Jim Garner’s Letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party

I sent out this letter to every Labour MP today, explaining why I am standing for the Labour leadership. I signed each letter personally. It took ages.

Dear colleague,

As a Party, we have just come through one of the toughest elections in a generation. Thirteen years of governing took its toll. We need to renew.  We lost touch. We need to reconnect. Our ability to broadcast our values to our core root disappeared.

That’s why today I am putting myself forward to be considered for leader of our Party.

I realise I am not the most experienced candidate in the field, having only become an MP earlier this month. If you believe that having been a minister and dealing with the pressure that that brings, day in day out, makes you more suitable for the role of leader, then I am not your man.

However, if, like me, you think that towards the end of our tenure in power, those in the higher echolons of the Labour Party looked jaded (including, without naming names, David Miliband), that we now need a leader who is enthusiastic, willing to learn and unafraid to admit when he’s wrong, then I am the right candidate for you.

We need to be progressive. We need to be the progressive force in British politics. David Cameron claims to be leading the “progressive Conservatives”. That is an oxymoron. And now the Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition with them, their claim to be progressive is much undermined. We need to draw these dividing lines and say: “We are progressive. Labour means progress.”

I have not been tainted by the expenses’ scandal, nor have I been in the Westminster Village so long that I have lost touch with the common person. No one thinks they have lost touch, but I still see myself as an outsider in Parliament and can safely say that all the other candidates in this contest have. They don’t understand people’s concerns on immigration, so they ignore it and when they do talk about it they alienate people more.

As part of my ability to really connect with the electorate, I’ll be using social media in a way no other politician ever has before. My twitter account will be more engaging, my blogs more frank and videos more revealing than those of any other elected official. The other candidates may be talking about listening, but our problem was not that we didn’t listen, it was that we didn’t say things in the right way. Of course I’ll be listening too, but we need to find different ways of annunciating our beliefs and that’s why I’ll be using the internet in this way.

Let us be proud of what we’ve done, but do so whilst moving forward.

Yours sincerely,

James Garner


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2 Responses to “Jim Garner’s Letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party”

  1. James Garner. Did you used to play Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files”?

  2. Alex Clayman says:

    Gosh you had me going for about 30 seconds… quite funny!

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