Liz Kendall is MP for Leicester West, and is standing to be Leader of the Labour Party. Writing for Labour Hame today she says winning in Scotland is crucial, and we will do that by putting power in the hands of the many not the few.
Last month, the Scottish people rejected Labour. Many thought we didn’t listen and that we didn’t care. They thought we were too removed from their lives – too interested in power and not interested enough in them.
The scale of the rejection was vast. The Labour Party now has only one MP in Scotland. And it wasn’t just so-called “core voters” that abandoned Labour, nor did we only lose in what were once known as “Labour heartlands”.
Across Scotland, people told us that they wanted a change – and for many, what Labour offered wasn’t the change they wanted. So the Labour Party has a lot of work to do, turning the page on the failed approaches of the past. And with leadership elections – both in Scotland and across the UK – we need to begin the slow but necessary process of reconnecting with voters.
Scottish Labour will choose a leader who can take the party forward in the coming months, but that contest can’t be an excuse for those of us who want to lead the party across the UK to ignore Scotland. And winning in Scotland – however difficult that might look today – is crucial for Labour if we’re going to get back into government. We need to show we can win across England and Wales – but winning in Scotland will be crucial to proving we can unite and govern our country.
Doing that means having a strong and effective leader. Someone who can beat the Tories, stand up for the British people and deliver the change Scotland needs.
I’m standing because I believe I’m the best person to take on Cameron and win.
I know that electing new leaders won’t be enough on its own to convince people that Labour has the answers. In fact, politicians from all parties need to be honest and accept that none of us have all of the answers. We need to get away from the old way of doing things, thinking we can pull a lever in Westminster or Holyrood and expect the right decision, and the right changes will happen in your local area.
The best way to run a country is to put power in the hands of as many people as possible. Only by giving all of us power over our own lives can we renew ourselves as a nation – you know what’d best for your family, your community and in your workplace. Politicians need to stop pretending that we know best.
That change needs to start with how the Labour Party is run. So instead of sitting in Westminster and waiting for power, we need to build a movement that will fight to renew our country from day one. That’s how we’ll begin to restore trust again.
I believe that the Labour Party can rise to that task. I believe that Scotland’s values are the same as my values and the values of our party. I believe in responsibility from the bottom to the top, because making a contribution and playing by the rules is the bedrock of a decent society. And I believe in solidarity – as generations of Labour supporters across Scotland believed – because, together, we achieve more.
So I won’t accept that Scotland going it alone is the right answer for Scotland or for Britain. When the world is changing faster than ever before, there are real opportunities for all of us – but only if we work together to ensure everyone can face the future with optimism not pessimism.
The Labour Party I lead will work with the people who know what’s best: the Scottish people and those who share our values across Britain. Only by doing that can we make a fresh start, and begin to confront the inequalities in power, wealth and opportunity that scar our country and hold us all back.
Find out more about Liz Kendall’s leadership campaign at: www.lizforleader.com.