Labour’s new General Secretary Jennie Formby had her first day in the new job today. Given events of the last week, it can hardly have been the easiest introduction.
She marked the day with the following email to every Labour member:
I am honoured — and thrilled — to be today taking over as the Labour Party General Secretary. I take particular pride in being only the second woman to hold this post.
My overriding priority is to unite our whole party — members, trade unions, MPs and other elected representatives — in working for the election of a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn at the earliest opportunity. The crisis in our NHS, collapsing local government finances and falling living standards all underline the urgency for change.
Only Labour, campaigning together as a united team, taking our message to every community in the country, can deliver that change. I look forward to working with you and all our activists across Britain in building a dynamic, 21st century campaigning force, mobilising a movement behind the message that took us so close to victory last June.
Creating that unity requires recognising and tackling problems in our own Party, above all in relation to antisemitism. This week I will be moving to ensure the full implementation of the Chakrabarti report and introducing new procedures to deal with complaints and disciplinary cases. The stain of antisemitic attitudes must be completely eradicated within the Labour Party — we are the party for people of all races and faiths, the party of full equality for all, or we are nothing. Likewise, I will tackle any manifestation of misogyny, bullying or abuse of anyone, as Jeremy Corbyn has pledged.
I inherit a tremendous staff team at Labour HQ and in the regions and nations. Working with the largest membership of any democratic socialist political party in Europe we can build on our great electoral advances of last year. I look forward to playing my part in winning the Labour government, Labour local authorities and Labour representatives our people need.
The Labour Party
As a statement of intent it inspires optimism – and as a political message, it’s also finely judged.
Ms Formby’s introductory message gives due weight to the importance of dealing with antisemitic, racist or sexist attitudes where they exist in the party and ensuring all members are treated properly.
But it gives the most up-front weight to the imperative of ousting the Tories for the sake of the whole country and its most vulnerable people.
Which is just as it should be.
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