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Why I’m backing Rebecca Long-Bailey for Labour Leader – Alex Duerden, #RLB2020 Takeover

“Many imagine a politician as being completely removed from popular culture, self-interested and contemptuous of the electorate, Long-Bailey however comes across as a normal person who is fighting for her class rather than as member of the privileged elite who is out to protect their own interests. “

Alex Duerden

It is vital for so many working-class people that we elect Rebecca Long-Bailey as the next leader of the Labour party.
She is offering people change from a society which, for far too long, has perpetuated the concentration of wealth at the top of the pile by stripping down and dividing the communities who have created it. While the rest of the candidates in the contest parade themselves as on the left of the party by paying lip-service to our party’s socialist heritage, Long-Bailey is the only candidate who is able to carry forward the values and principles of that socialist heritage into a government which has the ability to transform lives.
I want to have a Labour leader who has stood with trade unionists on picket lines and considers them as the “lifeblood of the Labour party” in times where a far-right Conservative government threatens to restrain them with more severe anti-union legislation. I will be backing Rebecca Long-Bailey as she will not shy away from a challenging four years in opposition, fighting to win the next general election and implementing socialism in our lifetime.
Rebecca has been precise and deliberate when talking about the policies which would bring about lasting change in this country.
She understands that many people want to take back control of their destiny, whether that be from the bureaucracy of Brussels or from the Westminster gentleman’s club, and she offers policies of aspirational socialism as an alternative to the brutal tory austerity which has set to grind down working class people. Her agenda for a democratic economy which serves the interests of communities up and down the country captures the essence of gaining power in order to give it back to the people. These policies are hugely popular and resonate with many people in the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies that we lost in 2019. This suggests to me that her ‘path to power’ slogan isn’t just a fancy line but a summary of her strategy to win in the next General Election. Unlike others, she understands what people want and has taken a period of reflection following a devastating general election defeat to prepare an offer which will not be a capitulation to the right of the party and instead truly transform people’s lives.
Rebecca’s speeches have been rousing for all those in attendance and I believe she can capture the imagination of a generation in the same way that the Atlee government did in 1945. Her passionate calls for a fairer and just society suggest to me that she is the best candidate for the leadership. Her ability to draw-up radical policy such as the Green Industrial Revolution with the support of the unions as well as grassroot groups within the party convey to me that Long-Bailey is enthusiastic about a bottom-up method of policy formulation.
Where I’m from, in the North East of England, many people have an inherent sense of distrust in all politicians, I believe that Long-Bailey can inspire belief in what is possible when we have a party who works for the interests of the working class. Many imagine a politician as being completely removed from popular culture, self-interested and contemptuous of the electorate, Long-Bailey however comes across as a normal person who is fighting for her class rather than as member of the privileged elite who is out to protect their own interests.
The community I come from deserves so much better than what they’ve been given over the past forty years and it is time for a leader who offers the radical policies which will transform the lives of those who have been left behind. We need a northern woman who carries strong socialist values to put the Labour message across to the people that change is coming, and we all have no stake in the neoliberal status quo.

• Alex Duerden is a Manchester Labour Students activist. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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