An Open Letter To Labour Members

Dear Friends,

The election result still hurts, doesn't it. The people making our country worse by the day are staying in power for another five years, led by a man without morals.

Since December, we've all felt the pain of that plain fact. That grief for the friend who will remain skint and stretched to breaking point. That regret that Labour winning could have helped them. That anger that we can’t do much for anyone right now. 

But all is not lost. And the way back starts with embracing these emotions. Because the pain we share shows that, however much we bicker, millions of us still have in common our most essential belief, so simple but always worth restating: that we can help each other out. And we’ll need to do that now more than ever. 

So let’s give each other a hug and dust ourselves down because the hard work starts now. We have five years to inspire millions more voters to join us with a new story that is clear and bright and fresh. 

The way to begin is to tell the truth. No more pussyfooting or pretending; we have to provide a version of the future that fills our hearts while being rooted in fact. When people rightly complain about the state of social care for the elderly, we can tell them there is a way to make it better and give our parents and grandparents the dignity they deserve. In fact, the answer is simple: it’s just going to need those that can to chip in a bit more tax. The problems we face become more soluble when we state them plainly. 

But speaking the truth isn’t just about telling the Tories what they’re doing wrong or calling someone out every time someone begins a sentence with the words “let me be clear”, but goes on to waffle and prevaricate. It’s also about being honest with each other. I think I’m the best person to lead the Labour Party, but I don’t think for one moment I’ve got all the answers. The challenges we face are far too complex for any one person or any one ideology to solve. A homeless person doesn’t care whether giving them shelter needs something syndicalist or social democratic or democratic socialist - they just want to be warm and dry. That means the Labour Party has to be big and flexible and diverse, a bubbling crucible of ideas that will spit out practical solutions to people’s daily problems. 

Still, if all the Labour Party does is talk, it’s pointless. To actually make an impact on people’s lives, to give people the things they need to flourish again, we have to act, to make decisions, to change laws - and we can only do that when we’re in power. For some, winning has become a trigger word: they think wanting to win suggests a willingness to betray the cause. That losing with purity is somehow more noble. But everything great that the Labour Party has ever done - from the NHS to Sure Start - has been achieved only after winning an election. Of course there are aspects of the political process that annoy and frustrate me. But if it's the only way to change the world, we have to accept that and make winning our absolute focus. 

Speak truth, win power. It’s a simple formula. Come help me make it work. 

Thanks,

Jess 

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