Sunday, September 12, 2010

Southwark Labour's 4th Annual Conference

Yesterday saw another truly successful Southwark Labour Conference - a mixture of speeches, policy making and discussion, and a chance to catch up with friends old and new.

We had great contributions from Tessa Jowell, Harriet Harman, and two of my former Deputy Leaders Susan Elan Jones and Alison McGovern who are both now Labour MPs.

Two workshops discussed the challenge facing us as a Council with our housing stock and next year's budget led by Ian Wingfield and Richard Livingstone.

The packed day concluded with presentations from each of my Cabinet colleagues on their achievements to date and greatest challenge ahead. There was spontaneous applause for Barrie Hargrove when he spoke about his introduction of food waste recycling this year, 5 years ahead of the LibDem's scheduled start date, and the plans to make Burgess Park a truly outstanding park for Southwark's residents. Ian Wingfield gave a terrific and rousing speech to end this part of the day!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Labour's Leadership Election

Ballot papers have been sent out today for Labour's Leadership election. This is an historic election, the first time since 1994 that Labour members will have voted for a new Leader. So it is important that we make the right choice and elect a leader who has the experience and judgement to lead the Labour Party and the country. After some very careful thought my own choice for Leader is David Miliband. I do think he has the edge over the other candidates in terms of his experience and appeal.

All of the other candidates have real merits and qualities. Ed Miliband was a great speaker at our Southwark Borough Conference last year and has the potential to be a great Party Leader. But my view is that his time has not yet arrived.

It does look like it will be a very close contest between David and Ed. I am not sure that they would personally see their campaigns as 'New' versus 'Old' Labour - it is a shame that some of their supporters have portrayed it in this way. Both Milibands are forward-thinking politicians who have served the Labour Party well, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so in the future. There is no doubt that whatever their differences on strategy and tactics, they both want to see the return of a Labour Government.

But on balance my view is that David has the edge in terms of who is most likely to appeal not only to Labour supporters, but to the wider electorate, and to secure a Labour election victory - whenever that election comes!