Burnham supporter, Dominic Goggins, on why he’s backing Andy

All of us connected to Labour know how vital this leadership debate is to our future.  Too often in this party we tear ourselves apart when we should be piecing ourselves back together.  This is a time for optimism.

It’s good that we sometimes disagree.  We should celebrate that our party welcomes so many talented and principled men and women with different views on how we can turn our fundamental desire for fairness into action and inclusion.  But we are mature enough to be able to conduct this debate openly and thoroughly without letting our differences turn into the bitter divisions that have dogged our recent history.

I hope each us of can recognise and celebrate the qualities that each of the candidates will bring to this contest, qualities that have energised so many to come home to Labour and rejoin the party.  More than anything I hope that we can do so with full respect for the decisions our comrades reach as we each make our choice.

David Miliband is someone of fierce intelligence driven by principle, and as Foreign Secretary proved himself comfortable on the world stage.  His brother shows a similar intellectual prowess, and is an engaging speaker.  Time and again, Ed Balls has demonstrated himself ready and willing to fight for a future he believes in.  Diane Abbott brings a new dimension to the contest and reminds us that our party stands up for everyone.  John McDonnell is a relentless fighter for our conventional base; a man who will always be on the side of those abandoned by Thatcher.  Though we need a wider purpose now, we should listen carefully to what he has to say.

Ultimately, though, I believe Andy Burnham should lead us into the next Election.  While the Milibands and Ed Balls are Labour intellectually – academically – Andy is Labour through experience and can talk about it in a way that connects with people.  He understands the value of aspiration and social mobility, having benefited so thoroughly from them.

He has served our party at every level for 25 years and has a clear vision of where we need to go from here.  One that abandons the paranoia of an elite few and throws open the doors of our party again.  Making membership more affordable, but also more meaningful than it is at the moment.  Reconnecting with young people, as he said in his letter to the PLP.  Making Labour the place where all young people look first if they want to change the world.  Making the party conference matter again – so that debate, drama and decision triumph over rigid stage management.

Stronger membership will ensure that our elected few are constantly challenged to strive for the values of fairness and equality that we all share, fighting for every single person who wants to get on in life and spreading wealth, health and aspiration more fairly and evenly.

I went to school in Andy’s constituency, and for two years after graduating I worked for Barbara Keeley, his neighbouring MP in Worsley.  They often worked together on local issues.  It was this contact with him that convinced me that he should one day lead our party.  On one project in particular he imporessed me: working with teenagers in the Young Oncology Unit at Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester, I saw his instincts of compassion and opportunity combine with his vision and experience of government to help those young people help themselves remain socially active.

Later that week at a party meeting he launched the most passionate and impressive attack on David Cameron that I have witnessed.  These weren’t for the cameras, they were from the heart and displayed the qualities we can be proud of in a leader.  Principle, energy, vision, compassion, integrity and a fighting spirit.

He has a great number of people to convince, but I truly believe that if he is heard then he can win.  If he can show these qualities on the big stage, he can unite us all and lead us with purpose and vision, matched to reason and principle, into a fresh election victory and a new day for our party.

Follow Dominic Goggins on Twitter

Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “Burnham supporter, Dominic Goggins, on why he’s backing Andy”

  1. Matt Finnegan says:

    I think all of this is probably true and nice and reassuring and all that. Very heartwarming.
    But the article illustrates and exposes Andy’s big weakness – everyone asks about him ‘where’s the beef?’
    He is perceived as a lightweight.
    And unless and until he comes out with a radical, reforming, exciting agenda, he is not going to get beyond being an also ran.
    Nice guys are great – and God knows the Party needs them.
    But we need something more too, in our future Leader.

  2. Dom says:

    Thanks for the comment, Matt. That perception may well exist. I guess the point of my article is that I don’t agree with it.

    It’s Andy’s job over the next few weeks and (MPs permitting) months to show how flawed that perception is, and I hope you wouldn’t make the mistake of writing him off before he’s even launched his campaign properly tonight at Leigh Sports Villiage – head down if you can!

    I’m fully aware that a 600 word article isn’t going to make peoples minds up for them – I hope I’ve made the point that it shoudn’t work like that anyway. If you listen to him carefully and openly, then I’m confident he can prove that he’s very far from a lightweight.

  3. HJ says:

    Who is Andy Burnham?

    For sure, as part of the Labour posse you know who he is. You could probably pin the tails on all those donkeys. But for the rest of us – the ones who have an interest in politics, but who aren’t on first-name terms with labour party members – it might help to know.

    Ok, so I’m being facetious. But I’m intrigued as to how Andy Burnham is going to get himself out there – how is he going to get the public on his side? Because it doesn’t matter how exciting his agenda, how grand his entrance or how ‘beefy his beef’; if we don’t know who he is, he’s going to look like a right pansy next to Mr Miliband. And that’s saying something.

  4. AmberStar says:

    @ DOM

    I completely agree with your article. I hope we see & hear lots more from Andy over the next few weeks.

    I’m amazed anybody considers Andy a lightweight. He has an ‘ordinary’ background combined with considerable government experience – which is more than can be said for the CamCleg duo that is running the country right now! 😎

Leave a Reply