Abolish low pay for young workers

The time is now, say Unite.

Possible impact of the deputy leadership

Dan Elton Writes

Like a majority of Compass members, I backed Jon Cruddas for deputy leader, and did so out of conviction. JC's crew was a motley bunch really: Trade unionists who were on the right of the party on every issue except on the one that concerned them - union matters; the hard left with nowhere else to go; "pamphlet labour" types who liked a guy who could quote Schumpeter. But I was a fully signed-up JCnik because I actually believed he had the same instincts as me. The term most often used is soft left, but historically Cruddas is closer to the Crossland-Hattersley traditional "social democrat right" of the party, where I see myself.

So should the Cruddas campaign, and those of us on the "traditional right" be disappointed or elated right now? These are in reality two different questions. The Cruddas campaign must be disappointed. You enter a contest to win it, not to put on 'a good show'. I just heard some archive footage from the Benn-Healy contest in '81, with Benn saying: "The best thing about the next six months(of the deputy leadership campaign) will be the chance for discussion." Great Tony - 24 weeks where you get to rant about the Levellers and the party tears itself apart. That wasn't JC's style - he wasn't on some leftist "glorious failure" kick, I believe, and should be gutted right now.

But as far as the wider "new soft left", "traditional right", "European social democrats" or whatever you want to call us are concerned, the contest has surely dragged the party in the right direction. Building up the party, rather than reducing it to a "virtual party" is on the agenda. Housing is centre-stage, with Brown promising a cabinet-level minister and local authority involvement. A large chunk of the credit for that has to go to Jon - where he went, the other deputy leader candidates followed.

On top of that, Blairism, as represented by Blears, has taken a hell of a knock in the party. I have a lot of time for Hazel - she's good on the stump and can fire up activists like nobody's business. But anyone with a large personal following in the North West - the only region that counts in the party along with London - has got to do better than sixth out of six. My dear dear friends in Young Labour and NOLS who are so loyal to Blairism, I'm afraid the message is that out there in country, outside the Westminster Village, there's little support. You can't just dismiss the voters as self-indulgent lefties - I spent most of my time telecanvassing for JC defending attacks from the right.

All of which makes me chuffed if Blairism defined as 1) forcing private sector provision on council tenants, NHS users and school parents, thus losing us votes and putting the public sector into debt; 2) hanging round with THE dodgiest right-wing politicians and businessmen like Berlusconi and Ecclestone, thus losing us votes and party activists; 3) Triangulation, attacking the "forces of conservatism" in the NHS or "bog standard comprehensives". It's reassuring to see an "I'm proud of the NHS" facebook group after Blair has been running it down for the last decade. But maybe the instinct of the leadership to attack what the activist base cares about so deeply is the reason why people think their NHS locally is good, but nationally is going down the pan. 4) Vanguardism, the idea that a small number of people (usually ex-trots) know best, and the rest of you are just Old Labour, so you can go back to stuffing envelopes.

If we're burying all that today, which we should be with Blears sixth, then I'm getting my tapdancing shoes ready for after the stonesetting. Unfortunately we're not - Brown announced a straight Yes-No OMOV vote on the Manifesto as a whole is a way of taking further power from party structures and holding a gun to the party's head over policy. But for those who think Blairism is suicidal for the party in the medium to long term, this yesterday was a good day.

What about the actual winner, Harriet Harman. On the plus side, having a southern, female and - lets admit it - middle class face front and centre will do us good. She's run on a family welfare ticket, which has resonance with the middle-class - good policy, good politics. What might be worrying is a reputation for not being so competent and no backing from the unions. Without the union link we'll become just like the US Democrats I believe - the party of middle-class fashionable causes. And they've won three presidential elections in the last 40 years.

Which leaves with three last questions - Whither Benn?, Whither Hain?, Whither Johnson?. This has to be a disaster for the big beast trinity. Hain should have been "King of the soft left". With Cook dead and Short off to the loony bin he should have commanded a big following in the party. He turned round and had no base. Benn, it seems, will never be a big hitter in the party. He may get Foreign Sec, but only because Brown rates his talents rather than feels he has to appease his followers. And it has to be fairly disastrous for Johnson. He was the safe pair of hands, a London boy, the choice pick of the establishment. Actually, with the four most senior candidates collectively flunking it, you could argue the real winner was Gordon Brown.

