Letter to Owen Smith

23rd September 2016

-By Paddington Baby-

Letter to Owen Smith

Dear Owen,

All I can do now is wait until tomorrow when I will be seated in the leadership conference, knowing before the results are read out, just what they are likely to be.

I suspect many of us are in the same boat.

I wanted Corbyn out before he had even achieved the required nominations last year.  Interesting that he was the final one to be picked to stand after McDonnell and Abbott; even the left knew they were scraping the bottom of the barrel with Corbyn.  But nominated he was, and I joined the local phone bank for Liz Kendall.

One of our members told me that Corbyn would not become the prime minister but they would vote for him because we needed to be true to our socialist principles.  I was stunned.  I quickly reported this peculiar utterance to the Labour leader of the council and the MP. However such assertions would soon become the norm in the world of Corbyn mania.

I didn’t manage to get a ticket to last year’s leadership conference, but I sat outside in the foyer watching the television and hearing the shattering result even before those seated inside.  Corbynistas were triumphant, whilst I just cried.

Local members told me that we should give Corbyn a chance and that we must unite behind the new leader.  I was even told by a new member who never bothered to show her face again that I do not belong in the Labour party .

Most of us in the party despaired at the EU referendum result, and I resolved that Corbyn had had his chance and had failed us miserably.  The vote of no confidence gave me hope, however that was short-lived, as the hysteria of Corbynistas made it possible for the man with the so called mandate to put himself above the party and those who desperately need a Labour government.

Then the challenge to Corbyn’s leadership came, and I had no idea who you were, Owen!  Nonetheless, this time I joined a local phone bank for you as you had won the support of so many MPs who I respect and admire, including Heidi Alexander (who will make a great health secretary one day if ever we can get back in) and Kerry McCarthy (likewise at DEFRA).

I then went to your first rally in London, and my friend couldn’t make it as he was abroad.  I wanted to text him everything that was happening, atmosphere and all.  Then you went on to policies, and there were so many that my texting thumb couldn’t keep up!

Policies are not what Corbyn’s Labour is all about, and your passion and ability to answer difficult questions won me over.  I was a committed member of Team Owen from that day.

I spoke to Labour members about your British New Deal pumping money into our schools and hospitals, and I saw the anti-austerity nod to Blair’s Labour government, and you provided costings to the £200 billion too.  The wage councils would treat our care workers with the dignity they deserve and you had ideas to preserve Sure Start.  I used to promote Liz Kendall on the basis that she wanted to provide opportunity to all our children and I was pleased that you stood for that too.  I also directed members to the videos where you tear the Osbornes and Duncan Smiths of this world apart.

I went to two more rallies and I met you twice as well.  You just got more and more effective, praising Labour government and opposing Tory destruction, showing Corbyn just how it’s done.  No wonder he went with grammar schools at PMQs the following week. He must have had a spy in place to see what you were doing!

The phone banks were amazing and provided me with the only social life I would have time for during August and much of September.  Members united, some of us were Blairite, some of us were Milifans, but we all saw your potential.

Now it’s over, and I have to thank you for being so brave to do this in the first place.  You have inspired me, and we moderates are now organised and we know who really cares about this country.  It is time for the next stage.

May this conference provide the genesis for a movement that will rid us of the peril of the far left, and may we never be naive enough in the future to let them find an entry point and destroy our great party again.

With my best wishes.

By Paddington Baby

Please note: articles and posts on ‘Middle Vision’ reflect the views of the individual authors and not of all involved in ‘Middle Vision’

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