieve something far more difficult and far more important - convincing the British people that our party is fit to lead our country again. The answer isn't to look backwards, but instead to talk about the Britain that we can build together. Labour has always won when we've focussed on the world as it is and how we want it to be. That's what Liz Kendall has done this week...

In two weeks Labour members will be receiving their ballot papers and choosing their preferred party leader. Many will vote in the first few days of the contest, and in just six weeks the contest will be over. The past three months have been about Labour talking to itself, but from 12 September, Labour's next leader will need to achieve something far more difficult and far more important - convincing the British people that our party is fit to lead our country again.

The answer isn't to look backwards, but instead to talk about the Britain that we can build together. Labour has always won when we've focussed on the world as it is and how we want it to be.

That's what Liz Kendall has done this week. By setting out the five causes on which her leadership will be based - ending inequality from birth, eliminating low pay, building a caring society, sharing power with people and a future of hope for young people - she's spelled out a more hopeful future that will change the lives of millions.

We can end the inequalities that begin at the very start of life, with a revolution in early years education. At the moment we see the travesty of kids starting school over a year behind their classmates - Liz has already committed a billion pounds to tackling this national disgrace.

We need to be relentless in our pursuit of a Living Wage society, ending low pay by driving up wages. We can lower the welfare bill in the Labour way - by getting more people into work, making sure people get a decent day's wage and building the homes that our nation needs. And we must give our public service workers, on whom we all rely, the decent pay rise they need and deserve at a time when we're asking so much of them

We can deliver a transformation in social care - and build a caring society - so that our loved ones know who s turning up at the bottom of their bed to help them each morning, and where those carers are paid properly and given the dignity and respect that their vital, life changing work deserves.

The biggest shake up of political power - and where it lies - in decades should be part of Labour's plan for the next decade. A country that shares power with the people not a government that hoards power for itself. That means real power in the hands of individuals and neighbourhoods - not Whitehall - and a massive devolution of local services down to local councils, with decisions about your local area taken in your local area. And power to workers - giving people a stake and a say in the companies they work for.

And we need to offer a future of real hope for young people. We can lift hundreds of thousands of young people into work by investing in the high-tech jobs of the future, and become a world leader in green energy.

There is a fatalistic mood in the Labour Party at the moment. After a difficult election defeat that's understandable, but wrong. Labour can still beat the Tories in 2020. We do not need to roll over and accept decades of Tory rule.

And we can make real and profound changes to our country, with Liz Kendall as Labour's first female Prime Minister.

Toby Perkins is the Labour MP for Chesterfield