Vernon Coaker on why he is Ed Balls’ campaign manager

The Labour leadership contest provides our party with an exciting opportunity to debate the future as well learn from the past and reflect on the 2010 General Election result.

It has also been inspiring to see a party which, while disappointed with the result, is not dispirited or downhearted. A party which will not allow our proud record of 13 years in government  to be trashed and one which will hold this new coalition to account for their actions in a responsible but determined way.

So the person that we select for our leader has to be someone who will stand up for our record but also recognise our shortcomings. Someone who sees this election contest as a way of re-energising our thoughts and views about how we tackle the issues that matter: immigration, housing, welfare reform. Someone to stand up for the decent, hard-working majority.

Such a person will need to be strong and willing to face down the Tories and Liberal Democrats as they attack us, but also able to listen and connect with real people in real communities up and down the country.

I believe that Ed Balls has the qualities that we need in our leader. A man whom I have seen take difficult decisions in government but someone who at the same time has tried to be inclusive – speaking to trade unions, stakeholders, parents and professionals.

I know that Ed has a vision for our policy making which is about going out and not only listening to people but acting on what they say. We need to build on this not just at election times but all year round to re-invigorate our policy making.

I have seen Ed speaking naturally to groups of children and parents in schools, in community centres and out on the doorstep. It is essential that we have someone who can talk and listen to ordinary people and speak their language and not just that of politicians.

This leadership election also gives us the opportunity of moving beyond the labels of Blair/Brown and New or Old Labour. All the candidates will need to show that they have a fresh message for the people of this country. Yes, guided by the fundamental principles of our party; but with those principles applied in a way which is relevant to the lives of ordinary people.

The press often say that Ed Balls is divisive and unwilling to listen. This is not the man that I know. Yes, he will argue forcefully for our party and its policies and views and that is what I want in any future Leader. I think in the months and years ahead we will need someone with the strength to stand against what we all expect to come.

But Ed has also always been someone I have found gracious and willing to change and adapt if necessary. A person with a sense of humour and a burning desire to do the best for people.

Like most of us I joined the party motivated by a desire for greater social justice, equality of opportunity and to build a fairer society. These core values remain the same, but we need someone now who can build a fresh consensus amongst people from a variety of backgrounds, incomes and communities. I believe that Ed Balls has the personal qualities and vision to make such hopes a reality.  That is why I am proud to support his campaign to be Labour’s new leader.

Vernon Coaker is MP for Gedling and a former Minister for Schools

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8 Responses to “Vernon Coaker on why he is Ed Balls’ campaign manager”

  1. Henrik says:

    As a moderate voter, currently very impressed with the centrist Coalition and its anti-Statist agenda and hoping it gets ten years or more in power, I encourage all comrades to support Ed Balls and his fighting tail, Whelan, McBride at al, as the new ruling elite of what used to be a great Party. Much easier for you guys to do that than actually reflect on why, precisely, it was that the electorate dumped you so badly.

    Ed Balls for leader!

  2. Mike says:

    I agree with Henrik. Ed Balls will help the National Coaltion Government. Nobody is trashing Labours record but it is fact we have been left with a massive deifict. Civil servants have reported that Labour ministers (including Balls) engaged in scorched earth spending because they knew they would lose. Only the FPTP system allowed Labour to look like they did OK. 29% is pathetic.

    Balls is devisive, why would he get that reputation if he was not. He and his friends (Whelan) did Labour great harm. Balls is a great ally of Brown, so it will still be Blairite/Brownite feuds.

  3. Nick says:

    I support Balls. He will consign Labour to electoral oblivion for decades. (PS I went to school with him and he was awful as a teenager)

  4. Andy says:

    Ed Balls for leader .. please elect him! the thought of a sitting labour leader losing his seat in the next election is too delicious. And on top of that rather wonderful thought, Balls’s association with Brown over the past 15 years will consign labour to opposition for many years .. go on drones, vote for him!

  5. Sean says:

    Love the new website masthead- very appropriate with the prominent CCTV cameras- Labour’s lasting legacy- the creation of a veritable police state over the past 13 years that trumped any of the vast liberty and privacy sapping powers of Stasi East Germany and Stalinist Russia. Disgraceful!

  6. I’ve never posted here before – but this is a test to see if comments are moderated. £5 says because Labour types are left-wing centralising control freaks that my comment will go into moderation.

    If, however, my comment is posted automatically, then maybe Labour people can live up to their current mantra – “that they are listening to the public”.

  7. I’m in moderation – no surprise. No change.

    When will Labour start listening to people, rather than indulging in group think among already loyal activists?

  8. Henrik says:

    @Billy: “When will Labour start listening to people, rather than indulging in group think among already loyal activists?” – not for a long time, yet, I hope. I figure it’ll take at least one, more likely two Parliaments to sort out the appalling devastation 13 years of Labour government have inflicted on the country, so anything that keeps the comrades happily distracted in their sandpit is to be welcomed.

    Ed Balls for Leader!

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