What the next Labour leader needs to say if s/he’s to have any credibility and any hope of uniting the party
With many expecting that Keir Starmer’s leadership may not last the week after the defeat even the party predicts in tomorrow’s Batley and Spen by-election, left activist @damian_from has written the next Labour leader’s ‘maiden speech’ for her/him – a speech that he feels would need to be delivered for there to be any hope of uniting and energising party activists and making Labour a serious electoral force again:
The Labour Party has broken trust with the British people twice this century. We broke trust over Iraq and we broke trust over Brexit.
The former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has apologised on behalf of the Labour party for Tony Blair leading the country into an illegal war of aggression against Iraq and I am here today to apologise for Labour trying to stop Brexit.
The attempts by Labour to overturn the democratic decision to leave the EU were undemocratic and wrong. We promised to deliver Brexit and we broke our word.
Labour is a democratic socialist party. Democracy and socialism are our two core principles. There was no excuse for Labour failing to accept the largest democratic mandate in the history of British democracy.
Although Labour members were well intentioned, wishing to avert an outcome they believed would cost jobs and harm the economy, there is no excuse for ignoring democratic results. That is the antithesis of Labour’s values.
Bad faith actors were also involved. The people involved in the coup to topple Jeremy Corbyn were in many cases leaders of the second referendum campaign. They used the second referendum as a weapon to carry out their treacherous mission.
My first task as Labour leader is to apologise to leave voters. Labour shamefully dishonoured your vote. I am deeply sorry and unreservedly apologise on behalf of the Labour Party for that breach of trust. I guarantee that under my leadership Labour will never disrespect voters’ wishes. I also wish to apologise to remain voters. You were led up the garden path by the Labour MPs who supported the People’s Vote campaign. There was never a majority in the country or parliament for a second referendum, it was just being used to topple a Labour leader. You were used by Labour MPs who pushed the second referendum and for that I sincerely apologise.
I hope it will be possible to rebuild trust with the public. It is up to me to prove to you that my word is my bond. It is my job to rebuild trust and to give people a reason to vote Labour again.
Regarding internal party matters, the Forde Report will be published immediately. Anyone who is found to have been involved in sabotaging the election of a Labour government will face disciplinary action. As leader I will have no involvement in that process.
My highest priority is increasing the number of people who vote Labour. I will do that by setting out the programme of government I will implement if I become Prime Minister.
Judge me by my actions. All I ask for is the opportunity to serve my country.
Do you agree or disagree with this proposed speech? Have your say in the comments. Read more of Damian’s writings here.
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