Daniel Esson urges young Labour Party members to step forward and have their voice heard in this leadership election, then unite for the good of the countries future.
By now it could be beating a dead horse, but December 12th 2019 will leave a foul taste in the mouth of the British Left for a long time. The result was probably especially galling for younger, relatively new Labour members. I joined the Labour party at 15 because of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, as did many others, and getting so intensely beat down in the first general election I could actually vote in was disheartening. Despite our loss, the last four years have politicised the youth of this country, this energy shouldn’t be left to fizzle out, but be channelled into the next battle.
Many may see the leadership contest we now find ourselves in as the next frontier of the struggle, but this isn’t helpful – we all want to see a transformative Labour government, and we should put our efforts towards this end. As constituency parties start to vote on their preferred leadership candidates, there will obviously be strong disagreements across the party. It’s important that we, particularly on the new, young, left of the Party, don’t fulfil every stereotype about us by allowing this to devolve into inter-factional warfare. We campaigned on a firmly left-wing manifesto, we have unequivocally changed the debate by bringing back to the forefront issues of public ownership, redistribution and inequality, but we clearly have a lot to work on. We shouldn’t backtrack on the key commitments of the past few years, but we obviously also can’t just carry on with the exact same platform, strategy and tactics and expect something to change.
The Party has grown impressively in the last few years, I’ve seen it in my university Labour society, my CLP, at campaign events and on the streets. This naturally lends itself to more diversity of opinion, but rather than allowing this to provoke division, it should foster discussion about the future of the party. Things are obviously up in the air at the moment, but we will have a new leader soon, and one of their hardest tasks will be to find a platform which can unite the Party, while still committing to transform the country, and the young left of the party should be fully engaged in this effort.
Whatever your preferred form of socialism, and method of building it, we can all agree it won’t happen while we fight each other.
So it's time for young Labour members to step up. Get involved, ask questions, and let's come together to build a better future for this country.