The Labour Representation Committee's conference on Saturday was attended by over 400 delegates from Constituency Labour Parties, trade unions and progressive organisations. The conference unanimously endorsed my candidature for the leadership of the Labour Party and addressed the policy programme upon which any challenge should be based.
The conference agreed that the LRC should ensure that people have a clear choice in determining the future of Labour and the future of the country.
The choice should include:
between promoting public services or continued privatisation.
between free education or trust schools and tuition fees.
between increasing the state pension and restoring the link with earnings or forcing more people onto the means test.
between allowing councils to build council houses once again or high rents, escalating housing costs, homelessness and overcrowding.
between energy from green power sources, conservation, and British clean coal or the costs and risks of nuclear power.
between promoting civil liberties and trade union rights or reactionary incursions into the right of free speech, assembly and trial.
between a government committed to peace, withdrawal from Iraq and nuclear disarmamentor backing Bush's wars and wasting £24 billion on Trident.
The conference debate on these issues demonstrated a real depth of support for a clearcut Left programme. There were many insightful speeches based upon delegates' front line experiences of the Government's current policies.
For the first time in years there were a large number of young people at the conference. For me the most moving speech of the conference came from Mary Partington, a student, who said "People of my generation voted for the first time in last year's general election. We had the choice of warmongering, cuts and privatisation, or on the other hand, warmongering, cuts and privatisation. But when I hear a potential leader talk about socialism I'm excited. I fully support John McDonnell in his leadership campaign. I wasn't lucky enough to be around in the 1970s and I've been waiting all my life for this."
A large meeting of young people from the conference met this evening at the House of Commons and established an LRC Socialist Youth group committed to organising and campaigning amongst young people. They came across as really dedicated, enthusisatic and superbly creative and astute about the methods we can use to get our message across in this campaign and also how we can engage young people in this political dialogue.
This is the new generation emerging, politically aware and determined. The aim is to stimulate a wide ranging debate on the issues facing young people and create a young person's manifesto for the campaign. Anyone interested in participating in this initiative should contact us via this website or the LRC's website.