I have been asked by a number of Labour Party members about who I am supporting in the contests for the leadership of the Party and to be the Labour candidate for London mayor. For some, I realise the choices are not easy.
I have been fortunate to have attended a number of hustings and debates and witnessed the performances of the various candidates. And like you I have now received literature from most candidates.
For me, the debate has been characterised by the issue of realism versus populism. Having listened to some of the internal debates amongst Labour Party activists, I think we sometimes need to remind ourselves that not everything Labour did in our 13 years of government was bad. In fact, we did a lot of good things and of course we would have liked to have done a lot more. Of course, on reflection, there are things we might have done differently.
But, despite losing the last national election, we still have good support which can be built upon to deliver another Labour Government. However, the work to retain and regain the trust of our communities must begin quickly.
That's why I am supporting David Miliband as the only candidate who has realistically assessed the challenges for Labour in the future. He has repeatedly said that we cannot go back to the past and must prepare for the challenges we face now and in the future. I've copied David’s latest email below.
We need a leader who has the presence and calibre not just to lead the Labour Party but also to become a prime minister. David Miliband has shown recently that he has that experience as well as the ability to turn policy into practical actions that make a difference. Anyone watching some of the television debates and interviews cannot have failed to have been impressed by him dealing with the difficult questions. He has worked hard to gain broad support across the different political views of the Party and trade union movement. He does not want to see a return to some of the divisive debates of the past.
Please look at his website http://www.davidmiliband.net/ if you want to know more about his policies but I would urge you to give him your first preference (or, failing that, a second preference) in the Labour Party leadership ballot. I would also recommend you read his latest email below.
PS Don't forget to vote for Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral ballot. Over the years Ken has met and faced many tough challenges. He has the experience and skills to win for Labour. Between 2000 and 2008 he increased the number of police officers in London and created new transport infrastructure which the Tories are slowly trying to dismantle. London needs an effective advocate and champion in these difficult times to challenge the excessive cuts of this Conservative-led coaltion government.
I respect both Tony and Gordon deeply. But their time has passed. Their names do not appear on the leadership ballots. And now we need to stop their achievements being sidelined and their failings holding us back.
I'm sick and tired of the caricature that this leadership election is a choice between rejecting or retaining New Labour. It does a disservice to all of the candidates and, even worse, a disservice to the thousands of members who’ve been participating in this contest over the last few months and working hard for years.
To those trying to trash our past and those trying to recreate it, I say enough is enough, it is time to move on.
I joined the Labour Party back in 1983 because I believed then, as I do now, that we are stronger when we stand together. And that has never been truer than when applied to our Party.
I believe that this election is about pulling together all the talents of our Party. It's about teamwork, mutual respect - and a rejection of the tired old Westminster games of closed door briefings, posturing, attack and rebuttal. I want to change the way we do politics.
Because I want to lead a government not a gang, a movement not a machine, where honest debate can be a source of strength, not a sign of weakness.
And we do this for a simple goal – because we want Labour to be the Party that enables hard working people to achieve their aspirations.
That means building a new economy – to drive down unemployment right across Britain. It means ensuring work pays with a living wage. It requires tackling the too wide gap in life chances.
In politics, moments matter. So as your ballot papers land on your doorstep in the next few days, I humbly ask for your vote for Leader of our Party.
If you’re planning to vote for me as your first preference or second preference please let me know by clicking here Or if you’re still undecided please click here and a member of my team will be in touch
Together we can cast the old play book aside – we can once again reflect the lives, the communities and the best hopes of the British people.
The first 100 days of the Coalition Government has shown their creed - and made our task all the more urgent. There are millions of people who need Labour to win again to deliver them a fair chance in life. And I will not let them down.
I am ready to lead. But at this crucial moment I need your support to make the Labour Party the change Britain needs.
Please vote for me as your first preference.