barrieBarrie Cunning says the next Labour leader has a huge challenge ahead to make Labour a credible government in waiting, and only Owen Smith can do it.


I write this as I get the 2pm train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh, and I’m pleased to report that there is an abundant supply of available seats on this service. As we approach Newcastle, I hear a group of people talking about the current Labour leadership election, and it sounds more akin to someone reading the obituary of a formerly great politician who achieved a lot for the country but is now irrelevant and outdated. This is more than just an analogy illustrating the current state of the Labour Party; it’s a prediction of what could happen if the status quo is maintained.

I haven’t spoken to a single Labour party member who enjoys the current leadership election. Most members, myself included, can’t wait for it to be over and for us to get back to holding the Tories to account and representing the people who need a strong Labour voice. But sadly this leadership election is necessary, if we are to become again a credible and effective voice in UK politics.

Over the last twelve months under Jeremy’s leadership we have seen the party become divided and toxic in the eyes of the public: a party that talks about being progressive but acts more regressive. Far be it for me to make a comparison between the current state of the party and the popular BBC satire TV show “The Thick of it”, but there does seem to be an overwhelming similarity between that fictional political world and the reality of what we are in the midst of.

Political parties cannot survive without proper leadership, and this is why I’m backing Owen Smith to become the next leader of the Labour Party. As a former parliamentary candidate I take my hat off to anyone who puts their head above the parapet and stands for election. The Labour Party needs someone who can clearly articulate our principles into policies, to appeal not just to traditional Labour supporters but to the wider electorate, and I firmly believe that person is Owen Smith. Owen is the only candidate in this leadership election who has a bold and radical vision for the country, and fully understands that it can only be achieved by having a progressive Labour Party, acting as a credible opposition and being perceived as an alternative government in waiting.

There have been some ridiculous allegations that at the core of this leadership election is an inherent disdain against a school of thought that claims to uphold socialism, but that is simply not true. For me it’s about leadership, and leadership only. Whoever is announced as the winner on the 24th September has an enormous task ahead of them, and it requires real leadership. The next Labour leader will have to unite the party, ensure they have the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party, work with devolved party leaders and engage with the membership. In my view only Owen Smith can do this.

I urge anyone reading this to vote for Owen Smith in the current Labour leadership election.

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12 thoughts on “Don’t let them write us off

  1. “Over the last twelve months under Jeremy’s leadership we have seen the party become divided and toxic in the eyes of the public:”

    I have to laugh at this statement. The folk that cause the disruption in the party, blaming the leader of the party for the disruption!
    You couldn’t make it up! 🙂

  2. Couldn’t agree with that last comment more – the responsibility for the division of the party lies solely with the PLP and the NEC and their blatant contempt for the membership.

  3. You are dead right. This election is about leadership, no matter how hard people try to shift it to policy areas. The only difference is that Owen can articulate these in human-speak. Nor is about followership. Jeremy can address crowds of the already enthusiastic, but has shown zero capacity to lead any coherent group.He is a disaster for the labour movement and will be covered by the sands of history. Not too late for the Labour Party, I hope

    1. Eddie the difference between Corbyn and Smith is credibility. Corbyn is a socialist its in his DNA Owen can be whatever it takes to advance his career.
      I would trust Corbyn to at least try to deliver on his ideals I wouldn’t trust Owen or those like him to do anything other than self serve and it doesn’t matter how articulate he is when he does it.
      People in this country are sick to their back teeth with the self serving politicians they are looking for politicians with real convictions real purpose and a sense to serve not be served. Hence the popularity of Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvey and the unpopularity of all the other leaders.

      1. Mike,
        Corbyn might think he is a socialist, he might say he is a socialist, he might dress and behave as he considers appropriate for a socialist, he might even go to places where he thinks socialists should go, but what actually is Jeremy Corbyn?
        He comes from a group based in a middle class area of north London, they consider themselves as intellectuals and like to call themselves ‘socialists’. They have been around since the mid 19th century, invented by two friends Karl Marx and Fred Engels. Typically they live in Islington, in a terraced house valued at £2 to 3 million. Parents will have been finacially comfortable. The ‘socialist’ will have attended one of two English universtites and studied a degree in The Arts Faculty. They have a preference for French wine. They are vociferous in their support of what they call ‘The Working Class’ but privately they feel uneasy in their company and actually find some of the working classes custums and habits amusing.
        They have ‘ideas’ but if pushed on practicalities they can get irritable and tetchy. If elected to positions of power and responsibilty a socialist due their complete lack of any life experiences can do great damage to all around.