Compass Youth conference video: a bit about us



Sam Tarry explains all above.

Adele Reyonolds: why I'm voting Cruddas #1

I never imagined myself voting for Jon Cruddas being someone that has never
identified with the left of the party. However I am and this is why. We
first met at an amicus event where I lobbied Jon in order to ensure that the
casino vote went Manchester’s way. I was instantly impressed by his affable
charm and humility. Not once was anything too much for Jon and he was always
ready to sit down and talk about whatever needed to be discussed. Add this
to an absolutely sparkling performance at the Manchester hustings.

Jon’s campaigning ability is fantastic and as a committed activist in
Manchester Labour I am proud to be backing him. His pledge to be a full time
deputy leader and represent the views of the party to the cabinet rather
than the other way round is so important. Jon knows that if we are not in
shape to defeat the Tories at the next election then nothing else is
important. Membership is falling; but he is fully committed to change and
has optimism that we can revive the party, shown by the fact that his
constituency has involved month on month membership increases.

His commitment to taking on the far right also impresses. And its not just
me that’s impressed. Graham Stringer the ex and incredibly talented leader
of Manchester City Council said of Jon, ‘I want Jon as Deputy because of his
commitment to reconnect the Party and see off the BNP, given his
track-record of effective campaigning against them in Dagenham.’

Politically Jon is the only person saying the right things. The only person
to realise that you can be so proud of 10 years of a Labour Government; but
still realise that we have got some things wrong. He is committed to the
anti social behavior legislation, tougher anti terror laws e.t.c. On all the
key new labour reforms he falls into line. However, he also realizes that
certain things have got to change. We must build more social housing. Right
to buy is an excellent policy; but the stock must be replaced. On rights for
temporary workers, again Jon is saying the right things. Triangulation can
only get you so far. There isn’t a choice between our heartlands or middle
England. Jon’s campaign is about being rooted in the communities that we
represent and engaging with them.

As a student, I want Jon representing the views of the party when the 2010
funding review comes up. I believe that the huge threat of debt is putting
off working class students from entering HE and that the policy must be
reviewed. I know that Jon shares that view.

I believe that Jon's humility, campaigning ability, enthusiasm,
communication ability, experience in a wide range of roles, MP, no 10, TU
official as well as his fantastic political analysis can help us to rebuild
the coalition that helped us to win by a landslide in 1997. Jon is from a
working class Irish catholic family, represents a heavily deprived
constituency and is labour through and through. Politics has moved on, the
country has moved on, now labour has to move on too.

And I am proud that Jon has the backing of the National President of NUS, my
own union UNITE and both its general secretaries as well as people like Tom
Watson and Kevin Maguire.

The thing that finally convinced me to back Jon was the way in which he has
changed the terms of debate. Getting away from muscular outbidding and onto
the issues that our supporters really care about. What Ken Livingstone said
in reference to Cruddas was so poignant, ‘I’m not living in fear of North
Korea; I am living in fear of a society where we don’t provide proper health
care, proper education, proper housing for so many of our people’. This is
the real agenda and that’s why as a labour club chair and Vice Chair of my
constituency, I’m proud to say I’m backing Jon.

Our parent organisation, Compass, is supporting Jon Cruddas for Deputy Leader. Adele writes in a personal capacity. Compass Youth members are welcome to share their own views on the leadership in a similarly personal capacity.

Compass Youth Plenary - Compass Conference 2007

‘Youth Movements and Global Action’.

Helena Markstedt - SSU - Swedish Social Democratic Youth

Panayiotis Papoulias - PASOK Youth - Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement (Greece)

Noel Hatch
- Désirs d'Avenir (France)

Jacinda Ardern - Vice President, International Union of Socialist Youth (Asia Pacific rep) (New Zealand Labour party)

We will show short visual film called 'Tommorrow never happens without you' A new frontier in participative campaigning from the French Désirs d'Avenir

Chair - Samuel Tarry - Compass Youth Provisional Organising Committee