Left wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn got onto the ballot paper for Labour leader with just minutes to spare on Monday of this week.
He reached the minimum 35 nominations to qualify and is now standing against Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.
Corbyn won nominations from several MPs who went on to declare that they wouldn’t actually vote for him, but thought he would open up the debate.
Many trade unionists and activists will be pleased to see someone who is prepared to challenge the Blairite candidates’ dominance in the leadership election. It means an alternative to austerity will get a hearing.
Paul Holmes, Kirklees Unison union branch secretary and national executive member spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.
He said, “There would have been uproar if that strand of thought was not on the ballot paper.
“Now there will be a debate about our position on austerity.”
But the fact that Corbyn succeeded in getting on the ballot on the basis of nominations from those to his right is a sign of the Labour left’s weakness.
The other candidates will all parrot the dominant view that immigration must be curbed and that cuts are necessary. So Corbyn should be the preferred candidate of every trade union.
Paul said, “It would be great to now see all the unions throw their weight behind him getting elected.”
But already Andy Burnham is emerging as the trade union leaders’ favourite, even though he offers no alternative.
While Labour is embroiled in this election campaign through to September, the Tories will be on the rampage.
Whoever wins, the possibility for real resistance to the Tories will not be come through the Labour machine.
Workers cannot afford to wait till September, let alone another five years, in the vain hope that Labour will build real opposition to the Tories’ assault.
Instead we have to get organised now, build and spread any instance of resistance and call on the trade union leaders to lead a fight back.