John McDonnell MP has launched a left wing challenge for the Labour leadership.
He was boosted last week by an opinion poll at the TUC conference. It found 59 percent of delegates backed him, compared to 10 percent for Gordon Brown and 8 percent for Alan Johnson.
McDonnell organised a campaign against the privatisation of public services earlier this year. He said, “Trade unionists are backing us because we are responding to their concerns on issues such as privatisation, the scrapping of Trident, trade union rights and foreign policy.
“I am delighted to have received this backing, which shows that the rank and file of the labour movement want a proper debate about the party’s future direction.”
Trade unions have a one-third share of the electoral college vote for the next Labour leader. All trade unionists who pay the political levy to Labour will get a vote.
McDonnell’s campaign deserves support from every trade unionist. It is an important chance to raise a discussion about ditching Blairism as well as Blair.
A strong showing by McDonnell would be a step forward for the whole left, inside or outside the Labour Party. There is a chance for McDonnell to win respectable votes in the unions.
He will find it far harder among the constituency parties, the individual members, MPs and MEPs.
The hollowed-out local parties are frequently empty shells. And McDonnell may well find that his biggest hurdle is getting the signatures of 44 MPs that he will need to join a contest.
Socialist Worker does not believe that the Labour Party can be captured for the left, and increasing numbers seem to agree with us. But we wish John well.
In Manchester this weekend we will see the potential for Respect - a political movement based on opposition to war, privatisation and racism - to become a mass force.