10 Reasons Lisa Nandy should stand for leader

by Alan Johnson

Lisa Nandy MP is ‘seriously thinking‘ about standing for Labour leader.

I really hope she does stand because:

(1) She is a serious, grounded, calm, personable, thoughtful, tough, hard-headed and very intelligent representative of Labour’s ‘soft left’ tradition; not the far left, not the Corbyn project. And that’s what is needed now, neither a Corbyn Continuity Candidate, nor a (I dont like the term, but you know what I mean) ‘Blairite’, though she could attract the support of many from both those wings, I think.

(2) She knows the bullying, trolling sub-culture of the party from the inside (and I suspect she knows exactly what to do with it!). She has spoken of the abuse she received for not supporting Corbyn, which she described as leaving her “genuinely frightened”. She compared her treatment to that which she had received at the hands of the far-right when she first campaigned to become MP for Wigan in 2010.

(3) She understands that ‘we just haven’t heard what people have been telling us for some time’. She says her mission is to ‘bring the Labour party back home’ to those who could not vote for us on Thursday. She gets how the over-centralisation (i.e. Londonisation) of party structures, decision making and power is part of the problem.

(4) She supports ‘the decisive break we made in 2015’ on austerity, before which ‘we had been too afraid to stand up for our values’. But she also understands that the very radical ‘offer’ the party made in 2019, the blizzard of spending commitments, needed a huge bank of trust that the party just didn’t have it, if it was to be accepted.

(5) She gets the need for security, does not apologise for terror, and gets patriotism, why its different to narrow nationalism and why we can’t cede it to the right. All this is an ‘entry ticket’ level qualification, now, after Thursday.

(6) She gets left antisemitism and the need to fight it.

(7) She stands up for the human rights of the Palestinians, is in favour of the two-state solution, is against the boycott movement and has spoken out in favour of the right of Israel to exist. Unlike the armchair ranters, she actually visits the region and talks to people and thinks about what she hears. Right now, given where the party membership is, she is well-placed to end the party’s Israel-Palestine wars, I think, and bring it to a two states for two peoples culture as well as a formal position.

(8) She does not just get the need to rebuild the party’s winning coalition but has a crop of creative ideas about how to do so. She set up a think tank, the Centre for Towns, to turn ideas into policy proposals. She herself can be the bridge between the parts of the Labour coalition that as she says ‘has propelled us into power three times in 100 years’. Fabian Society analysis of the catastrophe tells us that 63% of the seats Labour needs to win are in the north, the Midlands and Wales, while 104 of the 123 seats Labour needs are in towns not cities. Andrew Harrop, the Fabian Society’s general secretary, said: “The party’s top priority must be to win support in towns and small cities in Wales, the north and the Midlands. There is no other route to winning back power. The party must choose its new leadership wisely, by asking who can earn the trust of potential voters in these areas, while not alienating existing supporters in big cities.”

(9) She understood the need to respect the referendum, understood why leavers in her constituency voted leave, and she sought a compromise soft brexit, even though she was a Remainer and internationalist. She accepts that Brexit is going to happen, refuses to be invested in the country’s failure, and is well-placed to argue hard in Parliament for Labour’s proposals on the deal and on post-Brexit Britain. She will not be banging on about ‘Rejoin‘.

(10) She is 40 – this will be a long, long haul. She is a woman – it is right the party should have a woman leader at last. She is from the North and held her seat in 2019 – she is best placed to rebuild that ‘Red Wall’.

Professor Alan Johnson is the founder and editor of BICOM’s quarterly online journal Fathom: for a deeper understanding of Israel and the region. He writes in a personal capacity

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4 Responses to “10 Reasons Lisa Nandy should stand for leader”

  1. Dave Derbyshire says:

    Two good reasons why Nandy should not run: she’s kipper-lite, and a chicken coup plotter.

  2. The reason that Lisa will not win the leadership of the party is that she joined in Hilary Benn’s stupid ‘chicken coup’ including the shadow ministers resigning every hour or whatever the time period was.

    Those of us who saw it as attempt by the PLP to regain control of the party against the wishes and votes of the majority of the membership will find it too hard to forgive those MPs who put their careers first. So sorry Lisa, not a chance unless you find a way of fulfilling Rob Marchant’s wish to expel most of the membership.

  3. Anne says:

    Thank you Alan you put forward a good argument for Lisa. She does have the credentials for the job. My only thought was perhaps too young, but she has experience. Yes, I believe she has a chance.

  4. John P Reid says:

    Trouble with the party is it just becomes tribes that don’t comment with the party I can arrange a meeting where Maurice glasman it Paul embery come down there’s 80 people 40 Earth from Harold hill and 40 from Dagenham and rainham ,75, are white midflr age wotking class Brexit socially small C Christian trade union reps snd only 5 are black gay or lesbian
    And cheer them to the roof
    next door Romford Young Labour momentum sit around discussing all ehite people are racist and they’ll have the revelation while eating crisps snd drinking Fizz paid for by the party snd we both think each other’s groups are while the few remaining blairite councillors disappear into the town hall for 4 years never to be seen in the door step and the council chamber is referred to as the naughty step to the ally in connected with the public

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