        1. It’s actually quite astounding how little you know of Corbyn, and the movement he inspires. Point after point in your post above is wildly inaccurate, making this contribution really rather silly.

        2. Richard first off How do you know how anybody feels “Privately” if they keep it “Private”?
          And secondly I’m a Socialist and I don’t recognise the pathetic moronic pish you’ve posted.
          The fact is once again you have nothing valid to offer so you spew worthless bullshit because the reality is you’ve nothing worthwhile to say about Owen Smith. The man has totally fucked up his campaign and any chance of leadership because he showed everybody who he truly is through the media.
          And in spite of the same media who desperately tried to promote Smith in the best light while attacking Corbyn at every opportunity your ordinary membership saw through it all and kept faith with their “SOCIALIST” leader.
          A failed coup which is only going to result in the total rejection of all things Red Tory.

          1. Mike,
            For a socialist you can sometimes sound as if you are a bit angry. I always prefer a socialist to a fascist because generally socialists have got better manners and are nicer and more understanding of others. Fascists are usually the opposite. A fascist in my experience can be a lot less appreciative of other peoples opinion. They can get annoyed more easily with those they don’t agree with and be a lot less tolerant of others.
            Now I know you sometimes get angry when you read my posts Mike so keep calm here, but for a self proclaimed socialist you are beginning to display some very odd tendencies.
            With regard your first point, how do I know how anybody feels privately? Do you remember during the 2015GE campaign Emily Thornberry while out on the campaign trail took a photograph of a white van outside a house with a flag of St George hung out the window. Emily thought this was so funny she sent the picture it to all of her pals. Although Emily is, like you Mike a proud socialist she is also a terrible snob and when the story got out she had to resign over her little foxes paw.
            That’s how I know what north London socialists think privately. Maybe you don’t know this Mike but Jeremy Corbyn, is a neighbour of Emily’s and he did the neighbourly thing and forgave her misdemeanour. Emily is now back on Labour’s front bench doing what she does best, holding the nasty Tories to account.

  4. Only the Labour Party could get themselves into this mess. They have a leader who has been in post for one year, elected by a massive majority of its members, nominated by Labour MPs that dont trust him as far as they could throw him out a window, who is now facing a challenge from an MP no one has heard of.
    And just when I thought I could not laugh any more I read the sentence, “There have been some ridiculous allegations that at the core of this leadership election is an inherent disdain against a school of thought that claims to uphold socialism, but that is simply not true”.
    Keep up the good work Duncan.

  5. Everyone knows what they are getting with Corbyn. Not to the PLP’s taste, however, and if re-elected the Party must split.
    No one knows what they will get with Smith, a weathercock Blairite at best, and a misogynist to boot. If elected Labour will lose their membership, their principles and their credibility.

    Neither is fit to lace John Smiths boots, and the voting public know that.
    Labour has spent too long with people like Blair/Brown/Mandleson at the top, chasing the good will of the Murdoch’s of this world. They have lost sight of what they were founded for—especially here in Scotland.

  6. Duncan is right.
    Corbyn is simply unelectable, and it is astounding that enough labour members don’t have the foresight to see what an election campaign would look like.

    The tabloids will have a field day with him in an increasingly nationalist England.
    Forget all the silly stuff about snubbing the Queen or supporting the IRA. One single issue alone is enough to sink him.
    Saying he wouldn’t use the Trident nuclear deterrent. It doesn’t matter that it would be morally repugnant to incinerate millions of innocent civilians. Even if a PM wouldn’t actually give that order, at least they have to bluff they would to make it effective as a deterrent.

    Owen Smith isn’t much of a leader either to be honest, but at least Labour would have more of a chance.

    1. Its not Corbyn who is unelectable its the perception based on the evidence that Labour are nothing but Red Tories.
      The Red Tories think they can win elections by chasing the Blue Tory vote and ignoring the vast majority of other voters.
      That’s the insanity of it.

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