What Luke stands for

  • Resisting the “lurch to the left”. I’m proud of what Labour achieved in Government and want to build on it, particularly in the area of tackling poverty and inequality, but to listen to why voters abandoned us and rebuild our economic credibility. In the aftermath of the General Election the party chose to veer sharply to the left, as we did after 1979. I think this was a disastrous strategic mistake. I want us to align our politics and policies with where ordinary voters are, not wander off into the electoral wilderness. This doesn’t mean not being bold – hence the list of radical policies below.
  • A bold approach to winning the 2020 General Election. I want a bold strategy where we aim to build a broad coalition and win 40% of the vote. To do that we will need radical but realistic policies. We will have to develop ideas that appeal to people who voted Labour in the past but have recently backed UKIP and the Tories, particularly older and more prosperous voters. I support: rail renationalisation, a big house building programme, a national Living Wage, banning zero hours contracts, more free childcare. I am passionate about tackling poverty and inequality. As a parent and cancer survivor I will fight to defend our NHS and schools from Tory cuts. Any credible party of government needs to be trusted with national defence and I am a strong supporter of renewing the Trident strategic nuclear deterrent and properly funding our armed forces.
  • Opposing Hard Left factionalism. Party unity and Labour’s electability need to come first. I will oppose moves by the Hard Left to change the party rulebook to their partisan advantage. I will defend hard-working incumbent MPs and councillors from sectarian deselection bids. I will fight to stop the new Momentum organisation from acting as a bridgehead into Labour for entryists from rival far left parties.
  •  Rebuilding the Party. While there are geographical pockets where CLPs are thriving and there is excellent campaigning best practice, in too much of the country we have let our organisation atrophy. The massive influx of new members during 2015 has not been evenly spread across the country and intensive work needs to be done to train and enthuse the new members to become active campaigners. I want to see a priority made of regeneration of branches and CLPs nationwide and building their campaigning capacity. Members are our greatest asset and we need an even bigger membership that reflects the diversity of the coalition of people who we need to vote Labour. We also need to continue to rebuild our base in local government as there is a direct link between winning councillors and building our local campaigning base.
  • A truly nationwide Party. At election time we have to focus on marginal seats. But we have allowed our party machine to wither in many areas, both “unwinnable” rural and southern seats and some of our safest areas. Having been an activist in Kent and a parliamentary candidate in Essex and Hampshire, I don’t want any no-go areas for Labour, so I have pushed hard for us to field candidates in every seat in every possible election and to regenerate local parties nationwide.
  • Focused on campaigning. I bring over 25 years experience of grassroots campaigning to the table. As a long-standing volunteer CLP Agent I have first-hand knowledge of what works in local campaigning.
  • Transparency. As a constituency rep on the NEC from 2010-2012 I reported back to CLPs (and to members via the internet) in writing after every meeting (within the obvious constraints about any confidential agenda items). Too much of what the NEC does can be shrouded in byzantine secrecy. Party members need to know what their representatives are doing in their name and what the justifications are for NEC decisions.
  • Activist and accountable. I don’t think the NEC should just sit in London in meetings. In my previous term on the NEC I got round the country to report back to and listen to members and join them campaigning.
  • Objectivity and even-handedness. When the NEC takes decisions that affect ordinary members there needs to be confidence that NEC members are taking decisions based on upholding the Rulebook and natural justice, not helping out our mates or political allies. My track record dealing with difficult disciplinary and selection issues as a council Chief Whip for seven years, as a regional board member and on the NEC Disputes Panel shows that I do the right thing when confronted with contentious issues, not do what is politically expedient.
  • Putting members first. Wherever possible I want to put control in the hands of local members and CLPs and maximise local autonomy and democracy – particularly regarding selection of candidates. My track record where I took decisions on the NEC Organisation Committee and its panels demonstrates this.
  • Independent-minded. I think for myself and judge decisions on their merits whatever the pressure – for instance backing Iain McNicol in the closely contested vote to pick a new General Secretary.
  • Open about my politics. As a blogger for many years, I can’t and in any case would never want to hide my politics to court popularity. Everything I stand for is in the public domain and I am happy to be judged on it. I’m active in politics because I’m passionate about my beliefs.
  • Committed to the Trade Union link.  I’m very wary of radical proposals such as primaries that would sever the union link, which is fundamental to keeping us grounded in the practical concerns of ordinary working people.
  • Positivity and unity. My starting point is one of loyalty to the Party leadership and respect for the hard working professional staff of the Party. I’m no pushover but unlike some candidates elected in the past I’m not seeking to get on the NEC to undermine anyone or with a starting point of suspicion and blame. We all need to be united and work as a team. Unity has to start at the top, with Jeremy Corbyn recognising he is the leader of the whole party, not just people who voted for him, and respecting the views of the PLP and moderate members.

campaign trail

On the campaign trail in the ward where I was a councillor in Hackney

 

3 thoughts on “What Luke stands for

  1. Hi Luke – I am very pleased that you are standing. You have my full support. Please let me know if I can help. I was very pleased to read that you want to ensure that Labour is active in constituencies across the UK. I couldn’t agree more: I grew up in rural Oxfordshire (in Wantage) and stood in North Herefordshire in 2015, which was both enjoyable and incredibly interesting, but Labour nationally has little to say to people who live in villages and market towns. I am getting involved in Coast and Country and I would be happy to share my experiences and ideas over coffee when you are in London or in Oxford. The members in NH could run a all day seminar on neighbourhood planning but no one nationally taps into their experience and expertise.

  2. Good luck Luke – happy to promote your candidacy at our CLP meeting on the 4th June. Voices of moderation are definitely needed urgently. The Party has to make itself electable and demonstrate that it can govern. I detect a strong tendency to revert to “Polytechnic Politics” in many sections of the Party right now that is deeply damaging to those ambitions. Those of us who cheered Tony Blair to the rafters in 97 are now reviled – but those of us who recall 18 years of Tory misery and the prospect of another 18 years unless we get our act together had good reason to cheer. Kinnock, Smith, Blair and Brown understood instinctively that lurching to the left spoke only to a constituency happy to be in permanent “principled opposition”.

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